Stefanie Jackson: Wine-maker

Stefanie

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Stefanie: I was actually born in London, England. My folks moved back to the Bay Area (Pops is from Berkeley, Moms is from the UK) when I was 2, shortly before my brother, Ajayi’s birth–I’ve been in the Bay for the better part of 40 years and definitely call it home.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Stefanie: I technically got into winemaking 11 years ago. I found myself completely disillusioned with the work I was doing and the life I was building AND the example I was setting for my son; this existential awakening led me to ask myself what I WANTED my life to look like. I thought long and hard, plumbing the depths and looking for some deep spiritual answer–and then I realized I simply wanted it to look like a glass of wine. I quit my job and took a winemaking internship and that was it. I fell in love and found myself–I found home. Interestingly enough, when I look back on my childhood, one of my first memories was my first taste of Champagne–at the age of three. It was such a poignant moment in my life, even at that time, that I actually remember what I was wearing. In retrospect it seems that I knew my path at that moment and what I was meant to do albeit just a little ahead of my time.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Stefanie: I find my inspiration in a number of places…first and foremost in my son, Ajmal’s eyes, I am doing what I love and he needs to see that in order to be fearless and find that gift in and for himself. I am a scientist, an alchemist–and through winemaking I find I am able to honor that and share it with the people around me. Story has it that Jesus of Nazareth’s first miracle was turning water to wine at a wedding; I do that at each harvest, and believe you me, it is a miracle each and every time. It holds me in awe and I’m eternally grateful to be a part of the transmutation each and every time.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Stefanie: WOW! (lol) I almost forgot and had to dig in the proverbial crates in order to remember this one…The first piece of vinyl I ever bought, for myself, was none other than Blondie’s Eat to the Beat. I’d almost forgotten about that… Does it count that the first CD I bought was Gang Starr’s Step in the Arena? Can I please keep my street cred? j/k

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Stefanie: http://www.virgocellars.com/

Sizwe Andrews: HipHop Emcee, Educator, Father

Sizwe

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Sizwe: No, I am not a Bay Area Native but I took to the soil well..I really feel like my life began to flourish when I moved to Oakland. I moved out this way about 14 years ago via Southern California. I was born in Santa Ana, Ca but lived all over So. Cal from the IE to Inglewood.


Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on?
Sizwe: In all honesty I feel as if this path had been chosen for me by the Most High. My mother is a phenomenal High School teacher and my father is an amazing Jazz Musician. My household was always filled with the smell of soul food, soul music, and vibrant energy. Weather it was my Mother banging out to Aretha Franklin on Sunday Mornings or my Pops unwinding to Sun Ra, The music / good music has always been apart of my life. My older Brothers introduced me to Hip Hop and from that point it was all I saw and was inspired by for years. It was around 1995 when I linked up with my bredren, Jern Eye. In due time InI developed a brotherhood and love for the music that would create the vision and foundation for our group Lunar Heights. From various mixtapes, collabos, and solo projects, the Heightsmen catalog is definitely bigger than I ever would have anticipated back in 96. I just give thanx for the opportunities that have been provided for InI.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Sizwe: Inspiration has definitely taken different forms throughout my life. At this point I would simply say family. The work I do with the youth is also inspirational and adds fuel to the pen.


Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased?
Sizwe: My father and older brothers had so much vinyl that I didn’t have purchase wax until later in life. Was definitely crate digging heavy from ages 14 – 19, lookin for that “perfect sample”…My first tape was Eazy E’s “Eazy Duz It”. Does that Count? lol


Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?
Sizwe: Just Gratitude for all the Love I have received throughout the years…Hopefully I have been able to be a reflection of all that you have given……

Close Yours eyes to truly see…Peace!