Fighting the Good Fight – trending this week is Naima Mora and chasing your dreams, from Kathryn’s desk…Former America’s Next Top Model winner (Cycle 4 – Season 1) and co-founder of the band Galaxy of Tar Naima Mora is a rock star in more than one way. It’s a term for someone “far exceeding the norm.” And she does. Unequivocally.
Mora exudes model behavior and coincidently, her book being released this June 2012 by Possibility Publishing happens to be titled exactly that. Not that she is a perfect person; our short journey on this planet is all about making mistakes. What sets the successful apart is learning how to correct behaviors that cause mistakes until the ‘oops’ become strong suites rather than stumbling blocks.
If we are chasing dreams (and Naima is a beautiful example of a dream chaser) the first thing we learn is that we will not succeed at every first attempt; we learn we must try to succeed until we do. Our goals and dreams are first thoughts, and then if we are brave enough, we verbalize them. Unless we are willing to do something about it, they will not happen. And I don’t mean merely do. I mean fight the good fight until we achieve our well-earned success. But of course, if you are like Naima, you don’t stop there to bask in the light of your achievement – you say check and move on to the next dream.
Fighting the good fight (or model behavior if you ask Naima) is mastering some difficult concepts such as self-discipline, focus, accountability, hard work, and a willingness to try-try again until getting it right. It is having a clean healthy mind and body that equally exudes exemplarily character – such as being honest (with ourselves and others), having integrity, compassion and empathy for those we cross paths with, and an iron clad strong work ethic.
Naima is all of this and more. What more you ask? Well, … she is a rock star!!
Recently I asked her about this new dream she has achieved – since I mainly know her as a model, author, and incredibly kind, forthright, intelligent young women. She answered my questions with her usual enthusiasm and charm. I think you will find what she has to say enlightening and refreshing, proving once again how those who have the guts to do give the rest of us the courage to at least try.
K – I know you are in a band called Galaxy of Tar. Who came up with this name and what does it mean?
N – The name Galaxy of Tar was inspired by a play. Elias Diaz V., who I started the band with, actually came up with the name. In the play there are two protagonists that are trying desperately to reach the land of Tar – a place where everything is beautiful and all their problems in life will be solved. However, en route to Tar the pair destroys themselves because of their own dark issues, which causes them to tragically sabotage their own happiness and forfeit their chances of reaching Tar.
K – Almost as if the music then is a metaphor for the struggles and angst associated with the pursuit of the dream journey. What type of music is it, and what is your personal and family musical background?
N – Galaxy Of Tar is a rock band. I’ve always loved aggressive music and the emotional depth it causes within your heart and soul. Our music reflects that emotional depth and is alive with a pulse and energy that is very specific to what Elias and I write together. It has this dark dissonance and odd chord progressions that are brought together with the harmonies and melodies I write for the vocals. I love the music we create. I can definitely see the influence of my family in it. My parents are both Jazz musicians and have always exposed me to world music. And one of my older sisters is a singer as well. She really introduced me to more electronic and industrial music- all of which I can hear reflected in my own musical esthetic. We often mix typical Jazz chords with ‘electronic effect’ driven vocals on top of the jazz chords to create our sound.
K – I don’t know a lot about jazz chords and ‘electronic effect’ driven vocals, but what I do know is that the music Galaxy of Tar creates does indeed resonate emotionally with ones inner self. You can’t listen to a performance without being spiritually moved in an unconventional but meaningful way. The sincerity of their music strikes a chord in most of us – a chord worth seeking out and exploring. I define it as raw, positive energy. When did you first realize you wanted to sing in a band?
N – Oh I have always wanted to be in a band! Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to sing in one – just like my mom. It always seemed like it would be a really great and fun experience, which has proven to be true. But I always felt this dream was too far off and too difficult to accomplish. Elias and I had been really good friends for years when one day he took notice of my voice. He asked me if I wanted to try writing lyrics and vocal melodies for some of his music. We tried it out (combining our creative efforts) and I loved it! So I have been taking it step-by-step ever since – and finally surmounted what had seemed to be an impossible little dream. I take my craft very seriously and put 150% of myself into it.
K – 150% is a key element to your high success rate and also a major message in your upcoming book. This type of commitment has obviously helped you turn your newest dream into reality! Who was in the band initially and what instruments do they play?
N – Elias and I started the band. Elias writes most of the music and his main instrument is the Drum Set. Elias is a very talented musician and I have been super fortunate to be able to work with him. He plays guitar and bass as well. All of these instruments stimulate his creative thought process, which allows him to write and record music. I sing of course and write the lyrics, and vocal melodies. We were working with a guitarist and bassist previously in New York. Having relocated to Los Angeles however, we are reforming our line up. It’s exciting and I am looking forward to hearing how other musicians will influence the sound we are developing.
K – What’s the inspiration for the music Galaxy of Tar chooses to write and/or perform?
N – Oh, we listen to EVERYTHING! And we take a little from each to put into our music. We learn a lot and grow from listening to and being inspired by music from all over the world. I always want to write what I will enjoy listening to over and over again. So I listen to music that captivates me, whether it be classical, rock, Salsa or Taiko Drumming. I determine why it so captivating and that inspires me to explore all the parts of my creativity. Normally when we start working on an album, I work in themes. For our first record, I wrote a lot of love stories talking about different types of love. They spoke of destructive love, and godly love. One was of a man who fell in love with the machines he invented and so on. From there I turned them into song lyrics.
K – What have you recorded so far and have you marketed any of your music?
N – With Galaxy Of Tar we recorded and released our first album EP in 2010. That one is called “PNEUMA” and it is available at http://galaxyoftar.bandcamp.com. In 2011 we recorded and released a three song EP of some cover that we wanted to do. We recorded songs that we really liked and were inspired by. “The Covers EP” is also available at our band campsite. Right now we are writing our second album and it will be available late this year!
K – What is it you enjoy most about working with Galaxy of Tar?
N – I love everything about it, but most of all I love the challenge. Elias and I want to write music that we love listening to and that is challenging for us to play and perform. If you stay in your safety zone, it’s hard to grow. A lot of times Elias presents me with a very strange musical outline for a song. It forces me to have to think out of the box to actually be able to write lyrics and melodies for it. But when it syncs, it’s amazing!
N – We are releasing our second album later this year (2012). We really want to establish our music on the west coast and tour a lot! We also are looking towards working with local LA based artists in order to create some stunning visuals and stories around our music. The west coast has a thriving visual arts scene and I am very excited about incorporating that into our music.
K – Besides writing, modeling and music, what other goals do you wish to pursue, or are already pursuing?
N – I really want to build good community ties and help with the local neighborhood clean-up initiative where I live in LA. It’s my goal to encourage people to live clean and healthy, and to recognize that they don’t have to live in the most expensive neighborhoods or cities to do so.
And there you have it – model behavior in a nutshell.
Naima’s book Naima Model Behavior will be available for sale June 10, 2012 through Possibility Publishing in a digital, multi-media edition, online at leading online retailers (Amazon Kindle and iTunes). Her new blog of the same name – a place for fans and readers to get regular updates on Naima’s music, speaking engagements and more, and inspiration and news from some of Naima’s leading personal development and lifestyle favorites – will be up soon!