Words & Music

by monicadockery

Archive for the tag “soundcloud heroes”

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:

Audiobiography: Share Your Life Through Sound

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The Soundcloud Heroes, the group of creatives of which I have the honor to be a part of, have just launched a massive collaborative project called Audiobiography! Get to know the people behind the sounds, and share some of your own sounds.   The goal is to get as many people we possibly can to create and share their own, unique AUDIO-biography by March 31st!  We are going to be listening to/curating them all and will be featuring some on Soundcloud’s official blog.  It is a great way to “e-meet” people from all over the world and to let people in on who you are and what matters most to you.  There have been some thoughtful and incredibly inventive pieces submitted so far.  Here are a few that I really liked that are good examples:

I invite you to join in the project!  Make your own audiobiography and invite your friends to do the same.  Here’s how: http://blog.soundcloud.com/2013/02/06/audiobiography/

I have done my own audiobiography as well.  If you care to know who I am, I think this gets to the core:

Hope to hear your audiobiography and get to know more about you!

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:)

Experimenting & The Fear of Failure

Hellooooo!  So, although I am slowing down on putting out songs while I am organizing this Day4Women conference, I am still making music as I can.  This month, as part of the Soundcloud Heroes community collaboration theme of “Sounds of Autumn”, I did make a contribution.  Again, these community collaborations are done for the purpose of getting Soundclouders to connect and create together.  That said, every contribution made for each month’s theme must include the sounds of at least one other person on Soundcloud.  This time, I used the sounds of two of my fellow Soundcloud Heroes, Shifty Teeth and One Hello World.  In addition, I added my own sounds (guitar and vocals) and organized/produced the track.  Now, that word “produced” brings me to the topic of today….experimenting and the fear of failure.

I am not an expert at producing and making tracks.  Now, I have made many tracks before…but, that still does not make me an expert.  What it does make me is an “experimenter”.  I experiment with a little bit of this and a little bit of that and…”hey, that sounds cool”…etc.  I have NO idea what I am doing at all.  I just try something and do what I can.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  It is very scary, actually.  To try something new, test out new ideas, and then put them out there for people to hear.  I can see why people may stray away from doing that.  It puts you in such a vulnerable place.

For example, this latest song, the one I did for this month’s community collaboration, was very much an experiment for me.  I had to use other people’s sounds and try to fit them in with mine and it did not come out very smoothly.  But, I did it, I put it out there because I wanted to go against that feeling — the fear of failure.  I want to not let the fear of failure get in the way of my creative endeavors.  I think musicians/songwriters/artists should be allowed to fail every now and then.  Why?  Because failure can bring learning, insight, and can push someone to exceed   on the next one.  We should be allowed to try out something new, something outside of our normal.  Where would we be without experimenting?  We’d be stuck hearing the same damn thing every time, never progressing.

Same goes in life.  We should be allowed to try something new and become ok with the idea that we might fail.  Because when we do this, we open the door to other possibilities, to deeper understanding of our world and our own selves.  So I say…to hell with it.  Do not let the fear of failure stop your need/desire to experiment and try something new.  All that said….here is my latest “experiment”.

Day4Women & All-Female Soundcloud Collaboration Album

Helloooooo! I am so sorry it is been over a week since my last post!  I have been extremely busy working on a new and exciting project that I’d like to share with you all today.  For a while now, I have been thinking about ways in which I can could combine my love for music and my love for people.  What I came up with, finally, is an event I am organizing called Day4Women to be held on December 8, 2012.  It is going to be an online campaign geared towards women.  The goal of the campaign is to inspire, inform, and involve women in helping to raise awareness of organizations that are already out there helping women in the following ways:

– Teaching job skills to women in war-torn countries

– Providing services/counseling to women who have been abused

– Providing assistance to women caught up in the sex-trafficking trade

– Providing mentoring and building confidence in women

This event is going to be my priority for the next couple of months, so you may be hearing less from me as far as the music goes. BUT…..

That brings me to the other half of this post, the all-female SoundCloud collaboration album that I am also working on at the moment.  The album is going to be with a group of talented, wonderful women on SoundCloud.  The plan is to use the album as another way of spreading the word about the struggles women face and to encourage women who are in tough situations to be strong.  The people who visit the Day4Women site on the launch date December 8, 2012 will be able to download the album to use for themselves or to give to another person if they so choose.  This album is one of the SoundCloud Heroes collaborative projects that I chose to initiate with the SoundCloud community.

So all that said, there are many things on my plate right now.  Exciting things!  And I cannot wait to share more with you as these projects progress.  Please keep checking in as I will continue to post updates here and on the Day4Women temporary blog site as well as on the Day4Women facebook page.

Take care all! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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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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!

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