All Posts By Rachel Sacks

Interview with Erin Bowman

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Hey Summer Single Art (hi res)Even before she was 18, Erin Bowman has known that she wanted to be a singer. So, after making the big decision to move to New York and pursue her dreams, the rising star has released her hit singles “Problem,” “King Boy,” and “Hey Summer.” Cliché talked with her about her yet-to-be-titled upcoming debut EP, her influences, and more.
Cliché: What has the journey been like for you putting together your debut EP?
Erin Bowman: I had a bunch of ideas I had put together just writing on my own, and then I started working with co- writers at the end of 2013. Sometimes, we’d work on ideas I had or come up with brand new ones. I wrote several songs in NYC and I also went out to LA for two weeks and worked with a bunch of different producers and writers, which was a great experience! I had so many songs to choose from and had to narrow it down, which was quite difficult! I finally narrowed it down to six songs, which is a little bit longer than a typical EP, but I couldn’t narrow it down anymore. I’m super excited for people to hear the music!
Who are some of your biggest influences?
My biggest influences would have to be Spice Girls, TLC, Britney Spears, and Gwen Stefani to name a few! Their looks and shows and all that glitz and glam was so great, but really what it comes to is great music… and that’s something all those acts had. They’re all great entertainers, no doubt about it, but without those great songs, where would they be? I’m influenced by great music.
Where do you find the most inspiration and creativity for your songwriting?
Real life for sure! Everything I write about is stuff that is happening to me or stuff I see happening to others. I think that’s where the best music comes from.
What was it like hearing your first single “Problem” being played on the radio?
Nothing is cooler than hearing your song on the radio! I couldn’t have been more excited! To know that people are hearing your song on the radio is just the coolest!
What was it that ultimately made you decide to get into music and songwriting?
I have loved music my whole life. My parents have great taste in music and I grew up listening to all these different artists. There’s something about music and entertaining that just makes sense to me. I can’t see myself doing anything else. So, fingers crossed, this works out for me. When it comes to songwriting, I [had] never even thought about writing music until I started working with my first producer that asked me to work on some lyrics to a new song he had written. After that, I just kept writing and writing; I started writing melodies and everything. Now I couldn’t even imagine singing songs that didn’t come straight from me. It wouldn’t feel right or real.
What is your ultimate dream or goal for your music career?
I want millions of people to buy my album and love every track on it. Not just one song. I want to be an “albums artist,” as I like to say. “Album artists” stick around; they have longevity. Obviously one hit is better than no hit, but a hit album… that’s my idea of success.
Any future plans?
My new single is called “Besides You” and I can’t wait to put it out and see people’s responses. It’s always a little scary, but also super exciting. I don’t have a release date for the EP yet, but expect it relatively soon! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @erinbowmanmusic to stay informed!
Interview with Erin Bowman “On The Way Up” originally published in Cliché Magazine’s Aug/Sept 2014 issue
Photographed by ©Chris Fulcher

Lauren Wilhelm Interview

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Free-spirited, powerhouse, soulful—all these words describe singer-songwriter Lauren Wilhelm, also known as Dazy (The Girl). Hailing from Tallahassee, Wilhelm has already made splashes with her cover of The 1975’s “Chocolate” and will be performing at Warped Tour this summer. We had a Lauren Wilhelm interview about finding inspiration for her music and lyrics and her upcoming plans.

dazyshouldermattphoto

Photo credit to Matt Burke

Cliché: First, any reason in particular you decided to cover The 1975’s “Chocolate?”
Lauren Wilhelm: It was actually a last-minute decision the day before I had an acoustic performance at the Gunz show. My buddy the Heavy Empty suggested the song and I was skeptical because I had no idea what any of the real lyrics were. We made it work and I enjoyed singing it so much that I decided to add it to my setlist.

What other music would you like to do covers of?
I just finished recording and mixing my next cover “All Of Me” by John Legend. I really like how it turned out! Pretty soon I’m taking it back to my roots and am going to do some Brand New and Taking Back Sunday.

