🌞 Do you ever wonder at what point you are in life? Or are you someone that just goes through life without ever questioning where you’re going? We might all have been like that, when we were really young, but my guess is you’ll reach some point where you will wonder where life is taking you.
🌞 There’s is a time for everything: the good, bad and – unfortunately – the ugly, in our lives. We all want to be in the good part, but there’s no real distinction, if there’s no bad part right? And sometimes it’s even worse than bad, it’s downright ugly. I’ll keep comparing it to that life line: as long as there are peaks, it means there are also valleys, if there are highs, it means there are also lows. If not, it means we’re flatlining. Let’s just not.
🌞 Life’s seasons are described in the Bible and they’re not all nice or good, quite the opposite really because again, if there’s ‘this’ side, it means there’s another too, if there was only one side, how would I know if it was good or bad? I wouldn’t know the difference but would just accept them all as the same, might be safe but excuse me, also Boooring. But seriously, life is not as simple as that, if only.
🌞 Fact is, next to the great and wonderful things, there is a lot of ugliness in the Bible, which non-believers have no trouble with accepting as truth funny enough. Even ‘better’, they use it as an excuse to blame God for all the trouble in their life and all bad things in the world in general. If there is one thing that keeps baffling me, it’s the fact that the people who scream the loudest about everything that’s wrong, while blaming God, are also the ones claiming they don’t believe in His existence and have no real knowledge of who He is and what He’s all about. Well Alright Then, how does that even work?
🌞 FREE WILL, PEOPLE. Oh well yeah, here we go again, you can roll your eyes all you want, but if there’s one thing we would die fighting for, it is our right to express our free will, our ‘basic freedom’. And yes, if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where there’s something like ‘freedom of speech’ you might be blessed beyond compare, without even actually being aware of it. Tell me if I’m wrong?! As much as I dislike acting like I’m preaching, I’m pretty sure I’m doing it right now. It’s just something that keeps coming back to bug me every once in a while, so why not get it off my chest huh?
🌞 FREE WILL has been given to us, to make us different from being stone cold robots, though I agree with you: one could wonder about some people who seem to be stuck in that routine anyhow. Free will gives me the opportunity to say “NO! I don’t want to / I don’t agree / I don’t believe…”. Free will is what instigates people to make choices that might not only be damaging to their own lives, but to others as well. Even worse: they might be prospering from intentionally hurting others. Don’t think I don’t understand why people are wondering why God is allowing so much cruelty in the world, I mean, the Bible was already full of it. Even if people claim to not believe in Him, they need a scapegoat, especially when there seems nobody specific to put the blame on.
🌞 Although there is no easy explanation, let me just say that due to our free will, there’s only so much God will prevent from happening. You see, the consequences of human choices are for humans to deal with. I mean, if we humans make a mess of things, why is it we expect God – in Whom we don’t even believe?!? – to clean it up? Again, how does that even work?? Then there are people who proclaim the reverse: ‘they would believe if the world wasn’t in such a mess’. Right. I agree it just next-level sucks when we are suffering because of some ridiculous decision made by somebody other than ourselves – which would be bad enough already. The only thing left for me to do then is hoping it will be for the best in the end, which is not easy when smack dab in the middle of any trial, but yeah, it could work out.
🌞 Let me stress again: in my opinion there is a BIG difference between Relation aka, following God/being a believer and (following) Religion. Relation is about actively getting to know God, what He is saying and what He wants for my life and knowing it is all done out of LOVE. Religion in general is more about following, mostly man-made, rules and traditions, cast in some religious form. In itself not a bad thing, until they go against the true things I believe God meant for our lives to be filled with. When following those rules and traditions gets more important than actually believing that God Is Love, I’ve missed the most important point and most likely become judgmental and an overall sour puss. Excuse my French.
🌞 However, this does NOT mean God is a fairy godmother, who will grant us our every wish nor will He turn our carriage back into a pumpkin when midnight strikes in our life. In other words: He is not ‘an easy way out’, nor will He ‘leave us hanging’ when we’re on that road together. Let me add, just to make sure you understand: It also does NOT mean I am a saint. Seriously people. I am just trying to put to practice, what I believe God has given me as tools to make the most of my life. It’s a unending Work in Progress, where personal growth has the lead.
🌞 Anyways, where am I going with all this today? Back to life’s seasons, or life’s seasoning if you will. Some flavors are delicious, while others might kill your appetite right there and then, and the Bible is pretty blunt about it too. If you’re a little bit further in life – and that doesn’t only have to be age wise, mind you – you’ve probably experienced several seasons already, some even multiple times perhaps. As it is in real life, seasons change. Coming from a country that really has 4 seasons going on, the cycle of life (spring/summer), death (fall/winter) and rebirth (spring again!) is evident in nature. I can only wonder if nature’s cycle is a reflection of my personal life or if it is the other way around…
🌞 So where you at? Are you on an all-time high at the moment, or has your latest season got you down? Just know you won’t be staying there forever, because everything passes, it’s what time is meant to be doing. Of course I am wishing you all the best parts, with sunshine, blooming fields, rainbows – impossible in case of a blue sky, but ok – and unicorns, but it’s just not an everyday reality for most of us. It is why I will end where I started: don’t forget the life line! Are we there yet? Nope, but the ‘beep of life’ means we’re still going!
