Sharing my world last week wasn’t easy, but now the gates are open I’m ready to roll.
Thank you to everyone who read my first American Dreamin’ column, especially those that left a comment. My aim is to document this crazy, age-old immigrant journey of mine and thus directly (and positively) effect my peers going through the same thing. What a humbling experience it all is!
Despite currently waking up every morning frustrated my new O-1B visa paperwork is still yet to be filed, this is a productive time for me. The visa delay is due to the issues I outlined last week: in my state of career confusion late last year, I left things too late. It took me some time to even decide the O-1B visa is the best option for me, and now I wince at how easy the E3 visa process is in comparison (if you’re Australian with a relevant degree and a job offer in the US, you’re good to go on the E3). Of course getting that job offer isn’t so simple but for me it kinda was, due to the time I’d spent building my relationship with DrJays.com when I edited Urban Hitz magazine and of course, being completely honest with them about my dreams to live in America. The O-1B visa has a crazy amount of requirements to prove the applicant has “extraordinary ability” in their creative field, and because I was in a mad rush to do just that, I recently had to work around the clock to get everything together. A letter of employment plus recommendation letters, awards, certificates, proof I’m part of relevant organizations (such as Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network) and even documentation from advisory groups I co-created in Sydney back when I was a teenager, like the incredible INDENT (huge thanks to the current staff there, who searched far and wide for my files from over 10 years ago!). Let’s not even get started on finding the right immigration lawyer to actually put everything together and most importantly, guide you where you need it. I wasted over a month waiting on one who completely ignored my urgent cries for help and then I was referred to the lovely Susan B. Henner, whom I highly recommend. Right now Susan and I are waiting on the DrJays.com team to sign some final paperwork, then we’ll be ready to start the application process.
In the meantime, I’ve been given the green light to put together a posterbook of hip-hop and R&B artists for the Australian and New Zealand market. Yes, just like I did back in 2003 with the very first issue of Urban Hitz (and later special issues, like the one below from 2008):
With a new name and feel, we’re looking for the magazine to go on-sale in May. Shout out to my old publishing buddy Nick Cutler (CEO of Custom Made Media Australia) for helping me realize this vision once again. Back in the day I had to practically beg the record labels in Australia to chase up images of hip-hop and R&B talent for me; they had no idea (and sadly, probably still don’t) who the majority of artists were. Now I thankfully have incredibly strong relationships with their US counterparts and am able to ask them to assist me (which they do, immediately).
But nothing excites me more right now than getting back to radio. I was blessed with an opportunity to prove myself with no prior experience on Hip Hop Nation/SiriusXM and almost two years later, the station’s Program Director Reggie Hawkins and my “Invasion Radio” main man DJ Green Lantern are still rocking with me. For the past week, I’ve been doing voice lessons with the lovely Deborah Bauer of Voice Artistry here in Sydney, learning about breathing, pronunciation, delivery and more. I’m feeling more confident than ever to get back to New York and get this husky, West Sydney-bred voice on-air again.
The journey continues.
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