Your soulful version of that song follows closely to the soulful, pop sound of your single “I Told You So.” What draws you to that type of music?
I think it’s just my voice that has that bluesy raspy sound to it. It’s not really a sound I’m trying to create, it’s just my words with my feelings coming through my vocal chords. It’s a natural feeling to me.

You describe your music as “aggressive pop with a little rock and intense soul.” How did you find a balance between these three different sounds?
The underlying theme in those words is “passion.” I’m passionate about singing and having my songs heard, so they reflect that. I enjoy a catchy tune that can be both meaningful and memorable.

When writing your own music, what is your process like when coming up with the sound and the lyrics?
It’s different every time. Sometimes a song comes to me when I’m playing the piano or guitar. My favorite songs I’ve written have come to me while sitting alone in the back of someone’s car on a road trip. I used GarageBand for the last eight years or so, and that’s how I got a lot of my music heard. I’ve recently (finally) upgraded to ProTools and my whole life has changed. It’s easy being able to record myself in my home studio.

You’ve said that your mom was a big musical influence growing up. How did she influence the type of music you listen to, as well as the music you make now?
That woman could harmonize to a vacuum cleaner. She really taught me the importance of finding pitch and harmonies. She listened to a lot of Enya growing up, and I still love that spacey sound in songs. (Think Coldplay.)

What is it like getting to work with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade (also your boyfriend)? Are you thinking about any future music with him?
It was great being able to do something with him finally. He’s a pretty laid back guy, so being in the studio was just as relaxing as being at home. As far as future music, who knows! Nothing planned as of right now, and I’d like to see who else I can collaborate with.

What can listeners expect from your upcoming performance at Warped Tour?
Expect sensual, sexual lullabies and a good f-ing time!

dazy4mattphoto

Photo credit to Matt Burke

Kina Grannis Album Review

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If you are a fan of innovative, soulful, and authentic singer-songwriters, look no further than YouTube artist Kinna Grannis and her album Elements. The 28-year-old indie singer-songwriter released her sophomore LP, Elements, on May 6, and is comparable in sound to indie and folk artists such as Laura Marling, Birdy, and Jenny Lewis. The 12-track album, produced by Aqualung’s Matt Hales, captures the lush acoustics Grannis is known for from her YouTube channel covers and features folk-driven vocals and intricate, ethereal lyrics. Kina Grannis album review shows that she is battling the elements.

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Photo courtesy of The A.V. Club

The first two singles off the album, “Dear River” and “The Fire” follow the theme of “elements” and aim to set both the contrasting light and darker moods of the album as a whole. “River” combines a steady drum beat with softer, flowing vocals and an upbeat tempo that keeps up with the lyrics. Meanwhile, “Fire” takes a darker, more driven approach to the theme, as Grannis lyrics tell a tale of destruction that results from burning fires within.

“My Dear” is more relatable to those familiar with Grannis’ past songs, similar to her past single, “In My Arms.” However, it is “Dear” and other similar tracks off Elements that feature a much more mature and expressive sound. In particular, it is “Winter” and “This Far” that seem to most express the amount of heart, soul, and passion Grannis has poured into this project. Both songs deal with the aftermath of relationships that have ended and lost love, although “This Far” takes on a simpler approach.

Almost a dark horse track of sorts, straying from the album’s theme, “My Own” serves as the sweet and simple lullaby that showcases lovely harmonies and acoustic guitar.

Overall, the album is sweet and soaring, melancholy and driven, heartfelt and hopeful. Above all else, Grannis’ lyrics are only highlighted by either airy or darker vocals and instrumentals. The most notable difference between Grannis’ earlier work and her most recent venture is evident through the moving lyrics accompanied by powerful, driven instrumentals and vocals. She finds a way to sing of heartache and passion, both light and dark, through a folk-driven sound.

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Photo courtesy of kinagrannis.com

Summer Music Festival Lineup

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Summer’s here, which means time for warm weather and good music! It’s also the time of year for music festivals all across the country. Check out what’s in store at some of the biggest festivals over the next few months in this summer music festival lineup!

