I don’t know about you, but I encounter a lot of (feelings of) depression going around in the communities I am part of. These things get to me. Although I try not to make everything personal, my heart goes out to the (young) people, who are suffering. Suffering up to a point of losing all hope for the future and the will to live.
This is written in hopes of acknowledging, comforting and encouraging, those who are going through a mentally or spiritually, tough time.
Meet A-P Connection: An autoproduced French Funk music duo founded in 2012 in Reims. Growingup, Antoine Perez and Pierre Bonnet were mostly influenced by the funk and disco music of the 70’s and 80’s. It was obvious that playing music would become part of their lives. At the early beginning they played only guitar and bass, yet this quickly evolved into a wider variety of instruments allowing them to create their own compositions.
In early 2014 the first album “Stellar Groove” was launched, using mainly talk box vocals. Soon collaboration with different singers was started up, which resulted into a couple of new songs being issued on the main digital platforms. This experience inspired them to work on their first big project: bringing out an LP featuring a variety of talented artists both for vocals as well as additional instrumental sections as strings, horns. Their unique blended sound was born. Source: About A-P Connection, Spotify.
My Kind of Music, with A-P Connection (2)
The A-P GROOVE Makes Me POSITIVELY HAPPY.
Isn’t it just amazing that my second ever Spotlight is also today’s second Spotlight 2?! I think it is! We’re almost back at where I began the Spotlight section with my guests of the day, A-P Connection. I will be forever grateful, they were so willing to do a little interview with me in Spotlight on A-P Connection, published 7/16/2020. It was all so very new to me, still developing this wild idea, I could try and go interview independent artists for my blog. Sorry, what’s your name again? 😂 Fortunately for me, the guys were so friendly and enthusiastic, it all went down pretty smooth. What can I say, since I started following them, I figured it’s just who they are: Friendly, Approachable and Smiling. They totally represent the Groove, which makes for a strong opening on their new album, showing off their instrumental skills.
Antoine Perez and Pierre Bonnet – Yes Indeed A-P! – were in fact so collaborative, I basically could ask any question, however, when I just started it was quite a feat to come up with even only the 5 questions. Having only just celebrated the 1st anniversary of the blog, I can say I’ve learned a couple of things since then and I hope it shows in the article! For a fair comparison, you would of course have read their first Spotlight 😉 No big changes, because I stick to the idea the article should be easy to read after all and it’s often a Thin Line between a site looking nice, but being utterly inaccessible at the same time. Song number 2 features the great Howard Johnson, remember ‘So Fine?’ Yep, that’s him.
Anyways, back to A-P Connection and their music! I started following them around the time their previous album ‘Beyond’ was released, which turned me into a Big Fan. Just like diamonds, it can take effort and time – though luckily not a Lifetime – to Find something really good. Right before 2020 ended it was clear A-P Connection was already preparing for their next musical endeavor, their new album ‘Wide Vision’, released 7/6/2021, which brings us here. In the meantime I was so bold to ask them if there was any way I could still get my hands on that awesome A-P ‘Beyond’ sweater, wanting to gift one to my hubby. They were so cool, there weren’t any left, but they made sure to get me one, after which I decided I really wanted one for myself too. When the sweaters arrived there was a signed ‘Beyond’ CD added, because, I quote: ‘You’re a true fan’. Ain’t that right! I can honestly say we – my hubby and I – have been really looking forward to the release date and when it finally came, I just couldn’t wait to have a first listen somewhere in the middle of the night. Track number 3 is featured by Nate Williams, who I only discovered a couple of months ago – coincidence or not? – and has some funky stuff under his belt.
A-P Connection provided us with a full album: 16 new songs!! When they posted about the album also being available on vinyl (Double) or CD, it was Love at First Sight. I recently started a new collection of vinyl’s – still very humble at the moment – and this double album is just beautiful. So of course I ordered ‘Wide Vision’ and I was happy to receive it this week and YES the pics spread over this page are from Moi. Song number 4 is featured by Denise L. Wilkinson, (from Ladies of Skyy) who is adding Soul to this pretty jazzy tune. Pierre is having fun with some juicy basslines – how I love that – and Antoine is strong as ever, letting those funky guitar riffs fly, the backbone of any good groove and every one of their songs!
The album has some fleeting reminders of ‘Beyond’ and other previously released stuff. There is this distinct A-P sound for sure and among the really amazing vocalists collaborating here, there are a couple who had been starring on previous albums too. Think about Ryan Konline, Matthew Clanton and Chuck New, for example. You’ll recognize their voices immediately, not only because of previous collabs with A-P, but with a lot of other artists too. I think it’s pretty cool that the songs they’re singing on, seem to perfectly fit the ‘A-P Groove’ if I may be so bold. But it doesn’t stop there, if you think ‘Beyond’ was stretching A-P’s limits, Nu-Uh, The Beat Goes On. Song number 5 has got some of said reminders, featured by Junior and don’t tell me you never heard at least ‘Mama Used To Say?!’ Adding in horns is always a bit risky in my opinion, they could lift a track to unbelievable heights or unfortunately sometimes, ruin a song for me. But No: the first is true here, giving me total EWF vibes, it’s Just Right!
I am following the tracklist on ‘Wide Vision’, which I normally wouldn’t do. I like to go back and forth in time, trying to not only look for similarities, but even more so, to get a feel about how an artist/band, has grown. In my opinion A-P’s sound has definitely matured: still recognizable but the songs definitely feel more layered to me, with interesting transitions and key changes in most songs. They’re not all ‘straight forward’ A-P beats, each song has their own identity, with great lyrics and as mentioned, more great vocalists. They make each song a real Pleasure to listen to. Arriving at song number 6, which is featured by an ‘old A-P’ friend, Chuck New. I love his voice and referring to what I mentioned earlier, it’s amazing to hear how he is owning the song with his own sound. The 21 might be nailing it, because this song is filled with so much good stuff: very cool percussion, neat claps and drums, overall a very smooth performance.
Ending 2020 with my Spotify Wrapped, it was hardly a surprise for me to find A-P Connection as my number 2 Top Artist, with a number 4 Top Song. I thought it funny to also go for the ‘Spotify Roast’, to see ‘how bad’ my Spotify actually was. They had me laughing because it was stated, I quote: ‘You stan these artist to an uncomfortable extent’. Of course A-P was included in that short list. My response was: ‘Yeah, it’s uncomfortable for me too’. I mean, I did/do feel like a stalker sometimes, must have been something missing when I was a kid, just catching up on fangirling over artists 🙄. But let’s be honest, a band like A-P deserves so much more recognition! They can compete with any big name in the scene, their skills and professionality are certainly speaking for them. Track number 7, featured by Heather Haywood, is showing it all, talking about being Positively Happy! I simply cannot imagine A-P couldn’t brighten your day with their music. Great transitions, amazing synth solo and again, those horns!
Now I am just a little bit biased – read: A Lot – but track number 8 is definitely one of my favs. Apart from the really smooth beat – great synths! – I really love Matthew Clanton’s voice. I have A-P Connection to thank for discovering him and he just might be the main reason why A-P did not end up number one in my Spotify Wrapped – oopsies – since he is also singing on the track that made first place in the end…I think this song is So Him and at the same time So A-P. It’s just a match made in heaven if you’d ask me. This IS one of the songs that reminds me of previous released A-P music. Not a bad thing at all, because I love their older songs! Actually, my number 4 Top Song of last year was ‘Want U’. I couldn’t help but be totally in love with that groove. In short: if you’re only now discovering A-P Connection, dig a little deeper into their discography, I would recommend SoundCloud, and give it all a listen. Their early instrumentals are fire and All for You.
Another vocalist we’ve heard before on A-P albums, is featuring song number 9: Ryan Konline. Bringing me straight back to Beyond’s ‘All To Myself’ and ‘All Your Love’, a couple of other favs. I don’t even know why I am talking about favs, since there’s not really one song I dislike, but ok. This one starts off with great horns immediately – and going strong the whole way – followed by a tight drum beat, a great bassline and exploding into the chorus, where that funky guitar is added. Well, what you want me to say…it’s not as if A-P is predictable anywhere, they’re obviously aiming for more complex compositions, trying to keep their audience attention. I can say it’s working for me. I may not mentioned it before, but every lyric on this album is neatly put together, as is this one. If you need to convince your sweet, Girl Of My Dreams has it all: ‘I wish the stars would align…’ The Drip.
The more I listen to the album, the more I am wondering how it’s possible that although it’s A-P Connection we’re talking about here, the added vocalists are such an important part of every song. I mean, everybody knows by now, I love groovy/jazzy/funky, instrumental music, it’s what I grew up with after all. My point: as much as this is all about A-P, the whole album breathes their humble attitude towards the singers. I hope I’m making sense here and you’re getting what I’m trying to say. A-P is so obviously out to share their music not only with an audience, but also with fellow artists. It’s the joy of making great music together, that radiates from the album and it seems they keep reinventing themselves, Today, Tomorrow, Forever, to avoid becoming a ‘formula’. Track number 10, featured by Joyce Sims – and yes, I still love ‘Come Into My Life’ – was my first choice to share in my Some Groovy Medicine Spotify playlist. Was it a conscious choice? Maybe not, but I had to start somewhere and man it just ROCKS!
Choosing a song per week is not easy, which I was talking about with the guys. This is how it went: A-P: ‘Are you enjoying the new album ?!’ Me: ‘Ooow Yess! It’s different from Beyond and that’s surprisingly amazing! It’s funky and happy music!! Very well done! A-P: ‘Awesome ! I’m glad you like it! Which track is your favorite ?’Me: ‘Aaw that’s a trick question 😂😂 there are several that really jumped to the foreground for me and I will share them one by one in my weekly playlist but I started with ‘Today, Tomorrow, Forever’. A-P: ‘Hahaha yeah there are a lot of tracks 😂’. Me: ‘I also love Millionaire and All for You well basically all 😂😂. Yess 16!! 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼’. A-P: ‘Nice ones 😍’. AGREED. Track 11 is again featured by Nate Williams and funky as heck. I totally love that heavy funky slap bass, accompanied by the ever present steady guitar – but even more elaborated riffs! – that very subtle triangle – allover great percussion carrying the song – aah well, you get my point. If I was a Millionaire, I would buy all A-P’s stock and handed it out. How can you even live without this. Also sorry-not-sorry, I love emojis.
Our little conversation ended with the next track, number 12, featured by Ava Baya. Me: ‘The French track Idylle is beautiful!’ A-P: ‘Oh yes, I love this one too ! Ava Baya voice’s is so cool’. So TRUE. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Ava Baya before, but it is sure a name to remember. The song is sung in French – Naturellement! – and it’s a very moving, jazzy, ballad showing A-P can do anything they put their creative minds to. We had been talking about this Spotlight 2 ever since it was announced they were working on the new album. I loved the idea of a follow-up and fortunately, so did they. One of the first things they said to me, was that they had a lot to tell about their new album and so it was decided, a Spotlight 2 had To Be made. This whole Spotlight section has been like a dream I never knew I had, but it’s pretty idyllic, to expand it to sequels. Where I thought A-P would be the first in this new series, I simply had to be patient and wait for ‘Wide Vision’ to be released. But hey, being the second again has a special ring to it, right?
Already at track number 13, again featured by Junior and what a JAM. The short intro keeps us from falling head first in an old school boogie vibe bringing us straight back to the 80’s. Following them on social media, I was able to catch their updates about the album. The posts where they are recording Antoine playing his guitar, were really pushing my Funk Buttons. It all sounded so good and though I said A-P is not predictable – because they aren’t – I wouldn’t have expected anything less from their sound. In truth, I will keep expecting more, because they will go on growing beyond their limits. I am positive their drive has to do with the fact, they’re convinced there is Nothing We Can’t Do Together. You won’t hear any complaint from me, I wouldn’t even have known how they could top ‘Beyond’, but they did. So I’m sure they will pull it off again after this.
Just 3 songs left and number 14 is featured by Adam Chini, another new name to me. Don’t worry about it, I love to discover ‘new’ artists, it’s what’s keeping my blog up and running lol. The track is carried by very tantalizing synths evolving to a great solo and thus dipping a bit more into a funky EDM side. Fine by me and Adam’s voice is perfectly tuned to it. I also love the fact that a lot of the lyrics on ‘Wide Vision’ are not mere lovesongs, but have a real message and meaning. Who said funky music is only about falling in love and dancing 🤐. One of the best parts is that uplifting/happy music, can balance out any serious/sensitive lyrics: bring a serious message, but make people remember it too. With ‘What Kind’, A-P is going strong till the end.
With second-last number 15, we’re back to listening to Howard Johnson. Really, I am afraid I am starting to repeat myself, but this whole album is one massive A-P experience. The more I listen, the better it gets, which for me has everything to do with getting to know the songs. It’s been so nice I was able to freely talk to the guys, they are truly ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ kind of people – no Masquerade here – and that is only adding to said A-P experience. Because I can tell you, it doesn’t go for every artist, even if they haven’t conquered the globe yet. There is nothing more appealing, then finding out I’m dealing with ‘real’ people. A-P Connection are for sure REAL. If I haven’t convinced you by now to listen to their music, I am truly sorry for you, you’ll have to start ‘Hiding your Heartache…’ This is your chance to up your quality of life, by simply adding A-P to your playlist 😉
Well, here we are, the last track, number 16. DID THEY OR DID THEY NOT take us for a ride?! Ending with again a very strong instrumental, in true A-P tradition, with leads for the horns, the guitar and the bass. Man, what can I add…’Wide Vision’ is filled with musical treasures, which I implore you to discover. Below you can find all links to their social media, but even more important, the streaming platforms on which you can find A-P Connection. It’s time for the guys to have their say and I just want to end with a BIG THANK YOU Again, A-P Connection! It’s such a pleasure to have met you and let your music enrich my life! You will – again – be added to the 2021 Spotlight page, where I will do my best to update every new release in the future. And I’m not sure about the title of this last track – I mean I get the A-P pun – but Phony?? Not you guys 💖
A lot has happened since your first Spotlight 7/16/2020, how are you doing?
‘We are doing well, thank you. As most of us during the last 15 months we had to go throughmultiple lock-downs and restrictions due to the sanitary situation. We have been lucky that ourfamily and friends could stay healthy. On the artistic side this situation gave us a creativity boost and more time to create new songs. We had already been looking for the next step after the release of “Beyond” yet this extraordinary situation definitely accelerated the production of “Wide Vision “.
