Words & Music

by monicadockery

Archive for the category “Featured Musicians/Performers”

Poetic Remixes….. How Collaborating Makes You Dig Deeper

Hellooooo! Been M.I.A. for a bit.  I have been a little busy with family things, so I have not had the opportunity to sit down and share what has been going on.  At the beginning of the month, the Soundcloud Heroes group that I am a part of launched a new community collaboration project called the National Poetry Collaborations on Soundcloud this month.  We asked people to contribute one single line of their favorite poetry and offer it up to the rest of the SC community to be used to create a completely new remixed poem using various lines from different users.  In addition, musicians and producers could take those and add their own original compositions to the mix.  So far, we have had quite a few pieces contributed and they are waaay beyond what I had anticipated.

What I loooove so much about community collaborations is that it forces everyone involved to push past their own boundaries, try something new, and dig deeper.  Awesome!  Now, here are a few select poetry remixes (including my own) for you to check out.  It is not too late to join the project and submit some sounds of your own or to give your hand a try at a remix.  Here is the link with more details about how to join:  http://soundcloud.tumblr.com/post/46955630575/this-is-a-guest-post-by-soundcloud-hero-monica

Enjoy, share, and join!  (p/s – still putting my album together, trying to figure out how to add some new techniques and organic sounds into the mix at the moment)

Popicho’s remix:

Zefora’s remix:

My remix:

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A Poet and a Princess….

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Helloooooo!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful week thus far!  I can’t complain, sun has been shining, music flowing, and I got to celebrate both my birthday and the birthday of my HERO, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I will never be able to fully explain my deep admiration for Dr. King. Since I was a little girl, I remember being so moved by his words.  As the years have passed, his words and his belief in nonviolence and the power of love over hate have become central parts of my being.  They permeate the life I live and also the music I make.  So, as I contemplated on how to best honor him here on this blog, I came across a poem written by a friend of mine (and a fellow Soundcloud Hero from Rockford, IL).  His name is Christopher D. Sims aka UniverSouLove.

He shared the poem below with me and I loved it so much, I thought I’d share it with you.  Here it is:

In the 21st century, Martin’s Dream

seems so far flung. So not far from

former Slave’s who were murdered,

hung.

In the 21st century, Martin’s Dream

Finds Brown vs. Board of Education

A failure to nations of young people

who see that progress is

achievable.

In the 21st century, Martin’s Dream

discovers archaic drug laws, the

criminal justice system’s flaws,

politcian’s locked in the jaws of

the corporation.

Martin’s Dream in the 21st century

sees so, so, so much poverty. His

Poor People’s Campaign is much

needed, as American company’s

are the greediest. We are failing,

denying, the neediest.

In the 21st Century, Martin’s Dream

is not a reality. Mathematically, African-

Americans make up only 13% of America.

However, for some reason, we are

still licking our wounds from opposition,

failure.

Where will be in another 50 years?

If King’s Dream were alive today

It would be shedding tears.

Copyright Christopher D. Sims

January 21st, 2012

Dedicated to the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chris is a kindred spirit and I appreciated his words so much as they do raise questions and touch on the fact that the “Dream” may be lost.  Before Dr. King was murdered, one of his main focuses was poverty.  It only takes one short walk around the block in any city in America to see that there is much more work that needs to be done in regards to the problem of poverty.  How is it that so much time has passed, yet so little has been accomplished in this area?  I agree with Chris, I believe Dr. King would be “shedding tears”.

