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Two weeks after my last post, I lost my apartment, lost hope, lost a lot of tears and my beloved Tinkerbell figurine lost a hand and broke her wings. How
silly symbolic. Well, I see your lesson and raise you an epiphany, solidified faith in my dreams, more helping hands than I can count (you!) and an even deeper appreciation for the love surrounding me.
This is the tale of how Tinkerbell took her broken wings and learned to fly again.
Exactly one year ago, while I was having the time of my life in LA, something stirred in my spirit whenever we passed Laurel Canyon Boulevard and I knew it was a significant place for me. The winding road, the trees, the rocks, the energy!! It was like driving into a magical forest then exiting into the blinding lights of Sunset. ["What just happened? Did anyone else feel that??"] I believed I was supposed to be there and would eventually return, but my dreams and hopes of ever returning to that enchanting place diminished for a moment when I lost my place a couple of months ago and moved back in with my mother. And while the flame of hope for a musical future was being washed away by tears and years of disappointment, I received a big, heavy package all the way from Canada, sent by my friend Erika last month (also known as the Blue Monster, keeping my Facebook “like” page). A book about Laurel Canyon and all the artists who have lived there. I had no idea! Musicians lived there? Generations of them?? Wow… I started believing again, if only a little bit.
A few days after, I had a profound and cathartic interview with the Grown Folks Music blog and spoke candidly about my woes and hopes, the dance of my undying faith in my passion and this dramatic feeling of dying imagining giving the dream up. I’ve received many heart warming messages from you all (some of you I already knew, some of you were new), telling me you enjoy the songs I sing and write, not to give up and how touched you were by the interview and related to certain aspects of my story: being vulnerable as a woman, the struggles of “making it” as an artist or simply daring to dream… with everything you have, foolish as it may be. You made me realize we all need to smile in the face of disappointment and it becomes a lesson, to smile in the face of darkness and thus become the light. You have rekindled my flame with your energy, I am incredibly grateful to you. Thank you!
Mundane is merely magic in disguise. That’s the title of this blog (top left, see it?), one of the lines in my song “High on Life” and my soul’s motto. Every day is (supposed to be) special, but some days seem to shout: “Hey that line you wrote? It’s true! Magic is everywhere! Keep believing! Don’t give up!”. Today was another one of those magically mundane days. Two presents presented themselves to me on this seemingly ordinary Thursday. The pure joy of receiving a package, times two! One: I received these gorgeous Nadine Calor earrings I won two weeks ago on facebook, inspired by the magical night’s sky. Just the kind of thing a nocturnal nymph would wear. Oh yes!
And the big surprise, an early birthday present from the UK: the reincarnation of my special Tinkerbell figurine, which my mom originally bought for me years ago to inspire me while pursuing my passion for music. It had an important place in my apartment and I looked at it daily for hope, it inspired me to keep pushing for my dream. The original one lost her wings and hand while my belongings got shipped from there to here and silly as this may sound, that upset me quite a bit.
I remember telling my friend Michael (from Manchester, like the guy from Big Fish and the Bee Gees, but I digress..) about these “bastards” breaking Tinkerbell’s wings, but I never expected him to send me a brand new version of the fairy I’ve owned for years for my birthday (which is in November, and I suppose… today!), wings and hand intact, bearing the message that’s been propelling my wings for years: “Let Your Dreams Blossom”. I will. I promise. Promise me you will too?
The website serves as a social media hub, which updates itself in real time to give you a look into the ET realm and my ramblings: my latest tweets, facebook status updates (even if you’re not on fb), youtube videos, songs and of course my most recent blog posts. Win and I thought it up, and knew immediately what it would look like. We would use the photos of our upcoming Exotic Tinkerbell photo shoot as a backdrop and wanted a minimalist look (zen!) with small buttons on the right and nothing else. And we wanted the background pictures to refresh themselves during your stay as a way to introduce myself to you, before you even got to the full gallery. And it’s so good to meet you! I hope you feel me beaming amazing vibes to you, cause I most definitely feel yours! Thank you all so much for the love!!
