Chit Chatting with Singer Alexis Gregorie

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I interviewed the adorable 14-year-old singer Alexis Gregorie. When I first discovered her, she was singing “MoonChasers” on YouTube, an original co-written by her and Aimee Proal, who also works with singers like Kelly Clarkson. Read on to find out if she will be releasing an album this year, not to mention what the strangest question she has ever been asked is and what she likes to bake.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the music business.

A: My name is Alexis Gregorie, and I’m a 14-year-old Californian that has a passion for music, art, and cake. I’ve been singing ever since I could talk. When I was ten, I posted a video of a music recital and a few covers. These brought me to vocal coach Didier, who also coaches Sabrina Carpenter and Jasmine Thompson. I’ve been creating and publishing covers on YouTube ever since. My covers caught the attention of Jeff Gordon, who introduced me to producer PJ Bianco. PJ Bianco brought in the talented songwriter, Aimée Proal. Together we created the first three songs. Zack Hannah produced the fourth song (to be released soon). My family is very supportive of my music endeavors, and Jeff’s experience in the industry is of great help to us.

 

R: Tell us about your song “Pretty Inside.”

A: Never lose who you are, even when circumstances change; for the better or for the worst. Even though there is good and bad in the world, the lines are sometimes blurred. We might feel tempted to cross that line because of social pressures, but remember to never lose the pretty inside you.

 

R: Tell us about your songs “Classic” and “MoonChasers.”

A: “Classic” is a song that is very close to my heart. It’s about staying true to yourself even if you are a bit different. The song fits under the umbrella of self-acceptance, and embracing yourself as a uniquely beautiful person that doesn’t fit in a category. After all, categories are for cookies. “MoonChasers” is a happy, upbeat song about chasing your dreams and pioneering into the unknown. To be the first person to do something new and different that is against the status quo is both challenging and exciting. Follow your dreams, even if it leads you to a place where no one has gone before.

 

R: Is it true that you wrote and co-wrote those songs? If so, what is your writing process? 

A: Yes. I co-wrote all of the songs with Aimée Proal (who wrote for Kelly Clarkson) and PJ Bianco (he produced for the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lavato, and others). As I am new to songwriting, I have to say that the creative process is so amazing. First, we came up with the overall theme of the song. Then, we created the instrumental and basic melody. From there, we brainstormed ideas for the lyrics, and started writing the chorus. Then we finished with the verses and the bridge.

 

R: What is your favorite song to belt out in your room or in the car?

A: “Summertime” in the style of Leona Lewis.

 

R: Where can people get your music?

A: My songs are available for download on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, and available for streaming on Pandora, Spotify, AppleMusic, iHeart Radio, Shazam, and Rhapsody. The links are on my website (link below).

 

R: What is your favorite thing about singing live?

A: That moment when the butterflies melt away and it becomes only you and the song.

 

R: Do you have plans on releasing an album in 2017?

A: Yes! It’s in the early planning stages. I have one more single to be released. After that, I’ll focus more on the album.


R: What are some of your other goals?

A: Travel the world, grow a little taller (I guess there isn’t much hope for that), make a perfect batch of French macarons, and learn an Asian language.

 

R: I read that you like to bake. What is your favorite thing to bake?

A: I LOVE to bake. European cookies, chocolate cake, and Crème brûlée are my specialties.

 

R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a singer?

A: Practice. Practice. Practice. Also, drink tea and honey, and give yourself mini pep talks in the mirror (you’d be surprised, it works wonders).

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

A: A couple years ago someone asked me if they could copyright my handwriting.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube?

A: Yes, I do.

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

My official website: alexisgregorie.com

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

A: I love y’all. Keep on being your amazing selves and don’t lose the pretty inside you!

 

R:  Alexis, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

A: Thank you, you too.

SEVENTEEN Magazine Being Challenged To Show Real Bodies

SEVENTEEN Magazine Being Challenged By Teens

body image14 YEAR-OLD ASKS SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE FOR NON-PHOTOSHOPPED IMAGES OF REAL GIRLS

Explosive campaign on Change.org calls on Seventeen Magazine to print one unaltered photo spread per month to promote positive body image amongst teen readers

More than 79,000 people have joined a popular campaign on Change.org calling on Seventeen Magazine to print one unaltered photo spread per month.

