Bought, Stolen or Borrowed

21 Mar

Covers.

You either love ’em or hate ’em, but I personally happen to find them fascinating. An artist carrying out their own rendition of another artist’s work. It could be a painting that was originally done by oil, only to be reproduced with charcoal or pencil. It may be a book that was originally written so technical and vivid, only to be watered and bloomed into an academy award-winning film produced by Peter Jackson. Or last but not least, it may be a song – a song that was initially performed by a group, only to be covered acoustically by an artist sitting on a couch at Cherrytree Records.

Most people can’t break away from the original, “should’ve left it alone – they ruined it.” I believe this can be true in certain circumstances. Let’s face it, a Van Gogh is a Van Gogh and unless you’re down at Palettes and Pairings with your friends painting a version to hang in your bathroom, the original should never be depicted.

I can’t forget when my dad first heard Puff Daddy – I’ll be missing you. I believe he got up from his chair and immediately poured himself a Crown Royal on the rocks, “Are you kidding me? This is just awful!” What’s funny about it is I actually loved the song, and even more so when both him and Sting performed on stage together at the 1997 MTV Music Video Awards – epic!

See the thing about music is that no matter whom the artist, he or she is where they are today because of the artists who lived before them and influenced them to do what they do. Who invented the twelve-bar blues? Who first busted out the paradiddle on the snare? (Nick Cannon? Sorry, lame joke! Go ahead, throw a tomato at me). My generation is Puff Daddy – I’ll be missing you, while my fathers generation was The Police – Every Breath You Take, and guess what my grandfathers generation was? Ever heard the hymn by Albert E. Brumley – I’ll Fly Away? The police were not the only influencers providing ideas for Sean Combs.

This is a cover because the original is from 1929 and I can’t find a copy to post on here.

Alison Krauss – I’ll Fly Away (Brumley Cover)

99% of the music being created these days is in some way a reproduction of something that was. Your favorite new album sitting in your ipod right now most likely has over 50 different samples in it. I find it fun to come across an old song and think to myself, “wait a minute that sounds like Jay-Z.”

Here are a few live covers I’ve stumbled on recently. I’ve become completely obsessed with Billboards – Mashup Mondays Covers. I hope you enjoy, and feel free to share with me some of your favorites and/or your thoughts.

Sara Bareilles – Single Ladies (Beyonce Cover)


Florence & the Machine – I Don’t Wanna Know (Mario Winans Cover)


Bilal – Tainted Love (Gloria Jones Cover)

Hope you love them as much as I do. There are many more where those came from, just hop on youtube.

Happy Listening,
Mear

Ps. Do me a favor and go type in your favorite song on www.whosampled.com. You may be surprised.

The End.

16 Mar

I don’t recall reading those words very often because – well, I can’t usually finish an entire book. It’s true, I have this habit of picking up a good read at the local book store, only to get half-way through it and park it on the shelf. Some amazing (dusty) titles sit on my bookshelf this very minute with cute polka-dot bookmarks inside them: EAT, PRAY, LOVE and Letters from My Father are the latest victims.

The truth is that I have a very weak comprehension level. I literally survived off of Cliff Notes through school and am now faced with the reality that reading is something that needs to be apart of me. I dream of becoming a 1st grade teacher and although I can dissect a children’s story in a million different ways, I have and want to be able to really understand the realm of reading.

Besides the fact that I need to succeed in reading for the sake of my career and dreams, I envy those that can get lost inside a book. My friends have cried and laughed, all from some 400 pages that seems to have moved them and touched them in a way that no Kardashian episode, no Oprah interview ever could.

I recently took a comprehension placement test, which is actually a requirement to get into the certification program I’m looking at. There I was, entering a high school again, sitting in this tiny desk with 29 other people around me; a whiteboard to the front and a clock to the back, I felt as though I was 16 again taking a test on J. D. Salinger’s – Catcher in the Rye (No, I never read it. Sorry Ms. Mina). Hours went by and I left that day feeling like I would never be able to overcome my inability to read and retain.

I sat in my car for a good 30 minutes, crying over the realization that in a month I’d find out that I had failed and I would have to pay more money and take the test again. This is especially discouraging to me because 99% of the people who I know that have taken this test in the past “passed with flying colors!”

