Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kindergarten Style

I know it is late for me to be posting today's question but I have made a commitment to write in this blog for the 30 days and today's question is nice and a trip back to memory lane. Today's question is a song that reminds you of a certain event? 

I am able to conjure my different graduation songs, concerts that I have attended, and countless others. But for me when I try to look back on music, I remember as a little boy listening to my mom's radio and Radio Disney to Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, NSYNC*, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion and countless others. 

The song that always paints an early picture of my life is my kindergarten graduation. I was the Key Holder and I gave the honor of giving the key of kindergarten to the next years class. One of the main vocal point was the music that was played at my graduation and it was...

Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion

I love Celine Dion, her voice, her personality, and her music. My favorite part is the high note in the song. I cannot believe how fast time flies by. One second it was my kindergarten graduation and now I graduated from High School. It is scary to believe that time moves on with or without.. 

But I hope to know that no matter what I can always catch up with time and accomplish the many things that I hope to accomplish such as my music career, changing the world, and winning a Grammy.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Eternal City

When walking around this new world, looking at stones in the ground, and giant structures that have existed for thousands of years, it shocks you to realize how you are a speck of dust compare to ancient culture. Spring break 2011 was utterly speechless in terms of I would never believe that I was in Italy. Even though I've traveled with people I could truly live without, I needless to say I learned how to tune them out in compensation of what I wanted to receive from the glorious city.

I highly recommend Italy for everyone to travel at least once in your lives. I've heard people who said Italy was garbage and Paris was the best city of world, and even though I have never been to Paris, so far I refute that idea and accept everyones opinion. My favorite cities were Rome & Venice, while Florence I was not too crazy because of lack of tourism from the tour guide, but now I am curious about it after reading Inferno by Dan Brown.

Part of the luxury of living in a hotel is watching television, and in the hotels it was either CNN, shows in Italian, and MTV ITALIA. I cling on MTV the most because they would feature music ranging from Katy Perry, Adele, and many British and Italian artist.

For today's question it asked a song that reminds you of a certain event? Easily I could have picked Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion for my Kindergarten Graduation, Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield for Elementary School Graduation, or For Good for my High School Graduation but instead I wanted to pick a moment in which I was experiencing a brand new culture for the very first time.

1. "La Notte" (The Night) by Arisa

I remember this song clearly and I fell in love with Arisa's voice in this song. The irony is I know some Italian and could pick up certain words but being a singer and an artist I understand entirely what she was singing. 

She's talking about a breakup and the pain of it all. She talks about how by the time night comes around, she is all alone stuck with the questions of why did this happen to her, there is no winners or losers when it comes to love, we are half defeated but at the end, love will move on.

I love her voice and there is a better performance that she does live in a major opera theater but it is very long video because she is interviewed before she performs but this is the music video that I saw in Italy. I saw this performance in Florence? If not then Rome.

2. "Cashwoman" by Emis Killa

All I got to say when I saw this video is that Emis Killa is handsome and gorgeous. I would love to date him, sadly he is straight that I am aware about. OMG when I first saw this video, I was captured by his gorgeousness but I did not understand a clue of what he was rapping about.

Later on, when I would see this video, I would pick up words and understand the meaning and I got the main message that it is about a girl who used him but I could not understand why the girls are vampires in the music video? I later looked up the lyrics and found out I was correct but Emis Killa is saying this woman used him like cash and never bother to notice he has feelings for her. 

I love the song and he is beautiful so hopefully one day I can invite him to appear in my music video...

3. "Next To Me" by Emeli Sandé

This song was always playing on MTV Italia and I believe it may have been at #1 and this song is so catchy and I love it. This song was rising the charts as the lead single for Emeli Sandé who apparently name is Adele. I like her voice and her album supposedly broke The Beatles record in the UK but I honestly believe it is because people did not know who is Emeli Sandé.

