I'm constantly missing somebody. I wish I could be everywhere at once. Foxtails of pain and wondering what we'd be doing if I were there with you now. I'm a wanderer, I'm a lost cause, and I'm wondering where we could be right now. I'm alone, but it's my fault, cause I can't stay in one place for too long. And it's a blessing and a curse cause I can call nowhere and everywhere home. I miss it there. I miss talking. I miss our early morning , late night wanderings. I miss the music, I miss the lights, I miss the river flowing wild. I miss the love, I miss your eyes, Even though things could be sad and sometimes I would cry. My heart is heavy everytime I see you now love, I miss you and I miss the city and I wish I was there to embrace you in  my arms. And not just through glass, on the other sides of the world. I promise love I'll make it back and I'm writing and singing lullabies to keep my head on straight until then. I miss the early mornings and the late nights. I miss you and I hope she is good too. I miss my late night walks with her. With no one else out and the quiet streets, us alone with the street lights above. I remember once walking home we saw a fox. I looked at it and it looked back at us. I miss you love and I miss those nights so much. Foxtails of pain and wondering what we'd be doing if I were there with you now. I'm a lost cause and I'm wondering where we could be right now. Early morning and late night walks, through this city of lights and love. Late night bus rides going home, admiring all the lights in the dark. And I'll cry when I finally make it back again. I miss you, the music and the foxes at night. 

The Resistance Brings You A Very Nasty Birthday!


June 14th is Trump’s birthday, and we’re throwing him a party! We are putting on a benefit concert in at Lantern Hall in Brooklyn, where all proceeds will be donated to one of the many Planned Parenthood affiliates (i.e. Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Utah) where the funding has already been cut. Trump and his merry band of Republicans have been making very serious efforts to have Planned Parenthood defunded entirely. This is a “SAD!” and horrible thing, as the defunding can be fatal for many young, struggling and under-privileged women. Trump is working hard to continue funding cuts throughout the rest of the country. We cannot afford to lose Planned Parenthood and the multitude of affordable services they provide to women of all ages.

The concert will be on June 14th at Lantern Hall in Brooklyn—more details to follow! We will have a number of performers, including myself, some spectacular local artists, as well as some bigger name bands and artists. In addition to the previously mentioned performers, a DJ will be spinning after the last set until 1 A.M. Vendors will be selling some beautiful, self-designed products inside, as well as an extraordinary artist painting live to the music. This is going to be an 18+ event, and the venue has a full bar.

We will be releasing more details soon regarding this super fun evening! Remember, the money we raise is going to a critically important cause. Please spread the word and put this date in your calendar now and we will be releasing more details soon!

Stay tuned and watch out for more details here! -

You can also follow the hashtag #PPHNastyBirthday on Instagram and Facebook for more information!

I hope to see all of your amazing faces the evening of June 14th at Lantern Hall in Brooklyn to support us, as well as Planned Parenthood and all of the women in the US (myself included), who require their affordable and sometimes life-saving services!








Sundance 2016

In the end of January, 2016, I got to accompany my mother and friends to Sundance with an incredible project about my grandmother and great grandmother, called Nari. My grandmother, Viji, and my great grandmother, Lakshmi were amazing singers who toured with my great grand uncle Ravi Shankar and his dear friend George Harrison, but despite being in the front at every concert and on the front of every album cover, they never got much credit.

My grandmother passed away due to cancer 1995 and I have only been able to know her through pictures and from these beautiful recordings of hers from when she was 19. She had the voice of an angel, as beautiful, if not even more gorgeous than somebody like Josephine Baker or Billie Holiday. I admire her talent and her angel-like voice. My great grandmother, who I was lucky enough to know as I grew up, passed away at the end of 2013. 

The project also involves my mother, Gingger Shankar, playing double violin while my grandmother's recording play in the background. It is an extremely emotional yet extraordinary project and both shows went very well at Sundance. 

It was such an inspiring, amazing week at the snow white film festival, I was ready to write a book and about six more albums by the end of it! 