Julia Bluhm, a 14 year-old member of the girl-led SPARK Movement, is leading the campaign on Change.org following Glamour Magazine’s recent decision to stop altering photos of models to make them appear slimmer. Bluhm, an eighth grade ballet dancer, says she hopes Seventeen will decide to follow suit to promote positive body image amongst their teen readership.

“I’m a teenage girl, and I know how it feels to think you’re not good enough,” said Bluhm, who launched the campaign on Change.org. “I want girls to be able to feel good about themselves, and being able to relate to the images in the magazines we read will help.”

“I started this petition to help girls see that they’re not alone,” Bluhm added. “Seventeen Magazine is supposed to be a relatable magazine, right? How can we relate to computer altered photos? Seventeen is popular with my friends and lots of teen girls. If they agree to print one unaltered spread a month, they could start a trend that will help so many girls like me feel better about their bodies.”

News of the online petition campaign’s success is likely to increase pressure on Seventeen Magazine. Within days of the campaign’s launch, Bluhm had recruited thousands of supporters on Change.org, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change. Along with her online petition, Bluhm and her friends are also gathering printed signatures in the lunchroom at her school.

“A fourteen year-old girl in Maine has tapped into the national conversation on young girls and body image,” said Change.org Senior Campaigner Shelby Knox. “She’s a total powerhouse, walking around with her friends at school to gather handwritten signatures for her petition. Between that and social media, Julia’s managed to recruit more than [79,000 supporters] from 15 states. It’s been incredible to watch her campaign take off.”

Julia’s campaign on Change.org has been covered by major news outlets across the country, including the New York Times, CNN, Nightline and The Guardian.

Live signature totals from Julia Bluhm’s campaign:
http://www.change.org/seventeen

New York Times coverage of the campaign:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/nyregion/seventeen-magazine-faulted-by-girl-14-for-doctoring-photos.html

CNN coverage of the campaign:
http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/03/8th-grader-fights-airbrushed-images/

Adding fuel to the fire, former editor for Seventeen Magazine joins 14-year-old Julia Bluhm’s petition on Change.org asking Seventeen to promote positive body images to their young readers.

A former editor at Seventeen Magazine has announced her support for 14-year-old Julia Bluhm’s campaign on Change.org asking the magazine to take steps to promote positive body image among girls.

Dede Lehman, a former editor at Seventeen Magazine, joined Julia’s campaign on Change.org after reading about the high-profile mock photoshoot the teenager staged in front of Seventeen headquarters last week.

Lehman says she left the magazine industry because she felt her young readers deserved better than gratuitously altered images.

“As a former Seventeen editor and advice columnist, I fought for more realistic images for our readers,” said Lahman. “Eventually, I quit and traveled nationwide, speaking about what the magazine did to make our models look perfect and how to decode the misleading advertising and stay grounded in reality.”

“I stopped doing this work over a decade ago, but after reading about Julia’s campaign in the New York Times this past Friday, I had to voice support for her petition,” continued Lahman. “In an ideal world, Julia wouldn’t need to request one unaltered photo spread a month, because unaltered photos would already be the norm. However, in the glossy world of magazines, truth and beauty are not always one and the same. I think a reasonable first step for Seventeen to take toward Julia’s ultimate goal would be to do a behind-the-scenes piece about how a photo shoot comes together. After all, girls can only run the world if they’re privy to its tricks.”

Last Wednesday, Bluhm delivered her Change.org petition signatures to Seventeen Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket following her mock photo shoot. According to Bluhm, Shocket promised to stay in touch to work on an unnamed project to promote positive body image among the magazine’s readers. When later pressed by the New York Times, Shoket declined to answer whether or not the magazine digitally alters images of its models.

