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Hotseat -Cleon Fredrick

823_hotseatWhen it comes to creativity and ambition; home-grown graphic artist, businessman, promoter, family-man and happy fella Cleon Frederick possesses them all. His ventures include running his own graphic design company, So Contagious Studio; entrainment/promotion company, Where The Flex; and luggage wrap company, St. Maarten Wrapping Services at SXM Princess Juliana International Airport. He tells us more about himself in this week's Hot Seat.

Who is Cleon Frederick?

I was born in St. Maarten at St. Rose Hospital. I grew up in Mary's Fancy before moving to Guana Bay. I remember as a kid in Mary's Fancy playing baseball at the now John Cooper/Jose Lake softball field and walking in a group from Mary's Fancy to Belair to go to beach. Guana Bay was a lot different from Mary's Fancy; it was more secluded, fewer homes, fewer kids, fewer everything at the time; but I remember having a great childhood there. We used to go Guana Bay beach a lot and play outside in bushes.

How would you describe yourself?

I'm a very adventurous, fun-loving, picky and happy person; but I can also be serious when I need to be. I also like trying new stuff.

Where were you educated, what did you study and why?

After completing MAVO and HAVO at Milton Peters College, I did a year of computer science at Hogeschool Eindhoven and acquired two degrees: the first in graphic design and the second in multimedia design, where I graduated with honours. I studied designing because I always had a passion for art/drawing as far back as I can remember. Most of my high school notebooks were actually filled with doodles and sketches instead of school work.

What is 'Where The Flex' and how did this come about?

Where The Flex is parent of all things Where The Flex oriented. It started as an online events calendar that offered different marketing/promotional services. Wheretheflex.com (online event calendar part) was an idea I had in 2008 after I returned from the Netherlands. It took about three years before it was finally launched in September 2011. Where The Flex has evolved and is constantly evolving into much more than originally intended.

How did you get into promoting shows and what are some of the big shows you've promoted?

For the first anniversary of Where The Flex, I wanted to do a show and requested the assistance of RiddimBox Entertainment. The rest is history. Big shows I've done in the past include Biggest Party of the Years: Konshens at Bliss and Aidonia at Bliss; Deejay Wilson's 30th Anniversary Old School Bash; Road to Carnival at Shieka's Bistro in 2013; Road to Carnival in 2014 and Fully Loaded 1 (Carnival Reggae Night in 2014).

What do you like about promoting shows and what differentiates you from other promoters?

I like to see people enjoying themselves whether it's a show or a party. The main difference between me and other promoters is that I had already created a fan base before doing my first show and I often come with some out of box ideas to promote my shows.

If you can bring any artiste in the world (dead or alive) to entertain a St. Maarten audience, who would it be and why?

I would bring Michael Jackson. He has a lot of great music and would cater to both young and old. I believe it would be a must see and must attend event.

Your next big show - Biggest Party of the Year – is coming up; why would this show be better than others held?

This year, Where The Flex and RiddimBox Entertainment have decided to make Biggest Party of the Year a soca party. So imagine the Causeway jump-up, Jouvert Morning and Last Lap all 'Roll(y) Pollied' in one big party – sort of like a Carnival in December – it will be BIG.

You're a promoter, businessman and family-man, in addition to your 9:00 to 5:00 as a graphic designer at The Daily Herald. How do you successfully juggle your different interests?

With the support of my family and friends and by surrounding myself with the right people.

How do you occupy yourself when you're not working?

Not working? What's that? But seriously, spending time with family and close friends. Need to do more of this.

What are your favourite pastimes?

Travelling, sightseeing, staycations, happy hour and listening to music.

Pet peeve?

Buses that just stop anywhere at any time and think that putting on their hazard lights makes it okay.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still living in St. Maarten! I love my island. By that time, Where The Flex and other businesses should be self-sufficient giving me more kick back time.

Tell us something the public does not know about you?

I was offered a job to teach graphics in Mali (West Africa) while there on a project; and was actually considering living there for year before moving back from the Netherlands to St. Maarten.

What is the last thing you do before going to bed after a big party?

Have a shower.

What do you wear when you make breakfast on Sunday morning?

Boxers. I don't really like much clothes, so when I'm home, I mainly wear boxers... unless I have visitors.

What would your most outrageous fantasy be for a weekend away?

An all-expense paid weekend retreat on a private island where you can only get there by boat.

What is your greatest fear?

Not being there for my daughter, who coincidentally was born on St. Maarten Day.

What is your favourite type of music? What artistes do you listen to?

I like all genres of music. As a favourite, I would have to say Reggae/Conscious Dancehall. It keeps me relaxed when my schedule gets demanding. I listen to Buju Banton, Sizzla, Taurus Riley, Freddie Mc Gregor, Dennis Brown, just to mention a few. The list could go on forever.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

If I could have three separate dinners, I would invite my good friend the late Lizcana Beba Maduro three times. Actually, I might have her cook. Her conch and dumplings dish was the bomb. Yum!