"You are Always a Work of Art" / Chatting Inspiration & Mood with Alessandro Valente

I came across Alessandro while stepping out of a store in London. When I heard his music, I chose to stop my autopilot of going from point A to point B and appreciate that moment.  After we connected, I looked through his Instagram profile and a caption stayed with me: 

“WHEN PEOPLE STOP BY AND SHARE A MOMENT OF THEIR LIVES WITH ME AND MY MUSIC, ALL THE NOISES OF THE STREET FADE OUT, DISAPPEAR FOR A SECOND, AND WE CAN FOCUS ON THE PRESENT. TOGETHER”.

Alessandro valente

How often do you catch yourself focusing on the moment like that… And how often are you on auto-pilot?

“My overall message is to pay attention to what surrounds you. People, buildings, nature, the sky...

I play music on the streets and it's interesting to observe people and notice how they look around: the stressed ones look at the pavement, others look at the sky and take it all in... In fact, when you look at the sky, your problems are nothing. Even if you think your problems are covering you, the sky covers your problems! 

When I play, I focus on those who stare at me to connect over my music rather than just see me, because they are in the present.  

I reached a turning point two years ago after quitting my studies in Italy to come here, focus on music and discover my artistic self. 

After having had a rough patch, I started to see life as a roller coaster. Imagine you run in a field and fall in a black hole: you have to discover what's around you in the dark and find the tools to climb back up. 

It doesn't mean you can never fall in another hole again, it's a continuum, but at least you have the tools.

Since happiness is beautiful but not constant, you need those flows to appreciate it through contrasts, and for me as a writer, to have something to write about. 

I want my music to reflect that. I also see it as a sort of meditation because when I play, I tend to be elsewhere, in another state of mind, focused on the performance, attuned. 

I originally challenged myself to perform on the streets because I was afraid of people’s opinions, so I decided to play every day until I’d stop caring. I noticed that the more confident I was playing the exact same songs, the more successful I would be. That’s why I think looking inward is so important for an artist.

Alessandro

Another beautiful thing I attach to music is its connection with nature. My guitar is a piece of wood, so from my perspective, I am playing a tree and the tree is playing me! It’s a relationship. Everything is musical in nature, it’s doing sounds. Birds are singing, workers on the streets, we just have to listen.   

When we met, I was playing “Winter is coming” which will be my first release from an EP called "O", that is about the flow of seasons and how it mirrors the circle of life.  This song is about taking action and "climbing up the hole" or in other words, facing mountains. 

What inspires me is the way I chose to react to pain and find my ways out and I translate it into emotions. This perspective is what defines my lyrics in general and the reason I write about positive things.
If you truly pay attention at the beauty that surrounds you, you can chose to see art everywhere, anywhere, within others and within you.

Hélène ClabecqComment
Don't Fit the Mold / Interviewing a "Yellow Jacket"
gilet jaune

I was in Paris this week, and obviously, as a Journalist specialized in portraits of game-changers and rule-breakers, I ought to attend a yellow-jacket march.

As I was walking down Montmartre, I spotted a group of them, looking for the rest of the regiment. 

We made acquaintance:

“Be careful, walking around with your camera... Some of the YJ hate Journalists'“ they said, while handing me some artificial tears in case I’d get gassed.

“At the Champs Elysees last week, we saw some of them got beaten up and get their cameras crushed. It’s no laughing matter.

To be honest, we don’t trust the mass media anymore, they lie too much. So Journalists get stigmatized.

For instance, BFM TV claimed we were “1500” last week. Look at the pictures on my phone. This is ridiculous. They make the movement look smaller than it is, because they are scared.

I know you are an alternative media, but just beware.” 

Next, I asked him what he had against the government:

“We are cash cows to them. Constantly taxed.

For instance, my dad has worked for 40 years and keeps paying loads of taxes.

We go on holidays, and when we return, we notice the government has voted new laws in the meantime, or added more taxes.

The solution? I think that Macron should listen to people and ask us for our opinion. Let the people vote. And implement a real Liberty - Equality - Fraternity”.

I asked what triggered his willingness to revolt.

“Well, I’ve been in the army for 15 years and over there, I realized we were mere pawns of the State, formatted.

Selling weaponry, destroying countries, building them back and watching citizens suffer.

After the army, I worked in the Antarctic Ocean for a year, surrounded by penguins and sea elephants.

So when I got back to France, after being so connected to nature and animals, I got a slap in my face.

We are destroying the world. I see politicians and lobbies place money before anything else. That’s hypocrisy. I am scared for my children. Which is also why I am marching today. I questioned myself a lot. And the capitalistic system. I don’t want them to tell me one day “What have you done? How could you leave us a planet like this and not fight?!”.

I know it’s not easy, we work all day, we go home… But my message to people is: take a step back and analyze what is going on. Don’t fit the mold.”