“Dede Lahman’s decision to support Julia is a testament to how deeply Julia’s campaign is resonating across the world,” said Change.org Senior Campaigner Shelby Knox. “Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Julia’s campaign take off.”


Chit Chatting with Mindless Behavior

Chit Chatting with Mindless Behavior

Written by: Jill Sheets

mindless behavior

mindless behavior

Picture credit: Meeno

Recently I have had the great honor of interviewing a talented new group Mindless
Behavior. Continue to read on and learn more about the young men who make up this
group, about the album and about their tour with Justin Bieber.

R: Tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Princeton: I’m 13 years old, from Downey, California. I’ve been dreaming of being an
entertainer my whole life. I started dancing at 2 years old. Singing came a little later
when I was 8. The best part about being in Mindless Behavior is being able to perform
and interact with our fans.

Prodigy: I’m 14 years old, from Philadelphia. I love singing and dancing. I’ve been
dancing since I was 2 years old. Being in Mindless Behavior means a lot to me because I
get to do what I love everyday.

Ray Ray: I’m 14 years old, from Los Angeles, California and I started as a Krump
dancer for Tommy the Clown a local dance crew in Los Angeles. I love to dance, and
performing is my passion. I started singing and developing my voice when I joined the
group.

Roc Royal: They call me the baby of the bunch because I’m the youngest. I’m 13 too,
and also from Los Angeles. I love to sing dance and rap. I’ve been studying music since
I was 8 years old. I like to listen to all types of music. Being in Mindless Behavior has
been a dream come true because I’m doing exactly what I love to do, and I love the fans.
They’re great.

R: How long have you all been singing together? How did you meet?

Princeton: We’ve been singing and performing together for two years. Roc and I met at
an audition for group held by Conjunction Entertainment in Los Angeles. Prodigy is from
Philly so he flew down to audition a few weeks later, Ray Ray joined the group a week
after that.

R: How did you come up with the name Mindless Behavior?

Roc Royal: Part of our management team Keisha Gamble and Walter Millsap came up
with the name Mindless Behavior, and what Mindless Behavior is, it’s a lifestyle that
gives kids the freedom to express themselves. And we consider ourselves Mindless
because we’re expressing ourselves through our music, art, and fashion.

Princeton: Yes and we’re starting a Mindless movement that everyone can be apart of.
So if you’re not afraid to stand out and be different and follow your dreams then you are
MINDLESS!!

R: How did you come up with your nicknames?

Prodigy: We all got our nicknames from our management. After they saw how I caught
on to all things pertaining to music and dance, Prodigy became the name.

Princeton: I love to reading about musical history and learning new things, so Princeton
is the name they gave me.

Roc Royal: They started calling me Roc because whenever I’m working on a project or
when I’m on stage I love to always give 100%, and the Royal side of me is my more easy
going sensitive side.

Ray Ray: Ray Ray is a nickname I actually grew up with, so when I joined the group our
management decided I should keep it because you know I’m like the pretty boy of the
group.

R: Tell us about how you got discovered.

Princeton: Two years ago when we were all 11 years old, part of our management
Walter Millsap and Keisha Gamble, held a huge audition in Los Angeles, and there were
like 500 kids there I was really nervous but excited. That’s where Roc R. and I met. A
few weeks later after we found out we made it.

Prodigy: After being discovered on YouTube by our
choreographer, Dave Scott flew from Philadelphia to audition, then a week
later Ray Ray auditioned at midnight and he made it. Once we were all together during our
development Walter Millsap and our writer Goldie Hampton developed the sound for
our music. Walter set up meetings with Vincent Herbert at Streamline and other labels to
showcase us. Vincent Herbert signed us to Streamline Records. Finally Kenneth Crear
and Troy Carter joined our management team and here we are…

R: Tell us about your forthcoming album “#1 Girl.”

Princeton: We’re really excited about the album coming out it’s full of songs that we
think not just kids but adults will be able to relate to as well. We sat with the head of our
production company Walter Millsap, and our writer Goldie and told them some things
we’ve all experienced at school and with girls, and they turned our experiences into to
great songs like “MY Girl”, and “Ms. Right, and “#1 Girl.”

