Zachary Mullin/Stay on Mars - Founder of Rizing In Life Entertainment & Head Swim Coach at YMCA of Southern Maine

What is Rizing In Life Entertainment?

 Rizing In Life Entertainment is an artist collective that focuses on creating a sense of community and spreading it all over the world. We are the founders of Monday of the Minds at Flask Lounge, and organize events all over the New England region. When I was thirteen it started as an idea of a record label and has slowly over the years progressed into its current form. At this point, we are handling artist management and organizing/advertising events in Portland, Maine. It’s been amazing to see something that I came up with as a kid come to life as an adult. I think that’s the underlying point of Rizing In Life Entertainment. It’s meant to inspire people to constantly grow and work on their passions because if you never stop creating you’ll find infinite possibilities.

 "MONDAY OF THE MINDS, run by local Hip Hop artists  Stay On Mars  and Smokeye, is a community hip hop showcase in  Portland, Maine . The event is held every second and fourth Monday at Flask Lounge."

"MONDAY OF THE MINDS, run by local Hip Hop artists Stay On Mars and Smokeye, is a community hip hop showcase in Portland, Maine. The event is held every second and fourth Monday at Flask Lounge."

How did you first get involved in the hip-hop community?

I started writing lyrics when I was thirteen and spent around ten years crafting my style before performing. After moving around all over the country, I found myself in Portland when I turned twenty-five. I was used to being a lost emcee in larger cities such as Seattle and Washington D.C, and I found the hip hop scene here to be community oriented; almost like a family. I started going out to Rap Night Portland and began performing for the first time. I still remember having so much stage fright at the time that I decided to wear sunglasses so that I wouldn’t have to look at anyone. I started to become friends with Ill By Instinct and El Shupacabra (Co-Hosts of Rap Night) when I offered to put up flyers for them. As things started building with them, I started performing all over New England and began to study other scenes in the area. I wouldn’t be where I’m at three years later if it wasn’t for Rap Night Portland, they helped me grow in the artist that I am still becoming today.

After getting back from the Rap Night All Star Tour in the summer of 2015 I booked myself and some friends at Flask Lounge. We called the night Monday of the Minds because we wanted to celebrate introspective hip hop and have a focus on lyricism. Something I think is missing from hip hop in its current form. The owner of the venue was kind enough to see potential in the concept and offered us second and fourth Monday of every month to come up with a night. We kept the concept, and the event has continued to grow over the past two years. Monday of the Minds is responsible for bringing in national and international touring acts, as well as providing a safe space for local artists to be creative. We organize an annual clean up days and encourage community engagement in Portland, Maine and have been featured in many articles to count these days. It’s been a huge success and I can’t wait to see it grow moving forward.

What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality?

I’m having a hard time these days defining the border between music and the rest of my life. The YMCA of Southern Maine has been a huge part of my life for the past six years, so it makes sense to speak of it. I spend a lot of time working on youth development programs and run the Portland Polar Bear Swim Team for kids of all ages. There are almost one hundred kids on the team, and I have to say that they inspire me every day. I’ve struggled with minor depression for a long time, and working with kids and making music seems to give life the meaning I’m seeking. The YMCA’s mission actually runs alongside the knowledge and message behind hip hop, so I’ve been able to use what I learn from music in my coaching and vice versa. Running Monday of the Minds can sometimes feel like coaching when new artists first begin on the open mic. It’s an awesome feeling seeing a new emcee challenge themselves, and it’s incredible experience seeing a kid challenge themselves on the swim team. It’s always been the same thing for me; dedicating myself to growing people’s sense of accomplishment.

What are one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience in roles as a founder, booking agent, promoter & coach?

I think the biggest challenge for me is time management, and when I say that I mean it’s hard for me to find time to relax. I’m responsible for booking myself and many other acts, and I’m responsible for almost one hundred kids on a swim team. It can get pretty stressful when I’m coordinating the swim team championships, booking my first tour, and making sure that Monday of the Minds is still running itself. I’ve learned to ask for help. I couldn’t do the things that happen in my life without the help of friends and family. I have James Grant come into DJ Monday of the Minds every time, and he is a key part of running the night. I have Jackie Spencer handle the photography of the night so that people can what they are missing when they don’t attend. Michael Stoltz can usually be found at the bar keeping a careful ear on the sound to make sure everything runs smooth. I have assistant coaches that help me run the swim team program, and I have a family to support me when I need it. So I would say the greatest challenge is finding time for myself, and the greatest lesson is learning to ask people for help so you can find that time.

What are your proudest accomplishments both personal and career?

 My proudest career accomplishment is booking and finishing my first solo tour this summer. I was on the road for two weeks straight and I’d almost call it a pilgrimage. I learned a lot about the mechanics and finances of running a tour and was able to see so many hip hop scenes down the eastern seaboard. Spending the entire time camping was clutch, and I wouldn’t have been able to do the entire thing without a tent. When I rolled back to Portland to perform at The 5th Annual Maine Hip Hop Summit in Congress Square Park I felt like everything here was smaller, and yet so much bigger. We have such an amazing scene in Maine for hip hop, and after witnessing the culture growing in other parts of the region it’s exciting to bring the things I’ve learned back home.

 "I used to have a lot of problems with authority and the  YMCA  made me feel at home when I first moved to Portland. It taught me to stay rebellious but to do it in a way that was productive for society. I think it helps to have a place in the city that I always feel at home at because I’ve experience a little bit of homelessness and now I can always say I have a home." -ZM

"I used to have a lot of problems with authority and the YMCA made me feel at home when I first moved to Portland. It taught me to stay rebellious but to do it in a way that was productive for society. I think it helps to have a place in the city that I always feel at home at because I’ve experience a little bit of homelessness and now I can always say I have a home." -ZM

I think my proudest personal accomplishment was being hired as the Head Swim Coach at the Portland YMCA. It’s something that I consider to be a respectable position in the community, and I find myself always running into families in the city now. It’s changed my life for the better in so many ways and has helped me grow as a person. I used to have a lot of problems with authority and the YMCA made me feel at home when I first moved to Portland. It taught me to stay rebellious but to do it in a way that was productive for society. I think it helps to have a place in the city that I always feel at home at because I’ve experience a little bit of homelessness and now I can always say I have a home. I grew up at the YMCA in my town, and to continue that tradition into adulthood is extremely meaningful to me. 

If you could emcee one song for any brand, what brand would you choose?

Well, this one is simple… Mars Bars. I bought a lot of Mars Bars in Canada before my tour this summer because you can’t find them in America, and then left them around at all the venues I was performing at along the road. I think people really loved it, and they taste so much better than America’s silly Milky Ways.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?

 “Bring the mothafuckin’ ruckus” – Wu Tang Clan

In one word, describe yourself:

 Fearless.

"I’ve struggled with minor depression for a long time, and working with kids and making music seems to give life the meaning I’m seeking."-ZM

To Connect with Zachary/Stay on Mars & -or- Rizing in Life Entertainment: 

Rizing In Life Entertainment Website:

www.rizinginlife.com

Monday of the Minds Social Media:

www.facebook.com/mondayoftheminds

www.soundcloud.com/mondayoftheminds

Stay On Mars Social Media Accounts:

www.facebook.com/stayonmars

www.soundcloud.com/stayonmars