Tag Archives Cliché Interview

A Chat with Mary Kate Wiles – Her Path to Digital Fame

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Actress, producer, and creative Mary Kate Wiles is no stranger to digital fame. Over the past decade Wiles has been featured in a number of successful web series. Wiles stared in the groundbreaking Emmy award winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012), Squaresville (2012), and now Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye (2020). Additionally, Wiles is a member of “Shipwrecked Comedy”, a Los Angeles based comedy production group. And, gifted with a divine voice for storytelling, Wiles produces a Podcast series, Anne of Green Gables, that features the classic tales of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Wiles does it all – but she knows all too well the hustle it takes to make it as an actress. In this interview, she discusses her background in english literature, her beauty routine, what she wishes she knew earlier, and how Quibi quickly failed to follow YouTube as a web series platform.

Q. Which of your characters do you most relate to? Do you take roles where the character is a lot like you, or do you prefer characters that are very different from you?

A. Oh wow. Well, in the past few years I feel like I’ve gotten used to playing characters that are very stylized – characters who have a very distinct voice, or accent, or way of carrying themselves which is very different from mine, and that’s made playing characters that are closer to me – like Artemis in Wayward Guide, who is fairly like me in voice and mannerisms – a lot more uncomfortable in some ways. I’ve found I have to trust myself and my instincts more when I don’t have a super character-y character to hide behind. But as far as which of my characters I relate to most, probably Zelda from Squaresville. She’s a teen and she just so desperately wants to get out of her town and do something big with her life, and that was very much me when I was a teen as well. She also holds everyone around her to an impossibly high standard, and I am kind of guilty of that, too. 

Q. How did your formal education at USC prepare you for your acting endeavors? Do you think it is a path more aspiring actors / actresses should consider?

A. I definitely wouldn’t change it – my time at USC was invaluable just in terms of the growing and learning and practicing my craft (as silly as that sounds) that I did. I do wish I had learned more about the actual business of acting – the day-to-day real life things you experience as an actor. Getting representation, working side jobs, doing taxes – all that. I didn’t really learn any of that in school and I think I would have benefited a lot if I had been able to learn those things ahead of time rather than spend the first few years of my career figuring them out on my own. But I think college is hugely important and I am glad I went to USC – I had a blast and I made connections with other alumni and professors that will last a lifetime. And I also studied English Literature and in a lot of ways I think that helped me become a better actor just as much as acting classes did. 

Q. Is there something that you know now that you wish you knew earlier in your acting career?

A. A lot of things, haha. Like I hinted at before, I wish someone had walked me through the whole process with agents and managers. I’m so, so happy with my agent now, but I spent a lot of time with agents who weren’t really doing anything for me and I didn’t realize that I could demand better from them. I wish I had had that confidence.

Q. Who has been the biggest motivator of your acting career?

A. This is sooooo cheesy, but…me. You can’t keep doing this career if you don’t get up every single day and want it. And there have been a lot of times for me that were really, really difficult. But at the end of the day, I keep going, because there’s nothing else I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of support around me and I’m so thankful. My dad is a creative soul and I think he’s proud of me for embarking on this as a career. My mom took a little more time to warm up to the idea, but now she’s very supportive. And for the past (nearly) seven years my partner Sean has supported me and I have supported him, and we get a lot of joy out of helping each other succeed. But yeah, when it all comes down to it, it’s up to you. You’re the one who has to want it the most.  

Q. What is your beauty routine? What are the products that you cannot live without?

A. Oooh. Well, I love makeup and I always have. I used to experiment with a ton of looks, but now I’ve kind of settled into a routine. I’m a big fan of L’Oreal True Match foundation.  I love Maybelline’s Age Rewind Concealer, and I always always always have to fill in my brows with a Rimmel brow pencil, because my hair is naturally blonde and my eyebrows are too. I’m constantly trying out different skin products, but CeraVe moisturizer has been my best friend recently.