‘Beyond’ was released /1/13/2020 and has reached 200K plus streams on Spotify, after 1 year, while you were already working on the new album. How did that make you guys feel?
‘We are very grateful towards all the people who are appreciating our music and supporting usmore and more every day .The positive vibes around “Beyond” gave us a lot of energy and a bigmotivation to work on a new project’.
The first announcement about your new album ‘Wide Vision’, was made 12/29/2020, on the verge of the new year. Amazing artwork! Plus the mention of 16(!!) new songs, including amazing collabs. Please tell us, how did you guys manage to get all these great names together? And, this is what I am imagining, but did you do a little happy dance every time another vocalist agreed on a collab?
‘Well, Wide Vision has truly been a unique experience. We had our preferred artist in mind toperform on each composition. Of course at that point we didn’t expect them all to sign up. After sharing the music tracks, we immediately received a lot of enthusiastic responses. Actually, all the artists were very approachable and really excited to work together with us on this project. It’s just amazing how everything came together. By the time the full line-up became clear, we went for our local type of celebration, by opening up a good bottle of champagne ;-)’
Also: can you tell us about how the new album came together in general, like how did your creative process work? Do you guys wrote the music together, or did you ‘divide’ tasks? Which were the fun parts and which was the hardest?
‘For quite a while, we couldn’t meet and compose together. So we each worked separately ondifferent tracks for a couple of months. As soon as restrictions got released, we regrouped in ourhome studio and decided on our preferred selection, in alignment with our producer. Starting fromthat, we joined our creative minds to enhance the master tracks and invite a variety of talented artists both for vocals as well as additional instrumental sections such as strings and horns.
We enjoyed most playing and re-playing over and over again, spending a lot of time in our small studio, accompanied by some tasty pizzas and fresh beer. Those moments really are unforgettable. What turned out to be challenging is limiting the choice to “only” 16 tracks since in fact we already have many more. So that’s promising for the future ;-)’
Do you feel this album is in the line of ‘Beyond’, or did you go for a whole other approach? Do you feel the way you look at / make music, has changed since then?
‘Let’s say part of the album is definitely in the same line of “Beyond”. Yet in general, we feel we pushed each composition to a higher level by exploring a bigger variety of sounds. We used a mix of inspiration from the 80’ies, disco and funk, while adding a more contemporary touch. We like to call it the A-P Connection Groove. Of course the blend of featuring musicians and singers greatly contributed as well’.
What would be a dream come true for you, regarding ‘Wide Vision’? What makes this album a personal success, regardless of how people receive it? What would be the next big accomplishment for you?
‘In a certain way, our dream has already come true, by the fact we had this amazing opportunity towork with incredibly talented artists since the beginning. More in particular, we feel proud on realizing the dream and vision of our personal manager, whose passion for funk and soul music has influenced us since we were kids. Being recognized by other passionate music lovers and bringing joy in people’s lives is incredibly rewarding and our main drive’.
Hoping that covid will be history soon, is there any chance of you guys performing live at one point?
‘Good question. We haven’t figured out the logistics yet for this bunch of people ;-)’
I was blessed with a great A-P Connection ‘Beyond’, sweatshirt. Any chance there will be new merch for the new album, next to the CD’s and vinyls, with the amazing Wide Vision artwork?
‘Of course! The fantastic creative design of Camille V. invites to be embraced by our fans. Newmerchandise will be coming up soon’.
Is there anything else you would like to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?
‘A big big thank you to all our fans that inspire us to keep going!!’
Again, Big Thanks to A-P Connection! And to you, my readers, better broaden your musical vision fast and find A-P Connection! Leave a nice comment below and start your journey here:
Yesterday the blog turned 1 year old and what a ride it’s been so far! A total of 9️⃣8️⃣ publications, containing 4️⃣5️⃣ personal articles, 4️⃣0️⃣ Spotlights and a couple of indexes and Flashlights. Bringing me A Whole Lot of new, online friends! I have been thinking about doing something special, however, life has been a bit more hectic lately and it couldn’t be too time demanding. So I will share some of the statistics, to give you all an idea of how the blog has been ‘performing’, comparing last year to this year. When I’m talking about last year, that would contain the first 6 months and when I’m talking about this year, those are the last 6 months.
In ‘You’ve Got Mail’, I told you a bit about how the first half year went: People from 3️⃣9️⃣ countries had visited one or more posts and I was pretty happy with that. The following X-mas Special, ‘Spotlight on YOU’, was a big success in my opinion, even if it was again, about music. I did give you all the chance to come up with other/new, ideas and just to be clear: I am always open to any ideas you would come up with.
This year, up till today, 6️⃣7️⃣ countries are represented on ‘my’ map and yeah, that’s freakin amazing. Of course a lot of countries are visible in both periods, but the last 6 months, a lot of ‘new’ countries were added. Below you’ll see a map of the countries which have been reading throughout the whole year. The darker the color, the more views, with – I think – a grand total of 7️⃣0️⃣ countries. Though there’s always room for more, I’m really happy with the growth!
I really loved to to see Africa getting a bit more coverage, since it was about the only continent that wasn’t really represented last year, save for one country – same with South America, which is red for the most part, this year. I actually know there are a couple of artists living there and seriously following the blog. Whereas the spreading of the blog was initially done by a lot of people I know in real life, more spreading was done by a lot of music fans. Any which way, I Thank You All for reading!
Views went up with over 6️⃣0️⃣%, which I am really hyped about, the number of followers have been growing slowly, but steadily and more and more people find the comment section and leave something nice. Same goes for the likes, which is very encouraging indeed.
I did not give you a lot of time to respond to my call for today’s post, so I did not expect much either tbh. However, there were some nice ideas from a couple of people I treasure and of whom I know, they follow the blog. (You Know Who You Are 😉) The first person is one of my bff’s who actually came up with 2 ideas and let me tell you straight away, they have to do with music, since I’m such a music lover.
The first idea – which was really suggested by 2 bff’s – you’ll find spread over this page, in case you were wondering. I’ll explain it in my own words: they basically said, I could choose a song from different – NO disco/funk/jazz! – genres and share something about why this song is special to me. Different genres, because everybody knows by now I’m a true funk lover. Though I Promise Nothing…there might be some of ‘the same’ in there too… A lot of the songs shared here, are from BIG names I grew up with and most of them still have a lot of listeners till this day, even if they haven’t produced new music for years. Classics.
I did like the idea, though I have been mentioning I did listen to other genres – still do – in My Kind of Music and I try to write about other genres too. My only objection was, there are So Many genres and sub-genres, and I’m only just scratching the surface still 🤐. The sweetheart even provided me with a couple of links, where I should be able to find any artist and their genre. Well Alright Then. Never thought about searching for something like that myself tbh. Wikipedia seems to work fine for me, including a lot of interesting facts about the artist.
The second idea had her laughing so hard, I just started to laugh along, not even knowing what it was about. I started to fear though hahah. When we finally calmed down enough to continue the conversation, she suggested the following: since I now have my own Discord server – thank you very nice, hubby – maybe I should actually start inviting people and have my own DJ/show night. UHM…This is coming from the same person who said I could be a music producer in the future, after which she added: ‘we just need to hustle a mixdeck‘. Ahahah. Right. I have NO illusions about that at all.
However, doing some kind of show is not a bad idea, though I’d have to seriously look into it, which will take some time. I did tell her, I am not good at inviting people, since I never really like it myself, getting invited for all kinds of things. But yeah, gotta start somewhere right? Who knows, with all the contacts I have now, there might be a couple of artists interested in participating…I might just throw it out there at one point – read: whenever I find the courage to ask – though Twitch or even YouTube, might be better options for something like that tbh. You can be sure I’ll keep you updated 😂
BUT then there was one friend who did share something interesting about someone who inspires him a lot. You might remember my friend with the broken headphones – mentioned in My Kind of Music 2 – who lives in Venezuela. I did ask if anybody would want to shoutout and/or, recommend someone, and he told me this rather personal story about someone and how it affects his life. He was not sure if it would ‘fit’ the blog, but I said ‘almost anything goes’, because, why not? I am all about encouraging people.
When I asked him if he truly would be OK with me sharing this on the blog and if I could use his name, he answered, I quote: ‘U can use my name no prob! Uwu. And sure u can share it! I’m sure someone is also gonna get inspired by it’. I second that thought! So here’s Daniel’s shoutout, only roughly edited by me, to stay as close to his words as possible. I quote:
‘She’s called Oozora Subaru, and she is a Japanese Vtuber (a streamer that uses an virtual avatar instead of using their actual face) idol. And I’ll be honest, I probably sound like a massive weeb or just plain dumb saying this, but she’s really important to me and that’s why I call her my muse, even tho I’m not really an artist (Still…:👀)
Yeah, She’s cute and all of that, but more importantly, she is strong. Stronger than it looks. To me, she is a perfect example of a lot of things, specially, on why u should never give up on anything and how u should threat every human being around u.
Subaru didn’t have an easy life, she was born with a hole in her heart. Yeah, I know that sounds kinda poetic, but I’m serious, she had a literal orifice on her organ. So for the most part she spent her childhood in the hospital where of course, she couldn’t move around a lot, because otherwise, she could die. Later, she got ran over by a car and finally her house burned down.
With all these experiences, desperate in finding the solution, apart from all the part time jobs she was taking, she decided to try to join Hololive, the company to which she belongs now. She even faked her entire personality just so she could enter. That didn’t really work, but they still accepted her.
After that, things slowly started to improve, she gained enough money to buy a new house, she made a lot of new friends that made her life a lot better, she gained a lot of fans worldwide and she’s overall a mentally stronger person. She was desperately looking for money and all at that time, but she never gave up. She knew that she had to become stronger if she really wanted to live, so she did. And she succeeded.
So, every time I feel overwhelmed by the things happening around me or I feel like I can’t continue with all this stuff, I just think about her, and I tell myself: “I can do it, that girl had an even worse life, and yet, she’s still there, smiling, being happy, so Do The Same.”
And that’s why I love her, and I call her my muse, even tho, again, I’m not an artist.Not gonna lie, I’m kinda cringing at myself for saying all this, especially cuz this is the first time I’m telling this to another person. But oh well’.
Thank you so much Daniel for sharing! You’ve become a special friend to me and your love and support means a lot! And you readers, If you’re interest has been piqued, just click on the above links and you can check out Oozora Subaru yourself.
That’s it. With this I leave you for this week – or should I say this year 😳 – because the only thing I can add is: Be Kind to each other, but also, Be Kind to Yourself! The above story fits perfectly in my blog, as you readers might well have noticed. Let’s get ready for the second year, I hope to see you all next week! & Again: THANK YOU FOR READING 💖💖💖 I Am Grateful!
Wishing y’all a great weekend: Love, Peace & Nasi Goreng ❤
Meet Mr. Hoosteen: From the mind of a New York based producer/graphic designer, Mr. Hoosteen draws heavy inspiration from disco and its descendants and reincarnations (because you simply cannot kill disco, it’s just not possible). Since his debut in 2015 on the OMEAC label, Mr. Hoosteen has sought to create an ethereal and sometimes flamboyant landscape of sounds and calling back to various styles of house music and disco including French touch and nu-disco… and visuals inspired by Studio 54, New York City, and pop art. Source: About Mr. Hoosteen, Spotify.
My Kind of Music, with Mr. Hoosteen.
NO TIME 2 LOSE, He’s Already LIGHTYEARS Ahead!
Today New York is premiering on my blog with a multi-talented artist: Mr. Hoosteen. I can say we basically ‘met’ at Discoholic’s weekly stream on Twitch, where I also for the first time heard a couple of his tracks. Since Discoholic himself was recommending Mr. Hoosteen’s music to us, I thought it only right to give him a fair chance. Isn’t it just so very nice to share music and find some treasures along the way? Oh Heck Yeah, It Is. Though I always try to be quick about things, it’s definitely not my forte as you all well know, so it still took me some time to get to it really, with all other Spotlights going on. It was all the more hilarious to find out the title of Mr. Hoosteen’s latest album:
And so it happened One Day – the 18th of May – I checked out Mr. Hoosteen’s discography on Spotify. Starting with the title song, the album got me in the right mood straight away, since I ‘m a sucker for that basic disco beat and a funky bassline. The obvious driving house vibe is just adding to the fun, I do love me some house. Winning! I always think it’s important to let any artist know I am appreciating their stuff, which I did, by sharing his music profile and tagging the – until then – fairly unknown to me, Mr. Hoosteen.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later we actually got to talk a bit, after I read he was apparently feeling a bit down, and I told him I thought he should have his own Spotlight, whenever he would be ready. I try to not have any Illusions about the Spotlight section in general, but even more specifically when it comes down to approaching artists. NOT because they’re not willing, really, until now every single one of them reacted with enthusiasm! No, it’s more the following through that might lead to a bit of a disappointment, as I’ve mentioned earlier. Fortunately for me and you, Mr. Hoosteen was more ready than I expected.
Talking with Mr. Hoosteen was as easy as if we’d known each other for years, at least that’s how it felt to me. He comes across as a genuinely nice guy and he seemed really surprised I offered to do a Spotlight on him. Why? He told me he was never interviewed before – like most of his predecessors really, which I told him – and also because, I quote: ‘I’m still rather low profile so all of this is so new to me’. I get that, I do, but it is one of the main reasons why I am looking for those ‘smaller’ names in the scene. If their music speaks to my soul, then I will most likely feel compelled to get them in the Spotlights. I am a firm believer, they deserve a much bigger audience.
Now if you’re paying attention, the above cover pic was taken from Mr. Hoosteen’s SoundCloud. He has been releasing music there since about 5 years ago and here you can find some really cool house tracks/re-mixes which aren’t available on Spotify. The same goes for Bandcamp where you could also check out his discog and show a little real support! Any which way, Mr. Hoosteen thoroughly appreciates his work is getting more attention, I quote: ‘It means a lot though that like a lot of the work I’m doing is slowly getting noticed after so long…’ and so it should! His music is blowing disco straight into the future.
Mr. Hoosteen’s Twitter bio might be mentioning, I quote: ‘Hopeful electronic disco icon of the 2020s’, but I daresay he’s got that covered, though we will have to hear what he has to say about that for himself later. The album is one of those ‘the-more-you-listen-the-more-you’ll-even-love-it’ kind of musical experience. My imagination is running wild while listening to it, feeling definite Dua Lipa vibes radiating from this track and you cannot convince me otherwise.
