Award-winning action storyteller
author, Welcome to Friendly: Meet Julio Gonzalez
What inspired you to be an entertainer and author?
I grew up listening to music, primarily improvisational music called jazz. After listening to it for so long, it was Ahmad Jamal who actually inspired me to go learn to play the piano like him. Over time, I got to see the late celebrated African griot (Djeli) Djimo Kouyate perform; he was the one to inspire me to want to do what he was doing. It was actually Linda Goss, the Official Storyteller of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, however, who got me going into the craft of performing folktales, storytelling, as educational entertainment.
How would you describe your unique niche?
Being a performance storyteller for family audiences and the author of some of the stories I actually perform, I deliver my book readings and presentations in the manner that I perform the stories, highly interactive and engaging! From the onset of my career in this field, I had noted that with children, my primary audience, Author presentations, like some storytelling presentations, can be quite uneventful and boring. So here, you get the book and the action behind the words in the book delivered in one package.
Entrepreneurship is challenging. What keeps you motivated?
A multiplicity of things. Waking up to another day with the realization of getting another day filled with another turn to create, find, or be introduced to opportunities existing for me, to realize a creative idea, to find a link or connect with someone who becomes that contact who opens a door that gives me access to realize some creative vision I may have or what I may be desiring to do artistically. For me to be in the position to help and inspire others, do the same for them what others have done for me. Being in the company of friends and folks who are genuinely good people, motivate good energy and inspire healthy social interaction no matter what their demographics are.
As an author, what type of impact would you like to have?
By example, show that bringing storybooks alive through the oral traditions of storytelling can be very empowering to the individual and the community. That “literacy” itself can be a maginifier that can show you how to manage your way through life.
With all of the racial tension in our society, how does your brand and products address this subject?
My primary product, the timelessness of presenting oral literature known as storytelling, is representative of humanity. My brand of “up-beat, interactive storytelling” incorporates various world languages—French, Spanish, Ki-Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, Yoruba, Japanese, English, and a few others—and diffuses the notion that one race is superior to another; however, you may find one to perhaps excel more in a particular topic than another. Storytelling makes it all relative and the interaction amongst my audience with one another immediately restores the reality that we are all universally connected however unique we each may be. My books are byproducts of my storytelling
What can your audience expect to experience from your performance?
A high energy presentation with the universal languages of play with enlightening and engaging social interaction. To be ready to spontaneously become part of the act.
What has been the most challenging aspect of entrepreneurship?
Marketing and promoting your brand, getting people to follow up and follow through on requests and inquiries, and delivering payments of fees for services rendered.
Where do you see your career in the next five years?
In five years, still performing, doing animated voice talent for feature films and television and already having several books published under contract with any of the big publishing houses and earning a nice sizable income from it all to support my family and still doing some Independent publishing for fun and uninterrupted express-your-selfness.