©Firefly Festival

Firefly Festival
When:
June 19-22
Where:
Dover, Delaware
What:
Including the performances, this year’s festival will have a farmer’s market, arcade, silent disco, and hammock zone (it’s just what it sounds like–a zone for napping in hammocks).
Must-see acts: Foo Fighters, Weezer, Tegan and Sara, Childish Gambino, Band of Horses

Milwaukee Summerfest
When: June 25-29, July 1-6
Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
What: This festival that’s older than Woodstock  features 800 acts that will play across 11 days. The festival has reasonable pricing (single day pass $6-$16), with many acts playing at a waterfront amphitheater.
Must-see acts: Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley, Usher, Arctic Monkeys

©Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza
When:
August 1-3
Where: Chicago, Illinois
What: This year’s lineup includes the usual big-name performers with more newcomers such as Duke Dumont, Meg Myers, and Courtney Barnett.
Must-see acts: Eminem, Lorde, Krewella, Courtney Barnett, Blood Orange

Outside Lands
When: August 8-10
Where: San Francisco, California
What: Outside Lands has been known for not only hosting big headliners, but for also featuring newcomers who shortly become the next big performers of tomorrow.
Must-see acts: Kanye West, The Killers, Kacey Musgraves, Tom Petty, Haim

Tomorrow World
When:
September 26-28
Where: Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia
What: This spin-off of Belgium’s Tomorrowland will be equally loud, but much closer and cheaper to get to. No lineup announced yet, but expect the biggest EDM hits in the same fantasy environment!

Featured photo courtesy of Ashley Garmon at Lollapalooza.com

Catching up with Courtney Graf

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Cliché readers, we’ve been catching up with Courtney Graf. Two years have gone by since the singer-songwriter graced the cover of Cliché. Since then the artist has been up to a lot, including writing and recording new music and modeling. We talked to Graf about her latest single “Give Me Freedom” and how her music has changed.
Cliché: What have you been up to since we last spoke to you two years ago?
Courtney Graf: Since we last spoke, I opened Courtneygraf.com LLC and have been managing my own career. All of my music, acting and modeling runs through my company now; makes things a bit less hectic to keep track of. I recently put out a new single called “Give Me Freedom” and am about to release “Hands Up”; both were produced by The Heatmakers, who really helped me shape my soul/pop sound on these two records.
I signed with Silver Models and have been making strides in the fitness modeling realm; working towards branding with fitness to shape my artist image. I’m hoping to build one of strength, empowerment and positivity. I received my personal training certificate so I could know exactly what my body was doing and the benefits of exercise. It speaks to a life of power and taking charge. I feel my lyrics speak to the same.
I also signed with Fenton Moon Modeling Agency and was able inspire my clients at KMS and Goldwell to use my single “Give Me Freedom” to open their hair show tour around the US this year. Their cinematographer, Alec Watson, is also filming my music video in the process. I’m thrilled about this opportunity and can’t wait to share what we create with you all!
In writing your music, what is the sound or vibe you’re going for? What would you want the listener to feel?
The sound or vibe of my music is something I’ve been working on since I was 5 years old. It’s such a personal experiences and expression. You have to really know yourself. I can’t say if I’ll ever fully find it; growth is an endless journey. However I believe I’ve seen a glimpse of what I’ve been searching for in the Soul, Pop genre. My two new singles, “Give Me Freedom” and “Hands Up”, are the first of my works to embody it. To me, my sound has become a fusion of all the music I was raised on- Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Jill Scott and everything 90’s.
Courtney Graf
Have you changed your music writing process over the years, and what would you say influences your writing?
My process has pretty much stayed the same. I’ll play or hear a chord progression, sing from the heart with the voice recorder on, find a central theme and write as I freestyle.
My struggle to find my way as an artist in NYC is always a good topic of discussion. However I will say I am a strong believer in the power of a positive message. Regardless of what direction my heart is pulling me I force myself to see the light in each situation. There is no lesson learned if you stay down on yourself; although it is important call yourself out on your mistakes. Whatever life throws your way the challenge is to find your way out; not let it jade you with your regrets.
How many songs do you think you have written altogether?
Well, I’ve been writing since I was 10 and I really stopped keeping count. It’s more about writing something, anything, every single day. Allowing your self to feel something and express it in words. If there’s a lot of thought backed up in my mind I’ll write two or three a day.
“Give Me Freedom” seems to have a different sound from your earlier singles, “The Good Life” and “Deal With It.” How would you as the writer and singer describe the differences you made when recording?
“Give Me Freedom” was one of those records I wrote to make myself feel empowered and strong. I was about to leave for the airport for a KMS/ Goldwell hair show in Nashville. I had this overwhelming feeling of wanting to do and be my best in all aspects of my life; yet my weaknesses seemed so prevalent. This song is really about allowing yourself to accept your flaws and free yourself by embracing your strengths.
What is your immediate future plans? Any upcoming performances or albums?
I’m opening for the KMS/ Goldwell hair show tour with my song “Give Me Freedom” all around the US this year. They’re shooting my music video in the process as well. KMS is all about freedom of style so it was a great fit. (It’s somewhat ironic that I wrote that song the morning of my first show with them in Nashville.) We recently shot the first show in Seattle. Next stop, Miami.
I’m working on a “We Follow Her” video for Yogasmoga as well. They’re a great company with such wonderful people in it. Another one of my musician meets model moments. I’ve been very lucky with what I’ve been able to pull together through my access as a model in NYC.
I also perform every Wednesday at the Carlton Hotel in restaurant Millesime from 9-11pm. When my drummer can make it he plays the last hour with me. It’s a beautiful venue and a great place to try out songs I’ve recently written. I’d say its a very unplugged an personal version of my performance. Great place to have a drink or dinner; hang out with me and the music!
Courtney Graf
Photos courtesy of courtneygraf.com

