We had the good fortune of connecting with Dolly Ramirez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dolly, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Taking a risk can go one of two ways: you will either fail or you will succeed. I had no intention of failing when starting my business, but I knew that if I did, it was not the worst thing that could happen to me. There are plenty of people 6 ft under who probably spent their last moments wishing they had taken a risk or followed a dream. There is one particular quote that cracked me wide open about the fear that used to lead me, “Our Deepest Fear” from A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. These are just a few lines: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…Your playing small does not serve the world…As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” The time came when I had to choose whether to remain “small” or start living a life I was proud to live. That’s when everything unfolded. I’d say that the risks I take nowadays are driven by intuition, rather than someone else’s excitement. A cool idea will peak my interest but in order for me to follow it down the rabbit hole, it must easily present itself as a clear vision of that idea in fruition. That’s typically followed by the feeling as though the Universe and I share a secret. That’s the moment I know I’m onto something good.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Divine Rebel Music is a production company centered around live music. All our shows were live (house concerts, open mics, multiple performing artists) with live streaming. As soon as the pandemic hit, we switched solely to live streaming using a broadcasting platform; from open mics with featured musical artists, virtual concerts, to a variety show with multiple guests – all hosted by Owen Dara. He is an author, filmmaker, producer, singer-songwriter, comedian and a brilliant host/interviewer. We had the live shows in place when I met Owen and he started guest hosting to help out. Several months later I was hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian. It didn’t kill me but it sure slowed me down and he volunteered to co-host my Showcase Room at a music conference scheduled a week later. Every introduction and interview for the 20+ artists that we showcased was thoughtful, in-depth and natural. It was so engaging. My wheels were turning. The next day I talked to him about the idea of starting a music talk show with him hosting. We talked about it that weekend then sat on it for 5 months until the pandemic hit. I saw a handful of people adjusting to the new way of life in a virtual world. I thought, if they can do it, so can we. I called Owen and said, “it’s now or never, let’s not sit on it.” Between us artists – Owen Dara, Jean-Jacque “JJ” Schoch (composer, producer, singer-songwriter), Jessica Lancaster (actress, producer, social media manager) and myself (singer-songwriter, noise maker and a natural Lady Boss), we aired our first show 2 weeks later. Songs and Sit-Downs is a live variety show. It has been running every Monday at 7pm for the last 3 months on Facebook and Youtube. Our guest roster includes Freebo (musical artist, former Bonnie Raitt bass player), The HawtThornes (musical artists), Severin Browne (former Motown artist and staff writer), Josefina Lopez (Real Women Have Curves), Paul Zollo (Conversations with Tom Petty, Songwriters on Songwriting), David Nathan (SoulMusic Records), Jeff Kravitz (Celebrity Photographer), Michael Shipley (My Name Is Earl, American Dad!) Ted Russell Kamp (singer-songwriter, grammy award-winning bass player), and several other really talented singer-songwriters like longtime troubadour Michael McNevin, Lisa Richards, Emily Zuzik, Greg In Good Company, Alyssandra Nighswonger and many more. Soon after starting that show, we moved the open mic (2nd Sunday Songwriter Series)to our virtual platform, and the house concert series (renamed Sweet Sounds Around Town) followed. We now have 3 regular live virtual shows and some upcoming segments. It’s hard for me to answer what sets us apart. I know I have yet to see another show like Songs and Sit-Downs. We mix live music and interview interesting guests. We also have multiple contributors like Jessica Lancaster (On The Upside), Darci Lynn (Bites and Booze), JJ Schoch (Resident Expert), Judy Nazemetz (Miss Morella, Smokey Lady), Glen Frazier (Tony the Friggin’ Clown) and more that are joining us soon. And we end each episode with a video of the week to promote other artists. I am predominantly a singer and had produced live shows with multiple performing artists but had never produced a virtual show. It felt like a whole different animal. Being a musical artist, I had ideas but the best thing was having a cool group of people to collaborate with, each with their own tools and experience to offer. Our end goal is to see where this takes us. I’m a dreamer so the sky’s the limit. Our immediate goal is to get 1000 subscribers on our YouTube channel and start monetizing…so please subscribe to www.Youtube.com/DivineRebelMusic! For now, we work our asses off and ask for tips which we share with the musical artists. We appreciate anyone taking a chance on us and watching our show. And we are extremely grateful to anyone who throws a few bucks in the tip jar. We each were making a living off of our art until the pandemic hit and the country shut down. The shows give a place for the community to gather online, and a stage for artists of all walks to share their art/talent. I get a lot of joy in shining the spotlight on great artists and helping them connect with a new audience.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Times are obviously challenging right now for people and small businesses but one that has truly put up a good fight in surviving the pandemic is Ireland’s 32 in Van Nuys, a local Irish pub, eatery and venue – known as a staple of the community. They are still serving excellent food and drinks, keeping them inexpensive and now they have an outdoor patio for enjoying both. They have also begun live streaming free weekly zoom concerts, which helps their patrons stay connected and is open to anyone who wants to join.  Ireland’s 32 was known for its great live music six nights a week and karaoke one night weekly.  My favorite was the Tuesday night Backline Jam where you could play originals or covers, backed by the likes of legendary musicians like Dean Parks, David Raven, Billy Watts, Geoff Pearlman, Ted Russell Kamp and so many more.  Check out Ireland’s 32 at  www.Facebook.com/Irelands32 or www.Instagram.com/Irelands32pub.  They also have a Go-Fund me for anyone who can help support this small business stay afloat during the pandemic.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Jean-Jacques Schoch is my fiance, my partner in life and business. We bounce ideas off of each other. His audio and technical expertise have been a lifesaver. He has been fully supportive of my wild ideas and encourages me to bring them to life. He’s an amazing partner and advisor. Owen Dara is the host and a co-producer of our virtual shows. He’s a class act and consummate professional. I have learned so much by watching him interact with our guests. Jessica Lancaster has also lent her positive attitude, professionalism and expertise to our show, Songs and Sit-Downs. Lastly, a shout out to all the talented people that have trusted us to have their best interests in the interviews, showcases, and segments, all the folks tuning in to watch the hard work we put in, and everyone whose thrown a few bucks in the tip jar!

Website: www.DivineRebelMusic.com
Instagram: DivineRebelMusic
Twitter: itsDivineRebel
Facebook: DivineRebelMusic
Youtube: DivineRebelMusic

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