Besides launching the website and social media platform, this was also a launch of the Exotic Tinkerbell Photo Album. You can find the 13 photos under the 5th button (flickr). The photos were essential for the feel of the website. The world I escape to during my highs and my lows: Harry Potter and Disney meet Arabian Nights and a burlesque room in Josephine Baker’s days… A visual representation of my personality. From morning to night, steamy yet light, introverted to extraverted (I scored exactly 50/50 in a test I did as a psychology student), a girly girl who hangs with the fellas (Girl From Mars), listening to their guy talk during basketball while yapping their ears off over tea, an only child who loves making new family and adores the huge family she was born into, the European born daughter to Surinamese parents, mom East Indian, dad Creole Black. I wanted this shoot to display my duality, and the way I embrace it. Never choose sides, why can’t I be both?
After the photo shoot, working with the incredible makeup artist Yohana Yfara and Winand & Vinod Singh shooting me with two cameras -different lenses- simultaneously (duality!), we started working on the website we envisioned. Clean and simple looking, but with a lot of coding needed to make the website think for itself, collecting all my babbling from twitter, facebook and youtube to make jayanti.me a place that breathes and moves as I do. Winand knew the perfect person to create the actual website, someone who had previously worked in the creative field as a film/television producer and decided to listen to the little man inside and quit this seemingly glamorous job to pursue an old hobby: web development. George Sait was the perfect guy. Like Win and myself, he has given up on a stable income to go for his passion (in my case singing, in Win’s case leaving a high profile ad firm to become a freelance creative conceptor). And if there is one word I love and live by, it is passion! I hope you will or have found yours!
My very best hug to…
Winand Singh (conjuring up the ET concept with me, photos, designing jayanti.me)
Vinod Singh (photos)
George Sait (web design, losing a weekend of sleep and ghetto guerilla coding)
Michael Fitzmaurice (overseas coding and rubber ducking)
Yohana Yfara (makeup)
Van Dijk: Wendela, Barije & Tatiana (styling except my own purple blue jumpsuit)
…for working on the Exotic Tinkerbell photo shoot and website with me… and to you, for reading this all the way through!
And in this picture, I am wearing my own jumpsuit! All other outfits courtesy of Van Dijk.
Here it is, the third photo on the Exotic Tinkerbell Photo Mixtape: *dusk*.. The last one will be posted tomorrow and then it’s time for the full Photo Album on my new website!! I’m so excited for you to you see it!! Wooooooo!!
The second track on the visual mixtape, strolling into the afternoon..
Starting today, I will post a new photo daily until it’s time for the launch of my new website on Saturday May 15th. A Photo Mixtape as a prelude to the Photo Album to be released on the website in four days. Photos have melodies, too… listen and you will see! This is the first of four previews, taking you from morning to night, bubbly to intense. The different sides of me: Exotic Tinkerbell.
A full gallery will be displayed on the website, which will serve as a hub where you’ll be updated -in realtime- on my tweets, facebook status updates, youtube videos, new songs and of course, my blog posts.
Yay, I got a haircut today!! Another take on Exotic Tinkerbell, which I thought up a few days ago. Change is good.
Hair by Thaïs: I may have found the new love of my hair’s life!
January 26th 2010 was one of the happiest, most blissful days of my life! An extension and crown upon months of preparation, hours of conversation, saving (thanks mom & Win for the extra support!!!), creating a mood board, diary entries, inner traveling, outer channeling by means of the right setting and perfect wardrobe (Van Dijk!), working with my favorite makeup artist (Yohana!!!), an amazing hair stylist (Wendy!!!) and to top it all off: shooting with my best friends, Winand and Vinod Singh. Two rooms, two moods, two elements, two cameras, two angles, toooo smooooove!!!
We made our first selection last night, and now I’m going over the first batch to make the final cut. We will use these pictures for the new website, which will hopefully launch in March [May, hooray!]. Here’s a first glimpse of our shoot: Vin shooting Win shooting me working as the creative collective “Me We”!
