I know that I don’t blog very much nowadays (because I’m always trying to up the content on my other sites), however, occasionally I see thinks that “spike” me into writing a reply.
I woke up today Sun. May 23rd, 2010 & I saw 2 things in the Sunday Entertainment section of the Toronto Star (the biggest newspaper in Canada) that struck my attention.
1) The top 10 music sellers according to Nielsen Soundscan for May 10 – 16th. Out of the top 10, at least 4 of those artists/bands I would count as indie music artists.
Actually #1 was an artist named Charice (real name Charice Pempengco) who gained her fame with talent, severe heavy hitter music biz backing & Oprah show.
2) There is a feature article on a couple pages later on Toronto indie music artist, Darrelle London. She has apparently been gathering steam, as her music caught the eye of Perez Hilton (signed with his music label), and she’s getting a big push with her album’s upcoming release “Edible Word Parade”.
WHY AM I BLOGGING ABOUT THIS??
1) Basically, I’m trying to show my point, that indie artists in many cases…crack the top selling charts. Meaning, in many cases, major music selling stars, get their start as indie artists. Not tons of them, but there are lot’s of them. As well Lady Gaga (who is on the list but I didn’t count as Indie), well about 2-3 years ago, Gaga was a New York City indie artist nobody heard about…
Charice Pempengco – I’ve known about this teenage super pop vocalist for awhile on YouTube. She’s had the backing of mega producer David Foster, and her YouTube videos can give you chills with her singing ability. Now, of course getting Oprah’s seal of approval with an invite on her show, cannot hurt an artist’s chances…
2) Darrelle London – I knew about her too…why I wrote a feature on her over a month ago. The Star article says all this good fortune is coming her way, which it is, however, she was instrumental in that happening. She contacted Perez Hilton, she sends her music to anyone she thinks would be interested (like me), basically she makes her own chances, and I happy for her successes (like getting on 90210) soundtrack.
My closing statement is that if you have a good ear (or write about music all the time), know what quality/talented artists/music sounds like, you will generally have heard of the “Breaking New Music Artists” way before they have broken into the mainstream (you aren’t surprised!).
For example,Stefani Germanotta, now known as Lady Gaga, performing at Ultraviolet Live, NYU’s annual talent show. She ended up coming in 3rd place. 2nd place was Funky Butter. 1st place was Tom Costello & Stephan Magloire. I think this was 2006…
Lady GaGa before she was famous…
~Jason a.k.a. Chodidee
Tardiness…slow…being slothful, that’s how I’ve been treating this blog site of mine for awhile & I apologize. I’ve got a lot things to ponder: I could work with someone/company to make a great blog site?? The thing was this blog was always supposed to stay underground. For those people who like my writing at Tweeple Magazine, Examiner, and my twittering….well this blog was supposed to be my backwater, my used couch of comfort. Say anything, anytime.
Of course, trying to build a rep as a writer with high quality articles that get noticed or picked up/linked by larger websites…is easy in concept, but difficult in practice. So, my focus on writing high quality multimedia articles with links on the Examiner, has been slow, as sometimes I need to really be inspired by the music or the story of a band/singer.
I’ve learned a lot of things over the past few months, & I will try to post more things here, as a preview to developing stories & articles for the Examiner. As well, I’ll try to put some more cool stuff about indie groups & bands.
Jason Chu aka Chodidees
The Toronto Independent Music Awards (T.I.M.A.’s) occurred in late June, and Beth Moore was one of the acts playing that night, and an article was supposed to be written at the time. In typical independent writing/blogging fashion, it didn’t quite get done, however, it lead me to her next show on August 11th, 2009 at Mitzi’s Sister in Toronto.
First of all, who is Beth Moore? We surely aren’t talking about the pop/punk mega-star “Pink” whom we all know Beth Moore is her non stage name. Well, Canadian local, Beth Moore is an indie/folk singer/songwriter who mixes many styles most notably indie rock, folk, Americana, Blues, etc. About two years ago, was when I first heard Beth’s music and I could tell right then, she had a unique sound and a strong voice. Over the past couple years we’ve kept in touch on Facebook and from time to time I’ve heard her new songs posted online, and am impressed by her developing musical style.
Remembering that night at the T.I.M.A.’s was special as Beth Moore played live with a full backing band, which was unusual to see (she plays solo acoustic most nights). So, I grabbed my note pad (not taking my laptop into a bar/club) and scribbled a bunch of notes throughout the night.
