If New York Is ‘The Place Where Stars Are Born,’ Then Consider Pop Artist Renita Cotton Reborn

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

BROOKLYN — It’s one thing for an artist to have work ethic, but when you couple that with an “It” factor, that artist is destined for greatness.

Pop singer and songwriter, Renita Cotton, has both the work ethic and the God-given talent to take her career to great heights, and she’s already off to an impressive start.

Her singing career might have only started a little over a year ago, but there’s something about her stage presence, confidence and pizzazz that leads me to believe she might have told a ‘little white lie’ when I asked her how long she’s been pursuing a singing and songwriting career professionally, in which she responded so modestly, “So, I’d say, professionally, probably about a year and a half I started doing some background work for people.”

I interviewed the young entertainer this past spring, and after spending some time with her on that beautiful day in Brooklyn, I now understand why she’s climbing up the ladder so quickly.

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Renita has that trait most people would kill to have.  Her mix between discipline and the assurance that she has in her ability is immediately evident when you interact with her.

Renita was the perfect featured talent for an interview that was set in one of the busiest and most attractive sites in Brooklyn, NY; Brooklyn Bridge Park.

She came prepared with her exuberance and her stylist, showing me just how seriously she takes the idea of being a walking brand.

She’s a young New Yorker who has figured it out, so to speak, making “the city that never sleeps” work in her favor.  As many of you already know, New York is the place for stars to form and chase their dreams and aspirations from the ground up.  If it wasn’t, then I most certainly wouldn’t be here myself.

Renita’s ability to not only write her own music, but to also do a masterful job of performing it in front of audiences of all sizes, is proof that she’s built for this. And if she ever slips up and let’s that left arm hang too much while on that stage, I’m sure her mother will correct her, maybe saying something like “You know you have that one arm that’s a little dead there.” A comment that Renita would likely respond to by saying, “Well, haha. Thanks mom,” with a slight bit of innocent sarcasm.

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Renita understands the concept of “journey,” but that hasn’t stopped her from carrying herself as if she’s already reached her destination.

It might be hard for some of us to admit it at times, but I think it’s safe to say that in whatever we do, we have to have at least a small chip on our shoulder. That way we’re able to keep our eyes on the prize, understanding that mediocrity is never an option.

Renita’s coming off of a few very successful performances — performances that brought more music lovers along for her journey as an artist with two sides to the story; singing and songwriting.

In hip-hop, there’s a much bigger focus placed on writing your own lyrics, despite the 2015 “beef” between rap stars Drake and Meek Mill, a beef that started over Meek’s disbelief that Drake authors his own lyrics. However, it’s not really considered a big deal if singers elect not to write their own music.

Even the great Beyoncé has ghost writers.  That being said, it’s very rare and absorbing when we come across a Pop artist who is able to both write and perform their own music while also exemplifying a strong stage presence.

That description has Renita written all over it, and her journey has now been added to the Intern Media wall — a wall that includes many other journeys, even some that are still being written.

Checkout my interview with Renita and support her journey as an independent artist in the beloved Big Apple.

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Renita,

It was great hearing your story and being able to share it with my audience.  You have a lot of talent and you’re just at the beginning of your career, but more importantly you have great character.  That’s why there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll do great musically and that you’ll inspire tons of people along the way.  Stay true to yourself and continue to walk around with that exuberance and confidence that you so greatly possess.  I know we joked about the day when reporters will be knocking on your door begging for an interview, but just remember that every joke has a little bit of truth to it! Welcome to the Intern Media family Renita!

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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There are mascots and then there is the “Hopster”

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

LONG ISLAND CITY — July 17th marked the first ever Homebrew Festival presented by the Hopster Beer Company.

The man you see in the video above is none other than the Hopster himself, the one who made all of this possible.  The Hopster’s love for beer, the joy he gets from bringing people together and the focus he places on the beer consumer is exactly why the first ever Homebrew Festival was a major success.

I just mentioned “the beer consumer.”  The beer consumer is who the Hopster had in mind when he decided to start the Hopster Beer Company, becoming one of the first beer companies to create a mascot that represents the beer drinker, not the beer itself.  And if you haven’t figured it out by now, “the Hopster” doesn’t just refer to the man you see featured in this story, but it’s also the name of the actual mascot for beer drinkers all over the world.

