Monday, 27 April 2015

Music Sunday (On a Monday)

I was so busy yesterday I completely forgot to do my Sunday Music post, so here it is now, on a Monday, but hey, better late than never as the saying goes. Right?

As you probably have noticed by now I am a fan of talent shows on TV. Nowadays I rarely watch a full episode, but I do like watching bits of them on YouTube, and I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have watched this clip I am sharing with you today. 

This is Calum Scott, on the first audition week of Britain's Got Talent 2015. When Calum enters the stage his sister Jade has just left it, she is the girl back stage. Jade didn't even get one yes from the judges, so Calum is obviously very emotional from the beginning. 

Calum sings a slow version of Robyn's Dancing On My Own, and wow oh wow, I turn into a proper sobbing mess every single time I hear it. 

So, enjoy one of Britain's talents! Oh, and I'm not sure I have ever seen Simon Cowell so pleased with himself as in this clip, or maybe he's just pleased with Calum. Either way, I am pleased with Calum, he is great and I hope to hear more from and about him in the future.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Thinkin' Glue

As you might know I am doing a mini-series about the members of Home Free, a country a cappella band that is in the process of taking the world by storm, step by step are they building up to full strength. Today’s post is about Chris Rupp; the group baritone, the lead arranger and the glue. Chris is together with his brother Adam Rupp, the beatboxer, the founder of Home Free

Chris doesn't stand out as much as the rest of the guys in the group, at least not at first listen, but without Chris and his extremely smooth voice Home Free’s music would sound quite empty. Chris is the one that in most songs holds it all together, he’s the glue that connects the beatboxing to the tenor, and the bass to the high tenor, and he does it brilliantly without having the need to stand out on his own. But when singing on his own, you realize he's just as talented and great as the rest of them are. When I listen to Chris singing it feels like perfect temperature air touching my skin, or like drinking freshly squeezed mango juice on a hot summer's day. Smooth, and clean. Perfection.

Chris might not be the one that stands out in the songs, but he stands out outside of the singing in the way he interacts with the fans of the group. All of the guys are pretty active on different social media sights, but Chris takes it a step further. Not only does he post daily thoughts called Thinkin' on both Facebook and Twitter, allowing his fans to see a bit of who he is (some of these thoughts have stirred up some interesting discussions), but he is also a member of most of the fan groups on Facebook, where he from time to time will answer questions, or just leave a comment to someone’s post. And that is quite amazing. Not many artists will take the time to do that.

As I mentioned above Chris is also the lead arranger in the band and I love his arrangements, not that I don’t love the other guy’s ones, but Chris’ often have a smoothness to them, kind of like his voice. But they can also be surprising, and that is a trademark with these guys. They always seem to surprise.

Chris studied at Gustavus Adolphus College for 3 years before getting his degrees at Minnesota State in his hometown of Mankato, in music performance with emphasis on vocal and piano. He had his first paying gig at a wedding at age 16. 

This first video is of Chris singing A Little Bit of Everything, a Keith Urban cover with a Home Free arrangement, at the same show as the live videos I shared of Adam and Tim Foust, the bass singer. It is too filmed by HeidiRancour, check out her YouTube channel for more live videos. But before any song there has to be a proper intro, here's a derailment of it; 

And here is the actual song; 

The second video is one of Home Free’s most recent videos, it is a mash up about butt songs, done in a very tasteful way making sure not to exploit the female behind. They do, however, share their own butts in a humorous way. These guys know how to not take themselves too seriously. I’m sharing this video because it was arranged by Chris together with Layne Stein and Adam Rupp. This is different from what Home Free normally does, but still, they keep stepping out of the box. 

And here is a different type of arrangement by Chris, it is a Christmas song, and it is absolutely beautiful. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Chris is known as the "Home Free Hat Guy", as he's always wearing a hat. This video caused quite a lot of attention because of it. 

Can you see the diversity of Chris and Home Free? These are all reasons why I love them, and why I love being a huge fan of theirs.

Thanks again to Heidi for allowing me use her awesome concert clips, and thank you to Home Free for encouraging their audience to film them and put it up on social media. 


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Music Sunday

Today I'm sharing something I think most of you have probably seen before, but it is worth seeing it again. Not only because of the absolutely amazing voice, but because of the reminder that we shouldn't judge people by their looks. What I like about this clip is not only Susan's singing, but the reaction from the judges and the audience when she walks out there, and how she sort of puts them all in the corner of shame without even realising it.

This video makes me smile and cry, and it makes me think about how judgmental most of us are, even when we try not to, even when we think we aren't. I think most of us need to try harder. I know I do. I don't see myself as a very judgmental person, quite the opposite really, but from time to time a catch myself thinking something about someone, only by the way the dress or look. I think we all do, but it doesn't make it ok. Just think twice, and remember that you don't want to be judged that way.

I hope you are having a great Sunday, mine is almost over, but it has been a nice one.

Love each other, and love yourselves!

