Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: NEW YORK
|Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:52 am†† †Post subject: SASSOUNE/ALEXA LOUIS: HMI "PEOPLE" SPOTLIGHT!
In today's segment of HMI "PEOPLE" spotlight, we feature an interview with ALEXA LOUIS, better known to many as SASSOUNE. Alexa has been in the business for a hot minute now, and she has managed to become of the most well known behind the scenes figures in the business. We unveil the mystery behind the woman through this interview. Enjoy.
HMI "PEOPLE"...Because everyone has a story!
*1) How did the name SASSOUNE come about?
SASSOUNE: As a toddler, when I started talking, or what I thought was talking, I couldn't pronouce my name. The story goes that I use to say "Xas", "Sass" as opposed to Alexa. For same strange reason, Haitians add "oune" to everything: "Foufoune", "nounoune", etc...So somewhere along the line, someone just added it "oune" to Sass (most likely my grandma), so people started calling me Sassoune.
*1A) If you were a mystery book and we wanted to know more about you, what would we uncover about who ALEXA LOUIS is in terms of personality?
I could never be a mystery book Ė With me, what you see is what you get. I am a non-conformist who truly stands for her beliefs. I am very self-driven and ambitious - why shouldn't I be Ė Iím very opinioned and passionate. I sometimes come across rude, but Iím not sure I care too much. I am rude but sweet. Iím always smiling, just donít cross me. Selfish but very giving. Sarcastic and funny as hell. I am understanding, but loathe excuses.
My biggest flaw is my lack of patience. My biggest strength is my determination and confidence. However...With me EVERYTHING is now, now, now. There is a certain urgency that is displayed in my personality and that I clearly AND proudly exhibit. I refuse to apologize for who I am. Love it or leave it.
*2) How did you get started in the HMI? A lot of people might not know that you were part of the Djakout camp before joining Kreyol La. Is that where you started, or was it before that?
SASSOUNE: Iím not sure I can pin point how I specifically started with this industry. A lot of it has to do with family ties and/or personal friendship. Throughout my college years, Youri Chevry, that Iíve know all my life, was the active manager of Djakout and he was trying to take them to the next level. He called and asked me to help, I figured why not...It was that simple.
*3) It's obvious that you are one of the most high profile women in the HMI. Are there PROS and CONS to that? What are they?
SASSOUNE: Am I? Really? LOL! That's funny to me. In all seriousness, I don't think I'm one of the most high profile in this industry. Furthermore I'm oblivious to a lot and that by choice, so it doesn't faze me.
It's a double edge sword. My reputation sometimes precedes me, and I get a lot of: " an se ou ki Sassoune lan!", sometimes in a positive tone, sometimes in a not so positive one. On the same token, it's difficult to have a private life, you're always under scrutiny, you're always judged. It seems that I'm not entitled to a personal opinion anymore as whenever I say something people assumed that it's Kreyol La's point of view, or line of thinking.
I remember there was a post on the board where someone was disapproving of the fact that I was standing on top of a chair drinking at a party, I had to laugh at that one, I'm mean I'm PR of Konpa band, not representing a convent! So if I go to other band's parties, I always have to be aware that I'm Kreyol La's representation and I have to be on my p's and q's. People tend to expect perfection when I'm only human.
On a positive note, I've had the opportunity to meet and interact with some great individuals and form some strong friendships. And that's something I would not trade for anything. I get to travel throughout the world with guys that I love and whose company I enjoy.
Finally, I strongly believe that the HMI, in its own way, builds character, you HAVE to be resilient, you HAVE to be able to hold your own, you HAVE to have strength of character.
*4) Do you take your HMI "gig" or "career" seriously, or are you just helping out friends, or perhaps it's just a hobby that you don't really think too much of. What's the deal?
SASSOUNE: The HMI to me is not quite a career, but way more than a hobby; itís a cross between the two. This being said, everything I invest my time in is serious for me. I love the grind of the HMI, itís ultimately an addiction. But itís definitely not my 9 to 5. Itís too uncertain, too volatile. But itís not about helping out friends; I wouldnít invest as much if it wasnít important to me.
*5) In the position that you are and have been, being a woman in the industry, you are bound to be involved in rumors here and there from time to time. Does that bother you or not? How do you handle it?
SASSOUNE: Do they bother me? Off course, Iím human. How do I handle them? I ignore them, plain and simple. Itís a tough industry to be in, especially in our male dominated society. But thankfully, I have very supportive parents and friends, so I have a tremendous support network. My motto: let it roll of you back....You have to have thick skin, and know your worth.
*6) Do you see yourself expanding your portfolio in the HMI beyond being KREYOL LA's P.R or not?
SASSOUNE: Being Kreyol Laís PR is not a job, you know. Weíre family J And Iím sure if you ask them, they will tell you, Iím more than a PR, we just needed an official title J Iím also very active within Nouvel Jenerasyon. Iím also the PR for Festival Konpa Ayiti Men Konpa. I am also helping out Richard Urbain with his latest project Konpa on Broadway, coming in 2009. But besides that? I just donít have the time.
*7) You were part of the Haitian Compas Festival a couple of years back, last year you weren't around from what we could tell. Did something happen?
