Tag Archives: music


If you know me, you know that I love Lady Gaga… On October 21st, the world was given a gift, greater than the invention of sliced bread, Joanne. Lady Gaga is the last person you’d want to go down the pared-down, real-me, let’s-get-a-bit-country. After all, the abstract is where Lady Gaga’s from.


She is one of my biggest inspirations, and I’m so thankful for her artistry that never fails to heal and bring the world together.

joannejoannewithmeWith big songs and big production, Joanne certainly sounds like the business. Yet while its modernity is expressed by mixing and matching genres or adding digital zing to familiar tropes, for all its bravura exuberance and pop slickness it is old fashioned to its core.When you go to extremes of image, decking yourself out in meat dresses and lobster hats, perhaps the boldest makeover left is to actually take off the mask and appear as yourself. Lady Gaga, it turns out, is an old-fashioned rock and roll showgirl at heart.

So get out there, put on your pink “Joanne” hats on, and get to listening to Gaga’s new album!

Thank you LG,

xoxo, Joanne / Mariano

Notes From the 6 Train: Light At the End of the Tunnel

So I am thoroughly excited to say that it is official. I am a DJ. At this point, within the past two weeks I have had two (very successful) gigs!

This is my mid semester pep talk for everyone who is in the midst of the murky waters of creation. Whether it’s a working on a line, or photography project or even still figuring out where you’re going to school (are seniors still doing that?). When I talk about creation I do mean art, of course, but I also mean creating the life you want. For some that’s writing a thesis or like I said applying for schools, or scholarships or other programs/ opportunities. Sometimes the stamina to continue begins to falter, you worry if your (fill in the blank) is good enough, tall enough, colorful enough, etc. You have to trust yourself and your process.


After weeks of practice, and knowing my music inside and out, I was still soo nervous at my first event. But once I hooked up my equipment, begin to spin and saw people reacting, hips swaying and arms flailing and people moving to the music I felt right at home. I felt confident and knew that I have found a new gift.

And afterwards, several people told me how great my set was and didn’t even know it was my gig. Even though that felt amazing, seeing everyone happy and dancing to the music that I played, I knew those late night sessions (this was during midterms, so I had so much work) staying up to work my craft was well worth it.

So when you’re in the middle of the process, and are beginning to fall asleep at your desk, or sewing machine or in front of the DJ controller (in my case) or you begin to feel frustrated remember, there is light on the there side!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Just Call Me DJ Aya

So as I mentioned before, winter break is the perfect time to experimenting and trying new things. For me, music had been an outlet I’ve been in dabbling in. I’ve always been very connected to music (much like the music industry and the fashion industry, one is influenced by the other.) This holiday season I sent my closest friends a healing folder as a gift. As apart of this folder I created this mix (my very first mix guys.) And I am excited to share it with you all! Below is this precursor to the mix. The link is included below.

“I get to share something with you that’s super, very important. As some of you may or may not know, I have begun DJing, and I am thrilled to be sharing my very first mix with you! You were my inspiration, brilliant, talented, dynamic women. I wanted to create something that was drenched in this very essence of the ultimate, awesome, omnipotent feminine energy. Initially, I was going to make this mix composed of only women artists. But that idea didn’t last long as, as I know just how important it is honor the holy feminine AND masculine (I am so lucky to know a plethora of women who embody both energies in such a beautiful way it felt absurd for me to bar that type of musical love.) On the last note, I want to mention that this mix is about how you feel, how you should be love and loved upon. The songs in this mix represent all aspects in life (I hope), when you’re feeling sassy or soulful or even when you’re even feeling uncertain about who you are/your purpose, I wanted it to be just as multidimensional as you. I hope you enjoy listening to it (and turning up to it) as much as I loved making it for you. I present the first of many loved filled art and music projects to come!”

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Exploring NY This Holiday Season

At home, I’ve never experienced the holiday season quite like this. I am proud of Atlanta for a lot of things, but providing holiday sentiments is not one of them. Everyone knows that New York turns into a magical place ( as if weren’t already magical) during the holiday time. The city is as bright a Christmas tree & looks (feels) like a snow globe. Best of all, it allows people to dress up, be fancy and feel good, all while attending some cool seasonal events.

















Here’s a snapshot from the BRAG (The Black Retail Group- an organization with a chapter on FIT’s campus), annual holiday toy drive. The other elves and I were told to dress festively, but maybe I was the one who got the message. Either way, I was sporting an old shirt from my mother’s closet. (I’m so lucky to have a fashionable mother who shares my size).

The event was well supported and the guests donated dozens of toys. The toys were then given to a children’s home in Harlem, for kids who otherwise would receive toys. In addition to being an “elf” ( note the elf hat), I got to do some networking. All the guests were industry professionals, and because the event was an intimate one, I got to talk to nearly everyone. These type of intimate settings give people an opportunity to make connections, and are the catalyst for building relationship.  Also, I got to have some free food, which is always a plus.

This past week I went did something that was the complete opposite of the BRAG toy drive. I think life is all about balance, and after a semester of working hard and attending professional events, I went to the 10 Deep Holiday Party in the Williamsburg Music Hall, which provided an alternate type of networking.  These type of events are usually composed of movers and shakers, many musicians and artists. 10 Deep is a cornerstone menswear brand, which has been popular for over fifteen years. The creator, Scott Sasso, a native New Yorker, says he named the line 10 Deep because “Forget everyone and listen to yourself. Strength lies in the hands of an individual (10 fingers), not in the approval of one’s peers.” The line can be bought online, on their own website or karmaloop.com. Every year, they host a free holiday party(ies) for all people to come enjoy the sounds of various artists and the live DJ. These type of events showcase just how dynamic fashion brands can be, by infusing music & art, along with their fashion they are ensuring their success for (hopefully) many more years in the future.

As an artist, I need these type of events just as much as professional events. The energy that exists at a live show is one that is unparalleled, and I am thankful that have been able to experience here in New York before I go home in a few days. Are there any special events you all are excited to participate in?

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.


Amateur Nights Are the Best Nights

New York is the place to be for established and up and coming performers alike. Seeing your favorite actor in a Broadway show, or your favorite band at the Gramercy Theater is exciting. Yet there is something very exhilarating and distinctly “New York” about hearing an unknown and getting that feeling you just saw the next big thing before they made it. You can go uptown or you can go downtown. Either way, you’re bound to find some amazing entertainment.


The famous Apollo Theater deserves a visit from every New Yorker, especially all music aficionados. Amateur Night at the Apollo not only makes for a raucous show, but it is an event deeply seeded in tradition. Amateur night started in 1934 and one of the first winners of the contest was Ella Fitzgerald. The Apollo is great because they encourage the audience to be vocal and boo or cheer depending on how much they like the performer. It’s a fun night that you can’t get anywhere else. Plus it’s only about $20 for a ticket.


If blues-y rock is more your style, I recommend The Open Mic Downstairs.  Located under the St. Marks Theater in the heart of the East Village this tiny theater space is packed every Tuesday night at 9 by performers as well as people who come just to hear the talented musicians, poets, and comedians. The vibe is chill and supportive and the talent is always impressive. The only caveat: it goes until 2 am. I personally leave around 11:30 but would definitely stay longer if I didn’t have a Wednesday morning class. Oh yeah, the cover is only $3.