March 3, 2017

5 Lessons of Angie Martinez's Book "My Voice"

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If you grew up in the New York area in the '90s then you probably heard of Angie Martinez. She is the "voice of New York" heading a radio show at Hot 97 for nearly 20 years. Now she's at Power 105.1. Secretly I wanted a job like hers. She seemed to have fun, she was in the thrall of the hip hop scene getting invited to their birthday parties, getting the first listen to their music. I would have loved to been surrounded by all those talented, artistic people. She got to interview Tupac! But as we all know when we grow up that while jobs on the surface may seem fun they are actually lots of hard work.

Reading her book I now I value her ability to make her interviewees comfortable. Especially in the hip hop industry where egos run high. Angie was always able to make them relax and open up. It seems so effortless from an outsider but now I truly see what a gift it is. Angie stays humble throughout the book even though she's accomplished so much. Some lessons I took away from her memoir, "My Voice":

1. Speak up for yourself. She spoke to a time when she was just starting out at the station and there was an incident where she made a quick decision that she felt was right. Her boss called her in and was talking in an accusatory tone with her and she said let me explain my side and thinking. The boss was able to see her point of view and understood that Angie made the best decision given the circumstances. Her boss later told her she appreciated that Angie stood up for herself. That took her far at the station.

2. "If you respected your audience and put them on your level, they'd get it." Which actually came from Tupac but she took with her throughout her career. In 1996, Angie got to fly out to Los Angeles to interview Tupac Shakur during the height of the East Coast/West Coast rivalry. She discusses the conversation they had and then discusses the loss of both Tupac and Biggie. Still amazing that she was able to do that as such a young host and such a tumultuous time.

3. You show up and you go for it all the way. Angie talks a lot about being a shy, quiet person and being in situations she'd never dare to be in like recording an album. She always approached it in this in one life and you never know if you'll be here again so dive in.

"Sometimes you have to get past the fears and insecurities that may actually hold you back from being great or from truly experiencing something the way it was meant to be experienced."

4. Respect your temple (aka your body). She talks about the grind and always pushing herself. One time she collapsed. It was an eye opener that everyone has their limits. You have to take care yourself. Another time she fell asleep behind the wheel of her car and thankfully only crashed into a parked car without receiving any major injuries. Everyone can respect your hustle but if you don't care of yourself then your body will let you know.

5. Noise is noise. It can be good and bad but know that it will pass. This came up a lot during her chapter about the incoming new hip hop station Power 105.1 in New York as Hot 97 was the only one in town for many years. It also came up about rap beefs. People can get really distracted by the noise but Angie says she learned to stay focus on the goal. "I always try to get quiet and stay focused on whatever matters most in the long run."

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