Mr. Hoosteen said I should tell him if his answers were too long, because he can be I quote: ‘too wordy for his own good’ sometimes. Well now, that’s one thing I am never worried about! I told him I love it when an artist seemingly takes over the article and goes into details about everything that moves them. It became perfectly clear we have another thing in common, next to our taste in music: we both seem to easily overdo it in the talking department 😅. When I mention his taste in music, it’s not just about what he produces, but also what he apparently listens to and enjoys. He shared some nice stuff during the streams and not all of it was familiar to me. Winning again!
Next to producing music, Mr. Hoosteen is also a graphic designer – which always makes me nervous, because I am NOT. If I’m correct, this is what shows in the beautiful cover art – and how could I not love that? – The bold expressiveness of the colors: it’s a direct hit to my colorful soul. As much as music should have a distinct earworm, art should be eye-catching to stand out and I think Mr. Hoosteen has that down alright. You see, I can’t help myself, just as much as enticing song titles can lure me in, the cover art can hold the same attraction in my opinion. You would be surprised how many times this actually works for me when searching for new music. Might be nuts to you, it’s a delight to me.
Mr. Hoosteen also mentioned to me how easy it is to get ‘lost in the crowd’ of the house/disco, revival at the moment as an artist. It’s true. Even with how happy it makes us disco lovers, to hear all these groovy new songs from a multitude of new artists, it also makes it easier to be overlooked. Hence my comments above. You kind of Have To have a plan ready, to make yourself known to the world, which is not an easy feat, especially when you’re an extroverted introvert – me! – with which Mr. Hoosteen seem to identify himself too. Another thing we seem to have in common. It’s difficult to explain to people who are not familiar with the concept 😂. We talk a lot, without wanting to actually be in the picture. Uhuh. How does that even work in a city like New York?
Fortunately, Mr. Hoosteen’s music does a lot of talking for him too. The slightly futuristic sounds he adds to his tracks, certainly makes it feel he is Lightyears ahead of the rest. Since I am all about The Feels, I can say his music gives me an overall Happy mood. Danceable, groovy and a little bit of a mystery. Wait What? Well yeah, the way Mr. Hoosteen’s music will work very well in the club as well as in the next dance-movie…it’s the mystery that makes one unique and attractive. Just sayin.
I love how the songs on the ‘No Time 2 Lose’ album blend in together like one mix. If you think that’s not enough yet, he finishes the album with an actual ‘No Time 2 Lose – continuous mix’, which will keep you on the dancefloor for about 68 minutes. You just get the lights up, the drinks ready and you’ve got that party covered hon.
So if you’re looking for some new tunes, I suggest you lookup Mr. Hoosteen! He is very approachable on Twitter, where he shares most of the stuff he is working on. Like any independent artist, any new follower is highly appreciated and let’s be honest, one can never have enough music. Well, I can’t anyways, you can expect Mr. Hoosteen’s songs showing up in my Some Groovy Medicine playlist starting Monday! So have you clicked on one of his songs here yet? Don’t let us down now.
For now, there’s only one thing left for me to add: Big Thank You Mr. Hoosteen! It’s been so nice meeting you and you’re music is a joy to my disco soul. I will add you as soon as possible to my Spotlight page, where you’ll stay indefinitely and I will do my best to update any new release. Where Mr. Hoosteen once got criticized when he had to write a bio for college and he was told, I quote: ‘I was asked to trim it or rewrite it..’ I assured him the opposite would be true for the interview. Don’t be shy now! The more detail, the more interesting for you, my readers. So, get yourself some popcorn and a cold beer, because he did not hold back. Here we go!
Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Mr. Hoosteen? When and how did you start making music? Do you play any instruments yourself? And does your name have a special meaning?
‘Hello hello! I’m Mr. Hoosteen and I’m a nu-disco/house music producer from New York City. I’ve been toying around with production since 2011 but I didn’t formally release any of my own work until around 2014-2015. It was extremely lighthearted at first but I started to take it a little more seriously the more I figured out how things worked! It all started in trying to mess with samples emulating Daft Punk but over time I began to realize more of what I was capable of! As of right now I don’t play any music instruments but I have messed with a lot of hardware, mainly synthesizers in my free time hoping to use them in future work’.
Who were/ are your biggest influences? Where do you get your inspiration from? How would you describe your music?
‘I discovered this well into the time I started doing music more, but house music and disco seemingly was always a part of me. “One More Time” by Daft Punk and “Lady” by Modjo were two songs I faintly remember from my childhood, but it wasn’t until discovering Daft Punk around 2010 where a lot of it came back to me. It was through Daft Punk I would be introduced to so many amazing artists and sounds. Even if it was mostly new to me it was like saying hello to old friends. The Chemical Brothers, Cassius, Basement Jaxx, Justice, Modjo, and the Roulé/Crydamoure labels had a heavy impact on my music and my life as well. Even “Music Sounds Better With You” sounded so familiar! I would’ve never met the friends I have now who inspire me so much otherwise.
Despite all this, my appreciation of the sound wouldn’t be nearly as strong were it not for Madonna. Her song “Hung Up” and her whole “Confessions on a Dance Floor” album from 2005 was somewhat of a childhood soundtrack for me. I was at least 5-6 years old when it first came out. I never would’ve thought 5-10 years later upon discovering the broad world of house music that she and the production Stuart Price (Zoot Woman, Les Rythmes Digitales) did on the album would leave that much of an impact on me. It was like the sounds of disco and dance were a mainstay in my life from the get go.
As for my sound, it’s certainly all disco based, VERY flamboyant and heavy on synths and melody. Chicago House, French Touch, 70s disco and a lot of 2000s pop have been my go-to’s but I have some influence from shoegaze, breakbeat, big-beat, soul, hip-hop and the like. Funnily though I tend to notice myself aligned with a lot of future funk and vaporwave artists but I’ve never been inspired by either really. I extremely appreciate the support though!’
Though you had already released music on SoundCloud, your album ‘No Time 2 Lose’, released 5/22/2020, was the first to be released on Spotify. Can you tell us a bit about how the album came together, a little bit of background information maybe?
‘‘No Time 2 Lose’ came directly off of the heels of my first LP, ‘Anachronism’. I had been working on that pretty much since I started making music, with a lot of the ideas coming from when I was at least 12-13 years old. However as that album was being developed I had a bunch of other ideas in mind too, at least three of these ideas (Illusions, Demuth, and Neue) would make it onto this LP.
Ironically though the idea of NT2L was an afterthought as my initial idea of a second LP was vastly different! The original album two was supposed to be more deep and way more artistic, and quite a leap from my usual house work. It wasn’t until October of 2018 when I decided to change course as a result of renewing my love for disco and house. Basement Jaxx’s ‘Rooty’ and several listening sessions with friends of classic Chicago House, French Touch music pretty much led me to make an LP that was a tribute to the French Touch and disco boom of the early 2000s. The production later on proved to be bumpy in terms of completion, vocalists, and songwriting, but dabbling in the creative ideas and working with Unchained Zebra and Chello was the most fun I’ve had so far.
Usually in my albums and for some disco/pop albums I absolutely love when tracks segue into each other. The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and The Avalanches have done this frequently, in addition to Madonna’s Confessions album. I love to be as creative and out of the box as possible in my projects so I just knew NT2L should be mixed this way rather than totally separated, ‘Anachronism’ was done this same way as well.
I’ve admittedly been late to the game in terms of streaming, and honestly the process was nerve wracking which was why I had stood away from it for years. Money was also hard to come by too but I’m glad things are different now that I was able to put the album out there! It’s been very well received since then’.
What do you feel is the most fun part of producing music and which part do you consider to be the hardest? How have you grown in your creative process/producing music?
‘I’m most at my element when I can mess around and just sort of put sounds together. There’s no true rhyme or reason to what I do which is perhaps why songwriting for the LP proved to be hard. However, for the early stages like sampling and putting chords together, experimenting with all these concepts was fun because the possibilities seemed endless!
The title track was built from a demo a friend gave to me, but finding the vocal to go with the loop and flipping it was absolutely great. ‘I Want 2 Be Your Tomorrow’ in particular was another fun one to put together as well, especially as the first song to feature any form of songwriting. It was also my first time working with Ableton (Anachronism was produced on a browser DAW) so tackling a new style of music in addition to new production techniques was exciting. ‘Lightyears’ and ‘One Day’ in particular opened my eyes to what I was capable of, but not without a little bit of help! (Thank you Ray and Chello!).
I like to believe I’ve improved in regards to lyrics and melody over time, but the hardest thing however is finding a voice to sing my words. Beca Jon is one of my closest friends in person, and Alex Wind was someone I met via another in person friend so I’m grateful both did such an amazing job’.
Your Twitter bio says, I quote: ‘Hopeful electronic disco icon of the 2020s’. How do you feel about that now that your album has been out there? Do you feel you’ve reached the goal you’ve set for yourself? Which song(s) mean the most to you and why is that?
‘I usually feel like I’m not nearly as prominent as my contemporaries even if I have been producing as long as they have, shrugged off. Even visually I sometimes feel like I might be too out there or not good enough. The aspect of the “disco icon” for me is to fight the insecurities I’ve always felt when producing, as a creative, and any I may have overall. It’s like a statement to be the best, most out there version of yourself possible. Initially it was more a for-fun thing but it’s taken on more meaning for me over time.
I was also inspired by Madonna for this mindset, but this mainly came as a result of the disco boom of last year, specifically what Jessie Ware and Róisín Murphy were doing. I admired how confident, flamboyant, stylish, and sophisticated all these artists were and I wanted to do the same for my work and myself. The album released isn’t necessarily complete, I’ll touch on that later, so I feel as Mr. Hoosteen I have a ways to go and would love to add more to the idea of a “disco icon”. Personally though I feel like I’ve nailed it among friends!
In a way ‘Demuth’ embodies this idea the most. The song was heavily inspired by ballroom culture, voguing, high fashion and design all in one bubble. A lot of these are the more unspoken inspirations of the LP but still an important aspect. The idea you could flaunt everything and be your best, most glamorous self honestly spoke to me a lot especially at a point it didn’t feel possible.
In terms of my discography along with all the NT2L songs, my older songs ‘Studio 54’ and ‘E.D.M.’ are very sentimental for me. Both songs were released fairly early in my time as a producer and carry an importance to me for that reason. ‘E.D.M.’ is regarded as my label’s “signature track”, and ‘Studio 54’ is the first sign of the flamboyance I’ve tried to display in NT2L. This, and another track I’ve done, ‘Ultimatum’ set the scene for this project’.
Your bio also mentions you’re a graphic designer, so I assume you design your own album covers? Which one came first: designing or music making? And if you’d have to choose, which one gives you the most satisfaction? Can others commission you for designs?
‘Yes I’ve designed all of my own artwork! Both production and design have an equal space in my heart and in a way influence each other. For NT2L and most musical projects I usually do the artwork before the song is finished to give me a sense of direction to how everything would look and feel together. I admired in a lot of my influence how in harmony the visuals were with the music so I wanted this to especially be the case.
At the end of the day I couldn’t choose what gives me the most satisfaction, but design itself can sometimes be easier and therapeutic for me. Of course neither aren’t without their challenges but that’s what makes it fun…for the most part at least! I should note the ‘Illusions’ artwork isn’t my face! My close friend Malik is usually my muse for some designs, and many say we look alike but we don’t see the resemblance.
As of right now I don’t have commissions as an option but I’d love to open them up in the future! I have plenty of visual artist friends online and off and they’ve inspired me to want to try to expand my horizons there. The ever so talented Instantreigen motivated me a lot in this regard, so be on the lookout for those!’
You are the Co-brain of OMEAC records, can you tell us a bit about what your role is and what the label stands for?
‘I run OMEAC Records with my partner in crime for nearly 8 years, Unchained Zebra. The label is more of a close-knit collective of friends making music than it is a functioning label but I am trying to ramp things up a bit more now! The label was inspired by both Roule and Crydamoure but less in sound but more in function. I love how informal Roule seemed to be, but I also love how visually based and how much of a family dynamic Crydamoure had. The idea of regular record labels sometimes scares me so I wanted to harbor a more fruitful, supportive, and EXTREMELY creative environment for everyone involved.
Zebra and I both have equal duties but it’s overall a lax environment in how things are run. The label’s purpose has always been to challenge some aspect of the status quo in house music, but exactly what that was changed the more we grew into it.
We were literally just kids when we started out in late 2013, so we were admittedly too snarky and ambitious for our own good. However, it was nice to try our hand at recapturing the classic vibes of house music which is something we still try to do now. We were one of many french house inspired labels at the time, but we were really the only one to not move into the future funk/vaporwave scene. Given how frequent the move was especially in the mid-2010s, I wanted to try to continue to ride my own wave.
Me and Zebra usually try to do our own thing as much as possible, in addition to a lot of my friends in the label too. Having this shared mindset among all of us would prove to be an important principle to the label, and what’s kept us together all these years. Even if we’ve never totally assimilated, recently we’ve been very active and hanging out with some members in the scene so it’s been pretty nice! (Shoutouts to Ankaph, Niko, Radd, Emily, Berde, Robyn, and Rixile from the OMEAC crew!)’.
What’s next for Mr. Hoosteen, what can we expect in the – near – future? Is there anything else you would like to add/share, with your fans/the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?
‘To touch on what I said earlier, this version of NT2L I put out isn’t complete, at least I felt after the fact it wasn’t! Admittedly as a result of the tumultuous production, pandemic, and college a lot of the finishing touches were rushed and the reach I felt was underwhelming so I wanted to give it the treatment I felt it deserved.
For the near future I wanted to release a new version of the LP with remastered songs, extra artwork, and a vocalist for One Day! I’m introducing this with some new singles, including ‘I Want 2 Be Your Tomorrow’ out this month! In addition I do have a certain remix coming soon but I don’t know if I’m allowed to speak on it right now. I wanted to resurrect an old duo I have with Zebra as well called Filtr
After the fact though I’ve had some post LP ideas, including some extra singles and LP3 ideas which will hopefully come to fruition sooner than later. I’d love to branch out beyond OMEAC for these projects hopefully!
Major shoutout to everyone on the OMEAC and Cockatiel and Montaime labels! And immense thank you to everyone who’s listened to everything I’ve put out the last few years!
Well Hot Damn. You may or may not believe this, I don’t really care 🤐, but it wasn’t until putting this post together, I realized I basically picked almost all the songs to share, which Mr. Hoosteen elaborated on in his answers. I Freakin LOVE IT when that happens. It’s not the first time if you’ve been following the Spotlights!
