Tag Archives: The Voice

20 Feet From Stardom

Last evening, I had the pleasure of seeing the documentary film “20 Feet From Stardom” at the SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) cinema. It shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the past sixty years. In addition to telling the story of “old-timers” Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, among others, it also shines a light on Judith Hill, …
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Who Is Your Favorite On “The Voice”?

If you have had eyes glued to “The Voice”, you know they’re down to the final four. And you most likely have a favorite picked out.

As for me, I was disappointed that Adam weighted his vote to favor Tony Lucca over Katrina Parker, especially when Katrina would have won if it was completely up to the people’s vote. Disappointed, but not surprised. This is a competition between judges, remember, and perhaps Adam felt that Tony Lucca had a better chance going up against the other finalists. My wife Merrilyn pointed out that Tony knows how to work a stage, while Katrina is rather sedentary.

I was very surprised that Cee Lo picked Juliet Simms over Jamar Rogers. I couldn’t decide between the two, so I didn’t envy Cee Lo. He clearly had the two best in the competition, but I think Jamar could have won. Oh well, the record industry would be foolish not to sign him.

Okay, enough of my opinions. Here’s a poll. Tell me who you want to win:

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Birthday Thoughts About Aging

Wow, I’m 54 today. Who wudda thunk it? It sounds so old and yet I still feel so young inside. Carol Burnett shares my birthday–she turns 79 today–and I thought about the age difference: 25 years. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time to me. Only 25 years. I think some varieties of Kim Chee are aged longer than that.

The idea that 25 years doesn’t seem like a long time is strong evidence that I am older. When I was 25, that span of time seemed enormous. I do miss the optimism that is inherent with being a young adult. The sky is the limit. Anything is possible.

Middle age ushers in a rude awakening. The LIST of dreams is now longer than the time left to pursue them. It’s time for triage. Of all the forks in the road that still occur to this young brain, many are now closed. Some I would have liked to pursue back when I had the chance.

Occasionally, I catch myself wallowing (too strong a word) in regret that I did not choose a full-time music career. When I was 21, I put such a life on hold in order to learn some marketable skill that I could “fall back on” and also to keep me out of the front lines of a war with Iran that seemed to be looming on the horizon. (It was 1980.) A career in computer programming offered stability and security, and I met my wife at college while I was getting my degree. The computer gig never became the fallback option but would up being the full-time deal.

Now that I am finally pursuing a full-time music career, I am increasingly aware of how much catch-up work I have to do to get established in this business. Unlike my “lifer” music contemporaries, there are networks that I have never established and industry skills that I am clueless about. I also realize how much I don’t know about music, too. Like, I’m finally getting around to learning how to play jazz standards, getting the licks down to improvise over II/V progressions, and developing piano-bar chops. Learning how to orchestrate is another skill I never acquired, which became apparent when I arranged the song “Ascent” on my Passage CD. I am very happy with how it turned out, but it was a lot of trial and error.

My regrets are about the likelihood that I am running out of time to pay all of the dues required to be fully functional in this business. These regrets are tempered by the relief that I still have computer consulting work to truly fall back on when I hit slow periods, like 2012 when my music sales have all but evaporated. (That’s okay. I’ve got some new stuff coming out in a couple of months.) And I have the wherewithal to be more selective in what kind of music work I do, while other people I know have to do everything and anything that comes their way and are still not able to afford health insurance (or rent). So I am counting my blessings and they are many!

Wow this blog post took a real serious direction, at times even solemn. I had meant to describe all the ways that I still feel like a kid inside. Like the fact that, like most 13 year old boys, I still think farts are hilarious. But so did the judges on Monday night’s episode of The Voice. They’re all in their 30’s. Let’s just face it: No matter what age you are, farts are just stinking funny!

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Favorite Summer Reality Shows

This summer found us sitting in front of the TV more than most summers. Must be something to do with the weather, which until just recently, has been rather dreadful. We tuned into a few “reality” shows, all competitions of one sort or another. Here are our faves:

The Glee Project

We find Glee both entertaining and at times disturbing. But it is the Glee Project where we get a glimpse of the mind of co-creator Ryan Murphy. The Project chronicles 12 aspiring cast members contending for a 7-week story arc on the next season of Glee. Each episode features them competing in an opening number for one-on-one coaching time with the guest cast member judge, most of which were second-tier cast members. They all then work on a music video together, the process of which includes cutting vocal tracks in the studio, working with the choreographer, and shooting the video. They are then assessed and the bottom three are sent off to perform a last-chance solo for Ryan Murphy. Only one contender was supposed to win a spot on the show, but when it came down to the final four, everyone was a winner. Our faves, Damian and Samuel, each won a 7-episode stint while the runners up Lindsay and Alex each won a 2-episode spot. It is cool to see how much the powers that be love these kids.

The Voice

Finally, a singing competition that doesn’t follow the usual formula. It was awesome that Javier Colon won–his coach Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) was cunning in how he played and won the game. However, we wish that local girl Vicci Martinez would have won. Even so, her career has definitely reached a new level: signed with Universal Republic and partnering with high-profile songwriters. Check out a post-competition video interview of her here.

Project Runway

What’s not to love about Project Runway? Well, either it’s “in” or “out” of your must-see list. And what’s not to love about Tim Gunn, who truly makes the show. Now we’re watching Season 9, which seems to have a lineup of less than stellar designers, at least in our opinion. Anya, however, is truly gifted, and we would love to see her win. Who’s your pick?

Master Chef

A show that’s been around for a couple seasons but we just started watching it. Fascinating what a pressure cooker this competition is, pun intended. We were hoping that both finalists, Jennifer and  Adrian, would win. Hey, that sort of thing happened on the Glee Project. In the end, it was Jennifer who wowed the judges with her technical prowess and risk-taking by preparing dishes she has never cooked before.

So, what were your favorite summer shows?

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