Coming across Chris’ poem, it made me think of one that I wrote about a year ago.  I thought it would be a good parallel to his.  It is called the “American Dream”:

There is no rest for the weary
day turns into night
night turns into day

we are zombies, us all
walking through the streets with our breath sagging, our knuckles raw
from pounding against the steel of your vault
dark circles like swirls of smoke around our eyes
you’ve got us looking like raccoons
in a world run by buffoons
no prospects
no respect
so do we reject
the dream you’ve been selling?

dream
I wish I could
my eyes try and try
but my mind knows
if I rest I die
cause that’s the way you made the game
and so I spend each day the same
watching my blacks turn grays
until I forge a new path out of the haze

and when I do
I will see what you didn’t want me to see
that I don’t need you… NO!…
you are the one who needs me
so there it is–now it is clear
why you spin the way you do,
why you got our hands stuck like glue
to the metal of the machine
but I wash my hands clean of the dream you are selling

instead I will blaze my own trail
one where you have not set me up to fail
and I will be the first
if I don’t lose my thirst
if I don’t let my eyes win
if I don’t let the doubt in
if I don’t hear you say
I cannot go that way
if I keep my mind clear
Then will MY dream be here
and, then, I will laugh at the sleep i lost
and how much of my life it cost
trying so hard to break into you
because I never even needed to

So, I know that I have been sharing more Music than Words on here for the most part, so I thought I’d switch things up a bit this time.  Hope something in either poem spoke to you and caused you to think, reflect.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit.  Until next time!

Settle Your Mind….vlog

Hellooooo! So, I decided that since I did not do ONE SINGLE vlog last year even though I had it as one of my goals to do vlogs, I’d make up for it to myself and do one.  Here is a new song I’ve been working with.  It’s a rough cut, still very much a work in progress, but wanted your thoughts.  Here it is:

Also, I wrote a Feature Friday blog post on Man on the Moon, Arvid Lizell a while back.  I looooove his sound.  Something so pure about it.  And speaking of “pure”, he has a younger brother who has formed a new group called “PURE” and they are a wonderfully talented group.  Check out this videos from them.  The first one is a collaboration with Arvid. Young, fun, pure.  Enjoy and show them some love by leaving a comment or following at https://soundcloud.com/arvid-lizell or https://soundcloud.com/musicbypure.

Feature Friday (on Saturday:/): Eelyk Mukcin and……my cover of PM Dawn’s “I’d Die without You”

Hellooooooo!  So, I have been M.I.A. lately.  But not without reason.  I’ve been a very busy bee, trying to put together the Day4Women album and conference.  I’m so excited about seeing all the pieces coming together:)!   However, I also don’t want to forget the music!  I had planned on doing a Feature Friday yesterday, but my schedule did not permit.  Instead, I’m doing it today:).  Today’s featured artist is a French Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist/rapper by the name of Eelyk Mukcin (aka Kyle Nickum).  He is “on the Cloud” as well (Soundcloud, that is).  He is 24 and has been playing the guitar since he was 14, but has only recently became serious about making music.  He wrote “I believe free music is FREE music” in his description of his music on his Soundcloud page.

When I first was introduced to Eelyk and his music, the thing that stood out the most was his nonchalant, playful approach and delivery.  Yet hidden inside the playfulness, you’ll find hints of disillusion, frustration, social commentary, and even brokenness.  A good example is in his song called “My Dog is Dead (and My Pickup Truck Won’t Start).  On first listen, you think it is a joke.  But, as you listen, you will hear that he’s referring to the feeling like your world is falling apart. Another good example is the song “Galileo”, an upbeat, funky song, but also a commentary on the history of the Church’s handling of ideas that threatened their position of authority.  He says what he wants (however crass, blunt it may be), how he wants, and does so in a way that makes you appreciate his authenticity even if you’re not in agreement with the message.

Of all his music, perhaps my favorites are the rap pieces.  I happen to love the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy and Eelyk falls in between the two, but adds a little indie rock to the mix.  Two of my favorites are “Freedom of Speech” and “Eraserhead”.

Whatcha think?  Visit his Soundcloud page, or his facebook page and check out what Eelyk is up to.  I do not promise an easy listen.  Prepare for raucous, riotous sounds mixed with some obscenity.  Now, you may ask, why does that appeal to me?  Though it may seem as though my mellow, calming music is on the complete opposite spectrum from Eelyk’s music, there is one commonality and that is that they are both real, genuine expressions of who we are as people.  We wear our hearts on our sleeves, take it or leave it.  And when it comes to art, Cesar A. Cruz said it best, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”  Thanks Eelyk, for making those of us who are “comfortable” wake up a bit:).

