Media, Darling: My first record, part 2

We’re continuing our special holiday Media, Darling post about first records. Hope everyone is enjoying their time off!  
Wendy Kam Marcy: My first album was New Kids On The Block. I had a mad tween crush on Jordan Knight and used to fall asleep with him singing to me – I hid my Walkman under the covers and had a picture of him under my pillow. Years later, I met him and he signed my Hangin’ Tough tape. It was pretty amazing to see this guy that I’ve watched so many times on music videos and in concert actually standing before me. I even hugged him.
Benjamin Leszcz: My first CD was in fact two CDs: Bon Jovi’s Keep the Faith – and the Keep the Faith Mega Edition Bonus CD. My Dance Mix ’92 tape got tossed into the back of the closet – and I became a man.
Jeni Besworth: The first cassette I bought (that got played until you could no longer read the writing on it) was Blue Rodeo Outskirts. I had always listened to pop music/top 40 and one day my brother came into my room, stopped my ghetto blaster, which was blaring Wham! and scolded me on my taste in music. He lectured that I needed to branch out – “listen to CFNY!” – and expand my musical horizons. 
So, the next day (without him knowing of course), I switched stations and caught the last minute of Try. I had never heard anything like it. It blew my mind. I bought the tape that afternoon after school. To this day, they remain one of my all-time favourite bands. 
Deirdre Kelly: My first album was The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. I must have been 11, and was so inspired that soon after, I did my Grade 5 public speaking assignment on The Beatles (I was a school finalist). I bought it for the same reason I love it: I Am The Walrus. I heard that Lennon/McCartney song for the first time on a transistor radio I had hidden under my pillow at night. The Beatles, alas for me, had broken up, and CHUM was playing a documentary on the most famous band in pop music. I Am the Walrus came on at one point, and I was mesmerized: the serpentine melody, John Lennon’s nasal, aggressive voice, the surreal nonsense lyrics, as deliciously subversive as anything out of Lewis Carroll. 

I had never heard anything like it. It was like opium to my ears. I don’t think the song was released as a single, which is why I went to Kresge’s in Thorncliffe Park, where I grew up, to buy with my own money the Magical Mystery Tour album. I Am the Walrus is just one of several outstanding sonic creations on it, the others being Strawberry Fields, Fool on the Hill, Penny Lane and George Harrison’s psychedelic-evocative, Blue Jay Way

I am a huge Beatles fan still today. I met Ringo last year, and, in September, I met Paul McCartney at the world premiere of his Ocean’s Kingdom ballet in New York; he kissed me twice, and held my hand while we chatted. I was dumbstruck. But I did manage to find my voice to thank him for a lifetime of incredible music. 

Sarah Kelsey: Outside of Strawberry Shortcake on vinyl (seriously, it was her telling stories), the first album I remember loving was a mixed tape my mom and dad made. It was full of classic rock and oldies tunes. I played it over and over and over again on my toteable, plastic Fisher-Price cassette player. I practically brought it everywhere with me. It’s because of this tape I developed my love of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elvis, Led Zeppelin, Creedance Clearwater Revival and The Band. Keep in mind I was probably three or four years old when I became obsessed with these tunes. My love of classic rock endures to this day.
Gabrielle Johnson: I feel like I’m really dating myself here by revealing that my first album was Miss Piggy’s Aerobique Exercise Workout Album, which was a parody of the Jane Fonda Workout. On vinyl.  My favourite song was Snackcercise – if memory serves, Miss Piggy instructed listeners to “reach for the bonbon, eat the bonbon, reach for the bonbon, eat the bonbon.” That is still my idea of an awesome workout.  
Karon Liu: If we’re not including cassettes, my first CD was Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. Ironic was being played every hour on the radio and MuchMusic and it was one hell of a catchy tune. I was 10 when the CD came out in 1995, so I had no idea what most of the lyrics meant until much later. Luckily my parents weren’t fluent in English, so they didn’t think twice when I sang “And are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” out loud in my room. Ever since the CD came out, I’ve always had it in my Discman, on the various mp3 players I owned over the years and currently on my iPhone. It’s the album I listened to the most, especially during the mandatory emo phase everyone had in high school. My second CD was — you guessed it — the soundtrack to Space Jam
Lisa Ng: My first CD that I ever bought (when it was cool to make the switch from cassette tapes to CD) was The Cranberries’ No Need to Argue in 1994. It was the perfect soundtrack to my angsty teen years and The Cranberries were the shit back then! I paid $13.99 for it at Future Shop and listened to it over and over again.
Chantel Simmons: For Christmas of 1985, my parents gave me a ghetto blaster. Yes, that’s probably an incorrect term now, but that’s what we called it back then. Move over, shared family room record player. With two cassette decks, I was in business. I could now make my own mixed tapes, so my first cassette was a huge deal: Starship Knee Deep in the Hoopla. No clue what my fascination was with that band, but I was obsessed with the songs We Built This City and Sara. That is, until a few months later when I got NKOTB fever.
Thanks to our Media, Darlings for sharing their fun memories of their fave cassettes, albums and CDs. What were yours? Tweet us @rockitpromo or leave a comment!