Crazy Beautiful

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From a small town in Michigan to the bright lights of Los Angeles, 15-year-old Sydney Leigh is making a splash in the music scene with her new EP, Crazy Beautiful. Finding inspiration from classic rock to pop music, she talks to us about the move from the Midwest to L.A., her songwriting process and how she is ready to take the music world by storm.

Cliché: How would you describe your latest album, and the process of writing and recording?
Sydney Leigh: Crazy Beautiful is a four song pop EP that I believe can relate to all people. It is upbeat and fun to dance to and at the same time emotional and inspiring. I was able to work with a wonderful writer, Heidi Rojas, who collaborated with me and worked with me on both existing songs and new songs. The producers were great and listened to all of my ideas and really captured what I wanted in the songs. They gave me wonderful advice in the studio and made my music come to life. The whole process of writing and recording was a lot of hard work and fun, and we created a great product.

What other artists or genres of music are you inspired by?
I have been exposed to everything from The Grateful Dead [and] The Sex Pistols to Justin Bieber. I listen to every genre of music and take away something from all of them. I am greatly inspired by Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera for their amazing vocals and songs. I also love bands such as Maroon 5 and OneRepublic.

Sydney Leigh

Growing up in Michigan, what was the music scene like for you there? Were there any acts, groups, or performances that inspired your own venture into music?
Living in a smaller city in Michigan, there isn’t a huge music scene. I am near Detroit, so I can go and see a lot of major touring bands when they come to town. There weren’t any specific local bands that inspired me, however, the major artists that I get to see in concert always influence me.  I also enjoy watching smaller open mic nights and local festival singers and bands.

Crazy Beautiful seems to be the essence of an upbeat, pop song. How did you come up with such motivational lyrics to go along with it?
When I was working with my co-writer Heidi Rojas, we wanted to make sure it was a song people could connect to in one way or another. I also wanted it to be inspirational and anthem like. We came up with the lyrics based on life experiences and many many hours of collaboration.

Who would you hope to one day work with (producers or singers)?
Dr. Luke is a producer I would be honored to work with. He has worked/produced with some of my favorite artists and I would love to have an opportunity to work with him.

Any future plans regarding concerts, tours, more music?
That’s all in process right now. There will definitely be music and tours in the near future.
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Photos courtesy of Matt Beard, sydneyleighmusic.com

Karma’s Not Pretty

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Karma’s Not Pretty – she may sing about it, but Temara Melek’s future is looking pretty bright. After performing for Demi Lovato’s Neon Lights tour and releasing her pop-sugar hit single “Karma’s Not Pretty,” Melek talks about her songwriting inspiration and a future tour.

