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Portraits of Nashville

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around Nashville.

GFK Farms LLC Ryan and Adealiah Kozimor

We are a husband and wife family owned farm located in Montgomery County, TN. In 2015 after being honorably discharged from the US Army we started going to school to get our Bachelors degree in Business management to open a marijuana dispensary. In 2017 after experiencing the powerful benefits of what CBD has to offer we moved to Tennessee to grow our own plants and create our own brand of products. In 2020 we opened Growing For a Koz Farms and are now known as “GFK Farms LLC”. Read more>>

Tess Schoonhoven

I’ve studied music my entire life, though in different forms. I spent a long period of time in the classical piano world, the church music space, the classic rock n’ roll attitude, and now I’m entering a new phase of artistry – one that feels more focused, authentic, and free. When I first began releasing music as a solo artist I was a completely different person than I am now. I was tied to a belief system I no longer identify with, I was scared, disconnected, and just so new to the idea of being an ‘artist’. Read more>>

Kate Holt

As a young child, I was fascinated with photography and how an image can tell a whole story or convey emotions without words. When I was old enough to be responsible with equipment, my father gave me a film canon camera he had purchased as a college student in the 70s. He taught me how to load film and how to properly set the exposure and focus. I’ll never forget what it was like recovering the prints of the first roll of film I shot. It was both exhilarating and also terribly frustrating, or as you can imagine, not every shot was exactly “magazine” worthy! Read more>>

Eddie Sisneros

My stand up career began in 2006 and took a huge pause in 2007. At age 19 I was inspired to pursue stand up after watching a VHS copy of Eddie Murphy’s Delirious something about him being close to my age at the time when he filmed the special, and the relatability of his family stories cracked a code in me that I didn’t know existed before. So after a long short month attempting college in Tempe, AZ I got homesick and returned home to Odessa Texas only to discovery that, that very week a comedy club called The 8th Street Comedy club would be opening up. I walked in a few hours before opening day with my notebook full of jokes and asked the owner to take a look at it.  Read more>>

Chris Hancock

Thank you! I got into the mental health field after leaving the music industry in 1997, to answer a soul-call to something higher. Don’t get me wrong, spending a few years as a pro musician (a childhood dream) was wild! The good, the bad and the ugly of it all taught me many priceless things that I still utilize almost every day in my work. I graduated from NYU with my MSW 2000 and worked for a few years in outpatient substance abuse and community mental health treatment in NYC before relocating to Nashville in 2002. After a few more years in outpatient child and adolescent psychiatry and adult community mental health settings at Vanderbilt, I threw caution to the wind and started my own practice in 2006/7. I’ve never looked back. Yet, the story hardly ends there… Read more>>

Bethany Fleming

I knew from a very young age I had an affinity for the beauty industry. Honestly makeup was my first love & my initial focus when I applied to cosmetology school but the hair side came so natural to me. I quickly realized after I was licensed that there was a great need for stylist who specialized in textured hair. Once I moved to Clarksville & set up my own personal private suite everything took off. One curly girl would tell five others about me & those five would tell ten. Read more>>

Kassi French

I originally started college (in Chattanooga TN) to study history and be a teacher. While I was in school, I started waiting tables. I quickly learned that I really loved all things hospitality but especially craft cocktails and special events! Over the past 15 years I’ve worked, in restaurants, bars, breweries, and done special events in art galleries, museums, diners, private residences, and anything in between. I’ve worked as a front of house and bar manager and in corporate office settings. Around the time that I graduated college there was a major recession. Read more>>

Beau Allen Collins

It was around middle school I began understanding my passion towards art. I started playing bass guitar and was in and out of bands through high school. During that time I began designing posters, taking photographs, and making videos of both my band and others in the area. I was also involved doing theater both as an actor and behind the scenes doing everything from stage design to production. I wound up getting acceptance and scholarships to the School of Visual Arts in NYC for photography and video and was the first in my family to graduate college in 2017. Read more>>