She won the Album of the Year award in the UK, critics and music business people believe she was going to be the next new sensation in America and beat Adele's record. I wondering when is that going to happen? For me, it deals mostly with marketing and with Emeli, the marketing was terrible. My opinion of an International Artist, you must be able to sell your music everywhere as much as the same time as possible.

When this song was on MTV it was available all over in Europe. Once I came back to America and wanted to buy the song or album, it said it was available in for 5-6 months. By that time, people in Europe have moved on with her music and it becomes difficult to be successful in America. I do not know if she is major in America but I have only heard this song ONCE on the radio. Plus when you make an Adele reference, you better have big shoes to fill.

4. "Non è l'Inferno" by Emma Marrone

I haven't looked up her songs but her voice and this song reminds me of P!nk. Maybe she is the Italian equivalent of P!nk and that would be utterly interesting. I cannot find the music video of this song but this is the live performance of this song and it is amazing. I cannot believe I got addicted to Italian music and would sing these songs in my room once I got back from Italy. Emma has a raspy voice but I think that's like P!nk who has a raspy voice because of her drug usage.

Nonetheless, you entered a small world of mine when it comes to Italy and I wish I could go back again and this time alone. I love to travel alone and without anyone bothering me. That would be great if I could meet these people.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Sister's Annoying Signature Song?

Today's topic is going to be a hilarious one I may add in regards to what the question is about. A song that reminds you of someone? This is currently the simplest choice for me because I thought of my sister.

My sister a few years back went on rampage of downloading songs from every artist known to demand. I do not know if she accomplished it or not but she was watching either "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days" or "Gilmore Girls" when she was bestowed upon this irritating song...

1. "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon

I have to admit that Carly Simon is great songwriter even though I haven't immerse myself with her music. She is definitely part of the 70s and defined it with her songwriting. She was married to one of my favorite singer/songwriters James Taylor. He has such a beautiful voice and I love his music.

I do not like this song but my sister is obsessed with it, and whenever she sings this song everyone is like are you okay? Even her boyfriend gives her that look like is she sane or going mental? I love her anyways and the great thing about it is everyone has their go to song and have their unique taste of music. 

This song actually has sold millions and made Carly Simon's career. She was nominated for a Grammy for this song but won for Best New Artist. This song has been surfacing around the world since 1972 and till this day no one has figured out who is the true person of this song. Some speculated that its Mick Jagger, or 3 famous L.A men, Warren Beatty, David Bowie, and Nick Nolte. Some guess its no one famous, some think it was her ex-husband James Taylor and I wish she would put the rumours to rest.

She revealed the identity to only one person for charity in which the highest bidder who get a private room with her and she would perform a concert and tell the bidder who the person is about. At the end of the day its your song and you can do whatever you want but its not the 70s anymore and Carly Simon's career is not in her prime anymore...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sad Songs...

Today is going to be a depressing topic because the topic for 4th day of the music challenge is what song makes you sad? The irony of that question is when I listen to sad songs I am not always sad. As an artist, one must be able to distinguish emotions in a song and be able to change different persona's instantaneously. I believe it is true that for millions of people, listening to sad songs makes them depressed or upset but that is not the case with me.

Sad songs are special songs because it uncovers memories of pain, brings out raw emotions, and these type of songs can easily reach mass audiences. That is why Adele and countless others became a major bestselling artist because they describe their pain and share to the world that it is okay to be vulnerable.

In my music library, I have a range of genres and songs that deal with different emotions. Most of my songs are about love and I have hundreds that are happy and sad. So I included five songs that either I cry because of the lyrics and/or the artist's voice tone,  or describes memories that I have experience. Enjoy and please do not get upset with this topic of today! Tomorrow is going to be hilarious!

1. "Run To You" by Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is remarkable regardless over her drug dilemma. It is truly a shame that a talent so pure, so unique and powerful went down the garbage. Obviously I am not her and I could never understand what she was going through in the media, her failed marriage, and it is truly a tragedy to witness "The Voice"crumple into pieces.