Hélène ClabecqComment
"Love is in the Air" - Interviewing a Hot Air Balloon Pilot in Cappadocia
Helene Cappadocia
 

During my last trip to Turkey, I headed to Cappadocia with a girlfriend to watch one of the most beautiful sceneries that exist… To witness hundreds of hot air ballon rides at sunrise. After this magical experience, she introduced me to her air balloon pilot, Erdal.

“I love my job. I’ve done this for 5 years and havent complained a single time. Not a single time have I though: “I don’t want to go to work today”. I dreamed to fly and the fact that I get to experience that on a daily basis makes me speechless. Also, bringing smiles onto people’s faces gives me energy… Most ladies even cry of happiness.

I’ve understood that it doesn’t matter how much you charge, whatever you do, put your heart into it. Working a low-paid job that you love means more than having a high-salary and being stressed because you hate what you do.

Chiefs can cook the same meal with the same ingredients, but the flavor will be different depending on wether they cook with love.

Cappadocia balloon story

I get it. Money should be the number one priority for a business. However, the way I handle mine is as follows: first safety, then making people happy, then money (if I deserve it). I was a florist before and had the same feeling - I went the extra mile to create this wow sensation in people’s eyes. That gave me the feeling I was successful and should keep going.

Now as a pilot, yes, people pay me for my service, but in return they get something that they cannot touch, taste or smell. Yes, it’s partly visual. Still, they FEEL it in their bones. It’s an experience.

They will enjoy the scenery either way, for sure. I want to enhance that through connection. Tourists come from their country for something specific, they have a dream, they want to be happy, escape their daily stress and pressure, relax…

So I love to create emotional switches, to make them forget about their problems and let go of their fears. Fear of height is psychological. They are nervous at the beginning, so I say that the name of the balloon is “Titanic” and start playing the music, they laugh and we drop the pressure instantly.

Then once up in the air, I ask them: “Are you happy? If not, I can open the floors for you!” Those little changes of emotions make them more present in the moment. I am not giving them a fancy car or a house, I am sharing an experience that creates genuine happiness.”

hot air ballon turkey

As I place my hand close to my face, Erdal notices the butterfly tattoos on my wrist. “Interesting, a butterfly. This symbolizes that life is short. I remind myself of this constantly. My silver lining happened in 2005, after a break-up because I was selfish.

It taught me to always try to be nice and express my love with others. Everybody knows how much they love but never how much they are loved.

Therefore, I’ve designed the enveloppes of my air balloons with smiley faces with heart-eyes and I’m currently designing one that says on it “Love is in the air”.”

Love is not a person. It just is there. Inside of you. It’s in the air all around us. And anyone can feel it too, once they switch their perspective."

air balloon story
Hélène ClabecqComment
"This Shit is Real" - Uncovering Numerology with my Uber driver
interview jumal lewis numerology
People’s two biggest fear are being alone, and wasting their time doing a career they hate
— Jumal Lewis

I met Jumal on my way to an interview, he was my Uber driver.

As I was preparing myself for the meeting, he quickly pulled out a numerology book and gave me a mini-reading at the red-light.

As we chatted about his craft and he was giving me advice on how to succeed at the interview (which I did), I asked him about numerology and his experience with “magic”.

He shared multiple stories of witchcraft he witnessed in African villages, where he first was confronted to unexplainable events, and his transition to numerology, what it is and how it can help guide you on your path.

Find your way in the episode:

0:00 - Getting into numerology to find clarity on your path

05:00 - Believing in magic and witnessing healing and witchcraft in the bushes 

08:00 - Traditional medicine vs modern medicine 

13:00 - “This shit is real” - Rain ceremonies & other unexplainable human power over nature

18:00 - What people ask about during readings: love and career over money and health: the two biggest fears are:

  • To be alone 

  • To waste your time doing a career you hate

19:00 - What numbers can tell you 

23:30 - Do you want to plan or do you like surprises?

25:40 - Numbers influence but do not determine + Examples of cycles

Hélène ClabecqComment
"(Inner) Beauty will Save the World - Redefining Beauty with Former Model Cris Saur
Cris Saur

Here’s parts of my interview of a fashion model and strong inspiring woman who decided redefine beauty from all perspectives.

A story of empowerment, self-love and social justice wrapped in a movie coming out early 2019.

I was lucky enough to meet Chris Saur and dig deeper on her journey from Civil Engineer, to Fashion Model, to Activist on a quest for the true definition of beauty.

MY ARTICLE IN FASHION IN REVOLT*

*A collective of fashion enthusiasts with a focus on social justice, millennial and promoting authenticity.

Hélène ClabecqComment
"IT'S AN ENCHANTED INTERLUDE" / Chatting Ashtanga Yoga with Rene Kubiak

I’ve practiced various types of yoga in different parts of the world and my most intense session was during an ashtanga class, in France.

As I was holding a contorted pose, I felt emotions coming up.

After talking to my teacher, I realized that yoga isn’t just a workout.

It’s way to face your body, to be in the present moment, to let go of emotions and to exorcise fears, traumas and imposed limitations.

That’s what we discussed in the interview.

Check it out!