Dorothy Ellen Designs

My name is Dorothy Ellen, good ol’ Southern double name that I once hated growing up but have since embraced now as my artist identity. I’m a TN native, and I have been creating for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I thought it was normal to love to create. In Kindergarten, everyone brought crayons, glue and scissors to school, because it was required. But even in middle school I was still bringing art supplies with me, and that’s when I realized that not everyone loves creating like I did.  Read more>>

Kalin Horton

I started photography as a hobby in 2013 and quickly fell in love! I started offering family and senior portraits to local families and quickly grew to photographing births, engagements, and weddings. A few years later I started working full time and just didn’t have the time for photography like I use to. Last July we welcomed our second baby into our family and I became a stay-at-home mother. After adjusting to our new normal, I picked my camera back up in the fall. Read more>>

Lauren Busch

I always wanted to start a blog and become an influencer for travel but there’s never enough time. It was something I always thought I would get around to. I started school at Belmont as a Journalism major but half way through switched it to social media marketing. So, naturally I took their social media marketing class. That’s how Window Seats and Wanderlust was started. I just want to inspire people to travel despite their finances Read more>>

Kentucky Music Mafia

Shannon J Collins started Kentucky Music Mafia back in early 2017 and slowly after started adding a few singers along to the group but only one stuck around and that was Toby Ray. We performed and toured for a few year just us two. Then during May of 2021 we added a DJ by the name of DJ Havoc, then a few months months later we added Roy Caudill to the group and then a drummer Chad Mcknz in March of 2022 and now we are touring all over the Midwest and south now. Read more>>

Brandon Fant

my story began in Birmingham, Al. I purchased my first camera using a tax return and started my journey into photography and video creation. At the time I was part of a promotion team that contracted artists to perform on the music scene of Birmingham. I used my camera to create promotional videos and help sell tickets. Eventually, I moved to Atlanta and took a job as a Highschool photographer & studio manager. That job helped me hone my skills while working in the city as a newly professional photographer in Atlanta. After many years I moved to Nashville where I pursue art sales, business content creation, and teaching photography. Read more>>

Samuel “Deadman” Al-Hagal

Believe it or not, I was in college the first time I heard EDM. I was in school to become a recording engineer with secret plans to become a film composer. Long story short, that all went out the window when I heard First of the Year (Equinox) by Skrillex and Animal Rights by Deadmou5 thanks to Pandora. After that I was hooked. All I wanted to do was figure out how to create music with this kind of energy and give people the same experience I’d had but with my own music. That was 11yrs ago, and since that moment I’ve spent all of my creative energy leaning how to create and perform my own electronic music. Crazy how time flies! Read more>>

Todd Nordmeyer

As a former elite competitive cyclist, I began personally coaching other competitive cyclists on a part-time basis in 2001. My coaching practice grew enough to formally establish Endeavor Performance in 2007 as a sole proprietorship. In early 2007, I purchased eight computer controlled indoor cycling trainers. The trainers were
stationary stands that allowed an athlete to train indoors on his/her own bicycle. Though this product was known in the cycling industry, the idea to indoor train as a group was not. The manufacturer created a software package that allowed eight trainers to send/receive information to/from a computer. Read more>>

Kate Blankerts

I started making cookies in the middle of the pandemic. Work was stressful and I was looking for a creative outlet that let me work with my hands and leverage my love for baking. One day I came across royal icing cookies on Instagram and fell in love with how much detail you could put into the designs. I took one class with The Sugary Cookie and after that, I was off and running. What originally started as Christmas cookies for my coworkers has quickly turned into a full-time gig. From entrepreneurial skills to lifelong friends, I’m so grateful for the opportunities cookies have brought to me. Read more>>

Jennifer White

I’ve always loved music and singing. My formal music education started with piano lessons at age 5. My constant singing annoyed my younger sister (and probably my parents too). I sang in choir both at school and in church, and sang my first solo at church at age 15. It was terrifying, but also so exciting; I was hooked. I continued singing contemporary commercial-style music for several years, then became interested in opera. I had a lot of experience with classical piano music, musicals, and choral music, but hadn’t had much exposure to opera. Read more>>

