Hello everyone! I got the chance to sit and chat with Leon better known as Orangeismedia! He is a creative soul full of many talents! He is a photographer, videographer, poet, and founder of the #1 open mic in Orlando #RespectTheMic. Be sure to check out the interview and what he had to say!
Me: With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with this evening?
Leon: Well you have the pleasure of speaking with Leon E. Orange Jr. Or you can call me Orangeismedia! A couple of people call me that.
Me: Leon can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Leon: I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I spent nine years in the military. I did three years in active duty in Fort Drummond, NY. I came down here because I had a passion for the arts and music. I never wanted it to be just one thing. I had a bunch of things I wanted it to be and do. Just coming down to Florida I felt like it was the best place for me to do it. You have Full Sail University with a bunch of aspiring film makers, music guys, and painters. I found home! I’ve been here for the past eight years.
Me: So that’s what brought you to Orlando?
Leon: That’s what brought me here fa sho!
Leon: Now with the open mic there were open mics and things going on in Orlando because it is such a diverse melting pot of different cultures already. I just remembered being back home being in coffee shops and having poetry gigs. I didn’t really see that here in Orlando. So I figured I could ask someone else to do it or I could create it myself. So that’s what I did. I had a passion and a goal to start my own open mic and about 15 people showed up to the first show. Now three years later we get over 100 people every week every Tuesday, EVERY Tuesday! So just imagine how that is 3 years going.
Me: Wow! I notice on your flyer you have a featured artist every week, how do you go about choosing your featured artist? How do you go about planning your show? Is it routine?
Leon: It’s defenitely routine and consistency. I always feel like consistency is the key to success. As far as my features go I always have a plethora of artists performing each night. It’s poets, emcees, singers, comedians, etc. So out of those people whoever stands out is who I ask to to come and be a feature on a different day. I got a lot to choose from with about 15 to 20 people every week.
Me: What inspires you as a creative?
Leon: What inspires me is people. People inspire me because they can go to school and work and make albums and rap. It’s people that are damn near homeless and paint like Picasso. Those type of things inspire me. So I feel like if they are able to create on the levels that they are then I would be wasting my God given talent to not try to help foster those things or create myself.
Leon: I felt like giving up often but I look at it as a barrier to push myself thru to get to the next level. There has been times when everybody hasn’t gravitated to things that I’ve done. What I’ve always maintained to do is to try to stay consistent never compete with anybody, and never set goals or expectations on many people. I literally do what I do and whoever wants to follow suit will follow suit. They will always be able to trust what I’m doing because I continue to stay consistent.
Me: So you just continue to stick with it no matter what?
Leon: Mo matter what. No matter how cool or popular it is I’m going to do me and enough people will gravitate to it.
Me: I agree with that. Kinda like what I’m doing. Whoever likes it will like it or whatever and I’m going to keep doing it. What other projects are you working on besides your open mic?
Leon: I’m shooting music videos and photo shoots every other week. Im stretching my limits as far as my photography with levatation photography and trick videos. I’m doing all these different things. My next big venture I’m excited to do is start another open mic and it will be Respect the Mic presents the “Cypher”. It will have a different host every month. My goal is to break the poetry scene down. Right now the show is an actual show with a band. It can kinda be intimidating to poets just writing in a notebook or jotting some lines down in their phone that don’t feel confident in performing in front of a lot of people. So what I’m doing is simultaneously building leaders. Every month I will pick a new host. I will choose people that are interested that have never hosted before. So that will help with building leaders then on the flip side the people that are performing will get honest, positive critiques on their poems. This will help them become better performers. I’m trying to strengthen poets and potential leaders in terms of the hosting community.
Me: I think that’s a good idea to get people comfortable up there and sharing their word. Where do you see yourself in the future about 3 years from now?
Leon: Ok cool..See a lot people always ask me where do I see myself in the distance or what’s next for me and I always tell them exactly what I’m doing now.
Me: So you see yourself like what your doing currently instead of ahead? Cause with me I kinda go with how I feel so I don’t really know where I will be. Is that how you are?
Leon: No! I’m exactly going to be doing THIS and it’s going to be the same thing 3,5, and 10 years from now. I’m going to stay consistent at what I do and add things on to it over time. At the end of the day consistency is the key.
Me: So are you following your passion? If so how did you know?
Leon: Yes! I knew I was following my passion when I felt like I made it. A lot of people want to be rich and I feel like I’m rich already. I’m kinda just living off the fruits of my labor. Once I felt that satisfaction I knew I made it and it’s all I ever wanted to do.
Me: And that is so good because you are successful in your own sense and your happy with what your doing. A lot of people don’t have that.
Me: Is there any advice that you would like to give to future creatives?
Leon: For future creatives I would say find what it is that gets you up in the morning and consistently do that. Don’t worry about how many people come to your shows, listen to your music, or how anybody gravitates to what you do! You focus on you and making yourself better. In any sense when you keep the focus on you, the people will come.
Me: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Leon: Check out my open mic every Tuesday at Cafe Annie’s in Orlando, FL. Holla at me and talk to me…connect with me. I’m a very personable person.
Me: Thank you Leon (Orangeismedia) I’m very happy that you took the time to speak with me.
Leon: Thank you!
To connect with Orangeismedia you can find him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and www.orangeismedia.com