Wishing y’all a very Happy Weekend. Seasons come, seasons go, now you know, now you know ❤
(or how I’d cook my fav birthday-spaghetti-on-a-budget)
🍝 Let me just start by saying, if you’re Italian, I will probably offend you with this recipe, so you might want to consider skipping this one, just giving you a heads-up. The recipe was my Mom’s and to this day, I have no idea how she came up with the little extra’s added to the dish. I won’t even Google it, because I just want to keep the dream alive that this was her culinary imagination at work.
🍝 I already told you she basically learned herself how to cook and it wasn’t just rice, she provided us with a very varied menu throughout the week. Somehow though, every dish – even the Dutch ones – got their own little (Indonesian?) twist. I guess we just can’t do without some extra spices and seasoning, to flavor-up the general tastes. So sue us. It must have been where her inspiration for this dish was coming from though.
🍝 Now it’s been a while since I shared a recipe – think this will be the third – and since it’s been uncommonly hot out here and my brain simply refuses to form coherent sentences, let alone make a story out of it, I thought this would be a nice opportunity to do so. To be fair, it got triggered by my friend Daniel, on the other side of the globe, since he really wants to learn to start cooking himself, but needed some advice. Me and my big mouth were at the ready to offer help, so I paved the way for today’s meal myself.
🍝 I can tell you it was quite fun to put together, however, I’m not able to make a proper video yet – my phone cam is amazing but I mean, cooking, sound etc, it wouldn’t be pretty and I didn’t wish to scare anybody, especially because we’re talking food here. And though the dish can be ready within 30 minutes, I had to take time to make some nice pictures and add steps to make it as simple as possible. I was sweating my ass off, so let’s hope it has the desired effect: Spaghetti for dummies so to say, if you’ll excuse my bluntness. I’m sure there are about a 100 ways – if not more – to prepare pasta, but this one has been my fav ever since I was a little girl.
🍝 On my birthday it was MY dinner request that would be cooked and as far as I remember, this recipe was always winning. My birthday – which is getting pretty close tbh – is in August, when summer can still be blazing hot in The Netherlands. It’s also always during school holidays, so it happened more than once, I was staying over with my grandmother while having my birthday and yes, even she would make me this spaghetti dish when that time came.
🍝 My Mom was a great cook, but also a very economical one, well she had to with enough mouths to feed. I can’t remember she ever used freshly made pasta for this, I do know later in life, she would use that in other pasta dishes. So this recipe is not only easy, it should also be quite cheap, depending on where you live and what you can get regarding the ingredients. Still, I’m guessing, it should be easy to make the dish for 2 persons – and we’re very good at eating! – for about 5 euro if you’re happy with the basic recipe and maybe about 8 euro, if you include the extra’s – which will serve more than one dinner!
🍝 That’s when you’re buying the cheapest brands. If you’re not satisfied unless you use other, fresh products, be my guest, the taste might be better, but tbh, it’s kind of wasted on me, since I already enjoy it the way it is and we had to economize for years in our own little family. So I’m used to it and not only that, I would always go for that exact same taste, my Mom produced. Nostalgia tastes great! But yeah, like I said, you might be offended by the recipe. Then again, I only recently was talking about taking offense: Don’t Go There lol, just adjust anything to your own taste. For me, it’s literally, Spaghetti á la Mama and we all love it, hope you’ll enjoy it too!
Wishing y’all a very COOL weekend & who knows, maybe one day, I’ll share my White Sangria recipe. Or not ❤
🌹 It’s crazy the amount of things we can collect over time. Every time we start out with nothing but the clothes on our backs – as a matter of speech – we end up with a fully furnished, almost stocked to the brim, home. Granted, most of it we use on a daily basis, but there’s also the stuff we like to have, just for the joy of it. Add in the things we can’t seem to part from and soon every room is filled.
🌹 Trying to live a life that’s not depending on possessions or rather, how much we own, it’s startling to see this happen time and again. It has 2 sides though. One being sure that we’ll always be provided with whatever we need and the other being the realization we again, got more than we needed. This leads causes that moving around has 2 sides too: we never really worry about the things we need – I mean, first things first: a home is where we all start – but we also have to clear out stuff to make the eventual move easier. It’s kind of double. I’m not a fan of cleaning, but the satisfaction I get from it is gratifying.