Breanna Jackson

I have always had the passion for hair, and everyone around me knows of this. When you see me, you will most likely get a new person every time lol I change my hair quite often. It’s my safe place to create. I took interest in the hair industry and extensions about 12 years ago but have been in business for about 2.5 years. I developed the passion to design custom units, also best known as wigs. Read more>>

Angela Mann

In 2016 I got my hot dog cart and did a bit of slinging all around middle TN and southern KY. We would set up anywhere from distilleries to factories, courthouses to zombie hunters. Lower Broadway in Nashville to Hideaway Farm in Bon Aqua. It was amazing, exhausting but amazing. In 2020 my ex whom I was also worked the cart and I parted ways and I decided to revamp the business and now it’s Lady Dawgs. Read more>>

Melissa Thomas

The flood of May, 2010 was a historic event in Nashville. In Antioch, 25″ of rain caused creeks and rivers to overflow, inundating homes, schools, churches, and businesses. ​ Neighbors rallied to the aid of those who were in danger and those who lost their homes. In Southeast Nashville, churches and organizations came together in a great symphony of oneness and formed Southeast Nashville Recovery. In the summer of 2012, after completing work on 312 homes, the work of Southeast Nashville Recovery was finished. Read more>>

Argentria Harden IV

My first lessons in photography came in 2002, during my senior year at Pearl-Cohn high school. Ironically, however, I had little interest in the subject, and would barely complete any assignments my teacher gave us–if at all! My main passion was graphic design and print production, which would be the discipline I would go on to pursue at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Chicago, my hometown. Read more>>

Alexandra Spieth

Hi! I’m Alexandra Spieth, a writer/director and Nashville native. Growing up, my mom worked as a Methodist minister, and my father was in business, so my sister and I spent many afternoons in boardrooms and sanctuaries playing pretend. As a kid, I wanted to be in any local production I could get my hands on; I acted with Circle Players, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, and attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. After graduating from University School of Nashville, I attended the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Read more>>

Nick Williams

Our story starts in 2020 when my boyfriend Justin and I met shortly after the height of the pandemic in Indianapolis, IN. We were able to spend so much time together as a new couple and one of the things we bonded over most was the art of Tarot. Our love for the practice started with us making tik toks in my Indianapolis apartment and doing readings for one another during COVID lockdown. Towards the end of 2020 we moved to Nashville with dreams of starting a new and exciting life together right after celebrating our 1 year anniversary. Read more>>

Jye

I suppose I always felt I had a creative spirit, and that my view of the world was unique amongst others. Most of my life this created problems, with people interrupting my reverie at a sky to tell me to pay attention. In fact, I was to be held back in kindergarten because the teacher said I stared out the window at the trees instead of focusing on the classroom activities. And don’t get my 5 year old self started on coloring – inside or outside the lines? I thought the whole business was pointless. Read more>>

William Williams

Born in Orlando, Florida and having Michigan roots, my introduction to music was through my parents varied musical tastes ranging from Metallica to Madonna. My entire family is rooted in the greater Detroit area, so that rich yet tough musical history found its way into my blood. For as long as I can remember, I was always drawn to the rock sound. Growing up in Orlando, there was a lot of booming music here-Backstreet Boys, Seven Mary Three, MatchBox 20, Creed- all whom remain part of my musical DNA. Read more>>

Brandon Phillips

Oddly enough, my interest in photography started off to impress a girl, but turned out into something so much more. It helped me dive deep into studying and understand my roots in Appalachia. I try and show the beauty of Appalachia in a unique way. Read more>>

Jonathan Weaver

Xplore Nashville LLC was formed with the idea to provide a full hospitality service to Nashville tourism, as well as lifelong locals. I started with one Airbnb in 2017, and have since grown to 3 Airbnbs, 2 limousines, and 2 medspa locations. I noticed tourism to Nashville began exploding around 2015, and wanted to engage that market. Nashville is a vibrant city boasting the best music in the country, and a culinary experience that can compete with any city in the US! The goal is to become an all-inclusive one stop shop for tourism to Nashville. Read more>>