SASSOUNE: Isnít that the million dollar question? LOL! No Pat, nothing happened. It all goes back to the time issue. By trade, Iím a consultant and that involves tons of travelling. As far as the HMI is concerned, Iíve never hidden the fact that my priority is and remains Kreyol La. So between, my full time job and Kreyol La, I donít have much time left for anything else. It was just a matter of not being able to devote the necessary time to Compas Fest.
* I have to ask this question for the fans that I am sure you have that might be interested in knowing. What is your current status in the love/relationship department?
SASSOUNE: Fans? Really? LOL! I strive hard to keep my life private. There is the public persona and there is the private one. But I am currently dating someone.
*9) Your favorite current HMI band NOT NAMED Kreyol La. Why?
SASSOUNE: Iím going to get some heat for this....LOL! But itís definitely T-Vice. Those who know me know that Iím a Micky freak. I mean Micky was my youth, Micky hooked me to Konpa. But currently? Pa gin tankou T-Vice lan. Mim. Jessie swears she has a picture of me, standing on a chair at líInfini when I was 15, so itís a long love/hate affair. LOL.
But the why? Hmmmm T-Vice is one of the only bands where I ALWAYS have a blast, no matter what, when, and where.
*10) We know that you are cool with a lot of musicians, so we're going to ask you these questions.
SASSOUNE: This is a trick question...I know a lot of musicians and I have different levels of interactions with each one of them. Some are friends, some are just acquaintances.
*A) Best looking artist/musician on the market?
SASSOUNE: Oh thatís easy....Olidups! Olivier Dupoux J
*B) Smartest in terms of intellect? Why?
SASSOUNE: You know thatís a very difficult question to answer. But the first person that comes to mind is Andy Barrow. Iíve had lengthy talks with him and we talk about anything and everything, very smart well-rounded guy. Besides Andy, I love talking to Michael Guirand. Tjoe is also a pretty smart dude as well as Stanley Herisse Ė Finally, James Cardozo is a well rounded individual and has a lot of depth (once you get past the ďoh, heís sooo cuteĒ factor)
*C) Musician that you respect THE MOST and why?
SASSOUNE: Respect as in how? I respect everyone! I love music in general, regardless of the type, so Iím deeply respectful of everyone and anyone that creates it. This being said, Iím always amazed by the sheer genius and talent of Toto (Ansyto pere) as well as Fabrice Rouzier. I recently had the opportunity to deal and interact with Hermann Nau...Such a class act!
I have to add that my favorite musician in the business is Vladimir Alexis (Vladous). Heís become more than a friend, heís my baby brother.
*11) When will we see a woman as the head of an HMI record label, or the one in charge in terms of a festival, or a prominent top HMI promoter? Is that too far off?
SASSOUNE: There have been women in charge; itís just more behind the scenes. Sophia Martelly is the pillar behind Sweet Mickyís success. Jessie Alkhal is one of the best managers out there. Tasha of Tasha Promotions used to be one of the biggest promoters in South Florida. I saw Narah Timmer basically ę make Ľ the Festival of the Island in Santo Domingo. Fabiola Dupoux-Leger had a big hand on the past edition of Haitian Independence Festival.
Evrose Philias is a key member in the organizing committee for Haitian Compas Festival. Bertovna Bourdeau Grimard is the chief of operations for Festival Konpa, Ayiti Men Konpa...and I could go on and on. Weíve made great strides towards what I call ę woman emancipation Ľ. And who said I donít have my eyes set on Nouvel Jenerasyon! Lol! (Joub will have a field day with this one J)
*12) Being that you were part of the KONPA KREYOL entourage, could the breakup of the group have been prevented? Who do you blame for that happening?
SASSOUNE: I rather not touch the subject if you donít mind. I will say this. Itís easy to place the blame when youíre not intimately involved. But it hit home with me. Itís sad and unfortunate that we had to reach this point. But you live and you learn, and hopefully become a better person.
*13) Do you think Krezi manager Fabiola Dupoux Leger is a good manager or not?
SASSOUNE: Yes, I think sheís a great manager. Iím not privy of Kreziís internal details, so Iím basing myself from what Iíve been able to witness as an outsider. And she is doing a great job. Furthermore, I think her skills go beyond a good manager; she is a great event organizer (i.e Tabou/Zekle)
*14) Could YOU be a band manager in the HMI?
SASSOUNE: I donít see why not, I just donít think I would want to. I mean I currently manage people on a full time basis, and they are all over the country! Same skills, just applied to a different set of people. I do believe that women make better managers then men.
*15) Your BEST and WORST HMI experience are:
SASSOUNE: The worst experience was probably at this yearís carnaval, on the 1st day, when Kreyol La came out bebe. I mean, so much work, effort and dedication, all down the drain. It was just heart breaking.
I have several best moments Ė Usually itís related to the satisfaction of a job well done. I tend to invest my all in a project, so to see it unfold and be a sucess is to me the biggest achievement. The most notable to date: Kreyol laís phenomenal come back after Carnaval. We didnít think it was possible but with team effort, look at where we are today!
(Conducted by PATRICK DESVARIEUX for KOMPA MAGAZINE)
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Last edited by kompamagazine on Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:15 pm; edited 1 time in total