On another note:

I haven’t done a new song this week, but I did record a cover (something I don’t do very often).  It is of the early 90’s RnB group, PM Dawn’s, song called “I’d Die Without You”.  I always liked this song, melancholy songs usually do appeal to me for some reason.  But, when I started to do it on the guitar, it kept coming out more as an Blues/Soul version.  So, it is quite different from the original, but it is 100% me.  Here it is, hope you enjoy my rendition and if you don’t, well, I hope you appreciate the fact that it came out of who I am.  Enjoy!

Take care everyone, have a lovely rest of the three-day weekend (for those of you lucky enough to have one!).

Here are some collaboration projects being put out by myself and another Soundcloud Hero, Benjamin Dauer.  Give them a look see!!  See if you might want to get involved:)

Feature Friday: Abramz Tekya

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Helloooooo! Hope everyone is having a lovely start to the Labor Day weekend!  So, as promised, today is Feature Friday.  This time it is a guy from Uganda by the name of Abramz (doesn’t his smile say so much about him already?).  He is not just a rapper.  In fact, there are many hats that he wears.  He is a b-boy/breakdancer, community organizer, motivational speaker, and an all around agent for social change.  He is all about educating, empowering, inspiring, and doing it in a way that still has entertainment value.

That is why I decided to choose him for this week’s featured artist.  He gets it.  He sees that music and words can be used as a tool to “move mountains”.  Some people are putting stuff out there into the atmosphere that is just noise.  It is a completely self-indulgent endeavor for them.  But, more and more I have been coming across people like Abramz – a new breed of artist.  This new breed sees the world the same way my hero, Martin Luther King Jr., saw it.  Mr. King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”  We are not real human beings, we are not real artists, if we are only breathing and creating for our own sake.  That is such a small and meaningless existence.  Before, we might have gotten away with that, felt ok about it.  But now, with the immediate access to images and news from across the globe about the condition of humanity, we can no longer turn a blind eye.  If we do, we do so at the cost of our own soul.  So, I send a BIG cheers to Abramz and others like him who have stepped up to the plate!

I could say a lot more about Abramz and his work, but, I think it is best for him to speak for himself.  Here is a video of an interview he did.

Also, he has a wonderful website with more information about his life, his work, and his music.  Please, I encourage you to check it out and see if there might be a way to show your support or at least give a word of encouragement to him so that he might not lose momentum towards doing good things in this world.  Also, check out his music on SoundCloud.  It is in another language (Bantu, I believe), but you don’t need to understand the language to feel the music.

Currently, Abramz is head of an organization called Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU) that uses breakdancing to promote social change (this was the organization mentioned in the video above).  Also, he is working on a collaboration album with two other rap artists (one of them is a fellow SoundCloud Hero named Ben Z) that I have been asked to contribute to.  It is going to be used for the purpose of inspiring  and motivating youth.  It is in the very early stages right now, but, as the project progresses, I will definitely post updates on it.  So, be on the look out!

That is all for today! Give Abramz a shout out, show your support, and may his work inspire you to think about how you can use your talents to promote change!

The Good News…..and Feature Friday!