Media, Darling: Lisa and Wendy from Hip Urban Girl

Wendy graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. Honours degree. Prior to co-founding The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide (HUG), a women’s lifestyle website, Wendy spent eight years in marketing, event planning and project management for both private and public sectors. She recently retired from her corporate job to fulfill her startup dreams and is now juggling the blogging life with her role as Director of Adfluent Media Inc.
When Wendy is not pulling rank on Google or shamelessly being entertained by Facebook and Twitter (she does unplug!), you can find her at the Biography section of Chapters, dining out, jetsetting around the world, or getting involved in community service. Wendy has lived in Vancouver and New York City but currently calls Toronto home.

Lisa is the Editor-in-Chief, and co-founder of The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide, a lifestyle website for busy women in the city. She can usually be found hunting down the best cupcake for her food features or going on her next getaway to bring back the best travel tips. Her passion for food, travel, style and events led her to launch The Hip & Urban Girl (hug) in June 2010 with Wendy.

The beautiful minds behind The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide: Lisa and Wendy.

Twitter: @HipUrbanGirl, @BossLadyWendy, #hugTO

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Wendy: At 16, I wanted to be a psychologist but after my first year at U of T, I got a summer job at a publishing company and was introduced to advertising. I fell in love immediately and figured that I can always be a shrink in my next lifetime. I’m really lucky that I’ve never had to think twice about what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve been blogging for a year and have been in the marketing/advertising industry for eight years now. I still have the same passion as I have since day one.
Lisa: I seriously thought I was going to pursue a career in musical theatre and sing and dance on Broadway. I did a lot of community theatre when I was a kid and even attended a theatre arts high school in Mississauga. I also started DJ-ing weddings and events while doing my political science and cinema studies degree at U of T. The DJ-ing turned into a full-time job (company is called hello DJ!) that I have been running for over six years. So really, it was a smorgasbord. I’m really happy to be working in media now because it ties up less of my weekends in the summer.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Lisa: I would love to see the readership of The Hip & Urban Girl grow and expand into a few other cities.
Wendy: +1 for what Lisa said above. Right now so much of my life is online, so I’d like to balance it out with an offline component and give back to the community. Ideally I hope to be financially ready and have gained enough business knowledge and experience to start a venture capitalist company. Plus, I’ll be a mommy then!

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Lisa and Wendy:
For anyone looking to run a successful blog, be consistent and re-evaluate your editorial direction every two to three months. We wrote about everything and anything we could get our little hands on when we first started out. Install a good analytics program such as Google Analytics (it’s free) and constantly check your data to see what’s working and what isn’t. Talk to other bloggers, read books about the business, and pick a niche to focus on. 

We also find it funny when people think we’re going to steal their ideas. The way we’ll become successful could not possibly be the same path as someone else who finds success in the same industry. There’s enough to go around. Stick to your guns and do what you do best. Don’t worry about other people and what they are doing – what works for someone else may not work for you.