 I love this song for many reasons. Her voice is piercing in this song and sets the tone within a matter of seconds. Her emotions are spectacular in a way that shows that she wants to be with this person for safety and to be loved. Whenever I listen to this song and tune out the noise around me, I get swept up in the song and usually end it when a tear regardless whether I am happy or sad that day. 

2. "Broken Hearted Girl" by Beyoncé

I have notice that through these posts, it is a current theme with Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson. I apologize but I cannot help it especially when they songs that touch me personally. I love this song but only when she sings it live. In the beginning of this video, you see how much daunting it is that a celebrity has to do this or that because if he/she make one mistake then people automatic believe that they are selfish, mean, and sadly to say a Bitch.

It is interesting how when I saw her I Am... World Tour DVD, I had the similar emotions as her when she perform this song especially the part when she sings "And know there are times when I hate you, cause I can't erase, the times that you hurt me and put tears on my face, and even now while I hate you, it pains me to say, I know I'll be there at the end of the day". At first it is sad but towards the end, it has a happier tone and I love her riff's in this song. TEAM BEYONCÉ.

3. "Take It All" by Adele

This is the first song that Adele wrote for her album, "21", and she wrote it while she was still in her horrid relationship. When she writes, she realizes her priorities and this song revealed that her relationship was in ruins and that it was about time that she ended it so she performed it to her ex-boyfriend and he left 3 weeks later. This album is one of the greatest albums of all time and it is purely musical and full of emotions. 

This performance was her at the iTunes Festival 2011, and at this point her vocal problems were evident and throughout the concert, her voice was raspier and some songs she was slightly off pitch which is weird since she doesn't sing flat or sharp. 

This song is extremely personal to her and for me this is the only song from her album that makes me cry. I treasure this song deeply and my favorite part of this entire song is when she sings, "I will change, If I must, Slow it down and bring it home and I'll will adjust, Oh if only, if only you knew, Everything I do is for you".

4. "Sad" by Maroon 5

Before I purchased their album, I listened to this song and fell in love with it immediately. I love the emotion of Adam Levine's voice and even though it is obvious that he is "Sad", I love how he sings about his pain and anguish. I went to their concert and I wish he would have sang that song. But I hope you enjoy it.
5. "Gone Too Soon" by Michael Jackson

This song always makes me wanna cry because Michael Jackson voice literally makes you want to cry because of his despair that all his idols and loved ones passed away too soon. This song is dedicated to Ryan White who became the poster child of AIDS because his school did not allow him to attend class because he had AIDS because a misfortune incident of a blood transfusion because he is a hemophiliac.

Michael Jackson, Elton John, and many others supported Ryan White and became close friends with him, particularly Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson believed in the innocence of children and learned that you get so much insight through a child. He was devastated that Ryan White passed away at 18 years old because of complications of AIDS and perform this song in his album, "Dangerous".

In this live performance, Michael Jackson shows how emotional he is and even though he can sing the high notes perfectly, in this performance it sounds nasal and airy to display how much it impacted him, his friend Ryan. My favorite line is "One day, gone one night". The part that gets to me and it shows how powerful Michael Jackson's performance sweeps the audience, there is a big pause and the room is silent, so silent you can hear the pin drop. To me that shows you how you are a great performer.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Go To Songs

Day Three of this music challenge follows up with this question: What song makes you happy? For me, what extinguish a song to make me happy follows  three simple qualities: the lyrics, the artists voice, and the instrumentation.

Many great artists that I have come to learn and love have that special quality in which I love the lyrics, their voice, and the instrumentation is beyond spectacular. I hope to achieve that same great quality in my music. Since I have too many songs, I will post 4 songs: 1 song from my iTunes Top 25 Most Played Playlist, and the other three are songs that I think anyone should check out.

1. "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson

Of course I would pick Michael Jackson, any of his songs would make me happy unless its a depressing song. He is close to perfection as an artist, never satisfied but creating beautiful art. He pushed the boundaries when it comes to music and the barrier of racial integration in music. This song always get to me and always make me feel like I want to accomplish more in life and become a better person. 