Again, Big Thanks to Mr. Hoosteen! I really loved your input and effort! Also, the specially made portrait of you by Instantreigen…A-Ma-Zing!!! And to you my readers, go for it and give today’s guest some love! And while you’re at it, leave a nice comment below 🌺
The blog has given me more than enough incentive to reflect on my personality. It’s with good reason, I refer to it as ‘my personal therapist’. Being in constant contact with the younger generations is very enlightening in this respect too: most of them are very much aware of their traits and what they’re all about. I cannot really recall us being so into defining ourselves when we were younger. But I think it’s a good thing they’re just preparing for a bright future. The fact we’ve been provided with a lot of extra ‘free time’ lately, might also have helped with searching the internet for answers about ‘who-I-am-and-why’.
Where I in ‘Extroverted Introvert‘ dive into my ‘relationship’ with other humans and the way I’m called a ‘social butterfly’, while not exactly feeling like one, here I will try to dig a little deeper into other sides of my personality too. You might not care for all of this at all, that’s fine. But if you’re like me and trying to understand yourself better and why you respond the way you do, this might be a little tip right here. I am also hoping, understanding myself better, will help me interact with others better. Apparently, it just fits one of my traits to want this 😂
Matrix fans will have recognized the title, which I basically stole from a scene, where Neo is visiting the Oracle. It’s always amazing how much disguised truths one can find in movies. Though the story might be fictional, sometimes you can get hit by a truth so hard, you’ll never forget it. ‘Know Thyself’ is one of those motto’s, we valued throughout our lives. Fortunately, we have a lifetime to get to know ourselves, which is needed, since we’re all subject to change. Well, most of us are anyway and hopefully for the better.
The older I am getting, the more I feel like I am ‘growing into myself’, but there’s always room for improvement and I got curious when I found these ‘personality tests’ a lot of my friends had been doing. The results should not be a big surprise to me, but of course there can be some comments about certain traits, I am not too happy to hear about 😬. There’s also the fact, it’s a common thing to be asked to talk about yourself during job interviews and I don’t want to be stuck in either the ‘normal’ read: bland, speech, nor in some flowery fairytale about who I should be to get any job.
It’s one of those moments in life, where some preparation can be very helpful indeed. Most people don’t really like to describe themselves, which I understand, because I might look at myself in some way, which doesn’t necessarily mean, others see me the same way. Sometimes it’s good to wake up and smell the roses. Or, maybe it’s not exactly roses we smell.
Having gone through the extroverted/introvert guide as well as the Sparktype-test, I thought it would be fun to do this next one: the free 16personalities test. I know, I know, these tests are just giving you a guideline, but it’s interesting to see the outcome and if you follow the directions correctly – mainly just answering the questions HONESTLY – you might actually not only recognize yourself in it, but also have found the right words to properly describe yourself, the next time someone asks you to open up. ‘Best’ part will be, you’re not only getting the nice-side comments, but also the dark-side. Uhuh.
Similar tests are all over the internet of course, so I picked this one and ended up also reading the guide provided by the same site I visited last time, Verywellmind, referring to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Guide, where the use of the Letters come from. The test takes about 15 minutes – or less if you’re quick – and the results are shown right after completing all the answers. Now let’s go through my results and see if you recognize me. I certainly did, including unfortunately the less flattering sides. There’s comfort in knowing nobody’s perfect and I am still a Work in Progress. Anyways, at home I’m known as ‘Everybody’, so I may dodge that one 🙄.
Depending on how honestly you will answer the questions, the results will of course vary. And as honest as I think I am – or at least try to be – answering a bunch of questions about how I think I will respond to events in real life and/or, to people around me, is quite the challenge. Again, trying not to paint a nicer picture of myself than reality reflects, can be tough, because I might WISH to react in a certain manner, doesn’t mean I actually will, when the occasion arises.
So here we go! The result of my test told me I am an Assertive Protagonist, code: ENFJ-A. (Or code red if you like).
At first glance, the assertive part is true for sure and is corresponding with the extroverted/introvert result. Trying not to underestimate your intelligence, but I had to Google the word Protagonist to be sure about its meaning. Well that was something…mind you, the following words are not mine!
The introduction on the 16personalities site, regarding my profile, mentions, I quote: ‘Protagonists are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, Protagonists take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community’. This, together with the type description above, totally agree with the outcome of the Sparktype test I did: Primary Sparktype – Advisor, Shadow Sparketype – The Performer. Pfeew.
Though I often really don’t feel like a ‘natural-born leader’, I have to admit when it comes to any job, I seem to always end up somewhere in a management position. So this is nice for me to know, but there’s more. Apparently I am a ‘Strong Believer in the People’ which often causes internal struggle, but that ‘shouldn’t deter me from supporting a case I believe to be just’. This is true also, sometimes to a very uncomfortable extent.
Without diving too deep into all the details and descriptions – which you can read for yourself, but I’m guessing you’d rather check your own personality type 😉 – below I will list what the rest of my profile looks like, divided in Type (Assertive Protagonist), Code, Role and Strategy.
The Code attached to my personality type is ENFJ-A (aka The Giver):
The ‘Judging’ trait startled me at first, until I found the judging is done towards work, planning and decision-making. It made a lot of sense then.
The ‘Role’ attached to my personality type is ‘Diplomats’. Shared personality traits: Intuitive (N) and Feeling (F)
✴️ Longing for Connection – 94% of Diplomats say they prefer deep conversation to small talk. I am definitely part of that 94%. I don’t mind a little chit-chat and some healthy gossip as much as the next person, but ehm… I need some depth soon after that, thank you very nice.
✴️ Striving for Change – 97% of Diplomats say they often drift into daydreaming or fantasizing about different ideas or scenarios. Well, when I think about it – pun unintended – yeah.. I love to try and imagine how things might play out and won’t stick to just one scenario. Of course the real outcome is mostly not anything I anticipated at all.
✴️ A Higher Purpose – 86% of Diplomats say their ideal job requires a lot of creativity. That’s a YES for me. If the job itself does not provide for some creativity, I will implement my own, which will cause trouble sometimes. Eventually, I do need the challenge. Aah well.
✴️ The Need to Belong – 77% of Diplomats say they often feel a strong need to belong. As much as I don’t mind working alone, teamwork can give me a lot of satisfaction – along with some frustration too 😉. Knowing you’ve achieved something with your team is a highly appreciated personal reward.
✴️ What is Success, Anyway? – Only 18% of Diplomats say their career is the most important thing in their lives. Yeah well, I already mentioned I don’t really see myself as a natural-born leader, but when I do end up in a position like that, success only counts as such, when any personal rewards are achieved, which might have nothing to do with the job. Literal success is a bonus.
✴️ Time to Leap – 76% of Diplomats say they usually trust their gut feelings – more than any other Role. I DO trust my ‘gut feeling’, though I would rather call it faith to be honest. Anyway you look at it, it comes from my inner-self and you all know: I’ll just take it one leap at the time.
The ‘Strategy’ attached to my personality type is ‘People Mastery’. Shared personality traits: Extraverted (E) and Assertive (-A)
✳️ Bold and Confident – 75% of People Masters say they’re good at executing their ideas – more than any other Strategy. Well, Yes and Yes to the Bold and Confident, but I don’t think I really fit in the mentioned 75%. Though the statement Is Bold and Confident 😅.
✳️ Nothing to Prove? – Only 35% of People Masters say they often feel regret. Regretting things is not wrong, though cherishing regret is of no use at all. When you believe you’ve made the right decision at that time – or at least, the best you could do – then regret is most likely only caused by the fact, you’ve learned and grown in the meantime and would now make different choices. I aim not to give in to the ‘if-I-knew-back-then-what-I-know-now’ urge.
✳️ Finding Balance – Most People Masters fall somewhere in the middle: Ideally, they embrace healthy ambition while finding social fulfillment and connection. Yep. I don’t consider myself to being overly ambitious, but it would surely never outdo the social side of life. Still a long way from a social butterfly though.
✳️ People Masters in Love – 26% of People Masters say they’re good at attracting new partners – far more than any other Strategy. WHAHAHAHAHA. OK 🤐
✳️ Speaking Up – 91% of People Masters are comfortable challenging their boss’s direction if necessary. Oh Hell Yes. I think I wrote enough about that stuff for you to get the idea.
✳️ Going For It – 79% of People Masters say they see problems as opportunities. It’s just the best option for me, or I’ll might get either overwhelmed or discouraged. Nobody needs that in their life, I sure don’t. I might have some initial doubts, but hey, just make the most of every situation, it’s the best way to learn along the way.
Bored out of your skull yet? Well too bad, I’m not done yet. I want to finish with my apparent strengths and weaknesses. Always fun to read the first list and however crinchy the second might be, I will share them both, using my own words. If you want to know the official descriptions, you’re free to visit the site.
👍 Tolerant: I am a team player and will listen to other peoples’ opinions, even if we don’t agree, because I am – sometimes painfully – aware I don’t have all the answers. We need to built and grow together!
👍 Reliable: I really, really, don’t like to let anybody down, which doesn’t mean it never happens. I will give it my all – again – up to sometimes uncomfortable measures – to see things through.
👍 Charismatic: Well heck 😳. Referring back to my Shadow Sparktype, The Performer, I seem to be able to capture an audience. I’ll pick up the mood / atmosphere in a room and will try to accommodate the audience accordingly. I might not feel the social butterfly, but connecting is not an issue for me.
👍 Selfless: Uniting the above, there’s me, trying to do good for a/any, community, whether it be at home or on a global stage. Well, yeah… Seeing as what is happening with the blog and then specifically the music side…our goal has always been to bring people together and Do Some Good. Like we’re really one big loving family.
👍 Natural Leaders: I’m repeating myself but yeah. I’m not one to actually look for a leader role, though I might end up there anyway. This often happens because of the request and/or the cheering on by others, due to my overall positive outlook and strong (?) personality. Sorry-not-sorry.
I saved the best for last, here we go:
👎 Overly Idealistic: People often tell me I am naïve, for thinking, hoping or even expecting, others to feel the same way about fighting for a cause. Though they might appreciate my principles and even share some of them, they can also ‘fight’ me, when the case seems a lost cause to start with. I am still convinced I rather be naïve than become a sceptic or bitter!
👎 Too Selfless: Since I really dislike to let anyone down, once I started out to help, I might get caught up in the case and have to be careful not to make their problem my own. If I get carried away, I might end up getting lost myself and not being able to help anybody at all. Still I do call myself a coldhearted bitch many a time. Just sayin.
👎 Too Sensitive: I’m pretty receptive to criticism and will always try to use that to better the gameplay, not always succeeding of course. It happens I take things too personally even if the actual issue is not my problem to fix, just because I feel responsible. Hence trying to fix things that aren’t mine to fix and worrying if I’m doing enough to achieve that goal. Over-Achiever Much.
👎 Fluctuating Self-Esteem: I am just going to quote this one literally, because it’s On Point: ‘Protagonists define their self-esteem by whether they are able to live up to their ideals, and sometimes ask for criticism more out of insecurity than out of confidence, always wondering what they could do better. If they fail to meet a goal or to help someone they said they’d help, their self-confidence will undoubtedly plummet’.
👎 Struggle to Make Tough Decisions: Yeah… I think I’ve been pretty honest about that here in several articles. It’s the Leap of Faith which is always one thought away. However, once the decision is made, I’ll be mentally getting into position!
Well Alright Then! Did you, or did you not recognize me? I know, it might be hard if you only just tuned in to my blog and not knowing me in real life is also not making it easier. You can always leave a comment below if you feel you need to 🙃.
I loved doing this test and it might not be the last either. It’s never too late to learn and learning about myself is definitely worth a lot. For any new job, but not only that, for any new people I am meeting on a daily bases, it helps me to know what my strengths and weaknesses are. It might make interacting a lot more interesting, especially if I would take it a step further and find out what kind of personality types the people around me are… Just kidding, I am not that crazy. Or Am I.
At least I can say I Know Myself. Can You?
Enjoy the Weekend Lovelies. Just Know, I’ll Love You Anyways ❤
The past few weeks felt like I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster and the end’s not near yet it seems. Why? Well, apart from this BIG thing, becoming Nana, It felt like mentally I’ve been reaching the end with all the covid shit. And I know it’s really bad, when I don’t even want to listen to some music. Though those moments where but a few…Fortunately, things seem (!) to be going back to normal, though I am still very apprehensive about being outside, seeing as how many people are going wild. I mean, I totally get it, we all want things to get back to normal – for as far as it’s even possible – but it means things could get out of hand any time.
Steve had his first jab, though apparently I still have to wait until I’m a year older – not too long from now – to qualify, crazy… Anyways, it’s happening. Can I just say I hate needles, had enough of those as a kid. It freaks me out though, to hear people say they will go out and do EVERYTHING, after they’ve been vaccinated. Get real will ya.
It’s why I’ve been lagging in the writing department: that rollercoaster has my head spinning. Such a weird and unnatural thing, to at the same time feel like I’m empty, totally unlike myself. One of our slogans for life is: ‘You can’t give anything when your empty yourself’. Well, makes perfect sense doesn’t it. So it went from feeling empty one day to spinning the other, aaand back. Pffft. It’s tiring that’s what it is and then feeling guilty about feeling tired. 🙄🙄🙄, life.
Anyways, things are opening up around here and I finally got properly out of the house a couple of times last week. Man did I need it! Feeling alive had never been a thing before, but yeah, and since the weather seems to agree, it’s all the nicer for it. Still I had a hard time deciding on what to write about, so I might just stick with whatever comes up – nothing new here – and at the same time update you guys on a couple of things. Definitely something new there.
First of all: being Nana is GREAT and it feels like our grandson has been part of our lives forever, even if he’s just turned three weeks old yesterday. We never were the parents who would go on and on about their kids – never had any pictures on us either when people asked for them – so I will do my best to not go all mental about our grandson now 😂 But yeah, honestly? He is such a sweet one, hardly cries, sleeps and eats a lot and is an overall happy baby. Oh and did I mention he is GORGEOUS hehe. The peeps who’ve seen the pictures know I’m not lying. Just Sayin.
We had been trying to mentally prepare for our lives to be turned upside-down by his birth, but everything just flows so naturally and why should it not? We had our first ‘babysitting session’ a couple of nights ago and since lack of sleep is normal to me, it was a joy to have him. So many memories from our own kids are now flooding back, which is really nice too. Y’all know my memory is seriously lacking most of the time, but triggers always help. It’s crazy all these little details that are now coming back to mind. Seems my hard-drive had it stored somewhere after all. Recovered data and all that.