R: What is your favorite song from the album?

Princeton: “MY Girl”
Roc Royal: “My Girl” and “First Crush”
Ray Ray: “My Girl”
Prodigy: “My Girl” and “Ms. Right”

R: Tell us about your song “My Girl.”

Ray Ray: “MY GIRL” is about always wanting to text and communicate with that special
girl. It’s a fun song that’s great to dance to and also that we think everyone will relate too.
Our writer Goldie wrote that song for us after we sat down to tell her about some of our
real life experiences.

R: What is it like touring with Justin Bieber?’

Prodigy: Touring with Justin Bieber was very fun. We had a good time and we learned a
lot. The fans were amazing and the shows went great. Shout out to Scooter Braun and JB
for letting us share this great experience.

R: If you could work with or tour with anyone, who would that be?

Prodigy: I’d love to tour with Usher or Justin Timberlake.

Princeton: I agree with Prodigy. Willow Smith would be awesome to tour with too.

R: What singers and bands do you listen too?

Prodigy: I listen to a lot of singers; right now I’m listening to a lot of Michael Jackson,
Usher, Chris Brown, and Rihanna.

Princeton: I’m listening to the Beatles, Usher, Prince, and Michael Jackson.

Ray Ray: I’m listening to Drake, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and Kanye West

Roc Royal: I just discovered TLC so I’ve been listening to a lot of their old records,
Michael Jackson, Drake, and Nicki Minaj.

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

Roc Royal: I love animals, I love to play football, and my favorite cartoon is Little Bill,
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I use to dream of being a zoologist…(laughs)

Prodigy: I love fiction/fantasy movies, I love to eat, and I use to be afraid of water but
am proud to say I recently learned to swim. I have a weakness for sugar, and my favorite
subject is Science.

Ray Ray: I love amusement parks, I have a fear of elevators, tacos are my favorite food, I
love to draw portraits, and I studied ballet for two years in Middle school.

Princeton: I love to clean and organize things, I collect Disney classics, I have a
Yorkshire Terrier named Beans, I won my 1st grade talent show performing a Justin
Timberlake song, and my favorite color is green.

Mindless Behavior

Mindless Behavior

Picture credit: Meeno

R: Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

Princeton: I’d have to say my Mom because she pushed me to follow my dreams, and I
can’t thank her enough.

Prodigy: Michael Jackson is a big influence for me; I aspire to be a great as he was. My
parents are a big influence because they’ve supported me, and always give me good
advice.

Roc Royal: My Mom always stresses the importance of getting a good education and
working hard so she’s been a big influence for me.

Ray Ray: My mom, because I’ve watched her work so hard to take care of me and my
sisters and brother, and she constantly tells me to be better than her.

R: What are some of your future goals?

Princeton: Some of our future goals are to definitely still be together making great music
as Mindless Behavior. We’d like to win all the awards, like Grammy’s, and VMA’s…

Ray Ray: We’d also like to get into acting very soon, so hopefully in the near future we’ll
have a couple of movies under our belt.

Prodigy: I see us touring all over the world and giving the fans a great show.

Roc Royal: We’re also working on the Mindless Behavior exclusive clothing line

R: Do you have any charities that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them?

Roc Royal: I don’t have any specifically yet, but I definitely want to get involved with a
charity that helps to protect stray animals and preserve animals who are endangered.

Ray Ray: I’m interested in helping preserve arts and music education for kids in school.

R: What has been your favorite memory so far?

Princeton: Favorite memory so far meeting Johnny Depp in Miami on the JB tour, He’s
my absolute favorite actor.

Ray Ray: Our first trip to New York, when we were auditioning for record labels. It was
the first time I had ever been on a plane.

Roc Royal: Favorite memory was performing for the first time in front of 20,000 people
at the Pop Con. It was our very first show I’ll never forget that.

Prodigy: Meeting Will Smith, he’s so awesome.

R: What is the best advice you have ever gotten and by who?

