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Meet A. Tommy Suarez of EmpireWest Media

Today we’d like to introduce you to A. Tommy Suarez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was a youth, like many other youths, I felt lost. Born to Mexican immigrants, we lived a very humble life. I remember my parents working a lot and being home very little. My father worked as a laborer, factory worker, janitor, truck driver, and security guard; I get my work ethic and hustle from my father.

By the time I was a teenager, we had moved several times and adjusting to new environments was tough. In one instance, we were actually homeless. Well, we weren’t out in street homeless, but we had to move out of our home, and we ended up moving in with relatives – shoutout to my Tio Rey! I distinctly remember feeling a sense of struggle in our family.

Eventually, my parents managed to purchase a home, and my father simultaneously started his own business, which was pretty successful. My early, formative years showed me struggle, abuse, success, and some love, in that order. Throughout school, I struggled quite a bit fitting in. In high school, I discovered girls, started drinking and smoking weed, and all I wanted to do was skip school and party.

Some of my friendships, habits and decisions brought about some hard times for my parents to deal with and those things started to consume me, too. Between 14 and 17 years old, I became a professional shoplifter; I’m not proud of it, but I was great at it, I got shot in the streets, I got arrested a couple times and I was on the fast track to prison or death. It wasn’t until after high school that I started to understand that things needed to change my life. However, substance abuse, chasing girls and breaking the law prevailed.

For the better part of my 20’s, I was a wreck. In the fall of 2006, I had just finished college, my life was still a wreck, but then my life changed. I was in the middle of a drug and alcohol binge when I learned that I was going to be a father! That day was the last day that I used any illicit drug! I cleaned up, focused on work, read as much as I could about becoming a father and starting a family.

I started reflecting a lot on the struggles I remembered as a youth and wanted a different life for my family and myself. Since 2006, my family, education, career, and responsibilities have become my priority. Quite frankly, starting a family saved my life! I have earned a bachelors degree, masters degree, went to law school, which I immediately decided to forgo, started a business and developed a passion for giving back to the youth and the community. I have worked for some of the major media companies and became a professional actor. I also own and operate a creative incubator that caters to multimedia professional in areas of photography, videography, and music. This year I hope to finally open a youth academy that will help kids discover, hone and develop their talents in the arts.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a rough road. I think the most difficult thing for me was finding myself and understanding that as bad as things have been, they could still be worse.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I co-own and operate a creative space, which I started with a childhood friend. I help and encourage up and coming creatives trust the process of creating and believe that they can accomplish great things if they put in the time.

I specialize in finding young, raw talent and help them to believe in themselves; we are in a sense a big brother company. I also develop and produce young talent.

We offer:
Audio/music recording services
Photo studio space
Office and meeting space
Event space

What were you like growing up?
I was a mess growing up. Honestly, I believe it has to do with the abuse I witnessed and endured. I didn’t have much of a personality, as I didn’t know who I was. I guess, in some sense, I didn’t grow up until I was an adult.

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