Cliché: What was the inspiration behind “Karma’s Not Pretty”?
Temara Melek: I wrote this song with my friend Cassadee Pope (The Voice 2012 winner), and it’s about how I have a boyfriend who flirts with my best friend and confronting him. I then move on to this amazing guy, and my ex realizes he messed up and wants me back but it’s too late. So basically, watch out or karma will get you. I feel it’s a song many people can relate to.

How would you describe the sound or vibe for any future songs you’re working on?
My sound is pop with a slight edge. I want people to relate to my music, and I love making music people can sing along or dance to.

How would you describe performing at a concert with Demi Lovato? What was that experience like for you?
Sharing the stage with Demi was an amazing experience. I admire Demi so much, and she’s such a inspiration to me. It meant the world to me that she believed in me enough to have me open her show.

Temara Melek

How do you feel being compared to Katy Perry? Is that an artist you feel inspired by?
I absolutely love Katy Perry. She is such a great performer. I love her shows, videos, and songs. To be compared to her is so flattering. To have a career like hers would be a dream come true.

What are you looking forward to for your own upcoming US tour?
I am excited to start touring and really looking forward to meeting my fans. They are such a huge part of my life and are so important to me. I also love to travel and see new places. Really looking forward to it.
Photo courtesy of Straight Forward Media

JOHNNYSWIM Concert

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A little bit rock and roll, a tendency toward folk, and a whole lot of heart- that is what best describes the husband and wife duo of JOHNNYSWIM. The folk-rock duo of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano-Ramirez, who have been playing together since 2006, started off a nationwide tour April 5, playing at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI. Playing to a sold out audience of all ages, the energetic couple played many hits from their 2013 Heart Beats EP and their upcoming album Diamonds at the JOHNNYSWIM concert.
Johnnyswim-Heart-Beats
Backed up by only a bass guitar and drums for a few songs, the majority of the sound came from Sudano and Ramirez’s voices, with Ramirez accompanying on acoustic guitar. The group started off on an upbeat note with their first couple songs, but then slowed the pace down a bit. In between sets the duo seemed excited yet completely at ease on stage, explaining meanings behind song lyrics and even sharing personal stories- such as the story of their engagement in Paris, which prompted them to write the song ‘Paris in June.’
As they came to their final songs, the group went right back to the folk-rock hybrid that seems to define their music best. The couple ended their set with the hopeful and optimistic ‘Live While We’re Young,’ the groups own personal take on achieving all their goals in life, and a rousing cover of Britney Spears ‘Dance Until The World Ends.’ It is safe to say that this duo will soon be heard all over the radio and making the top of the charts soon enough. The Diamonds LP is available for pre-order on iTunes, and is out everywhere April 29.
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Photos courtesy of Sacks & Co., johnnyswim.com

Bringing Soul and Anthem Together

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Bringing soul and anthem together is what best describes the sound of Skytown Riot. They may have come together only a year ago, but the band has already developed an anthemic sound one might hear at a large rock concert. With the release of their EP Soul Or System last November, the band has seen their music become popular with the Youtube-gaming crowd. Having shared the stage with bands Filter and Hoobastank and already planning more tours, Skytown Riot has a sound to look forward to by bringing anthem and soul together. By Rachel Sacks

Cliché: “Runaway Princess” became a hit amongst video-gaming Youtubers; was that something expected or completely unexpected?
Skytown Riot: It was completely unexpected! To this day we’re not really sure how it spread the way it did, but of course we’re thrilled about it. [We] never would’ve predicted that.

Do you think this will affect how the band will promote any future music or the audience that will listen to the music?
Certainly. There are a million different ways to promote music now, and as a young independent band it’s not easy to figure out which path to take. So when you find something that works, you have to work it. One thing that we’ve seen as a result of the gaming videos is an increase in popularity overseas.

