Do you feel stuck? Going round the same loop, again? Pivot Points brings you stories from cultural influencers about how they pivoted their lives onto a new path. Pivot Points unpacks the reality of lasting transformation. This series of interviews explores the often difficult process of pivoting from the old to the new. We explore how shifts in individual stories can change the culture.
Andre uses the format of story to frame these in depth discussions. These shows cover topics like racism, coping with illness, leadership and dealing with success. Each episode contains nuggets of insight and truth that will give you tools for pivoting your own life.
In this episode I speak with the artist Mark Evans. We go deep into the architecture of a pivot point. We chat about what he has learned from observing nature, the ploughing and harrowing of ground before new life can grow and the pain of creating with bravery. Mark grew up on a rural farm in the Welsh mountains.At the age of 7 his grandfather gave him a small pocket knife which he used to carve images into trees and wood bark, that knife would influence the rest of his life.In his twenties, Evans left the farm and in 1995, during the height of the YBA explosion, he moved to London to study Fine Art at Middlesex University. For several years he worked with more conventional and traditional materials such as charcoal, oils & acrylics but they felt too synthetic, too safe. He couldn’t quite escape that primal childhood sense he had when he created an image by cutting & carving with that first blade.It was winter 2000, the turn of the millennium, and Evans was trying to clean a patch of blood off a new leather jacket he had been given that Christmas. By accident he scratched into the surface of the jacket and that tiny patch on the leather suddenly opened up a whole new world of possibilities.“It was my own Archimedes “Eureka” moment... it was as if an explosion went off in my mind. I saw a world of possibilities. I then spent the next few years focused on developing this technique at my studio. I was living as part artist & part alchemist trying to perfect the process which I’d accidentally discovered.”Nearly 20 years later Evans now works with animal hides from all around the world, and hand-etches them with dozens of different knives & scalpels. After two decades he has perfected both the etching and the leather tanning, which is integral to the overall process of the art piece.The procedure takes incredible patience and immense attention to detail, he removes less than a tenth of a millimeter of the leather surface. Evans cuts through the layers of dark skin, removing just enough skin until he exposes the varying tones of lighter tanned suede (or nap) beneath.Evans describes his work as “micro-sculpture” and his pieces occupy a space somewhere between painting and sculpture, and each artwork can take months to complete.He adds “Working in leather has huge aesthetic appeal, leather is ancient, yet elegant, leather has historic heritage and yet it’s very contemporary. Leather gets better with age and in our plastic, synthetic, digital world, leather has an authentic integrity. Animal hides were once a living, breathing creature and we subconsciously respect that.”Evans’ works are held in private collections around the world, and his collectors vary from Royalty to the Hollywood A List.
40 min 50 sec
In this episode I speak with the composer and pianist Tamara Konstantin. She recently performed her romantic piano compositions before Grace Jones's headline act and a star studded audience at the ICON gala at London's Landmark Hotel where the worlds of fashion, show business and music joined forces to raise funds for NHS Charities Together and WellChild. Tamara learned to play piano as a child growing up in Georgia. After attending a special music school for gifted children, she continued her piano studies at the Tbilisi Music Academy where she performed with the State Symphony Orchestra of Georgia and gave many solo recitals. Surprisingly Tamara did not seek a career as a classical pianist, but chose to take a linguistics degree at Tbilisi State University before becoming the first female political commentator on Georgian television. Tamara's next 'pivot' was when she switched careers again and moved into the oil industry to help companies negotiate their strategies in the former Soviet Union and Central Asia; she eventually became Vice President of Business Development for an oil company.Fate took a hand however and marriage to an Englishman brought Tamara to the UK where she found home in the beautiful Dorset countryside and with it her way back to music. When Tamara complained to her husband about a modern atonal piece of music performed at a concert they attended he challenged her to write something better. She rose to the challenge and an intense period of creativity followed.In 2016 'Inflections' - Tamara's much acclaimed debut album was released to huge acclaim. The