You may have noticed the announcement about my blog having its first year anniversary this month, the 16th to be precise. I’m wrecking my brain about doing something special – because YES! – and although I could always do another Spotlight on YOU (loads of new peeps!) something new is more appealing. I’m kind of proud of how far the blog has come, I’ll share some statistics on its birthday 🤐 However, I must say, the Spotlight section seem to have captured a lot of hearts and is still threatening to take over completely. I won’t lie, I really love doing those articles.
In a way you could say music has taken over my life – I said ‘in a way!’ – and the time spent on these articles are always a big challenge: Will I make sense commenting on their music? Will they even like the article? Etc. One of the Spotlight artists decided to give me a nickname, based on my taste in music and my – at that time – profile pic: Disco Mafia Don. If you’ve followed the spotlights, you know who I’m talking about, since I was about to spill the beans there and then. The name has me smiling every time.
And yes, things have been happening on the music side, I’ve gotten involved in stuff I never thought I would ever get involved in. If I thought expanding my social media was a big thing, 😜, more the fool me! You know I have a couple of fav artists/bands, which I am in pretty close contact with. I already had my first Spotlight 2 (the sequel if you like) and at least 2 are waiting to be written. My last Spotlight was about an absolute amazing band, Cool Million, with a bigger audience than most previous Spotlights. It was such an encouragement to hear their enthusiasm about the article, it just helps me remember why I am doing all this, when circumstances are trying to get me down.
Having – FINALLY, sigh – discovered the apparently big difference, between publishing a ‘page’ or a ‘post’ – believe me, even Steve said they do Not use the correct/IT-accepted terminology here, which confused the heck out of us – I now also see my number of blog followers going up. See, the ‘follow’ button finally works now, so you actually receive an email when I publish something. This was a struggle for real. Never too old to learn, though we still have to look into some stuff ‘behind-the-scenes’. If you’re one of those geeks, you should have noticed it in the URL’s I’ve been sharing…other than that, for you readers nothing has actually changed, except I have a few more – read: nicer – options now, regarding to coloring and stuff.
Though I’ve started all this for fun and to satisfy my craving to write, it’s absolutely amazing when a new follower is added. No big numbers yet, but hey, I was late to the party as they say. At the same time I also added the little ‘leave a comment’ box at the end of every post, so please, use it?! So far I got some really nice comments – which y’all can read for yourselves – as well as some spam. After my IT job you would think I would have thought about it, but it took me a couple of weeks to discover my blog actually has a spam folder. Well good morning to me 🤓
Where ‘normal’ comments will appear automatically, spam will have to be looked into and marked as non-spam, to allow it to be public. This is a good thing, since there’s some weird people out there sending the most amazingly awkward stuff. Yeah, wouldn’t you like to know. Luckily, I can delete those immediately and permanently. Case closed. There are also a couple of comments I just had to go like: Wait WHATT now? Sounds like Google-translate-fails to me, but hey, if the intention is nice, I take it. Tbh, I am not 100% sure my translations are always all that, even with 2 spellchecks AND Google translate. Sometimes I just rather write my way around things. Life of a blogger uhuh.
I will always try to improve, though I will also keep my focus on an easy-to-read site. Fortunately the most heard comment so far, is that people like my layout and how clear and readable the articles are, which makes me really happy. I myself hate it, when I visit a site and they make me go in circles for the most simple stuff. I usually give up after about 3 minutes 🤬 – if even – and try another site if I find one. It’s obviously a rush to read that some have marked the blog as a favorite on the other side of the world. Humbling really.
The blog seems to run itself, meaning, even if I wouldn’t share the publications on social media, which I’ve been toning down by half, there are always visitors. I said I would give it a year before deciding if it would be ‘worth it’, to go on and apparently it is. The ‘new’ posts, show previously published/related, articles, right above the comment section, which helps a lot too. People are just 1 click away from the next story. Now, talking about it being ‘worth it’, has nothing to do with any revenue I am receiving, because I can write out loud, that’s 0.0 until now. I have the opportunity to ask money for anything and everything I publish, but I haven’t felt comfortable with that yet and although I may never be, I’m just giving you a headsup that things MIGHT change in the future.
The one thing I need to keep doing of course, is publish. There’s still the adrenaline rush right before I click that big blue ‘publish’ button, I can tell you that. Not so much anymore for my personal articles, since I write about me and I’m pretty sure I know what I’m about. Yeah. I’m sure 😳 But the Spotlights are a bit different. Listen, I could just go ahead and publish – almost – anything I wish about any artist and their music, but that’s not what I wanted and somehow I developed my own recipe to cook up. If you haven’t tasted it yet, it’s good!
More and more people are reading both ‘sides’ of the blog – thank you all for reading anyhow! – but it’s funny to see my audience is mostly split in 2 different groups. Or maybe it’s just a logical effect, depending on how you look at it. We’ve been talking about splitting them up for real, but decided that it’s not going to happen anytime soon, or ever. They seem to work together pretty well so far, so why change anything when it’s not broken. Unfortunately for you guys who don’t give a fig about the music. Then again, nobody is forcing you to read anything and crossovers will be happening once in a while. Read: today.
Because it’s again music that has brought some changes in my life. Steve and I have been talking about expanding my YouTube channel before – and I am really considering starting to use TikTok as soon as I get over myself – but it’s quite a bit of work, so progress is slow. Besides, as much as I love a challenge, y’all know to actually take that step takes some preparing and stomach ache 😬 In the meantime I’ve gotten so involved – read: have been fan-girling about – one of my fav artists and one thing lead to another. Doesn’t it always?
For those of you who don’t know, as much as I do love all my Spotlight artists, there a 2 that just take the cake and I am going to introduce them a bit here. The First is Funk LeBlanc. He is one of the main reasons the Spotlight section came to life. It doesn’t happen too often, you can find an artist/band, and love all their music and Funk LeBlanc is one of them for me. A couple of months before I started the blog, I found him and got ‘lost in music’. You can read all this is My Kind of Music 1, My Kind of Music 2 and of course the Spotlight on Funk LeBlanc. Though we had been in contact from the start, he only followed me back since February this year. It had me screaming, since I really, really, LOVE his music. However, he is not the one who triggered the latest, biggest changes…
The other is Discoholic and without trying to fangirl too much, he unintentionally got me involved in things that caused new stuff being added to my already full music schedule. Both artists have one thing in common and that is wanting to stay anonymous, which means hardly anyone knows what they look like in real life. Funk LeBlanc manages this, by simply not posting a lot at all and when he does, you’ll never see his face. Discoholic manages by either wearing a Discoball on his head, or more recently, using a Snapchat filter, created by himself, in the form of yes, a Discoball on his head 🌐 I am sure you’ve seen several post passing by, where I mention one or the other. Where I was already a big fan of Funk LeBlanc when I started the blog, I only fell in love with Discoholic’s music while writing his Spotlight. So much so, this one song, ‘Liftoff’, was streamed 817 times on Spotify, by me last year. (in only 4 months time) You can all read that in the special, Spotlight on YOU.
In short: this mutli talented guy started his own streams on Twitch and recently got his own Discord server, for all ‘his’ discoholics. Now I was not a total stranger to Twitch anymore, since I’ve been following more artists there while joining URL shows, which I enjoyed very much. However, Discoholic’s streams are all about the music: everybody can send in their song requests and we all listen together and have fun. Sounds simple right? But for someone like me – and apparently a lot more people – it is really enjoyable. I’ve said it before: there’s so much fun in sharing good music! It’s also a great way to discover new artists, which is a win/win for me. Meeting new people is a bonus and since last week there’s even a ‘banger scoreboard’ to see who comes up with the biggest hits. I was the first of course. Just Sayin. (There’s way more, but I’ll leave that for Spotlight 2! 🤞)
While I’d added the Twitch app just a couple of months ago, the Discord app was downloaded by me right at the start of my blog, but not used yet… Being married to an IT nerd, the sweetheart, who has been using all of this stuff for years and years, I shouldn’t have been surprised when he took the next step for me, after I ‘FINALLY, sigh’ joined a Discord server (that’s right, Discoholic’s one – the things I do for Disco) He set me up with my own Discord server last week, specifically for my blog. My reaction: ‘Wait, I’m on WHATT now? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING??’ 😱
For someone who came from a-technical, a-social media, a anything online, it has come to THIS. Yes, I am figuring things out along the way and half of the time I may not have any clue what I’m doing, but one of my young Twitter friends told me, I quote: ‘That’s half of the Discord experience!’ Well Alright Then. Anyways, here you can find all things Colorful Expressions, you can drop by and share your thoughts about any article, give feedback, criticize, offer new ideas/improvement or just chat with me and others. I’ll share the link with you here:
Again, we had been talking about expanding, but this came out of the blue for me too! There are enough ideas, but working them all out takes time – mostly for me 😅 – and tbh, I’ll probably never feel like I’m ready for any of it, so I just have to take one leap at the time I guess. I hope you all join me in this new adventure, don’t leave me hanging now, I’m counting on you guys!
Well that’s about it I think. Again, if you have ANY questions or comments you’re dying to share and you don’t want to do it here, look me up and let’s have a talk, I am still very much interested in what you have to say. This would also go for that awesome idea you might be having for my anniversary special! I’ll give any idea a serious thought, though please keep in mind time is of the essence here.
Meet Cool Million: Influenced by the 80’s synth funk of The S.O.S. Band, Midnight Star and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Cool Million are a European production duo whose mission statement is to “take soul back to the future.” Founded by Danish songwriter Frank Ryle, a passionate soul music fan who ran his own magazine, Soulportal.dk, the collaborative outfit released its first track, “Naughty Girl”, through a compilation before German producer Rob Hardt (Chaka Kahn, Keith Sweat) came on board. Following the critical acclaim garnered by their 2008 debut, “Going Out Tonight”, they teamed up with a host of guest stars, including 80’s soul singers Meli’sa Morgan, Peggi Blu and Eugene Wilde and 70’s R&B trio Black Ivory’s Leroy Burgess, for follow-up “Back For More”, which was released through Hardt’s own label in 2010. Source: About Cool Million, Spotify
My Kind of Music, with Cool Million.
SUMTHIN’ LIKE THIS, Makes Me Coming BACK FOR MORE.
For today’s guests we’re off to Europe, a Spotlight I am particularly excited about, since they stand for everything I LOVE in music: Groovy, Funky, Danceable and Soulful, Cool Million has it all in my opinion. It’s days like this, I couldn’t be happier with being able to write and more specific, write about music I love. If your taste in music resembles anything like mine, this Spotlight is for you.
Was it a coincidence I was only this week getting myself into a little discussion about how it hardly ever happens I find an artist/band, and like about everything they release? The reply I got was something I had to agree on, I quote a Twitter friend: ‘A decent song is achievable, but a great or timeless song is a very, very difficult and elusive piece of art to create. Even the best oftentimes only have a few of those’. So true, though Cool Million seems to have no issue with that, resulting in me never getting enough of their sound.
I ‘discovered’ Cool Million late November 2020 and I was ever so happy to have stumbled upon their music. I quickly found out, their sound is so groovy and catchy, there’s really not one song I don’t like. And I can tell you, they’ve released quite a lot over the last decade already: 2 compilations, 6 albums and 36 singles/EP’s – if I counted correctly, including a lot of insanely good remixes done by other artists. Not even counting the amount of remixes they themselves done for others, since I’m pretty sure, I haven’t even discovered them all yet. I keep finding them all over Spotify 😅. Anyways, their latest remix is Next Level. Yeah, they are.
It’s because of this Spotlight section, I’ve been able to get a better idea about exactly how tough it is to come up with ‘a great or timeless song’. Of course personal taste plays a very big part for any listener – me! – but if it feels anything like me publishing articles…though I can never be totally sure, there’s this gut feeling about how well a specific article will be received and aside from the occasional surprise, that feeling is mostly right. Cool Million shows it’s not impossible to keep scoring though.
I’m happy my Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ is getting more and more attuned to the kind of music I am actually looking for and so it happened last November, I got my first taste of Cool Million. Y’all know I am no expert on the tech side of how music is produced, for me it’s all about the FEEL. Growing up with Jazz-Rock/Fusion, read: a lot of funky stuff, my attention has to be captured within the first couple of beats. I will always give a new song a fair try, because one never knows what kind of transitions and/or, key modulations might take place, but yeah… Those first 20-30 seconds of a song can be all or nothing. The ‘Keep On’ boogie back remix, released 7/10/2020, had me right from the start.
The laidback, soulful groove is just music to my heart and the song was added to my Some Groovy Medicine playlist without a doubt. Where I more often than not, have to listen a couple of times to a song, giving it that fair chance before adding (there are plenty of ‘decent songs’) there was no need in this case. I dove into Cool Million’s discography and quickly became acquainted with their unique sound: you cannot miss this special flavor they seem to have bottled and sprinkled all over their tracks. Gimme some of that sugar sweetness babeyy.
Cool Million is currently close to 90K listeners per month on Spotify alone and they have a pretty nice amount of followers on social media too: the Facebook count alone is 10K. Not bad at all. Their collabs with big names – including vocalists – is impressive and makes for every song to be delivered to a T. Biased much? Of course! Their Spotify bio mentions bands I grew up listening to, so there was very little chance of me getting disappointed by them. Still, you don’t have to take my word for it – though it was mentioned I seem to have ‘immaculate taste’ 😂 – just give them a listen yourself.
Now I shouldn’t lie, there was this one thing that had me doubting and it was all about which song to add every week. Choosing is difficult, because there’s so much gold to share and the ‘competition’ is fierce lol. To not have to go through that same agonizing struggle again, the collection you find on this page consists of songs that were part of that weekly update – now stored in the Groovy Medicine Archive – or ones that are waiting to be added soon. Sure, you can call them favs, but I am not nearly done with that list yet. Cool Million’s sound is thoroughly speaking to my soul, making it impossible to listen to their music without wanting to MOVE.
Cool Million are also masters in creating very smooth (semi?) ballads. Coming from someone who’s mostly high on up-tempo songs, they do have mellow tracks that are a perfect execution of their mission statement to “take soul back to the future.” In my opinion specifically their album ‘Stronger’, released 8/9/2019 – including the original ‘Keep On’ track – is bursting with ballads, with often pretty sexy lyrics. Until now I’ve only shared one of the remixes of the title song ‘Stronger’, from this album, so let me rectify that here.