As for my beauty routine, if I have to see people I will put on a full face of makeup. I always have – my features are very light and I feel like I disappear without makeup. If I’m in a hurry I whittle it down to just concealer, eyebrow pencil, mascara and lip balm. But most days I do the whole thing. It’s also, like, part of my routine – listening to the news while I put makeup on, getting ready for my day. I also do masks a couple times a week and steam my face at home. Trying to use this at-home time during the pandemic to nurture my skin as much as possible!

Q. In your new Podcast, Anne of Green Gables, you read the classic tales of Lucy Maud Montgomery. How did you come up with the idea to start this podcast? 

A. Yeah! Well, this idea was born out of my Patreon – I have a Patreon (and have had for over six years), which is a way that people who like my work can support me as an actor and also become a part of my community. Since I’m not a writer and it’s very hard to creating “acting” work in a vaccuum without other filmmaking artists, it’s been a challenge for me to figure out what sort of thing I can offer as a perk. Musicians can write songs; artists can draw – there’s only so many monologues one can do. So, considering that a lot of the work I’ve done has been based on classic literature – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party – I started to think about that and realized that I could read a book, and bring in other actor friends to read the different characters, and add sound effects, etc. And classic literature is in the public domain so it’s all fair game. My patrons actually voted on Anne of Green Gables – I gave them a few different books to choose from – and I’m so glad they did. It’s been such a fun project and I’ve so enjoyed experiencing the story again in this way. 

Q. The Lizzie Bennet DiariesSquaresville, and Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye have garnered lots of views. How do you think YouTube has evolved as a format for episodic TV?

A. You know, when Quibi was announced it kept being advertised as “quick bites” and this revolutionary way of storytelling, myself and all the digital creators I know just had to roll our eyes because, come on. We’ve been doing this for YEARS. The internet has made our attention spans very short! And I think digital storytellers have found ways of telling some truly compelling narratives over a series of short episodes. That said, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is actually the longest adaptation of Pride & Prejudice ever made at over eight hours long – but told over many, many five minute episodes. I think it’s clear that digital storytelling is having an impact and traditional networks are starting to realize and try and copy this format. My only hope is that they would – instead of trying to do it themselves – start hiring some of these YouTube writers/creators that have been making content in the digital space for the past ten years, because we understand it. We’ve proved it over and over again – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries won an Emmy, for goodness sakes! Felicia Day, like, pioneered webseries with The Guild! And she recently tweeted that Quibi wouldn’t even take a meeting with her. I just thought that was the stupidest thing. Lots of cool and engaging stories are being told via YouTube series and I hope traditional networks – or digital networks like Amazon and Netflix – will take more notice. 

Q. In these different YouTube projects that you have been a part of, how much creative control were you given? Was the creative process fluid or traditional? 

A. I mean, it’s a case by case basis, but I have found that no matter the project, if I have a good relationship with the director/writer/creator, it just inherently becomes collaborative. I took that a step further with Shipwrecked Comedy when I came on as a producer for Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party – and have gone on to produce many projects with them. But even with projects that I wasn’t producing on, like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I think when you’re all in the trenches together creating low-budget narratives, it just can’t help but become collaborative. Or maybe it is for me because I care so much, haha. I may be just an actor, but I want to do everything I can to help make the project the best it can be. And I have wonderful collaborative creator friends who are kind enough to let me chime in every now and again.

Q. You’ve tackled Theater, YouTube series, Podcasts, Production; what would you like to do next? 

A. Oh man. Well, I wouldn’t say no to more steady TV work. And I’ve really loved recording the podcast for Wayward Guide – I’d love to do more VO/audio acting in the future. And Shipwrecked has a lot of big ideas for big budget series – I hope we get to make them someday. 

Q. Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about? Where should we look forward to seeing you?

A. We haven’t announced what it is yet, but Shipwrecked had plans to do another big multi-episode series this year, but of course the pandemic put that on hold. But we’re still planning on crowdfunding in early 2021 and hopefully will be able to shoot and start releasing next year as well. It’ll be a return to our roots in some ways, but also something new and completely different than anything we’ve done before, and I’m very excited about it. Other than that, I’ll be continuing to release Anne of Green Gables episodes for the foreseeable future. And just waiting for the next big adventure! 