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Helloooooo! Happy Friday to you all. Well, a few posts ago I made an announcement that I had announcement to make this week…and here it is. I have been selected to be one of the new members of the SoundCloud Heroes program! A few weeks ago I was contacted by one of the leaders of the program and she encouraged me to apply. I had actually never heard of the program until then. I looked into it and found that it happened to be a program centered on collaborating and promoting collaboration amongst other people in the soundcloud community. Since I have been involved in several collaborations already and have had such a great experience with it, I decided that being a part of the program might just be right up my alley. So, I applied and now….. I am the SoundCloud Hero representative for the Orange County area! (and more specifically, for Anaheim). What this means is that I have the task of organizing events around the city aimed at bringing the soundcloud community in my area together and creating as well as leading various collaborative projects on soundcloud with other soundclouders from all over the world. I am very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to seeing what the other, incredibly talented, SoundCloud Hero group members and I can create and accomplish together. I may even be taking part in a showcase and a show aimed at benefitting a charity organization called WomenforWomen (a link can be found on my “Charities to Check” section near my blogroll as well). To find out a little more about the program and the other members, you can visit the SoundCloud Heroes blog or on the SoundCloud Heroes soundcloud page. Also, here is a little mini-description of the program.

So, there is the good news. Today is also a Feature Friday and I have decided to feature one of my fellow members in the SoundCloud Heroes program……Ben Z. He is a rapper based out of Madison, Wisconsin and has just finished an album titled ” Liquid Reflections ” that he collaborated on with another soundclouder named Dejection from Germany.

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They used SoundCloud to connect with each other and send tracks to one another and when all was said and done….an album was born. Here is a brief overview, in his own words, of that album……

Ben Z also just did an interview for the SoundCloud Heroes program and in it shared a little more about himself. Here is his interview….originally created and posted on the SoundCloud Heroes blog by Jane Shin.

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—- excerpt —————————————————————————————————

Quick Facts:
Name: Ben Zastrow, Ben-Z
SoundCloud: Ben Z Music
Location: Madison, WI

What do you do?
I am an artist, sound engineer, and change agent. I use my passion for dope lyrics combined with my love of all things audio to create a better world. For years I did after school hip hop workshops with youth of all ages to promote critical and creative thinking as well as help them find positive and creative outlets. This desire to create a better community and world shows itself in my personal music and extensive collaborations as well. My craft is my passion and also my access to the world as an ambassador of hope, peace, truth, and solid lyricism.

How do you use SoundCloud in your life?
Like a fiend! SoundCloud is a portal that takes me all around the world!

I have collaborated with hundreds of people on SoundCloud in the last 2 years. Some of these have been massive projects that have required hundred of “private” tracks and sets to be shared among all collaborators until the project is complete. I’ve also done simple collaborations by posting tons of hip hop acapellas up for free download. It seems like I get 2-3 collaborations sent to me every week by people who have scooped up some of my ‘pellas here on SoundCloud.

Other ways I have used SoundCloud include: organizing a national youth mixtape, posting my professional music, helping artists that have hired me as an engineer set up pages for their tracks, and even more!

What is the collaboration idea that you would like to accomplish with the SoundCloud community?

Overcome poverty, war, disease…but more practically I’d love to see people in and around Madison connect with each other across genres, styles, and skill levels to create collaborative works. To do this, I will plan local meetups. Hopefully local connections will foster a stronger Madison SoundCloud community. With this local foundation, I would then hope to connect Madison ‘Clouders with global users on collaborative works as well. If enough material is generated, I’d love to compile it into a free downloadable album.

What is your favorite place in the city and why?
The east side/Isthmus is where it’s at! I love the lakes, the miles and miles of bike paths and bike lanes, the local and independent everything! (Beer, coffee, food, businesses, music), I also love the fact that the Isthmus’ vibe rests at an equilibrium between busy and placid. There is always something going on, but it’s never overwhelming.

What is your favorite sound and why?
Anything constant and calming. One of my first memories of life is falling asleep to the sound of an oscillating fan in my room on hot summer nights when I was 3. The sound of a steady wind in the trees, a refrigerator’s compressor, or the synchronized ticking of multiple clocks all around an empty house will all take me back to my earliest memories.