What are your favourite media outlets?
Wendy: Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail, One Degree, Mashable, Daily Candy, CNN, History Channel and A&E, 99.9 Virgin and Z103.5.
Lisa: I read the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and watch CP24 for quick updates on the weather and news. I never go to bed before catching Lloyd Robertson on the 11 p.m. news. Love that Lloyd. I’m a magazine addict and rotate through Toronto Life, InStyle, Nylon, Glamour, Style At Home, House and Home, Real Simple, Lucky, Lou Lou, Shape, Self and many, many others.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Wendy and Lisa:
Josie Dye of 102.1 The Edge and Oh-So-Cosmo is incredibly down-to-earth and had some great advice to share from her own life lessons. She spoke with such conviction and passion from her position as a successful hip and urban girl.

HUG has never had a bad interview, but I did have one in my other career that I can share. I don’t want to mention names, but during a public interview, someone I worked with was the worst while being interviewed. All team members were there, but this person hogged the microphone, answered on behalf of everyone, and at the end, she thanked all the clients and people in her professional circle, but forgot to mention her own support team and family (who were all present)! Yes, she did achieve a milestone in her career, but sadly, she forgot about her roots. Obviously what got her there won’t get her here.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Wendy: Be true to yourself. This means following your instincts and passions and not falling for temptations or short-term gains. Much easier said than done!

Lisa: Never overestimate others and underestimate yourself.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Wendy: My golden rule: don’t seek to be validated. 
On a professional level, conduct business with integrity and transparency. At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation. Define success in your own terms and let passion drive you. The money will follow. 
On a personal level, surround yourself with people who have a positive energy. Don’t wait for special occasions to light that candle or wear that cashmere sweater, the present really is a gift. Work hard and play hard but don’t forget to smell the roses along the way.

Lisa: I wrote a whole post on rules I now live by, but the biggest one is not to be a doormat. I was raised by my shy parents to be nice, not to ruffle too many feathers, or be overly assertive. I definitely got taken advantage of because I was always more worried about being liked over what I really wanted or cared about. I would get stuck doing crap I didn’t like because I thought it was the stuff I should be doing. Yeah, never again.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Wendy: Blogs should be treated as seriously as any other type of traditional media.

Lisa: Please don’t make it seem like you’re doing us a favour by inviting us to an event. I also won’t write a story for a linkback on your page or review a product I have never tried. 
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Wendy and Lisa:
We love working with the rock-it promotions team because they are always organized and responsive. They know who everyone is and you know it’s not going to be some sort of frenzy when you arrive. They also have a great roster of clients, are innovative and they get the online space. (Ed note: Thank you very kindly, ladies.)
I hate?
Wendy: People that fake it ’til they make it. Also close-mindedness and self-centredness. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Lisa: Entitled people who are rude to waitstaff or those working in customer service. I worked in retail for most of high school and university and you wouldn’t believe some of the jackasses you get. 

I love?
Wendy: My family and friends because they help me become a better person. I also love food and New York City. I used to live there and a part of me has never left.
Lisa: My husband, Paul. We’ve been together since high school. Runner up? Exploring new cities, trying new foods and travelling to new places together.

Wendy: I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I got a lot out of it, it’s an easy and fun read.

Lisa: The 4-Hour Work Week (again). It reminds me to work efficiently and not to get sucked into bad habits like constantly checking email and mindlessly surfing the web.

Best place on earth?
Wendy: In my husband’s arms… is that cheesy? I travel a lot and have shared so many unique experiences with him. At the end of the day, no matter where we are in the world, it can’t beat the comfort and safety I feel lying beside him.
Lisa: Monterosso Al Mare, Italy. It’s as beautiful as it sounds.

Dinner guest?
Wendy: Is this a dead or alive question? My beloved grandmother who passed away two years ago.

Lisa: Oprah Winfrey.

Wendy: I don’t really have one hero per se but I greatly admire women in general who have been struck by some catastrophe (cancer victims, suppressed women in war-torn countries, wives who lost their husbands in 9/11) and manage to keep an optimistic outlook in life.

Lisa: My grandmother. She was lovely and had a need to feed everybody.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Wendy: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and the Weather. I keep things simple.

Lisa: Urbanspoon lets you find cool restaurants in major cities across North America. It’s great when you’re travelling.

Pool or ocean?
Wendy: Ocean. I lived in Vancouver for a bit and there’s just something about being surrounded by water and the mountains.
Lisa: Poolside with bar service.

Voicemail or email?
Wendy: Email. People still make calls?
Lisa: Email, please. I’m a night-owl and I like to work late at night. Email is much more convenient.