Be sure to check out Mary Kate’s Instagram, YouTube, and Webpage to keep up with her ongoing and upcoming projects! 

Read more at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Christopher Higgins and Eric Carroll

 

Irina Proskurina on Her Journey in the Modeling World

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Irina Proskurina is a wildly successful international model turned author, founder of the UMMA bot, and CEO of Forma Model. Born in Stavropol, Russia, Irina first came to the United States when she was 19; she has since worked her way to the top and become a very successful businesswoman. She now uses her wealth of experience to educate aspiring models on how to make it as a model in the United States and to encourage them to never give up on their dreams. We had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Irina Proskurina and ask her a few burning questions about her journey.

How did you get into modeling?

I am from the small town of Stavropol in Russia. There, when I was a student, they asked if I wanted to work as a model at an exhibition. I agreed and earned money from it which was a lot for a student back then. All I had to do was just stand there and smile. I realized that this is how you can earn money. I made a portfolio with a local photographer and flew to New York on a J1 visa for a student exchange program and got a job in a kindergarten. At the same time, I went to auditions and looked for an agency and jobs.

Did you receive any advice or have a role model when you first began modeling? 

I knew that there are supermodels like Claudia Schiefer and Naomi Campbell, but I thought these were unattainable peaks. Unfortunately, I didn’t get advice from anyone, so I lost a lot of time on unnecessary people and projects. I would have appreciated even time when I was just starting out to have gotten advice such as I now give to novice models.

What is your favorite thing about your career?

I do what I love and I get paid for it. I get to meet famous people. Each new shoot or show is a new team of creative people. As a result, you get beautiful photos and videos. What else can you dream of!

What is the most rewarding part of your career?

I am always aware of the most fashionable trends since my profession obliges me to look well-groomed and beautiful. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it.

Did you ever want to be anything else or did you always want to model?

Yes, I had a plan B. I graduated from the Faculty of Journalism in Russia. I also received an MBA in New York. I worked in finance for three years, but this was not for me at all. So, I started my own agency and went back to fashion.

Did you ever think about giving up when you began modeling or were you always committed?

Yes, there were such thoughts. When I wasn’t booking jobs and being denied, these thoughts came more often. But what you need to understand is that they refuse you not because you look like that, but because at the moment they are looking for a different type. So, I always tell novice models to never give up.

What inspired you to create the UMMA bot?

First of all, the bot determines your model type. People assume that a model is a tall and thin person. But this is not so. There are more than 30 different types in modeling. There is plus size and children and hair models and adult models and much more. Therefore, before giving up and abandoning your dream, you need to determine your type and just contact the right agency that deals specifically with your type.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Reading. I read a lot, I can read two books at once. As soon as I finish I start a new one. Well, just this year my book, “How to Become a Model in America” was published.

What is next for you?

Now, I have decided to launch my agency’s franchise. I want it to be in many cities. So that every person who wants to become a model has such an opportunity.

How has Covid-19 impacted your current/future plans?

I myself was ill myself in March. And of course it was impossible to arrange any photo sessions. So, I launched an online course. Anyone can take it, there are 30 lessons and more speakers. I am very pleased with this project.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Irina Proskurina and learned more about the modeling industry.

Read more celebrity articles at ClicheMag.com
Images provided by Photographer: Lisa Pavlova Make Up Artist: Kate Yuzefovich and modelnews.com

Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist

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Eliana Alexander is a veteran of the entertainment industry for over 30 years. She has shared her talents in both the English and Latin markets in series such as The Bold and The Beautiful and Desire as well as Telemundo hits such as La Ley del Silencio and Sin Verguenza. Recently she starred alongside fellow acting veterans Luis Guzman and Sir Ben Kingsley in an EPIX series titled  Perpetual Grace LTD, which critics have called exhilarating and infectious. 

Beyond her work as an actress, Eliana maintains a secondary career as an incredible novelist.  Her first book, titled The Neighbor, was released in 2012. She recently announced the first installment of an adventure/sci-fi book series called Tilt. The stories are set to follow two teens, Blane and Jake, who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes the duo on exciting and dangerous new possibilities and times whilst learning about the worlds within themselves.  The first book was newly released on August 8th

I had a chance to speak with the actress and novelist about her extensive list of talents, Perpetual Grace LTD, and her newly released novel. Check out our Q&A below: 

Clichė: As a veteran in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, what is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned? 

