WHY I QUIT?

It was the first year of my marketing degree and suddenly music took over my life. Growing up in Ladbroke Grove (West London) I was raised on Hip Hop music. The flash cars, fancy jewellery, big cribs made you desire their lifestyle. I was introduced to a music software by my good friend, and I was hooked. I would make beats till the early morning, I could not read or write music but I played from the heart. It got to a point where I had so many beats, that I needed rappers. I was introduced to a rapper who happened to be my brothers friend, and we decided to make a mixtape.

During the making of the mixtape, I visited my family in America. I was in awe of New York, it was the perfect holiday for a hint of inspiration. When I came back, I was fully re-charged and continued on the mixtape. After a creative disagreement, I dropped the mixtape and decided to make my own. The problem was, I had never rapped, I was always the producer in the background. But I decided to give it a go, and the first song I made was called “From Friends to Foes” which was a diss song to the rapper I had worked with.

My brother was studying Video/Cinematography at the SEA Institute – one of the leading and as part of his course, he decided to direct a video with one of my songs. He ended getting an A and off I went with my dream, at least I thought it was my dream. Regardless, I decided to shop my mixtape to record labels, XL records being one. I’ll never forget an up and coming A&R Seb Webber telling me to keep going, and that he thought I was onto something. After being refused from the major labels, I decided to start my own independent record label, but I needed a name. I was proud of my roots and decided to call it Ramadani Records, but all these record label execs would look at me funny when they saw the name, so I re-branded it to “rRecords” Branding was something I was doing back then, without knowing what the future would have in store.

Then I was introduced to Rita Ora by a mutual friend, Rita lived in the same area I did so I would see her but we never spoke. She had just been signed to Roc Nation and being a music fan, I wanted to know the type of direction her album was heading towards. She showed me a song Kanye West produced for her, as well as StarGate and the up and coming lyricist James Fauntleroy. I’ll never forget her words, she said, Enis I’ll help you, just be on point. So I decided to get my dad to help me read and write music. I then got in touch with Anda (who happened to be Rita’s childhood friend) we did three songs and the plan was to show Rita and Roc Nation. Anda flew to New York and was in the studio with all the Roc Nation A&R’s, but Rita was hesitant and told Anda, it’s not the right time. I was hurt. Okay, don’t help me but at least help your best friend. Anda is by far the most talented songwriter (Anda – RainDrops) I have ever worked with, yet Rita did not help.

Then came Lily Allen, she had launched her own independent record label and her label manager Crispin wanted to sign a rapper on the label as well as producers. I was introduced to Reddy Faymous and Crispin suggested we make a song (Destiny). The song was so different, had an unorthodox structure where the chorus was in different parts that Crispin turned it down. However, he called me one day and for over 20 minutes, he told me that he was so sorry he didn’t sign me as a producer but to not give up!

From these stories, you can clearly see the politics, fakery and two faced people that exist in the music industry, hence why I quit!

GOD

I once said, everything makes sense when it’s past tense. This is the ultimate truth, God – the one, has his own way of doing things, as we cannot do things in our time, but everything blossoms in his. In Arabic, the word “rizq” means provision. Fear not, everything that was meant for you to have, will be yours eventually. Can you not see how water falls from the sky, and every living thing is provided for – from plants to humans. 

Sometimes it may take a little while, but believe you me, God is the melody of your destiny. We, muslims believe that three things are written, even before birth. Those being, the day you will be born, your provision and when you will die. However it’s up to you as to how you choose to gain your provision. You can go left, or you can go right, you can do it the hard way or the easy way but either way leads to the same destination. Believe in the one people, for he is the creator of everything, as I said, everything makes sense when it’s past tense. You may not know why something is happening to you, but once it happens you realise the lesson. 

I grew up following moderate Islam, Hanafi fiqh to be precise, which is the most moderate/balanced way of Islam. I am proud to be Muslim, but the rising Islamophobia makes me want to leave the country and never come back. In this modern day Britain, respect has gone out the window, if you’re fully english, as you say you are – ask yourself are you really though? I am sure you have Irish, Welsh, Scottish or German blood as in the Royal family’s case. Well, that’s a whole other blog post, but let’s focus on provision.

People, believe in the One – God – the master, the creator, the most merciful. Learn to trust God’s way for you, learn to love your religion, be it Christianity or Judaism, and of course Islam. I believe in the people of the book, the Abrahamic religions who follow the 1 God.

If you read this, thank you! Thank you for your eyes and be patient, by keeping faith. 

PROUD

I was born an Ethnic Albanian, in Southern Serbia. Albanians, referred to as Illyrians were the oldest race in the Balkan region, in fact – the first. Kastriot Skenderbeg is our national hero, raised in the Ottoman Empire, he then went back to his roots and turned on the Turks. There were countless wars with Sultan Murad and later Sultan Mehmet 2 (the Conquerer of Constantinople – modern day Istanbul) but they had no success with Skenderbeg. 

Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia were once united as Greater Albania, but how times have changed. There is roughly 50% of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia and thousands in Serbia, yet only Kosovo and Albania are independent. I am from a city called Presheve in Southern Serbia and still have to live by Serbian authority. Kosovo didn’t have it easy also, as it took horrific massacres for them to gain its independence. We as a race have been through a great deal, no wonder our blood boils when situations arise, and the famous “I’m Albanian” comes out. 

I am proud of my Albanian roots, no challenge is too big, being Albanian that is. We truly are an emotional nation, and I was once told that the most emotional people are the most creative. That’s the primary reason why there are so many Albanian musicians, whether it’s rappers or singers, and of course we have Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, and Bebe Rexha to brag about. We also tend to brag about Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka who famously beat Serbia in the recent 2018 World Cup with Switzerland. 