🌹 There’s this saying about when your house is in order, your mind will be too and in a way it works for me. Then again, I can easily let things be and go do something fun instead, just because I want to, chaos be hanged. When I read a follow-up email – due to the 16personalities test I’d taken for Know Thyself – and it said, I quote: ‘In many cases, Protagonists may be more interested in simply minimizing distractions in their environment so that they are free to pursue something interesting, as opposed to seeking order for the sake of order’, I had to admit it was spot on. Either way, at least some semblance of order is restored on a regular basis. So the result is the same, even if my hidden motifs might be questionable 🙄
🌹 Apart from a ‘Spring Cleaning’ – does anybody even do that still? – it’s useful to take stock now and then and get rid of everything that’s either not used anymore or has multiplied in an unseemly manner. You know how it goes: You (just moved and) finally got rid of something you had been saving for so long ‘just in case’, which you could really use right now! Somehow again ending up with at least 3 different colors afterwards, which you have to get rid of anew, since it’s ridiculous to own 3. Never happens to you? Oh, well. Among other things, it’s those ‘just-in-case’ stuff we’re saving, that can easily get out of hand. We don’t want to unnecessarily waste stuff, but when do I reach the point I decide it’s time to throw it out, or better yet, give it away? Yeah, it’s not always well timed…
🌹 This weirdly reminds me of a time when we had just moved in our third home. Steve just got started in the whole IT business and while it was a well-paid job – for the first ever time – we still had to buy a lot of new stuff to get comfortable with two little kids. After some time we were properly settled and we received a phone call from one of our friends we hadn’t been talking to for some time. She started apologizing immediately and awkwardly started blurting out her story. In short: She had been planning to move abroad and felt in her heart to gift us a lot of her home furniture and appliances. However, she had been doubting and fearing to call us for so long, so by the time she did decide, we were already provided with much of everything we needed. We ended up with a lot of doubles anyways.
🌹 It was just one of those unexpected circumstances which lead to us having more than we needed. Well, not just circumstances, this IS what we believe: ‘where He guides, He provides’. In a way it is nice to be able to bless other people with our ‘overflow’, pay it forward so to speak. I mean, as far as clothes and shoes go, there is an easy rule I try to stick to: if I haven’t been wearing it for a year, I can do away with it, because it’s not likely I will be wearing it anytime soon. As much as I love my clothes – no use in hiding the truth since I have been talking about it so much at the start – at some point I just need to part ways. It’s OK, since I love a trip to the charity shop, either to get rid of things, or, when the time comes, to get something ‘new’.
🌹 Furniture, well…I still have this silly dream to be able to fill my house with all the things I really love – doesn’t have to be expensive, IKEA would do nicely! – whenever we will find a place where we would stay to grow old 😉. So no, I’m not particularly attached to anything we have at the moment, nor was I in the past. Secondhand has its perks you know. It’s becomes more difficult when talking about things that have a sentimental value and those have also been known to accumulate pretty quickly throughout the years. Having kids might be adding to those treasured memories being materialized in any kind of object and yes, we lost a lot along the way, but we lived. There’s no way we could have kept everything anyways.
🌹 As for practical things, yeah, that can be difficult too. I don’t even want to count the amount of times we had to buy the most common utensils/tools over again. But hey, that’s life for us and though we do have our moments of ‘oh yeah…we had that before’, why linger too long on those things, it’s not making me feel better, so we basically laugh about it. Because it does have its hilarious moments and those become ultimately clear when we end up with said multi-colored collections. So yeah, clean-up. History repeats itself and I could say our life is going in circles. Or rather, in an upward spiral.
🌹 Referring back to the previously mentioned saying about our minds and homes being in accord whether cluttered or not: it’s funny how we need to clean up our insides as well, to be able to keep going on. This last week my head was just ‘too full’ to be able to concentrate on anything. Really annoying, when trying to finish a book and my mind just keeps straying everywhere, without any particular goal. Whenever I reach that point – or when I’m not even able to listen to music anymore – I know I have to take care of the clutter in my head. If I don’t, my emotions will get involved and before I know it, I’ve developed a ‘mood’ and not a happy one.
🌹 I’d love to blame it all on hormones, because life-as-a-female and all that, but although I am pretty sure they do play some part, it’s not something I’d ever hide behind completely. One can only explain so much annoying behavior using the same excuse and stay credible. Also: I don’t really wish to turn into some bat-sh*t crazy woman now I’ve reached that point in life, just sayin’. Still, moods can get the better of me if I allow them to and honestly, some days are easier to cope with than others. Self-pity can be a strong emotion unfortunately and though we all have our days we should just wallow, it never leads to anything constructive for me. Quite the opposite, if I relent to it, I might be out for some serious demolition. Oh How I Wish sometimes.
🌹 When we keep buying/gathering stuff, we can all picture where it will end. In our case, we don’t even have to buy it all, a lot just comes our way somehow, I can only hope it’s not an entirely uncommon concept to you, and however thankful we are, sometimes it just ends up being too much. As regards to my mind – and I have been talking about how we can choose what to think – the above is what can happen if I don’t reign in what’s picked up by my senses, overwhelming my mind. Just as human as y’all are, or am I? 🤐 If I keep adding and adding, my head feels like it’s going to explode and I’m telling you when it comes out, it won’t be pretty.
🌹 We’ve always been very blessed with whatever we NEEDED, which is NOT always the same as what we WANTED, Just Better. And sometimes it took some fierce perseverance to achieve that point of comfort, but we always kept in mind, comfort is a relative concept, if you get my meaning. Our minds can be full of worry about circumstances that need to change for the better in our lives, but worry is not what makes for reaching your goal any sooner, or easier. It doesn’t add anything positive or constructive, it usually breaks down what – little – faith we had in ourselves and the future we envisioned. Extreme worry can lead to anxiety and mental instability, nobody needs that. I wish I could say I never worry, but again, HUMAN. I do fight worry with everything that is within me though, rejecting it is a Real Possibility.