-click image for full size-
Things are really coming together for me on all levels, I’m surrounding myself with the loveliest, most inspiring, gifted and giving people blessed with incredible talent and the purest of spirits. Beautiful Yohana, the makeup artist with an incredible eye for detail, literally sprinkling me with fairy dust to make the magic shine through, the ladies at Van Dijk (Barije, Tatiana and of course Wendela) helping me with my gorgeous wardrobe, Wendy the buoyant spirited hair stylist with pizazz and flair while doing hair (girl you funny!), Winand and Vinod really stripping me to my core then turning it inside out to show my soul on camera for everyone to see. We really captured me: Exotic Tinkerbell. People don’t tell me I’m an alien for no reason, and now we know what E.T. really stands for! ;o)
I made a playlist for this day, click to see the titles and create a sonic image of the Exotic Tinkerbell photo shoot. I also played the album “janet” by Janet Jackson and “Les Fleurs” by Minnie Riperton.
Say yes to life and life will say yes to you. That is the lesson I learned last Saturday, December 19th.
My showcase went really well, and it turned out, the audience could vote for their favorite artist of the night. People were walking up to me after my performance, telling me they were voting for me, and I had no idea what it was all about, but was mighty thankful all the same! Who needs to know the details (voting for what?? what’s the prize?? wait, is this a competition???) when you know people can vote for you?? So I decided to campaign for myself and scare the swag out of the hormone packed teenage boys hollering at me all night. They don’t expect you to actually talk to them!?! lol!
I walked up to them and said: “Boys!” [saucer eyes, eyeballs going side to side, then regaining their faux teenage swagger] “You liked my show?” “Alright then! Great! So vote for me!”. And swift as their young brains work (yes, yes… take that pun if you want to) they demanded hugs, so I found myself exchanging hugs for votes. And it paid off: I won a flatscreen LG tv plus a Wii (I’m selling the Wii so I can pay for a new photo shoot for my new website layout and promo pics!! yay!) by channeling my inner Mac Mommy and two people who voted for me both won a prize as well! So you see: spread the love and it’ll come back to you!
Gio aka Vanno aka Giovanno came to my showcase on his birthday (thank you so much!), so we all decided to have dinner at Bazar (the same place we recorded the very first of the Life Is A Musical videos) after the gig and we ended up singing Surinamese birthday songs and slamming the tables for the right afro-caribbean beat. I had such an amazing night, only a few days after feeling like I would break. And I did break: through! Through my fears and through my pain. If anything, this night reminded me to keep on giving. All of me at all times. Feels like the scariest thing to do, but I realize it will not eat away at me nor will it kill me: giving my all expands my soul and makes me grow. I feel intensely alive!
Hopping on stage to receive two cherries on top of an amazing night :o)
This Saturday, December 19th, I’ll be performing at Zuidplein Theater in Rotterdam around 9 pm!
Also, I am very excited to be working with producer / multi-instrumentalist Rory Ronde aka Kofi Anonymous. We are working on some tracks that really strike the right chords with me. I find myself weaving through the notes, exploring the spaces, while my soul feels like she’s coming home.
I’m very excited about the showcase on Saturday, so hop on over if you can! If not, pay me a virtual visit on YouTube shortly after or keep an eye out on my blog for echoes. Not the actual thing, but resounding nonetheless! Or so I hope… ;o)
Wow, I feel soooo great!!! I had the most delightful birthday (Nov 17th) with my mom and my closest friends, with loving birthday wishes (Dumbledore even made an appearance courtesy of Dão!!) from family & friends here and abroad. Thank you all so much for thinking of me on the day my New Year started!
And now I’ve been working on 5 songs, different producers, different vibes, yet all very close to my spirit. There is so much love around and inside of me, it’s like watching and creating a dance.. It’s all coming together and it makes me so happy!!
But last night I also made some actual, factual, tangible moves at my friend Irina’s birthday bash. I ended up getting salsa dancing pointers from Jef the salsa pro… So much fun! I’m thinking I’ll have to join them on Thursdays shakin it, just my kind of thing!
Tomorrow I’m starting my new part time temp office job, exactly what I need right now to juggle the Passion and my rent.. I’ve been meeting up with people online and offline about my music, these are exciting times for me! There is so much magic in the mundane if you only open yourself up to see it! So I’m trying to pour those sparks into my songs every free second I get.
Keep an eye out for the sparks lighting up your day eager for you to see them!