Eliana: To stay on my game. Stay in shape and skilled and very focus in order to keep working. 

What do you find most fulfilling in acting? 

Being able to breathe life into a character and to immerse myself in this new way of being as the character. To [be] a part of a story that unfolds right before peoples’ eyes. [And] to collaborate and be a part of a vast puzzle with lots of angles. Being a part of a tapestry that has a lot of threads that will unravel or come together. Once a project is done, being a part of a team that created something together is pure joy! 

Prior to your acting character, you started off as a singer as well as teaching dance and musical theater. Your passion seems to be tied to the arts. Why do you think you have such a love for music, acting, dancing, and theater? Where do you think it comes from? 

I have always been exposed to music and arts while traveling. Music was always playing in our house. I was raised overseas in South and Central America where I was exposed to a lot of cultures. I think the music and the arts of each country helped weave a beautiful pattern in my life. The unique sounds and rhythms of each country resonated in my heart. When I was young I wanted to be a doctor but the universe had other plans for me. I kept getting pulled into the arts and learning a lot. Even when I began teaching dance and musical theater at Dupree’s dance academy, I continued to evolve as an artist and spiritual human being. Music and arts open our minds to go to another place. Music and arts touch our souls and raise our spirits. Music and stories are something that will always pull people in. Even as [the] audience, it gives us a chance to be a part of someone’s imagination for a little while. 

You star alongside an all-star cast in a new series titled Perpetual Grace LTD on EPIX. Your co-star Sir Ben Kingsley has described the series as a “10-hour movie.” What can audiences expect? 

I am incredibly fortunate to be on a series with a stellar cast. The writing is magnificent and the cinematography is exquisite. Steven Conrad and Bruce Terris did a great job as they blend the modern noir feel with a western touch. As the story unravels they intertwine the characters beautifully. I love it because it is edgy, gritty and at times it will jolt you, wake you up with the unexpected. I truly feel that people are ready for something like this. 

You play Marisol Contreras in the series who is the wife of Hector (Luis Guzman). How does she fit into the story? What was it like working with Luis and the other actors on set? 

Marisol Contreras who is the wife of Hector Contreras who is the town sheriff in Hermosillo, Mexico. She is a mom of two very smart teen boys Emile and Mathias and she is very proactive in their lives. My TV sons are played by Alonso Alvarez who plays Emile and Calvin Benuto who plays Mathias and they are magnificent. Marisol truly values a strong family unit. You see her changing when she begins to discover that something is going on with Hector, yet she doesn’t know what. Throughout the series you see her step up for her family. On working with Sir Ben and Luiz, it is great. They are very different. Sir Ben is very focused throughout the day and when working with just the family, the boys and Luis, Luis is funny and keeps the cast and crew laughing. I mean it when I say I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing project! 

What drew you to the character of Marisol Contreras? 

What drew me is her strength and how she becomes a warrior and not a victim. She does go through a lot and yet she still values her family and works at keeping them together. 

Perpetual Grace was filmed in New Mexico. What was it like filming there? Any memorable stories from the set? 

I love Santa Fe, New Mexico! You can feel the energy of the land and everyone is kind and open. The mountains and the sunsets are formidable. Even though Santa Fe is a small town it has everything; culture and arts and lots of history. While there I learned that Santa Fe was established in 1610 and that Santa Fe is the third oldest city in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, and Jamestown, Virginia are older. It is always great when we can see new states and really learn about them; a huge added gift to my career! 

 

Along with this new series on EPIX, you also have a book releasing on August 8th, titled Tilt. What can you tell our readers about the book series? 

