Friday, November 30, 2012

Hymns of Joy

Being in love with music, we all form bonds with our favourite songs; ones that reach out to us, ones that eventually define us. Here's my list of favourite songs!

1. You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones
2. Wonderwall - Oasis
3. Drops Of Jupiter - Train
4. Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
5. The Pretender - Foo Fighters
6. When You Were Young - The Killers
7. Island In The Sun - Weezer
8. You Found Me - The Fray
9. Inaudible Melodies - Jack Johnson
10. The Scientist - Coldplay
11. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chilli Peppers
12. Hurt - Christina Aguleira
13. Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold
14. Time Of Your Life - Greenday
15. Nothing - The Script
16. Breakeven - The Script
17. The House That Doubt Built - A Day To Remember
18. Lost In You - Three Days Grace
19. Here Without You - Three Doors Down
20. Love Notes - 2am Club

These songs are in no particular countdown order. I'm sharing my love for mostly older songs with you guys!

There's just something about the pop culture of today that turns me off completely. I really disagree with the way music has taken a turn for the worst. In the 1960's, we had miraculous artists like Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. These artist created the new era of rock and roll scales, along with alternative rock, and what do we have to show for it? Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen? The new artists, if you can even call them artists, have twisted, mended and broken the essentiels of music itself! What do they have to show for it you might ask? Autotune and techno. To me, that's just plain disrespectful! Welcome to my frustration..

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

H8tred from the Blue, Turned in to Something New.

When you count off the top of your head the list of things that can go wrong in a day, the tips of your fingers usually get filled pretty quickly. I, however, am an octopus. On each one of my tenticules, there is another hand. Therefore, opposed to ten fingers, I have forty. And trust me, by the end of the day, I'm near running out of pinkies. Music is fading, and its not enough anymore to drown out my daily problems. Easy tasks become war. So, I found another way to release the build up.

I've been writing songs/poems (that could potentially turn into music). There's just something about letting everything go! Writing it all down on paper and burning it, or ripping it up, crumpling it. Wow! So satisfactory! Writing music is one of the hardest things to do. Having a background in English really helped me, (even if my grade 12 class consists of my background!).

I've always questionned how to 'write' a song. I've been looking for inspiring tips, asking around with my others friends who also enjoy the creation of music. And together, we've composed an informal guide to song writing.

1. Think about your past. There's always an event, something dear to us that influences us. Channel your emotions and use this event, person or whatever you choose as your muse.

2. Find a melody. Contrary to popular belief, the music must (normally) come first. This will help you by establishing the rhythm of the intro, verses, chorus, bridge and fade out; making things easier for the writing process.

3. Before you start writing, I actual find it really helpful to jog down all of your ideas. In english, this process is called brainstorming. Once you've decided on your muse, everything that comes to mind should be written down on this paper. It creates a visual aid to your production.

4. Write. Don't hold back! That's what editing is for. If you have an idea in your mind, you must share it with your paper! The paper and pen are your new best friends!

5. Review. Go over what you wrote, and make sure you play it with the tune. It's much like reading your essay out loud. You will never know if things flow together if you don't check the fluidity of the sentences, in this case, verses.

6. Title choosing can be extremely difficult. Do not rush this process! If it needs time, that's what you'll have to give it. Why might you ask? You're deciding on one or a couple words to describe your entire masterpiece! Don't rush it and come up with a pressured title, but you don't want to leave it to the last minute either. Time management is key, people!

7. File your song away and never look at it again....................NOT! Show your friends! :) Put it on YouTube if you want. Having something to refer to as 'your own', is the best feeling in the world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You found me, you found me.

I heard an old song this weekend, and it really hit me...harder than usual. I was actually in tears. There are only two songs in the entire world that make me so emotional that I can't help but tear up. Eminem's song Lose Yourself and The Fray's song You Found Me. I heard The Fray's song and it really made me realise how lucky I am to have people in my life who I know I can always count on to help me off the ground from a rough day. Even though there are always people at school, in my case teachers or authority figures who do not understand or take into account the severity of a situation, or friends who either don't care or don't want to listen, I know I still have those few people to help me. This song really made me reflect on my life and the lyrics really grabbed my heart.