I was very sick Saturday, the day I flew in and didn't leave the cabin the first day. The first event I went to was a Film & Music event on Sunday night. There were many awesome musicians, performers and composers performing that night, but the performer that stood out the most was the first performer Jack Garrat. He was able to sing, shred on the guitar, use a synth pad and trigger different sounds all in one song and by himself. He was a one man show and he had a high range along with a great voice. You could tell he had an intense passion for performing and for his music up there too. 

The next morning, my mom and I attended a Women in Film brunch with some stunning female speakers in the industry such as Elizabeth Banks and Effie Brown. Elizabeth Banks talked about coming up in the industry as an actor and how there were no female role models. She always looked around and saw that the men were higher paid and in many ways, in higher power. She wanted to be the next Steven Spielburg or Clint Eastwood. She always wondered why she wasn't making the same as the men she was on set with. Did she not work as hard as them? No, it wasn't that at all. That was just the way the industry worked, unfortunately. Little girls should have female role models. They should be able to say "I want to be the next Liz Banks" or the next "Effie Brown" and it's our jobs to make that happen. As Effie Brown said, we need to do three things for women in this industry. Invest, Hire and Mentor. If you don't have the means to hire a women or invest in one, then mentor her. There are many ways you can do these things. This brunch of incredibly inspiring to me, especially as a girl in the music industry. I am lucky I am usually around good people who are not sexist or bias, but I have been told before that women singers/musicians are not the same and can not equal up to men singers/musicians and that is something I am calling bullshit on and I want everyone to see and to hear that. 

After the brunch, I went to a BMI panel with my mom and some of her composer friends and got to hang out with some more awesome people. It was a bit long, but some of the composers were quite entertaining through it. 

When we were walking after the panel to some party, I was stopped to do an interview for Sundance TV. I wasn't going to do it, but everyone was pushing me to do it, so I thought it would be a cool idea and agreed. I followed the girls who stopped us. The interviewer was a cute little blonde girl with glasses and very nice. She introduced herself and asked if I wanted to be interviewed alone or if I would like anyone to join me. When I turned around, my group of family and friends had already left me to go stand on the other side of the cameras, taking pictures and pretending like they didn't know me. It was an odd but fun interview. I accidentally insulted Ben Affleck by calling him a douche bag during the interview. They had to edit that out. Oops...  At the end of it, the interviewer and I were told to walk like zombies on camera, and then I had to sign a release form so they could use the footage. 

That night, we went to the New Frontiers Donor Dinner. I got to meet Joseph Gordon Levitt, who I've been a fan of for a long time. He created an awesome website a few years back called Hitrecord where artists collaborate with other artists and try to create bigger projects with each other by adding to or remixing the work of others. He was beyond charming and just lovely all around. It was a pleasure speaking with him. 

The performance of Nari was spectacular. Everyone loved it and between my mom Gingger Shankar and her musician friends Pirashanna Thevarajah  and Vivek Maddala, the musical act was one in a million and everyone just loved it. They were marvelous trio. The visuals done by Nicholas Bruckman featuring pictures of my stunning grandmother and great grandmother with George Harrison and on stage were the icing on the multi-layered cake. 

The entire week was a blast, we got to spend time with friends we don't necessarily get to see too often, we met a ton of creative, intelligent people, we went to fun parties an took horrible (or AWESOME) pictures...

And the last night, we went to see part of a new music series for PBS and BBC called The American Epic and we saw Jack White, who is involved with the series, speak after, along with a great musical performance by Taj Mahal and The Avett Brothers. The week was ended with on inspiring and jaw dropping note and as I said in the beginning, I am now ready to write a book along with six more albums!!!! :) This Sundance was a fantastic one and a great way to start off the year and thank you to everyone who made it as wonderful as it was. :) 


David Bowie

It was a real shock to come home last night and open up the news to find that David Bowie had passed away. I couldn't believe it. David Bowie was a multi-talented genius and one of the most influential, incredible musicians and songwriters to walk this earth. He created so many different songs which ranged from art rock to glam rock to pop to electronic and he did it with immense perfection and sophistication. 

