Collaborator Curated

Born in the Philippines and raised in the thriving artistic landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area, Pop/R&B artist-producer-songwriter Kitt Mae carves out a vibrant world within her universe in which listeners dance between the soundscapes of candy-toned pop, Bay Area hip-hop, and gilded R&B.

Influenced by the worlds of fantasy and sci-fi and with a sonic palette as diverse as her surroundings, the Filipino artist creates full sensory experiences for her audience by backing her sound with self-designed, self-painted visuals.

Kitt Mae’s latest releases include the single “Late Nites,” co-written and performed with fellow Bay Area hip-hop artist and producer Chow Mane as well as her own single “Appetite” in collaboration with Los Angeles soul/hip-hop producer Bubbs. She is currently in the studio recording and writing original music. Listeners can expect beats synced to their pulse and sparkling vocals set against cheeky wordplay. Listen to her latest track here:


 Here is a list of her go-to products as a musican:


1. Professional Studio Headphones: These are my absolute favorite headphones I’ve ever owned or tried. They sit so comfortably over the ears that you could wear them for hours without pain, the fabric cups don’t make your ears sweat the way vinyl or leather cups do, and it’s got the most flat and clear output out of all the closed-back headphones in its price range that I’ve ever tried. They’re perfect for tracking vocals or instruments, and I use them when I have to get really detailed cutting a track together or when I can’t produce through my studio monitors.



2. Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Speaker:  Speaking of studio monitors, I love my HS5s for producing and rough mixing because of how flat the sound is, their price, and their size for my studio (also doesn’t hurt that they’re aesthetically gorgeous). I don’t do the final mixes on my own tracks, but I do send out rough mixes to my collaborators so that they can get a better feel for what they’re tracking over, and these are perfect for that.



3. M Audio Oxygen 49 MK IV MIDI Keyboard:  This is the first MIDI controller I ever got and I still use it to this day. It’s not the most portable but it’s a perfect in-between option for people that like to track keys with two hands or one, and I love that it comes with trigger pads.



4. Pyle Portable Adjustable Laptop Stand: I do all my work on a laptop and it was really annoying having to carefully reach over my MIDI controller to use the computer. This was such a cheap, simple, sturdy solution that once I got it, I couldn’t believe it took me as long as it did to just buy a laptop stand. You just position your controller underneath it however you want and you’re good to go.



5. Shure SM58 Microphone: I don’t use this as my studio recording mic; I use this for band practices and for live performances, but mostly I use the SM58 to vibe and record scratch vocals at my desk as I’m songwriting/producing rather than having to move my actual recording mic from my vocal booth. Recording mics can be really personal to an artist or engineer, catering to the sonic qualities of the artist’s voice or how they want the final track to sound (which is why I chose not to recommend one for this list), but the SM58s work with everyone’s voice and are a tried-and-true staple for so many musicians and studios.



“Even in the material world, you will find that if you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see.”

Uncle Iroh


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Pa Chia started a fashion blog in 2014 as a place to share fashion tips and styles.

After years of deciding what she wanted to do as a career, Pa decided to go into entrepreneurship and help herself and other businesses grow. She is a fashion enthusiast, social media content creator, and co-founder of V.Florals.

Through fashion photography and filming, she takes her followers on exploring sophisticated styles, world travels, and discovering new brands. Pa Chia represents brands that she loves, as well as those committed to helping the environment with cruelty-free, sustainable, and quality products. Traveling is essential to her as it is a way to draw inspirations and open her eyes to the beauty of the world.

Pa Chia and her sister’s great teamwork led them to discover their abilities and potential. Indeed, they can do them all if they set their hearts to it. Therefore, they started a floral business as another way to continue creating. Their dream is to pursue a lifestyle that would bring together all the things they love to do. They hope to inspire others to do the same and never limit themselves.


 Here is a list of her go-to products for aspiring fashion creators:


1. Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera: Definitely a must have camera. I own several other cameras but this is by far one of the best cameras I ever own. I love the full-frame sensor which provides a broader dynamic range and better low light/high ISO. This creates higher quality images. It also has amazing autofocus and in-body stabilization. These are important features for when shooting video and photos on the go.



2. Dimmable Small LED Light:  A must have for me is this small LED light. It is convenient to use. It has a switch that can adjust the brightness to warm or cool. I enjoy bringing this with me everywhere because it is small, and I can easily take it out to use for a quick shoot when the lighting is not good.