🌹 It’s common for us to be more prone to worry when we’re feeling down and unfortunately it might also work the other way around. I feel worry accumulates faster when my defenses are already shaken. This could mean I’d end up in the other spiral, the one going down. Accumulating things, whether in our real life or in our inner self, can overcrowd the existing space and leaves it tough to live in. Cleaning is a real necessity in all parts of our life. I don’t have to tell you how old/unprocessed pain can slowly destroy our soul and change our view and expectations for the future.
🌹 ‘Too,’ often stands for ‘too much’ as in overkill. Funny word that, kind of says it all. Allowing ourselves to become hoarders is definitely the point where things have gone out of hand. Moving is already a sour subject for me, however exciting it can be, the move itself feels like climbing a mountain to me. Packing up is no fun at all, though it -again – seems the perfect time to thin out our possessions, like weeding out the garden. Sometimes to only make room for new – though the same – clutter in our new space. We humans are a weird lot for sure. This is our 5th year in this apartment and lately I keep wondering where the heck all that stuff came from. Of course I know, but it’s still baffling how we seem to be doing perfectly fine with less one year and still end up with MORE, a lot more, the next.
🌹 So why become a hoarder of thoughts? Allowing my mind to get overwhelmed with the ‘world’s clutter’ – and I’m not saying live like a hermit, because I’ve been there, done that and don’t recommend it 😳 – will throw me in despair for sure. Dramatic? Not for me. I can only overlook my – let’s say – chaotic living room and go for less than that perfect showroom look, when all is well inside me. If that’s not the case, that same chaos will only add to my already distressed state of mind and will make me feel like I’m very close to failing in more ways than one. A neat home however, can be that push to enlighten my inner me, when I need some encouragement. And yes, cleaning can be very therapeutic as most of you might agree on. No thinking, turn the music up and just get the job done. And don’t think I’m a sparkling wonder of some kind, there are limits.
🌹 I’m only slightly afraid we are finally nearing the point where a move is imminent and that’s what this whole thing is about really. Remembering how I refused to buy anything that would make this house feel more like a home the first couple of years, with another move always lurking in the back of my mind, trying desperately to do some damage control. But no, I finally relented and look where it’s gotten us. And for the record: I did not buy everything, I still enjoy to create something nice myself. No but seriously, it will be alright, I just have to keep telling myself that, holding on to my faith. We’re in the process of cutting back while looking ahead and if we’re not yet leaving this place, at least we’re kind of prepared. Uhuh.
🌹 If we can manage this – but who am I kidding – my mind will certainly rejoice in some extra peace, a definite benefit. There is always hope and if all else fails, we can just give everything away and start all over again. (what do you mean taking the easy way out?) I’ll keep on looking at the fun side by challenging ourselves to a fresh start. I can tell you, it never gets old. Because we believe in a God who has set His own multiplying rules, perfected to a T, for the benefit of those who dare to believe and expect it. Add in the fact we love to bless others with our ‘doubles’ and more, we keep the sowing and reaping cycle going. The best spiral to be in, where multiplying wonders happen.
Wishing y’ all a very Sparkling Weekend, with some Multiplying Helping Hands ❤
❇️ However much I mentally try to prepare (Ready? Mind-Set-Go!), I never cease to be amazed as to how life plays out. Though it’s not easy (I’m not all that fond of surprises), it’s not a bad thing. Without life’s surprises, I would become a boring, predictable person and I don’t like to see myself that way. To each their own, so I’m not judging here, but that’s just not me, or, should I say, that’s not who I want to be. I don’t want to live my life in black and white, but in full color.
❇️ There was no article last week, and most of you might have gotten the why of it. We’re still busy with all the things entailed in last week’s event, but it’s all good and we’re getting there. Just let me tell you a little bit about it and how I thought we would be the first to make changes, but ended up being the ones ‘left behind’. (Just adding a touch of drama here, because I know you all love it as much as I do).
❇️ Now I don’t want to go into too much detail, since it’s not only our lives I am talking about, but that of our daughter, son-in-law and gorgeous grandson. They had been living with us for some time, due to circumstances, let’s just call them c*vid 🤐 Yep, that would sum it up nicely. However, they had been talking about going back to our son-in-law’s home country for some time, but again, due to circumstances this was not something they would/could, decide on yet. But circumstances have the – sometimes annoying – habit of changing…
❇️ And so it happened in a blink of an eye – or rather within a day – they made the final decision, packed up and left. We were all for that decision, had been from the start, but still, saying goodbye is never getting easier and though in my heart I knew this was for the best, it was also breaking a little bit. Emotions are what makes us human right?