The following week I turned to the only two people that seem to always have the answers in life, my good friends Kourtney and Kacey. I told them about what happened and asked them what I should do. After listening to their kind words and reassurance that I’m not a complete idiot, I asked Kacey what her favorite novels were and without hesitation she rattled off, “Nicholas Sparks! He writes the best stories and even better, they turn into movies.” Hmm, Nicholas Sparks. I guess I could give it a try, but would I sit there and vision Miley Cyrus for 400 pages?

A few days later I called up my friend and together we went shopping at the local bookstore. After searching the entire place, we found the infamous Sparks novels. I picked up various titles and found one that was used. Granted it had someones french toast fingers all over it, I read enough of the preface to know I wanted more. $6.99 later, I was home in bed with Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.

Much like your first bite of cheesecake, or your first roller coaster ride, this feeling came over me as I turned the pages that I have never felt before. His words, his writing, his ability to paint the most vivid picture of a frail woman who had just escaped her husband to live in North Carolina; I was hooked. It took me about a week and a half to get through it. I blame finals week and quality time with my boyfriend for that, but what really matters to me is that I FINISHED! Okay, so I know most novels don’t actually say, “The End,” but believe me, it’s there and I got to it.

Tears, laughter, anxiousness; how could this book have brought all of that out in me? In the back of his book, I found about 20 questions that you could answer within a reading group and without realizing it, I answered them all to myself.

So, maybe this is something I can succeed at. Maybe it will take a few good books for me to fall in love with reading to then make reading things that don’t necessarily interest me, understandable. I have yet to receive my test scores, and I have yet to make-up for past times and read Catcher in The Rye, but I now have a book on my bookshelf without a pretty bookmark in it, just waiting to get passed on to someone else who may be of interest.

It’s amazing what friends can do for you. They may never realize what their brief suggestion really did for me.

If my student can’t get through the book they are supposed to, not because they’re lazy and not because they’re too busy, but because they simply can’t retain the story provided, I will tell them that reading is a gift within all of us and when you find that book that takes your mind to a different place that nobody else can take you to, you will be able to overcome this challenge and want more of it.

I bought another Sparks novel titled, True Believer. It was again the only used book of his on the shelf, so I went for it. I have yet to open it up, but am as excited to begin this, as I was on my second ballet recital, or my second time flying in an airplane. A now familiar place of calmness and focus, where I no longer fear not getting to – The End.

-Mear

Aloe Blacc and a string-quintet (Plugged)

28 Jul

My day is never complete until I’ve visited one of my favorite musically inclined blogs. Whether I have 20 minutes or 2 minutes to spare, I always find time to listen in on anything new, anything unfamiliar, anything inspiring.

I recently came across a series of videos starring the spark of soul, Mr. Aloe Blacc. (Thanks to HypeTrak.com) He is backed by a string-quintet and a phenomenal piece of artwork. I forgot about everything I was supposed to be doing at that moment and was cultivated by what was feeding my eyes and ears. It isn’t everyday that you stumble upon something that immediately gives you goosebumps; it brought tears to my eyes.

His voice is so raw and unique and in a phase where our stereos are filled with monotone rappers and whiney R&B singers, Aloe Blacc shines light on what genuine talent truly is.

Without doing as much research as I should to have created this blog post, I can at least tell you this. What you’re about to watch has been carefully put together and includes what they quote as “a painter, a composer and a singer.” No percussion and all strings, if only we could hear more singers within this ambiance we would be able to distinguish the real artists out there.

Here are the videos from “Moments with ALOE BLACC, Mihalj “MIKI” Kekenj & JAYBO.” I plead with you now to take the time to watch and take in all six of them.

I think what is so magical about this whole creation is the fact that these are artists who are just doing what they love. Putting their entire heart and soul into the music, forgetting that anything else around them even exists: the camera, the lights, the crowd.

I look forward to more performances like this. Rumor has it, Erykah Badu is up next…swoon!

Paix et d’amour, Mear

Studio Videos of some great artists. Cue goosebumps!

28 Jun

Music to me is so moving and in a matter of seconds can assist me with whatever I’m feeling, while on the contrary, escape me from any mental or emotional state I don’t want to be in.

Here are some videos that have taken my breathe away. There is something about raw studio footage that is so mesmerizing, words can’t even describe how it makes me feel inside. My body floods with chills, bringing on emotions that only exist in the depths of my soul, surfacing tears of both joy and sorrow. I hope the three that I picked out for you give you the same feeling they gave me.