I am very excited about this novel. TILT is an action/adventure sci-fi novel series, TILT: Magic Ei8hts follows Blane and Jake, two teens who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes them on adventures to exciting and dangerous new worlds and times. Blane and Jake learn a great deal about themselves while learning about the Universe and eras. These teens are super savvy with technology yet when they travel back in time, they have to learn how to exist in a world with bare minimum necessities and no technology. TILT: Magic Ei8hts is the first book in the series. I am already in the midst of writing TILT: The Red Moon and I am looking forward to the readers getting their hands on that as well! 

You released your first novel ‘The Neighbor’ in 2012. What has your career as a novelist taught you? Now that you’re a storyteller yourself, do you read scripts differently? 

I started writing scripts for TV and film. The beauty of writing a novel is that you can expand and color. While adapting the script to novel form on “The Neighbor,” I got to expand the characters with more description. That vast colors of description allows readers to glide right into your imagination. As a writer/author, I am always learning about everything while I do research. That is what I love, that I continue to learn about many things as I am in the throes of research when writing a book. My mind is always expanding and I absolutely enjoy that. 

What is your writing process like? Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you deal with writer’s block? 

I love to write in the morning very early, we are talking 5:00 AM! The morning is quiet and the world hasn’t really started. I get an idea and my mind takes off. The idea comes with concept and characters and off I go. I will write for about three hours, take a break and come back to my desk for another two. Many times I want to keep going yet my day begins and my career has to keep going, so the book or scripts wait until the next morning. I wake up excited to bring life to the story and characters. I have so many ideas and concepts that I have a body of work to keep me busy for a very long time. I am blessed that I have an active imagination for it truly keeps me going. 

What do you hope your readers get when they pick up a novel of yours? 

I am in great hopes that they take a chance and they lose themselves into their imagination through my stories. Also that they go into another place. I would love for them to connect with the characters. Especially on “TILT: Magic Eights” I would love for them to root for Blane and Jake as they travel throughout this journey. Also from the worlds and dimensions the characters visit, to see how our world is affected by how we live. In TILT, the characters learn a lot about the planet and themselves and really evolve. While reading any one of my novels, I am hoping that the readers also experience a sense of evolvement on their own. To me, there are messages in the stories so we can all get something. 

 Who is your biggest inspiration as a writer? 

Too many to choose for I have many writers that I like and I really feel every novelist has at one point inspired me. To list only a few, one of my favorites, of course, being Shakespeare, the classic way of speaking and the stories hit my heart. Another book that to this day blew me away is “Memoirs of a Geisha” written by Arthur Golden about a fictional geisha working in Kyoto, Japan, before and during World War II. The way he wrote and the details in the story pulled me in to where I truly lost myself while I was reading that book. I loved it and I did not want it to end. 

Another great book that has crossed my path is “Fast Ball” author Anthony C. Tripari. It’s a fictional novel about the Boston mafia and is intertwined with an Italian family: the Panarellis. The book starts in the nineteen fifties, a time when families were bound together by their heritage. I was recommended to Mr. Tripari by a friend to adapt his novel into a film script. Once I read this magnificent book that pulled me in right away, I shared with Mr. Tripari that it has beautiful treasures throughout the book and that it would play better as a mini-series. He agreed and hence became the beginning of a great relationship. Mr. Tripari has now three books that are great, of course, they are the sequels “Butchie” and “Vendetta.” I can’t say who just yet, but several actors from the famed TV series “The Sopranos” have expressed an interest. Fingers crossed! 

When you’re not acting or writing amazing novels, what do you like to do on your downtime? 

I always love spending time with my family, my husband John Nikitin and my amazing dog Bosco. We spend time going on hikes and long walks. Being by the beach, it is easy to want to be outside enjoying the day. John and I enjoy home time yet we occasionally have dinner watching the sunset at several of our beach community restaurants. We enjoy working out, one to stay in shape, yet it is fun especially while taking dance classes or even Jazzercise with Dwain and Marie at our Beach City Jazzercise community. We love supporting our local beach community. At home, we read and also dig into some streaming and binge on TV series. 

 I’ve read that you are an avid animal rights supporter. What organizations do you support and what drew you to the cause of animal rights? 