Karla Zuercher

I became involved in Taekwondo for my young boys. I knew nothing about martial arts, but knew that I needed a place for their energy level. After only a couple of months watching them train, I realized how much fun this was and how valuable the training. So I joined in too! I fell in love, not only with Taekwondo, but also with the value that it adds to kids’ lives. It teaches them focus, self-control, discipline, respect, confidence perseverance, as well as providing a safe space for them to explore their own strengths and weaknesses. Read more>>

Dante Maes

My story started back home in Trinidad, Colorado when I was around 13 years old. I took up guitar lessons from a phenomenal, local folk/blues/flamenco guitarist named Jacquie Gipson. Eventually, I started writing songs during and after sessions with Jacquie, and she pushed me to go out on my own. I started a handful of bands during my middle school and high school years – all of which played parts in creating a more diverse musical community within the teenage cliques there in town. Read more>>

Maddie Denton

I’m originally from Murfreesboro, TN and I began playing fiddle when I was 5 years old. My mom also plays fiddle and her father played too! So it runs in the family, and I’m honored to be a third-generation fiddler. I played in my first fiddle contest when I was 7 years old, and my parents dedicated many a weekend to traveling to fiddle contests so I could compete. I’m 28 years old, and while my contest fiddling days are dwindling, I will always look fondly back at those times competing and accompanying other contestants with my tenor guitar. These days, I play fiddle for the Dan Tyminski Band, East Nash Grass, and Theo and Brenna Band. Read more>>

David (Raz) Rasmussen

They Fell In Love With Each Other, then fell in love with the Cumberland River, and that love affair blossomed into a home above the charming little river town of Granville. They had no idea that their love story would one day lead them down a winding path to Wildwood. John and Natasha Deane met each other in the fall of 1987. John had just landed a new job with the physician organization at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Natasha was a cancer research scientist at Wash U and her Dad was John’s new boss! Before long, Natasha’s Dad invited John to his home on Saturday mornings to mentor him on the practice of medicine and what it means to heal the sick. Read more>>

Darious Baker

Well how I started was actually on video games such as call of duty war zone someone told me on chat. Hey you should do podcast bro your voice sounds dope to do one so I was like well hell why not!? Then more and more people started to tell me so I decided to do so I’m a huge fan of Joe Rogan he’s very interesting and diverse so it really help me understand people. Wanting people to feel free to express themselves and give a shout out to towards individuals including ourselves of the untitled culture podcast a voice and to be known at the same time. Read more>>

Giovanna Salas

When I was growing up I remember many people telling me that I was an idealist, including my mother. She gave me the courage to challenge myself in finding my own path. Today I’m the CEO of a multi-media entertainment company, Heart Of Hollywood Motion Pictures. Let me tell you how it all started. I came to Los Angeles to become a film director. I wanted to share my vision of the world. I was a fine art painter when I began working in the entertainment industry. Once I discovered film, my heart was captivated. I saw film as a blank canvas. For me art is a way of life. Read more>>

Hopper Seely

I started brewing with my dad when I was 13 years old. My dad traveled a lot for work, so he wanted to create a hobby with me that we could do together when he was in town. From day one, I loved making beer. I continued to brew beer throughout middle school and high school. After High School, I went to Brewlab in Sunderland, England, where I received my diploma in British Brewing Technology. Our professor was a brewer for Heineken, and he taught me so much about brewing beer the right way. I was also able to work at 9 breweries while I was in England. I returned to the United States and worked at 3 more breweries before building the Grind City Team and launching Grind City Brewing Company. Read more>>

Boone Thomson

It took me a half-century to travel to Africa. I had been serious about wildlife photography for about five years and followed a photographer out of London on Instagram. His images blew me away. I jumped when he advertised a discounted safari as part of a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book. What I experienced that week in the Masai Mara was like an awakening. I grew up enthralled by Mutual of Omaha’s the Wild Kingdom and movies like Out of Africa and Born Free. For some reason, it never seemed realistic to travel to Africa for a safari.  Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Erik Freund

    June 21, 2022 at 12:20 am

    I’m practically amazed by all of these articles … good job

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