I came a little early to ensure I wouldn’t miss her performance and happened to see a great rock band Japhy that was getting the energy of the intimate crowd quite high. At about 10:50pm Beth Moore took to the stage, and I was excited to hear her perform live.
They were introduced as, “The Beth Moore Band.” They brought a mix of sounds and styles, but one thing was unmistakable, Beth’s fiery power vocals. Again, after hearing her mostly singing soft acoustic lullaby guitar numbers, it was quite jarring and impressive to hear her let loose on a song. The band was solid and definitely filled out the sound. She has a unique vocal style and voice that would be comparable to: Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor, and a healthy dose of Ben Harper. The keyboards in this group really add another element to their sound. The real emphasis is on Beth’s vocal talents mixed with the interesting songwriting and lyrics of their music. Anyway, in their half hour set they showed a lot versatility with their band and the music.
To show support, Beth Moore was having another show on August 11th, 2009 at Mitzi’s Sister in Toronto, which i went to. Also, on the bill was the Peter James project. Beth played first, and again she played solo acoustic, but what missing from the bigger band experience was the funny performer side of Beth Moore. Her jokes and stories made great interludes between songs and kept it memorable and interesting. It’s doubtful anyone one there will forget her “Mandarin 10 hr gig” story. She debuted some her new songs live and they were all well crafted songs, but sometimes wondered what the song would sound like with the backing band. Anyhow check out the video links below to see Beth Moore play live at Mitzi’s Sister.
The Peter James Project is an Irish/New Zealand/Toronto mix band that plays a pop/rock/ska sound with influences like: Crowded House, The Smiths, and the Dave Matthews Band. As luck would have it, though traffic caused me to be late by half an hour, I missed none of the shows. The HD camera was brought for some filming, but it was uncharged, however, some footage was still captured of Beth Moore and the Peter James Project. The Peter James project was technically crisp and band had their chops down. Peter James vocals were crystal clear and the lyrics were easy to follow. Take a look and listen.
By: Jason Chu
What’s it worth…
Shine of recognition, flair of notoriety,
the desire of fame, brings the ever glow of warmth and flame.
Climbing to the peak of the Hailmewood stars, Is it even worth it?
Toiling in the underbelly of sticky notes of forget me nots,
Working longer and harder, one for favour they say,
than the money will come. Who need’s sleep, not me sir, I’m your man!
Impervious mantra burning the most creative fires,
Output, output, content is all they want from you,
Once gotten their backs turn again.
It’ll pay off in the end, a drunk voice in your head blabbers,
but who’s end will be paid…my end?
Digital dominator yearns for assembly line articulation,
Borg, borg, borg!
Earning those teabags under your eyes,
through numerous re-edits and back checks.
Do people we write about have any clue,
how much work it takes to make them look good?
Back from the battlefield with scars,
brains over easy, carpal tunnel mouse index finger,
twitchy eye’s syndrome days from staring at that screen.
No more food for thought, only food or thought please,
I can only focus on one of the other.
It’s only worth however much your willing sacrifice of yourself,
how far your willing to go to make it.
Or just stop and get a regular job.
~ Jason Chu
My first article with Examiner.com! I’m pretty excited because it has taken a long time to get to this point. I can’t wait to cover music exclusively, and I will continue to write my blogs (thoughts & stuff I can’t put down for Examiner – here). It’s a busy next few months, seeing shows, networking, doing interviews, and staying ahead the tech/social media game so that I can be effective at what I’m trying to do. And that is to be a respected writer online or otherwise, writing great articles with cool pictures, and links!
Here my 1st article with Examiner.com
It’s about a Canadian Indie Music Festival called Bridgestock 09′. Check it out! http://lnk.ms/1bGdT
~ Jason Chu
Halifax, Nova Scotia
~ Jason Chu
There is a saying that goes, “You can talk about everything except, religion, money, and politics.” Of course, this statement is in regards to avoiding confrontation, arguments, and emotionally charged conversations. Therefore, if these topics are avoided, and you err on the safe side, everybody goes home happy.
As usual, Hollywood, and more specifically reality stars don’t play by those rules. In this case, Heidi Montag, star of MTV’s the Hills, has been tweeting about her personal faith in Jesus. She is a born again Christian, and there’s even talk of her releasing a Christian album, however, that’s not the point.