I admire David Bowie as a songwriter and as an artist because of the way he could incorporate a certain emotion or desire into a song. He could easily spark these feelings through his music in ways many artists struggle to accomplish to this day. Each song of his speaks thoroughly for itself.

For an artist to write an album like 'Blackstar' when they know that their time to pass is coming, that was an extremely heartfelt and classy thing to do. He left us with this album letting us know that he was dying, but not because he wanted people to feel sorry for him, because he was an incredible artist and wanted to leave us with one last piece of art to ponder on. 

Look at the video for 'Lazarus,' it is not just a beautifully stunning and haunting piece of art, it was also David Bowie's way of telling us that he was sick. Watching it now, after realizing what he is telling us, is utterly heartbreaking and still unbelievable.

I don't really know what else to say since David Bowies art really speaks for himself... But the world has truly lost a legend and he will always be loved and remembered through his creations, his incredible persona and his inspirational and unique style of music which touched the lives of billions of people.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week everyone!



2015 has been a very interesting year. It definitely had its up and it's downs. I can't say that I'm too sad for it to be coming to an end, however, I am more than grateful for some of the incredible and inspiring people I came across this year, some who I am lucky enough to call friends now, as well the family I have had over the years. I spent most of 2015 in London, one of my absolute favorite cities in world. I have not really talked about my time in London, which is strange, because I almost always write about my travels on here. Aside from mentioning some things about my time in this city, I'm still not going to really talk about it fully in this post. That is for another blog post and another time. 

The other thing I'm going to talk about in this post is a band and a musical duo I discovered this year, two artists, each whose music I consider some of the best in this generation. The band is called Wolf Alice and the duo is called Oh Wonder. You may have heard one or both of these names at some point this past year and if you haven't or even if you already have, I'm sure you will be hearing them again and again in this next year.

London is a breathtakingly beautiful city when it comes to the architecture, the lights, and the amazing fews. It is also a fantastic city when it comes to music. They have a quite cool underground music scene there as well as an indie music scene. To any sort of creative person or artist, this city breathes music and art. London is also one of the most diverse cities in the entire world. People from everywhere go there for a number of different reasons, music, art, literature, career opportunities, to make more money than they can make in their own countries, to start a business, or, simply, because are just enamored with the city. It draws you to it with the wonderful people, the dazzling lights, and the inspiration in which the city swims. This is the case with me. I have always been in love with London. Since I was little, whenever anyone would ask me what my favorite city was, that would always be my answer. I spent time there when I was little. One stretch of time was spent there when my mother was working at Abbe Roads studio doing music for The Passion of The Christ with Mel Gibson. We also visited the city quite a bit. I never quite remembered what specifically made me answer that that was my favorite city, I just remember that it was. Now, after spending time there properly in the last few years, I can say that I am taken with the city because of it's beauty, the musical wonders and some of the inspiring, wonderful people I have been lucky enough to meet there. This last year, I made some friends there whom I will never forget and whom will always be very dear to me. I also came across some not so good people out there... Both things taught me a lot. A few things I learned are 1.) You should never be too trusting of people. Some of them will really end up screwing you over. 2.) It is okay to ask for help sometimes. If you don't, you could just end up in a worse situation  where you can't do anything about it anymore, or for a while at least. 3.) I learned how to really be myself and to be okay with that and to not give a damn about what anyone else thinks of that. 4.) I also learned how to speak up for myself.

These are four extremely important lessons I learned over the course of 2015, along with many others, which I will remember over the next few years as I am living my life and traveling and meeting new people. With that being said though, London is a truly wonderful and breathtaking city. It taught me so much, I met some amazing and inspiring people and I can't wait to go back.