Where else can we find you on the web?
http://benzmusic.com
http://facebook.com/benzmusic
https://twitter.com/benZMusic1
http://liquid-reflections.com/

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I have sampled tracks from the album myself and what I love about them is the quality of the sounds. His vocals are crisp, the tracks are clean. Also, he has a great tone and his enthusiasm and passion for his craft is evident in his delivery. I think the theme that comes across loud and clear throughout the album is positivity….and that is something I love. You can hear it in all the tracks, but my favorite one is the “Chasing Sunsets” that features another SoundClouder called One Hello World. One of the lines in that song is….”the beautiful things in life, they go quick”…and he is so right about that. We have to soak it all up, as much as we can. Thanks for another reminder of that Ben Z….congratulations on your new album and I wish you the very best in life and in this new endeavor!

Make sure you guys check the album out. You can purchase it on I-Tunes, remember it is called “Liquid Reflections”. Also, you can sample his sounds on his soundcloud page.

Ok, that is all for today! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you guys have a great weekend…remember to soak it all up!

New Song and Feature Friday: Rick O’Shea

Hellooooo! So, I woke up this morning with a smile on my face….want to know why? Well, this morning I saw that one of the hip-hop collaborations that I had been working on was finished and up on “the cloud” (my little nickname for SoundCloud). This song is one that I posted before as part of a contest entry. It was only an excerpt of a full song. Ever since I posted it I had thought about turning it into a full song. This week’s Featured Artist, Rick O’Shea, then came along and had the same idea (more on him in just a minute). So, he put his verse down on it and extended the song and…..magic. I really love it and I hope you’ll take some time to give it a listen. Here are the links:

There it is:). I’m very excited because we have a few more songs we’re doing together, each with their own personality.

So, let me tell you a little about Rick O’Shea. He is currently living in Ireland, but spent some of his life on the rough streets in New York. From what I know, he’s been through some tough times in his life, but he’s come out of them like a true fighter. You can hear the touches of his past in his verses…his lyrics. But, you also get the message that he’s not going to quit….he’s on a mission. As far as his flow and tone, he has a very unique sound. His Irish background adds a little extra flavor to it all.

Rick has a pretty steady following on SoundCloud, so it is clear that what he’s talking about in his songs resonates with many people. There are some songs about dancing in the club and girls, feel good tracks. But then there is the more serious side to his music. There is a track on there that he did with other SoundClouders by the names of Hype, Dash the Baptist called “Yesterday”. It is a dark song about him growing up, his father, being a disappointment and him trying to cope. He dealt with thoughts of suicide due to the turmoil he was feeling. But that was “yesterday” and he made it, he’s still here….and I’m glad he is.

One thing I really respect about Rick is that he does a lot of freestyles (check out his track called “Family Affair” for a good example). If you don’t know what that is, that is when someone doesn’t write down anything before going and recording over a track. Whatever they can come up with at the time, off the top of the dome….that is what gets put down. This is verrrrrrrry difficult to do. You have to be on your game, quick-witted, and focused. You also have to be real. You cannot fake it when you are freestylin’. If it isn’t really in you, a real part of who you are, then it’s not going to just flow out of you like that. So, when rappers freestyle, that is when you really get to see who they are….the real them.

Another thing that I appreciate about Rick is his consideration of the people he’s working with on a collaboration. He really made sure to check in with me and get my input. There was some concern he had over his lyrics being too hard. He knows my music and it is all very light and flowery and so he was concerned about cussing (which is something he does from time to time in his songs). I told him that he had to just be him. He shouldn’t really have to change who he is naturally for my sake. No, I don’t use curse words in my songs, but that’s because it isn’t me. I’ve lived a nice, comfy, spoiled life. So, no, you’re not going to hear much of that from me. But, he’s lived a different life in a completely different part of the world, so why would I or anyone else expect him to tell his story in the same way that I would. His language, his content will be dramatically different. And you know what…..I love that. I love that two very different people from two very different lives and two very different parts of the world, can come together through music. We can put our stories side-by-side and the contrast brings both stories to life.

Thanks Rick…for sharing your life, your talents with me. Looking forward to sharing our other collaborations soon!