Your music has been compared to Muse and Coldplay. Where does your inspiration come from, for Skytown Riot’s own music and from any specific bands or singers?
It’s hard NOT to be inspired by bands like Muse and Coldplay. Muse was appealing because, even though rock music has been around for over half a century, they found a way to be innovative and produce a sonic palette unlike any other. And Coldplay figured out how to capture an audience with (often) the simplest melody, much like the Beatles did. But honestly, inspiration comes from just about anywhere you could imagine. Hell, we’ve written songs based on movements from a commercial jingle. Simply put, good is good, and influences change like the wind.

SR Fun Promo

The music of Skytown Riot is described as anthemic or arena rock, which became popular with rock of the 60’s and 70’s (Queen, The Who, Journey); did you find it difficult to convey this kind of sound playing in smaller venues?
It can be a challenge sometimes, yes. We’ve showed up to venues before that barely have a functional PA system. Kick drums without subwoofers don’t exactly shake a room! But you just have to roll with it, emphasize and exaggerate other elements of your performance to keep the show alive, and appreciate the venues that really do get what you’re going for.

Which came first in Skytown’s music: the alternative rock sound or the captivating, anthemic lyrics?
The sound was there first. Put four dudes in a room with loud instruments and there’s really no stopping it. And that’s usually how things go for us. We’ll jam out on some song ideas, and Van will eventually chime in on vocals with various melodic ideas. Eventually lyrics take shape, be it instantaneously (which is rare) or over the course of several rehearsals. And even then, we may get into the studio before lyrics are completely finished. Sometimes it’s important to let life catch up with you before finishing (or even starting) a song. You’ve got to really live passionately to write passionately about something. It’s not something that can be forced.

Do you have any background information, or meaning for, the album title, Soul or System?
It’s a question really, and one with no simple answer. We all are forced to choose between the two in various points in our lives. Around the age that people are discovering who they really are (high school, college) this question can really be tough to ignore. We all chose music, as it’s ingrained in our soul. And none of us would’ve been happy doing anything that didn’t cater to the needs of the soul. It’s all about perspective though. We may have chosen music, but even the music industry is a fucked up system sometimes.

What are your future plans for tours, concerts, albums or singles?
We’ve got some really cool stuff coming up this summer, including several music festivals and as much touring as we can muster. It’s a bit too soon to announce anything, but please keep an eye on our website (skytownriot.com) and Facebook for show updates and other news! And thanks so much for the interview!
Photos courtesy of Van Gallick Photography

Always in Brazil

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After releasing three albums and performing with the Grammy-nominated alternative electronica group Brazilian Girls, frontwoman Sabina Sciubba looks to create her own sound that is always in Brazil. With her first solo album Toujours out on February 18, the singer found inspiration for her new music by using a number of diverse genres, while finding a balance between theatricality and performing.

Photo courtesy of Sylvain Gripoix

Cliché: In general, where have you found inspiration for your solo album, Toujours?
Sabina Scuibba: Inspiration lingers everywhere. You can never really get away from it. Take the subway, for example, hoping for an uninspiring experience, the tedious, grey world of commuting crowds, and there it is, in the eyes of a very commuter, how can it be? Paris, Gare du Nord, people bustling and shuffling, stress, frustration, and there, in the structure of the old station, there it is again, bloody inspiration!

How were your music and the music of Brazilian Girls influenced by art, pop culture, places, etc.? Which other musicians influence or inspire you?
I’m inspired by people and artists who live in the present moment, who listen to themselves while they sing or play, or look and pay attention, when they shoot and paint. I find riots inspiring. I’m inspired by the people rebelling against elites, I’m inspired by the courage to go against the grain, by the courage of someone living in the shadow and yet behaving with grace and dignity, as if he were observed. I don’t watch TV and barely ever see mainstream cinema, so I can’t say much about that type of entertainment, except that I avoid it. A movie that greatly inspired me recently is Close Up by Abbas Kiarostami. Also, the documentary The Act of Killing.

Has writing songs similar to anthems helped you express theatricality in your performances, or vice versa?
I do think that performing affects one’s songwriting. You start to anticipate an audience’s reactions and feelings, or at least you TRY! Audiences aren’t predictable, but you try to imagine the magic of communion that can happen between a performer and an audience, which is really what we’re all after, I believe. Some songs help with that, some songs address an audience directly.

