Valentini Argyropoulou is a Greek accessories and footwear designer living between London and Athens and travelling the world. During her undergraduate studies, she won the “Special Award for creativity and technical skills” at the Athens New Designers Fashion Week. A year later she partnered with fashion designer Maria Tagalou, creating footwear for her show in Athens Fashion Week 2012.
In 2015, Valentini launched her own footwear brand, recognisable for its use of colour. Staying true to her roots, past collections have been inspired by the Ancient Greek Civilisation, both artistically and technically, applying age-long methodologies and techniques in the construction process that can be traced back in history.
Hermann Lammers Meyer is a country music artist who was born in Germany in 1952. He grew up listening to country music and has been song writing and performing all over Europe since 1973.
1. Tell us a bit about your background and how you became a country music artist?
I grew up in the small city of Aschendorf in North Germany, next to the Dutch border. My parents owned a channel ship, and so it was easy to understand that they made me become a ship broker as a young man. I became infected by the country music that we heard via the American Forces Radio and I started to write my first original song ‘The Trucker’ under the table of my ship brokers work desk. At this point I had already hitchhiked the whole of the USA, sponsored by my Grandmother. I visited the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville enjoying George Jones and Johnny Cash at that time! Read More
Emily is an editor, blogger and a massive fan of the outdoors. She has recently launched her new website britcrowd.com, which explores Britain from a unique perspective and offers plenty of lifestyle and travel ideas.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to start your new blog The Brit Crowd?
I spent the past ten years of my career working as a journalist and producer for the BBC before deciding to go it alone and try some new things. I’ve always been the entrepreneurial type and felt that now was the perfect time to try something new!
One of the new projects is The Brit Crowd – I’ve always loved the British outdoors (my favourite hobbies include running, riding and travelling) and it dawned on me late last year that there really isn’t a dedicated website or blog to seeing a more unique side to Britain – the unusual festivals, the fabulous accommodation and the incredible cities and countryside. So I decided to set up the Brit Crowd for Brits as well as tourists around the world to see why this country is just so fantastic and well worth a visit! Read More
Originally from Kansas but raised in Arizona (which he considers his life long home), country music artist Dave Insley relocated to Austin, Texas with his family ten years ago. Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers have a weekly residence at The White Horse Saloon in Austin and play to a packed crowd every week.
Dave has recently released his fourth album ‘Just the way that I am’ to rave reviews.
Insley has a great voice, I mean who doesn’t love a full, rich country baritone, but it’s his perfectly understated, never in your face, conversational style that makes him so effortlessly engaging. John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music.
1. What has been the highlight of your musical career?
Redd Volkaert brought me a gift of a dozen farm-fresh eggs, in order to offer his congratulations, when we had the release party for ‘Just The Way That I Am’ a few weeks ago, confiding that some of the eggs were “just laid this morning”.
Earl Poole Ball played my request ‘Busted’ on the piano in my living room a while back.
These are just 2 of the many, many inspiring and talented artists I’ve had opportunity to work with, and become friends with in recent years. The highlight of my musical career has been the opportunity to know and work with such an amazing array of talented people.
Dave Insley by Valerie Fremin Photography
2. Where do you find inspiration for your song writing?
I’m inspired by the big AND the little things in life, everyday things, relationships, narratives I’m experiencing firsthand (or imagining). I am motivated by the feeling of catharsis that I get from getting it all off my chest.
3. Which song from the album ‘Just the way that I am‘ means the most to you and why?
‘We’re All Here Together Because of You‘ is the heart of the album. It’s a song that tells the story of my life together with my wife and all of our children, stepchildren and godchildren.
This is a dead, solid perfect modern honky tonk record that’ll keep the party going out in the parking lot well after the last call. Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap.
4. Do you ever get nervous before you go on stage?
I had stage fright sometimes when I was just getting started maybe, but not anymore – not for years and years. In fact sometimes the stage is the only place I really feel comfortable and relaxed.
Dave Insley by Valerie Fremin Photography
5. What piece of advice can you give to aspiring country music artists?
Hang in there and persevere! Stick to your guns and be true to your own vision, no matter who criticises. Be kind to the people you meet, and do not be full of yourself, ever! Come to think of it, this is the same advice that I would give to my children, or any person, regardless of whether or not they’re artists.
And just for fun…
6. Who is your favourite music artist (dead or alive)?
The one I admired the most, we just lost – Merle Haggard.
7. Pick a film title for the story of your life…
That’s easy, ‘Just Call Me Lonesome’.
8. You have the chance to time travel to any gig or concert that has ever taken place – which one would it be?
The one that got away for me was the Alpha Band opening for Commander Cody in Phoenix, at the Celebrity Theatre back in 1977. I was 16 years old and my mom wouldn’t let me go. Cody was at the height of his powers just then, and I was equally fascinated with the Alpha Band (T Bone Burnett, Steven Soles, and David Mansfield). I not sure I ever forgave my mom, and I always regretted missing this show!
9. What is your favourite Western movie?
That’s a tough question, because I LOVE westerns. I’m going to call it a 3-way tie between ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’, ‘The Ox Bow Incident’ and ‘Unforgiven’.
10. Tell us something that will surprise us?
I needed a challenge to occupy my idle hours (when I’m not busy being an artist, dad and husband) so I decided to go to law school; I just finished my 2nd year.
Dave’s album ‘Just the way that I am‘ is available on iTunes.