I am a huge animal lover. I believe in caring for these beautiful souls. They need our voice and that is why I appreciate and support Sea Shepherd. Captain Paul Watson and his crew risk their lives supporting the sea life, especially whales and dolphins. We need to care about our oceans and they really help us learn and understand how to do that. I support PETA and appreciate how Ingrid and her team strive to better the lives of all animals. I am a proud vegan. Even in my nutrition, I support animals and in addition, I get to stay very healthy. 

I just want to add that I am grateful and honored to be interviewed by Cliché Magazine!

 

 

You can follow the latest on Eliana on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Read more Entertainment News at Cliché Magazine

Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist: Featured Image: Courtesy of Melina Kelly / Shandrew PR

Will Deely Interview

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Imagine it’s a cool midwest summer night and all your friends have gathered around a bonfire for some drinks and s’mores, and Will Deely is the guitarist in the corner playing heartfelt songs. I mean that in the kind of way that you remember those moments for the rest of your life. We’ve all been there. Deely is a soft-spoken artist out of Columbus, Ohio, who has toured and played with national artists such as City Lights, Spencer Sutherland, and Carter Winter. His influences include John Mayer and New Found Glory, which you can hear all over his music. On August 7, he released his first solo EP under Third String Records, and now, he is here to discuss the premiere of the music video for his newest single “Souvenir.”
Cliché: How did you get your start playing around your state?
Will Deely: I started playing in bands back when I was only 10 or 11 years old. I think my first show ever was playing my fifth grade talent show in front of my whole school. I thought it was awesome! In the years after that, I just wanted to play anywhere that would allow me to make noise with my guitar. Whether it was a basement, pizza shop, coffee shop, or restaurants, you name it, I played it. It wasn’t till high school that I started to make my way into the Columbus music scene, which ended up opening some doors for me.
The music video for “Souvenir” opens with some classic American imagery—a muscle car with an eight ball gear change, sunsets over the boardwalk, etc. The music, too, seems so relatable. Were you aiming to stylize the music video to be that way as well? Who did you work with to make your vision for this video come together?The video for “Souvenir” is something I’m still very excited about! I worked with Zach Frankart and his incredibly talented crew of filmmakers collectively known as Film Cartel LA and shot with them for two whole days out in Ventura, California. I felt that out of the five songs on my EP, “Souvenir” was the best song to have a video for since the lyrics vividly tell a story from start to finish. From there, it was just all Zach. A week after sending him the song, he sent my manager and I an email with his idea for the video and we fell in love instantly. From the locations he scouted to how he set up each shot, it just really worked with the song and brought it to life. He really hit it out of the park.
Who is the woman in the music video?
Her name is Mikaela. She’s a model from Ventura that someone in Zach’s crew thought would be a good fit for the video and they were definitely right. She killed it!
I heard you sat on this song for two years. What made this song so hard for you to put together and complete?
I just didn’t have the whole story yet. I wrote up to about the first chorus before running out of things to write about. I hit a dead end and it was the most frustrating thing because I loved what the song was up to that point.
I kept trying to force parts into it, but it sounded exactly like that—forced. Then two years went by and it’s the winter leading up to the time I booked in the studio to record my EP, and I’m fumbling around through some other half written songs, and I kinda stumbled back across that verse. Then it just instantly flowed. It just felt like I needed the rest of the story to actually happen before I could tell it.
The last verse suggests the woman in question is playing games with you, while you’re pretty dead set on her. Does this story have a happy ending?
The song is about when I first started talking to my current girlfriend, so I’d say the story ends the best way it could!
What’s the biggest thing you learned from touring with City Lights?
Playing in City Lights was such a great opportunity for me. It gave me my first opportunity to tour, which was something I had always wanted to do. The rest of the guys definitely taught me the ins and outs of living on the road in a van with five other guys. I learned quickly that there was so much more to it than just showing up and playing guitar. Touring in a van definitely isn’t the most glamorous thing, but I made so many great friends and had a blast doing so.
Do you have a tour in the works?
Nothing that I can speak on just yet, but I can assure you that will change soon!
Watch the video below.

Read more Music Interviews on ClicheMag.com
Will Deely Interview: Photographs courtesy of Mathew George