7 Things I Learned From Angie Martinez’ ‘My Voice: A Memoir’ [Review]

my-voice-bookManifested and crowned the “Voice of New York,” Angie Martinez’ initial interest and overall passion for hip-hop drove her towards the multi-layer success she is known as today. After impacting the development of the #1 hip-hop radio station in the country for twenty years, Angie Martinez shocked the world when she announced that she would be leaving HOT 97. Since Angie left the radio station to join the competition (Power 105.1 and the home of ‘The Breakfast Club’), the entertainment personality penned her first ever memoir and boy, is it worth the read. Fueling the initial story, Angie begins with the overall response to her announcement and how she got there. After finding herself in the early years of her life, Angie takes us through many experiences starting as an intern at a then electronic dance station that chose to transition to hip-hop music. Angie discloses many experiences including the early years at HOT 97; exclusive interviews with Tupac, R. Kelly and many others, ritual meetings with Jay Z, her cross over into music, motherhood and the ultimate decision of leaving HOT 97. Between my interest in radio and the exclusive moments that impacted the hip-hop culture, I could not put down the book until it was finished. Finding inspiration in every corner, I found myself taking notes, highlighting quotes and soaking in every single moment in the hope that Angie’s experiences will help fuel my journey towards success. Ultimately, one day maybe I could use my voice to impact the culture! Below are 7 things I learned from Angie Martinez’ ‘My Voice’.

1. Work, work, work, work … There’s no such thing as an overnight success.

Reading about the legendary Angie Martinez’ experiences and progress in radio truly validates where I am today. I often found myself chuckling at Angie’s experiences as the go-to kid at the radio station. From hard work on the street team to struggling on the sound boards … nothing happens overnight and if you stay focused and work hard, good things will result.

2. “You have to choose not to let fear keep you from whatever your intention is.”

After trying out for a part in her middle school play, Angie found herself overcoming her fears and receiving a role in the musical production. This experience followed her throughout her career. Fear is just an emotion caused by the belief that someone or something will cause pain, but you can never let that get in the way of intention. There have been many times where I’ve become afraid to make moves and lost site of my initial intentions. Whether it was crossing paths with YG or Fetty Wap, the fear of rejection stopped me from getting those interviews. Looking back, these moments could have been pivotal to my success thus far. I will never let fear get in the way of intention. It’s not worth it …

3. Speak your truth and stand up for what you believe in.

In the early days at HOT 97, Angie Martinez found herself in trouble when she brought the station vehicle home to catch some sleep. Although the circumstances made sense, bringing the station vehicle home overnight is a big no-no! Plus she got a ticket! While the higher-ups at the station discussed Angie’s “fate”, the then young and outspoken street teamer used her voice to explain her reasoning. If Angie didn’t speak up, her career could have ended before it even started! So often I hear about others who wished they would have spoken up and used their voice. We all have a voice and you should never be afraid to be heard.

4. “In radio there’s no foreplay. You gotta get right to the f*cking.”

One of the reasons I found myself in radio is because I love to get the story and the truth behind the music. Being a good interviewer is very important to me and I learn from each and every #BennettKnowsRadio interview that I direct. Ebro and Angie Martinez are some of the best interviewers in radio. So often I find myself ending my days by catching up on their latest interviews. So if they say we got get right to the f*cking, then I’m going to strap up and dive in!

5. “Being open to input can be a good thing, but sometimes too many opinions are not a good thing.”

When Angie returned to New York after interviewing Tupac at his Los Angeles home, she faced the decision of releasing a very exclusive interview that would initially fuel the East Coast/West Coast (Biggie vs. Tupac) beef. As soon as she arrived to the station, her co-workers were all over her with what she should and shouldn’t do with the interview. In the long run, Angie avoided what would be a lifetime of guilt over Tupac’s death by releasing bits and pieces of that interview. I often find myself looking for validation by those around me as I progress through radio. However, sometimes you just have to make these decisions on your own. No one knows your journey like you do and you don’t want anyone’s opinions to impact your path towards success.

6.“Some of my success was a product of good timing; a lot of it was the result of having great relationships with others who were living the same dream as I was.”

Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion. I’m a strong believer that passion will always drive towards success. If you’re passionate about something, it will shine through every move you make; whether that’s building a relationship or progressing within your field. While Angie notes that timing was a big part of her success, passion was what brought her there. There’s no denying passion and where it will bring you. Find your passion, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

7. “Every great and lasting art form starts down in the deep, hard rock of truth and self-expression”.

One of the most amazing pieces that I took from Angie’s memoir was her overall impact on hip-hop culture. Angie never said, “Hey, I want to be a radio personality, a rapper, a voice,” it just happened. Her passion drove her towards these successes. I always knew that I wanted to impact culture. Heck, that’s what BennettKnows is built off of. But I realized that I don’t want to be somewhere that doesn’t have culture. Currently I find myself amongst the emerging arts of my hometown and the creative capital, Providence, Rhode Island. The crazy thing is that my role in the culture just happened, it was never planned. It’s authentic and I’m so glad that I could use my platform for the culture. There’s no telling the power of your voice and where it could take you.

If your looking for inspiration, the best of hip-hop culture or an overall good read, you can check out Angie Martinez’ ‘My Voice: A Memoir’ here! Check out Angie Martinez’ ‘The Breakfast Club’ interview below!

Angie Martinez Discusses Memoir ‘My Voice’ with ‘The Breakfast Club’



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