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Tempe’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyagePhoenix is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Greater Phoenix area’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from Tempe and surrounding areas below.

Cole Maurer

I started writing lyrics in high school. I took heavy inspiration from bands such as twenty one pilots and the killers. I would watch interviews with these artists and get lost in the endless possibilities associated with making your own song, telling your own story. I would mostly write sad songs on the piano. I kept discovering new artists during this time, finding inspiration for my own songs along the way. One night I was singing along to the song ‘Say it Ain’t So’ by Weezer on my drive home, and I realized how much fun it might be to actually play a song like that with other people. I messaged Parker, I met him in high school English and knew he played bass. I also knew Chris from guitar class, he could shred like no other. We decided to meet up in my living room and we had a very awkward first jam. We grew to eventually inhabit the garage. We started writing original songs together. We got brave enough to play an open mic at Sozo Coffeehouse in Chandler. After just under a year of playing together, we met Cole T at a show and asked him to come jam. Our first song together as a four-piece band was, of course, ‘Say it Ain’t So.’ Three years later we have put out four EPs, grown our local following, played some incredibly fun shows, and are continuing to write music that I am very passionate about. Read more>>

Mesia Rena

Mother, Wife, & Girl Boss I was Born and raised in Birmingham, AL I dedicated years of working in Corporate America until I was laid off in 2013 after working for a company for 11 years. I was out of work unexpectedly and vowed to never be put in a predicament like that again. So I stepped out on faith, used my last paycheck that was $700 & invested in my 1st business in Body Shapewear for women out of the comfort of my home. This business set the foundation for me to open more businesses in the beauty, health and financial industries. In January of 2018 a dear friend introduced me to the non-invasive body Contouring Industry and laser hair removal. At that time I had given up on all of my businesses because on 12/24/2017 we lost our daughter and depression had taken over me at that time. But even though I didn’t want to I registered for school and became a certified laser technician and body Contouring Technician/Instructor. In December of 2018, My husband and I decided to leave Alabama and moved to Arizona for a new beginning after losing our daughter. We only knew two people no family or friends just us. Our plan was to move to Phoenix, AZ and launch my spa and his catering business. Read more>>

Alaina Vega

I started my lash business when I was 19 years old on January 21, 2020. When I was on my 5th month on having my lash business, I wanted to do something more convenient for others where they didn’t have to wait three to five business days for their lashes. This was then thought of while we were in lockdown for over a month. As we were released, we took the risk of not going into lockdown for the second time and contacted the mall to find out all the details. While that was going on, we were in search for a vending machine manufacture. After over 1 month all the paperwork was done and my machine was finally ready to ship. And now inside the mall for three months, being AZ’s 1st ever lash vending machine. Read more>>

Dekim Yay

My long journey to becoming a devoted Yoga Teacher and owner of Dekim Yay Yoga began about 15 years when my aunt let me ‘borrow’ a Kundalini Yoga book. At this time in my life, I was mostly concerned with heavy partying, music, and sports. I found myself intuitively interested in the concepts explored in the book, but I had not the discipline nor belief to actually take up a consistent practice with it. But it was always in the background, and I would return to it every few months. As I progressed through my twenties Yoga videos were growing easily accessible as online streaming exploded. I remember very specifically the first Hatha Yoga practice I ever did with an online video. It is still on YouTube. I tried many other videos at the time, but I kept coming back to this one. There was something about the simplicity of the guidance and presentation. I did not know what that something was until many years later. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbyHCkNEOKo. Anyway, back to me I suppose lol . . . Two major things were happening to me during those twenties. Read more>>

Tejal Wagadia

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. I grew up as a very active and social child, made friends, loved being around people. At the age of 17, I moved to Chicago, IL with my brother where my dad and step mom had been living. After finishing high school, I went to a community college where I was the President of the Student Body Council. I took a semester off once I received my Associates Degree since I was working full-time. I enrolled in Robert Morris University to get a Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. Once I received my Bachelor’s, the guy I was dating at the time had found a job in Phoenix with a large fortune five company, and asked me if I wanted to move to Arizona. I had no job prospects and so I did. Within a month of arriving in Phoenix, I landed a job at Robert Half as a Technical Recruiter. Since then I have held multiple recruiting/talent acquisition positions at various small-mid sized companies around the valley. I started building my personal brand on LinkedIn as a way to get ahead in my career. Currently, I am working full-time at a small Salesforce company and going to school for Masters. I have a cat called Anya. Read more>>

Crystal Valentina

I fell in love with yoga while attending Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona. Yoga and meditation helped me cope with my emotions in a healthy way after years of dealing with depression, anxiety and trauma. Once I became a mom to my beautiful little girl, Xyla, I felt like I needed to rediscover my true Self. Feeling the healing power of yoga in my life, I decided to pursue an advanced Yoga Teacher Training program to help others obtain peace on their journey as well. I am now registered as a 500 hour Experienced Yoga Teacher and Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Practitioner. I continue to study and teach at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and Spirit of Yoga in Tempe, AZ, where I completed my first training in 2015. I assist in teaching SWIHA’s Fast Track Yoga Teacher Training program, teach weekly studio classes, private sessions, and facilitate special events and workshops all over the East Valley. I am passionate about integrating Sound Healing, Reiki, Yoga Nidra meditation, Herbalism, Nutrition and Environmental Regeneration throughout my teachings and life. Read more>>

Tanner Pratt

It’s been just over three years now since I first picked up a camera, I had just graduated high school and was feeling lost on what would be next for me, I had played sports since I was in first grade and with that now not being a part of my everyday life I found myself at the start of a completely new chapter in my life. My Mom has been a photographer for as long as I can remember so I think I always had a slight interest for it but I also enjoyed being outdoors and I figured having a camera would only be an added benefit to that. I didn’t really see the potential in the business side of it until I was becoming burned out on shooting only landscape images so one day I came across an old watch I had lying around, I shot some product photos of the watch lying on a wood surface and decided to send them to one of my favorite watch brands that I had followed for years kind of as a “what if” idea. Much to my surprise, they loved the photos and it became the start of a multi-year partnership and a start to my career in the space. Read more>>

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