❇️ You could call the day of their departure slightly chaotic, but also filled with hope for their future. Moving in itself can be stressful, moving to another country on a – seemingly – whim, is another animal altogether. Fortunately, not something we hadn’t dealt with before, although this time it wasn’t us leaving. A step like that can only be taken, when the mental positioning has been working for some time already and even then, it’s a pretty crazy thing to do, doesn’t matter which way you’re looking at it. Preparation time was up.
❇️ I know most people don’t live like this and when you’re reading this, I can almost hear you shaking your head and rolling your eyes in disbelief. That’s OK, just don’t hurt yourself. It’s again all about the choices we make in life, sorry for repeating myself. Sometimes it’s just ‘Now or Never’ for us and that moment had arrived for them. We know these moments will come, any day…Looking forward to the future, no one knows what it will bring, but some things can be anticipated, using our common sense. Well, trying to at least. Especially thinking about our kids future. Big jumps for sure and you do need a set of balls – excuse my French – because it won’t work otherwise.
❇️ Most people consider it common sense to NOT pack up and leave – to another country – in a day 😂, I get you. but we have to be ‘ brave enough to be bad at something new’. We can learn along the way and improve. When somebody tweeted ‘Age has nothing to do with wisdom’, I heartily agreed and replied: ‘True. Wisdom has everything to do with using your knowledge correctly’. So how wise is it to make such ‘rash’ decisions? How is that using knowledge the best way I know how?
❇️ Well I have to refer to what I believe in, or better yet, Whom I believe in: it’s not all about MY knowledge. I am aware there are enough people managing perfectly fine without it, but I wouldn’t even know how to anymore, in this stage of life. There are too many variables I cannot anticipate and I need to feel secure in my choices, even when all the odds are against me. And believe me when I say, there were a lot of odds against them leaving. I need to believe there is something, Someone, bigger than any circumstance – odds – that can come against me. What do you mean common sense?? How do I even find a balance?
❇️ How many times in life have you let your heart made a decision instead of your head? And if you have, were you happy or disappointed afterwards? There are no guarantees for me, but the peace I feel in my heart. That peace will tell me ‘everything will be alright’, even when things turn out to be totally different in the end. Sure there were ideas/plans for them, but who is to say they will all come true? Pursuing your happiness means taking risks and though we might smell the roses, we will surely feel the thorns also along the way. You take that set of balls and fight for what you believe should be yours, in faith. If I would lack faith – even in myself – what’s the use?
❇️ Most people will measure you by your ‘failures’ and if you happen to succeed – in their eyes! – they’ll make it look like you had it easy… you got to grow an attitude that will keep you from listening to what others say, unless it’s something useful. Most details about our life I don’t even want to share, not because I’m ashamed or anything, but because I know there will be those ready to give their – unwanted – opinion, without even knowing what they’re talking about. They merely wouldn’t choose so themselves and cannot imagine anybody else would be ‘so stupid’. Yeah, I lead a Stupid Wonderful Life 💖
❇️ So balance, between my heart and mind is ruled by the peace I either feel or miss. When there’s no peace, it means there is doubt and everybody agrees on the fact: ‘when there’s doubt, don’t do it’. Aah, but I already previously talked about the difference between having doubt in my mind, but still ‘knowing’ with my heart. O Dear. Can you spot the difference? I Can. When I’m saying that peace should rule, it’s my heart I’m talking about. Because, to be honest, my mind will never agree to anything beyond my comfort zone, which is getting me exactly nowhere in life and would make me overprotective of my kids. I’m guessing most ‘sane’ parents would not have let their children go like that. Am I making any sense to you at all?
❇️ If you feel I keep coming back to the same issues, you’re right! I don’t know anything about the standards/principles, by which you’re living your life, but mine/ours, will find its foundation in the choices we make and we choose to make them with God. Which might make them seem illogical maybe, BUT, coming back to believing in Someone Who is larger than circumstances, larger than life, choices are not made from a mere human point of view and the outcome is not something my human mind can always grasp. It’s not just MY knowledge, when I believe He’s leading me.
❇️ I love how many people can say afterwards: ‘Everything worked out for the best’, or: ‘ Everything happens for a reason’. Well, I BELIEVE that’s true. Believing as in, I am 💯 SURE, not just hoping and wishing, though there’s nothing wrong with that, it just might not be enough. I don’t know where their conviction is based on, other than it’s pretty easy to say something like that to anyone who has been through big changes afterwards, when things have finally settled down. Although I do think a lot of people have experienced something similar along the lines, I can be sure my faith will be producing the best results.
❇️ Changes can be scary because of the unsure outcome and it’s great to have something or someone, in life to hold on to. Like a safe place where I can hide when things get rough and seem to go all wrong. Read: When things are not going as planned, in a totally unexpected way. Can I offer you faith that is providing guarantees for success? Yes and No, sorry-not-sorry. Success is not always what you and I think it is. I might be disappointed at first, only to later realize, I got exactly what I wanted, but in a way that is covering more than I could ever imagine.
❇️ I can compare it to a previous example I gave about customers I helped in the shoe store I worked at: They came to me for help – yes these were expensive shoes – but some people would only consider it the correct help, if I sweet talked them into something they’d already put their minds and hearts on. If I would try and explain I might have something better fitting, they would not listen – their prerogative – and would sometimes complain I wasn’t helping them at all. Uhuh. What am I trying to say? (I love how I sometimes get so carried away while writing I want to say everything at once and end up making no sense).
