Today we’d like to introduce you to Vershone “Zy” Bowser.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Vershone “Zy”. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
How I got started? I feel like I got started after graduating high school. I spent a lot of time in grade school going with the flow and not spending enough time figuring out who I was or what I wanted to be. I didn’t have a great high school experience, but it wasn’t horrible. I thought everyone else was just chilling and having fun, but really they were getting their lives and futures together. I was lagging behind.
Growing up, I wanted to play professional basketball. I avidly watched sports even when I was really young. I remember watching the ’02 LA Lakers highlights of them winning the NBA championship on Sportscenter VIVIDLY (almost four years old). You see these guys, who are old enough to be your older sibling or father, playing your favorite sport, improving their family’s lives, giving back to their community, and having a much better-looking lifestyle than your own… made me want to experience that too. Looking back at it though, I never spent enough time honing my craft growing up to have made it anywhere professionally. An important life lesson to learn that I hope to pass on.
Outside of the dream world, after I graduated high school, I went to a prep school for a year to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life career-wise. I didn’t want to pick a college and major off the cuff, let alone pick a college at all. Graduating at the same time as my high school peers really wasn’t that serious. However, going away to prep school didn’t help much either. I was playing basketball there as a hopeful to get recruited for a college team. My final season was injury-plagued and dismal. It forced me to look deeper within myself than I had ever before. It was seeming like I couldn’t play basketball anymore, at least at the level I wanted to. That was the toughest transition for me, figuring out what I actually enjoy, and what I’d like to spend my working life doing. It became a very dark time and reintroduced some mental health issues I had in the past from 5th grade through middle school. Those mental health problems pushed me to write poems and stories to cope … I’m sure we’ll get to that later. I envied people who figured it out a lot earlier than I did. It felt like there was something wrong with me, but not anyone else. We all have our own journey’s, I just had to embrace that. I waited until the last minute, but happily I ended up in the right place doing things that I love. I feel like without the encouragement and the refusals to give up on me that I received from my close friends and family, especially my mother, allowed me to have the mindset that whatever I try to do, as long as I put time into getting better at a task or activity, I can do anything. Like the avatar, master of all elements haha! I firmly believe that I can too.
I ended up in the SUNY Oneonta Music Industry major and made a niche for myself within the program. Getting to know all likes of people, joining some clubs, a fraternity, getting my first experiences performing in front of different crowds, both as an actor and a musician, planning a conference, and a bunch of other activities. I picked up an Audio Production and Theatre minor too. Oneonta started to feel like home. People would say that I’m talented, which motivated me to keep working on my craft instead of getting comfortable… learned from my mistakes. Also, I kept pushing myself to exceed expectations in my classes. Soon enough, things started to fall into place, and I ended up in the roles I’m in now. Getting first-hand experience working in the music business as a student, and building foundations for a career as a performing artist.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it hasn’t been a smooth road, not at all. Anyone who is working for something bigger than themselves can attest to that for sure. From fifth grade through middle school, I went through a tough time coping with a lot of lost lives in a very short time within my family. That was the first time I ever encountered depression, worry, anxiety, and loneliness, yet the feelings stayed with me for a long time. It brought upon a brick wall of insecurity and fear of rejection that truly held me back from the potential I could’ve reached. To this day, I think it affects my ability to communicate my emotions and how I’m feeling in the moment. I find it easier to express myself through written words, a song, or a poem because that’s what I would do to cope with the trauma. Not being able to communicate how I’m feeling hasn’t plagued me completely, there have been hard times no doubt, but it’s something that I’m working on and challenging myself at every day.
In high school, the biggest question that I was trying to solve was – “who am I”. I had a group of friends that I could be myself around, which is what everybody needs, but maybe it wasn’t the best thing for my growth as a person. Finding my real identity as a person didn’t come until college, maybe as recent as a year or so ago. It’s hard to look back on that because there’s so many years that I wish I could get back with the head that I have on my shoulders now but… maybe in the next life.
In college, most of the experience has been dealing with sacrifice and the fear of missing out. There’s so many activities going on at college, there’s so much for a student to do and get involved in, and that’s where a lot of us students fall short when it comes to pursuing our goals. My first year was filled with negative decisions. Whether it was health-wise with what I was eating, going out and partying too much with the substances that go along with that, not being in the books as much as I should’ve been, and staying in some toxic relationships that I should’ve gotten away from as soon as possible. Some friends I had were, I don’t want to say were horrible people, but were definitely a negative influence to what I wanted to do with MY LIFE. I think a lot of people, including myself, can get caught in a trap of living someone else’s life, or living a life that someone else has presented, or created for us to follow. I feel more people need to realize that and try to take some control over where their life is going. There’s few things worse than feelings of regret. I feel like everyone has goals, and whether they be big or small, we should make sure we’re doing things towards accomplishing what we want in our lives, instead of going with the flow sometimes. Making better decisions and staying away from negative influences. It’s not easy to pick the high road all the time, but your future self thanks you.
