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Interview with a Street Artist: KAZ, the Jazz Beatboxer

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I don’t usually take the F train, but last week when I did I ran into something pretty interesting.  I heard a pretty sick beat over my headphones and assumed someone was playing some loud hiphop.  While waiting for the train at the 2nd ave stop, I pulled out my earbuds to catch the climax of the beat which was clearly progressing towards a drop.  When it did I couldn’t help but to dance a little and jam out to this incredibly unique beat.  When I turned to look for the source of the music I was surprised to find not a recording, or a DJ, or a rapper, but an edgy asian dude with nothing but a mike and an amp.  His name is KAZ (Kazuo Saito) and he’s a pretty killer jazz beatboxer.  After some lite Facebook stalking I reached out to him and asked about his life as a beatbox performer in the subways of New York.  Here’s what he had to say:

How’d you get into beatboxing?

I started at age 15.  At the time I was living in Tokyo.  I saw a band called Phiew Phiew Live.  I had never seen anything like them before.  They inspired me to learn.  I spent the next two years developing the skill.  Now I consider my skills to be just like an instrument, I can basically take the place of a drummer in a band.  When I’m not performing in the subways I’m a beatboxing member of a jazz band.  It’s the Danny Walsh Band, you should check it out.

What made you become a street artist in New York?

Unlike Tokyo, New York is very open minded to different types of music and art.  They are open to fusion.  In Japan if you like rock, then you buy the ticket to the rock show.  That’s it.  Different tastes and genres in music don’t really mix as much as they do here.  Also, Japan doesn’t have a tipping culture, so street performance isn’t as common in Tokyo.  You wouldn’t make any money if you did it.

Is performing in the subways decent money?

Yeah, honestly on a weekend night I make over $200.

What’s your favorite stop to perform at?

I think I like West 4th the best.

What kind of problems do you run into down there while you’re performing?

Well street performers are actually supposed to have MUNY permit (Musicians under New York).  I don’t have one, so sometime’s I’ll be shooed away by police but often they are nice and let me stay.  Drunk people at night can also be annoying.  Sometimes the homeless will come up to my audience members as they are trying to tip me and I’d have to ask them to stop.  Some time’s I’d pay them a part of my tip to make them stop.

How did you end up mixing jazz and beatboxing?

Unlike most beatboxers I am a musician just like anyone else with an instrument.  I can join a band no different than if I were playing a set of drums.  I’m drawn to jazz because it has more flow.  I perform every week at Matt’s Grill with the Danny Walsh Band (link to his badass jazz set).

What would your advice be to anyone who would want to learn beatboxing?

Start by trying to imitate everyday sounds.  Try mimicking the sound of a squeaking door, or a motorcycle driving by.  Also try to isolate each sound and understand the motion of your mouth that relates to creating it, and then repeat them in practice as training.  YouTube also helps, of course.

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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Why Amazon’s Second Headquarters Should Choose Northern Virginia

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Amazon’s second headquarters

Among the top 20 shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, Northern, Virginia is not a stranger to the massive tech company. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have frequently conducted business in the region. Bezos is known to own The Washington Post and Amazon’s cloud service AWS is situated in a huge data center in the northern Virginia region. It is no surprise that Northern, VA is listed on the list. This region proved to be a safe home for Bezos’ businesses, it would only make sense that Northern, VA is the next home for HQ2.

While the nation waits for the announcements of Amazon’s second headquarters, speculations rise as Amazon employees crowd ARLnow.com. The local news-source for Arlington Virginia have reported major traffic from an internal Amazon site. The article reporting the county’s green building council had received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 visitors from an Amazon web page that is only visible to Amazon employees. Amazon’s interest in the community’s dedication to sustainability is predicted to help the company’s future development of a sustainable building of their own.

The area is surrounded by copious international airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Richmond International Airport for Amazon’s consideration  of transportation. The bid for Amazon had reports of the Hub property as a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters. This 85-acre undeveloped location is near the Dulles Airport, perfect for Amazon’s demands.

Amazon’s second headquarters

Amazon announced that they are developing a second headquarter of up to 8 million square feet in order to accommodate 50,000 workers. The plan to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs to the new location will create billions of dollars in investment for the community. This opportunity for economic expansion does not come often, but neither does a perfect business location in Northern Virginia that is close to Bezos’ other businesses.

A possible site for Amazon’s second headquarters is on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties along Metro’s Silver Line. “We are very excited that Northern Virginia is included on the short list as a potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters,” spoke the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova. “Fairfax and Loudoun counties are able to offer a great quality of life coupled with an innovative and business friendly culture for future Amazon corporate neighbors and employees. With our highly educated and talented workforce and a location close to Dulles International Airport and a new Silver Line train station, we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome Amazon HQ2 to Virginia.”