❇️ Planning for success is all good and well, but are we SURE success is what we think it is? I am fairly sure you at least once in your life, experienced a different outcome which was so much better than you could have imagined, even if it didn’t look that way at first. Am I wrong 😅? I am not saying things could never play out the way we planned, because sometimes they do and that’s great, but believing makes for Bigger Plans and Better Results. Anyone who ever tried to complete a jigsaw puzzle, knows what it should look like in the end, but does it really matter how to get there? Well, if I’m smart I could take the shortest route, if only I figure out which one that is.
❇️ The difference between a jigsaw puzzle and my life is just this ‘tiny’ detail: I don’t really know what it should look like in the end do I? Sure I want happiness, which includes health, security, love, in short, all the good things in life, but do I have the correct image of it all? I don’t have to look very far to find a lot of stories about people pursuing what they think would bring their ultimate happiness, only to find out they missed quite a couple of important points along the way. It can happen if I am too fixated on how my life should be and I’m not open to eventual – though unexpected – upgrades. And yes I believe in life upgrades!
❇️ So when you reached your goal and harvested your success, was it all you ever dreamed of? I do hope so and am certainly not saying it can’t happen, I can only say that in my experience it doesn’t always work that way. Or should I say, it hardly ever works that way…there is no victory without struggle and the harder won, the more valuable it will be. And by harder I mean all the surprising twists and turns in my path, that I’m not prepared for and have to take by faith – or plainly faking it till I’m making it, still the best advice I ever got 😉. Unless I take the cowardly way out and drop the plans, if I even have that option, because in our life…not so much.
❇️ So guarantees for success: Yes! If you’re open to have that image of success in your mind altered to the best it can be. No! If you won’t be moved. Success should be something personal, not something that is described and imposed by other people’s rules. Something as being without a job can be looked upon as failure and though it sometimes actually is, I should not judge people because of it. And that’s just one thing out of a lot of circumstances we humans can consider to be ‘failing in life’.
❇️ Our kids are going through life searching for their personal success just like us, however small it might seem to anyone else. We trust their faith, paired with their common sense and zeal to turn their lives into something bright and encouraging, will lead their way. Their choices will define their path and might make us split ways, it happens, it’s life. Their first week has been tough but utterly blessed in ways we couldn’t anticipate, which is very encouraging indeed. They left to seek out a brighter future, but we only said goodbye to the old, to them it was: ‘See ya Later!’
Wishing y’all a Very Exciting Weekend & NO you’re not getting that recipe ❤
Flashlight #3: A short personal impression of a newly released track. Just Feels.
‘Movie Love’, by Discoholic.
The 3rd Flashlight so far – due to planned Spotlights and time – is about the long awaited new single ‘Movie Love’, by Discoholic, released today, 6/25/2021. I mean, HOW could I not?
✨ A Flashlight is mostly a spur of the moment decision – unbelievable as it may sound in this case – and meant to be a surprise for the concerned artist/band. If you’re actually reading this, I’ve found mercy in the eyes of the discogods, because I would take it down, if the surprise isn’t eventually met with approval. Where’s the fun in that? Also: Fangirl Alert! Just sayin.
✨ ‘Movie Love’ is the first released track from the expected album ‘Discoholics Anonymous’. I consider myself kind of lucky, since I’ve only discovered Discoholic late last summer, so for me the wait hasn’t been all that long. Lie! Waiting has been interminable and I was very close to counting the hours to today’s release. I’m not exaggerating, when I say I was awake before midnight, ready to do some serious streaming damage. You tell me if it worked, since ‘Movie Love’ has been on repeat since. Don’t worry I have a very understanding family. Since ‘Liftoff’ became my No.1 track ever, I’ll admit my expectations were just about sky-high. I know, not fair, but hey, they obviously managed. In my opinion they’ve outdone themselves marvelously.
✨ Perfectly and professionally announced beforehand, the first surprise hit me: It’s not ‘just’ one track we’re getting served, but a three course meal, which is giving me the full experience that is called ‘Movie Love’. Starting with the first version, including a clever, nostalgic intro, setting the stage where it all happens, the movie theater. After the two lovers declare their love, I just fall into the song heart first. I really, really love the vocals, featured by Caleb Cabiness and Kikay, they make for a perfectly attuned movie couple, literally singing their hearts out. The lyrics are sweet, catchy – chorus! – and even a bit funny: “Your love has made me blind, you’re like a Spotlight, all you do is shine (this doesn’t feel quite right)“.
✨ Together with the Radio Edit version, it’s immediately clear the song contains some beautiful transitions and other delicious musical highs. There are more layers in ‘Movie Love’ than in my thousand-layer cake and I am still discovering while listening, trying to get it all in. That guitar is Super Funky and the bassline is so smooth. When I reach the middle, it is finally confirmed for me: the opening tune from Disco’s Twitch streams! It’s so groovy – head bobbing – and flawlessly flowing into the next transition. GAH.