However there is also a negative image we are given, somehow if you say you are Albanian, people are taken back and immediately associate you with the mafia. It’s a stereotype that has gone as far as Hollywood. But myself, being a masters graduate, have always tried to do good, be it through my projects 4umum.com or UnityStates.com which truly shows my belief towards women and racism.

I will leave you with something my grandma said, which every Albanian should take note of, “parja me njers, kurrë s’hup” which means, hard earned money with sweat, never goes away. 

Red & Black – always! Be proud by setting an example!

ATTITUDE

Your attitude is worth more than your talent, I learned that the hard way. During my late teens I struggled to take orders from others, this was primarily due to my brother having his own business. He had a car wash and I would work there during the weekend plus the school holidays. When he was not around, I was boss. Managing 7 staff at the young age of 19 only ignited my ego. 

When I was 21, my brother sold the car wash and that meant I had to work like an ordinary citizen. Let’s just say the first two retail jobs did not go well, but to be fair, they were temporary roles during the sale period. Then came Harrods, the brand that changed my life. When I first walked into the store, it was like a fairytale, working there however was even better. I was given the chance to work temporarily during the sale period, with great affection towards my brother, my manager I think only hired me as my elder had worked there 2 years prior. I learned so much from Harrods, but if I had to sum up all my experience into one word, I would choose “Etiquette” as I had to smile, talk, act according to the Harrods protocol.

The second time I worked during the sale period once again, and the the third time I was chosen out of maybe 100 people and kept on as weekend staff. During that time, I had enrolled for my masters and Harrods proved to be the backbone in allowing me to pay my tuition fees whilst studying. That particular year was my most challenging, but I came out with flying colours. I truly accomplished everything that I had always wanted, and that’s to make my mum and dad proud. But of course, challenges never end, so then came the all but critical job search adventure.

I am now happily working in marketing/design but it was all done through avoiding one thing, that’s ego. People, stay far away from your ego, and ego is not just boasting or showing off, it’s far more dangerous. Be humble, be polite, and work hard, plus search the word Etiquette if you need to know what made me the man I am today. 

Best wishes,

Enis

PERSISTENCE

There is a recipe to success and it’s called persistence. However you must take calculated risks, don’t risk everything because you will actually loose everything. Everybody craves success, money or fame, but what they don’t understand is the struggle. The struggle is an ingredient to success, as success is not a straight road, there are many bumps, many holes and hurdles you must overcome.

One must first plant a seed with an idea, then harvest and water that idea until suddenly it slowly blossoms. And when it grows, it grows into a delicious product, whereby your customers can indulge, allowing you to relax and applaud your success. But to get to this stage, persistence must be your appetite. Plants wont grow unless you water them.

Persistence is truly the fuel to success, so don’t give up! You must be the action to pollinate dreams, bee, see what I did there. To conclude, dreams are just dreams without action. 

LOVE

From birth, we are destined to love. For love is a language with infinite meanings, and it can only be learned through experience. Love is the pillar of life, without love meaning is lost. One should always be optimistic about life and continue the journey. There is always a silver lining with love, so no matter the experience, love can lead the way. For love, drives life.

I first experienced love when my mother held me for the first time. My mother therefore, became the first person I loved because I saw her often … 7 days and 7 nights. To fully understand love and not fear the word, one must realise that love is everything. Love can also be a reflection, so one must first love yourself. If you are not truly loving yourself then you will find it difficult to love others. You need to remind yourself that you are loved, and you should continue loving. Live with emotion, do not be afraid to show your sensitive side. Control your emotions by all means, but at times allow your heart to blossom.

The secret recipe of life is love, it is truly the core ingredient to our being. Love is the alchemy of life and life always has an appetite for love. It helps us absorb meaning, flourish thought, and become potent in everyday living. Love is heavenly, irresistible, timeless, and nostalgic all in one. Love creates and reflects memories, it allows us to be in sync with the cosmic law. Divine intelligence starts with love, for love is truly the melody of life … helping us connect with our purpose – destiny.

Love can be a quest, searching for the one and it can also remind us of gratitude, for our family and friends, shelter, security, and ones health. You must find a way to your happiness. Love is the perfect chord to true happiness and the pilgrimage of happiness only begins when you are grateful.

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INSPIRATION

Hope, this very word has fascinated me ever since Year 9. Mr. Warwick, our english teacher gave us the task of analysing what is now my favourite film. It was about a man who was put in prison for a crime he did not commit. At first, he found it difficult adjusting to prison life but he never gave up on hope. Whilst he was inside he met a friend who was negative about hope. In the end he escaped from prison by digging his way out and his friend (having been released) found hope again. I watched the film countless times and I used it as an inspiration to my life. I have encountered many ups and many downs, but I always hoped, for hope is paramount to the journey (life).

I was in my first year of college sixth form, and suddenly my Dad was left paralysed. As a kid, I always wanted to be like my dad. He was a music teacher and a pianist who taught me how to play my first song. It was hard to accept that his condition had changed. I felt like my whole life had crumbled. All I prayed for is for him to walk again, I hoped.

After six months of rehab he was slowly improving, and after a year the therapy was a success to an extent. It meant that he was still going to experience slow reflexes throughout the left side of his body. I can never forget the time when I would motivate my dad to walk in the park. With a stick, hanging on to my arm whilst people would walk past. This would make me so sad, I just wanted him to walk again. A few years went by and he not only started walking but also driving.

The Shawshank Redemption is without a doubt my favourite ever film and it was a huge inspiration throughout my dad’s journey to recovery. Quotes like, “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies” inspired me, along with, “get busy living … or get busy dying.” However the quote that changed my life is, “fear can hold you prisoner … hope can set you free.”