Ray Ray: The best advice we’ve gotten so far came from Will Smith, he told us that
our job is to create lasting memories for our fans, and that everything we do becomes a
memory for someone. I was like wow that’s true! He’s really smart.

Princeton: He also said to enjoy every moment, and make sure were having fun.

R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to become a singer?

Princeton: I would say that you should be passionate about your goals and practice
everyday, and continue to work hard even when you reach your goal. Try to get involved
in talent shows in your area and gain as much experience as you can. Study other great
artist that you admire.

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

Princeton: People have asked me am I wearing a wig, that’s pretty strange… (laughs)

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their
addresses? Do you have an official website?

Roc Royal: Yes you can visit us as www. Mindlessbehavior.com where you’ll be able to
connect directly to our twitter, facebok, Youtube, and Myspace. You’ll also get constant

updates on things happening with Mindless Behavior.

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

Ray Ray: Thank you for talking with us this was fun! And to all the Mindless Fans out
there get ready for more tours, new music and videos and we’ll definitely be coming to a
city near you so come out and hang with us 1-4-3 Keep it Mindless! And don’t forget to
call your local radio stations and request our new single “ MY GIRL” See ya’ PEACE!

R: Mindless Behavior, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

Chit Chatting with 14 year old Mountain Climber Jordan Romero

Chit Chatting with 14 year old Mountain Climber Jordan Romero

Written by: Jill Sheets

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

Picture credit: Karen Lundgren

Recently, Relate got to interview 14 year old mountain climber, Jordan Romero. Jordan
has climbed Mount Everest, and he is currently working on finishing climbing the “Seven
Summits” by climbing Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica. Continue to read on and learn
more about Jordan and about his goal of climbing the “Seven Summits.”

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

J: I am 14 years old and live in Big Bear Lake, CA. I attend Big Bear High School this
year as a freshman. I love the outdoors, skiing, wake boarding, paddle boarding, hiking
and biking. I love jumping on trampolines too! I have a little sister, Makaela and I love
hanging out with my friends, doing fun things!

R: How did you come up with the idea of climbing the “Seven Summits?”

J: I came up with the idea of climbing the Seven Summits when I was 9 years old. There
was mural of them on the wall of my school. I would walk by every day and study it! I
started learning as much as I could about them.

R: What were your parent’s reactions when you told them that you wanted to climb
the “Seven Summits?”

J: My parents’ reactions were positive. My dad had no idea I even knew what the Seven
Summits were. They told me we better start training! My mom and dad began taking me
on hikes here in our local mountains.

R: What was the first mountain you climbed? How old were you?

J: The first mountain I climbed was Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I had just turned 10 years
old.

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

Picture credit: Karen Lundgren

R: What other mountains have you climbed? Where were they?

J: The other mountains I have climbed are Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Mt. Kosioscko in
Australia, Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, Mt. McKinley/Denali in Alaska, Mt. Carstenz
Pyramid in Indonesia…..also locally, Mt. Whitney in California and Mt. Rainier in
Washington.

R: When did you decide that you wanted to climb Mount Everest?

J: I decided I wanted to climb Mt. Everest when I decided to climb the Seven Summits!
You can’t climb them all without including it!

R: Climbing Mount Everest can not be cheap. How did you come up with the money?

J: No, climbing Everest was not cheap. My parents are not wealthy, so we had to do a
lot of fundraising, selling T-Shirts, taco fundraisers, going to trade shows and talking to
sponsors. It is a lot of work!

R: How old where you when you climbed the mountain?

J: I climbed Mt. Everest when I was 13 years old.

R: How did you prepare yourself to climb Mount Everest?

J: I prepared myself for Everest by learning everything I could about the mountain,
routes, weather and gear. All of the training from the other mountains helped too. I read
everything I could get my hands on, books of other people’s experiences, and talking to
other people who had made successful attempts.

R: You slept for three years in an “altitude simulator.” Could you explain what that is?
How hard was that sleeping that way?

J: I sleep in a hypoxic tent in the weeks leading up to the bigger climbs. It just starts
getting my body used to what it will experience at higher altitudes. So, I don’t sleep in it
all the time, but I do live and exercise at 7,000 in Big Bear!