It took me until the end of February this year, before I gathered the courage to ask Cool Million if they would be willing to do a little interview. They’re a bit ‘bigger’ than most previous artists I approached and I wasn’t really expecting them to be interested to be honest. But hey, still holding on to the idea I’ve got nothing to lose really, I just put it out there. While at first I thought a reply wasn’t coming, I was surprised when about a month later they messaged me back with a simple, I quote: ‘Cool we are in 💙🍾’. Yeah that got me hyped alright!
Going through their social media posts, there’s all the evidence Cool Million has kept busy throughout the years. Life performances – while possible – collabs and releasing new music. It was really nice to see many names involved with those collabs, had been popping up in my ‘Discover Weekly’ as well. Finding new artists to love is always good medicine, when all else fails, music can cheer me up. Apparently Cool Million is sharing this cure with us too: funky guitar riffs and basslines, great melodies and chords, amazing added strings…‘You can watch me as I shine’.
With 1.6M streams in 2019 and 2020 – ‘Back For More’ has over 1.6M all-time streams alone – the song rocks, let’s be honest – and a rise in listeners and countries, Cool Million is going upwards for sure. They’re very well known in, for example, the UK Soul Chart and as mentioned before, if you search well enough, you can find their name attached to A Lot of artists and releases in unexpected places. I for one love to find ‘new music’ only to discover they had a hand in it. Cool Million is obviously taking matters in their own hands, making it impossible to miss them.
If you’re a collector and wishing for some physicals, the only ones still available as far as I can tell, you can find on Bandcamp in the form of the earlier mentioned album ‘Stronger’ on CD and/or Vinyl. Whether or not there will be new opportunities for us to get our hands on material, this is of course my cue to tell you: Give them a follow and stay informed about everything Cool Million!
Just a heads-up for those who don’t know yet: A new EP is about to drop next month, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I for one am surely looking forward to more Cool Million, I mean, come on, with a name like that, success is a given. Maybe it’s me fan-girling but there’s just no way their music is not made to touch ears and reach hearts all over the globe, resulting in crowded dancefloors as soon as we’re allowed back in the wild. They rekindled the fire of Soul and are indeed taking it back to the future with every new track. It’s their passion for the genre, that is changing the music scene.
Well, it’s that time again and boy do I love this part. If it wasn’t clear yet, their discography is way too large to be displayed in just this little space (this is just a teaser!) and also: It’s up to you to find the treasure that is called Cool Million! But first of course: A BIG Thank You Cool Million! I cannot express enough how much I love your music and I am hoping you’ll keep on going on, feeding Soul to the world. I will add you guys to the Spotlight page asap, where you will stay indefinitely and where I will do my best to update any new release. Wishing you all the blessings and may The Soul be With You. Where would we be without your love for us.
Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Cool Million? When and how did you get started in the music scene and how did you meet each other? Which instruments do you play?
‘Cool Million are Rob Hardt from Germany and Frank Ryle from Denmark. Rob has been making and producing music since his teens and Frank started also in his teens as music collector and DJ. We met each other through Myspace and the world wide web back in 2005. Rob plays keyboards and program almost all instrument. Frank mainly use computer and samples’.
You guys have been around for some time now and have already produced an impressive amount of songs, can you tell us a bit about your background, like: Who have been / are, your biggest influences in music? Was soul / funk always The Way for you and why does this kind of music means so much to you?
‘Soul and funk has always been a fav genre to us.. but we let us influence from all kinds of genres, be it Pop, jazz, Hip Hop. But our love is really soul and funk for sure. We started out by doing a style that was heavy inspired by the 80´s sound, we have kept a lot of that sound but we also try to embrace more modern sounds when we make new music. But because we both crew up on the 80´s sound it’s still a big part of our sound and style.
We love groups such as; The Temptations, Con Funk Shun, Bar Kays, Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores, Cameo, Midnight Sar, Atlantic Star etc. singers like; Melissa Morgan, Kashif, Eugene Wilde, Glenn Jones, Leroy Burgess, Keni Burke, Melba Moore, Evelyn King, Rick James and Teena Marie etc’.
There seems to be a couple of pretty big names involved, as in collabs, could you name a couple of highlights and what it meant for your music? Were there any ‘turning points’ along the way maybe? Do you feel the music scene has changed since you started and if so, what was the biggest change in your opinion?
‘Key highlights have been Eugene Wilde and Melisa Morgan and Keni Burke, that was our little break through for sure. The collaboration with these names put a quality stamp on our music in wide circles mainly in and on the soul scene in Europe. The music scene changed with the uprising of streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Apple-music’.
Listening to your total catalogue of music, you stayed true to how you started. How tough is it to keep going strong and create / produce new stuff? Can you tell us a bit about how your creative process works? Are there any parts that you experience as struggle, or the opposite, joy?
‘The hardest part in keeping new music flowing is to find new interesting vocalists. We could keep to one formula we know would work – but we like to push ourselves, try new things, so we do our best to be relevant in style and sound. Which means we may do a up-tempo song and thereafter a ballad or a mid tempo jazzy tune.
You may be familiar with the Cool Million sound but you may never have heard us like that.. that’s what keep us strong and on our toes’.
Your Spotify bio mentions your mission is ‘to take soul back to the future’, which I can only applaud and enjoy. Though more artists seem to go back to that specific sound, you guys seem to have captured that typical 80’s feel and upgraded it with a fresh funky touch, renewing it. How hard was it to establish that typical Cool Million sound?
‘That sound has been with us from day one and is the sound of Cool Million – we don’t hide that we are under heavy influence of the 80´s sound. Moog and 808, Linndrum and all other instruments that capture that decade in the music history.
We are aware that more artist seems to look back to the 80’s and that’s all good. But we also feel that we kinda started that trend! We say that without trying to be pretentious’.
In between album releases there have been a lot of really great remixes released. How does that generally work for you? Is it a way to look at your music from a different point of view and thus generating new / more inspiration?
‘Remixes is a part of the game these days to keep a track longer on the market everything is going really fast and a song may not last long because there is so much new music coming week by week… and sometimes we ask someone to make their version of our song. Other times someone may approach us and ask if it’s possible to remix’.
I know you are about to drop new music, but how do you guys see the – near – future? What would be the next goal to chase for you, music wise? Though covid is not over yet, do you have any plans for live performances, or even a tour, yet?
‘The whole covid situation makes it hard for all but as a music group is very hard because we can’t get out a perform and let new people discover our music. But we are still here, and music from Cool Million we keep flowing. For the next period it will be single releases as it seems the album is dead these days’.
Is there anything else you would wish to add or share, with your fans / the readers? (Anything I did not ask about maybe?)
‘Yeah! Keep buying music and or stream it. And if you like Cool Million spread the word. Thanks. Rob & Frank aka Cool Million’.
Again, Big Thanks to Cool Million! And to you my readers, get your groove on, leave a nice comment below and give them a follow here:
Meet Ollie Happyness: “Don’t resist, One Love. Follow on social media for videos of me eating bagels”. Source: About Ollie Happyness, Spotify.
My Kind of Music, with Ollie Happyness.
Yep, that’s it. That’s all we’re getting as far as general info is concerned. You think that’s quirky? Lemme tell you how this little story began…
I sleep odd hours during the night. As a former night shifter, this one little thing never got back to normal again. This means I get to do stuff during the night, that is, if I wish to 🤐 One of the things I definitely do, is listen to music and keeping up with my socials, since most of my contacts are awake then. Time zones can be killer, but I try to get as much benefit from it as possible.
Early morning – we’re talking 4:19AM local time – 4/21/2021, I noticed I received an email from Ollie Happyness, directed to my blog, which is always interesting to me. At the same time I got a new follow by a band called Downtown Mischief on Twitter, though the names did not seem connected, at first. Try guessing my reaction when reading this: ‘…Would you like to do an interview? I got arrested during my last video shoot and I live with 4 cats and a poodle!’
I looked up the band and was still not sure if there was any connection, so I just messaged them to hear if the actual mail was theirs. I then found out, my guest of today is a member of said band and had released a couple of solo tracks recently. So here we go, off to Canada once more!
First things first: if you want to know about the bagels, you have to look Ollie Happyness up on Instagram. Apparently there was a #1man1day11bagels challenge… Anyways, back to his music. The first song, ‘Special’, was released 12/18/2020. Giving me kind of a Beach Boy vibe at the start, it’s a track that slowly carries you towards a wonderful and totally unexpected transition, somewhere around 3:20.
One of the standard questions in my interviews is: How would you describe your music? Unfortunately, there was no real answer to that, and I find it quite a challenge to describe it myself 😅 Does it fit any genre I know? Not really… ‘Special’ feels like a fusion between the mentioned Beach Boys going to a Luau, a James Taylor’s folk rock song and finally transforming into the outro of an EDM track – which you might get the feel of while watching the video. The guitar play is woven throughout the song like a carefully spun thread. Though the song may sound like a sweet lullaby, the lyrics will make you think otherwise: ‘I know she’s thinking we’d be fine, and I can see it in her eyes and all she do is waste my time and I’m not gonna change my mind. She thought that she was special…’ I know… Words are just not doing this song justice, so why don’t you just click on the below and decide for yourself. It doesn’t happen too often I can share great video’s here!
The second song Ollie Happyness released, is ‘Pashmina Baby Goat’, released 1/9/2021. Yeah. A title like that is bound to raise some eyebrows, wondering what the heck this could be about. Another song with some amazing unexpected transitions, which definitely will surprise the listener and keep ears focused on what’s going on. Telling ‘A Tale Of Two Species’, the song is displayed in a great video. Again we’re soothed with a song sweet as sugar, about the friendship between a – yes – baby goat and a human. Well, ain’t that the cutest, don’t let it fool you though, it seems to be a love lost also…
At around 3:30, the sweet baby goat changes from Pashmina to Psychedelic, basically rapping about being bigger than life, wearing sunglasses 😎, attitude and all. Really, Ollie Happyness seems to be bursting with creativity and it only makes me wonder what to expect in the future. The track is basically a showcase for his talent and the video is surely adding to the ‘whole package’ concept. For the rest, I’ll let Ollie have his say. But you can have a look!
So, Ollie Happyness, keep an eye out for him! It’s time for the interview and boy, I can only say: just let it happen lol. BIG Thank You, Ollie Happyness! I was so freakin pleasantly surprised by your little email, great way to sell yourself for real! I wish you all the blessing and creativity on your musical path! I will add you asap to the Spotlight page, where you will stay indefinitely and I will do my best to update every new release. You have the stage.
Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Ollie Happyness? When and how did you start making music? Do you play any instruments yourself or sing? And where does the lovely name come from, has it any special meaning to you?
‘Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Canada, just north of Seattle. I spend most of my days splashing in the oceans and playing music in the parks.
I play Guitar and have been known to sing Melody’s.
My name came from back in the days that people were putting “No Enbridge” and “Fuck Harper” in their Facebook names. I was thinking, “I agree, fuck those things, but is a changing your Facebook profile really the way to effect change?” and then I just changed it to Ollie Happyness and was like, “Ya this is a more positive message”’.
Before I go any further, your email sure was a great way to catch my attention! Please tell us about the video shoot and why you got arrested?
‘Oh I got arrested cause we were shootin this music video with a bathtub the week before and I did a streaking bit but didn’t realize we were in a public park. I ended up having to climb a tree to avoid the dogs!
Then the next week we are driving around smoking joints and the same cop sees us. Pulls us over, arrests my roommate (who was driving), and lets me go. I had to pick him up from the Police station 6 hours later to finish the video. No charges. We clear!’
Who have been / are, your biggest influences? Where does your inspiration come from?
‘I love all music. Some days I just wanna drive my bus around and listen to pop country. If the girlfriend and I are having a night, D’angelo and Usher. Cruising through the nieghborhood, Anderson Paak always wins.
But then sometimes you gotta go to dads house, smoke a joint and listen to the Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson.
Oh ya Cat empire is top 5 fave bands too’.
You’ve got two songs for now: ‘Pashmina Baby Goat’ and ‘Special’. Especially that first one has one interesting title for sure. Can you give a little background info as to how the song came together?
‘I was in Northern India with my dad and brother 2 years ago. We had just arrived in this town called Leh, it is as north as you can get in India before you hit Nepal.
We had taken some LSD to acclimatize our bodies to the elevation and gone on a short walk. When we got back I was picking away on my super shitty guitar I had bought in Delhi the week before, like it had to be tuned with pliers cause the pegs were so rusty. The high E string peg broke fully, which is why the whole song can be played without it. We had been talking about buying a goat to bring with us on some treks and just generally for fun company. So I just started singing “I am just a lost Pashmina Baby goat” and my brother was like “Waiting for your love come play with me”.
I spent the next 4 hours making cool new chords and boom done. Then we hit the studio a few months later and the second funky half was just born out of the grooves Mike Zurmeli (drums) and Staves the Tiger (bass) were laying down. The entire funky part of the tune was written one evening in the studio’.
How does your creative process work? Do you have certain steps you follow, or do you ‘go-with-the-flow’? What do you consider the most fun part of making music and what would be the hardest?
‘No steps. Some songs are written on guitar. Some from just cutting and pasting in Logic. Some with friends, some solo. Some on Ukulele. Sometimes I just start singing a melody and record it, find it a year later and turn it into something.
My favorite part is discovering the music! I don’t think about it that I am making music art, more that I am discovering it. It just kinda comes out and I don’t know how it works. Anyone who tells you they do is either a Neuroscience Philosopher and they are grasping or they just have no idea.
Thoughts just come into being and its awesome!’
You’re also part of a band called Downtown Mischief. How different is it to make music on your own, compared to working in a band? Do you feel your music is an extension or rather something wholly different?
‘DTM is definitely fun but its just bigger to manage and there are more people on the creative journey, notably Wishbone Jenkins. So its kinda nice to just have my own thing going on where I don’t report to anyone. But its also harder in some ways because when you hit a block, its just you to overcome it. Although even in my solo stuff I still do a lot of writing with other people and musicians which is something I really enjoy’.
Can you share a highlight from your past experiences producing music? And why was this so special to you?
‘I mostly just stay up way to late and record vocal harmonies until I have some sort of demonic bridge and then the next day I’m like “well that’s fucked” and usually cut it and make something less weird’.
I know you’re working on new stuff, anything you wish to share about what’s in store for your fans? What would be the ultimate dream come true for Ollie Happyness?