Small businesses and agencies within Virginia are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Virginia.

If you are an agency from Virginia, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Why The Second Amazon Headquarters Should Choose Toronto

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Second Amazon Headquarters

Amazon is considering their first international city for their second Amazon headquarters. The bids for HQ2 have reached Mexican regions too but the tech company have their eyes on Toronto. Prior to this announcement, Toronto has been established as a major technology center. Their advancement will only grow from here, perhaps even more when Amazon arrives.

The city reported that they are not offering Amazon much financial incentives, but is offering a 100-acre land as a potential site for their second Amazon headquarters that is approximately close to downtown Toronto. Although this site is outside of the United States border, Toronto is the best option for the innovative company.

The mayor of Toronto, John Troy expressed how proud he was of the city when Toronto attracted Amazon without offering significant tax breaks. Toronto does not have to resort to selling themselves for the second Amazon headquarters, unlike other competitors on the top 20 shortlist. Toronto is already home to a significant Google engineering operation, a major artificial research center and quantum computing institute. Due to the massive influence in technology, there are plans to direct Toronto’s waterfront into a massive tech-city for the near future. This environment will foster Amazon and future companies moving to Toronto.

 Second Amazon Headquarters

The second Amazon headquarters require proximity to a metropolitan area with a large population for employment, mass transit, an area that is 45 minutes from an international airport, and an 8-million-square-foot facility that will eventually expand to 740,000 square metres over the next decade. Toronto would be an ideal location to attract talent from overseas. This move will put Amazon’s name outside of the United States and begin their serious international affairs. North America acknowledged the massive tech company’s capability when Jeff Bezos was announced as the richest man alive in 2017. After Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dethrones Bill Gates, the entrepreneur should look to invest in talent from overseas. This plan can start with a move to Toronto for the second Amazon headquarters.

Toronto holds a strong quality of life. Canada is notorious for their free healthcare, something that the United States is lacking. The affordable area is attractive to employees. “We’re excited to have this opportunity and to be able to tell Toronto’s unique story,” told John Troy. “There is no other place in North America that can boast the same talent, the same quality of life, the same vibrancy, the same economic strength.”

Small businesses and agencies within Toronto are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Toronto.

If you are an agency from Toronto, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Why The Second Amazon Headquarters Should Choose Raleigh

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Raleigh, North Carolina has been in the spotlight ever since they were listed on the top 20 short-list for the second Amazon headquarters. North Carolina’s capital city is currently competing against 19 other cities for HQ2. Although this was an unexpected city to reach the list, Raleigh is one of the few that makes sense. Raleigh is also definitely the city that Amazon should choose.

The bid for the second Amazon headquarters from Raleigh, North Carolina have been kept private currently, while other cities have publicly announced the billion dollar tax break to Amazon if they were picked. Raleigh is the only city that does not need to buy their way to Amazon’s heart like Newark’s $7 billion financial incentives. 

Raleigh is often scored first for best quality of life due to the thriving tech community. The monthly median house price is $1,051 with an average commute time of 26 minutes. This offer is not detected anywhere in New York, New York. Additionally, the weather of North Carolina is the ideal condition for transportation and living. Traffic is often not heavy, as compared to other cities on the top 20 shortlist. The area is simply a comfortable region to expand and conduct business nationally.

The city already accommodates tech companies like Citrix and Red Hat. The region is not new to working with tech, even to one as massive as Amazon. Possible sites include the Wake, Durham, and Chatham counties for the second Amazon headquarters if they are chosen. Second Amazon Headquarters

Amazon’s arrival will grow the job market and expand the city’s economy through technology advancement. Even if Amazon does not pick Raleigh, the city is rapidly expanding already. “Raleigh is a thriving community that would be attractive for any business, large or small,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. “We are proud of the investments and partnerships we’ve made that enhance our many attributes, such as our world-class university system, well-trained workforce, diverse economy, strong infrastructure and emerging entrepreneurial spirit.”

The absolute advantage that Amazon has is the potential tax reimbursement for up to 100% of the new jobs created for the next 25 years. The second Amazon headquarters would be given about $50 million for infrastructure in rail access, water, and more. Additionally, the tech company could be qualified for another program called the One North Carolina Fund for $5,000 per year in the next 5 years.

Small businesses and agencies within Raleigh are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. Many advocate for Amazon to choose Raleigh and they even share what the community has to offer. 

“The thought of Amazon potentially bringing 50,000 new jobs to The Triangle excites me. The Triangle is always on the US best places to live list. It has a wealth of restaurants, great schools including three colleges, and great accessibility from all of the US. I think the installation of this type of business would have an even greater effect across the community as other companies would then also be attracted by the area”. -Neil Boyd of Neil Boyd Photography INC.  This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Raleigh.

If you are an agency from Raleigh, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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