Archive for singing
It’s been quite a year for me. Last August, I lost my apartment, not being able to afford it anymore with all the temp jobs I’ve been doing for years to have enough freedom and time to give music a real chance. I’ve hibernated most of winter, popping vitamin D to give my body some artificial sunshine, reading four books at a time and starting a fifth and sixth then changing my mind, watching entire seasons of tv shows on my laptop. During this time, I’ve been writing a lot, songs about losing my place, losing faith, that glimmer of hope at the horizon, loving me and loving you, finding me and losing you.
I thought it was about time to talk to you, even though I’ve written some blog posts about this and have kept you in the loop on facebook and twitter. YouTube has been a wonderful place to share my art, with full autonomy and whenever I wanted, whimsical as I can be. Throughout the year, I kept getting comments and messages from you, sometimes right at the point where I wanted to give up and disappear into the core of the earth (yes, I got a little dramatic sometimes, bless my friends). These messages truly kept me going, it reminded me that you were still listening, you still cared. Thank you so much for reaching out to me during these times. Your words of encouragement -knowing what I was going through or not at all- were the glue to mend my wings and make me fly again.
I have never been more inspired in my life, words, concepts, stories, ideas pour out like a waterfall and I feel blessed to be able to ride these waves of creativity with you, whether you’re the one I write my songs with, the one I write my songs for or the one I share my songs with. Here’s to you! Hear, hear! And hear me, you do. I hear you, too.
When I was 5, I started entering talent shows with Jackson 5 songs and when I felt like a “big girl” (around the age of 10) I added Whitney and Mariah songs to my repertoire. Every wedding, every school dance, every audition… I remember watching Whitney’s performances at the Grammy’s, in complete awe. So this is what a lady singer was supposed to sound like, that is what she was supposed to wear, I was looking at the prototype, she was It! Her refined beauty, her regal air, singing soft notes that sounded like sweet cotton candy at first, then stacked on top of each other to reach a climax unlike anything I’d ever heard: passionate, raw but very smooth. Her voice sounded like it was made of gold, warm and clear, delicate yet powerful… there was a special gleam about it nobody else had, I was absolutely mesmerized by her tone (I still am, can you tell?).
Listening to my heroes as a kid and learning their songs has helped me find my own vocal identity, which is why I wanted to to use my voice to thank The Voice: Whitney Houston. She has inspired and influenced me so much, and touched my spirit in a very real way. I believe in acknowledging every positive spark you receive from another person, be it a kind stranger on the train or an artist who has showed you the ropes by example, I believe in saying “thank you”. So, therefore: Thank you, Ms Whitney Houston, for sharing your light with all of us.
You know when you take a dive, and you can feel the arch of your body is just right, the sun is burning on your back, you take a good breath and
feel know this is going to be such an uplifting swim? No? Yes? Well, that is what it felt like when I dived into 2012, performing at Holland Got Soul in Rotterdam. I was asked to do an original song and a Motown cover and decided to do my own song Nightlight and a rendition of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. Our Nightlight shone bright, my co-writer Rory Ronde (on guitar!) and I were so happy to perform our song with a band for the first time! Take a look at our faces in the very first frame of the video, that pretty much says it all! :o)
The most incredible feeling, hearing your song come to life and sharing it with a beautiful audience!
When I decided to do Let’s Get It On, I really wanted to pay tribute by replying to the original. What would the seductress, the lady, say to that man, wanting to get it on? Well, yes we can get it on! Let me tell you how I’m feeling, sir! Something I have a hard time doing in real life, but a stage, a band, lights and a loving crowd can give you that extra push. Euphoria! I was really feeling it, the band was feeling it, the crowd was feeling it, it was glorious! We were getting it in and getting it on!
Huge shoes to fill, so I decided to respect and admire the man’s shoes and give you my high heeled, feminine interpretation of this classic!
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?
Three November babies in a room, one holding the camera, one strumming the strings and one behind the mic, for a tribute to one of my favorite singer/songwriters, also born in the 11th month: Minnie Riperton.
Guitarist Rory Ronde (aka Kofi Anonymous) and I adore Minnie’s work, and we’d been talking about doing a cover for a while. In my personal little storybook, Inside My Love (by Minnie and Leon Ware) is jotted down as one of the best songs ever written: so layered and intricate, so delicately light yet filled to the brim with divine sensuality… We were both delighted to play this song together, I hope you can hear and feel our deepest respect and admiration in this tribute to one of our favorite Fleurs of the musical Garden.
We heard about Amy Winehouse’s tragic demise right before recording this take, and Rory dedicated it both to her and Minnie: two unique songstresses who have graced us with their extraordinary talent before passing on to the next Garden. May they bloom in love and light.
So here it is, my list of shout outs to everyone who has voted for me in the MTV Ray Ban Battle by rating my Girl From Mars video with 5 stars! I have more votes than names, so if you don’t see your name in this list, and you did vote for me, or maybe even asked your friends to vote, please leave a comment with your name(s) or send an email to email@example.com and I will add you to the shout out list. If you would like me to add a link to your name (of your website, facebook, youtube channel, twitter), I’ll gladly do that, so let me know!