‘I am working on a EP right now which I am super stoked on. I have been recording real drums this last week which just adds such a live and funky element to music. Like I love produced drums but its different’.
Anything else you wish to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?
‘I think you nailed it.Look out for my EP this summer. Hopefully in August. Maybe even July. Definitely some singles coming before the whole thing come out!
Thanks so much for all your time!’
Again, Big Thank You, Ollie Happyness! And to you my readers, leave a nice comment below and give Ollie a follow, which you can do right here:
Well I guess it wasn’t a real surprise there wasn’t any article published last Thursday. After the pretty emotional piece on my Mom – which I feel was unintentionally perfectly timed and got some very nice response! – it was time for a Little Bundle of Joy to come into our lives.
In case you’ve missed it, a little over a week ago today, we became grandparents. All the time people asked me: ‘So, how does it feel to become a grandma?’ As if I should know how that feels like?? One week later, I’ll give it a shot. Now before y’all go like ‘Aaaaaw where are the pics??’… There will be No Pics from our grandson here. I totally respect the parents wishes and if there’s any sharing to be done, it’s going to be their choice and their doing. Lost interest yet? 😆 yeah I’m still the same…
Did you wonder about my social media post and what the heck I was talking about? If you haven’t been following the Spotlight series, you might have missed the clue somewhat, so lemme elaborate a bit.
When I started my Facebook account, the first and for a long time, only social I used, I thought long and hard about my username. Well, that didn’t really help, since I couldn’t come up with anything funny or original and finally settled for – as you all know by now – wien_sap. Yeah, yeah, kinda lame, except for the fact I was and am sure, there is no one else with the same name and it IS my name after all.
I already told you, if it wasn’t for my blog, I probably wouldn’t even have made an Instagram- let alone Twitter- account. I was all for social media distancing, since I never was one to be very social to begin with in real life. Anyways, when I had to – again – think about a username, I felt it best to just stick with the same, since it would make life a lot easier for me and for people to recognize me by. Little did I know, wien_sap would become something special after all, when one of ‘my’ Spotlight artists – Spotlight on Wizard of Loneliness – mentioned something I at first thought to be a joke…
Now you Dutch peeps got to understand and try to imagine, how my name is pronounced in English…yeah. I think I mentioned this before, but ‘Vinegar’, was by far the most hilarious 🤐 So now try to imagine how wien_sap is pronounced. I’ve even tweeted at one point how the Dutch IE sounds exactly like the English EE, just to try and explain what my name should sound like. Uhuh. There are definitely a couple who were getting it right from the start, but that’s mostly due to their own Asian/mixed, background, which makes pronouncing foreign names infinitely easier for obvious reasons. Anyway, I’m digressing, but just listen to this little piece of the interview with Wizard and it might all become more clear….
A quick Google check showed me that winesap apples do indeed exist and yeah, I thought that was really funny and the rest – 🍎➡️🍏 – you should be able to figure out. Because, having to actually explain it, kills the joke, but I did feel some explaining might be in order for some of you. You see, I had been thinking about how to announce me becoming Nana – yes that’s the chosen name – on my socials, because I was only going to do this once and it had to be good, well, at least a bit funny. Just shot that to pieces didn’t I?
When people were asking me how I felt about becoming a grandmother, I had to really be careful not to simply shrug and say something cold like: ‘I don’t know, I don’t really think about that’. Of course it was exactly how I reacted 😂 I guess I just always expected myself to react just like my Mom did. As mentioned, she adored her grandchildren, but there was no fooling her. So all the time I just basically kept my cool and said to myself: ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get there’. No hysterics for me, I already said I might seem like a coldhearted bitch, but hey.
We were never the kind of parents to put any pressure on our kids about ‘when they were going to make us grandparents’. Please. We did, of course, joke about it now and then and I do remember a specific moment – we were sitting in a large restaurant, which was basically empty and there came this young family, including a cute baby, sitting right next to us. As on cue, the baby started crying and did not stop during our lunch – when our son said to me: Mom, whenever I am talking about wanting a kid, please remind me of this exact day and moment! Aah well. Mind you, our son is very fond of kids and apparently, they love him too. He was once called a baby magnet whahah.
Our daughter always knew she wanted to be a Mom and she even did an internship in a daycare, where she had to take care of babies and little kids. The experience gained there is certainly a big help now. We’re really proud of how she’s doing! I remember when our son was born I basically had 2 left hands and was lucky I had Steve – who had loads of experience with his nieces and nephews – as well as maternity care for the first week.
I really had no idea how I would react the moment our grandchild would be born and that’s another thing I kept saying, because it was the simple truth. As ‘cool’ as I might have been throughout our daughters pregnancy, I had no clue as how I would feel when the big moment arrived. Well, let me assure you, I’m Not That Cold. I did shed a couple of tears when I saw that first picture of our newborn grandson and actually, I expected a lot more when I would finally hold him in my arms, but no, that didn’t happen. (Yet?)
So how Do I Feel being Granny Smith? First and foremost, we’re grateful both daughter and grandson made it through the pregnancy well and are healthy and happy. Hardly anything beats that. Looking at him on one hand feels like he’s always been with us and on the other hand, it is still a bit of a dream. He is absolutely amazing of course, sleeps A Lot, hardly cries, has funny baby smiles – who says babies don’t smile – and eats as any worthy family member should do. It’s very easy to love him 💖 – or should I say, it’s impossible NOT to love him – and that’s really how I feel: I simply Love him. He’s a part of me/us and that makes the bond one of irrevocable and everlasting love. This should say it all, it surely includes everything for me.
If possible, Steve is even more in love with our grandson than I am and it’s so funny to feel like we’re going back in time, because of course, having a baby in our arms again after so long, brings back sweet memories. We consider it a big blessing, we are able to see the start of – our – next generation and whether or not more will follow, nobody can take this experience away from us anymore. This baby is a little treasure and we will do everything in our power to keep him safe and happy. The real Granny Smith might be quite the sourpuss, but this Nana is sweet on her grandson!
Wishing y’all a very Cuddly Weekend, I’m sure I’ll be doing some! ❤
Meet Lexton: A house music producer & artist from the UK, who found music production in 2017, after being inspired by artists and producers like Avicii, Martin Garrix and Madeon. Recognized by his catchy melodies and tracks bursting with energy, his music is sure to make an impact on the listener. Lexton made his debut December 2020 with his first track “You make Me Feel”. Lots of new music is expected in 2021 with elements of house and funk music throughout. Source: About Lexton, Spotify.
My Kind of Music, with Lexton.
It’s all About How YOU MAKE ME FEEL.
It all started when 2021 was still fresh. To be honest, I cannot precisely remember how it all came together, but I will share the story as far as I recall it. The 2nd of January I got in contact with my guest of the day, Lexton. I had listened to his debut single ‘You Make Me Feel’, released 12/10/2020, and posted it in my IG story. I told him I really liked the track and would add it to the next update of my Some Groovy Medicine Spotify playlist. Though my go-to music will forever be funk/disco, I do love me some House/EDM in the right dose, as well as other genres 😎
We started talking about his music and it became clear he was already working hard to be able to release more new music this year. I basically immediately told him I would be interested in doing a Spotlight, whenever he felt he would be ready, because hey, gotta take the opportunity when it presents itself right?
Lexton then sent me some of the music he was working on and so I had a little preview, which I always feel honored about. It was just confirmation for me, that I did the right thing, asking him for that future interview. I was excited about what he’d sent me, and I told him I would be looking forward to new stuff. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves 😅. Btw, always nice to get a look in ‘the kitchen’: wanna see how Lexton cooked up his debut single? Find it on his Instagram page!
Lexton’s debut single ‘You Make Me Feel’, is one happy house track! He is not exaggerating at all, when he mentions his melodies are catchy, because you only have to listen to the song once and it will get stuck in your head, in the best way. It feels like summer – which was pretty nice in cold January – and reminded me of hot beaches and nights out dancing in the club. Believe me when I say, that was a loooong time ago for me lol. The melody of the track is basically the earworm, working its way into your mind. The tempo makes you want to literally jump for joy and the only negative thing I can really say about it…it’s over all too soon. ‘You Make Me Feel’, has some classic house elements for sure, but because of the funky varnish it’s a shot straight to my disco-spoiled, heart. It’s ALL about How You Make Me Feel.
A couple of days after we ‘met’, Lexton asked me if I would know any artists who would be interested in collaborating on ‘the same funky synth music’ as he was working on. Well, I did gave him a couple of – previous Spotlight – suggestions to listen to and decide for himself if he’d thought they would musically fit. I was pleasantly surprised to hear he was already in contact with a couple of them and working on some stuff. He also sent me another preview and was looking for a vocalist to finish the track. I discovered it can be a bit of a trial to find the right vocalists sometimes, but it is all part of the challenge that’s called producing music, I guess.
Lexton asked me if I by any chance played any instruments / sing, or write lyrics. Ahah, well, I love to do both, but there’s nothing professional about it. Somehow any lyrics I write always end up being a bit on the serious side. It’s more like an outlet for things that are going through my mind. We also discovered we have been enjoying holidays in the same place in Spain for several years, though during different time era’s 😉. It’s always nice to find you have things in common.
Fast forward to March, where Lexton informed me, it would be a good time to get prepared for the Spotlight, since he was going to release a new song coming May. Now things were getting real for me! He mentioned he was getting a couple of collabs out as well as – hopefully – some music on his own. One of the other collabs would be with a previous Spotlight, so keep your ears peeled for that one! But the one we’re going to talk about now is ‘Never Really Liked You’, released 5/7/2021. It’s a collab with Zomando, under the label of none other than…Wern Records! If you’ve followed the Spotlights, you know they are one of them! It’s nice when a plan comes together, though I didn’t plan this, it just happens.
‘Never Really Liked You’, is a Tropical House track. I would almost say, semi-happy, because the lyrics obviously are talking about a relationship that has fallen apart: ‘Oh boy I never really liked you, I’ve been saying all this shit to spite you‘ 🤐 But don’t let that discourage you, the song has all the ingredients of a well prepared dish and is clearly making a finger to whoever thought to mess with love. Great vocals, as well as lyrics, carried by a definite, though slightly mellowed – Tropical House beat. It reached 3K+ streams in a week and I think that’s pretty good!
I believe Lexton is off to a great start, and I am definitely looking forward to more of his music this year. For now, I can only let him take over to hear what he’s got to say about his music and expectations / dreams toward it. BIG Thank You, Lexton! It was nice meeting you and to see your enthusiasm. I wish you all the blessings for all the new things that are coming your way and hope you will grow more and more successful along the way. I will add you to the Spotlight page asap, where I will do my best to update any new release. Here you go!
Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Lexton? When and how did you start making music? Do play any instruments yourself, or sing?
‘Hi I’m Lexton, a 23 year old music producer from the UK. I started producing music around 3-4 years ago but only more serious the past year.
I was put off the first few times trying to make anything in FL Studio due to the software which I struggled to understand how to use it, but over time I found myself going back to it time and time again! Nowadays I’m using Logic Pro and I’m finding it much more suited to my workflow.
I’ve played piano since I was 8 years old but unfortunately I don’t sing, though I wish I could as it’d save a lot of time and money searching for singers to work with!
The name Lexton was created from a mix of both my first and second name. It came about during lockdown as I decided to create a name after spending so much time trying to think of one to release my music under. I was unsure on the name in the beginning but I think I’m starting to warm to it’.
Who have been / are, your biggest influences? Where do you get your inspiration from? How would you describe your music?
‘My biggest influence and reason why I’m producing today is Avicii. Like many producers, his amazing melodies and incredible songwriting are what inspired me to start producing music. It’s fair to say his music had a huge influence on me and many others. Other inspirations are Madeon, who I’m a huge fan of, and also Martin Garrix, Swedish House Mafia, Alesso… the list could go on.
I find inspiration to be mostly fleeting but sometimes even just sitting down for and working on something for a few minutes can quickly turn into hours. It can depend on many things. What mood you’re in, whether you’ve had a life experience or sometimes even a melody or idea will pop into my head which I’ll record in my voice notes app on my iPhone which I’ll later get down on my DAW. That’s a tip I picked up from YouTube videos from Martin Garrix and also Charlie Puth, as they both utilise the voice notes app to record small ideas before you forget them.
My style of music will always have a big focus on melodies and be bursting with energy. At the minute I’m currently exploring different genres to see what I like to make best but I’d say there’s elements of house and even funk in some projects I’m currently working on’.
Is there a genre you feel most comfortable in and if yes, why is that? Or do you like to experiment with other genres too? Which ones would that be?
‘Currently I’d say I’m most comfortable with melodic house music like my release “You Make Me Feel”, however my latest track “Never Really Liked You” with Zomando is more towards Tropical House, which is another genre I like to produce. I’ve been experimenting with elements of funk in a few tracks lately, which I’m sure you’d be happy to hear! Mixing the house music with funk/disco creates a very danceable mix. I’ve always been a big fan of Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder so I think there’s some influence there and also love the sound of vintage synths like the Juno-106, so you may hear something incorporating that soon!’
How does your creative process work, do you have certain steps you follow, or do you ‘go-with-the-flow’? What do you consider the most fun part of producing and what is the hardest part for you?
‘I usually start with a template that I’ve altered over time which gets me producing an idea pretty quickly. I try to make an effort to sit down and produce each day but this can lead to burnout if I don’t actually feel like producing. Sometimes I start with the verse and other times the chorus, but firstly I’ll try making a nice chord progression to base the track around.
The most fun part for me is experimenting with different synths and sounds and coming up with an idea I really like. There’s something very satisfying about creating something and that’s the best part for me. I’d say the hardest part for me is mixing and mastering. It’s something I’ve always thought of as an afterthought as I just like producing the music. However, I know it’s an essential part of the process for those that produce electronic music and it’s something that I’m working on!’
After your debut single ‘You Make Me Feel’ last year, your next single is a collab with Zomando. Can you tell us a bit about how that came together? Maybe give a little background info about both songs?
‘“Never Really Liked You” with Zomando came about from an idea I had sitting on my hard drive for a while. I loved the melody but it was just one of those tracks that was left unfinished. I actually spoke to PW Music, who runs Wern Records, and he recommended Zomando to collaborate with on the track. Zomando has a tonne of releases with Wern which I’m a big fan of, so I reached out and he loved the idea so we got to work on finishing the track together.