Now, as I said earlier, I am going to mention two of my favorite artists who I discovered this year, both who are in fact from London themselves. The first one is Oh Wonder. They are a brilliant musical duo from London. I wrote a blog post about them a bit back. I definitely recommend that you check these guys out! Here is the link to my blog post:

The second group is a band called Wolf Alice, who you may have heard of. They released their debut album, 'My Love Is Cool' this past June. I have been listening to that album on repeat for days on end. Their sound has an incredible range. Some of their songs remind me of Goldfrapp, some remind me of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, but altogether, they have a sound of their own. Ellie Rowsell, the lead singer, has a great talent when it comes to her range. She can do anything from screaming to singing softly and sweetly to belting out her notes. I just love the entire album 'My Love Is Cool.' but one song which stands out to me the most in 'Swallowtail,' written and sung mostly by the band's multi-talented drummer,  Joel Amey. It is a haunting and pretty song. 

Another one of my favorite songs of theirs is called 'Blush,' which if off of their Debut EP 'Blush.'

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you all have a Happy Happy New Year as well as a wonderful 2016!!!! :)

See you next year!


Blurred Portraits and Midnight Peeps ;)

Hey guys!! I hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

I'm just loving this new website! I think it looks much better than the old one!

I have very exciting news which I was going to wait until my December 18th show to announce, but I'm just going to post it on here now because I don't want to wait anymore. ;)

I have been in the studio working on my first album, 'Blurred Portraits and Midnight Peeps!'

I have finished recording it all and am now in the mixing stage! I am so excited for you all to hear it!! It is going to be full length with 14 tracks, some old tunes and some new that I wrote in London this past year. I am still working out a release date, but it will be sometime at the start of 2016, so keep your eyes out! ;)

My other extremely exciting news, which some of you may have already seen online is that I am starting up my own record label, Isadora. I have been really influenced by London and the underground and indie music scenes out there. They are amazing. Europe in general has a lot of amazing cities with incredible underground and indie music scenes. I am starting Isadora in LA, but I plan to expand it to New York very soon. Eventually, I want to take it to other cites such as London,  Berlin, Melbourne and Paris,  but the goal is to keep it fairly small and have it be home to some beautiful, unique and fun new indie and underground artist from around the world, as well as to introduce some more underground culture into the LA and NYC music scenes. I also plan to distribute all of my music myself and hold on to ownership 100% through Isadora. 

I'm so excited for these next few months!!! As soon as the album is fully finished and there is a set release date, I will you know!!!

Lots of love and have an amazing weekend!!!!



The Smoke Stream Demos

Hey guys! So, my very talented friend, Jay, from Australia uploaded his first self written and produced album to the web yesterday. I met Jay a months ago in London. I was playing guitar by Hyde Park and he was running by with a guitar and my friend yelled at him because of the guitar. We ended up jamming. It was super fun! He's an absolute sweetheart and just  a fun person to be around. The talent is just a bonus! I love this album! All of his songs are well written, catchy, and they put you in the perfect, relaxed enough head space while nodding you head and tapping your feet at the same time. I particularly love the production of the songs, expecially the vocal effects. This album is the perfect blend of vintage, underground rock/pop and indie. My favorite song on it is Golden Chain Melody. It has almost a Depeche Mode thing going at the beginning, but it is also very original. I love the piano in the track as well. It has a nice groove to it. The album is called The Smoke Street Demos. Click the link above and check it out!! You won't regret it! I've listened to it a number of times now since last night and I'm probably not going to stop anytime soon!

Check it out and let me know what you think! If you like it, please 'share' and follow him on Soundcloud if you have an account! :)

Thanks! Have a wonderful Friday! :) 


November 06, 2015

Sleep (Live Rough Recording ft. Sanna Klemetti)

Hey guys! I have something very special for you. I wrote this song for a very dear friend of mine a while back and recorded a rough run through of it with my friend Sanna playing the xylophone. The song is called 'Sleep'. I apologize for the mess ups in the middle due to a bit of a breakdown, but I hope you enjoy! xx

September 09, 2015

My Asia Travels

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a great holiday and a happy new year!!!!!! I spent the month with family traveling around Asia, first to India, then Cambodia, and finally Vietnam. It was an amazing experience altogether, but I'm going to talk about some of the highlights and a few interesting things I noticed about each place.