3. Zhiyun Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer: Even though my camera has in-body stabilization, having another stabilizer prevents shakiness and creates steadier and smoother videos. This makes my work so much easier when I edit them later on. I also love that this stabilizer could handle the weight of my camera.



4. WD 8TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive: Being a creator, it is so important to have an external drive. One of my favorite external drives is this one. It is amazing because it can store big files like my videos and photos. It’s reliable and easy to transfer files. Also, I do not have to worry about running out of space!


“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.”

– Salvador Dali


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Joel Gardner is a singer and guitarist from Manchester UK.

With a live show honed by relentless gigging; Joel won the ‘Danny Kyle Award’ at Celtic Connections, Wath Festival’s ‘Young Performer Of The Year Award’ and ‘Manchester’s Got Busker Talent in 2017.’

His successes have seen him support James Gillespie, Adam French, Mull Historical Society, Bernard Butler (Suede), Brian Kennedy, All The Luck In The World and US chart topping band ‘The Revivalists’ on their first UK tour amongst many others.


 Here is a list of his go-to products for emerging musicians:


1. Strymon Big Sky Hall Reverbs Guitar Effect Pedal: First of all, I’d like to apologize for how ‘techy’ this article will be! I am an utter nerd when it comes to musical equipment and thought I would give you guys a heads up on the things that I have found most useful for gigging and recording out of the things that I have bought over the years.

The Strymon Big Sky Reverb Pedal has totally transformed my live performances and recordings. It has helped me find my sound and instantly elevates my guitar tones to right near the top of the pile. It’s incredibly simple to use and super reliable. I use it to add a light shimmer and warmth to my guitar live and in the studio I blend in a small amount in the background of my recordings to add some believable depth. It totally transforms guitar tones and I believe will solve anyones quest for a better tone.



2. ROLAND SPD-SX Percussion Sampling Pad: While neither of these first two options are remotely cheap. The SPD SX is simply so useful that it is a great investment. You can run professional backing tracks off it, trigger samples and plug in external triggers. If you want your live performances to sound more like the recording this is a must. I use it to trigger programmed harmonies and atmosphere to sit behind my guitar and vocal live. I also run my kick drum sound through the SPD SX and pre mix everything so it’s just a case of plug in and play. There is a reason that this bit of kit is in just about every pro band in the world’s set up. I would say of all the things on this list, this bit of kit has the most potential and while it is a lot of work to get it really working for you, it is the most fun item and will completely transform your live show.



3. IMG Stage XLR Splitter Box: I realize that if you were buying the things on this list you’d already have parted with almost a grand by the time you reached recommendation #3 so here’s  a couple of things that are much cheaper that (if used right) I feel are worth significantly more than their price tag . An XLR splitter box is in my opinion one of the most useful things that I have bought and for under £30 I think this is a MUST buy. This bit of kit basically means I can record my vocals while simultaneously sending a feed to the front of house. (This specific splitter box means you can do it with two mics at once). I recorded a live album using this incredibly simple bit of kit (which means it’s spectacularly easy to make your money back on it!) and it means you can enhance any live video taken by a fan in the crowd by blending in a vocal mic feed in post. It’s truly, spectacularly useful.



4. Stagg Multicore Cable Snake:  My setup for playing live is very self contained. I have a lot of leads doing different jobs going to either the FOH (front of house PA), a portable recorder or going to my monitors. This Multicore (cable snake) keeps my cabling really safe and tidy. It’s not a particularly exciting addition to the list. But it makes live shows and setup a lot more stress free and comfortable. When I play live I have two kick triggers, a footswitch for my SPD SX, a good sized pedal board and a twin cable going to my guitar ALL by my feet so not having excess cables around is super important so I can still perform without worrying about tripping up or breaking something! I run my guitar in stereo, my kick trigger and my output from my SPD in stereo down this multicore (5 of the 8 leads) but it’s important to have spares and this product just makes life easier for everyone on stage.


