I have been back in New York for the past couple of months and have been in the studio constantly. I have had the pleasure of working with the fantastic John Ried at Brick by Brick Studios and I am extremely excited to announce that we have finished up a four track EP - Vertigo, and I will be releasing it for you early next year, along with a Video. I am super pleased with how this project turned out and am so thankful to be able to work with and be surrounded by such talented people. I can't wait for everyone to hear it! Keep an eye out for more details to come! :)
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.
ATTENTION NASTY WOMEN AND BAD HOMBRES!!!
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! - http://www.jananishankar.com/blog/
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!
I’m not sure where to start, there are so many issues in the US right now inspired by the election of a racist, sexist, money-hungry dictator as our president. When the election was going on and Trump was stating some of the things he was planning on doing if elected President, such as to put all American-Muslims into a registry and force them to wear some sort of tag to let others know that they are Muslim -- Sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? Not only that, but he is planning on banning all Muslim immigrants, as well as signing executive orders to limit immigration for refugees and even some visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (I’m shocked India isn’t on there, racist fuck).. In Trump’s inauguration speech, he promised to “eradicate Radical Islamic Terrorism” and he is trying to do that by labeling and categorizing an entire religion, shaming them. Trump wants to take repeal ObamaCare, so unless you have money you’re not really that important and why should you be treated if you’re sick and poor? And he is having Planned Parenthood defunded and taking away rights from women, because it’s okay for a room full of old, white men to sign away our rights about what we can or cannot do with OUR OWN fucking bodies and reproductive organs.
The Trump administration has instructed officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze its grants and contracts, an immensely idiotic move which could affect everything from state-led climate research to localized efforts to improve air and water quality to environmental projects aimed at helping poor communities, I’d say that’s a pretty big “fuck you” to poor communities, as well as the environment.
Trump is planning many budget cuts, killing at least 17 federal agencies and programs, which cost close to nothing per person who pays taxes, not only shrink debt it seems, but also to undercut priorities and issues the Democratic party (AND HUMANS WHO ACTUALLY GIVE A SHIT ABOUT OTHER HUMANS) care about and have been trying to improve.
Trump wants to cut the Corporation for Public Broadcasts, killing off Sesame Street, along with other things, which costs each American $1.37 in taxes per year. Trump wants to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which would eliminate hundreds of art programs and funding for artists across the US, and only costs each American $0.46 in taxes per year. He also wants to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which offers research funding to institutions like museums, colleges and libraries, which also only costs each American $0.46 in taxes per year. He wants to defund the Minority Business Development Agency, which will completely screw over small business owners, places that make cities such as New York so unique and interesting and costs each American only $0.11 in taxes per year! Trump ALSO wants to cut the funding for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, part of the Justice Department that employs 750 positions, works to fight discrimination and protects the voting rights of Americans, and only costs each American $0.48 in taxes per year.
AND my PERSONAL FAVORITE….He wants to cut the funding for the Office of Violence Against Women, which runs 25 grant programs created through the 1944 Violence Against Women Act in an effort to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, dating violence, and many other things, and only costs each American $1.48 in taxes per year!!!! Since when did our rights and our safety become worth less than $1.48?
I don’t understand how the fuck someone as disgusting, as cringe-worthy, as hateful or as destructive as this piece of shit, Donald Trump, could get elected as the President of the United States. I don’t understand how this piece of shit could be put on a pedestal, over the people of this country, who will not stand for hate, racism, sexism, and the human beings who will not stand for putting any other human to shame because of the color of their skin, because of their gender, because of who they love or want to be with, because they have a pussy or a dick, or because they don’t fit your religion-based, flawed and fucked up idea of what an “American” should look be or look like.
I am beyond pissed off and upset by Trump, as are many other Americans and people around the world at this moment. It’s a pretty beautiful sight, seeing other parts of the world such as the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Lebanon, Serbia, France and other places standing with us, seeing their people out in the streets protesting with us. It just shows that no matter how much hate Trump ignites, no matter what rights he tries to take away from us as human beings, and no matter what he tries to accomplish and turn this country into, that as long as we stand together and continue trying to promote love and equality for everybody, that he can never win.
I was reading another blog post earlier today about the Inauguration, written by Bob Lefsetz, and he put it perfectly; “Art is our savior.” ---
“Most people don’t believe in Fox. But they do believe in Beyonce and Jay Z and the more stories you read about artists speaking truth to power, the more blowback there is, the more you know they're doing it right.”
Bob Dylan is the perfect example of somebody who made protest music. Look at Beyonce, she promotes Girl Power, something the world needs a ton of right now. The rappers in the 80s and 90s such as Ice T who talked about police brutality and were right.
