I’ll admit, I had somewhat set ideas of how my interview with an audio producer/engineer for the Wu Tang Clan would go after reading through BT Rockwell’s biography. Fast-forward one and a half hours later, I hung up the phone from what would be one of the most engaging and interesting conversations I’ve had in a while. I didn’t expect a white guy immersed in the NYC Hip Hop scene to be so well versed in life, self-love and spirituality. Needless to say, it was a huge reminder to never judge a book by its cover.
His new fiction book, “Burn Me Up Fast”, takes the reader on a journey with the main character Byron Bella who travels the path of overcoming fear to embrace your dreams and to open yourself to love. Set in NYC, the heart of the Hip Hop scene, in the middle of a fast-paced world filled with drugs and parties, fears and guns, life lessons and, ultimately, love. Readers can get a glimpse of what the darker sides of urban youth culture is really like from an author who has seen it firsthand from his success in the music industry. Will Byron be able to let go of his illicit lifestyle, or will it finally catch up with him?
My first question for Mr. Rockwell was an obvious one given his own diverse background: Why go with the fiction genre instead of a memoir? BT was frank with me. “My life isn’t as interesting as the fictional version. There are bits and pieces I took from my life but the beauty of fiction is that you can take things from real life and twist and turn them however you want to make them more interesting. I’ve always had a calling for creativity and fiction was the next step. Using my brain in a creative way instead of just trying to recall my life.”
One thing that really struck me in the list of takeaways from the book was BT’s message that cities like New York City can help spread messages of tolerance of multi-faith and multi-ethnic cultures living as one. Having lived both sides of the spectrum, growing up in a small town (pop. 33,000) in the East Coast of Canada to living and working in Los Angeles definitely gives you a vastly different outlook of the world. In my opinion, this could very well be the most important takeaway from the book. Here’s what BT had to say: “I grew up in suburb of New Jersey and there wasn’t much variety in lifestyle, ethnicity and multi-faith. As soon as I was old enough to think about this, I was desperate to get out of this town and see what else was out there in the world. The lifestyle variety, action and ideas of a big city always intrigued me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The book stresses the power of choice and that we are conscious creators. Byron, the main character in Burn Me Up Fast, has a choice to leave his dark and spiraling lifestyle by choosing to conquer his fears in order to embrace his dreams. BT says, “Choose your own destiny or it will be chosen for you. That’s something in my own life I’ve always battled with. Sometimes it’s really hard to pull the trigger on what you really want to do with your life. A huge reason that people stall on this and waste their limited time on this planet is fear. Fear is the biggest thing that holds people back. I think everyone can relate so I really wanted to show Byron making his own decisions and overcoming those fears.”
BT Rockwell has been up close and personal working with the Legendary Wu Tang Clan. I wasn’t going to let the interview slip by without getting his perspective on whether or not there is some special trait or quality that makes truly gifted artists stand out from the crowd. “Can anyone be a successful artist? Probably not. There is something to being talented and honed into your craft. With the Wu Tang Clan, there’s magic when you have a group of talented people who all hold their own weight, the stars align.”
Drug addiction is a main theme of Burn Me Up Fast and the character Byron has the choice between his drug dependent world or not. When I asked BT how he came up with the title and what it really meant, he left a little cliffhanger. “The beauty of the title is the double meaning in it. It was picked by my editor and longtime friend, Megan Fox – the other Megan Fox! She was able to pull it out of the literature and we marinated on it for a bit but say, yeah, that’s the title. I love it. There’s a whole lot of weed smoking going on so the title works on that level but there’s a whole other level at the end of the book that has nothing to do with drugs.”
Self-love is one of the main goals BT wanted his character to achieve and his reason for this boils down to a simple formula: “I think self-love is extremely important. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect other people to love you? I’m a hard critic in general about art and music. I think I was born pretty critical and cynical and that definitely carries over into how you feel about yourself. I have a lot of love for myself but there are definitely other times when you start to pick apart who you are. Keeping a positive outlook is so important. If you have a positive outlook about yourself and your journey, it will lead to much more positive things. It’s a simple equation.”
I was curious to hear BT’s thoughts on Byron’s catalyst for change that motivated him to alter the trajectory of his life. “His brother passes and he feels something deep down where he knows his life needs to change now or it never will and that scares the hell out of him.”
BT and I spent the majority of the interview talking about his new book Burn Me Up Fast but I wanted to squeeze in few personal questions.
I definitely wanted to know what he had in mind for the future so I asked him what his 5 year plan looked like: “In 5 years, I want use my mind to create art that people love. I don’t need to be a massive American Idol hit, I just want a fan base that will support and relate to what I write, the music I make, etc.”
With his positive outlook on life, I wondered if he had any regrets and he quickly and briefly answered: “No, except for Hitler being born.”
Will there be more books from BT Rockwell? Stay tuned for another fiction title called Bloodsucker which is nearly complete.
I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with BT Rockwell. It was easy conversation. He’s intelligent, wise, but most of all authentic. I encourage you to check out his new book Burn Me Up Fast and also visit his website to see what other things this eccentric and fascinating artist is up to.
Michelle Arbeau is an internationally recognized Celebrity Numerologist, author, inspirational speaker and radio/tv host. She has a Hollywood clientele base that includesTwilight vampires, Big Bang Theory actress, Pirates of the Caribbean actor, NBCDirector, Celebrity stylistand many more.
A media favorite and considered an expert in her field, Michelle is frequently a repeat guest on national outlets such as CBC Radio, CTV Morning Live, Breakfast Television and LA Talk Radio.
She is the host of her own radio show in Hollywood called Life By The Numbers covering topics of spiritual growth, current affairs, celebrity news and more through the lens of numbers. Michelle also writes a syndicated monthly numerology horoscope column published by popular sites such as VividLife.me, SimplyWoman.com, SelfGrowth.com and LASplash.com as well as a weekly forecast on Lesbian.com.
Her newly released books, The Energy of Words: Use the Vibration to Manifest the Life You Desire and Soul Numbers: Decipher the Messages from Your Inner Self to Successfully Navigate Life are the product of combining her love of numbers with her passion for helping others to find purpose, meaning and joy in life. Visit Michelle Arbeau online.