5. Shure AONIC SE215 Earphones: As I’ve developed I’ve started to rely more and more on In Ear Monitoring. As I’m an Acoustic orientated artist I can be quite prone to some on stage feedback which can be a really annoying and unpleasant issue. I’ve started playing some parts of songs with a click in my ears and have my vocal sent mostly to my earphones. Proper moulded In Ear Monitors can cost quite easily over £1,000 and while everyone who has made the investment raves about it; I find that these £80 headphones do a great job. They cut out a lot of external stage sound, fit comfortably, sound great and are just generally a brilliant alternative to spending big bucks. I’d recommend anyone debating whether to take the plunge into In Ear Monitoring to experiment with these first. 



“All of the equipment in this article has massively helped me achieve different goals in music. Whether it’s enhancing my live show, improving my recordings, enabling me to record my live show or just achieving little jobs that I feel made the biggest difference. In 2020 I’m writing, producing, mixing and releasing two songs every month. My fan base then pick their favourite of the two tunes and that song will go straight onto the track listing for one of three EPs that I will be putting out in 2020. If that sounds exciting to you or something you’d like to get involved in then please check out my social media!”

– Joel Gardner

Connect With Joel!

Maia Lee is a DJ from London with over 10 years in the music industry.

She plays at Annabels, Sexy Fish, EGG to name a few. Listen to her most recent mix now on Mixcloud:


Check out the list of her go-to products for upcoming DJ’s:


1. Pioneer DJ (XDJ-RX) Controller: This is a specific DJ pick, I use this at home to play around on, its a smaller, more compact version of the club standard CDJ 2000 Nexus’s. Great for DJs and hobbyists, and also to have something to easily record your mixes straight onto USB. It’s what I have in my bedroom, and I haven’t gotten bored yet 🙂

2. Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 25 DJ Headphones: My favourite headphones I’ve ever used. They’ve lasted me 7 years, have never broken and have great sound cancellation, and also are really light and easy to carry around.

3. SanDisk Ultra Flair Flash Drive: A good USB is essential! I probably have a drawer of around 30+ now, some flimsy and some glitch, but these Sandisks have always been the sturdiest and most reliable, and pop right into all Pioneer CDJs. 

4. The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA: Because great skin is everything. Nothing else needs to be said 🙂

5. YMING Scented Candles Gift Set: Because zenning out after a gig is also imperative to feeling relaxed and rested. I usually always have at least one candle burning somewhere in the house every day.


All separation is totally artificial.

– Deepak Chopra

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Jerm is an artist/producer from Charlotte, NC, currently based in Los Angeles.

His music has been featured in Adidas stores throughout the country and featured in many reputable music magazines. Jerm released his single “Lie To Me (featuring Vivian)” back in October 2019 and has a new project in the works for 2020.


 Here is a list of his go-to products for emerging musicians:


1. FL Studio 20: FL Studio has been my go-to for music production and recording since I was in middle school. It’s amazing what you can do with this software if you really put the time and effort in to learn it.

2. Apollo Twin Audio Interface: You need a good audio interface to connect your headphones, speakers, and microphone with your computer. It helps you clearly hear what you produce and record into your software so that you can create better mixes and have an overall cleaner workflow. 

3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones: Once you have your software and audio interface, you need a pair of quality studio headphones. These headphones help you hear a lot of the small details in a mix that is unnoticeable in regular headphones like AirPods. 

4. KRK Rokit Studio Monitor:  I’ve had the KRK Rokit 6’s (discontinued) for years now and they’ve been great for me. Nothing is better than bumping your music at high volumes and these have been perfect for that and hearing how things might sound in a car or venue.

5. Warm Audio WA-87 Condenser Microphone: Having a good microphone you can record with at home is very clutch. This is a solid mic for its price range and along with everything else listed, you should have no problem getting industry-standard recordings.

The mindset isn’t about seeking a result – It’s more about the process of getting to that result.

– Kobe Bryant

All photographs by Nick Rufo

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Valerie is an elegant fashion designer bringing everyday looks right to your closet.

She has been designing clothes since she was 15 years old, even using her grandma’s 100-year old sewing machine at one point in time. Valerie then went on to create her own clothing brand Valsky, a brand that distributes unique & elegant designs to fashionable individuals.


 Here is a list of her go-to products as a fashion designer & entrepreneur:


1. Fashion Sketchbook: As a fashion designer, sketching your pieces is so important, it helps build a blueprint for when you go to the sewing process. I sketch my ideas on paper every day. This Fashion SketchBook has drawn out 9-head figures for you to draw your clothing ideas onto. It’s great for beginners.