Check Rick out at www.soundcloud.com/rick-oshea-1

Feature Friday: Man on the Moon (Arvid Lizell)

This is Arvid from Sweden. I do not know him……but I do know he is a beautiful soul. How do I know this you ask? Well, if you listen to 30 seconds of his music, you will hear it hidden in there. From the very beginning of listening to his “Falling through the Sky”, you get this happy, light and lifted feeling. The bouncy beat starts off with sounds that give you a feeling of being a child on the playground, maybe swinging on a swing and feeling the wind on your face. There are touches of Cold Play and Owl City in the music and in his voice, but still there is something very much his own in there. My favorite part of the song starts at about the 2.40 mark where he begins “I’m shaking, my head is aching….it’s all breaking, all the mistakes I’m making, will you catch me as I’m falling through the sky.” Such a smart and effortless flow to it, lovely.

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Then, there’s “Drive On”. I could imagine myself just getting into a car, driving very slowly, at a snail’s pace. He sings, “you think you’re alone, but that’s where you are wrong” and then I can feel a little push in the song, starting to move now. Then he continues, “street lights, all blur together from the teardrops in your eyes”. I picture someone driving late at night trying to run away from something. Finally, the gear shifts into third at about 2.18 and he’s saying “drive on….travel on for what your worth.” Now, the person isn’t driving away but driving towards something….a better life maybe. What I love about this song (and all his songs, really), is his use of space. He leaves nice, quiet pockets in there where people can just feel what they are feeling and process. I like that. That is actually something I could do more of in my songs….using space wisely and not trying to fill up every bit of it.

The last songs on there are “Death is not the End” and “Little Darling” (which is the one in the video above). These, I think, express two things that have touched me personally. I have had a lot of death around me in the last two years and, at times, when death is so close it does feel like you are “scatter[ing] out your dreams like broken glass”. And then, you think, there has to be something. There just has to be. I can’t just lose this person….they can’t just be gone, they have to be continuing on in some way. Also with death, you think of life and how precious it is – how important it is to see the big picture and be thankful. So on days when I’m complaining about the small stuff and I’ve “miss[ed] the bus”, I try to remember that I’ve “never seen the dark side of the world” and that whatever small thing I’m dealing with…..it ain’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. There are people suffering, fearing for their lives every time they walk outside their door…people who don’t even have a door. So, yeah, it really isn’t all that bad even though it may feel like it is.

Thank you, Arvid. In a world of messages about “ho’s” (sp?) and “shaking your ass”, it is good to come across substance. Something you can chew on and feel good about consuming. Wish you the best…may your music feed the masses. The end.

***Please show your love, support, check out this guy’s music, follow him, comment…..check him out at www.soundcloud.com/arvidlizell

Featured Artist…and SoundCloud contest submission

Meet this week’s featured artist (a producer)…

He goes by the moniker of ..Lesson and is a 16 year old producer from Basel, Switzerland.  Do not let the young age fool you now….he is an incredibly talented producer/beat maker.  He’s got a million tracks on his SoundCloud account and so far I haven’t heard one that I didn’t think was bananas.  He is 100% self-taught and already has quite a following.  Look out for this guy, he seems to be on a mission.

I was introduced to his music after he became a follower on my SoundCloud account.  I went to check out his tracks and was blown away.  I loved what I heard.  One track, in particular, got to me and it just so happens to be the one that he is using for a contest.  I can tell the guy is smart because of the way he went about the whole thing.  He’s trying to find singers/rappers for his tracks and what better way than to appeal to people’s competitive drives and make it a contest.  So, everyone who is interested has this short, excerpt of a track to do vocals/rap to.  They record their best down on the track and submit it.  Then, on July 1st the contest ends and he announces who “gets” to do the collaboration with him on that track and possibly several others of his.  I think it is absolutely brilliant of him because it makes it fun for those people submitting while at the same time it gives him an opportunity to hear his track done soooo many different ways.  He can find the “perfect fit” without having to go and seek out talent individually.  Brilliant!