For me, trying to understand a songwriter's feelings while he wrote the song is what I can get out of the music. Imagery is key in melody and harmony. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Where art thou, Romeo?

You know, I got to thinking the other day. And I realised how sometimes music can make you feel so alone. Listening to the radio every morning on my way to school, I hear tons of love songs that play on the air. It upsets me when I think about how happy these people must be with their love lives when they're able to write about it like that. There's a lot of things going on in my life right now, but I think I could really benefit from having someone who is there for me. Someone to support me and encourage me. To be concerned for me but know when not to speak up at the same time (considering I'm extremely stubborn and would most likely ignore that advice anyway). I want someone to accept my flaws, embrace my interests and cherish my qualities. Taylor Swift's song Begin Again off her new album really hit me this morning on my daily torturous drive. The lyrics really made me envious of the ''taken'' life.

And you throw your head back laughing
Like a little kid
I think it's strange that you think I'm funny cause
He never did
I've been spending the last 8 months
Thinking all love ever does
Is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a cafe
I watched it begin again

You said you never met one girl who
Had as many James Taylor records as you
But I do
We tell stories and you don't know why
I'm coming off a little shy
But I do

Begin Again - Taylor Swift.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bring Us Together

Bringing communities and people together have been a lifetime goal for many. Several people have devoted their lives and careers to trying to assemble people, to bring us closer, to let us be, humans. Even though these people have tried so hard to do so, their work has not gone unnoticed, but there's nothing better that can bring a commmunity together than music.

When Haiti had it's crisis, a bunch of artists got together and made a song called Wavin' Flag. This song helped raise awareness as well as funds for Haiti. This really encouraged people to help out for the cause. They rached out to people in order to help those who needed it most. I think that's amazing.

Pearl Jam read a news paper article about a boy who shot himself in front of his class. Because they felt so touched about this situation, they wrote a song about it in hopes to show their support. This song helped show people the severity of the situation, and it helped bring people together to work for a common goal: helping people. I think that is amazing! :)

National Awareness!

Being that this week is bullying awareness week, I thought it would be cool to find a topic that references this and music. Looking at some artists that have been influenced by this directly, they've been able to bring that to their music and make well known songs.

Green Day has made the song Boulevard of Broken Dreams. When looking at the lyrics can you imagine it:

I walk the lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's only me, and I walk alone
Down this emptry street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And it's only me, so I walk alone
My shadow's the only one that walks beside me.

This song is all about a boy who is broken emotionally and feels extremely alone. He's been bullied a lot in his life, and is having a really hard time.

Three Days Grace have also made a song about bullying, titled Never Too Late.

This world will never be
What I expected
And if I don't belong
Who would have guessed it
I will not leave alone
Everything that I own
To make you feel like
It's not too late, it's never too late
Even if I say
It'll be alright
Still I hear you say
You want to end your life
Now and again we try
To just stay alive
Maybe we'll turn it around 'cause it's not too late
It's never too late.

This song tells the story about a person who doesn't want to continue on in life. This song is an encouragement to all those who are simply just trying to stay alive. Hang in there, it gets better...I promise.

Contraversies in Music - Pt. 2

''Music lacking music, is not music'' - Allyssa Gallacher.

Today in music class, my best friend stated this quote, and it got me thinking. I realise that there is valid questionning behind this. Having no sound, can it really be considered actual music? If this is the question that's being raised, would it be fair to say that a capella is not music?

I believe that music should leave an impression on you. How are you supposed to lose yourself in the music when there's no escape? I think that even when there is no sound, it still can be music. But if you're just taping a pencil against a desk, it's not. I believe it's all the way you interpret it. :)

Contraversies in Music

Some people have taken it upon themselves to call it ''mind pollution''. This meaning anything heard can damage one's thoughts, way of perceiving situations and demoralising values. Certain musics have been accused of doing just so. For example, Eminem.

Eminem made a song titled ''Kim'', which is all about torturing and murdering his ex-wife for everything that she did to him. Let's face it, it may not have been the most appropriate song, but music reserves the right to express yourself freely. It's an art, and it encourages blossoming!

