Thursday, July 30, 2009

Upcoming Releases

Here is a list of album releases that I am looking forward to...

August 18 - Reba McEntire releases her 24th studio album, Keep On Loving You
August 25 - Queen Latifah releases Persona, her 9th studio album
August 31 - Her first album in 7 years, Whitney releases I Look to You, originally slated for September 1st (in the U.S.)

September 15 - Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel is the very personal 12th studio album by Mariah Carey
September 25 - Christina Aguilera returns to pop with Light & Darkness
September 29 - Full of jazz standards, Love is the Answer is Barbra Streisand's 34th album

In November, Carrie Underwood and Avril Lavigne have untitled albums slated for release. Also slated for release this year with no pending date or title, Shakira's and Adam Lambert's albums.

What CD's are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tedder releases statement ("Already Gone"/"Halo")

Tedder has finally issued a statement, according to Entertainment Weekly, responding to the Kelly Clarkson/Beyonce controversy, in which Clarkson claims Tedder ripped them off with the same musical track for "Already Gone" and "Halo".

Tedder says, “‘Already Gone’ is one of the best songs I’ve written or produced since ‘Bleeding Love’ and stands tall on it’s own merits apart from ‘Halo.’ They are two entirely different songs conceptually, melodically, & lyrically and I would never try to dupe an artist such as Kelly Clarkson or Beyonce into recording over the same musical track, the idea is both hurtful & absurd. I think when people hear ‘Already Gone’ they will hear what I hear — one of the greatest female vocalists on earth giving her most haunting and heart-breaking performance on a song she helped write. I challenge people to listen and form their own opinions.”
(Read the EW article)

Do you believe him?

James

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Will Beyonce respond?


(C/w will mean cowriter, cowritten, cowrote, etc... for the duration of this article and this blog. Thanks!)


Beyonce is a busy, busy girl. After doing a press tour for Obsessed (2009) AND her double album I Am... Sasha Fierce, she is doing a whirlwind tour across North America, Japan, Europe, and Australia. She's even (allegedly) linked to a new movie, Tipping The Velvet. It's no wonder she hasn't responded to the "Halo"/"Already Gone" controversy surrounding her, Kelly Clarkson, and Ryan Tedder. According to the Times of India, Beyonce couldn't even tell you what city she's in!


Beyonce is also allegedly being called out on some of her "other" lies. Ego, another one of her many singles from I Am... Sasha Fierce, is supposedly written by Chrisette Michelle, originally intended for HER second release, Epiphany. "Radio", "Sweet Dreams", and Deluxe track "Scared of Lonely" are songs c/w by Rico Love with Knowles... or is it WITHOUT Knowles? I can't really say too much about this because every track she ever sings has her as a c/w. My guess is that she has it negotiated in every contract she ever signs that she has to be given credit as a co-producer and c/w on everything. After all, she IS Beyonce! (Read more here...)


So, in light of all this, will Beyonce comment on Ryan Tedder? Will Tedder comment? We can only wait!


James

Update on Kelly Clarkson

(C/w will mean cowriter, cowritten, cowrote, etc... for the duration of this article and this blog. Thanks!)
Recently, I wrote (quite excitedly) about Kelly Clarkson's latest single (due out in August in the U.S.) "Already Gone". Well, according to an interview Kelly did with CBC Radio, Kelly actually asked her label NOT to release "Already Gone" as a single.
The problem? It sounds too much like "Halo". Why does it sound so much like "Halo"? According to Clarkson, it has everything to do with c/w and producer Ryan Tedder.

“Ryan and I met each other at the record label, before he was working with
anyone else,” Clarkson begins, gritting her teeth. “He’s from Oklahoma, I’m
from
Texas; we got along really well and had some of the same influences. We
wrote about six songs together, four or five of them made the album. It was all
fine and dandy. I’d never heard of a song called Halo. Her album came out when
my album was already being printed. No-one’s gonna be sittin’ at home, thinking
‘Man, Ryan Tedder gave Beyonce and Kelly the same track to
write to.’ No,
they’re just gonna be saying I ripped someone off. I called Ryan and said, ‘I
don’t understand. Why would you do that?’”

Clarkson also said, now that the album is out, the label can do whatever they want with it.
I'm sorry you're not happy about this, Kelly. I personally LOVE this song. Maybe you can convince them to release the acoustic version. Alas, though, it's probably already gone to print.