Thank you all so much!!! The Valtifest festival -which this battle is a part of- will be held in September, so you can still vote. I will keep you updated, and maybe, with your help, I will get a feature on MTV!! Fingers & toes (& tongues?) crossed!
Björn (1st on facebook!)
Nagali (1st thru email!)
Win (= my external harddrive & made this vid)
Vin (we will post your Indulge spoof, be scared!)
Wesley (beat knockin dad to be!)
Silvana (via Win’s link – farm!)
Marca (via Win – nice to meet you!!)
Molgerd (real recognize real)
Jeffrey (video bro)
Alex (B. Black)
Farah (5* as you are!)
Erika (my hoodie & musical gem pusher)
Steve (Erika made him)
Steph (Erika made her – GTC member)
Priscilla (she got me!)
Ouxu (fellow crop top ‘do rocker)
Tanchita (1 of the Tinkerbell nick originators!)
La Toya (sooner than later!)
Angie (likes this – heals with food)
Sharine (oops again?! yay!)
MūSiz (T2U Renaissance Man)
Michael (F. mad hatter)
Wilma (yes latte soon!)
Mila (birthday planner)
Susan (+1000 forwards, so thank you 1000x!!)
Oesha (msn link tnx!!)
Truu Soul (Cardiac Arrest)
Jacquinn Johnson (poetically correct)
Sharmila (remember Paris? lol-geez-cough)
Stacey (exhilarated by law.. oolala!)
Sophieheartspotter (MJ and Harry, lovely!)
RBCHILD4EV (great music channel)
logosfabula (somewhere over the rainbow)
tcade25 (anime & music)
wrldtvlr2 (beautiful MJ vids)
TUNEin2BLISS (waves all around)
TheCalebson (sweet lady, sweet music)
jm423 (real voices on this channel!!)
youriish (likes it on yt & fb!)
ThatKidFromRussia (hiphop hoo-russia!)
BigbankX (vibe with Lee..)
Saskia (ah yes, usb sticks.. you rock!!)
Poonam (Master Pookie)
Rinesh (Mister Pookie)
Pookie’s Friends (expansion!)
Cher (+ Lion & Hira by proxy)
Nashira (worth a try? but once is great!!)
Soye (Tang Soo Do, uhuh..)
Djavan (lil bro who likes to jump off things +421!)
Desiré (sol the night away)
Amin (Pan Afrikanz Warrior *3)
Robert (P. my non-homie)
Brandon (puts the Captain in EO! Skype jams!)
Jennifer (Mrs Jones)
Michael (C. defying lingual barriers)
Karlos (no conditioner macho man)
Greg (El Hoggy – comic relief Master)
Almar (Mr Mars, forever 21)
Rory (Nightlight & sushi)
Rokesh (IT guru)
Ratna (sweetest mathemagician)
Marcel Groot (Blushing Man)
Randell (fellow nocturnal brotha)
TwilightForestLight (peace & Isis)
You can still vote for me and help me get featured on MTV! Here’s how:
Slap my Girl From Mars video with 5 stars
Hit the “stem” button.
Done! Thank you sooo much!!!
In July 2009, after having dinner with my friends, they asked me to sing something. We debated over the right song for me to sing: Baby Be Mine, The Way You Make Me Feel, Girl From Mars, even My Heart Will Go On (naw…) were thrown in there, until Cas asked me about the song I used to do back when we all met: Indulge.
This was my very first YouTube video (Life is a Musical!) and we even got featured on abduzeedo for the first time (Weak also got featured later on), a Brazilian inspirational website for artists. I did the first verse and chorus and promised to do the second verse when the time was right. Today was it! We’d had our eye on these colored columns for a minute, they seemed the perfect addition to the first Indulge video at the restaurant. I hope you will indulge in the lovely colors: peach & lavender…
I wrote this song when I was 15. I was sitting on my bed one afternoon and started singing it from beginning to end, the complete song came to me all at once. Funny thing about this song is, I met my closest friends during the days I performed with Indulge, including Win & Vin (my photos, videos, website) and Al Mar (my producer, co-writer, pianist). Al Mar has even done some vocal harmonies to this song at some of the shows, cause back then, he was a pianist and vocalist with a close harmony group and we were in a hip hop musical together. So Al Mar and I will definitely include Indulge in the Exotic Tinkerbell Music Tale, along with Girl from Mars, High on Life, Nightlight (with Kofi Anonymous) and a bunch of new songs that Al Mar and I are working on. Indulging in the lovely lovin’: inspiration galore!!
In case you missed it, here is Indulge (Part 1)
All Life is a Musical videos (a series of me singing anywhere: bookstore, subway, roof…)
I joined thesixtyone, a platform for new artists. You’ll be able to listen to my music, buy my songs for $1 or simply heart my songs or favorite them. I will upload more songs along the way and keep you updated. There’s a lot of very interesting freshness going on over there, so check it out, sign up as a listener or an artist and hit the road with me!