album was nominated CD of the week by Lady Magazine and compositions from it have been played on Classic FM, BBC Scotland (Classics Unwrapped) and BBC Solent. Three years later Tamara’s second album, 'Reverie' was released. Next month Tamara's third album is being released by Last Man Music. It is perhaps her most personal endeavour to date because it was produced during the global crisis and reflects the pain of lockdown. As she says: "It is a personal message of love, hope and affection to the people and places closest to my heart and the heartache of not being able to see my son and his family. I have tried to evoke feelings that most of us will recognise, including a sense of loss and heartbreak juxtaposed with the empowerment of love, hope, family and community.”Several pieces on the album evoke the anxiety and isolation caused by the Covid-19 epidemic. There are compositions that cleverly translate into music the beauty of her beloved home county of Dorset and the natural beauty of places further afield including her native land of Georgia.The new album Resilience demonstrates Tamara’s electric creativity and fuses her love of Chopin’s romanticism, Rachmaninoff's strength and Beethoven’s dynamism with her own mesmerising and passionate compositions and operatic melodies. Overall, the work is a testament to her belief in the power of music to console, to uplift, and to bring people together whether in joy or sorrow - the power to help us find a spirit of Resilience.The album showcases Tamara's vision, prodigious talent and ability to speak through music and was written for and performed by Tamara's piano trio who perform together under the name 'The Three Graces' which includes the immensely talented violinist Elly Suh and acclaimed cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber. The album 'Resilience' will be released by Last Man Music on November 5th. The single 'The Elixir of Life' is out on October 5th and you can have a listen here: https://s.disco.ac/qnymwixevecjhttps://tamarakonstantin.com/
24 min 49 sec
In this episode I speak with Michael Donald - former banking boss turned eco warrior who is waging war on plastic. Michael is an environmental activist who is determined to take action against the effects of plastic pollution - one of the most pressing environmental issues today. He has launched ImageNPay - a new digital wallet, in a bid to kill off plastic payment cards by making digital payments interactive and carbon neutral. This is the world's first payment system that enables users to personalise a virtual Mastercard with bespoke images that appear in their Apple Wallet. Michael hopes to inspire concerned members of the public as well as corporations and government officials to press for change and lessen our environmental impact.He says: "Plastic is polluting not just our oceans, it’s polluting us. Via the water we drink and the food we eat.' Michael aims to protect the environment by eliminating the need for plastic credit and debit cards which contain toxic materials which are difficult to recycle. You can find out more about ImageNPay Digital Wallet (available on Apple Pay) and Michaels work at https://www.imagenpay.com/
38 min 53 sec
In this first episode of season 2, I speak again with the actor David Gyasi (Interstellar, Cloud Atlas,The Dark Night Rises, Carnival Row). We look at where the word kneenecking is a year after it's conception as a way to articulate the horror of racism. We chat about the continuum between micro and macro aggression, the origins of racist 'science' and signs of hope and change. We look at racism as a disease and a state of being that far from being the human condition is an infected wound that mars and obscures humanity. David also discusses how when we really want to make a change we can do it.
33 min 14 sec
This is the finale to season 1! In this episode I am interviewed by the award winning documentary film maker Øyvind Aamli. We talk about some of the pivot points my guests talked about in season 1. We break down the four elements of any pivot with examples from interviews with people like David Gyasi, David Grant, Tamzin Merchant, Carrie Grant. This episode unpacks some of the changes I have been through and how I understand the mechanics of deep change. We draw on the principles of storytelling that have inspired my approach to helping clients transform.
31 min 18 sec
In this episode I speak with Phil Gould, drummer, composer, songwriter & producer who was a founding member of 1980's band, Level 42. He is now an independent artist releasing solo work along with collaborations across Europe. We chat about the ups and downs of fame and touring and the effects this had on Phil's personal life. We also pick up on a theme we have heard from other guests, the connection between suffering, pain and great art. There is a great anecdote about David Bowie, some deep diving into Phil's musical inspirations and exciting news about forthcoming projects. .