Some songs have even been banned from radio stations and anything public because of content, language and imagery. Do you really think that because a song says rob a bank, you're really going to go rob a bank? Hasn't your mother ever told you 'if your friend jumps off a bridge, does that mean you will too?'. My answer to that has always been: ''is there water at the bottom?''. What I mean by this is we all have the freedom to think and decided for ourselves what we will do. It's our own will to choose. If I want to jump, I will. If I don't want to rob a bank, I won't. It's a question of up-bringing.

So the next time someone says that a music that you enjoy is inappropriate, maybe ask them if it really is, or is it just a lack of appreciation they have for art.

Musical Love Affairs

Music can be the beginning of a new relationship. Not only between you and your personal music, you and your favourite kind of music, but also you and someone else because of music. Developping a relationship between yourself and the music that you play is extremely important. Before you can continue to create your own music, you have to understand why you are doing it, why you are really there.

A love or attachment can be founded between you and your favourite type of music. For example, I love screamo and Indie pop. Although these two genres are completely accross the map from one another, I have made an attachment to them. Each of these I listen to during seperate occasions. I have formed a bond with these two types, which enables me to find other bands that also play these types of music. I can also incorporate these two types of music in my own creations. It's amazing how one can find parelellism in music scales when two things sound so completely different!

Music can also be the start of a new relationship. It shows a common interest between two people. This can be used as a conversation starter. Also, it is easier to have chemistry with someone when you can find things to do that you both like (ie. listen to tunes, dance, sing, etc...). Also, when exchanging music with a potential crush, lyrics can make the world's difference. It sparks the imagination! The mood becomes less tense and you are more likely to be attracted to someone. Thank you musical love affairs!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview with Allyssa Gallacher!

I originally had started this interview in video, but being a little camera shy, we decided it would be better to have it writen instead.

1. When did you first realise your passion for music?

I first realised my interest for music started in grade 8. It was in the music class with Mme Natasha. This coninued into the music class in grade 9. M RĂ©mi inspired me and the more I learnt, the better things got! I started solo-ing, and that's when everything set into gear. I bought my first guitar, and started making music a big part of my life.

2. Which instruments do you play? Which is prefered?

I play the piano, guitar and ukelele. I still haven't quite gotten the hang of the ukelele, it's really difficult! But it's fun nonetheless! My favourite instrument has been and will always be the guitar. I started out on it, and I love the sound. It's pretty awesome. :)

3. How has music changed you as a person?

Music has helped me gain more confidence in myself. Whether it's performing in front of a big crowd, my family or friends, or just myself, I've been able to muster up the ability to realise that I really enjoy doing this so why not just have fun and hopefully please others too! :)

4. Who is your biggest influence? Why?

I have 3 big influences in my music life. My uncle, Henderson Howells, is a country singer/songwriter who has released albums and really made a name for himself in the southern states of America. When I do eventually get to see him, we jam out and play together, and he shows me little tips and tricks and even techniques to improve my music playing (whether it be guitar or piano).

My second biggest influence is Josie Russell, my best friend. She's been playing since she was little, and it made me want to push myself to catch up and improve so that her and I could play together. From grade 8 to this day, we play at coffee houses together and whenever we have sleepovers and stuff, we always rip out the guitars and have a rock out session! It's so much fun!

My third biggest influence is Marc Pigeon. He started his guitar playing in grade 11 and he quickly became amazing at it. He surpassed everyone in our class, including the teacher, and he just really loved what he was doing. You could definitely tell that countless hours of  practice went in to the making, and pure dedication pushed him to be as excellent as he is. He inspired me to find a deeper love for music, even though my fingers hurt after hours of guitar! Gotta keep pushing through!

These three are my biggest influences because they are all truly incredible at what they love to do. It made me want to play like them, and it made me push myself to get better. I really appreciate the opportunity I had and still have to meet and play with these people. It also made me explore the types of musics out there, and I found some that I really enjoy that I never thought I would have before hand!