And sing! Singing helps!


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fiction; The Cold

The wind coming from the mountains is icy cold. It’s the kind of cold that creeps in under your clothes, skin, and even your bones, all the way into the deepest bone marrow. I can feel my teeth pressing against each other and my jaw clenching. I know I’m supposed to relax, but anybody that has ever been cold knows how hard it really is to do so. I try every now and again, but it only lasts for a minute or two. It’s nice during those minutes I succeed, though, especially when it’s long enough for that fuzzy feeling of warmth to start spreading inside, but afterwards the cold is even worse. Or at least that’s how it feels. Unfortunately it never stays long enough, before it’s gone and the cold is back again. It's a good thing I've found other ways of getting that feeling of pleasurable comfort and warmth inside.

Today is a good day, because someone bought me a big cup of steaming warm cocoa, and a warm and freshly baked baguette. I even got to choose what toppings I wanted! I chose cheese, chicken and sweet chili sauce. It was like heaven, and the smells from it were heavenly too. I still have half of it, but it isn't warm anymore. Still, it will be very enjoyable and tasty when I eat it. Eating a cold baguette gives a completely different feeling than eating a warm one. Both are equally delicious, just different, even when it's two halves of the same baguette, or sandwich.

The nice young lady also gave me a blanket to help keep me warm. She had nice eyes, the girl, caring and warm, and her sweet, loving smile showed in them. Her name was Caroline. I called her Sweet Caroline, like in the song. She laughed and smiled and looked me straight in the eyes. Not many people do that. I guess they are afraid of their own guilt. I get it; I used to be one of them. I would rush passed the homeless people and the beggars trying my very best not to have them catch me even glance at them, out of fear that they would make me feel ashamed of myself, and remind me of how ungrateful I was of all the good things I had in my life.

I sigh. That was then. Now, I am grateful for the small stuff in life, like that cocoa, or Sweet Caroline’s smile, and her eyes, her beautiful blue eyes that went so well with her long, blond hair.

Sweet Caroline, duh duh duh”, I sing to myself as I think about the fear in her eyes when I put my hands around her neck. Oh what a thrill she had been! I close my eyes as I remember her realization that she was about to die. That is always the best part; to see their light first go on, only to go out for good a few delightfully pleasant seconds later. The thought of it alone makes me feel all warm and nice inside again, and this time I know the fuzzy feeling will stay with me a lot longer. That’s the second best part of it; it protects me from the cold. As cold as she is right now; or her body is; Sweet Caroline will keep me warm for a very long time.

Sweet Caroline, duh duh duh”.

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Music Sunday

This Sunday I am bringing you something completely different from what I normally give you. I stumbled upon this on Facebook (where else?) a few days ago, and I was absolutely blown away.

This young girl is only 9 years old in this clip and she is self taught. She actually learned singing like this by watching YouTube videos, trying to sound like the singers sounded. Now, this isn't just any kind of regular singing, this is opera, something that takes years and years of lessons and training to master. But not for this girl, she just does it. She was discovered when performing on Holland's Got Talent in October 2013, so I'm sure my Dutch readers are already familiar with Amira.

I don't usually listen to Opera, but this brings tears to my eyes, and I very much enjoy this. Just watch it and listen. This is one of those times when I think that souls are reborn. Because this is an old soul in a young girl singing.

This is, then, 9-year old Amira Willighagen! Today she is 11 and she has an album out.

Emjoy, and leave a comment!


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

About Friends, And Something About Butts

One of the greatest joys of my life are my friends. I love having friends, and I've got quite a lot of them too. Sometimes I read about what people consider being friends or friendships and I get amazed by how many people that have a restricted, or even single minded, view of it. Here's my take on friendships;

I think friendships can have almost any shape or form, and I think friendships are not only the handful few that are closest to you. To explain I'm going to give you examples of friendships out of my life, without being too specific. 

I have some friends I consider being my very best friends, those are the people that have been with me through thick and thin, or I have been with through their sorrow and joy. These friends will be there when I need them, no matter how long it's been since I last spoke to them, saw them or was in any kind of contact with them. They are a part of me, and they always will be.

And then I have friends I can talk to about anything in my life. The already mentioned friends belong in this group, but there is a few that I can talk to in my day to day life that also belong in this group, but not necessarily belong to the first group. 

There are also friends I can talk about some things to, but not all things. These friends are just as great as the other friends, we just don't see eye to eye in every aspect and there is no point in sharing things from those areas of our lives. We are, after all, different individuals and there is no need to be able to discuss everything with everyone.

I have friends of all ages, from all sorts of different times in my life, and from all sort of different walks in life. I have friends that I have met in person a long time ago, that I currently see, that I will see in the future, and also friends I will never see. Either way, they are all my friends. 

I have friends I know almost everything about, and I have friends I know almost nothing about except for what we have in common. And it's equally important to me. They all have a purpose in my life. 

