Angie Martinez, also known as ‘The Voice of New York’, gives us a behind the scenes of her life in her memoir ‘My Voice’. Her book includes her journey in making a name for herself in radio, eventually becoming one of the greatest in her industry, as well as bringing back memories of some of the biggest moments in Hip Hop! From her career, to Hip Hop, to relationships, to trials and tribulations, to her controversial interview with Tupac and more, there is SO much content to gain something from. You will truly build a new-found respect for Angie after reading ‘My Voice’.
I have shared just a few lessons you can take from ‘My Voice’. However, I still recommend reading it for yourself, because like these lessons, there are many more you can take from the read.
1. ‘A mistake or a setback doesn’t have to define you.’
This is a quote from Angie in ‘My Voice’, that was a lesson that she took from the late great Tupac Shakur. Amidst the ‘east coast vs west coast’ beef that rappers Tupac and Biggie had going on, Angie accepted an invitation from Tupac to fly to Los Angeles for an interview. Thats right, Tupac, the artist, requested Angie Martinez to come do an exclusive interview with him.
Now for all of the interview’s details, you’ll have to read the memoir. However, I will share with you one important Q & A from it. Angie says that she asked Tupac if he regretted a certain move in his career, and he responded to her that he wasn’t afraid of making mistakes.
“He told me that, yeah he was gonna f*** up, but that was not ever going to be enough to erase everything else, all the years of work,”
says Angie in My Voice. In other words, we will all make mistakes! What matters is learning from that mistake as oppose to letting it break you.
Clearly Tupac dropped gems on and off the mic.
2. Always stand up for what you believe in and stay true to your character.
Having good morals and/or just staying true to yourself period can be difficult in the entertainment industry, especially in Hollywood. Some of you may not know this, but back in 2002 Angie Martinez became a fourth judge on American Idol with Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell. If you didn’t know, it’s probably due to the fact that she was only on there for two episodes before quitting.
Angie was honored, as many would be, to have been invited on the show as a judge. Excited to explore opportunities beyond radio at the time, Angie’s enthusiasm about American Idol quickly died down her first couple of days on the job. Angie mentions how it really bothered her that production would send in some bad singers on purpose, saying that although it may seem funny on television, “[watching] it in front of you from twelve feet away, not so much.”
Angie was told by the producers that she “couldn’t like everybody”, in other words insinuating she needed to reject more people; so she listened. Angie realized that that was a mistake when she gave a ‘no’ to a Dominican girl from New York who she actually thought was pretty good, and was then told from the girl “You know, Angie, out of everybody, I thought you would have been the one to support me.” Ouch! I know that one had to hurt, especially considering rejecting the poor girl was probably just out of feeling pressured by production.
“I let the powers that be make me treat someone in a way I didn’t want to treat her,” says Angie.
Angie quit the show, and actually ended up being commended for it in an interview with Diane Sawyer when Diane told Angie, “I think it shows great character.”
Moral of the story – be yourself! Stick to your core morals and values; and don’t ever let pressure turn you into somebody you aren’t.
3. Learn to release negative energy in a positive way.
I know, it sounds like a lesson from Oprah, huh? Well believe it or not, this was a lesson Angie learned, indirectly, because of Oprah.
Oprah was always Angie’s (and probably anyone in media’s) “dream interview.” So, you can imagine how heartbroken/pissed Angie was when she turned on the radio on her way to work one day and found out her competition at the time, Ed Lover would be interviewing Ms. Winfrey, and doing it during the same time slot that Angie is on air!
As anyone in her position would, Angie was tempted to “criticize and hate” on her competition, who had “stolen” her dream interview. As many of us may not have been mature enough to do, Angie admitted to herself that he had actually done a great job so she shot him a text – “if somebody had to steal my dream interview, I’m glad it was you. You did an amazing job!” Ed responded telling Angie how much her text meant to him and after that Angie had a revelation that could serve as a lesson to us all,
“The negative feelings were gone and I learned something that day: To be aware of my own negative energy and the power of finding a way to release it in a positive way.”
“I could have held on to that jealousy for a long time,” Angie states. “Instead I felt empowered.”
Holding on to any negative feelings will hurt you more than the person or thing that you are mad at. Learning to release that energy in a positive way will always make you feel better about the situation. Take it from Angie, or Oprah, and learn to turn the negatives into positives!
4. SHOW UP.
I’m not sure if Angie is even aware of how much she emphasized this throughout the entire book, but it can actually serve as a wake up call to a lot of us. Ready or not, if there was an opportunity present, Angie Martinez would suck it up and show up. No matter what the situation was, if there was something to gain from it, Angie went for it; and it pretty much always ended up working out in her favor.
In one situation, Angie got into it with fellow co-worker at the station, Wendy Williams. Angie says that following their altercation, the station wanted to get rid of Wendy, but they had no one to fill her spot. They let Angie know she was the only person they trusted to take over this person’s time slot, and this is something she definitely wasn’t ready for. Wendy’s show was completely different from Angie’s and on top of that, Angie wasn’t excited about taking that afternoon shift in addition to her night shift. Angie took one for the team, and before she knew it, Wendy’s fans were rallying for Wendy to return!
This obviously threw Angie off and became stressful, to the point where at the beginning she couldn’t deliver.
“I couldn’t let myself believe that would be forever, so I had to just keep going.”
That’s exactly what Angie did, and eventually she got the hang of it.
Another example was the time Angie got talked into rapping. Yes, like literally rapping on a song. She got her toes wet and tried it out, and ended up on a song called “Ladies Night Remix” alongside Lil Kim, Left Eye, Da Brat and Missy Elliott. Not too bad for your first time trying something out! Sometime after that Angie got offered a publishing deal from Warner Bros. Did she have any idea what she was doing? From the way she describes it, not a clue. Was she a rapper? Uh, no. Yet she did it.
“I had absolutely no clue how to even begin to make an album. But again, here I was with an opportunity that I sure as hell was going to embrace,” says Angie. “You show up, and you go for it all the way. And then you sink or swim.”
Angie also followed her own rule of showing up after she had a baby and was in no way ready to get back to work. Long story short, in the midst of Angie feeling like crap and hiding at home for months she got an invite to co-host on ‘The View‘, and she really was not enthused by the idea of being on TV, as she felt “swollen and gross.”
“I didn’t think it was the right fit for me, but it was an opportunity to be on a really successful show. That was some of the old me coming back to life, telling myself,
No matter how you’re feeling, you get up and you show up. Of course you have to go.”
On the show Angie says she felt bloated and was ready to go back home to her baby, but it planted seeds in her head about maybe one day starting her own TV show, and she was also invited back to co-host after that, when she felt a lot better than she had the first time! Basically, it still paid off.
Angie really stressed the point of “showing up”, and actually lived by it. There are so many more example in ‘My Voice’ where she shows it. We can learn from Angie’s real life examples that when it is the hardest to get up and show up is usually when it matters most!
Throughout her life Angie faced plenty of obstacles, but she ALWAYS showed up no matter what, and I believe that that is one of the things that make her one of the most influential people in media today.
Written By: Daniela Posso