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

Hi Benjamin, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
When I took on the daunting task to run my own business, I made the decision to operate said business with the same values that I conduct my personal life with. Integrity. Honesty. Love. And Understanding. Treating everyone with respect doesn’t seem like much until you experience the absence of it. When you treat people like customers you retain customers, however, when you build relationships, you create bonds that transcend transactions and forge long lasting friendships. I have learned the value of networking which has allowed me to connect with great people and build lasting business relationships. Showing love and going the extra mile when I could easily do the bare minimum has proven to be an integral part of my success.

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 am co-owner of an The Fly City Dj’s, an entertainment company, I operate my own music studio, I have been an on air personality with 105.3 Kjamz in Tulsa, OK since 2005 and I’ve been producing music for national artists since 2006 with my first national credit being on Ice Cube’s 2008 Raw Footage album. I learned early on in my career that networking is my superpower and to treat people like family, not customers. This being my modus operandi allowed me to operate my studio full time from 2006 until 2019 with great success. In 2011, I started teaching with a local non-profit and fell in love with it. I was able to teach the kids through music which can be a powerful learning tool. Students who would usually suffer test anxiety would now ace their tests due to the preparation techniques, personal mantras to bring peace and their study guide songs we created. The joy I felt to see struggling students gain confidence in their test taking and overall educational success, inspired me to start creating educational music for kids!

In 2019, I started the Music About Everything Foundation. I converted my studio into a place where youth (14 and up) can learn everything about the music industry. MAE students are also given the opportunity to experience life as a working music professional. This is accomplished by partnering with local artists and other individuals who need audio work that pay our students for engineering services under the supervision of MAE Foundation’s staff/volunteers. MAE students write, record, produce and publish their own music and keep 100% of their earnings. I also have a working relationship with Tulsa Public schools and this summer MAE Foundation is mobile and going to different sites doing L.I.T. Karaoke (Learning Intentionally through Karaoke). We are teaching everything from the elements of the periodic table to important life skills, all through music. A major goal of the MAE Foundation, is to be able to hire students to assist with teaching other students, but that requires funding from individuals and organizations who are just as passionate about our youth’s future as I am. There have been plenty of moments where I questioned if all the sacrifices I have made were worth it. If turning down those better paying positions was worth it. If barely making enough to put gas in my car was worth it. Well I stand here today, grateful for the spirit of perseverance because I am now finally starting to see the fruits of my labor. I am extremely blessed to wake up, do what I love, and bring positive change to my community and that is more rewarding to me than any other work I have done in my career. So if you believe in yourself, your dream, and your passion…NEVER GIVE UP!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If you’re coming to Tulsa, we must give you a brief bit of history and that happens on Greenwood Ave in the Historic Greenwood District. The first place I take EVERYONE that comes to Tulsa is to The Black Wall Street Liquid Lounge. It is a locally black owned and operated coffee shop in the heart of this historic district. They offer free tours of the Greenwood district and provide an informative yet exciting lesson about Tulsa’s rich history and culture. Next, we are on to the Gathering Place, a 100 acre community park with everything from a beach to a live performing area. A great place for the entire family to enjoy. If you are interested in the arts, even if you’re not, a visit to the Philbrook Museum where they house an amazing collection of pieces by local and national artists alike is a must see. As for the night life, we can enjoy a concert at the BOK Center in Downtown Tulsa or Cain’s Ballroom which provides a more intimate live performance setting. My personal favorite is Love More Hookah Lounge where there is always a great time to be had and the laid back atmosphere keeps you relaxed. Karaoke with local celebs and game nights are just a few of the nightly activities they offer. Right outside of Love More is TNT Wangz food truck ,a staple in the local food and music scene with some of the best wings in the world. People show up for the food but always come back for the experience.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that I thank daily, without them I wouldn’t have made it this far. I have been blessed to have great people around me that push me to grow and be better. My family , my good friend Dee “Dj 4th letter” Fields, My mentors Kujanga Jackson, Ron “Money B” Brooks, Tariq ‘Black Thought” Trotter and of course my good friend Lisa Jae for always encouraging me to keep working but

Website: www.musicabouteverything.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maefoundationtulsa/

Image Credits
Flannel house media

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