Like many people including Beyoncé have mentioned about how Michael Jackson was able to interpret his music through his emotions, hard work, and dedication and how he simply would forget about vocal technique and transform into this different persona and show the world a glimpse of who he truly was. I love this live performance at the Grammys and how he changed the ad-lib the ending of this performance. 

It shows at one point that he is so absorbed into his music that he does not realize that the head director of the church choir raised him up from the floor. His dancing is spectacular and mesmerizing. It is moments like this that I truly miss him and his performances.

2. "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon

Paul Simon is one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th Century. He writes about pain, love, lost, and mostly songs that reflects about his life. One of his greatest albums of all time, Graceland, talks about his journey to Africa and enriching their culture through his music with African themes. He sings about poverty, love, and life through this album and this song always cheers me up!

This song talks about a man who is entering his midlife crisis and many would think that is a depressing song but I love his voice and later on the lyrics change from his life to Africa. I've never seen this video and I find it hilarious with Chevy Chase from Saturday Night Live.

I recommend everyone to listen to Graceland by Paul Simon and truly treasure it because when I was younger, I didn't like Paul Simon but once I gave it a chance to listen to this album and some songs from Simon & Garfunkel, my world has utterly changed since that moment of time.

3. "What A Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers

I am always a fan of music of today but as well of the past. Until I found this song, I've never heard of it even though it is extremely popular. I was doing research on Michael Jackson and the Grammys and I was curious to see a list of songs that were either nominated or won under the categories of Song of the Year and Record of the Year and this song did in 1979. It is a really great song that makes me wanna jam and Michael McDonald has such soothing voice in this song and I adore his falsetto.

4. "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney

This song is by far one of the greatest love songs dedicated to someone. Paul McCartney wrote this for the love of his life, Linda McCartney. Sadly, she passed away from a tragic battle of Cancer and when he wrote this song, it was a critical point in his life.

 The Beatles had finally broken up which devastated the universe because no one ever realize that this fantastic four duo would ever separate because they wrote beautiful music that inspire the world and even till this day, everyone in the planet knows who The Beatles are and have at least one favorite song from them. When they had broken up, each member realized an solo album and many record companies wanted to figure out which Beatle would sell better and the winner was Paul McCartney with his solo album, McCartney.

Even though this song was never a single, I love the lyrics and raw emotions that pulls from Paul McCartney's voice. It is rather interesting to know that many people have tried to do a cover of this song and fail every time because no one can ever be Paul McCartney. People do not realize that when an artist writes a particular song and it becomes a hit, this artist has memories and emotions attach to it and no matter how long an artist can describe to you about the creation of an album or a song, no one ever knows what is going through the mind of an artist. That is why this song is extremely difficult to sing and I truly love it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Least Favorite Song or Lack of Artistry?

When it comes to music it's like ice cream... Some like vanilla, some like strawberry, some like chocolate, and some like all flavors. - Matthew Phelps
I came up with that concept in 10th Grade (I believe so) when discussing music genres with my friends. I love all type of Genres except for Techno, Heavy Metal (Screaming) and Reggae; one day I may want to listen to R&B and Pop, then the next day I may want instead Rock and Hip-Hop. One genre is never dominant than another because throughout different decades, each genre has it's particular movement in culture.

One concept that I've treasured is that a true Artist is not subjected to only one genre of music. Great examples are Michael Jackson, Elvis, PresleyThe Beatles, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Adele,  Queen, Elton John, Billy Joel and the list goes on. If I truly love a particular artist, very rarely will I ever dislike their music, I try my best to see their songs from a different angle or the angle in which they want the listeners to pay attention and discover about themselves.

One thing that I miss about music of the past is the quality in their musicianship. Back before technology boom tremendously and way before the Internet existed, it was difficult for a mainstream artist to become successful because you had to pursue this dream entirely on your own. You had to perform gigs at clubs, recording demos for recording executives and trying to be original. Because of that, the people who became successful knew how to actually sing or write great music. 