We started our adventure in Kerala, a state in the south-west region of India, where the most common languages spoken are Malayalam and Tamil. We stayed at an Ayurvediv Resort in the city of Chowara Beach called Ideal. I loved it there, everybody was absolutely lovely! We spent the morning doing yoga with an instructor, then went to breakfast, and then would each get ayurvedic treatments, consisting of massages with different powders, oils, and other treatments depending on what we had discussed with the doctor our first day. We went on quite a few day trips as well and saw a many different, beautiful parts of Kerala. Kovalom beach was very nearby and we explored it whenever we would go there to eat. It was a lot like Venice beach in California. It had a very laid back vibe, lots of friendly people, lots of stray dogs, and not too clean but also not super filthy. We were taken on a speedboat one afternoon. I love boats, especially fast ones, so I had a blast. I made the mistake of sticking my hand out of the boat and got soaked when water would splash against my hand and into the boat. I also managed to get some pictures and video without having my phone fly into the water. The driver of the boat was insane as well, he took pictures of us on our phones and cameras while driving the boat in a small circle very quickly. We met a driver who took us around and introduced us to people who lived in the small cities. It was appalling and incredible at the same time to see how some of these people lived. We brought new notebooks to pens to two lovely children who had nearly nothing and were so happy and grateful. Some of these families lives in houses with nothing. No furniture, no couches, not even fully built walls, but for what they did have, they were more than grateful. It was a really beautiful thing to see. We also got to see a Kalari show. Kalari is an Indian martial art that originated in the state of Kerala. It was amazing. There were boys from the age of 7 to the age of 30 or 40 fighting with all sorts of weapons, knives, sticks, fire, etc. Just one of the little boys has more physical strength than me and my family have altogether! My favorite part of India was visiting the elephant rehabilitation center at Neyyar Dam. Elephants are some of the most sublime, stunning creatures to walk this earth in my opinion. We saw all sorts of elephants from babies, to full grown ones. We got to see the babies bathe and help the men bathe them. There was one baby in particular that caught my attention and that I will never forget. He was so loving and sweet. When I went in the water to help bathe him, all he wanted to do was play. He putting his trunk on me and at some point, wrapped his trunk around my ankle which was underwater while laying on his side. I, stupidly, took my iphone in to take pictures while this was going on. I'm shocked I didn't drop it into the water. This was the sweetest elephant I had come across, and the energy and light I obtained from this beautiful animal is something I will always carry with me. I also miss the food a ton!

The next place we visited was a little city in Cambodia called Siem Reap. It is basically a city which was built for tourists nearby their amazing temples, the main one being Angkor Wat. We visited many of the temples and spent a good amount of time in the town as well. Cambodia is a very poor, war torn country. It was so sad to see little children selling things on the sides of the roads, not going to school and just begging for people to buy something, even if it's just for one dollar. We visited a fisherman's village by boat, where many families had their houses on the water, and would have to move them during the year when the rain would make the river rise. Most people used hammocks to lay down, sit and sleep. While on the boat, we also visited an orphanage on the water. It was Christmas Eve. We brought them soup and noodles to eat. It was really sad. There was music playing and while many of the smaller children danced and enjoyed themselves like nothing was wrong, many of the children, especially the older ones, just sat in the corners looking extremely sad. They looked lost and like they didn't know what they would do with the rest of their lives. The most disturbing thing about it, was the 12 and 13 year old girls already had makeup caked on their faces and were dressed in ways you would see girls in their 20s dressing. Who knows how they are being brought up... It put me in a very melancholy state. The town of Siem Reap itself was a very cool, fun place. There was a river running down the main street which was lit up at night with colorful Christmas lights. When you got into town, everything was basically walking distance. Everyone was so friendly and nice. On Christmas day, we went to the night market and explored pub street. I ended up making friends with some locals and danced with them the entire night. They look me to another nightclub a bit out of town which was awesome. It was packed, dimly lit with insane lights, and the music was fantastic for dancing! I then rode around outside of town on a motorcycle with one of the friends I met until around three in the morning. It's crazy how dark and empty it gets at night. The temples were a whole other thing. They were just incredible. We saw the sunrise at Angkor Wat, which is something everyone who visits Cambodia must do at least once! We visited Angkor Tom, a temple made up of giant engraved stone faces. It was creepy, haunting and stunning all at once! My personal favorite was Banteay Srei, a temple built purely by women. Every piece grand piece of stone had gorgeous pieces of art carved into them, everything from women, to gods, to goddesses, to elephants, to fighting men. What was really incredible was how fallen apart some of these temples were and had been in the past, yet they managed to savor them and keep them standing. Cambodia was a really beautiful place. The food though, for all my foodie friends, wasn't too good at all!