James Taylor, Jr.

UPDATE: Official Music Video

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kristinia DeBarge ((Exposed))

(C/w will mean cowriter, cowritten, cowrote, etc... for the duration of this article and this blog. Thanks!)

19-year-old Kristinia DeBarge, daughter of James DeBarge of the group (can you guess...) DeBarge, is set to release her debut album tomorrow, July 28, 2009. DeBarge has been working on putting this album out, entitled Exposed, for about five years, finally signing with the label SodaPop on Def Jam Records. Sodapop is founded by Jeff Burroughs and "Babyface" Edmonds. Babyface is a key collaborator on this album with DeBarge, contributing writing credits to four tracks on the final release. Other contributors to this album include Evan "Kidd" Bogart, who has c/w such hits as "Halo" (Beyonce), "SOS" (Rihanna), and "Take You There" (Sean Kingston), along with Ryan Tedder known for his work on "Bleeding Love" (Leona Lewis), the upcoming "Already Gone" (Kelly Clarkson), and "Halo" (Beyonce).

Let's start with the first single, which is the fourth track on the album, called "Goodbye". This song samples a popular 1969 song by Steam, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," which says, simply enough, "Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey hey. Goodbye." I personally believe that this was a great choice for the first single. It is very Rihanna-"SOS"-like, a very popular R&B/Pop/Dance sound.

The next single(s) will be a "double A-side" or a double-release of "Future Love" (track 2) and "Sabotage" (track 5). "Future Love" is a c/w of Bogart and Tedder, originally released by the U.S. boyband Varsity Fanclub in 2008. (While VFC is still active, their slated release date for their debut album was January of this year, but the world has yet to see an album dropped by VFC.) Listening to the two versions, DeBarge's is far less busy and has much softer instrumentation. Her voice adds to the, what I believe to be intended as, soft melodies. "Sabotage" is another Bogart c/w, but no Tedder on this one. This song is about a girl who sabotages herself in her ongoing struggle with the good-girl/bad-girl inside of her. Musically, it has a lot of elements of "Halo" (Beyonce) with a slightly rock-edge to the chorus (much like Kelly Clarkson). "Future Love", one of my favorites on the album, is being marketed to the pop stations, and "Sabotage" is going out to the Urban Crossover stations. This is a very Beyonce/Sasha Fierce move, and will probably gain her a lot of publicity as a new artist.

Overall, the album is actually quite good. She presents a little flavor of "new" Mary J. Blige and Beyonce (though not as mature), as well as a bit of a more mature JoJo and Jordin Sparks. She presents herself as a contemporary of Rihanna, which is a good place to start, since Rihanna has had FOUR number 1 hits in the U.S. in the past FOUR years. There's a lot of midtempo R&B/Pop songs, songs like "Cried Me A River" (c/w Babyface, DeBarge, et al.) make it interesting. Over all, it's at least a B+/A- album, and I can only hope for growth from this burgeoning young artist.

James Taylor, Jr.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Battlefield by Jordin Sparks

Yes... this is a review. It will not be as long as my previous two reviews for those of you who followed me here. For those of you who haven't... I reviewed the Dixie Chicks previously and Kelly Clarkson.





Jordin Sparks released her sophomore album Battlefield on July 21, 2009, in the U.S. Overall, it was not what I expected. I was hoping for growth from this, now, young woman, who is the youngest ever American Idol winner, winning Season 5 at the age of 16. However, this contemporary R&B / Pop album is extremely focused (which can be good).



The first track "Walking In The Snow", which should have been titled "(I'm so) Unaffected", was a cute, light, young dance-pop track. It's sweet and simple, but hardly sets the tone for the album. The second track, first single, and title track "Battlefield" is co-produced by top-of-the-charts Ryan Tedder (frontman for OneRepublic). "Battlefield" is not a carbon copy of Tedder's other achievements ("Halo" [Beyonce], "Bleeding Love" [Leona Lewis], and the soon to be released "Already Gone" [Kelly Clarkson]) but has similar elements. It's a good first single, and this track definitely sets the tone for the album.