Think about that for a second.

Can you recall a time when you found yourself watching a beer commercial and saw a mascot that was created for the average beer drinker?

I know I’m a young guy, but still, in my 25 years on this earth, I can’t recall one time turning on the television or opening my internet browser to watch a sporting event, sitcom, movie, TV series, or any other type of television or online program, and seeing a commercial or advertisement that catered to those who drink beer. Instead, what I’ve seen during these advertisements are beer brands, time and time again, showing off their mascot in an effort to persuade us beer drinkers to taste their product.

Their alluring tactic is quite simple; a clever mascot to represent their brand of beer.

During our interview, the Hopster gave me examples of beer brands like Coors Light, also known as “the Silver Bullet.”  He also mentioned Samuel Adams beer and how their mascot is a brewer and patriot holding up a mug filled to the brim with beer.  

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While beer brands like Coors Light and Sam Adams have been extremely successful over the years, the Hopster is content with taking a different route. What route might that be?  He decided to create a mascot for the beer consumer.  

That being said, while the idea was his, it was his wife who added her much needed two cents to the equation, becoming an intricate factor in why the mascot was eventually named “the Hopster.”

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Prior to our interview, the Hopster told me about the months leading up to the Homebrew Festival and about the immense amount of preparation that went into making the grand opening for this festival a huge success as he and his team worked alongside the owners of the Beer Closet to bring this festival to the Long Island City community. 

During our interview, the Hopster said giving people opportunities to market their brands was a major focus for this festival.  He might have been mainly referring to his fellow homebrewers, but little does he know that by putting on this event, a journalist, a podcast out of Queens, NY, an emerging New York-based clothing brand, and many members of the community, all left the festival with potential opportunities and future opened doors in our respective lives and careers.

That’s right.  A New York-based construction worker by day and an artistic homebrewer by night is who paved the way for tons of cross-promotion to be handled on a beautiful Sunday afternoon just weeks ago.

Not only did people enjoy the festival and have an opportunity to taste some amazing craft beers, but they were able to connect with one another from a life and business standpoint, which didn’t really take much effort given the atmosphere and the high-character individuals who were involved.

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Me with Ann Marie Vasquez, the lovely wife of the Hopster.  She’s been very instrumental in assisting her husband with the operations of the Hopster Beer Company, basically operating as second in command to her husband since day one.  During our interview, she told me about how the company started, how far they’ve come and how dedicated they are to creating an unforgettable experience for the “beer consumer.”

Even though I was at the festival as a member of the press, there was no way I was going to let the day go by without tasting the vast selection of crafted beers that debuted at the festival.  After all, they do say “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do.” So, when at a homebrew festival… I think you guys can take it from there.

Out of all the crafted beers I tasted that day, I found it to be quite ironic that my favorite selection was the Hopster Beer Company’s special; the mango double IPA.

As someone who drinks in social settings, I won’t lie to you all.  I’m not the biggest fan of IPA’s.  However, I also won’t lie to you and say that I did not enjoy every sip of that mango double IPA.  And to think that it was created by accident, to say the least.

During the interview, the Hopster filled me in on just how much of a coincidence the mango double IPA was, telling me that, at the time, he wasn’t necessarily trying to create this fan favorite.  However, once he tasted the final product and allowed others to, it immediately became one of his signature crafted beers.

That’s not a surprise to me at all considering all the positive feedback it received from so many people at the festival.

The Hopster’s genuine personality, his love for people, his interest in beer, and his desire to bring people together with future events and new signature beers, speaks to his success in the beer industry and it’s proof as to how he continues to elevate his company.

I appreciate this guy for setting the stage for what was a great turnout and an impactful event for the Long Island City community.  This is only the beginning.

Hopster,

I can’t thank you enough for putting the Homebrew Festival together and for having me there as one of the leading sources for media coverage.  It was truly a pleasure and I will carry those memories with me as my journey in journalism continues.  I appreciate you taking the interview and I’m sure this won’t be the last time people see our names side by side bringing great experiences and unique content to the public.  Continue to create opportunities for your fellow homebrewers.  On behalf of the beer drinkers out there, thanks for providing us with our own mascot!  From here on out, like you said, we’re all Hopsters when we put beer to our lips!  See you soon and welcome to the Intern Media family!

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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