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

Picture credit: Karen Lundgren

R: How long did it take to climb the mountain?

J: It took 2 months for the entire expedition. Most of the time is preparing for the
climb. We had to get to Kapthmandu to meet with our sherpa guides and organize
our gear. We then had to drive to Base Camp. From there we spent weeks stocking
our camps with supplies and oxygen, and acclimatizing while waiting for the weather
window to open up. Once it opened we were up and back in 3 days.

R: What was the hardest thing about climbing Mount Everest?

J: The hardest part of climbing Mt. Everest was being away from home, the altitude and
having to do homework while I was there!

R: What surprised you about climbing Mount Everest?

J: What surprised me most about Everest was how cold it was! I mean, I knew it was
going to be cold but…..much colder than I anticipated!

R: Who was with you when you clubbed the mountain?

J: I summited with my dad, Paul Romero, his girlfriend Karen Lundgren and our three
Sherpa guides.

R: What is it like to be the youngest person to climb Mount Everest?

J: I am crazy being the youngest person to climb Everest. I am proud of my
accomplishments. I wasn’t prepared for all of the media attention that would come from
it. I am glad to be back home, going to school and hanging out with my friends again.

R: What do your friends think about your climbing the “Seven summits?”

J: My friends know what I am doing, and they think it is cool. The best part is that it
doesn’t matter much when all of us are just hanging around having fun.

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

Picture credit: Karen Lundgren

R: How did you deal with the criticism about climbing the mountain and that you were
too young to do it?

J: I don’t worry about people’s criticism. There will always be people who find a way to
see things negatively. The people who know me and love me support me in my goals and
know I can do it, that’s all that matters to me.

R: Out of all the mountains you have climb, which one has been your favorite and why?

J: Mt. Everest was my favorite. The hardest, but my favorite. I really got to know the
mountain well going back and forth between the camps while we were stocking them and
acclimatizing. Other mountains, we just went up and down. This one, due to the nature
of the climb, we spent a lot of time there.

R: Tell us about the book that Katherine Blanc wrote about you “The Boy Who Conquer
Everest.”

J: The book by Katherine Blanc is a great! It tells the story of climbing all of the
mountains and what went into it! Everest was the highlight, but the other parts leading
up to that successful climb are just as important. It was designed for kids, but adults love
it too!

R: Where can people get the book?

J: People can get the book anywhere! It first was available at the Book and Bean here
in our home town of Big Bear. Now you can find it at Target, Amazon and Barnes and
Noble too!

R: What is the best advice you have ever gotten and by who?

J: The best advice I have ever gotten was from Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa. He is the speed
record holder for Everest. He had a lot to share about climbing the mountain and just life
in general.

R: What advice would you give teenagers?

J: I would tell teenagers to Find Your Everest and Climb It! I would tell anyone that
actually. I know not everyone wants to or can climb Mt. Everest and that is okay. What

I would like people do is set goals for themselves and then work toward reaching them,
like I did, one step at a time.

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

Picture credit: Karen Lundgren

R: What are your future goals?

J: My future goals include getting through high school, and going to college. I have so
many interests; it is hard to pick just one thing I would like to do! First, I am going to
finish my Seven Summits goal this winter by climbing Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica,
after that I can focus more on my next big goal.

R: Do you have an official website? Are you on any social networking sites? If so, what
are their addresses?

J: My official website is www.jordanromero.com. I am also on Facebook! Team Jordan
on Everest!

R: Is there anything else you would like to add?

J: Just want people to get out there, find their own Everest and climb it!

R: Jordan, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

jordan, Relate Magazine, Relatemag.com

Picture credit: Karen Lundgren

Chit Chatting with Author & Chess player Daniel Naroditsky

Chit Chatting with Author & Chess player Daniel Naroditsky

Written by Jill Sheets

daniel with board[1]

Image credit: Vlad Naroditsky

Recently we got to interview 14 year old author and chess player Daniel Naroditsky. His new book “Mastering Positional Chess” is now out.