"Don't Let It Go To Your Head" surprised me with the line "I think of you in bed," which I find disturbing. Even though Sparks is now 19, I still see her as that 16 year old who won our hearts (or at least the hearts of the people who voted for her) on American Idol. The song was actually intended for the 2005 release Sunday Love by FeFe Dobson, the release of which was cancelled. There's an interesting bridge that reminds me of a genre I can't seem to name, but, otherwise, it sounds like a slower "Battlefield".

"S.O.S. (Let The Music Play)" uses the song "Let The Music Play" by Shannon from the album of the same name (1983) as it's basis and chorus. It's a fun song that highlights the flare of 80's music and the influence of 80's music on modern music (as highlighted by Darren Hayes in This Delicate Film We've Made). It's trans-generational, simple, and fun.

"It Takes More" is slightly reminiscent of "Tattoo". The verses are rocker-chick low, but the chorus doesn't deliver an appropriate build-up that creates interesting melodies. It ends without the drums and background vocals, where Jordin creates interesting melodic changes (interesting as in beautiful). "Watch You Go" is slightly Beyonce/Sasha Fierce with Cascade like vocals. "I hate to watch you leave but I love to watch you go" is slightly cliche, and it's yet another "Battlefield" on an album full of "Battlefield"s. (Hence the album title Battlefield.)

"No Parade" has the potential to be the big, timeless Diva ballad of the album, but fails to deliver when it adds the "Battlefield" drums. In an effort to be modern, this track (among others) have been overdone. "Let It Rain" has a very rock chorus. That would sound awesome if the track wasn't full of multiple instrumentations that clash with each other. "Emergency (911)" is the first track co-written by Sparks, and it sounds very Disney (aka Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana). After the introduction, there isn't a lot going on here for me.

"Was I The Only One" (another Sparks cowrite) starts and ends sweetly, another potential soft-pop classic. During the second verse, the drums are added to give it that R&B feel. This time, however, it doesn't necessarily kill the song (as I believe it did "No Parade"). "Faith" is actually one of my favorite songs off the album. Musically, it goes the way of the pop gospel-based ballad of the 80's and 90's. Sparks, who cowrote this track, goes off vocally towards the end, but brings it back. This is possibly the most timeless track of the album. The last track, "The Cure" reminds me of this exact song that I swore I heard when the first album came out. However, according to my research, it was only leaked as of July 14, 2009. It reminds me of "Tattoo" and sounds like everything else on the album.

The BONUS TRACKS from the Deluxe edition should be on the album. They add diversity and show growth. "Papercut" shows the most growth, having Sparks (in the final cowrite) sing with a full band as opposed to an intrumental or synthetic instruments. It is raw and emotional; young yet mature; not manufactured; not overdone. It is everything I was hoping the album would be but wasn't. "Postcard" is a slow R&B/Pop track that reminds me of a late 90's, early 00's girl group (the kind that only has 3 girls throughout its entire duration of 1.5 albums). Sparks attempts to do too much with the song vocally, but overall this song is very casual, laid-back, yet entertaining.

Battlefield is definitely not a sequel to Jordin Sparks. It isn't the same, it hasn't grown, and it just simply isn't enough for me. If this were her freshman release, B or B+, possibly A-, but this is a second album. B-: Stop trying so hard to be modern and fresh, Jordin, and be real. "Papercut" was definitely my favorite track and what I hoped for in this album. I'll be waiting.

Already Gone keeps Kelly going...

Kelly Clarkson's third single off of All I Ever Wanted has been announced as "Already Gone". Here is what I said about "Already Gone" when the album was released...

"Already Gone”, the first Tedder/Clarkson collaboration on this album, sounds similar to much of Tedder’s work, which is currently hot on the charts, including “Bleeding Love” and “Halo”. It gives Clarkson a different sound, even for this album. It is the essential 2009 electropop sound, with Clarkson’s unique country influence on the delivery of the verses in her delightful, raspy R&B tone... amazing pop and dance chart potential..."
(For the FULL album review, CLICK HERE.)

The video, presumably, has already been filmed and it is slated for release in the U.S. on August 11th, 2009, and September 7, 2009, in the U.K. Assumably, it has been released to the airwaves in Australia already since it has already charted.

My question is... will it be the album version she releases or the acoustic/tour version? I love both, and perhaps she will release both as a single. She will probably release the album version, however, to the radio stations.



The song is one of my favorites, and I am excited for the release (and remixes).