I have friendships that will last for a life time, and friends that have come and gone, and friends that will come and go, and I will keep making new friends for as long as live. Again, they all have a purpose, some are meant to be there forever, and some are meant to be there during a certain time or event in my or their lives.

I have a friend with a blog. She writes too, and you can find her blog in my blog list up to the right. Her name is Michelle and she writes song lyrics, poems and ditties. The blog is called "Life In My Words - by Michelle". Michelle wrote a ditty inspired by our friendship and what it means to her, and I love it, and it means a lot to me. I feel kind of the same way. On days when I feel like not writing I think of her, and I get inspired by knowing that she is waiting for something new from me. Anyway, thank you, Michelle, for giving me support, inspiration, confidence and a kick in the butt when I need it! 

You can find her poem here, it's the one called A Friend. Enjoy! I am very proud to have inspired it! 

And speaking of butts, here's a Butt Medley for you to enjoy. Seriously, it's all about them butts, but it's certainly not serious, but it is about butts. Just watch it. Butts!


Sunday, 5 April 2015

Music Sunday

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Eurovision Song Contest that we have here in Europe in May every year. In Sweden this is a huge event, and the hunt for Sweden's contribution officially starts in January every year (although the job in finding songs starts long before that). For 6 consecutive Saturdays the Swedes are sat in front of the telly watching the Melodifestivalen (or Mello as it's commonly called) while artists perform songs. The first 4 weeks will show 10 contributions per week, with the top 2 going straight to the final week, and the 3d and 4th going to a second chance aired week 5. The top 2 of those goes to the final week. These evenings bring family and friends together over some nice food, loud opinions and laughter.

In the end there are 10 songs and artists ready for the big Final week 6. The winner is chosen by the votes of the viewers and jury groups around Europe. I'm not going to get in to the technicalities of how the votes are calculated, but they are.

The winner of all this gets to go to the Eurovision Song Contest, which is held in the country of last year's winning song. 

Nowadays most countries contributions are in English, but there used to be a rule that you were only allowed to sing in the official language of the country you were competing for. This was always unfair because a lot of people understand English, or Spanish, but very few understand Turkish, Polish or Greek. It was fun in a lot of ways, but I prefer it now when I can understand the lyrics of the songs.

Anyway, this is Sweden's winning act, and this year's contribution to Eurovision. There is an official video of this song, but I'm sharing the actual performance that won Melodifestivalen, because the light show is quite spectacular.

This is Måns Zelmerlöw. Måns came in fifth in Swedish Idol in 2005, and he won the first season of the Swedish Let's Dance in 2007. Here is Heroes.

Oh, and beware of his eyes. You might drown if you're not careful. 


Friday, 3 April 2015

Fiction; Fear, Death, Fresh Air

"Would you come with me, please, Mrs Williams"`? A voice asked. Joanne quickly got to her feet with a feeling that it was about time. She’d been in the waiting room for almost two hours while waiting for the test results. They hurried through a labyrinth of white, sterile corridors.
"Where exactly are we going"? Joanne wondered. "The doctor will explain". Joanne was too annoyed to notice the nurse holding her distance while walking, as well as her breath behind the white mask. Her eyes were scared and she wore gloves on her hands, but all Joanne was thinking was that she should have called her husband to say she was running late for lunch.

The nurse led her through a set of double doors into a wash room. "Please, remove all your clothing and put them in this plastic bag! Have a shower, put this gown on and wait in there, the doctor will be with you shortly", she pointed at an open back hospital gown, and nodded towards another door, before leaving the room.

"I.... can't... breathe..." Joanne said out loud as she felt the walls of the already small room closing in on her. Everything looked blurry and she had a hard time focusing on the face in front of her. As though in a vacuum she heard the doctor say something in slow motion, but she couldn't understand another word. All she got was that she had been quarantined due to suspicion of a dangerous, deadly, virus. A loud scream echoed through the room before she felt a sting and everything started to fade away.

She was dancing on a green and flowery meadow. Birds were twittering a lovely tune and the air was fresh when she breathed it into her lungs. She laughed, she felt free and alive. Suddenly a big dark cloud swept in and hid the sun. The birds stopped singing, the flowers withered and the air disappeared.

Joanne couldn't breath. She woke up and gasped for air.

"Air, I need air" she said while stumbling from the bed to the small window. "Where's the hatch? Where’s the bloody hatch?" she screamed. She felt the panic rise within as she pounded on the window to get some air in. Strong arms grabbed her and she felt the sting. Once again she was dancing and laughing on the green meadow with the nice, fresh air. “I love fresh air” she sang along with the birds.

"Mrs Williams".  A voice softly woke her. Joanne looked up and saw someone standing over her. “The doctor is on his way with the test results. We will know in just a few minutes.”

The door opened and a man dressed up as one of the characters from a science fiction film walked in, the uniform protecting him from top to bottom.

As Joanne took her last breath, surrounded by sci-fi looking people, she felt fresh air fill her lungs. She was free. Finally.