LaMara Hunter has been covering the music scene as a writer for years. Now she starts a new chapter of her entertainment career by joining forces with her fiancee to found Hunter Kelly Entertainment & Consulting. The Atlanta-based entrepreneur talks to Lioness today about working behind the scenes, juggling a large family and making time to follow her dreams.
Your Name: LaMara Hunter
Name of your company: Hunter Kelly Entertainment & Consulting
City/State/Country: Atlanta, GA, USA by way of Springfield, MA
What year was your company founded: 2014
Number of employees: 2
What do you do? Hunter Kelly Entertainment & Consulting (HKEC) is a professional entertainment management and consulting firm that specializes in event planning, branding and talent development with a diversity of skills aimed at servicing our unique clients. HKEC is designed to help those ready to begin a successful career in the entertainment industry and I help them to get aligned with their destiny by reaching their goals.
Tell us a little about your background in entertainment? Well, I’ve always had a passion to entertain. Growing up, I always wanted to become a singer and actress. I would write songs and record them on tapes using instrumentals from cassette singles. My first group was called T.L.C. (before the Atlanta based group ever came out) T.L.C. stood for Tender Loving Care, (lol). We would sing all of En Vogue and Xscape’s songs. I also would write plays and movies scripts, put them together and get people to act them out. We would shoot music videos and the whole nine.
As I got older, in my early 20s I began to work with youth in ministry and we did plays, dance, music, etc. The arts is my passion! I started a magazine in 2005 call Y.E.S. magazine which stood for Youth Expressing Salvation. It was a Christian magazine where I taught young people everything they needed to know about interviewing, writing, graphics and editing. 2009, I began writing for Boston publication Total Eclipse magazine where I had the good fortune to travel the country and interview celebrities and musicians. It was a wonderful experience. Today, I work with those trying to break into the entertainment industry. My clients are musicians, artists, singers, actors, comedians, poets, motivational speakers. It is a blessing helping to develop and brand people and help prepare them for their destiny.
What makes your company unique? There are thousands of Marketing and Consulting firms, but what makes my company unique is the blend of two seasoned veterans in Entertainment, myself and Gerald Kelly. We bring very different backgrounds together, with a world of awesome connections. Experience meets Raw Talent. We have a passion to bring attention to those that have not yet been “discovered” to the lime light. It’s a beautiful journey! It’s a teaching opportunity and it’s gift that we’re willing to share with the world.
What are some of your specialties? Our services include consulting and management. We specialize in Event Planning where we create and produce high-quality events and entertainment programs in the New England, New York and Atlanta areas. We’ve been booking live entertainment professionally with proven success. From national and international headline performing artists and entertainers to local and regional acts. We provide the best talent available at the best price. Our talent resources include top comedians, musicians, artists and poets from across the country. HKEC has been a leader in the design and production of celebrity events featuring national “headline” talent, artists, and speakers since its inception. We do everything from venue selection, entertainment, and vendor relations, to event marketing and promotion. We also offer Event & Entertainment consulting services where we offer a wide array of interrelated consulting services targeted to specific realms within the special events and entertainment industry. These include: the management of Entertainment Programs, Performing Arts, Talent Development, and Branding & Social Media.
When we first met you, you were heavily steeped in music – writing articles about neo-soul and R&B artists. Was going into this company with your fiancée, well-known comedian Gerald Kelly a natural transition? Yes, it was very natural. As I mentioned before we came from two different backgrounds in entertainment. We both have seen the struggles of artists trying to “make it.” We wanted to lend a helping hand in that area.
You’re a mother and now you work in a family business. How do you make it all work? I am a mother of four, (my baby is 1, we named him Hunter Germar Kelly which is both our names intertwined as well as the name of our company) and a step-mom to 4. We’re the modern day Brady Bunch! I am not the first mother with a business. No, it is not easy and it takes much sacrifice but it is truly worth it knowing that I can leave a legacy for our children. It is indeed a family affair. Each and everyone one of them are talented in the arts. We have singers, dancers, artists, models and comedians right here at home. It’s about training them up and teaching them about life. Showing them how to maneuver in this world, because the entertainment industry is a very cold industry, it can break you down if you’re not strong enough and focused. Keeping God first is the key and leading by example is what we strive to do. Loving and supporting one another is the glue that holds it all together!
Tell me about your upcoming initiative Microphones Up, Guns Down and why it was important for you and Gerald to host this? This initiative that Gerald and I are working on has been something that has been a long time coming. Gerald, the founder of Microphones Up Guns Down, wanted to do this for 10 years now. When we got together, we were able to put the pieces in place to make it a reality.
Gun violence is not something that is new, it’s been plaguing our communities for many, many years. Watching it get to the point where it began to affect other communities is where the world wanted to take notice. We want to play our part in educating, encouraging and empowering our young people, because it starts with them. The bible says, “Train up a Child in the Way he should go and when he gets older, he will not depart from it.” It takes a village to do that. We’ve gotten away from that.
With our movement, we want to ignite the gifts that young people have inside of them. Using the microphone as a tool to help build up their confidence and self-esteem; teaching them that their voice can be heard can go a long way with that. Giving our children the resources that they need to be successful in life is key. Showing them love, teaching them the correct way to resolve conflicts and how to positively express themselves is what these workshops and events are about and we have been asked to travel the US, bringing this important initiative to their town. Thanks to people like Russell Simmons and Tom Joyner for supporting our movement, it’s gained a lot of recognition. The Huffington Post and other big publications, such as this have picked this up and spread the good news throughout our world that we live in, so thank you for being a part.
Where will Lamara be in 2015? Hmmm, LaMara Hunter aka Mara will be heading her way to the top of the entertainment industry. I want to learn everything there is to know about what I’m doing. You will see me step from behind the vail and move to the forefront. I plan to pick up some roles in acting (I’ve made up in my mind that I want to play the role of Mary J Blige in her story). I plan on singing in a live band and doing more great things with my company. More writing … I have a book that I’m working on that I plan to release at the end of 2015. So just stay tuned because the best is yet to come! People can always stay connected with me on social media and on my blog at www.MaraHunter.blogspot.com.