Album 4, Single 3. 1 more single, and you'll graduate, Kelly!

James

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Free Song!

This is one of my favorite songs on the album Unknown. Check it out here:
http://twiturm.com/zujn
James

Interview

Check out this AWESOME interview w/ the producer Dystopian Fiction AKA Doc LaRue. He mentions me, haha. We are working on that hot new track I told y'all about!

James

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Meet Adam and Steve (and James!)

Today I am the LGBT Face of the Day on Meet Adam and Steve, a wonderful blog that puts a face (actually FACES) to the LGBT community. This (hetero) blogger wants to "normalize" us, basically. The LGBT community is just like any other community: we are human, we have interests, we are simple and complex. And yet our gender, our sexuality, our love is considered perverse. If you do not read this blog, please do, and share it. If you would like to be a face of the day and help, please contact him via his blog.

Meanwhile view MY FACE right here!

James

Queer Lives in Popular Music

The following is a paper I wrote for a class (or classes, haha) that I would like to share. It is unformatted b/c I am retyping it. Here goes...

Queer Lives In Popular Music And The Role Of Popular Music in Queer Culture
(Long title, I know...)

Queer music can be open to interpretation according to several definition and guidelines, including the people involved in the composition or performance of the music or, simply, the community in which the music is valued. Queer itself can be defined as "both straight and gay but also the vast gray areas between them as well as the sexualities that might lie beyond them" (Benshoff 2). So, just as the lines of gender and sexuality are blurred within "queer" cultures, so are the lines of genre and era blurred in queer music. Benshoff and Griffin define queer film as: having queer characters; being written, directed, or produced by a person who might be queer; having a largely queer audience; being a genre that is queer or outside the norms of the society at large; or the audience's experience and relation to the characters. While it only takes one of these aspects to effectively queer a film, many films have multiple aspects that make them queer. Queer music can be defined the same way: songs or lyrics being of a queer nature; the people or a person involved in the making of the music is queer; the audience is largely queer; or the audience's experience of the song (intentional or not) is also largely queer (Benshoff 12). I hope to show that queer lives (as defined today) have been influential in music across generations but most importantly popular music, and in turn, show that popular music has influenced the culture of queer communities. I will first examine the "queer" composers and artists who have shaped music history, especially American music. I will then take a look at the way queer lives have influenced current popular music. Finally I will examine the role of popular music in the queer community. Hopefully, my research will show that queer lives are influential on popular music, and popular music in return influences queer culture.

Samuel Barber composed one of the most well-known works of American Literature, Adagio for Strings (Smith: Barber). Although not as recognizable as his peers Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland, Barber's Adagio has been featured in films such as Platoon and Elephant Man, as well as remixed by disc jockeys and electronic musicians (Smith: Barber, "List" link: Barber). Although Thomson may be more well known for his opera The Mother of Us All, Four Saints in Three Acts is considered his "queerest" work of all (Smith: Thomson). Nadine Hubbs, in the introduction to her book The Queer Composition of America's Sound, discusses an essay that the United States Army released discussing Aaron Copland as "America's most prominent composer" (Hubbs 1). While it discussed Copland's Jewish and Russian background, the essay did little to hint at Copland's queerness, his homosexuality (Hubbs 1-2, Smith: Copland 2). Copland was even know to have mentored and been involved with younger queer composer Leanard Bernstein (Smith: Copland 2). Bernstein has been one of the most popular American composers, being popularized in the media to celebrity status throughout the 1960's. He is probably more well know for composing the music for Candide and the popular musical West Side Story (Smith: Bernstein 1). However, Bernstein's homosexuality, perhaps the most indentifiable part of one's queerness, was something he preferred to keep hidden, marrying in 1951. After the death of his wife in the late 1970's however, Bernstein "became increasingly open about his gayness" (Smith: Bernstein 2).

