Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Floco Torres

So, as you guys know, I'm always eager to learn more about all aspects of music, including the business side. A couple of months ago, I contacted a local record label called Random Family Records. From there I spoke with the owner Chris who suggested I shadow one of his artists. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I've learned from him and in a very short amount of time.

He's a hip-hop artist with versatility that will have you in awe (he did a mind blowing cover of "Add it Up" by Violent Femmes), who loves the color green, and who I consider to be a cool new friend of mine. You can call him Floco Torres. :D

With the energy of the greats in his performances, witty lyrics, and a genuinely friendly spirit that connects with his audience, you may begin to think that Floco has super powers. But what you will find is a great guy who truly loves his art form and is extremely hard working. Check him out guys! You're gonna want to remember the name, Floco Torres.

Who/What inspired you to pursue music?

I've always been a big writing fanatic so it kind of started from there. I had my own little comic book when I was 9 and played a couple different instruments throughout the younger years. I think as I started to really write music and watch people's reactions to my craft is really what made me want to pursue music. It's cool to see how a thought you created can resonate with a totally different person. And who DOESNT want to be a rockstar?? lol

How do you usually write your songs?

I usually write songs after a particular situation or feeling that occurs. In recent cases, heartache & frustration mixed with anxiety and optimism lol....I'm all about feeling and energy most of the time so if I don't feel it within the 1st couple mins I move on from it...

Who is the first artist you remember loving as a child?

As cliche as it sounds, Michael Jackson. I was just in love with his performances and the way people went crazy for him. Around teenage years it was hip-hop artist Cassidy...To be such an English nerd his wordplay intrigued the hell outta me and it showed through my early writing...

If you could collaborate with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

Dead would probably be Big L .....I think hip-hop wouldve been ALOT different if he wasnt taken from us so early and alive I would say Paul McCartney...I feel like I could learn alot from him musically & just writing....Mind you, these change for me once every 20 mins lol

What is your dream venue to play?

Its between Madison Square Garden & any House Of Blues venue....They both have that "Ive made it" feel & look

If you could experience another decade of music first hand, which would it be?

Def the 60's! If I could get 10 days worth of LSD and be dropped off January 1st 1960 and get to leave December 29th 1969 that would be sooooooo dope lol

If a movie is ever made about your life, who would play you?

Hmm....thats a GOOD freakin question....Its between Derek Luke & Leonardo DiCaprio LOL

If you could pick a gemstone to symbolize you and your music what would it be?

Alexandrite. For one its GREEN lol...And its about aligning the emotional and mental body together...If humans could figure out how to do that there would be less stress on everyday living I feel....

Is there anything that I haven't asked that you'd like to say?

You didn't ask how I got my name, how I feel about the state of hip-hop, what genre I consider myself or where I see myself in like 5-10 years so I'm happy. Thanks for the interview and people PLEASE, if you like my music, make sure you purchase, download, pirate or w/e...then tell a friend about it after you get it. YOU help me keep doing this every single day. Cheers!

There you have it! Now go download the free "The Anti Valentine's Day is STILL Green" mix tape here:

Photo credit: Maryann Bates

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Song of the Day: Rain or Shine by Matthew Perryman Jones

I have a funny sense of irony. Today is a beautiful, sunny, day. Springtime is here, despite the freezing weather of yesterday, and there are cherry blossoms blooming on practically every corner. And yet, my song of the day has the word "rain" in it. But when it comes to love, you're entitled to include some ideas on the far end of either spectrum. I believe in the kind of love described simply, but beautifully, in this song, "I'm gonna love you, baby come rain or shine." Dig it. ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Song of the Day: Stupid Thing by Nickel

To me it matters little where a song comes from, but what it ends up meaning to you. I am a huge Buffy fan and have been since I was in elementary school. I own all the seasons, the soundtracks, and at one point even had several of my own fan pages dedicated to various aspects of the show. This song is purely Buffy and will always make my ears perk up like an animal when I hear it. Believe me! Give it a listen and whether or not the 90's grungy feel hooks you, the chorus will definitely be ear candy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lena Anderssen

She's hauntingly honest, poetically pensive, and radiantly real. Lena Anderssen writes songs for rainy, contemplating days; the kind of songs that play in the background of the most life-changing moments in your existence. She describes her music as "Poetry Pop" and she's dead on. Her words are placed in a manner that seem to rhythmically dance with her melody, creating an alliance that weaves its way into your thoughts. She's already had a song of the day on Music Gems, but heck, I'm not sure you can overdose on Lena Anderssen! Here she is...

Who/What inspired you to pursue music?

First and foremost it has to be my love for music and creating it. When I
discovered that this was also an outlet for my inspirations, frustrations and everything else I wanted to say…that’s when I decided to make it “the thing I do”.