The best chance we have of saving this country, and ourselves, is to create a movement with our art, promoting messages for equality, love, peace and justice. Trump, Pence, their band of hateful followers, they won’t stand a chance as long as we keep fighting, keep spreading messages and uniting under those messages, portrayed through art.
It’s going to take time, unfortunately we can’t just get rid of him overnight, or even in a few weeks. (Even though I’d love to just go “Poof!” and make him disappear….) But we’re never going to let him win or brainwash us into his game of hate, race wars, negativity, money and power. And to the people who think protesting doesn't change anything and you're just going to sit back and let this asshole do whatever he is going to do, hurt whoever he is going to hurt, your friends of colors, your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your gay and transgender friends, that's fine, you don't have to protest or do anything, but if you show negativity to others for protesting, then you are part of the problem as well and you obviously aren't as affected by some of these new policies and changes happen as the rest of us. We have to keep fighting the country's urge to go backwards in time right now. Fuck Trump, Fuck Pence, we are going to beat these assholes.
I'm running around in circles to find my way back to you.
Lights glowing above my head while we watch the city sleep as one.
I'm spinning around with my silver and black polka dot dress flying up, dancing in circles while your hands are holding me close.
I close my eyes and feel the drops of snow start to fall, as we dance under the moon as one.
Let me sing to you while you play your guitar, as we sit in a close circle and make music under the stars and moon.
Love, I'm looking at your eyes of gold, big, bright and round.
We're running around in circles now to find our way back as one.
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. :)
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!
This last week was probably one of the most productive in a while. People always go to New York and they go to Boston, but for those of you who have never been to North Adams, it is a beautiful town in Massachusetts about three to four hours away from New York and three hours away from Boston. North Adams is a wonderful, artsy little town in the middle of nature. It is pretty surreal. On top of that, it also has one of the largest centers for contemporary visual art and performing arts in the US.
I was lucky enough to stay in this amazing place for a week with my mom Gingger Shankar and her friends/creative partners Dave Liang from The Shanghai Restoration Project and Yunfan Sun, an incredible visual artist. They have a multi-media project called Nari which is about my grandmother and great-grandmother that got into MASS MoCa's residency program. I was also lucky enough to play guitar and sing a bit on it, but I will be doing a separate post about Nari very soon.
There are so many things about this experience at MASS MoCa that I want to document, but I will only talk about the best things for now because I could go on forever with this.
I will talk about the exhibits first. The museum is massive and altogether contains 25 buildings, including some empty buildings and ones still being worked on, but still you can imagine how much astonishing art there was to see through out the museum. There were two exhibits that struck me the most. The first one Encampment by Francesco Clemente. You go into this big room and see these tents placed around the room, and then you go into the tents, each with a different theme and every inside wall covered in paintings. Some racy, some dark, some bright, some bold, some making a statement, and some just to look pretty. One tent had the theme of a man in a top hat and each painting was pretty racy while making a statement. Another tent, the first one I walked into, had a theme about women. That one had some of my favorite paintings in it. Another tent was very bright pink and had many paintings of angels laying, dead it seemed, on tables. l loved the darkness of some of these and his contemporary style of painting.
My other favorite exhibit was called Bibliothecaphilia and was basically a library/reading room. It contained books such as classic poetry books with poems written by Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, books about the act of decision making (which would be useful for someone like me) and books about music. I loved sitting and reading poems such as Helen, Annabel Lee and Israfel, written by Edgar Allen Poe.
The last and most important thing I want to talk about is how lovely everybody at MASS MoCa is. Everyone is so friendly and accommodating. I met some really amazing people. The entire tech crew was fantastic and super fun! Everyone who worked in the performing arts department were beyond lovely. One of the girls, Catherine, even lent me a guitar for the week so I could work on songs and practice. She is awesome! Her band just played in NYC and they write super nice music. They are called GRNDMS, you should check them out! I had a great time hanging out with everyone else at MASS MoCa.
MASS MoCa was an extraordinary place to focus on writing and workshopping songs. I even did some drawing while I was there. I did a lot of work in Lickety Split, the museums cafe and I practiced constantly in the production office. I am immensely grateful for this past week and for all of the inspiring people I got to meet. I can't wait to go back!
Last, but not least, this is Sabine, the cat who lives at Porches, the hotel we stayed in. Isn't she just precious?
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!!!!
I hope you're having a good week!
