Vivie-Ann Bakos of BLOND:ISH: “Write down and visualize your dreams”

“Write down and visualize your dreams” — I’ve experienced first-hand the power of manifestation. The clearer you get, the more likely the universe will open a door for you. As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vivie-Ann Bakos. Vivie-Ann Bakos, aka BLOND:ISH, […]

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“Write down and visualize your dreams” — I’ve experienced first-hand the power of manifestation. The clearer you get, the more likely the universe will open a door for you.

As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vivie-Ann Bakos.

Vivie-Ann Bakos, aka BLOND:ISH, is a multi-faceted artist & human. She is an international touring DJ & artist, an eco-activist, streaming/tech-junkie, self-love preacher, crypto-nerd, entrepreneur & magician. She is the co-founder of ABRACADABRA, a female-powered collective focused on bridging the worlds of music and art with wellness and eco-activism, both online and IRL. The collective is also the home to ABRACADABRA TV, their channel on Twitch, ABRACADABRA Records, her label, and ABRACADABRA Festival, which has now seen 3 digital festivals produced in a single year with headliners such as John Legend, Major Lazer, Snoop Dogg, etc…and over 40 million viewers. She is also the co-founder of Bye Bye Plastic, a non-profit dedicated to removing single-use plastics from the music industry by 2025 through the collective power of music.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Sure can! I am Canadian and Hungarian and grew up in a middle-class family in a small town in Stoney Creek, Ontario in Canada. I played a lot of sports growing up and was always into some cheeky troublemaking although I was an A student in school.

I remember trying sushi for the first time when I was 18 and realized that I would never fit within the usual life led in my hometown — commuting to Toronto daily for work, getting stuck in traffic, living in a condo, etc… — that just wasn’t my life. I remember my high school girlfriends always telling me to never forget where I came from — I never really understood at the time… but now I do.

After that I decided to move to Montreal to pursue computer science at McGill University while playing volleyball on the school’s team. One thing led to another in college, and I discovered the raving scene. That’s when I started dabbling with turntables, and the rest is history!

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to your career as an international touring artist and DJ?

Like many, I was a struggling artist, making music in London. I had no idea how to get attention from a label or put EPs out. But I’ve always been good at connecting with people and making sh*t happen, so I reached out to an old friend, Tosh, who had just moved to Berlin. He introduced me to Kompakt, who loved my EP and that was a huge turning point in my career.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

There are innumerable stories, but this one really changed our lives. Back in 2015, Liana and I went to India in search of the name for my next album and went to the place The Beatles had once created music. It didn’t feel right — the energy felt used and empty, so we decided to explore. As we were walking through this jungle, we kept crossing paths with this boy. He ended up offering to show us around and took us to this incredible muddy river, where we just connected with nature and played with bugs. I remember asking him who he was, and he answered, “I am everything.” I don’t think something had resonated so deeply with me, and the world instantly made sense. You can be everything, you just have to believe it.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Be authentic and be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or compare yourself to others. Find your passion and your purpose and OWN IT! If you align with those and lead with your heart, I really believe you’ll go further faster. The Universe and the World sees right through that. ABRACADABRA, the female-powered collective that I co-founded with my partner Liana Hillison, is a perfect example of that. There, we focus on bridging the worlds of music and art with wellness and eco-activism. When the pandemic started, we shifted our in-person events to an online platform on Twitch to stay connected to our community. Our digital festivals have seen major headliners like John Legend, Major Lazer and Snoop Dogg, along with some incredible self-love programming, all while raising money for charity. When you can combine all your passions, you can make magic happen — I feel like everything we’re creating, especially when the pandemic odds were against us, are the living proof of that.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller

As I shared above, I was a troublemaker, but it was never intentional. I just always knew I didn’t agree with the systems we had in place in our society, and unconsciously, it translated into mischief. I could never fathom that our basic human rights, such as healthcare, happiness, creativity and freedom, were so hard to reach in our current systems. I’ve dedicated my life to build this new society through music! I don’t want to be a part of a society that limits human potential, I want to help create a new reality — one that’s free of suffering. ABRACADABRA, and the movement we’re building across these communities, is my manifestation of that.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Lionel, my manager. As some of you might know, BLOND:ISH used to be a duo. When we made the decision to go our separate ways and pursue different projects, I really had this deep calling to stick with the name BLOND:ISH, which had been infused with my heart and soul. I felt there was a beautiful energy still to project with the project, and Lionel guided me through that decision. He’s notorious for breaking things down in much simpler ways and makes the best analogies! He gives me courage and supports my every decision. He’s always in my corner pushing me to other levels!