How do you usually write your songs?

I don’t have a set pattern or specific way of writing. Sometimes I’ll be walking on my way home from somewhere and a melody starts building in my head…I hum it over and over until I get home, grab the guitar and start working chords into the idea. The words usually come after…but often a phrase or a lyric idea is born together with the melody.

Other times I write out of pure necessity. Like if I’ve been totally down and need to pull myself up out of the mire. These songs usually come within ten minutes. Both melody and lyrics. And these are the songs I’m usually most proud of. They come from a place you had to experience in order write about.

I also write a lot of my songs together with my partner Niclas Johannesen…and that’s a very dynamic process. He throws out an idea, which I react to, bounce something back to him and sooner or later we have a song.

What is the first artist you remember loving as a child?

As a little girl I remember loving Karen Carpenter. She had such richness in her sound. I was always so fascinated at how much meat was on her lower notes. She didn’t become raspy and disappear into a course whisper, but sang out those low notes with texture and conviction. I also remember my first time hearing Judy Garland sing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, and thinking to myself “I want to sing.”

If you could collaborate with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

There’s no doubt about it. It would have to be Bob Dylan the genius mystery man himself.

What is your dream venue to play?

My dream venue would be The Royal Albert Hall. I remember seeing a Lillith Fair concert there, where so many of my favourite female artists were performing. There’s something fragile and vulnerable about being on a stage where the audience is actually seated above you and around you. Something unnerving and yet at the same time totally empowering.

If you could experience another decade of music first hand, which would it be?

I’m torn between the sixties and the seventies. The sixties because so many revolutionary ideas and musicians sprung from that period. To be part of a decade when the world said “Enter Beatles” would have been thrilling to experience first hand. And the seventies, purely for Led Zeppelin and the rock guitar hippyness of it all! I love that.

If a movie is ever made about your life, who would play you?

She was magical to watch in Lost In Translation. It’s Scarlett Johansson. She has a way of catching the very nuances of a character. She doesn’t overplay and that subtlety really makes her characters come to life. Now if Woody Allen directed it, we would be able to capture the neurotic side of me too.

If you could pick a gemstone to symbolize you and your music what would it be?

I would choose a pearl. A pearl is classic. And kinda like the way I want my music to be. Not just something that’s a fashion statement or a hit right now. But something you can pull out of your music collection in twenty years and it won’t sound as if it’s outdated or grown old. A string of pearls is like a stack of good albums or a handful of must-listen-to songs.

Is there anything that I haven't asked that you'd like to say?

I think you’ve asked some really cool and refreshing questions. But I must say that I’m totally serious about that Bob Dylan collaboration.

There you have it guys...
Now, Go Listen!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Song of the Day: No Crow, Scarecrow by Kirk Hamilton

While most people are dreading Mondays, I'm looking forward to them. I'm always shocked to realize that my Monday schedule is 100% free. :D I double checked my phone, my e-mail, my calendar, and they all said the same thing...Today is mine! It makes me feel as though I've won just a little bit ;)

So here's a song I've been admiring for a while now. But me being me, I have to wait for the opportune moment to post it. If you haven't heard of him before, go check out Kirk Hamilton: I am amazed by his versatility as a musician. He can pull a Rock song from his hat just as easily as a Jazz one. That's a way to start my "minimal, must-dos Monday".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Song of the Day: Remember Thinking by Elmor

As much as my music tastes have developed and grown throughout the years, I still have a strong affinity for catchy songs. You can throw a billion cool tricks at me (not that this song doesn't), thought out metaphors, and all the "technically correct" musical decisions at me that you want. I will always go for the song that makes me feel something. And this song makes me feel a combination of contemplative and remorseful but amazingly hopeful at the same time. Go elmor! You have a new fan. :D

Friday, March 12, 2010

Song of the Day: Can't Erase It by Lena Anderssen

This song has been in my head for weeks, so really it should be the song of the month. There is something so captivating and addicting about it. My interpretation of it is it's about having to deal with aspects of life that you can't change but resolving to "make it" despite the odds stacked against you and working with what you have.And then "the sun will shine again". It's a truly beautiful song.

And now I just realized that both of my songs for today and yesterday had the word can't in the title. Wow...I need to be more positive. :D

Song of the Day: Can't Stand the Rain by The Rescues

I had the great opportunity last August to go to Berklee's Songwriting Workshop in Boston. One of the performers I was blessed enough to see were The Rescues. Just two seconds of listening and everyone (no exaggeration!) got out their phones and cameras to record. There was even a group of kids who walked miles (seriously!) to see their show in Boston later that night. If you haven't heard this song yet, you really should. Not to mention it's been raining a lot where I'm from...haha.