✨ This last version is very much needed if only to not get distracted by the amazing vocals. Instrumentation is totally crazy, GOOD. Those guitar riffs! – The Backbone for the groove, the keys are wonderful, it’s what I love most in ‘Liftoff’ as well! – the strings are added perfectly…percussion, bells, all together making me feel I’m drinking a full bodied red wine – slowly, till the last drop. ‘Movie Love’ is PURE FREAKING JOY to me. I mentioned in Spotlight on Discoholic, I quote: ‘Their choice of music is impeccable and should keep you going for a while’. Well they DID and with this new recipe, they’ll keep us nurtured well enough till the new album releases. Happy Summer y’all!
Wishing you a very Movie Love Weekend, just one thing: “I Need You To Not Forget My Cue” ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
(or how it may be given, it’s not a gift & I’m not taking it)
💥 Time is going so fast, not even slowed down by a pandemic in my opinion. Quite the opposite really, it seems to have accelerated it to a speed my mind can’t even comprehend. Where once my working days seem to pass in one big blur, this last – pandemic – year has come and gone seemingly in a blink of an eye.
💥 I have been reading a lot since I basically gave up watching anything television related, and even though the stuff I’m reading is mostly of the lighthearted kind, just like in a lot of movies, some truths can be found in simple words. Last week I read the statement, I quote: ‘… Color is a language, a statement…’ and it’s with that in mind I chose the name for my blog, it just seemed so perfectly put into words how I feel about colors. It also confirms my personal believe colors do actually stand for something substantial, like our personalities and moods – which I may have briefly talked about before. At this point I have written enough articles to not be entirely sure anymore 🙄
💥 However, when I Tweeted the quote, I got a reaction I did not expect at all, when somebody replied with, I quote: ‘So does that mean racism is gibberish?’ My first thought? ‘WOW, that’s NOT what I was referring to at all!’ and to be honest, I had no idea anybody could take it that way either, because How? But they did and it took me some time to calm down before I even replied, because reply I will, not letting anybody think I would approve of thoughts that would in anyway encourage racism. It had me slightly offended at first and thinking the rest of the week though.
💥 We all know it’s pretty easy to misunderstand text, especially when there’s no clear context provided. I would be the first to feel offended 🤐, although I do try not to take stuff too personal, some things just hit me in the gut. It’s a trait I am aware of and I guess the reason why I force myself to calm the heck down first. Giving myself time to respond in an ‘adult’ way and not let my initial offense – read: emotions – speak for me, making things personal and most of the times, ugly. Did I feel offended because I was hurt by the mere idea someone could accuse me of a neglectful attitude towards racism? Why though? I knew that wasn’t my intention at all. The offered ‘suggestion’ was nowhere near my beliefs and principles.
💥 I can be offensive if I Want To, though that’s not the preferred way of action in life for the people around me. But I can also be offensive without having the intention to offend or even being aware of it. The same goes the other way around too, when I am the receiver, but the question is: Do I TAKE Offense? And if yes, WHY? Because it’s a choice I – most likely unaware – make myself, lead by how I’m feeling, or let’s say, my mood, at that particular moment. As much as I love to be lead by my heart/feelings, I have to be aware sometimes my head makes for better decisions. Yeah…
💥 Now let’s just assume, for the sake of this article 😉, we all take offense from time to time – I know, you’re probably above all this, but humor me plz. ‘To TAKE Offense’, means we’re the ones on the receiving end, because it was Given, but it’s Not A Gift: we TOOK it. One description I found: ‘When I take offense at something anyone says or does, I feel upset, often unnecessarily, because I think they are being rude to me, which is not their intent.’ so ehm, sometimes it’s not so obvious people are not out to get me right? Another simpler, description could be: ‘Feeling hurt by, or taking insult from, something someone said or did to me’, though that might be a bit shortsighted…
💥 The intention behind the words or actions I may have counted as offensive, certainly play an important role. Though an emotional response is not always held back – trying to be human you know – the moments I do take some time – count to 10 or 100 in my case, if you will – I could be surprised by the outcome. Not everybody communicates the exact same way I do – fortunately – and there are definitely days I can be short-tempered. Doesn’t really help either. Furthermore, the person who assumedly offended me, might just be having a bad day too. It’s an absolute joy when both of us are sharing the same mood at the same time, fireworks in the making for sure. This is where ‘No Offence’ may come in handy…
💥 Am I not allowed to feel offended then? Well, sure, when people throw dumb**s things at me, with a clear intent to hurt or put me down, yeah I feel I’m allowed – though selective hearing is something to seriously consider as a useful attribute sometimes 😅. The next step would be how to handle my response though. Angry reactions will likely fuel a very heated discussion, not always a bad thing, but I am thoroughly aware I can lose myself easily and things might get out of hand leading to nothing constructive. But sometimes you gotta break it down without breaking someone’s face, even if so desired. I wish I could say I’m always the wise one, but ehm, nope. Hindsight is 2020, again.