With the birth of iTunes and technology, anyone can become famous and produce horrible quality because now an machine can fix the pitch and make the sound less agonizing. I truly believe that is why the music that is currently on the radio is trash because people can careless about voice quality and just care about the constant beats and bass overload in the background.

I remember when I first met my sister's current boyfriend, he took us to IKEA because he needed to buy some furniture and he put on the radio which was an oddity for me because at the time, I haven't listened to the radio for 5-6 months. Just listening to 30 minutes on the radio, it could have been 10 songs and yet they all sounded the same. I am so disappointed on how music has become and I guarantee that not now but in the future, this type of music will end and true artists will bring back this missing legacy that our idols have left for us.

I never publicly mention what artist I dislike because its my personal opinion unless you ask me directly about it, otherwise I keep my mouth shut. Music is Music and at the end of the day, you are going to like whoever you listen to and you should never let someone else define your musical taste. It does not make you an idiot if you love Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, One Direction or Chris Brown. If you absolutely love them because they help you follow your dreams and if they make your life seem less unbearable than you have every right to listen to them. I just hope you understand that when listening to a particular artist, you are supporting their beliefs and causes.

I can have a list full of least favorite songs but the one that is drumming in my head currently is...

You're Beautiful by James Blunt

I had to listen to this 1000 times too many. I liked it when it first came out and by the 100th time I wanted to shoot myself. I would hear this song on the bus, on the radio, at restaurants, my friends iPods, on TV, and people singing it obnoxiously. This song plagued me for at least an year. R.I.P. 2005-2006. After the 1000th time, I understand you are BEAUTIFUL, apparently whoever he was dedicating this song did not get the message. I cringe every time I hear this song and it currently is listed as #7 in Rolling Stones Most Annoying Song List. Most likely because of this incident I always carry a set of headphones in my jacket pocket. Thank God.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Music Challenge: My Favorite Songs?

I have started this challenge in which for 30 days, I post a music challenge daily where I reveal personal information of my music personality and try to share a connection with my followers. I have tried this from time to time but never seem quite interested until now...

For the first day, the question is what is your favorite song? By far this is the hardest question I've ever answered when it comes to friends, tumblr, etc. For me, there isn't that one song in which transform my life or signifies my life story. When it comes to music, I have a collection of songs because each individual piece signifies my life, my memories, my pain, and my hopes and dreams.

 One thing I have notice is back before iTunes existed, a person would buy one album at a time that would endure at least for a month to a year because you may like that artist's voice, their lyrics, the instrumentation, or simply because the music struck a chord with what is going currently in your life. When Adele came out with her album "21", I listened to that album for 3 months straight, day and night, and when I was not listening to her it was either Beyoncé or Whitney Houston. These three women know how to sing, how to bring out your emotions and transfer you to another dimension. Through their music, I found pieces of who I was, who I am, and who I shall be!

For my favorite song, I will bend the rules and give you three songs: My #1 on the Top 25th Most Played on iTunes Playlist, one song that I currently love, and one song that I cherish deeply.

1. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. Whitney was the Voice, and one of the greatest treasure ever to be fallen on to the Music Industry and Pop Culture. She was 19 years old, performing at nightclubs when she was recognized by Clive Davis. Soon afterward, she rose to fame and pouring her heart and soul into her music with song themes of happiness, sadness, and songs that would just want you to get out of bed and dance the night away. I love all of Whitney's music but truly cherish this one even though its a cliché and the average listener makes fun of this song.

This song at one point was the longest single in the Billboard Charts for 14 consecutive weeks, selling 44 million records around the globe, and won Whitney multiple Grammys! My favorite parts of this song is the introduction when she sings acapella. For me to just hear her voice alone gives me chills down my spine and makes me tune out the noise around me and just focus on her. I love the big bangs in this song but the other part that I love is the ending in which she holds out the word "You".