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

D: I’m 14 and live in Northern California. I go to school full time at Crystal Springs Uplands School

R: At what age did you start to play chess?

D: I started playing chess when I was about 6 and a half years old.

R: How did you get started playing chess?

D: My brother, who himself is a very avid chess player, decided to teach me the rules of the game. Since he liked chess, he thought that I might enjoy the game as well.

R: What drew you to the game of chess?

D: I found that in chess, there are endless possibilities and practically no luck. In games such as Monopoly, everything depends on luck – in chess, you control all of your decisions.

R: How many hours do you practice a day?

D: I practice about 2 hours on a school day, and 3-4 hours on a weekend day.

playing chess w smile[1]Picture credit: Vlad Naroditsky

R: Tell us about being a member of the All-American Chess Team.

D: It’s great to be a member of an elite circle of young and aspiring players – I feel that being on the team really brings together players with talent and a lot of work ethic.

R: How do you handle the pressure of tournaments and traveling?

D: At first, traveling to a tournament with many strong players was very nervous. However, as I played in more and more tournaments and grew stronger, the feeling of anxiety during a game and a tournament in general left me. All in all, I play chess for enjoyment.

R: You have traveled to may places. Do you get to go out and see some of the sites? What has been your favorite place so far?

D: Usually, I am too concentrated on the tournament itself too see many sites. However, I really enjoy being in other countries. My favorite place so far was the Czech Republic. I played in the Pardubice Chess Festival in 2008 and I really enjoyed the tournament. I also loved visiting Prague after the event.

R: What do your friends think about you being a published author at 14?

D: They’re very excited that I wrote a book.

R: Tell us about your book “Mastering Positional Chess.” How long did it take you to write from start to finish?

D: I started the handwritten version of what was later to become this book at about age ten. At first, I simply collected notes on my own games. As the amount of material grew, I realized that I could actually format the informal manuscript and make it into a real book. It took me about two years put the book together and edit it.

chess simul[1]Picture credit: Vlad Naroditsky

R: Why did you decide to write the book? How did you come up with the idea for it?

D: I felt that there were weaknesses in my play that were simply not going away. I read many other books by strong, experienced players, but I still did not get rid of my weaknesses. I decided to simply analyze some of my own mistakes and write my analyses into a notebook. Eventually, the notes grew into an informal manuscript.

R: Where can people buy your book?

D: They can buy the book on Amazon, Newinchess.com (The publisher’s website), or Alexander Bookstore in San Francisco. You can also purchase it on the Barnes and Noble website.

R: Tell us about being an ambassador for scholastic chess in the United States?

D: It’s an honor to be representing a country that otherwise is not chess-oriented. I feel that the All-American team really inspires everyday kids to take up chess.

R: What has been you most memorable moment so far?

D: Winning the World Youth Chess Championship in Antalya, Turkey, in 2007. The success was a huge bolster and propelled me forward. It also showed me that if you put in a lot of work into studying, then you will almost always have a big success.

R: What do you like to do when you are not playing chess?

D: I like reading, writing, watching and playing basketball, and other board games.

Daniel [1]

Picture credit: Vlad Naroditsky

R: What do you think about the future of chess?

D: I think that chess will be developed further and further. Already, the US has introduced chess into many schools Other countries, I am sure, will follow in their footsteps. Also, many more sponsors have turned their attention to chess prodigies and talents, and now organizing a tournament is not as difficult as it used to be.

R: What are some of your future goals?

D: I really want to become a grandmaster, no matter at what age.

R: What advice would you give someone who wanted to start playing chess?

D: First of all, never give up when you lose your first game. I’ve seen many players get extremely upset at their first loss and forget about chess. Second, it’s a good idea to have a coach. That way, you will move up the novice ranks very quickly

R: Do you have a website? If so, what is the address?

D: Yes – www.danielnaroditsky.com

R: Is there anything else you would like to add?

D: To anyone who is an aspiring player, I would like to wish the best of luck in their future chess career.

R: Daniel, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.