Gay (and drag) performer, Sylvester, was a disco hit in the late 70's and early 80's. With "You Make Me Feel Mighty Real" and "Dance (Disco Heat)", Sylvester was recognized by Billboard for his contribution to Disco. Featured on most of his tracks was the duo "Two Tons o Fun", who would later have their own success as The Weather Girls (Sylvester 1, Weather 1). Another famous drag performer, Divine, attributed not only to music but to film, including the mainstream (and cult classic) Hairspray (Divine 1). The work of Divine and Candy Darling even inspired the song "Divine" by Antony and Johnsons (Hogan 1). Of all the queer influences on popular music, John Lennon is probably the most prolific. Although the "List of Queer Composers" on the Knowledgerush website, along with other lists, continue to list Lennon as a queer composer, there is little evidence to support this. The best examples would simply be his resistance to hatred and war in the world in the song "Imagine" ("Imagine all the people living life in peace") (1971), and Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono's, own re-imagining of the song "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him" (1984), "Everyman Everywoman" ("Everyman has a man who loves him") (2004) to support the LGBTQ community (Refer to Works Cited: Music).

Today, LGBT composers and singers Elton John, George Michael, Melissa Etheridge, Sinead O'Conner, and k.d. lang find themselves entering the mainstream (List 1). The Indigo Girls, a lesbian acoustic duo, has led a successful career spanning over 20 years on major record labels and inspiring the film Chasing Indigo (Williams 1). Elton John, now famous for his work in film and musicals, charted at least one hit in the top 40 every year from 1970 to 1996 (Erlewine 1). Melissa Etheridge, out lesbian rocker and breast cancer survivor, has also had a career with major labels spanning across 20 years (Prato 1). According to TopTenReviews.com, Etheridge is also the 363rd musician of all time (based on every available critic's response). Not bad, considering that the website's database consists of 150+ thousand musicians ("Melissa... Album" 1). It is "common knowledge" that Billboard is the number one source of music information for what's selling and playing in the music industry. This said, Etheridge boasts 31 songs from 1988-2006 that were in the top 100 singles. This includes a four/five year gap in which Etheridge didn't put out any new music ("Artist... Melissa" 1).

Movie actress and singer, Judy Garland, has long been exalted by members of the mainstream and queer communities for her "tragic" queer attributes (Peraino 150). Recognized by most as Dorothy Gale in "The Wizard Of Oz", a queer role in itself: a lonely, misunderstood person in a world where she doesn't quite fit in (Bone 1). Most important to her queerness is her resilience and her resistance "to predictable repetitions of behavior that allow for stable representation." Both Etheridge, mentioned earlier, and Garland have been held high in the eyes of the queer community for their gender representations: Garland as being the femine in a masculine-inspired world and Etheridge as being masculine despite her assigned sex (Peraino 150). Garland is just one example of queer artists who are not necessarily queer themselves, being queer by characteristics that make them gay icons (Bone 1). "It's Raining Men" is a queer cult classic, known by gay men and straight women alike (Weather 1).

Popular music is, of course, popular, and therefore at the forefront of American culture. There are lists of popular songs across generations, of "gay anthems" that may or may not be intended that way. "It's Raining Men" along with "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen (whose front man, Freddie Mercury, was queer) are just a few of the songs listed on a website about gay marriage (Kelly 1). While Lou Reed and David Bowie may be considered queer due to audience interpretations, queer rock has been considered revolutionized by Jayne County and continues today with groups like Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainwright, and Antony and the Johnsons (Jackson 1). Music can be a large part of people's lives with radio, television (especially music television networks), the use of music in film, C.D. players, mp3 players, iTunes, Amazon mp3, and numerous online music websites. This being said, the LGBT community has integrated itself into and created its own genres. Once again, (author's note: the "gays" love their lists) there are lists of magazines, e-zines, and websites dedicated to queer music, including popular music artists: Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Elton John, k.d. lang, Pet Shop Boys, and Dusty Springfield (Gay: Scene 1). Then there are the straight "gay icons" adored for their queer attributes: Garland, Bette Midler, Madonna, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Fergie (Halsall 1, Abernathy 1).

In this modern day, gay icons in music have withstood the test of time while influencing the next generation of pop stars. Popular music influences many people's lives. So, is it such a surprise that there are gay icons? Or gay anthem? A pop musician doesn't even have to be queer themselves to be considered part of the queer movement. Queer music can be defined as: songs or lyrics being of a queer nature; the people or a person involved in the making of the music is queer; the audience is largely queer; or the audience's experience of the song (intentional or not) is also largely queer (Benshoff 12). Barber, Copland, Thomson, and Bernstein shaped American music, and they were queer. Judy Garland was not queer, but exuberated queer qualities. "It's Raining Men" is not necessarily a queer song done by queer artists, but its content is interpreted by gay men to be queer. Of course, The Weather Girls, who sang the song, did start their careers singing for Sylvester, a disco "queen", gay man, and drag performer. Madonna, through her wild performances and songs, blurs the lines of sexuality (Peraino 150). I discussed queer American music, queer artists, and queer icons and anthems. By examining these "queer" composers and artists who have shaped music history, queer lives that have influenced current popular music, and the role of popular music in the queer community, this paper shows that queer lives are influential on popular music, and popular music, in return, influences queer culture. Queer lives (as defined today) have been influential in music across generations but most importantly popular music, and in turn, popular music has influenced the culture of queer communities.