The last place we visited was a city in Vietnam called Ho Chi Minh. Vietnam is also a very war torn place, but not as poor as Cambodia. They definitely take pride in winning the war against the US. Everything from the army museum, to the B-52 museum, to all the statues of armies around the city, show Vietnam's pride. A taxi driver took us to a crazy little spot that we never would have found otherwise. In the middle of a bunch of houses, there was a tiny body of water which had a border built around it. In the lake, was a wrecked piece of a plane which was flown by members of the US and was shot down by Vietnamese soldiers. They keep it there as memorabilia from winning the war. Two things I loved about about Vietnam were that they had a museum dedicated to women, and they had a temple dedicated to books. The women's temple covered everything from wives, to mothers, to historical figures, to fighters. Vietnam has many women who sell food items and flowers in the streets. It got a bit annoying after a while, but the museum taught us about the background of many of the women. Most of them come from small villages outside of the main town and have to come to the city and do these jobs just to support their children. Many of them only get to see their families once every 2 or 3 weeks if they are lucky. They work so hard. They get up at 4am to go to the markets and stop selling by 7pm if they are lucky. I felt awful after learning that. Another amazing thing is how many women fighters there were while Vietnam was at war. So many women went to prison and were tortured in awful, unhuman ways. I remember reading about one woman in particular who had a nail hammered through her hand and still didn't give up any information that would help the other party. That made me cringe, but it showed how strong these women were and how much more women there are valued in society than they are in America, India and many other places today, still. The food in Vietnam was phenomenal. We were eating some form of pork, beef, rice and noodles everyday. The best thing we tried in Vietnam was egg coffee. If you ever go to Vietnam for whatever reason, you must try this. I'm not going to explain it or say anymore than that you must try it. If you can, go to a place called Cafe Giang. That is the orinigal egg coffee joint. We spent New Years Eve at their crazy New Years Party near the lake, similar to New Years Eve in Times Square in NYC, but not as crazy. There was a live dj playing outside and people selling beer out of their backpacks. The countdown happend, there was more music and dancing, and then the cops shut it down not even half an hour later. It was fun though! The craziest thing about Vietnam are the people on motorcycles. Almost everyone rides motorcycles out there and they are the WORST and most RECKLESS drivers I have ever come across. They follow NO traffic laws, they don't care where they ride and they are not even a bit nice about it. You can't walk on the sidewalks because that is where all the motorcycles are parked and you can't walk in the street without the fear of being hit by someone driving a motorcycle. They even drive on the sidewalks and into stores sometimes. It's ridiculous! You could be walking down the street and when you least expect it, someone will come out of a shop door riding a motorcycle. I saw a girl hit an older lady on her motorcycle. The girl could not give less of a damn as the woman yelled at her. I would have yelled too. Aside from the motorcycles, Vietnam and the people were awesome!