5. Why do you perform at school coffee houses?

I do it more for the fun factor. The positive feedback and the compliments make me want to continue, but it's more the energy of the crowd. When people like what you're playing and really get into it, it pushed you to the limits and you do things, sing things or play things you normally wouldn't be able to. It makes you believe in yourself. :)

6. Have you ever been scared while showing off your skills and talents? Why?

YES!!! All the time. I'm scared because I'm afraid of messing up, or poor technique choices. When I sing, I always end up swallowing the words and losing myself. Even though I lose track, I usually just laugh it off and pick up where we ended, just to finish a song. Sometimes I get so carried away and stuck in the song that I forget I'm on stage, and then when I look up and see everyone staring back at me, I get startled and choke up! But it's okay, 'cause it's all for fun. :)

7. If you could improve one thing about your music, what would it be and why?

I really wish I knew how to read sheet music. I know the basics, but I couldn't just sit down and play it right off the bat, I have no fluency. It would really help me improve my piano playing, and I would actually be able to play it, instead of just playing by ear.

8. Have you made any of your own music?

Yes I have. I've made my own songs with lyrics. But I wouldn't show them to anyone. They're personal, so I really don't want to share them with everyone. I play them more for myself, to remind me about the past and future. It's my little fix 'er upper on my spare time. :)

9. Do you use music as your outlet?

It definitely is my outlet. I have so much stuff going on in my life, and it's so good to just sit down and put in the earphones and forget the world for a while. It's my opportunity to relax, and lose yourself in the music. It soothes the soul, and I'm happy that I have capability to enjoy music as much as I do.

10. What do you think mainstream genre is doing to the music world?

I actually hate it. Everyone becomes obsessed over celebrity singers. The songs aren't good at all, and some newer artists have even taken on remaking their own versions of old songs. NO! You can't just ruin a perfectly good song. You're decreasing the importance and beauty of someone else's art. It's become all about money and appearences and everyone has just forgotten about voices and actual talent. The meaning of the music is lost on this generation, I swear! Ughhhh!

My aggravation in a rant!!!

Why is it that every time I turn on the radio, I hear more and more awful, pathetic little stories about people and musicians participating in some giant scam? What I don't understand is how modern music somehow has become a rather pointless gimmick based solely on advertisement, publicity and money. It's disgusting, and it makes me sick. Money that we spend on these celebrities, mostly gets put towards drugs and luxurious material objects. Like Lindsay Lohan for example. Starting off as an actrice, she made her way gradually in to the musical relm. Having so much money in her power, she fell into cocaine and alcohol abuse. Progressing, all her substance abuse provoked her to drive while under the influence. And what happened? When caught, it landed her in good ole' community service, because her father knew the judge. How fair is that? People go to prison for life for a DUI in the real world...

People who have actual talent are being overlooked and disgraced, while the new biggest sensations are being tweaked and auto-tuned. The only reason they replace decent singers and musicians with crappy ones, is because it makes for a better story. There's more drama potential, therefore they make more money. To me, that's absolutely ridiculous. It's exactly like racial profiling. Not letting someone have a job, or same rights, just because of colour. Record and publishing companies would rather sign on crap opposed to actual talent.

Taking Cristina Grimmie for example: she's one of the most talented and fantastic singers I have EVER heard in my life, and it easily took her three times as long to be discovered compared to Selena Gomez (ironically, Cristina opened for Selena's summer tour). Ughhhhh! This frustrates me so much! Quit hiring horrible artists!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bad day? Serenade your stress away! :)

Today has been a horrible day. What do I do when nothing's going right? I listen to music, one of the most relaxing things I can think of doing to bring my frustration level to minimal impact. This got me thinking. What kind of music should you really be listening to calm down when stressed? I set about to find some answers. :) I found that heavier music, anything that falls in to the rock n' roll scale, will simply and obviously only agitate your frustration to greater extent. Pop music can annoy you, which is also not a good alternative. Classical, jazz and opera are not of most people's taste. Blues makes me sad. So what's left? Indie pop! I can honestly say that this genre of music brings a smile to my face every single time I listen to it. See for yourself! :)

This is my cover of Numb by Linkin Park. :) Mr. Stephane interrupted at the end! Made me laugh :P

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First Song!

This is a video that I bravely put up of me singing a capella. My voice is extremely nasal because I'm sick. And I also mess up at around 50 seconds. The microphone and lighting are also terrible quality! However, I felt this touched base on what I had previously spoken about (expressing ourselves and not caring what people think about us). This is a clip of Christina Aguilera's song Beautiful. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inspired? Yes!!!