The funny thing is that online media articles related to Heidi’s faith question her being a born-again Christian because of her provocative dress in music videos and television. Now let me share that I am a born-again Christian, have been for over 11 years, and I believe very strongly that Heidi’s recent tweets show that she IS a Christian beyond doubt through her words. Yet, the online media is also correct in that it is by one’s actions that you can tell if someone is a Christian through his/her lifestyle and choices.
Media is too quick to judge and label people based on their past. I believe that change is possible, and that Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt can grow and change like anyone else. Interestingly though, it seems Perez Hilton felt he needed to jump into Heidi’s and Spencer’s tweets and diss them about their faith. So Heidi and Spencer are Christians, they like to tweet about it, do they need approval from Perez Hilton for how to tweet their faith on Twitter?
Sometimes I wonder, if Perez will ever stay out of the fray, and just leave some celebrities alone. He either loves or hates a celebrity, nothing in between. For crying out loud, Perez Hilton was invited to and went to Heidi and Spencer’s wedding on April 25th, 2009. Now, barely 2 months later, he is insulting both of them, their faith, and unfollowing Heidi on Twitter over her profession of faith! Perez Hilton, that is shameful and classless, but I guess you’re just being you?
The funny thing is I do have a small measure of respect (decreasing daily though) for Perez because I think he is actually being true to himself by dissing celebrities and having the guts to be confrontational with them through his speech and writing. If he were faking nice it would be worse because he be acting dishonest and not himself. I’ve thought to myself, “What is the appeal of Perez Hilton?” The best answer I could think of was that some people out there, who dislike celebrities and their status, enjoy seeing someone who has celebrity clout (Perez), lash out and put the celebrities in their places.
The thing is he is clearly abusing his power and celebrity influence by believing “whatever he says/thinks…is right!” I know for a fact that there was a “Unfollow Perez Hilton” campaign that was spreading on Twitter after his shameful insult of MJ at the time of his death, but it actually hasn’t changed anything with his twitter account. Checking tonight, I saw that he’s actually gone and added over 10,000 viewers in the past week! Sad that there isn’t any consequences for his behaviour!
In today’s internet online world, people seem to forgive and forget quite fast. In the past, individual celebrities were never bigger than the Entertainment industry itself, and there always seemed to be a class to Hollywood, even if it was an “old boys club”. Now, anything goes, with the advent of reality shows like punk’d, Jackass, Wildboyz, etc., braking down that notion of class. It’s no longer necessary for celebrities to have class or decency to become a celebrity or star. On the other hand, it’s the opposite with things like scandal, sex tapes, paparazzi moments as sufficient to rubber stamp celebrity status. It’s no wonder that I like covering musicians more…because they at least need to know how to sing (not a fan of autotune singers), play an instrument, dance, and write/compose music before anyone in the industry will take them seriously. I digressed, sorry.
Being a Christian does not mean you are perfect, as Perez is trying to fry Heidi and Spencer for not being, but at least I found a picture with Spencer and Heidi serving pizza to the homeless at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown L.A. (May 20th, 2009). I looked for pictures with Perez serving the community and only found pictures with him hanging out with celebrities…that’s it.