Overall, I feel like the biggest struggle has been getting over my insecurity and perfectionism. Everyone makes mistakes, nobody’s perfect. Cliche I know haha, but the more digitally connected we become, it’s important to stay true to you and refrain from comparing yourself and your progress to others’. Without embracing that, I’m not sure that I would’ve got invested into acting and performing. We’re all capable of extraordinary things when we focus on improving ourselves and the circle of people around us.
MyGuyZy – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a man of many hats haha! First and foremost, I want to be a music artist, and an actor too while I’m at it. Right now, though, I am a digital marketing and advertising specialist for Bravado International at Universal Music Group and I love it! I take a lot of pride in helping consumers get the best online experience while getting the highest returns on any spending I do for the company. It feels like sports sometimes, because I’m competing with myself and the web! Basically, trying to read consumer’s minds and provide a win-win for everyone involved. I was always a team player so that’s where I get that from haha!
When I’m creating, I feel like I specialize in making music to provoke and help people find themselves if they’re lost in any way. Or at least have someone to relate to in the pursuit of finding themselves or self-actualization.
I want to motivate people to pursue their ideal life, and give up the negative habits that become a detriment to their future success & happiness. I want people to stop giving up on new things before they try them. Not letting the scars of their past shape their future, but rather using the lessons they learned, some more painful than others, to push them towards being a better human today and everyday that follows.
The main genre of music that I create is hip-hop based, and I feel my motivation will eventually set me apart. There isn’t a lot of that type of messaging on major airwaves or playlists within hip-hop. It’s usually music that promotes bad habits, negative behavior, and community destruction. It’s sad because that’s what artists know and have experienced in their lives, and hopefully my experiences can scream just as loud if not louder one day. Mixing positive messaging with a little flash, I know the live shows will be a ton of fun when we get back to that! Sooner rather than later I hope!
I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom enough times to help people avoid going down the same paths I have. What will set me apart will be helping people live happier lives without promoting negative habits.
I’m known for being helpful in any situation and bringing people up to improve their quality of life. My goal is to help. Sometimes I help too much and forget about myself, but that’s what floats my boat.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as accomplishing what we set out to do. Whether it be a long-term goal or a short-term goal, like waking up every morning haha. I feel like success for me isn’t tangible things. I mean it would be nice to have some material things like more money to spend, getting a house to have more space than I’ve ever had, and maybe some clothes to show off my style more. I feel like most of those desires get ingrained within us at an early age, at least in this country haha. Especially when you visit well-off friends and they have whole houses, like “the whole thing is yours??” haha!
My definition of success is being a positive influence in people’s lives, hopefully changing their mindsets for the better, or to provoke happiness out of people. That’s really my goal when it comes to anything that I create. I always have others in mind because I want everyone’s journey through life to be as smooth-sailing as possible for the entirety of our existence. Life doesn’t last forever, so I want to help people have a wonderful, enjoyable, and fulfilling life while we’re here. I will keep working my way up to bigger platforms to help as many people as I can, to have more fun, to help them avoid the struggles that I’ve experienced, or get out of a tough spot when they’re feeling down, or lost.
The proudest moment of my career so far happened very recently, and it felt like the “success” I want to have in the world.
In June, I gave a speech and performed an original spoken word at a Black Lives Matter march in my hometown of Pelham, New York. It was a really special moment. It hit home for me, many people that were at the march, and many others on the internet. I had performed on stage many times before then, I had spoken to crowds larger than that, but I’d never felt a rush of emotions come pouring out of me like they did on that day. It was truly a culmination of my inner thoughts and feelings growing up as a black man in America, from my childhood to now. After I delivered the last line, I instantly broke into tears and embraced my family. I never had that feeling of putting that much positive energy into the world, while getting some of my darkest fears and traumas off of my chest.
Numerous people came up to me after the event and let me know how powerful the spoken word was, and how much it impacted them. Some people said they had no idea that our experience was like that. My social medias were blowing up with kind comments, messages, shares, everything. Others even apologized for past moments that could’ve contributed to my inner afflictions. To know with 100% certainty that a message I created and felt with every ounce of me altered mindsets for the better, it was a dream come true.
I can’t wait to keep reaching different and higher platforms while being a positive influence in people’s lives, and eventually, the world! That’s what success is to me.
- Website: https://www.vershonezybowser.com/
- Email: email@example.com (for Art/Performance) & firstname.lastname@example.org (for Business)
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myguyzy/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyGuyZy
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/myguyzy
Geoff Rosenthal, Zanida Banks, Dione DeShields, Louis Balascio