💥 It can be enormously tiresome to have to deal with someone who’s made it their life mission to be offended every 5 minutes. If you ever had a colleague or someone close to you, like that, I wish you strength and wisdom. Let me throw in some patience too for good measure. Understanding why some people consistently behave that way helps a bit. People who get easily offended are often struggling with either low self-esteem and/or, a lot of insecurities and they’re compensating by ‘attacking’, since that seems to be the best defense. It might make them feel they averted the direct attention from themselves to their ‘opponent’, hence disguising their lack of confidence. They might rather ‘win’ a discussion, than actually be right about anything.
💥 Their feeling of inferiority makes them feel ‘everybody is against them’ and will put anything anybody says in a bad light. It might make them feel everybody is just reminding them of said inferiority, even if that’s not the case at all. A lot of things happen only in our mind you know and if my mind is telling me I am ‘not as good as anyone else’, it takes a good fight to overcome that. Mind over matter, but in the best way, I talked about it before. When you’re young, I hope you can overcome this, maybe with help of someone close or even professional help, because taking this with you into adulthood is not making life easier. I will however tell you right now: You Are Worthy! 💖 But you have to believe it yourself.
💥 How to deal with someone like that on a daily bases? It’s tough, because you might feel like you have to watch every word coming out of your mouth, but it’s never good enough anyway. You may feel like you’re being pushed away, while that person actually needs a good friend to trust and let their feelings out. Then again, this would only work if the person in fact is aware of needing this. If this is not the case – which happens all too often unfortunately – it gets even worse when you feel you’re the one who needs to step away, in hopes of avoiding getting into arguments leading nowhere, every day. To be honest, they can get on your nerves if you allow them to and sometimes taking a step back is the wise thing to do. I already mentioned I am not always that person unfortunately.
💥 Obviously Communication is KEY, as always. You could try a couple of ‘simple’ options, which might not work all that well. For example, saying things like: ‘Don’t be silly, you cannot be offended by this’, or: ‘There’s nothing wrong with what I said, everybody thinks I’m hilarious’ or taking it a step further – and oh so understandable as mentioned above! – just leave the person standing, because their not worthy of your time and effort anyways. Yeah, sometimes, especially after repeated behavior without any chance of seeing progress, I’ll just go. Sorry-not-sorry 😳 Though I think the worst thing you could do, is just let the ‘offender’ have their way, talk you down and feel bad about yourself afterwards. No Thank You. Mind you, I’m still talking about easily offended people, not the incidental occurrences, although same rules may apply there…
💥 Better options might be – and I’m still learning myself! – is to try and find out what it was you said/did, to offend and listen to their point of view about the topic. You might have touched a particular sensitive personal subject, you don’t know about. Give them a chance to explain: are they just startled or really offended? Might help them to recognize the difference too. You still don’t have to agree, but at least there’s a conversation which you might refer to on a later – similar – occasion. Communication is key and misunderstanding can be a lock. Me and my smart mouth do not always agree on things, and sometimes I do have to take some time before I speak, as to not lock something for good.
💥 My experience with easily offended people has not been overly positive however. Occasionally I got surprised after some good clarifying conversation, but I have to admit, that most of those people I had to deal with are stuck in their ways. Referring back to knowing where their behavior may come from, it’s often hard, or should I say almost impossible, to convince them they really don’t have to act this way all the time. Convincing, by the way, being something I, as a mere human being, have not under my control 😌 It’s all about the choices they make. People need to first understand they do have a choice in this. Unfortunately it’s very easy to cut off any chance of conversation by saying: ‘That’s just how I am’. A healthy balance is always possible, however, if you’re dealing with someone truly toxic, I think stepping away is still the best option.
💥 How do I stop myself from taking offense? Well, you could go for the old-fashioned counting to calm yourself down and think about what was said. Then you can of course try to invalidate the offensive point of view, by explaining what you actually mean, which I did with mentioned reply to my Tweet. It worked out ok, but some situations can be more difficult. Try to understand WHY the person is offensive, or is it actually constructive criticism? Again, understanding makes it easier to accept things – not to be confused with agreeing! If the person is an acquaintance, the offense might not be a surprise, but you still would want to deal with it properly. Maybe try to explain what they said upset you and why, express the hope they won’t do the same thing again. All easier said than done, but at least you’ll get it off your chest and there will be no fireworks for the moment. The best thing – though maybe also the hardest: Stop Taking Things Personally – Know Thyself – No Offense Taken.
💥 By now you must have noticed all the above basically work both ways. If I look at both sides: from the eyes of the one being offended, as well as from the eyes of the one offending, most options apply the same way. It’s not that hard to grasp, if I am capable to offend – and I am 🤐 – and know for myself where it’s coming from, I can easily understand why others can be offensive to me. Do I Take It Though? It’s a choice I have to make over and over again and if I want to be that person that’s not easily offended, or better yet, doesn’t get offended at all, I need to do it right. Offense can start with a simple misunderstanding, but has the ability to lead to something festering and painful as far as relationships go. Nobody wants that. Offense may be given, it’s Not a Gift & I’m NOT Taking It.
Wishing y’all a Lovely Weekend and ehm, No Offense but, don’t TAKE anything that shouldn’t belong to you in the first place ❤
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 ❤