Jesus already won!!!!!!! Eternal life is what we need to worry about! not this life!!! I pray Jesus will protect you all!!!!!1:22 PM Jun 28th from web
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one7:23 PM Jun 28th from mobile web
Jesus loves you and was sent from heaven to die on the cross for you sins so that you may have eternal life!!2:21 PM Jun 29th from web
He answered, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.9:06 PM Jun 29th from web
And love your neighbor as you love yourself.'” Matthew 22: 379:10 PM Jun 29th from web
You can make a difference! Follow your dreams, with God all things are possible!!9:27 PM Jun 29th from web
Im going to start a woman’s biblestudy!9:30 PM Jun 29th from mobile web
good morning! im so excited to be alive today! Praise the Lord!!12:55 PM Jun 30th from web
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”2:07 PM Jun 30th from web
the churches are being taken over! Christians speak out!! spread the news about Jesus before its too late!3:23 PM Jun 30th from mobile web
praise Jesus! life is such a blessing!9:20 AM Jul 1st from mobile web
Jesus loves you!about 4 hours ago from mobile web
eres no king but King Jesus!about 4 hours ago from mobile web
A few tweets from Spencer Pratt: @spencerpratt
i’m on fire for the Lord! It hit me like a bunker buster how much evil this planet is up against and i am no longer standing in the dark9:18 PM Jun 28th from web
i want the peace of Christ in my life overflowing to others! so if it bothers you on all my tweets i just said a prayer for you!9:29 PM Jun 28th from web
Seek God’s will in every decision. Pray. Turn to the scriptures. Seek the advice of godly friends. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.9:33 PM Jun 28th from web
starting today i am living my life 180 degrees different then i have for the last 25 years!1:52 PM Jun 29th from web
i deleted any bookmarks on my computer and iphone that take my focus in life away from what matters!1:53 PM Jun 29th from web
i have wasted so much time and energy on fame and pop culture with nothing but millions of haters to show for it!1:54 PM Jun 29th from web
i hope i can inspire anyone to realize that at any time in your life its not to late to change your direction and purpose1:56 PM Jun 29th from web
i hope all my followers can forgive me for all the negative energy i put in the media with all my evil quotes and statements1:58 PM Jun 29th from web
my life from here on out is the LORD, my wife, and my country!!!!! For me these are the only things worth living and dying for!2:00 PM Jun 29th from web
~ Jason Chu (@Chodidees)
Interview Questions for Esm ée Denters with Tweeple Magazine (06/25/09)
Interviewer: Jason Chu (Writer/Contributer), Karen Pentke (Contributer/Notes)
*In a conference call by phone, Esmée and I talked about a range of topics, from family, to Justin Timberlake, advice she’d give others, etc. Since it was a long distance phone call, we did not have a device to record the interview for playback later, so we (Karen and I) relied on memories of the call, and our notes. After each question there are two sets of responses: the text that is bolded is from my paraphrased memory/writing, and the jot notes points belong to Karen’s handiwork. They always say two heads are better than one! Thanks so much Karen for all the help!
- 1. How do you think you will deal with being on the road/away from your family for so long? On tour?
*Esmee: It will be difficult, miss family, but the people she’s with on tour is like family.
– I will keep in touch via email/phone calls
– It keeps me in control to stay in contact with them
- 2. How do you not get so overwhelmed by all the attention/business that has changed your life with being a successful singer performer. How do stay grounded, and not let other things change who you are.
*Esmee: I’m the same person as I always have been
– I’m excited about all of it
– All the attention can get “weird”
– “I’m just Esmee”
– Family keeps me inline and grounded
– Happy with everyone who is working with me, they work very hard.
- 3. Once you were getting attention on Youtube, how did you get discovered by Justin Timberlake? Can you tell us that story
*Esmee: Lot’s of record companies/labels started calling me, and Justin too…he invited me to a concert, and I met him backstage, and played a song on the piano “How come U don’t call me anymore.” It was an old song I’d had done for years, and because there was a piano – it was a good song to do/play.
– Youtube, I had record labels calling me, I thought it was like a joke at first.
– Management then called me, I met with them and JT wanted to meet with me. I went to JT’s Chicago concert, met him backstage, sang a song on piano.
– 1 month later I was signed!
– I chose to play that Prince song b/c “It’s a great song!” and I knew how to play it on piano
- 4. How much a big brother mentor figure has Justin Timberlake been you since you started working together? It seems that he has had a very positive effect on your development as an artist. Tell me how Justin has helped you?
*Esmee: It’s funny because it’s almost exactly as you said. He has been a big brother to me, showing me things, about the music business.
– Older brother figure to me
– I look up to him, and aspire to be like him as an artist
– I wrote a lot of my songs on my album, JT had input on my record as well
– “What better person to learn from than Justin Timberlake?!”
– JT tested me to see if I had what it took/handle to perform, he got me to perform with him even before my record was recorded
– He wants the best for me
Does he push you or does he kinda know what you need in order to grow?
*Esmee: Yes, he challenges me like the first time I went on stage to perform in front of thousands. It forces me to rise to the challenge.
- 5. It has been said, that you are the first Youtube artist to go from a Youtube channel directly to performing on a major stage (with Justin Timberlake). Seeing as you are a Youtube veteran, what advice could you give the thousands of teenage girls who look up to you from around the world, who are now trying to emulate what you did (film themselves singing cover tunes).
