Friday, July 06, 2012

FEATURED AUTHORS: Kiesah Hakeem and Michael McGrew

Kiesah Hakeem

Before she could utilize her talents for her own solo endeavors, R& B/Pop singer, vocal arranger, and songwriter Kiesah Hakeem was a lead singer in the family group Royalty, signed to Warner Brothers Records working with famed producers, Atlantic Star, Teddy Riley, Full Force, Jodeci and Gerald Levert. Kiesah lent her songwriting talents to several recording artists, including but not limited to, Tamia, Jessica Jerrell, Kiki Palmer, Brandy, Fabolus, Amerie, Kiesha Cole, Naz, Nick Cannon, Jay Z and the legendary Gladys Knight's Grammy Award winning contemporary album 'Greatest Love of All'. Kiesah has appeared in the films Beauty Shop, and Toys starring Robin Williams. She also has soundtrack credits for You Got Served, the Wild Wild West starring Will Smith, Earth Girls Are Easy starring Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis and the Color Purple soundtrack under the direction of the incomparable Quincy Jones, including writing the theme song for Will Smith and Jada Pinkette's hit sitcom All of Us. Kiesah has wide ranging talents that led her to sing and perform with a female quartet for a popular Coca Cola commercial and theater work in Sisterella, produced by Larry Hart and Mark Swinton, a Motown Play, produced by Ralph Farquar and Motown Review, produced by Suzanne Depasse.

Kiesah now expands her illustrious career to establish herself as an author with Michael McGrew's Legacy Publishing and their first collaborative effort, Room 111. Room 111 depicts a male R&B singer's turbulent ride in the music business, achieving success, the price that you sometimes pay for it and the dark underlying secrets that are kept. The release of Room 111 will intrigue those who want an inside look at the entertainment business and confirm the beliefs of those who know.

Michael McGrew

It’s been a long time coming but now the world will witness Michael McGrew's shine. Michael is a single father, author and business man that has proven through patience, hard work and the ability to endure struggle will lead you to realize your dreams. After completing two seasons as a lighting technician for B.E.T in ’99, he took full responsibility as a single parent to his loving son Kierre McGrew. It was just a year and half ago when Michael completed his first novel and since then has completed his third, along with three children’s books; story editing for two reality shows and a screenplay. Michael's humble beginnings in South Los Angeles, California make him all the more impressive, considering the limited resources and the propensity of those circumstances to generate negative statistics. Michael is not only an inspiration for those with similar backgrounds but to anyone with the determination to rise above their condition.

After the success of his first novel “My Kinda Girl”, which sold over 7000 copies independently, Michael focused his efforts on writing as a profession and started Legacy Publishing Group LLC. Combining his love for storytelling with his niche for marketing, Michael and his affiliates developed branding and advertisement strategies that will propel Legacy's publications into multiple genre's and generate appeal from a broad range of lifestyles. Michael is an ambitious and clever writer who sets trends instead of following them and has definitely found his home as a publisher.

Michael's next novel is the highly anticipated winter 2012 release, 'Room 111' and collaborative effort with Grammy Award winning song writer, Kiesah Hakeem. Room 111 depicts a male R&B singer's turbulent ride in the music business, achieving success, the price that you sometimes pay for it and the dark underlying secrets that are kept. The release of Room 111 will intrigue those who want an inside look at the entertainment business and confirm the beliefs of those who know.

Michael McGrew is a visionary and an individual with diverse ideology. Born with a natural gift of storytelling, he believes that your reality is something you either choose to accept as it is or you can create your own.

How did you start out your writing career?

Kiesah: I am an avid reader and was inspired by Iyanla Vanzant to pursue my passion fearlessly.

Michael: In 2008, I found myself in a state of confusion in regards to choosing a profession and after careful thought, I realized that my ability to tell a story was one of my greatest strengths so I decided to become a writer.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Kiesah: I learned to be open and vulnerable in all aspects of creative writing so that the text is relatable and authentic for the reader.

Michael: I learned that I had the ability to captivate an audience with thought provoking subject matter that also has commercial potential. This novel means a lot to me and my co author. We are glad readers love it!

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Kiesah: Hopefully, people will connect with the positive message that no matter how dark your life may appear, you have the power to turn your life around.