I hope you enjoy this little overview of my trip to Asia! ;)

Happy January everyone! <3

January 8, 2015

My Top 20 Songs of 2014

  • Hey guys! So 2014 is coming to an end, and although I don't feel like it was the greatest year for music, along with many other things, there was still some fantastic music that came out. To acknowledge the good music released this year, I have made a list of my top 20 songs of 2014! 

    Here it is! ;)


    20.  Bad Habit - The Kooks


    19. Love Me Harder - Ariana Grande & The Weeknd


    18. Chandelier - Sia


    17. Something From Nothing - Foo Fighters


    16. West Coast - Lana Del Rey


    15. In Our Prime - The Black Keys


    14. Townie - Mitski


    13. Superheroes - The Script


    12. Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge - Marilyn Manson


    11. Habit (Stay High) - Tove Lo


    10. Lullaby - Proffesor Green ft. Tori Kelly


    9. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars


    8. Magic - Coldplay


    7. Heaven Knows - The Pretty Reckless


    6. One and All - The Smashing Pumpkins


    5. Maps - Maroon 5


    4. Being Beige - The Smashing Pumpkins


    3. Going To Hell - The Pretty Reckless


    2. Let It Go - James Bay


    1. Follow Me Down - The Pretty Reckless


  • I hope you enjoyed my playlist and have a Happy New Year and a great start to 2015!!!!!!! :) xoxo


  • December 31, 2014



James Bay

James Bay is a young singer/songwriter from Hitchin, Hertfordshire in the UK. Wonderland Magazine wrote up a section on him which is how I heard about him. He studied at Brighton Institute of Modern Music for a year at the age of 19. He then dropped out and began wandering the streets of Brighton with a beaten up guitar on his shoulder and his stylish, signature black hat. He started playing shows every single night by just wandering the streets and walking into venues randomly with his guitar.  He also sang at a number of open-mic nights. He would play his original songs for anyone who was willing to listen, which as a songwriter, I can relate to. If your song can catch the attention of a room full of people, there is its stamp of approval right there. His raw, emotional songs and his pretty, raspy voice blend together perfectly to create songs that catch the attention of and are intrigueing to listeners around the world. James has just nearly finished touring the US and is about to tour the UK. I'm definitely going to try to see him, I suggest you all to do the same.

This is his most beautiful song in my opinion. It's called "Let It Go." I keep listening to it over and over again:

December 8, 2014

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to many different film, music and arts festivals, whether it be with a film, a family member, to volunteer or just for fun. I recently attended the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and it was one of the most phenomenal things I've been able to experience. There is no doubt that the festival lives up to its' title as "The largest arts festival in the world." There were thousands of talented acts all around, from the buskers out in the open on the Royal Mile, to theatre groups performing in hotel conference rooms, to musicians filling up concert venues and blowing everyone away with their wonderful sounds. 

I was at the festival for a week and saw four or five shows each day. The coolest thing about the Fringe is that all of the talent filled performers hang out on the Royal Mile to promote their shows and they also see many shows. They're so lovely and happy to talk to you, which makes the experience that much better.

Each show was great in one way or another, but there were some that really stood out to me. One of the first shows I saw was The Odyssey: An Epic Musical Epic, performed by kids between the ages of twelve and sixteen. They did a really good job. Most of them were onstage the entire time and they kept the show going with humour, high amounts of energy and good musical numbers. How To Succeed In Business Without Even Trying was another musical I really enjoyed. All the actors were extremely talented, not only at acting, but they were also great vocalists and dancers. This was a very cute play with the perfect blend of comedy and drama which made the entire thing enjoyable to watch. I also saw Agamemnon, which was performed in a bunker by a trio who was also putting on the productions Macbeth and Morgana. That was really good.

Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb story, base on a a true story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, nicknamed the "thrill killers" who committed the murder of a boy in 1924 with the reasoning of committing the perfect crime. The story starts out with the brilliant Danny Colligan playing Leopold, facing the Parole Board once again, telling the details of the tragic crime. The rest of the story is told through flashbacks. The actors did a magnificent job portraying a sick, manipulative couple, each getting their thrills from one habit or another and willing to do whatever it takes to get those thrills. Danny Colligan did a great job of making me cringe in my seat at the end of it.

Another musical I thoroughly enjoyed was based off of one of my favorite books, The Picture of Dorian Gray. It was such a cool and well put together production. We were taken up to a hotel conference room and we stood in the middle of the room as the actors moved around and through the audience, interacting with us as part of their performance. Each side of the wall was a different room in the story and there were live musicians scoring the entire thing. For those of you who aren't familiar with the book, there is a censored and an uncensored version. In the censored version, all the the homophobic content has been removed. One reason I really liked this production was because they did the uncensored version of the book which took me and many others by surprise. Each character was played by the perfect actor for the part. Each, exactly how I had pictured them while reading the book. Henry was just as troublesome and slimy as I had imagined, Basil just as fragile, Sibyl Vane with the same exact beauty and innocence, and Dorian Gray just as mysterious. Another amazing thing was how close the actual portrait resembled the actor who played Dorian. It was an incredible work of art. Everything about this play was fantastic.

I saw some pretty great comedians at the Fringe as well. I saw Henry Paker who had me in tears during his bit about the sex appeal of someone who plays the flute vs. someone who playes the guitar. Cal Wilson was another hilarious comedian who encorporated her feminism into her skits. She did her act on her alter egos which she could have turne out to be today, one being an uptight feminist librarian who writes poetry about men. "Men. Beautiful. But I don't want one in my mouth" - a quote from one of her lovely poems. She was pretty great. I also saw Barbara Nice whose show was based on squirrels. She was a character, super funny and bizarre woman and definitely worth seeing.

Now onto the music side of things, I saw some amazing shows and performers at the Fringe, starting with buskers. My first day at the festival, I stood and listened to Tom Ward play his classical guitar for about a half an hour with a crowd of people. His fingers moved around the frets so smoothly and created such beautiful melodies I could have stood and listened to for hours on end. Simeon Baker was another busker I could have stood and listened to for hours and hours. He laid his acoustic guitar on his lap, tapping and playing it like a slide guitar. He had taken songs from artists like Michael Jackson and arranged them for his instrument remarkebly and entertained a big group of us on the Royal Mile. I was quite disappointed when his set ended.

One show I saw and was impressed with was Joe Stilgoe: Songs on Film. Joe Stilgoe took the stage in an awesome venue which was completely packed and played the piano whilst singing songs from films for almost two hours. He played songs from movies like Toy Story 2 to Footloose to Melody in May. He was accompanied by a bassist and a drummer. The bassist was absolutely killer. He played upright bass for most of the show and switched to electric bass at the end. He was so so good and just rocked out at both without missing a note. Joe belted out his show tune perfect voice beautifully. He sounded like he could belong in The Rat Pack with Sinatra back in the 60s. I said hello to Joe and the bassist after and bought a cd, they were so lovely. My favorite part of the show was when the three gentlemen came to the front of the stage and sang "It Had To Be You" with just the bassist playing his instrument. It was great.

The coolest show I saw was probably Glen Matlock, who talked about his time working as a Sex Pistol and touring with Iggy Pop. He had some incredible stories, my favorite being that while he was rehearsing with Iggy, someone would always be missing to go and drink, so Iggy just stocked the rehearsal space with so much alcohol that none of the musicians had to leave anymore. He also played songs he wrote with The Sex Pistols, Iggy, and his own songs. He played "God Save The Queen" with just his acoustic guitar and his voice which rocked. I met him after as well and bought a cd. I was amazing.

I saw one puppet show, Boris and Sergey's Astonishing Freakatorium, which was probably the funniest and most entertaining puppet show I've ever seen.

The Fringe was really awesome and I would definitely recommend anyone who has never been to go next year. It is something everyone should experience at least once.

August 31, 2014