2. "Grown Woman" by Beyoncé. I AM DYING FOR HER TO ANNOUNCE HER NEW ALBUM!!! Beyoncé is gorgeous, talented, and I found many correlations between her and I in regards to music, love, enjoying life, and dealing with pain and sorrow when watching her HBO special. I love how she can control the audience the moment she starts dancing.

This song I believe resonates not only to women but to every individual around the world. Independence and Artistic Freedom. I love her dancing particularly in this song and I have realized I am becoming obsessed with her when I saw this video because this was the first performance live of Grown Woman at her concert in France. I've noticed that I mimic her diva attitude and I am learning how to bring it out in my performance and personality. My favorite line is in the 2nd lyrics when she says, "They love the way I walk, cause I walk with a vengeance, and they listen to me when I talk, cause I ain't pretending.."

3. "Bad" by Michael Jackson. He is the King of Pop, one of the Greatest Entertainers that roamed the Earth, an individual that comes around once in a lifetime, and my idol. I love all his albums but artistically, I believe Bad was his prime while Thriller was his introduction to the world as an Icon. This album, he poured out his heart and soul, singing and dancing to music about Love, Pain, Frustration, Isolation, Independence, and Change. Pretty much all consistent themes when it comes to world of a Celebrity, more specific, a Music Celebrity.

I had major issues my final year of high school and most of it consist of people in the higher ups who have forgotten about the students needs and care more about keeping an dysfunctional system working and never improving. Sadly I wasted my time in high school because I did not become the artist that I wanted to become nor did my school prepare me for my college auditions.

Nonetheless, his song taught me that all that frustration will be done and at the end of the day when I am older and accomplishing the music industry and the world, that I am "Bad" and that no one cannot mess with me when it comes to my life and my music. Thank you Michael Jackson.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Amen Corner by James Baldwin

My Rating: 4 Stars

I've read James Baldwin before and when searching through plays at my local library I came across James Baldwin's play, The Amen Corner.

I was shocked to believe that he actually wrote not only one but two plays in his lifetime. He is a remarkable  writer and the tone of his writing is by far one of the best in English literature.

For his first attempt in playwriting, the story was shocking with how this very influential pastor, Sister Margaret Alexander left her past and created a new one with the help of the church,  only by the demise of her ex-husband, Luke (who shows up after ten years waiting for death to parish him) her world crumbles into pieces.

I love the fight scenes between Margaret and Luke, and the hypocrisy between members of the church who wait for the perfect time to destroy all the hard work that Margaret involved herself with the church.

The beginning was rough to focus because after every incomplete sentence, James Baldwin substituted an Amen! Which really got on my nerves!! After the first act, that's when the storyline and climax truly pick up. I recommend this book for anyone who loves characters who live in their paradox or any Toni Morrison readers...

Joyland by Stephen King

My Rating: 5 Stars

This is official my first readthrough of one of Stephen King's novels. I have to admit that he is a great author. Especially the way he takes you to his world and makes you feel as if you've known the characters all your life. This book surely has an eye-catching assiduity for crime, love, and life awakenings when it comes to the characters. My favorite character was this little boy named Mike and how he had his innocence intact while acknowledging that he suffers from Muscular Dystrophy

This book is about an 21 year old boy name Devin Jones, who is clueless in life but gets hired in the summer at an Amusement park called Joyland, located in Heaven's Bay, North Carolina. While working, he is recuperating from a breakup and gets to know new acquaintances/co-workers, and city locals. In Heaven's Bay, he learns about a girl name Linda Gray who was murdered inside the Haunted House and no one has been able to solve whose Linda's killer. 

Once Devin learns about this mystery it is up to him and a boy to solve the murder. Sadly I have to admit that Stephen King failed on keeping the killer's identity hidden because by the time I was almost at 100 pages, I already figured out who the killer was but the nonetheless it had an satisfying plot and wonderful characters. I look forward for his other works and hopefully see this book on the big screens someday!