Michael: Commercial success as Legacy Publishing Group aims to promote literacy and prove that Authors are the new ROCKSTARS.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

Kiesah: The plot. The book is based on actual events.

Michael: In my opinion Character development had to come first in order to capture the authenticity of this story. And with Kiesah's efforts to maintain a strong plot, our collaboration was totally in sync. We envisioned our readers being right there, relating, rooting for and identifying with the main character. Our dialogue is hard hitting and closer to real than fiction and Room 111 invites you as a fly on the wall to view the dark side and politics of the music industry.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Kiesah: Being a published song writer for many years, I realized that the two worlds are very similar and equally gratifying.

Michael: How my readers are comparing me to seasoned authors and it feels great to be in the position to carry the torch in this awesome profession.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most? 

Kiesah: I love the freedom of being able to paint a colorful picture through words.

I hate getting writers block.

Michael: I love the process of building the story, writing, the editing process, to receiving my first review. What I hate most is a market that devalues an authors work by selling digital copies for less than a dollar.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

Kiesah: I wish I would have pursued my dream of writing novels a lot earlier in life.

I wish I would have obtained the knowledge that I have now about human nature.

I wish I would have known earlier that it is ok to be myself entirely.

Michael: The popularity that trilogies generate.

The competitive nature of the literary field.

How important it is to develop a brand and to build strong relationships in this industry.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Kiesah: Do take risk in writing.

Don't listen to negativity.

Michael: Do discover your niche and style; become the master of your craft and understand that publishing is a business based on catalog and not one hit wonders, it may take years for commercial success.

Don't wait on money to pursue your dreams. Money follows, it never leads!

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

Kiesah: That is difficult to write when someone places restrictions on your story and how it is being conveyed.

Michael: How under-rated writers really are. The head of state depends on a writer to help them deliver historical speeches! If that doesn't show how powerful we are then this conversation is over. LOL

Tell us something few know about you?

Kiesah: That I have had psychic premonitions since I was a little girl.

Michael: I'm a single father of a 13 yr old son, who I give the credit for inspiring me to be a better writer. Also, one of my biggest pet peeves are people who say "huh" before responding to a question. I'm just asking!

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Kiesah: Spending time with my son is my greatest joy!

Michael: Travel, build my company and I try to be a positive role model for our youth.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Kiesah: I try to respond to all emails and stay connected.

Michael: I'm socially interactive with all supporters and twitter followers, my response time usually shocks my readers but I don't think I'm better than anybody else. I put my pants on one leg at a time just like you, I just write page turning novels when my pants are on!

Our theme for this month is FREELANCING. What type of freelancing have you done and any advice for someone interested in breaking into freelancing?

Kiesah: Writing for an independent publishing company and songwriting for various recording artists.

Michael: Freelancing is entrepreneurship and takes creative thought to manifest cash from thought. I encourage anyone to discover their strengths and utilize them to turn those strengths into retirement packages.

Who was the first author you ever met?

Kiesah: I've met plenty of authors but my dream would be to meet Maya Angelou and Iyanla Vanzant!

Michael: Kiki Swinson

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

Kiesah: I know that I am no longer afraid to be me.

Michael: That I have a gift and that authors are the new ROCKSTARS

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Kiesah: I just did can you guess!

Michael: False Eyelashes: a story detailing superficial women

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Kiesah: Hakeem Management and Consulting,


All dreams are made possible through God and faith, but the devil cautiously displays a blue print of his own. Raquan "Grey" Taylor is an aspiring singer and songwriter who struggles to attain his family's past until his brother's untimely death. His mother succumbs to alcoholism and is forced to send him away to live with his estranged father, Renwick Taylor, a high-powered music executive. While living in Renwick's home, an opportunity surfaces when he meets Antoine Swinger and goes against his mother's wishes to pursue a career in music. Raquan enters the world of entertainment with high hopes and dreams but gradually realizes there are extreme prices to pay to maintain his fame. Raquan quickly learns "what happens in the industry stays in the industry."

Cleverly written, Room 111 is based on actual events and sheds light on the hidden politics, bizarre lifestyles and compromising actions of some who aspire to be successful in the music industry. This novel is an enthralling inside look at the challenges that an artist faces and sacrifices that they make to be successful in the music industry.


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