2. Planner 2020-2021: There are 24 hours in a day. In those 24 hours, it’s important for me to write down all that needs to be accomplished. I write everything in my planner, from my to-do list to my ideas.

3. Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine: I have gone through many sewing machines in my life. From my grandma’s 100-year-old sewing machine to the most expensive one in the store, and this Brothers sewing machine has been my favorite. It is affordable and easy to use for anyone. I sew all my clothing pieces with the Brothers Sewing Machine.

4. Beats Pill+ Portable Wireless Speaker: Sometimes, as a designer, I get creatives block. I have times where I don’t know what to create, which is very normal. Music has always inspired me to get my creative juices flowing. My perfect creative space is wherever my speaker is, blasting my favorite music artists.

5. Victsing 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser: Working in the fashion industry can be stressful at times. At the end of the day, I just want to lay down and rest. My aromatherapy diffuser has helped me relax my mind and be at peace. My favorite essential oil to use is peppermint.

“Those dreams and ideas that you have are meant to become a reality. Create your path and stay true to yourself while you’re on it.”

– Valerie Castro

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Kesi is a professional traveler who quit her Wall Street job in NYC to backpack around the world.

She has been globetrotting for almost five years and has not stayed in the same place for over one month.  Kesi’s blog, Kesi To and Fro, focuses on traveling to less frequented destinations – like the Democratic Republic of Congo, how to have local experiences abroad – like meeting a couch surfer in Uganda and canoeing 4 hours to his village, and teaches how to sustain long term travel.


 Here is a list of items that she must travel with:


1. Osprey Sojourn Backpack: Osprey is THE backpack brand to take while traveling because all their bags are fantastic quality and provide comfort. The Sojourn is a flexible option, because not only is it a backpack, but you can also wheel it. This backpack gives you the best of both worlds – you can wear it as a backpack if you are on cobbled streets, or wheel it when you have smooth roads. Visit Kesi To and Fro’s website to read a complete guide to the best travel backpack with wheels.

2. Lifestraw: I do not like paying for water, so I always bring my own filtered water bottle I can drink free water around the world.

3. Scrubba Bag: I also like to save money on laundry, so the Scrubba bag is perfect to handwash clothes on the road.

4. Trtl Neck Pillow: This travel pillow will become your best friend. It provides more comfort than a U-shaped neck pillow and allows you to get great sleep on long bus rides or flights.

5. Packing Cubes: These cubes are essential to keep an organized backpack. Put pants in one cube, shirts in another, and underwear in the last!

“I do not live a life of luxury, but I live a life wealthy in experiences.” 

– Kesi Irvin

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Danielle Johnson is a 30-year-old blogger from Los Angeles, CA that runs Danielle N The City and founded Glena Creative Marketing, a digital marketing agency.

She started Danielle N The City in 2013 as a hobby and it grew into a passion. Now 6 years later she has worked with some of her favorite brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Bravo TV, and more. Glena Creative specializes in web development and social media marketing.  She uses her knowledge as a blogger and influencer to get these great brands in front of their targeted audience.

Check out some of her favorite recommended products to use while blogging and working on her digital agency:


1. PopSockets: Collapsible Grip: I don’t know why I have lived so long without a popsocket. I use these as an easier way to hold my phone and also something to play with while thinking.

2. URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser:  I love using lavender before I go to bed and peppermint and orange when I’m in my room working and reading for a boost. I love the color-changing light on this diffuser.

3. Lagunamoon Essential Oils Top 6 Gift Set: My favorites are lavender, peppermint and lemongrass.

4. GENERATION Z: The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Currently obsessed with not just because S.L is my client. This book is a MUST read for everyone in this current political climate.

5. HARDCOVER Bloom Daily Planner: The planner I use every day to plan EVERYTHING. I discovered Bloom Planners from Instagram and fell in love with their planners.

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” 

– Buddha


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Kalena McElroy is a content marketer and travel blogger born & raised in Hawaii and currently based out of Los Angeles, California.

She has also lived in Barcelona, Spain where she began writing about her experiences as an expat living abroad. Kalena is the owner of travel and culture blog, Lost And Abroad. The website focuses on the importance of exploring the cultural and historical aspects of destinations such as the local art, traditions, food, and cultural differences that make each place unique.

