There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Earl Detrick Simpson | Music producer & philanthropists

I was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Grambling, Louisiana. Growing up in Grambling, my father being a high school band director and my mother a college professor, had a major impact on my upbringing. Being in a high school band at the age of six, I learned how to play brass, percussion and other various instruments that I’ve always include in my music. I further my education by graduating from Grambling State University with a bachelor’s in Hospitality while being in the matching band. Today, I’m still in the pursuit of my goals in the music industry, being a teacher and philanthropists. Read more>>

Katherine Manrique | Makeup artist and hairstylist

I am from Denver, Colorado but I come from a family of immigrants. Both of my parents are Guatemalan and they came to the United States to have a better life. Guatemala is beautiful but there’s lots of corruption and poverty. With that my parents were determined to give us a better life then what they had. They always taught us to work hard and never take anything for granted. They also taught us morals which now has helped me and my siblings be who we are humble humans. I truly believe that my upbringing has helped me mature a lot faster then the majority of people my age and it has also showed me that nothing in life is given to you. I wouldn’t changed my upbringing because I am who I am because of it. Read more>>

Whylan Rucker | Freelance Choreographer, Creative Director, Dance Educator, Head Dance Director

I was born in Natchez, Mississippi, but I was raised in Beaumont, Texas since the age of 5. I grew up in a 2 parent home with 2 older brothers, where my mom served as an educator/administrator, and my dad worked in the trucking field as a dispatcher. Naturally, as a passionate educator, my mom taught us the importance of excelling in school, staying active, and exploring different hobbies. My brothers and I participated in a wide-range of extracurricular actives in and out school; piano lessons, basketball, karate, gymnastics, cheer, dance etc. At home we read books, solved word search puzzle, played scrabble, and practiced geography on our world globe. This made me a straight A student, and an over-achiever to say the least. Read more>>

Andrea Musumarra | Abrasive, Electronic Music Producer, Dj, Heavy Metal Fan

I’m sure my background matches many other’s: Born in Italy, started listening to heavy metal at 12, of course had to learn how to play guitar and eventually co-form a band in which I learned: playing live, put a song together, recording instruments in studio. We made records, collabs and t-shirts and we played around Italy for 4 years (find Eat You Alive on Bandcamp). During this “formative process” I impulsively saw and bought a Korg Electribe and immediately fully submerged into electronic music too. I started understanding how to make beat loops, patterns, tracks and shape sounds while getting to know effects. Read more>>

Endrina Hernandez – Dadson | Business Owner

I’m Endrina Hernandez-Dadson, I was born in Venezuela in the city of Puerto Ordaz. I moved to the states , when I was eight years old . As a child in the states, and an Immigrant I had to constantly maneuver between two cultures. This caused a lot of issues growing up when it was time to figure who I was. I grew up in a house hold where everything was ” you are Venezuelan ” but when I left the house, I couldn’t be just Venezuelan. I would say that by the time I was leaving for college, I was aware who I was and knew how to deal with both cultures a certain way. One thing that I always say is ” I am Venezuelan first, and I am American second”. Read more>>