*Esmee: I have been around music my whole life, singing, playing, so I encourage them to keep at it, practice, if it what they want, to go after it, make videos, etc.
– “Dare to put yourself out there, to do what you love, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen the 1st time around… it can happen in many ways”
– i.e. Talent shows, YouTube etc.
Album related Questions
- 6. Just wondering, I have been in a choir & have been around music my whole life. Your voice is amazing, it is a gift. So, I wondered did you have any musical training or played any instruments whiled growing up in the Netherlands
*Esmee: Actually only once did my parents sign me up for vocal lessons, but it didn’t work out. Now, that I’m signed and doing this as a career, I do have a vocal coach/teacher/instructor who is helping with my voice. His name is Dave Straut
– Since I was a little girl I have always wanted to be a singer
– It was too expensive for training lessons
– I listened at home to many of my fav. Artists, from listening really
– Now, after being signed I have a vocal trainer: Dave Straut
– Helps to take care of my vocals – thank goodness
Esmee: I’m so thankful that in the years I was untrained I didn’t do any serious damage to my voice when singing.
- 7. You said in your Making of the Outta Here video, that it was difficult to sing, what do mean by that musically?
*Esmee: It was just different than any kind of song I’m sung before, it was a different style, so I had to get used to it, practice it till I got it!
– Song was challenging to sing at first, more of a “Rock way” music
– But eventually, listening to it now, I see that “I made it my own”
– I said to myself – “I know I can do it now”
- 8. It seems your tour is going across Europe this summer, when do you plan on coming over to North America?
*Esmee: Oh we will be coming to the U.S. and I would really like to come to Canada too! Canada is one of the first places to catch onto my music.
*Jason: We in Canada really like international music
*Esmee: We will definitely come over to U.S./North America on a tour before the end of 2009. No specific dates yet.
– I am signed for North America, once after Euro tour over
– I will be there before the end of 2009
– I was in Toronto 4 months ago – I liked it a lot
– Looking forward to going back to Canada – (T.O.) “It’s clean, nice and modern”.
- 9. I quote from your writing on your Myspace page, –
Hi, my name is Esmée. I’m 20 and from wherever you are reading this, no matter how far away or what country you live in, we are now… connected. My question is…what do mean we are now connected. Does have anything to do with Twitter, Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, etc., etc.?
*Esmee: Yes that we are all connected now, it’s so easy to stay in contact, e-mail, youtube, I read my fans messages.
– b/c internet everyone has access for ex. To my videos
– I am here b/c of my fans – (fans) “They made it happen!”
– Keep connected to my fan’s websites – they root for me – “I want to make them proud and do my very best.”
- 10. When you sang Follow My Lead onstage with Justin Timberlake what was that experience like? Was the recording just a live recording or did you redo one in studio?
*Esmee: It was so amazing, sort of surreal because I’d never been on stage like that, seeing Justin interacting with other musicians/artists, and singing and dancing. I found it hard to believe that I was standing next to (people in her pictures).
– JT did charity concert and invited me there (flew me over)
– My 1st time performing on stage
– To think all these famous people like 50 Cent, Liona Lewis – “
– All these icons! It was great!”
– It was Live recording
Closer/Finishing Interview Questions
- 11. Who are favourite actors/celebrities?
*Esmee: Jaime Foxx – he is so funny and talented, etc.
– Jamie Fox – my fav. Movie is Ray – he was amazing!
– Like also that he is a singer and actor
- 12. Do you plan release/make music & albums in your native Dutch language, as some others do?
*Esmee: I don’t yet, at this point in my career, I’m just excited to go out on tour and perform.
– In the future – “Outta Here” has been recorded in Fin, or a foreign language
- 13. What does Esmee Denters like to do in her free time, when she is not making mega selling music hit songs?
*Esmee: Same as everybody else, I like to hang out with my friends, go out to restaurants, watch movies, go shopping, make videos for my Youtube channel.
– “Normal stuff”… like going to movies with friends, having dinner, shopping etc.
- 14. What are you look forward to the most on your upcoming tour of Europe?
*Esmee: I can’t wait to just perform onstage. The opportunity to get up close to the fans, and see them. I appreciate them wanting to come see.
“Getting my music out there”
Jason: *Thank you so much for doing this interview with us here at Tweeplemagazine, and I hope you like the article I wrote about you! Yesterday!
Jason Chu (@Chodidees)