Her passion for traveling is only rivaled by her love for nature and the outdoors. Kalena is an avid hiker, having walked the Camino de Santiago, Tour du Mont Blanc, and many other treks across the globe. She hopes her blog inspires people to step outside of their comfort zones and experience the way other cultures live and think, which are often different from our own.

Check out some of her favorite recommended products to use during her travels around the world:


1. Hydro Flask Water Bottle: I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle and I’ve been using Hydro Flask for years. Since it keeps drinks ice-cold for hours, it’s perfect for the beach, plane, or hike because let’s be honest, room temperature water on a hot day just doesn’t cut it.

2. Osprey Tempest 40L Women’s Backpack:  I spent months searching for the perfect backpack for my Camino de Santiago trek across Spain because I would be walking with all my possessions for six to eight hours a day. Though some reviewers mentioned that the waist straps were too short, this pack fit me perfectly and I still use it very frequently. It has held up well in a variety of climates from thru-hikes across the Swiss Alps and Banff National Park to day trips in Southern California deserts.

3. Rite in the Rain Spiral Notebook: These ultra-durable, all-weather notebooks may typically be used for fieldwork, but you never know when you’ll feel like journaling or be hit by a great idea. I carry Rite in the Rain notebooks whenever I know I’ll write an article so I can jot down details about my experience that I don’t want to forget. They’ve been with me all over the world and withstood the rain, mud, and saltwater.

4. Zinka 50 SPF Face Stick:  If I ever get asked to do a ‘10 things I can’t live without’ video, this little face stick will be high on my list. It’s the perfect size to throw into my backpack or purse and actually last pretty long for how small it is.

5. Kindle Paperwhite: I used to be pro paperback but the convenience, long battery life, and durability (it’s waterproof) of the Kindle Paperwhite changed my opinion. I do still love a traditional book though, just not for traveling. The e-reader is an absolute must-have for any bookworm who is frequently on the go. Instead of overpaying at the airport newsstand, sign up at your public library. Most libraries have an e-book database with thousands of bestsellers you can rent out during your trip for free.

“Aloha kekahi i kekahi.” 

This well-known Hawaiian proverb simply means to love one another. I think every single one of us could be a little more kind and caring towards others.


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Makito is a portrait and lifestyle photographer based out of Los Angeles.

Although he is currently freelancing in the wedding industry, he has a strong passion for traveling and capturing beautiful scenery through his camera. Constantly inspired by the outdoors, Makito strives to express the raw emotions of his subjects in a natural setting. Makito has worked with various brands such as Otterbox, Bryan Anthonys, Tribe & True, Loaded Boards, Hotel Hafnia, Faris Car Rental, and more. He is currently working with Alabaster Company as a contributing landscape photographer for their upcoming books.

Makito’s interest in photography was ignited by all the conceptual images he saw while scrolling through Flickr. Captivated by how magical and otherworldly photos can provoke a sense of wonder and awe, Makito wanted to create that same feeling within the people who view his photos. He hopes to visually inspire people with his photos just like how conceptual photography inspired him to pursue a career in photography.

Check out some of his favorite recommended products to help any daring photographer in the field:


1. Photosol Sensor Swab ULTRA: It’s always important to take care of your photography gear. These sensor swabs are perfect for cleaning any dust or black spots that appear on the viewfinder of your camera when taking a photo.

2. TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones: As a music lover, the sound experience is so crucial to me. When I bought these earphones, I was blown away by the sound quality. They also have a noise-canceling feature that is useful for when you want to drown out the outside noise and only hear the music. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants great quality earphones for an affordable price.

3. Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD: Every photographer should have an external hard drive. Whether you’re running low on space on your computer’s hard drive or you’re using it as a backup, this portable external hard drive by Seagate gets the job done.

4. MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit: I’ve gone through many tripods in the past, but this Aluminum Roadtrip tripod by MeFOTO is the best one that I’ve had so far. It’s made from high-quality materials, resulting in the perfect travel tripod that’s durable, light, and compact.

5. DJI Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal: If you want to start taking smooth and stable videos on your phone, then I highly recommend this gimbal from DJI. It’s affordable, lightweight, and has a ton of features to take your phone videography to the next level!

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

– Chuck Palahniuk 


I love this quote, because as we go through this journey called “life”, we take bits and pieces from the things that we learned over the years to make meaningful art. Even when we are trying to create something new, we are constantly inspired by the work of others.

Connect With Makito!