Category Archives: My Two Cents

What Song Do You Want Played at Your Funeral?

The death of Amy Winehouse has brought mixed emotions online. People saying it was going to come anyways, and others sad that an artist has been lost. Others thought she wasn’t talented enough to join the “27 Club” among other famous artists who passed away at the age of 27, Joplin, Cobain, Hendrix to name a few.

I think the bottom line is that a person is dead, an artist is dead. Someone who was troubled and was addicted to drugs. You don’t know what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes, so to judge them harshly, I believe you hold the same standards to yourself secretly. I have no idea what happened in her life, but it might not have been good to turn to drugs and then get addicted to the point where you die. That’s sad. I wasn’t an Amy Winehouse fan, but I just can’t stand the harsh comments made about her.

Then I saw on Facebook, a friend saying what songs she would want played at her funeral. A friend of mine died a couple months ago at the young age of 25. The song she was remembered by was “Over the Rainbow” the Hawaiian version.

It got me thinking what song I would want to be remembered by. One of my favorite songs of all time is Amelie’s “La Noyee”. That song makes me want to cry. It really is beautiful, but you really have to listen to it. At first it starts with one part, then it separates into two parts. Then there are three different parts playing and they harmoniously start really blending together around 1:30. And then the song ends. A very quick song, full of bittersweet feelings. I believe it is one of the most beautiful songs of all time. The song just rushes but flows. It sways and builds energy until it is on a full on sprint. The melodies start rushing, just going all over the place, I really can’t follow it, it really is everywhere, and then with a steady flow, it all converges and ends. Unfortunately, I can’t find the soundtrack version anywhere on YouTube, so I’m going with a cover of “La Noyee” by Dave Thomas, who I mentioned before in this blog as an amazing accordion player. But please, do yourself a favor and download “La Noyee” for yourself.

Another song I would want would be How to Train Your Dragon’s “Forbidden Friendship”. First off, the xylophone? Oh man, a beautiful instrument, how the song is so soft and then the bells start chiming in. Genius, it gives me chills. A piccolo comes in with more of a melody, and then voices start chiming in. The song continues to build, higher and higher, as if you’re soaring through the clouds, the sun in shining, and you’re looking down at a green landscape. Just rays of light, then weightlessness. All that is left is the voices, and that’s what I imagine heaven would be.

And I think the last song is something very special to me. I love the movie, “A Little Princess” I also read an updated book version of the original. The original was about the war, and in the updated version, the parents went off to a movie location in Africa or something. Anyways, I love, “Kindle My Heart”. The lyrics are simple, yet effective. It reminds me of the message in the movie, that every girl is a “princess”, meaning, everyone is special. Everyone is worthy. Everyone deserves love and kindness rules over all. The main girl is nice to everyone, no matter what status they were born into, and that is something very rare today. I believe being a good person is the right way to be. Maybe you might get stepped on, maybe it might take a while to see your efforts in return, but I don’t believe whatever social class you’ve been born to predicts your future. Unfortunately, this music video is on Moulin Rouge, I like Moulin Rouge, but I couldn’t find a video with the A Little Princess clips in it.

Life is unexpected, and when it comes down to it, there are no rules in life. Life is short and hard. Try to be easier with yourself and others, because one day, you won’t have that chance anymore.

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Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and What it Means for Indie Artists and the Music Business

I remember reading on Twitter and Facebook about Rebecca Black. Social media was blazing about this horrific song/video. Like one of those police car chases they show on TV from time to time, I was intrigued and had to look.

This article is about my two cents about the music video and more about the plight of the indie artist and what it takes to get noticed.

In the past, let’s say, about twenty to thirty years ago, in order for musicians to get their music out on a national and public scale, they needed to get signed by a record label. There was no getting around it, you needed to play the clubs, hope for an A&R man (Artist & Repertoire) to scout you, meet the head honchos, then they would brand you, or “develop” you. Create your look, prepare you and get you ready, and then you would make albums, tour and become a star.

The name of the artist game has changed significantly in the past few years, and it’s still changing this very moment. What’s going on? The internet. The internet kind of gave the public their own right to pick and choose the music that they wanted to hear, from all over the world. The public didn’t want to pay $20 for an album of one or two good songs and the rest crap. They wanted to buy that one or two songs (or download for free) and ignore the rest.

The record labels crumbled, but wait, not so fast, it’s not what you think it is.

In a way, it was good for indie artists and musicians. Indie artists, if they were good enough, almost in an American Idol fashion, could be voted into the mainstream if they got enough hits on Youtube or Facebook. A&R guys changed their game, instead of being discovered in a club, they’ll look for the next big thing on the internet, if you’re already generating buzz, then you’re a surefire hit, and probably a gain to the company. But, for the first time, indie artists who didn’t make it big, could make a living touring, making music without becoming huge names. If you hit the right niche market, you could tour and use social media and the internet to gain fans, you can release music yourself and do it all yourself.

The DIY Musician was born. But, again, it’s not what you think it is. The DIY Musician can only get so far. Without a record label, the DIY Musician cannot get national, or international stardom without the big marketing campaigns the record labels have under their belts.

And then, there are those who are lucky enough to get national attention with that ONE Youtube video. Greyson Chance, the Lady Gaga covering kid, got major attention after a flawless cover of one of Gaga’s classics, “Paparazzi”. Rebecca Black, an indie artist also found fame, for all the wrong reasons. Rumored that her parents paid $2,000 for a demo (the going rate for a demo is $1,500 per song from producers, believe it or not), Black made a song that was called one of the worst songs ever made. Her tone is flat, even aut0-tuning couldn’t really fix this song. The lyrics might as well have been from a Dr. Seuss book. It was a train wreck that everyone had to watch.

In spite of that, it was such a mess that it made her famous, she got into the iTunes Top 100 charts, and that $2,000 investment her parents made was the wisest choice they probably have ever made.

I heard from someone on Twitter, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t write it down, but they basically said you have to be really good in music or really bad, you won’t get noticed if you’re in between. Rebecca Black was really bad, and it paid off. Social media helps indie artists, the really good ones do get through and unfortunately, so do the really bad ones. There is a way for indie artists to get out there, do-it-themselves and follow their dreams. Instead of the record labels controlling what we hear, more and more the public is taking what they hear, and dictating what they like, even if they don’t like it, and making it popular.

An interesting time in the music business.


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