Bon Iver – I Can’t Make You Love Me/ Nick of Time (Cover)

Submotion Orchestra – All Yours

Sara Bareilles – Gravity

Music is my drug.

Happy Listening, Mear.

They all said “no” to rehab, but this time she said “yes!”

31 May

History shows that some of the best artists live their lives with the worst of health. I remember growing up listening to Judy Garland, the Carpenters, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, and Jim Morrison to name a few. Whether these artists were dipping into drugs or struggling with other disorders such as anorexia, it is obvious that they drove their bodies to death. It’s so unfortunate because these are the ones that made such a historical impact on music. There are the infamous words that have been spoken so many times that the good ones die young. It’s so awful to see anyone with so much talent, who is loved and respected by millions, fail to overcome the demons that come along with having such fame.

My most recent obsession musically is Amy Winehouse. I remember hearing her for the first time in 2007. She was all the hype; I was hooked and hungry for more. I picked up her album Back to Black and it remained on repeat for months. I then grabbed her album Frank, realizing I was truly in love with her. I can close my eyes and hear hints of Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald in her voice. What makes me love her so much is that she never sings the same song, the same way twice. She is always adding new runs and flavors every time she performs.

We all know her best for her own opinions on her addiction “they tried to make me go to rehab and I said no, no, no.” I picked up her live dvd I Told You I Was Trouble: Live in London. It is so amazing to watch, I get goosebumps every time. Her father appears in it and with his sweet English accent, quotes “she doesn’t need to go to rehab…I think she’s fine.”

While doing some more Amy research, I came across some videos where she looks clean, rather pre-addiction. She looks young and healthy, ready to grow and be known.

I would do anything to see her live, but part of me fears this opportunity may never happen. I read articles about her going in and out of rehab, it almost seems impossible for her to overcome this. I know that she been planning on releasing a new album, however today I found an article on MTV.com that leads me to believe otherwise. They explain how doctors have spoken to her and her family, emphasizing that another drink will send her to the grave.

Are we going to lose another artist to drugs? It’s all so sad to me. I’d die to have the voice that she and the others were born with. I’d give anything to sit inside of Cherrytree Records, where so many other artists have sat, open my mouth and leave the entire room speechless. I pray for Amy that she gets the support and treatment that she needs to get out of this awful place that she is in. For now I just keep listening to her music, hoping to hear more from her soon. She is so unique and inspiring. Her voice takes me to another place that I can’t explain.

Amy Winehouse – To Know Him Is To Love Him

Ta-ta, Mear

Gimme Gimme…More!

19 May

I’m taking a quick break from my outdoor duties of pressure washing the deck and fertilizing the lawn on this beautiful sunny Seattle day, to quickly post what I’m listening to. After all, I can’t possibly get any of this crap done without music playing. The neighbors are probably ready to come over and shoot me, but I could care less.

Without any descriptions or background information, here are the mixtapes I’m admiring at the moment.

Dj Scene – Epic Shine (2010)

Dj JayCeeOh (and many others) – Super 7 Vol. 3

Keys N Krates – Almost 39 Minutes

I really hope you are all out enjoying this amazing weather.

Happy Downloading, Mear

Ps. I’m obsessed with the SoundCloud App. I just turn on my favorites and let it play on!

Mixtapes…Come and get ’em

12 May

Last week I posted 3 mixtapes, and although I have no idea if anybody actually went and downloaded them, my views began to increase and I can only hope that you are all enjoying the goods. I’m back this week with a few more for you, all with a very different feel from last weeks.

First up is Dj EvilOne. I had the opportunity of spending a few days with this guy, and I am not lying when I say I did not stop laughing the entire time. He is truly one of the funniest people I’ve ever met and is ridiculously smart. His tweets are hilarious, I recommend you follow him.

Dj Evil One – Lewd Attitude

Next is his LA partner in crime, Dj Steve1der. I was musically introduced to this guy a few years ago, when a friend was playing a Nate Dogg mix. If you don’t go and download that right now, then get off my blog!

But seriously, he is a very talented dj. Here is one of my favorite mixtapes by him.

Dj Steve1der – The Book of Love

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a mixtape that I have played 4 times in the last week, while attempting some spring cleaning. Download this, open your windows, and I guarantee you will be satisfied.

Dj Nature – FoPo Volume 1

Now, all we need is some sunshine. I’m ready to sit on my deck with mimosas and good tunes.

Mwah, Mear

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