We had the good fortune of connecting with The Lion Heart and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi The Lion Heart, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
One piece of conventional advice that you must never fall for, and that I passionately disagree with; is the idea that one must “compromise” the integrity of their vision in order to achieve mainstream success. My father gave me a wisdom key some years ago, long before I ever imagined starting a business of my own (him and my mother being very successful business owners themselves). He told me, “never sale your livelihood.” Meaning, when situations are trying and you have nothing left, do not allow yourself to become desperate enough to compromise the very thing that could deliver you out of your situation. That very thing will be the catalyst to your success. In 2013 I quit my job at the hospital, dropped my pre-med studies at a prestigious University in the Bay Area (Northern California), and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. Apart from the fact that my family thought I had lost my mind, I knew deep inside my gut that I was going to make something out of this music thing. No question, no doubt, no plan B, this was it. I enrolled at a music institute in Hollywood, and lived on a friend’s couch, until I didn’t. As the cliché LA story unfolds, I began living out of my car, with no money, and no job to bail me out. I made a promise to myself that I would never work for another company again unless it was my own. I knew that if I got a job I would get comfortable, and it would be easier for me to continue pushing back my dream, due to financial security. I am not suggesting that you follow my exact road map, but like I mentioned, no compromise and no plan B. So I lived in my car, until I didn’t. Being a novice to LA’s parking ninja force (a nickname I coined for the parking enforcement), literally just a few minutes past my parking time, my car was towed, along with all my belongings. Without any money to bail my home on wheels out of motor prison, I was left with just myself, and my guitar. And at that point, when things seemed pitiful, I remembered my father’s words. “Never sale your livelihood.” So I grabbed my guitar, and a bit of courage and began busking on the streets of Venice Beach for cash. That’s when things shifted for me. I eventually met the CEO of an incredible non-profit organization CBFREELA. They are focused in the arts and entertainment industry. They provide resources and mentorship for creators looking to start a career in the Arts industry. I had the opportunity to play for one of their events and the rest is history. The founders of CBFREELA NPO have dedicated their lives to helping artists with similar stories to mine, get off the street and into their purpose. They were a Godsend for me. If you have not heard of CBFREELA and all the wonderful things they have done for various communities all over Los Angeles, I suggest you look them up at www.cbfreela.org. Fast-forward seven years later, I am now co-owner and CTO of the independent record label FLAR Entertainment. I have also established myself as The Lion Heart, music artist, producer, and mix engineer. I have had the opportunity to work with so many talented creators over the years, and never once did I have to sell my integrity, nor sign away my life to any crooked industry deals. And never have I allowed someone else to diminish my sound in order to fit me into a mould of what they thought I should be. If there is anything I could leave you with to help you on your personal career journey, that is to, never sale your original vision for a watered down version because you are desperate. God gave you that vision, no one else. It is your responsibility to carry it out exactly how it was given to you. Because if you don’t, who will? There will be plenty of opportunities for you to compromise, and the temptation will seem alluring, but it will cost you your very soul and peace of mind. When you set out to do something, do it with everything in you. At times it will look like everyone has moved on without you and you have been left alone. With nothing but your faith, and your vision. You must understand, not everyone was made to build, but you are. You will walk a narrow road, but you are not alone. There have been a select few whom have gone a head of you and have paved a similar path to yours. So be encouraged. This means that your ‘impossible dream’ that mainstream advice tells you that you must ‘compromise to achieve,’ in contrary, is achievable for you. I may have sacrificed a lot to get to where I am in my career now, but nothing I regret. I am so very grateful for my team, my mentor, my family and all the angels the good Lord has placed on my path along the way. If I may add, 2020 has been a trying year for many of us. The world is crying out for change. There are many voices that have risen up with a united sound that has shaken the very foundation of humanity, igniting the Spirit of creation in so many individuals. So I say, write, dance, sing, start that business, pursue that dream that has been burning within you. Because that special gift you have is just what this generation needs. Be encouraged my fellow creators. Keep your faith, never compromise your vision and remember to “Be strong and have the Heart of The Lion.” – The Lion Heart

You can find out more about myself, my music and record label, FLAR Entertainment by visiting www.flarmusic.com and by following me on social media @thelionheartmusic @flarentertainment

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I go by The Lion Heart, but my closet comrades call me Lion. I am a recording/performing artist, producer, and mixing engineer. I have made a name for myself by starting the independent record label, FLAR Entertainment, with my Label partner Young Midnight, based in Los Angeles. We champion creative freedom where we believe artist development is a vital key to the artists success. My label partner and I were fed up with how major record companies were treating their artists. Many artists have had to compromise their sound, integrity and even their freedom in order to gain success, and we wanted to create a safe haven where aspiring creatives could express their art without the bondage of a crooked 360 deal. Too many friends we were associated with were experiencing horror stories with labels they were tied to and had wished they had never signed a deal. We saw a need in the industry, so thats why we started FLAR Entertainment. We are a label created by artists for artists. Yes it wasn’t always easy, starting a business from the ground up, having to build our own connections and resources from scratch. Yet we are so proud that we decided to create FLAR ENT. The most fulfilling thing about running our own label is being able to help so many artists achieve their dream without having to compromise. I want people to know that you can achieve success in whatever you love doing, just don’t forget to giveback along the way. Because your wealth isn’t measured by your monetary value, yet rather by the lives you change for the better.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my favorite places to frequent are locally owned businesses and restaurants! If I was showing a friend around Los Angeles for the week I would definitely take them to Pearls Finest Teas on fairfax not too far from melrose. The owner Phong Trinh has the best Boba teas in town, hands down! They always treat us like family whenever we stop by to grab our favorite refreshments and its a great atmosphere to hangout. The next place that we would go is my absolute favorite taco shop, Sonora Town in DTLA. If you want some authentic Mexican cuisine, Sonora Town is a must. And they are the best, literally the best!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shoutout CBFREELA Non-profit Organization founders Beverly and Asha, without whom I would not have the success story I am living now! @cbfreela @its_a_s_h_a_ www.cbfeela.org I’d also like to shoutout my business partner and second half of FLAR Entertainment, CEO Young Midnight @youngmidnight for always having my back and taking this entrepreneurial journey with me.

Website: www.flarmusic.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/thelionheartmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/TLHmusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thelionheartmusicFreeLA/
Youtube: www.youtube.com/thelionheartmusic
Other: www.cbfreela.org

Image Credits
FLAR Entertainment media team