“You Make Me Feel” was made at a time where I was struggling to produce much that I liked. I think at times I put a lot of pressure on myself that every idea should be great and that’s really not the case. I went into that session with no expectation and pretty much got the whole idea down in a few hours. I then found a vocal sample from Splice that I made into some vocal chops and I found them pretty catchy and the track was pretty much good to go!’
Can you share at least one highlight from your producing experience until now? What would be the ultimate dream come true for Lexton?
‘As my project has only just begun the past year, I don’t feel like I have too many highlights but it’d have to be just starting to release music, which I’m hoping to do so on a more regular basis going forward. It’s also been great to speak to likeminded people in the community and collaborate on tracks.
The ultimate dream would be to release music to a professional standard and one day play it out live. I’m sure I can make it happen if I keep working hard at producing and one day pick up some DJ skills’.
I noticed you’re pretty busy with ‘educating’ yourself further in regards to producing and stuff, how is that going?
‘It’s going pretty good thanks! I mostly watch Youtube tutorials and that’s mainly how I’ve learnt how to produce in FL Studio and Logic. As for making the music, learning piano from a young age has helped hugely!
Sometimes I feel it’s easy to get caught up with watching tutorials and it’s much better to just experiment with different sounds and plugins and watch tutorials another time when you’re lacking inspiration as they might spark something’.
What’s next in store for your fans? Anything new coming up soon you can share a bit about? Anything else you wish to add / share, with your fans / the readers?
‘For now I’m working on a lot of new music and focusing on improving my mixing skills. A couple are collaborations with some great artists which we’re hoping to get finished up soon and released, and there’s a few that I’m working on my own too, so I’m excited to get them all out over the coming months. Other than that, thanks to anyone who has supported or streamed my music. It’s great to see how many people have listened so far but I’ll be working hard to improve and release more in the future!’
Again, Big Thanks to Lexton! And you readers, if you wish to like more, go and find Lexton! He really deserves a larger audience!
(or how I sometimes wish I could just pick up the phone…)
Next month it will be 10 years since her passing and recently it should have been her birthday. My Mom was an amazing woman, wife, mother and grandmother. Sometimes I wish I could just call her and hear her voice one more time. I am dedicating this article to the greatest woman I’ve ever known and was lucky to have in my life for so many years.
My mom was born on the 3rd of May, 1945, in Indonesia, at the end of the war. It took a little longer before it actually ended there, the Japanese suppression was still in full force. I am ‘lucky’ to have a couple of stories from my great-grandmother (!!) from that time. The one that is most touching: she had to flee from an air attack, with my Mom – a little baby – in her arms. Jumping and running to get to safety from the bombs that were dropping from the sky. Her life was saved for us 💖
I don’t know much about that time, safe from what my parents remembered and they were both pretty young when they left – read: fled from – Indonesia, to come and live in The Netherlands. I’ve never known my paternal grandfather, he passed away too young, in Indonesia. I was never close to his wife, my grandmother on that side. My maternal grandmother was married to the a Dutch head of police, stationed there. Unfortunately, I never really knew him too, since my grandmother had to ‘escape’ her marriage because of the abuse she was experiencing. Though I wonder if I would have had a good time getting to know him, knowing what I did. I remember meeting him once, while I was still very young.
[If you’re interested in how the situation in Indonesia was, I recommend you keep an eye out for Steve’s blog, which I will share when the time comes. He is diving into the whole Indonesian/Dutch, history and how this affected people. This history has multiple sides, and he will specifically look into what this meant for his people: the Moluccans].
Safe to say, my grandmother wasn’t very fond of talking about that time either. She did however open up a little when I got closer to adulthood. The bits and pieces she shared were of a a beautiful country, where she basically lived like a queen, with servants and all. You could say she was kind of pampered. My Mom was her firstborn – she got 4 more children after her – and after they came to Holland, she was basically running the household with my grandma, since the latter wasn’t really used to anything. My mom was barely a teenager at that time.
The other things my grandmother shared, were about the war and how it affected them. How the men were captured by the Japanese and sent off to work camps, most often to never return again. How they had to get to safety multiple times, how lucky they were never to have been captured by them as a woman…
It was (and still is, though maybe less nowadays) custom that, families consisting of several generations, lived together in one home. When they moved to The Netherlands, my great- grandmother moved along and she lived with her daughter, until her last day.
My grandmother finally got divorced, which was considered a great sin, because their marriage was blessed in the catholic church, which she was banned from afterwards. My parents were also married in the catholic church, since my Mom wished a blessing, but she and my great-grandmother took it upon their selves to go and find another, better, place – read: church – where they could be free in their faith and follow God. My Mom always seem to have had that drive to search for God and the Bible says, whenever we really search for Him, He Will listen. She found Him for sure.
As with most people from that generation, talking about past experiences and how they felt about it, was not really a thing. Apart from what she may or may not have remembered from Indonesia, talking about her youth in Holland did not happen often. But it was not hard to understand, she was carrying a lot of responsibility from a young age. All this made her the woman she was when she got us, her children and I don’t remember her any other than being a strong, loving person. Never complaining, never sick, except for a common cold now and then.
As soon as she was allowed, she got to work as a hairdresser and one of the most told stories about that time was about her own hair: She had very long hair – so my daughter and I did not get that from any stranger as kids – but since she also had to model for her colleagues, they decided to one day cut it short, as in SHORT. Having seen pictures of that, I thought she looked great, but apparently my grandmother was Not Amused. Hence the repeated storytelling, even years later.
Of course she has been my personal hairdresser – as well as for a lot of other family members – for most of my life. I told you, she would curl my hair ever since I was a little girl, it was just something she loved doing – and doing it well! – and a part of who she was. There’s a saying in Dutch, that goes like this: ‘As long as your hair looks good, everything will be fine’. She certainly felt that way. Every evening, before my dad came home from work, before she put the dinner on the table, she would check her hair and general looks. I cannot really say make-up, since she hardly used anything. She was a Lady. Unfortunately, that might be something I did not inherit…
Now before you think I will paint her a saint, I won’t. Though I am biased, she wasn’t perfect and I acknowledge that fact as the truth. Being the oldest daughter – though with 2 brothers above me – as well as the oldest great/granddaughter, brought its own challenges along. I’ve made it no secret, how I kind of always went my way, which wasn’t always looked upon as wanted. But I loved my great-grandmother and grandmother and stayed with them often on holidays, when I was a kid until I was about 18 years old. That year, my great-grandmother passed away and a lot of things changed.
Everyone in our family always mentioned how much I outwardly looked like my Dad. Of course I did not see that myself, though referring to character, I think I did. The older I got, the more I realized I really started to look like my Mom though. Looking at pictures, people are now actually saying, how much I resemble her. Behavior included. Funny thing this. But I can only say I wear it with pride.
My Mom was a Silent Force. She was not one to put much attention on herself in any way. She was just always there, doing what she felt she was called to do: loving us and taking care of us. Through the years her faith had grown strong and fairly unshakeable. I am wholly convinced this is what kept her going all her life, even when she was still young and did not fully understand how it worked, she held on to a Greater Force and she prevailed. She was a Warrior in her own kind, fighting for what she believed was right and righteous. Fighting by means of prayers most of the time. Silent Force.
It wasn’t until we all got older, married and settled, we could hear her voice more often, when things were discussed. It’s not that she did not voice her opinion before, but she just got more fierce about things. At least, that’s how I experienced it. This also caused that there came moments, we clashed so hard, screaming was not unheard of. She never was one to hold a grudge though and she would not allow me to hold one too long either. Though she always gave me time to myself to cool down, or whatever it was I needed. There have been times we did not speak for a couple of months, just because I couldn’t/wouldn’t, deal with my parents. I told them this straight out. I am pretty sure it was because of her, this was respected.
In a way, she always was a mediator – or at least, she tried to be – in our family. Even in tough times and disagreements, she would always try to take the first step towards mending relationships. And I did talk about, how her faith convinced me, to go to her whenever I needed my own little miracles. Her prayers always worked. This eventually convinced me, I had to get that for myself too. I am working on that every day. It’s a Work In Progress that never ends. It’s definitely comforting to know, I will see her again some day.
February 2011. Steve had another job in Ireland, while the kids and I were still in The Netherlands. He was home for the weekend and my parents stayed with us too. My Mom did not look sick at all – not that she would ever give in to that easily- though she said she had been feeling nauseated for a couple of days and she wasn’t even able to keep a couple of sips of water inside. We were surprised, though happy, she said she would make a doctors appointment after the weekend. She wouldn’t visit if she’d thought it was really nothing. To be honest… Those first weeks after that appointment are kind of a blur in my memory…
Though she had received her own miracles too – I told you about one: her restored eyesight – February 2011 she got sick and little did we know, she would be gone only a couple of months later. The woman who fiercely believed in a Healing and Loving God, the woman who had seen healing take place while praying for others, was not healed when a deadly cancer took hold of her body. A woman who was never sick, surely not enough to keep her in bed, always stayed positive and loved her family with her life, placed God above all else, without losing sight of reality, got sick and passed away almost in the blink of an eye.
As much as I often couldn’t get along with my, then, boss – remember the shoe store – he definitely had his good sides. When my Mom was first admitted to the hospital, he decided he would drive me there – I did not ask for anything – to visit her, a 2,5 hour drive away. He just did it, for me. God works in Mysterious ways, it’s true! I worked full time and there wasn’t much opportunity to just go and visit my Mom. At that point they still weren’t sure what she was suffering from, although cancer was getting more and more a possibility.
It took the doctors a couple of weeks to find out what was wrong, but it was too late already. It was not operable and they did anything they could do to lengthen her time, keeping that quality of life and ease any pain as much as possible. She should have been in pain for weeks, most likely months already, but she never felt anything wrong, Thank God. Probably one of the things that had the doctors confused. We later learned, pancreatic cancer is also known as an assassin, sneaking up on a body, without being noticed until it’s too late, though pain is inevitable at one point. The fact my Mom had not experienced any, was a big blessing in a way. The pain indication would not have prevented the illness from taking her away.
Saying she did not suffer is not true of course. The examinations in different hospitals, the treatments… One would only have to look at the amount of hospital equipment she was hooked on, to understand there was no easy way for her. She never complained. I don’t know how else to explain that, but for saying God must have given her Grace to fight through it all. Lots of it. A Warrior, my Mom.
In between hospital stays, she was at home and there had been some good days. However, there were enough moments, we could see and feel, she wasn’t really with us anymore. Though time indeed heals wounds and lessens pain, writing about this is almost choking me up and I can’t stop tears from falling. We were lucky to all have been able to say goodbye to her, together, knowing she was already in another place at that moment. Her eyes were looking into another, better, world and we felt at peace letting her go.
Until that moment – in a space of about 4 months – we never gave up on believing Divine Healing as a possibility. We’ve seen it happen, it Was and Is a reality for believers. Whatever doctors can’t do, there is Someone Else Who Can. How to deal with the fact it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen for someone who obviously deserved a miracle like that? She would be the first to tell us, she did not ‘Deserve’ anything. The foundation of our faith lies in the knowledge, we live by grace and she held that high till the end. She was also not afraid, because she knew she was ready. I am sure she had always been ready.
She knew. She knew it was her time. It is the only way I can think of why she specifically asked me to be a help to our father afterwards. It was the most unreal moment of my life, sitting at her bedside in the hospital and hearing her ask me, ME, to help my Dad with all financial things he had to take care of. Not my forte at all. Now I don’t wish to take away from all the things my brothers and sister helped with, but this, she asked me. This was the last hospital she was in, she was sent home, to spend her last days in her own environment.
A couple of days after we said our goodbyes, I got the message she had passed away. Another unreal moment for me: I just came home from work and started cooking. After I read the message, I just went on cooking and sat down to eat dinner. Like I said, we had already made peace with it and really, what else was there to do? Of course we went there first thing the next day and we sat down to discuss her funeral. It was decided my brother would lead the service and I immediately said I wanted to share something too, although I really had no idea what precisely. Words will always come when the need arises.
While the rest of my family returned home, awaiting the funeral, my oldest brother and I helped our Dad through the first hectic days, filled with paperwork and other things that needed to be taken care of. We also ‘celebrated’ my Dads birthday together, since my Mom passed away just 2 days prior. I am still very thankful my brother was there too. My other brother and sister were making plans to take my dad along with their families, on their already planned trip to the USA, after the funeral. It was a trip my Dad had always wanted to make with my Mom, to visit his only sister and her husband, who lived there.
The night before the funeral, I got all the words I needed. I Know when God Speaks to me. Because there is no way, I could have come up with all that I wrote down that night on my own, in honor of my Mom and how she would have wanted her funeral to be. She was Home and we needed to make the best of our lives, without her. She would expect nothing less. We were not supposed to hold on to our grief forever. Past our grief, there should always be joy, because of love.
A lot of people came to the funeral and after us kids sang a couple of her favorite songs – how, is a little miracle on its own – and the grandchildren had their say, it was my turn, before my brother took over. We had not discussed what we were going to share individually, but we both knew God would gave us the right words. Afterwards, his first words to me were: ‘You basically stole my sermon’, with a smile on his face. You see, we believe when God leads, it all comes together. Our words were made into one and that was the last blessing we gave our Mom.
A couple of days later, my family, including my Dad, left for their trip and my oldest brother returned home. While my Dad was away, Steve and I – and the kids – stayed at, now, my Dads place, to clean and clear out my Moms stuff. My Dad wanted it all gone, saying he would not be able to look at it. My Mom was visible in every room, but we decided we would only go so far. We would not completely erase every trace of her existence from the house. It took us a couple of days, sleeping in a house that no longer felt like a home – it’s the place where we all grew up. It was mentally exhausting, but we don’t regret it.
I am so thankful my Mom lived long enough to see all her grandchildren into their teen years – she was a fairly young granny – she adored them, though she wasn’t fooled by any of them lol. They all adored her too. Now I am on the verge of becoming a grandma myself and I hope to be just like her. Her love and determination to live her best life, are the best examples to live by. She was no angel, we did not always agree, quite the opposite sometimes, but she was always There. Her faith carried us through a lot of storms and she never gave up on us, on me. She’s in the best place and fully taken care of. She will forever be remembered as the Loving Warrior to me.
10 years later, the grief has surely lessened, but I do still miss her, especially on certain days. Her birthday of course and the day of her passing, which was not long after she turned 66. Yes, the pain has lessened a lot and I do not think about her everyday, but every once in a while, it just hits me hard and if I could only just call her and hear her voice one more time…
Wishing y’all a very Loving Weekend. Cherish the Love ❤