In this episode I speak with Daniel Cooper. Daniel Cooper is a former trader, a programmer and serial entrepreneur who streamlines businesses across the globe through the use of technology and automation. Daniel is on a mission to help as many business owners as possible ride the wave of technology turning sluggish companies into fast-paced technology backed enterprises. Recently Daniel has written a book called Upgrade, a book to help businesses benefit from transformative technology. It was fascinating talking to Daniel about the future of technology and business in a post-pandemic world. He had some fascinating insights into AI, the future of the internet and business. Daniel describes his own pivot point from being a city trader into his current business. Personal website: danielcooper.im Company website: lolly.co
36 min 6 sec
In this episode I speak with Mo Pleasure, composer, singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Mo has played with everyone from Ray Charles to Earth Wind and Fire. He is currently the music director for Bette Midler. We talk about music as an expression of the soul and a physical connection between people. Mo describes how he pivoted into working with Ray Charles and later Earth Wind and Fire. We discuss the importance of linking dreams to work and taking chances when they arrive. This was an inspiring conversation that left me feeling that anything is possible.
41 min 17 sec
Janice Sylvia Brock is an internationally acclaimed artist, and her work hangs in private collections around the world, notably the White House. Her painting career started in hospital where she spent most of her adolescence, suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which has become her constant companion. We explore how art enabled Janice to pivot her identity and not be defined by illness or disability. Janice shares her creative process and how movement and energy is key to her work. For more on Janice and her work visit http://www.janicesylviabrock.com/index.php
23 min 37 sec
In this episode I speak with Carrie Grant M.B.E, broadcaster, presenter and business coach. We both have personal experience of adoption. I was adopted at birth and she and her husband have adopted a child. In this deep and fascinating discussion we explore how Carrie pivoted into the role of adopting parent and how this decision has changed her life. We discuss the profound pivot an adopted child makes from isolation to trust . Although this episode focuses on adoption the themes we cover, such as attachment, separation, fear, shame and parenting will be relevant to many.
33 min 8 sec
In this episode I talk with the presenter, singing and business coach David Grant M.B.E. We talk about how he pivoted through the rollercoaster ride of pop stardom. As well as having a solo career David was the frontman for the band Lynx. We talk about how to step into success while not losing the plot. Many of us pursue success as an ultimate goal. David shares some keys to not only getting to the top of the mountain but how to keep pivoting forward.
29 min 2 sec
In this episode I speak with the actor Tamzin Merchant. (Carnival Row, Pride and Prejudice, The Tudors). She talks with me about the pivot points that led her to write her first book (The Hatmakers published by Penguin). Tamzin gives top tips for seeing a creative project through to completion. We discuss how she feels about her new role as author. Tamzin also turns the tables on me and asks me about one of my biggest pivot points!
53 min 57 sec
In this episode I talk with Ali, a pastor of Soul Survivor Church in the U.K. We discuss her journey to integrating different aspects of herself as a woman in leadership. We look at the power of reflection and how friends and allies can help us navigate our pivot points. Ali talks about the process of discovery via a 'life light box' exercise. This is a great episode for anyone who is starting to question their work role and feels another dimension bubbling up.
43 min 10 sec
In this episode I talk with presenter, singing and leadership coach Carrie Grant. She shares some golden wisdom to help us navigate through dark night of the soul times. This is a powerful episode about transformation and finding the pivot points in the midst of suffering. We talk about hope, shame and disruption. This conversation was all and more I hoped it would be. Oh and we have some laughs too!
48 min 26 sec
In this episode I speak with Father A.D.A France-Williams about how he pivoted into writing his new book Ghost Ship, Institutional Racism and the Church of England. He speaks about being inspired by Bishop Michael Curry's address at the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan. The issues we discuss are urgent and relevant to institutions beyond the church. Our conversation covers the historical and present scar of systemic racism and how the church has been culpable in this injustice. Father Azariah is a natural born story-teller and he has a knack for unwrapping everyday stories to reveal universal truths. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Ship-Institutional-Racism-England/dp/0334059356
54 min 1 sec
This first episode with the actor David Gyasi (Interstellar, Cloud Atlas,The Dark Night Rises, Carnival Row) is a deep and wide ranging conversation.David talks passionately about his role in an international consultation to come up with a new word to describe the oppression of black people. We hear how this journey was triggered by horrific attacks on black people such as the George Floyd killing. David shares how this issue has affected him personally and how he sees the next step in the struggle for justice. I explore with David how society can collectively pivot to support and foster an end to the long standing stifling of black people and a better future for all.
51 min 51 sec