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

My non-profit, Bye Bye Plastic, is dedicated to removing single-use plastics from the music industry by 2025! Our female-powered global team of music insiders creates sustainable movements that activate the collective power of the music industry to restore balance to our planet. We have inspired thousands of DJs and event promoters to back the initiative since launching in 2018, through our #PlasticFreeParty movement and our Eco-Rider pledge.

We’re expanding this effort into a Social Token, that we can all be a part of and get rewarded from by removing single-use plastics in the music industry and bringing value through different eco-initiatives like ‘Clean the Beat’ aka beach cleans in your area! Our next big event will be around Abracadabra’s Earth Day Festival where we will be raising funds for Bye Bye Plastic to bring to life the beautiful sustainability projects we’re working on, like those mentioned as well as a new program that we’re working on that prepares artists to lead with more purpose.

Can you tell us the backstory about what originally inspired you to feel passionate about this cause and to do something about it?

Three years ago, I was playing a monumental sunrise set at a sublime beach club, Warung, in Brazil. When the crowd of 3,000 people dissipated, the moment was lost when the view of the sunrise over the cliff was met with a mountain of plastic bottles and cups — that dichotomy left a weird feeling in my stomach. I was livid and knew I had to use my voice and my music to provoke a serious change in the industry.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

Same as above! It really was one big deciding moment.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Many people! A good example is the SXM festival — they’ve been on a plastic-free trajectory with us since 2019! Inspired by our actions, they called us to help them create more eco-conscious events and organize clean-ups at their festivals, which take place on beaches.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Of course, everyone can help some way or another. One of our biggest initiatives is our Eco-Rider pledge, which artists can sign and commit to requesting that venues and events make their DJ booths plastic-free. Our community can gather together during our Clean the Beat beach clean-up events, where we raise and activate awareness initiatives to keep our favorite music destinations, like Tulum, Miami, Bali, clean. You can also donate here — we can all commit to a #plasticfreeparty future!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

“Quality over quantity” — It’s not about how much you do, it’s about how well you do it.

“Bitcoin exists” — I got into cryptocurrencies in 2017, I wish someone told me in 2009 that it existed!

“Think positive” — Your thoughts become your reality. You have the power to choose how awesome that is.

“Write down and visualize your dreams” — I’ve experienced first-hand the power of manifestation. The clearer you get, the more likely the universe will open a door for you.

“Keep evolving” — Never ever limit yourself, and always evolve. The minute I allowed space in my life for change, success just came flowing in.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The ‘Pay it Forward’ movement — join us now! Meet me on my show Human Nature on ABRACADABRA TV on Twitch every week.

We started with the premiere of season 2 in March. I randomly picked three people that didn’t have a digital wallet yet, showed them how to open it and sent them 10 dollars in Bitcoin. Each of them will need to pay it forward, in any way they feel is a positive gift, no matter how big or small. Let’s see where this can go!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them

So many people, I don’t know who to pick! Since my latest obsession has been around decentralizing the world, our future society, and how creators and their communities can thrive together with their shared values while also benefiting by bringing value to their own ecosystem — I would say Fred Ehrsan! I heard him speaking on Clubhouse the other night on Culture Club, NFTs and the future — he speaks my language! I’d love to have a little brainstorm session with him and align on what we are creating with ABRACADABRA! This would be monumental, and our encounter is assured to change the course of humanity — mark my word!

That being said, there are SO many people I would love to connect with for Bye Bye Plastic, to help propel the music industry into a #plasticfreeparty frenzy! Some of those include Patagonia’s founder Ivon Chouinard, Beyond Meat’s founder Ethan Brown, Gravity Payments’ CEO Dan Price, and finally the recycling station company, TOMRA’s CEO Stefan Ranstrand. Hook a sister up! 😉

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