On this episode of The Corelink Solution, I had the pleasure of hosting two extraordinary guests, Shepherd, a Cuban Costa Rican American artist, and Fern, a member of the well-known Christian hip hop group, Social Club Misfits. Sit back and listen to these rapping powerhouses share their journey to success.
A Glimpse into the Lives of Shepherd and Fern

In a world where Fridays are usually flooded with at least 30 music releases, the works of Shepherd and Fern have always stood out to me. Shepherd’s versatility as an artist is truly remarkable, and Fern’s contributions to the Christian hip hop scene through the Social Club Misfits are noteworthy.
During our conversation, I asked them to share something about themselves that even their closest friends may not know. Shepherd, always energetic and constantly smiling, revealed his love for fishing. Fern, on the other hand, confessed his love for cats, sharing a heartwarming story about finding a kitten in his backyard and how taking care of it helped him during a difficult time. We even shared a laugh about my cat, Roxie, and the idea of writing off cats on taxes as part of the family.
The Journey of Shepherd and Fern in the Music Industry

Shepherd expressed his gratitude for Fern, recognizing him as a trendsetter who paved the way for artists like him. He admired Fern and Marty, members of the Social Club Misfits, for their authenticity and their ability to break free from societal expectations.
Fern reflected on his early days in the music industry, emphasizing the importance of consistency in his success. He mentioned how he used to send multiple songs to outlets like Rapzilla. Fern also shared his experience of taking a break from releasing albums to focus on being a father.
The Creative Process and the Role of Faith

Shepherd and Fern opened up about their creative processes and the role of their faith in their music. Shepherd shared how he freestyled a verse and hook for a song, aiming to create a specific sound that would be impactful and unavoidable. He also talked about how he taps into his identity as a Cuban Costa Rican artist when creating Latin music.
Fern emphasized the importance of his relationship with Jesus, reading the Bible, and being around solid brothers in the faith. He also mentioned the influence of mentors and godly men in his life who have guided and disciplined him. Both Shepherd and Fern expressed the importance of family in keeping them grounded.
The Impact of Social Media on Success and the Changing Landscape of Music

Shepherd and Fern discussed the impact of social media on young artists and the opportunities it provides. They mentioned how platforms like TikTok and Instagram have allowed young believers to boldly express their faith and gain viral popularity. They also talked about the changing landscape of the music industry, with hip hop no longer having the same impact it once did. Despite this, they believe that their music, which has substance and meaning, can still make a difference.
Career Clinic: The Importance of Performance Reviews

In the Career Clinic segment, sponsored by AARP, I discuss the importance of performance reviews and offered tips for employees to prepare for them. I emphasized the importance of meeting expectations and understanding what constitutes satisfactory and exceptional performance. We introduced the SAAB structure (Situation, Actions, Results, and Benefits) to effectively communicate performance. Lastly, I advised listeners to check in with their management to discuss their performance and seek feedback.
Wrapping Up

My conversation with Shepherd and Fern was filled with laughter, insights, and valuable lessons. From their personal lives to their creative processes, their journey in the music industry, and their faith, they shared their experiences with honesty and humility. We hope that their stories inspire you as much as they inspired us.
Remember, your feedback is always welcome. Feel free to share your takeaways, ask questions, or provide feedback through our website or social media channels. Until next time, be informed, be empowered and be accountable. Grace and Peace.

ShepherdThe Social Club Misfits, Fern (left), Marty (right)TIMECODE REFERENCES:

Shepherd’s Fishing Hobby (00:01:53) Shepherd shares that he loves fishing and finds it to be one of his favorite pastimes.
Fern’s Love for Cats (00:02:41) Fern reveals that he loves cats and shares a story about finding a kitten in his backyard and falling in love with it.
The Genesis of the Song “Break the Rules” (00:05:45) Discussion on the importance and energy behind the song “Break the Rules” and how Shepherd and Fern came together to create it.
The creative process and visualizing success (00:12:01) Shepherd discusses his creative process and how he visualizes the success of his music, using the example of his song “Game Time.”
Collaboration and upcoming album (00:10:47) Fern talks about his collaboration with Derek Winkler and their upcoming album, sharing a secret surprise for the listeners.
Reflecting on past success and consistency (00:09:30) Fern reflects on his past success and emphasizes the importance of consistency in his music career.
The creative process and sound of the song (00:13:53) Shepherd discusses how he freestyled part of the song and wanted a specific sound that would be epic and unavoidable.
The importance of intimacy with Jesus (00:15:33) Shepherd and James discuss the significance of having a deep relationship with Jesus and how it outweighs all other accomplishments.
Keeping grounded in faith and family (00:17:31) Fern shares how his faith and family keep him grounded, and how he strives to touch people’s lives with his music.
Young Believers and Bold Faith (00:21:33) Discussion on the rise of young believers expressing their faith boldly on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, and the impact of fire artists in the mainstream market.
The Impact of Music with Substance (00:22:22) Exploration of the impact of music with substance on people’s lives, including personal testimonies and the importance of perseverance and leaning into suffering.
The Power of Consistency in the Music Industry (00:24:07) Insights on how the music industry has changed with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Reels, and the importance of consistency in building a successful music career.
The importance of alignment on expectations (00:30:24) James emphasizes the need to have clear and agreed-upon expectations with your manager and suggests having a conversation to ensure alignment.
Discussion on projects and performance expectations (00:31:16) James advises discussing projects and their expected outcomes, including what constitutes satisfactory and exceptional performance.
Using the SAAB structure to tell a performance story (00:32:15) James introduces the SAAB structure (Situation, Actions, Results, and Benefits) as a way to effectively communicate qualitative aspects of performance.

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