Entrepreneur and beverage expert Bret Johnson spends his days wearing a variety of hats, including recently authoring his first book, Heavenland. He is the president of the CUBAMERA project, designed to execute cultural exchanges with American bands/artists and the people of Cuba. As president of B-Fusion Consulting he connects brands, bands, products and people with event-based sponsorships and activations. He also works as a director of marketing and sales at BeyondBrands.

What fulfills you most about your career?

“My business projects support my lifestyle. I’ve never wanted to have a job that I needed a vacation from. I’m OK with a daily spice of surprises with mucho flexibility. That openness allows for inspiration, which comes to me at many times and in many ways. Staying creative and free from office work keeps me alive.”

What were some recent highlights in your life?

“Self-publishing my novel on Amazon was a huge step into another chapter of my life. It has fulfilled my writing void and is allowing me to pursue ways to adapt a book to TV and film. I call the book true fiction. The story is about a dude dying, going to heaven and meeting up with a dog at a dive bar with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley on stage. The characters discuss religion, regrets, racism and relationships with flashbacks about being on Earth. It’s all about finding inspiration to live a great life by acknowledging that death will happen and taking care of your regrets now, while you can!

The other highlight gives me goosebumps: the CUBAMERA project. Finally getting musicians to Havana to perform was huge for me. Serious efforts started in 2010. We were authorized by both governments twice by 2014 but couldn’t raise the capital. We went in 2015 on a shoestring budget with Dave Kim, Gary Dourdan and Darren Lee. We went again in 2019 on my credit card budget and had Ozomatli with original members DJ Cut Chemist and Chali 2na (both from Jurassic 5) plus Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas) and Angelo Moore (Fishbone). For all of these shows, we invited Cuban musicians on stage and in the studio. Getting musicians together at that level made my heart sing.”

How do you cope with highly stressful situations?

“I need exercise to release any work stress and refresh. I do my best to keep my seasoned athletic body capable of playing volleyball, taking beach runs, stretching/yoga, skiing and a little golf. Getting in the water washes off the day and keeps me globally connected. In the event and beverage spaces, being calm in chaos is a superpower of mine. There always will be fires popping up randomly, so I expect ‘em and deal. Laughter helps!”