I wrote this song about the Paris and Beirut attacks and about all of the horrible stuff that's been going on in the world. I was so sad to hear about it all, even some places that I knew in Paris had been shot up. This song is called Bodies. I hope you like it! xx
City of romance, streets through which the lovers dance
Drowning in the beauty, fantasies
The love locked river running
City of distress, as the terror starts to dance
In the chaos
From this sorrow, so suddenly
Sending thoughts out to the lovers
Lost laying with one another now
Lights still glowing through this thick fog
Crawling over bodies on the ground
Bloodshot eyes hide in the nightime
Waiting for the demons to fall down
Hearts breaking through tears of madness
But I promise you, you'll still be standing tomorrow
You'll be okay tomorrow
City of unspeakable lust
Love pouring down
From the colored walls
To the drowning roars
The artists calling to one another
Nights stuck in the dark
As the lights start to go out
From the flames flying
As they watch this hell unravel from above now
Sending thoughts out to the lovers
Lost laying with one another now
Lights still glowing through this thick fog
Crawling over bodies on the ground
Boodshot eyes hide in the nighttime
Waiting for the demons to fall down
Hearts breaking though tears of madness
But I promise you, you'll still be standing tomorrow
You'll be standing tomorrow
How can we just stand by and watch, while innocent people are dying from hate
I wish I could take away the suffering of the damned, by the demons trying to stray you of your fate
November 16, 2015
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
I first heard Oh Wonder a few months ago at a show of mine in London. I was playing at the Zigfrid Von Underbelly in Shoreditch and the sound engineer was playing music on the company ipod inbetween soundchecks and sets. It was the song, 'Without You' that caught my attention. It was beautiful and it portrayed exactly what I had been feeling that few months prior to that due to sadness, heartbreak, and some other factors. I wrote down some of the lyrics in my notebook, thinking at the time that the song was by Purity Ring, since the sound engineer was playing them right before and they have a similar vibe. "I'm a little bit lost without you. Can't pick up the phone without you. Can't be on my own without you. I'm a little bit lost without you. Without you." These words and the simple melody remained stuck in my head the entire night. When I returned home after the show, even though I was spending time with friends and celebrating the successful night, I was stuck on this song. I was determined to find it. As I said before, I thought it was Purity RIng, which complicated the search for it. I looked for hours. Finally, when it had reached the later hours in the night, I found it. I decided to listen to another song of theirs. Then another. And another... Before I knew it, I had the album on repeat the entire night. Everything about the music struck me in such a way, it felt a release of emotions I had kept bottled up for a while at that point. It felt like a sort of therapy almost. I was very sad at the time, as I mentioned before. I had my heart broken not long before. I feel like this album healed me in a way. I listened to it on repeat the entire night. First I cried. I let everything out that had been stuck inside because I was scared to let it out. I still cry when I listen to it sometimes when I am feeling down. After I cried, I started writing in my notebook. I would write and write, then lay down and just enjoy the music, then go back to my writing. I also really looked into their website and learned about them because I wanted to know, who these guys are. They came out of nowhere and they suddenly have blown up. I learned quite a bit about them and really admire, not just their music, but their entire persona. Oh Wonder is a duo from London, consisting of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. Josephine's heartbreakingly beautiful melodies and soft piano playing make absolute magic when combined with the sweet voice and the instrumentation and other sounds created by Anthony. They write everything together. Each song portrays the perfect blend of heartache, desire and infatuation. They were also very clever when it came to the release side of thing. Every month they dropped a new song, and they did this for a year, creating more and more buzz, so when they finally released their album this year, they blew up. These guys are really something. I have put the link to 'Without You' below. They just released the music video for it. I love it, it's incredibly sweet and heartfelt. The scenery is also beautiful because they filmed it in NYC! ;) Check it out and have a wonderful day guys! :)
October 26, 2015
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
September 4, 2015
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
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 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
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
Robin Williams was probably one of the funniest, most entertaining people in the movie business. Everything he did, he put so much effort into it just to make his audience laugh. Everything from Mrs. Doubtfire to Flubber. He was such a great actor. It's so heartbreaking that somebody who seems so happy and puts in that much work just to make other smile every single day was so so sad himself. I never would've known and I don't think many others suspected it either. When I first read that he had passed somewhere, I didn't believe it. I thought it was a joke. But when I realized not only was it true, but it was said to have been a suicide, it brought a few tears to my eyes. Another thing that breaks my heart about the situation is that, it took this long for many people to address depression and drug abuse as an actual issue that needs to be dealt with as opposed to putting anyone down for coming out with it or admitting to needing help. No one should be too scared to get the help they need and no one has the right to put anyone else down or make them feel like they have to hide.
My condolences go out to Robin's family...
Rest in Peace Robin Williams.
August 12, 2014