Okay, so that's the end. A lot of repetition, but it was for a class. Haha. Hope you enjoyed.

James


Works Cited:
Anthony, Michael. "Gay Icons: Judy Who?" Queer, Isn't It? 16 Nov 2006. Pop Matters. 30 Nov 2008. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/gay-icons-jusy-who/.
Benshoff, Harry M, and Sean Griffin. Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.
Bone, Travis D. "Diva Workshop." Gay & Lesbian Times. 17 July 2003. 5 Dec 2008. http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=533&issue=812.
Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Artist Biography: Elton John." Billboard.com. 2007. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=4941.
Halsall, Paul. "People With A History." Paul Halsall. 1998. Fordham University. 6 Dec 2008. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/index-icons.html.
Hogan, Phil. "Gospel according to Antony." The Observer. 2 Nov 2008. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/nov/02/antony-and-the-johnsons-barbican.
Hubbs, Nadine. The Queer Composition of America's Sound. University of California, 2004, pp 1-16.
Jackson, Lisa. "Queer Rock 101." GO Magazine. 9 July 2008. 5 Dec 2008. http://www.gomag.com/article/queer_rock_101/.
Kelly, Jennifer. "Hitched: A 17-song Tribute to Gay Marriage." Splendid. 5 Dec 2008. http://www.splendidezine.com/departments/tdlt/tdlt41904.html.
Peraino, Judith A. Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig. University of California, 2006, pp 150-1.
Prato, Greg. "Melissa Etheridge: Biography." MSN Music. 2008. 3 Dec 2008. http://music.msn.com/music/artist-biography/melissa-etheridge/.
Smith, Patricia Juliana. "Barber, Samuel." glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture. 2002. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/barber_s.html.
Smith, Patricia Juliana. "Berstein, Leonard." glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture. 2002. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/bernstein_l.html.
Smith, Patricia Juliana. "Copland, Aaron." glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture. 2002. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/copland_a.html.
Smith, Patricia Juliana. "Thomson, Virgil." glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture. 2002. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/thomson_v.html.
Unknown Author. "Artist Chart History: Melissa Etheridge." Billboard.com. 2008. 5 Dec 2008. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?JSESSIONID=92G9JpLffNK2fknxYqPGbtnvgpGy2ScF4Zyhvh29Qf2JHh2j0Nly!248815711&model.vnuArtistId=4565&model.vnuAlbumId=6589.
Unknown Author. "Divine." The New York Times. 2 Dec 2008. http://movies.nytimes.com/person/19335/divine/biography.
Unknown Author. "List of Queer Composers." Knowledgerush, 2003. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encylopedia/list_of_queer_composers/.
Unknown Author. "Melissa Etheridge Album Rankings." TopTenREVIEWS. 2008. 3 Dec 2008. http://music.toptenreviews.com/bands/me/melissa-etheridge-6861/melissa-etheridge-album-rankings.htm.
Unknown Author. "Sylvester." Queer Cultural Center. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/pages/sylvester/syl_bio.html.
Unknown Author. "Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender." The Scene. 2003. Pink Classifieds. 6 Dec 2008. http://www.pinkclassifieds.co.uk/music_webzines_thescene.html.
Unknown Author. "The Weather Girls Biography." Musician Biographies. 2004. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608004405/The-Weather-Girls.html.
Williams, Carla. "Indigo Girls." glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture. 2002. 2 Dec 2008. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/indigo_girls.html.

Music:
Lennon, John. "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him." Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him (Single). Geffen Records, 1984.
Lennon, John. "Imagine." Imagine. Apple, 1971.
Ono, Yoko. "Everyman Everywoman." Yes, I'm a Witch. Astralwerks, 2004.