So, that is the contest.  I’m not sure how I’ll do because he did tell me that I was the first person to SING on the track.  I guess the other submissions have been from rappers.  It must have been quite a surprise to hear my version after all those :).  I haven’t heard any of the others, but I know there are several for him to chose from.  Either way, I just loved the track!  I thought it was so naturally meant to be done as a positive, feel-good, let’s get away and dance-your-worry-away kind of song.  So, that’s what I put down on it.  Let me know if you think it is a good fit!….and be sure to check out his tracks on his page …I’m telling you…bananas!

Here are the links and the lyrics are down below…

http://soundcloud.com/monicadockery/alright/s-zp9NV

http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F50153764%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-zp9NV&show_artwork=true&secret_url=true

Ooh, it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright

Yes, it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright

 

Why do you have your head down

oh, why do you look so sad

I know it’s rough here in this town

but there can be good with the bad

there is a fire inside you burnin’

and all it needs is release

let’s use the heat to dance the night away

tonight you’re comin’ with me

yeah yeah
Oooh, it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright

Yes, we’re gonna dance tonight

it’s gonna be alright

Feature Friday: Diane Birch………and a tribute to Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys and Junior Seau


First things first…. RIP Adam “MCA” Yauch and Junior Seau. I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys…I still remember three of my friends in middle school singing “Brass Monkey” at the talent show and how excited I was when they tried to come back years later with “Sabotage”.

And though I don’t follow sports too much, I do know that Junior Seau was a beloved, gregarious person. And since he was here in SoCal his death has hit the people around here a little hard.

It seems like so many YOUNG people have been dying lately. Why is that? What’s going on in the world….we are polluting our air and water, we are stressed out about money, we are disconnected in a real, tangible way and are devaluing our relationships, we aren’t taking care of ourselves? Or is it all of the above? Whatever it may be, it is not the way it should be and we should all be looking for ways to do what we can to change the pattern. No, we cannot hide from death….but, we can keep ourselves from running to it. Take care of yourself, your world, and your people — same goes for me. In honor, I’m posting this absolute classic piece of hip-hop history…

For a live performance of this song, click on the link below…

http://videoplayer.vevo.com/embed/Embedded?videoId=USCA30500079&playlist=false&autoplay=0&playerId=62FF0A5C-0D9E-4AC1-AF04-1D9E97EE3961&playerType=embedded&env=0&cultureName=en-US&cultureIsRTL=false
I hope that made you dance…..if not, play it again!

On a lighter note – today is a Feature Friday and I wanted to introduce you to this lady…

Her name is Diane Birch….and she is awesome! If you’ve been following this blog, you know I loooooove lyrics and this lady is no stranger to them. She was raised in Zimbabwe, Africa and Sydney Australia. She started writing and singing her songs here and there, and in 2006 she was approached by Prince to come sit in with his band. After that, she moved to London and scored a record deal. Her first album entitled “Bible Belt” came out in 2009 to rave reviews. Two of my favorites – “Nothing But a Miracle” and “Mirror Mirror” are below.

Two things stand out to me. 1) You can definitely hear the “church” in her voice. 2) She has a way with words. My favorite line is in “Mirror Mirror” that says, “Mirror mirror, is it me or you that’s lyin’ – mirror, mirror – is it me or you that’s cryin'”. It gives the listener a sense of how someone who has become so detached from the core of who they are that they fear they may have lost themselves completely might be feeling. Great music. Sadly, though, the current music industry doesn’t often reward great music. As such, she has kind of fallen off the map. In 2010 she was the opening act for Stevie Wonder — did you hear that? STEVIE WONDER!!! Anyway, after that gig was over, she came out with another album entitled “The Velveteen Age” that didn’t quite match her success with her first album. However, it is still worth a listen.

That is all. If you want to find out more about her and what she is up to now, she does have a website @ http://dianebirch.com/ and periodically does some touring/shows. Look her up. Support good music and talented songwriters!!!!

p/s – no word on that new track yet, but it shall be done soon:)

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