Today we’d like to introduce you to Adrienne Mari’ya.
Adrienne, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My life has encountered many twists and turns, however, one thing remained prevalent–my faith. I had two children, lived in a group home and got married to my childhood friend/children’s father, all by the time I was 18 years old. While the news of my first pregnancy came as both a surprise and disappointment to many, including myself, and experiencing a scare during my second unexpected pregnancy a year later, I chose to persevere and not be defined by circumstance and stereotypes. Despite being sent to a group home, I continued my education and even maintained straight A’s while in independent study. I later returned to regular high school, became the first female president of The Black Student Union, graduated and then got married two days after my graduation.
My marriage became turbulent a few years in, as I experienced domestic violence and a husband who was diagnosed bipolar. We attempted to briefly work through our problems until infidelity additionally impacted an already volatile situation. Although marriage is supposed to be “for better or worse,” I recognized that I had daughters to set an example for and I respected myself too much to allow myself to be continuously victimized and disrespected. My children and I left moved back in with my family temporarily and I chose to make a cognizant decision to start over.
Being third generation in the entertainment industry, performing and music was in my DNA. Although I had some successes in the industry in my adolescent years, I chose to pursue my career as an entertainer while balancing work and going to college for my bachelor’s degree. None of my choices would have been possible without the unconditional love and support of my aunt, Natisse, aka “Bambi,” who was like a second mother to me and my daughters. She vowed to help me any way she could to see me succeed. I went on to work with numerous artists such as Janet Jackson, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Jason Derulo, Lady Gaga and more. I also performed numerous shows as a solo artist, toured Germany and Korea with artists and had several commercial and television appearances. I, later, went on to obtain my B.A. in Journalism from California State Northridge University. It was so fulfilling to have my daughters witness me walk across the stage.
When my daughters were in third and fourth grade, they approached me about performing in a regional dance competition. I was eager to assist them, so I choreographed their piece and styled them. They won third place in their division. My primary focus shifted, and I went on to become a volunteer choreographer, youth mentor and founder/manager of Urban Xtreme for nine years. My kids won numerous competitions, worked with artists such as Todrick Hall and Tori Kelly and starred on Disney’s highest-rated program, “Make Your Mark- Shake It Up,” performing and appearing alongside Zendaya, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber.
During a time that we celebrated great accomplishments, we experienced tremendous tragedy. My aunt, Natisse, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 52. This caused me to spiral into a deep depression with mixed emotions. I was filled with anger, sadness and fear. It took faith to pull me out of a very sunken place. I had to choose to honor my aunt’s life by living mine to the fullest and continuing to pursue my passions that she unconditionally supported and believed in.
My daughters Regan and Ryan are now 20 and 21 years old, in an R&B/hip-hop sister duo called RYBE (aka Rhythm & Vibe), in college, traveling the world and performing and starring in numerous TV and commercial appearances. My youngest daughter, Regan, currently stars on Disney’s “Club Mickey Mouse,” a reboot of the classic “Mickey Mouse Club” and Disney Channel’s “Movie Surfers,” and became Disney’s first African American socially conscious female rapper in MMC history. My daughters are my constant motivation to become better than I was yesterday and set out to reach new heights.
In 2008, I founded my company Entertainment Vision Group, specializing in artist management, development, music promotions and event planning. It is a passion of mine to become a guiding light for artists and educate them on business and performance techniques. Unfortunately, in the entertainment industry, it is not enough to just be “talented.” One must understand how to maximize their brand, stay authentic and grounded and carefully navigate an industry that can often be turbulent and discouraging.
I am, also, currently, pursuing my MBA and a masters certification in marketing and I am on the board of directors for Love My Neighbor Foundation, which is a 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a viable and respectable means for homeless individuals to receive the necessities of life as they regain their way back into society.
While I know that I am still a work in progress; for every hardship and heartbreak, I am confident that I am better for everything I have experienced. I learned to allow circumstances to happen through me and not to me. It was important to find the lesson and the blessing in every situation, no matter how difficult, and to realize that I had the power to make choices that changed the trajectory of my life.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My path has definitely not been a smooth road. From teen mother to living in a group home, marrying young, dealing with infidelity and a child being born outside of our relationship, to survivor of domestic violence, to the unexpected passing of my aunt, who I felt was my main guiding force, to coping with depression and OCD, to constant disappointments in the entertainment industry and broken promises, to deep betrayal by those I considered “friends”; I realized that, while these circumstances were painful and challenging, they were my truth. Once I owned my truth and stopped allowing people to make me feel ashamed of it or feeding into people’s negative or controlling perceptions and unrealistic expectations of who they think I am or what I should or should not be doing, I found peace.
Everyone has a story. Challenges in life are what shape our character and creates resilience. While the struggle may seem unbearable in the moment, as time passes, you understand that it is just that—a moment in time. While physical scars heal, the real work is in healing the emotional, mental and spiritual wounds. I work on myself constantly to make sure that I am empowered and whole and not defined by circumstances.
Entertainment Vision Group – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company Entertainment Vision Group, established in 2008, is a full-service entertainment company specializing in project & brand management, music promotions, event management, public relations & music production services. I, also, manage my daughters’ recording group called RYBE (Rhythm & Vibe) as well as their solo career endeavors.
As a business owner and manager, I am most proud of the opportunities that I have created for myself and my daughters where doors weren’t, seemingly, open, without compromising our integrity in the process. The industry is notorious for being “political,” “clique-ish” and placing requirements upon you that may tempt you to stray away from your authentic self. It is important to remain resilient and understand your value. I say this especially as a Black woman treading these turbulent waters.
I have been fortunate to have met and worked with certain individuals who share common goals and are interested creating works that promote positivity, sustainability and longevity. Being a performing artist myself, at one point, and being born into an entertainment family, I believe it is important to relate to artists on the creative level but educating them the importance of truly understanding and navigating the business while maintaining integrity.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
My personal definition of success is working every day to be better than I was yesterday and discovering and executing new ways to bless others. Many objectify success as merely gaining a certain level of fame or obtaining a certain amount of riches, and while it is my desire to establish generational wealth for my family, I believe true success is defined by the lives I choose to touch and the changes and strides I make every day to bless others and remain my most authentic self.
Success is the willingness to do what others aren’t. It is the ability to sacrifice good for greatness and understanding that the talents you are blessed with are meant to be shared.
- Website: http://www.entertainmentvisiongroup.com and https://www.rybemusic.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adriennemariya
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adriennemariya
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/rybemusic
Main photo: Karim Saamir Photography
Me w/ Youth Dance Team: Smukshots.com
Picture of RYBE: Darrin Isaiah Photography
(RED) Rush Games: Tiltify/(RED)