There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults.  We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Evonya Easley | Certified Personal Stylist & Tech Founder

I am from the South, specifically born in Atlanta, Ga raised in Charleston, SC now back in Atlanta. My parents raised my siblings and I, to be strong and confident. That we could be and have whatever we wanted long as we did the work and put our mind to it. This has helped me on my entrepreneurial journey to stay self motivated, focused and not let others deter me from my goals and making them happen. Read more>>

Michael McQuaid | Singer-Songwriter

I still have the memories of my father playing guitar to me as a young child. I thought that was the most amazing thing anyone could do. When he would put it down, I would strum it and try to copy what he did. My dad has always encouraged music in the house. Whether it was listening to old classic rock CDs with him or having late night jam sessions – he was the first person to introduce my to music. As I got into my teenage years, I had a several mentors. They showed me songwriting, performing, recording, singing – and it consumed me. Read more>>

EWANG | Artist

I was born and raised in Duluth, Georgia and my family is from Taiwan. My upbringing looked like a middle class suburb encased within Chinese supermarkets, Mexican plazas, soul food restaurants and Korean karaoke bars. Though the houses looked identical from the outside, each front door served as a portal into another culture. I would walk to Hina’s house and get handed a cup of Pakistani-style chai from Nani, then make our rounds to Melody’s Dominican family restaurant to eat Mama Cruz’s empanadas, and finally cap the day off with a Taiwanese hot pot dinner at my house. It was a gentle, swaying balance between being American teens and keeping our home cultures vibrant and breathing. While we didn’t understand each other’s home languages, we understood the importance of family, community and sharing a meal. Read more>>

Luke Truan | Music Composer & TV, Games and Media/Branding

That is a great question! I’m from Atlanta – born and raised right here in Hotlanta! Growing up, I lived in what I would consider a normal middle-class neighborhood. No childhood is without growing pains and I would say I had a great childhood. My parents made sure we had what my siblings and I needed to give us a great childhood. We played video games, played outside, board games, tag, and all the games that kids love to play. We had a lot of laughs and of course got on each other’s nerves. LOL. My sisters are here in Atlanta and my brother is currently living in Colorado – right outside Denver. Early on, I was into music and athletics. I say athletics because I loved playing many different types of sports and games. Also, I’ve never been one to just sit around and watch sport – I really like to play instead of watch! My biggest interest, of course, was music. Read more>>