Your music is categorized as electronic alternative, as is the music of Brazilian Girls. What drew you to this particular type of music, and how did you come to the decision to use it?
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but often Fred Rubens (who produced TOUJOURS with me) and I just programmed electronic stuff, because we didn’t have musicians there to play it, for convenience. Then we got so used to it, we didn’t want to replace it. It was a pretty passive choice. I usually prefer a musician over electronics, with few exceptions. One exception is when Didi Gutman in Brazilian Girls pulls out some of his electronic sound. They’re homemade and very original, a modern instrument.

Why were you drawn to certain styles more than others, such as reggae, house, jazz?
I’m not a very ‘rational’ person. I don’t think much about my choices; I decide with the heart. When something feels right, I go for it. This is true for musical choices as well as anything else. For better or for worse, I’m an animal of instinct.

What are your thoughts on theatricality in music and performing, especially with being theatrical becoming popular through artists such as Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj?
In the beginnings of Brazilian Girls, around 2002/2003, when I started performing in theatrical outfits, it was new to me, exciting! It made sense artistically and politically. After touring and performing for several years, it started feeling like a gimmick, an obligation, and I do not like obligations. I started to feel like a clown when I walked off stage. I think I’ll leave the theatrical outfits to Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj.

Any future plans?
I’m working on a couple of new videos for this record. You’ve maybe seen the one I did for the song “Toujours” on Youtube, which I made myself. Now I’m working with my artist friend Oliver Clegg on a video for “ViVa L’amour,” and with my filmmaker friend Joyce Nashawati on a video for “Non Mi Aspettare.” Starting in March, I’ll tour some in the U.S. and Europe, which I’m really looking forward to. Also with Brazilian Girls, as I mentioned, we’ve got a new record almost ready to go. We’ll fine tune and mix it and then we’ll release it towards the end of this year.

Photo courtesy of Sylvain Gripolx

Valentine’s Day Playlist: Music for Your Funny Valentine

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As we gear up for Valentine’s Day 2014 in this dreadful winter weather, remember that music is a key element in any situation. This playlist will surely set the mood for any setting, whether it is fun and casual or more romantic and intimate.

“Love Shack” – B 52’s, Cosmic Thing

This song is perfect for a more energetic atmosphere and if you want to get into a dancing mood. Just be sure to bring your best moves if you’re trying to impress anybody!

Photo credit: my80splaylist.com

“L.O.V.E.” – Nat King Cole, L-O-V-E

A classic track that everyone can learn the lyrics to, Nat King Cole’s song about that funny thing called love has been recorded in multiple languages such as Italian, French, Spanish, and Japanese.

“XO” – Beyoncé, Beyoncé

Bringing a more upbeat pop sound to your V-Day listening, the one and only Beyoncé’s single from her much talked about fifth-album is sweet, soulful, and uplifting.

Photo credit: hollywoodreporter.com

“I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton, Jolene

Whether you listen to Parton’s original composition, Whitney Houston’s iconic rendition, or a more recent cover, this love song is one for the ages. A song that is equal parts cheesy and emotional, you can belt it out with your friends or your one true love.

Photo credit: countryuniverse.net

Best Movie Musicals To Watch

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Movie musicals combine the best of two worlds—great singing and music with feel-good cinematic quality. So pop some popcorn and avoid the cold winter weather with these classic movie musicals!

1) Funny Girl, 1968

See why Barbra Streisand is one of the best in her award-winning portrayal of Broadway star Fanny Brice.

Funny Girl Movie Poster

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2) The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992

Everyone’s favorite puppets star in this classic Christmas tale turned musical.

3) West Side Story, 1961

Romeo and Juliet meets the gritty West Side of New York City in one of the most well-known movie musicals.

4) White Christmas, 1954

Even if there’s no snow this Christmas, you can still listen to the classic music of Irving Berlin, including the titular song “White Christmas.”

White Christmas Movie Poster

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5) Chicago, 2002

Adapted from the Broadway musical, this movie features some serious star power and memorable songs that makes Chicago still popular today.

6) The Sound of Music, 1965

The popularity of this Julie Andrews classic is apparently so strong that it’s being remade into a live television event on Dec. 5, starring Carrie Underwood.