And maybe Al can help… :o)
Thank you Greg, for pointing me to this magical song with your amazingly smoldering bass shining thru on the Al Green rendition Ms. Sexy… Keep playing as you are: I hear ya!
I’m all wrapped up and cosy inside my songwriting cocoon right now (as I only work Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I get the majority of the week to write songs and be poor… lol). Al Mar amazed me, once again, with beats so hot I want to fling myself out the window and hope to fly. But instead, I’ll write some melodies and words to emulate that flying wish.
Also, I met Eric Roberson and his band last week on a singer songwriter workshop which was incredibly inspiring. The name of the band is Tito’s Turn and their energy is amazing! It was a two day event, the day after the workshop they killed it at a private show. I’ll be keeping in touch with some of the band members and I feel like I’ve gained some friends. And who knows what we could do in the future..? I’ll keep you updated! ;o)
But, the most important reason for this blog entry is that my close friend Gracielle Uda made some artwork inspired by the poem See Through
I posted recently. I felt the urge to write some poetry and decided to get on my blog and write it in realtime, which I did. I just started typing and posted it. After I read my poem I knew the best artist to grace it was Gracielle (yes, yes… pun definitely intended). So I called her and asked her if she’d be up for it. She read my poem and loved it. And now I am very very excited to present her lovely artwork on my blog and hopefully, this will be the first of many.
Artwork by Gracielle Uda
*click the image for See Through, the poem and the artwork*
Yeah!! I feel so much better! Reboot!
So now it’s time to tell you about the birth of my new song, Girl from Mars.
I wrote this song with Almar Nooitmeer (amazing keyman, composer and producer), who goes by the producer name Al Mar. He made me a beat, basically consisting of a short loop which was the base of the hook. He played it for me and I immediately knew it was my song. The title (he’d given it the working title “I’m this girl from mars” which I later changed to “Girl From Mars”) was spot on, I’ve been called an alien, different and even E.T. (no, I get it.. no big deal… we’re both little and wow, when I wear a hoodie the resemblance knocks you right in the face.. kaplow!!) lots of times. I don’t think I’m that weird, but yeah, maybe I am…
I made the hook right then and there and wrote the rest of the song at home, after Almar made the instrumental for the verses. I sat on my bed, with the beat on repeat and closed my eyes. I need to become one with the song, really feel it move and weave through me. And then the melodies come out. And then the melodies take shape into words.
I knew it was going to be a very autobiographical song, despite, or maybe because of the quirky alien theme. Don’t we all feel different? We’re all the same, we are all part of this one universal body, but we all have our own little worlds. So I wrote about this thing I truly believe in: giving unconditionally. There is no end to giving. You can never give yourself away completely. It can only multiply.
We met up after I’d written the verses and Mitchell Thompson came in to help polish the vocal melodies. Mitchell sings in a close harmony group, and added that extra smoothness and coherence to the song. We worked on the verses and perfected the flows, feeling our way through the song, letting it tell us what needed to go up, what needed to go down. Almar played the chords on one piano, Mitchell played the vocal melodies on another, I played my vocal chords. It was magical. They’re both incredibly talented, really sweet guys and I thoroughly enjoyed creating this song with them. Thank you so much!!! Wooo!! *body roll*
After that, my friend Greg Malone came up with a backing vocal melody for the hook (we decided not to use his husky vocals and replace them by mine, though his were quite charming… ;op
-thanks Hoggy!!-), which Mitchell layered into three separate voices to stack on top of the other for each new chorus, as Greg had suggested. Almar wrote a bridge and we were ready to record!
Recording was actually very special and emotional, as we heard about Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest and then later that he had died (hurts to even write the words) while I was in the recording booth. Everyone knew I’m a major MJ fan (I always jokingly said he’s my real dad cause my mom has been a fan since the J5 days) so they really left it up to me to decide whether I wanted to finish recording.
I felt I needed to finish it, so I did and tried to channel my feelings into the mic. It had been my greatest wish for Michael to hear this song, so I would like to dedicate it to him and his memory and send him my humble gratitude for the great impact and influence he has had and still has on me as a person and an artist.
Thank you, Michael!!!