^ My biggest YouTube inspiration.

Slash, one of the many musicians who wear mask...literally!

Trick or treat, where's your mask?

Given the most recent festivity that has passed us by, I was inspired to write a little about the ties that link music to our every day lives. Halloween, the one day a year people dress up and go house to house and collect candy from kind strangers who also enjoy the meaning behind the event. The one day a year people can put on a mask, and not feel stuck behind it, knowing that at the end of the night, they can just take it off. Plastic, latex and fake hair, 'remove after use'. What about the masks we wear all year long, not only the scary ones we buy at the store? The masks that consume so many of us, the ones that eventually define us. Unbreakable, irremovable...the longer a mask is worn, the harder it is to reverse its effects. We wear masks to hide our emotions and shelter ourselves from society's critics and painful insults. Everyone has just become so accustomed to being mistreated by others, that when entering a new situation, our walls are placed higher than they should be. Why does this become an automatic defense? I read a book a couple of weeks ago, titled Like Me by Chely Wright. It's a biography of her life as a country musician, and her secret 'behind the scene' endeavors in exploring her sexuality (this is in no way explicit, simply to further her input and tell her story). She refused to inform people about the real her, terrified it might jeopardize her career and her life. Living in fear of people not liking her, and losing her family and friends, she persisted in what some might call a scandal, and chose to bring her secret to the grave with her, if it was the last thing she did. She prayed to God that he would remove her feelings she had towards beings of the same sex. The mask she wore was 3 inches deep and was impenetrable. I'm sure we all wear masks. Not wanting people to see what's behind them. Why? Why do we torture ourselves with this common misconception that people won't like us for our preferences, who we are or what we have done? In my last post, I stated that I was concerned about critics and was leaning more towards the con side of creating an opportunity to express myself in the public streaming world. That was me, putting on a mask. I'd rather not share my talents because I'm scared of what others may say. In life, we must learn to push through and rip off these so called masks that merely hold us back. This not only affects our daily lives and the way we view ourselves, but its also limits the extent in which we can explore the depth of our musical fantasies. Wearing a mask can cap the beauty of the essence of which you are trying to create. Not only can this hold you back financially (if you have a career in music and depend on albums to make your income), but it holds you back as a song writer. Sometimes all you need to do is take off your mask, and I promise you, you will feel so much better about yourself. An enormous weight will be lifted, and you can finally pursue your journey of you. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Look up, the stars really do shine!

All my childhood, I dreamt of being a singer. I believe that all little girls go through a Britney Spears, or Madonna phase (for those of you who are still rockin' the 80's apparel and/or genre of musical serenation). Parading around the house in your mother's high heeled shoes, a scarf and a hairbrush microphone, we were definitely the diva's of our grade two classes. There's just something about the world of music and fame that just lights a spark in the hearts of young girls. I believe that most girls outgrew this desire when they either a), grew up and found themselves another dream to pursue, or b), actually heard how awful their voice was, and called it quits when they realised that they wouldn't make millions with an album. I never really lost my love for singing, but I never felt the urge to pursue it either. Its become something I do in my spare time now. I've strongly been debating making myself a YouTube account, and possibly posting songs that I record into the public streaming world. This presents a large number of difficulties for me, including making time, choosing songs that fit 'me', and also opening up to the possibility of critics and peoples' judgements. Although this is a MAJOR set back for me, I rather enjoy the idea of possible publicity. Many emerging artists made their big breaks on YouTube. For example, Justin Bieber. Even though I do not like most of his music, and my opinion on him, as a person, is not one of model, I admire, however, his love for music, and also his perseverance in the industry. Not saying that I would dive straight into the fame and leave my entire life behind if I were to be discovered, but I would definitely enjoy having feedback. I'm not an amazing singer, but I think if you're good and something and enjoy doing it, why not share it with the world, right? Whoa. rewind...<<|. Day dreaming over here. The musical relm is more than enough to keep a smile on my face. I'd rather do it because I love it, not because I need to make money or need to have people to like me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hello Blogging World, :)

This is my first post! I'm excited to share my musical insights with the all of you. I will be including posts, pictures and vlogs to further my opinions and interests.

- Josie :)