Full Moon on New Year’s Eve. The last night of the year, when 2009 and 2010 meet. A true full circle moment!
I find myself restless, inspired, emotional and completely open when there’s a full moon out there.. Even when it’s still waxing to complete fullness, I feel my tummy churning, songs flowing out of me and I only realize there’s a full moon (coming) when I look out my bedroom window, unable to sleep. It’s the most magical of times, it feels like all the emotions that have been brewing are released…
Enjoy the last day of this year as if there is no tomorrow. Savour and marvel at every day of 2010 as if it were the first…
Happy Every Day everybody!!
It’s been snowing and I get all fuzzy inside watching the flakes fall while crunching virgin patches of the white fluffy stuff with my boots. So for my new Life is a Musical video, I decided to do a song which I adored as a kid and makes me feel like walking through a field of snow: weak in the knees and giddy all over!
As always, video by Winand Singh aka Wintin Tarantino (as I like to call him) :op
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)
I’ll be performing tomorrow in club Off Corso Rotterdam around 2am!! There’s a parallel party at the same venue so you can get your dance on to old skool swingbeat at New Jack City and enjoy live music at Life One Stage.
So swing on by if you’re willing and able! Running Man* not required, but I’ll show you mine if you show me yours! :op
*extra brownie points for newly 30 year old Vin… yeah I don’t care about your crutches… get down-uh!!!
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*
~A small tale of my infatuation with stories~
Books are awesome!! So for my new “Life is a Musical” video, I decided to go to book-paradise and pay them a little tribute.
Today, I felt great! And then I got really mad. And then I felt guilty for getting so mad. And then sadness overwhelmed me…
But throughout this roller-coaster ride of emotions how I felt above and underneath it all, was happy. Incredibly, intensely, incomparably happy!! Ever since I’ve accepted my path and decided to swim with my current by going against stream (goodbye conventional goals, hello heartfelt passion!), I found my peace. It’s a constant state of happiness that does not waver in bouts of grief or disappointment…
I can feel! And because I can, I try to make the most of the experience. I feel my feelings to the core, revel in them, drink them until quenched. Giving into your emotions is not weak, it takes courage and strength. Don’t think them away, dare to feel!!
It really is! Why just sing on stage or in a studio? Song is part of me, always… Even on the subway on our way home from the annual North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam… :o)
*full circle moment: I used to sing on the tram as a baby and embarrass my mother… at every stop, I’d stop… wheels in motion and I’d ad-lib my little butt off!*
Any ideas for the next “episode” of Life is a Musical?? Let me know! And I will try to shine my light upon the gray, grace white noise with melody, color the transparency of the drawings of today!
I love looove loooooove stories. I get so excited over great stories! After reading Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s “Shadow of the Wind”, I was eager to read more. “The Angel’s Game” is story telling heaven! Yeah I only just started (lol), but the beginning of a book is just as pivotal as the ending!! Come on! How many times have you started reading a book with open-minded hope to close it again after a few pages of mind-numbing hopelessness? Right?? Right??!!
And so… Now that I’ve hopped on the Songstress plane, life is all song and praise! :op
I wrote this song, “Indulge”, when I was 15 and feeling romantic…
*This is the first verse and chorus, when the vibe is right and the Songstress plane is airborne again, I will do the rest of the song and post part 2. Any ideas for the setting…? Another restaurant? Up a tree?? Feel free to send me your ideas and if at all logistically possible, I will do it! Because, dammit: Yes We Can!!!*
-Back to the future: ancient MySpace blog entry dated January 7th 2009-
So I hear there’s this huge credit crisis happening… in the world. In the WORLD. That’s huge.
And I decided to quit my job. A reasonably well paying, stable, nice job! Foolish? Maybe. Just incredibly stupid?? Yeah… maybe. I am not being ignorant to external reality (…), I just know I would be in a true crisis if I kept denying what’s happening inside.
I feel like I’m 7 years old again, and entering a talent show with a fever. My mom wanted me to stay in bed, but I knew I would perform that day. I was being insane, but I had to!! It was drizzling and cold and gray (I could have gone with “it was just another day in Holland” as it’s almost always wet and the sky some shade of the white-black spectrum, but then.. you may have never been to this below sea-level wonder of a button sized country) and the show was outside. I have no idea how I pulled it off, but she let me go. I had a sore throat, could barely stand up straight and my eyes were teary. I cry when I’m really sick, so I cried. I’m not good at sweating, so maybe I cry to “sweat out” the fever through my tear ducts.. who knows… I cried. For those five minutes I was on stage, I felt on top of the world. I sang MJ’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” as if my life depended on it. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…” There really was no sunshine but I was far from gone. I won.
To me, song is beyond and ahead of reason. It’s often the only thing to soothe me and give me some perspective. After a day of stress and uninspiring blandness, belting the energy out is the best way to unwind. When I feel I’m halfway out of body and not in tune, singing is the only thing that sets me right, pulls me back and grounds me while propelling me into infinite realms of magic. How magical music is…
So I’m giving up on the work stress. I’m hopping on the Songstress plane to give music a go. Music is a gift and I want to give it my all.