Whitney's BIG COMEBACK

Found this excellent video via LOGOONLINE and read an excellent article about Whitney's listening party last night. Sounds fabulous (but not fabulous enough?)!



I am excited for Whitney's return but will I buy it? I'm not sure? Will I enjoy it? Possibly? Will I become addicted to it like I did say... the not so hott e=MC2? Which I loved despite not being musically brilliant? LoL... I probably will not. We will see. In the meantime... GO WHITNEY. And remember Wendy Williams is a Whitney Fan, grrl. Do the show! LoL.

James

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Plans

Today, I began thinking about making plans. I want to release a full-length solo CD by July of next year. I want to have a party for it by October. Which means I need to raise some money, be out there performing, and etc. I am very excited. I need to find the phone number to the musician I was going to do an acoustic set with... Because he hasn't called or emailed me. Haha.

So what do I want to do in the next five years? Record 2 albums, perform at Motor City Pride at least once, and maybe do a club/bar/whatever tour through at least a few states. FIVE YEARS. I gotta get there first. It's gonna be a hard hard road, but I'm not trying hard enough. I can't be, otherwise I KNOW it would've happened. If there's anything I know... it's that I'm talented. I may not always believe it but I KNOW it, and that's gotta count for something. LoL.

I read somewhere that a lot of people didn't make it to where they are JUST by hard work... many people actually had sponsors... like NASCAR. LoL. For real. I gotta find me one of those! HOT!

James

Friday, July 17, 2009

Personal Songwriting

At the request of a reader/friend, this blog is about how I go about writing a song. This blog is NOT about songwriting in general. It is NOT about how to write a song. It is NOT about ANYBODY ELSE'S ideas about songwriting. This is simply about MY songwriting.

Hmmm... WHERE to start? How do I write a song?

Writing a song, for me, seems like the hardest thing in the world when I am doing it and the easiest thing in the world when I am done... sometimes I get so enveloped in writing a song that I completely forget that the world around me exists, and time spins and flies all around me.

I try... mind you TRY... to sit down and write w/ a concept, an idea, a title, or such in mind.
My song, "Where You Once Sat" (which can be heard on MYSPACE), started as The Ballad of the Green Chair. YES! It is silly, but that was the concept. Mind you, it was for a class. The assignment was a "ballad" and the green chair idea came from a very strange conversation between Rodney (my boo) and I. I also wanted to switch up the chorus a bit, add a few different chords. I even ended up doing a key change. I don't think I have ANY other songs with a key change, especially one like that. It turned out to be a beautiful song.
I wrote "Unknown" with the title in mind.

What usually happens with me is I sit down, and just write. Sometimes its just words, and then I add music. Sometimes I write chords and start singing. Sometimes, I sit at the computer and start creating beats, chords, rhythm patterns, and then I start singing and writing. For me, it's SUPPOSED to be about the lyrics. Some of my lyrics end up being inane and mundane however, but are juiced up by the rhythm of the music.

MY PERSONAL GOAL in songwriting is to say something, create a message that will really connect with people. However, God/Creator/Universe's goal for me (at least at the time) may not always be the same. Maybe I am hearing other spirits other than those sent by Entity, and they have something else they want to say... about life, love, happiness, sadness, ignorance, silliness. When I write, something takes over me. When I force it... it doesn't come or it sounds silly, stupid, or I just don't like it. Sometimes I come back and back to a chord pattern or a rhythm or lyric or some other ditty I wrote and simply never finish it: an incomplete thought.

Some songs I don't like... end up on an album anyway! Haha. Like "Freak" on my sister's and my debut CD UNKNOWN that we released last year (available on MYSPACE once again). I only had her listen to it because we produced a track for a friend of hers (SAS) that was circus-themed. My initial intro to "Freak" was circus-themed and it even has lyrics like "It's like I'm a bear trying to ride a bike!" How fun! I don't necessarily love what I've done with the song, but I must admit, some of the lyrics are FUN!

If anyone has any questions EMAIL ME @ LDTAYLOR_UNKNOWN@YAHOO.COM or comment or tweet me @james_taylor_jr or facebook me or myspace me! Honestly, whatever makes you feel most comfortable. I will definitely post your question and the answer up here and let you know! PLZ let me know if you do NOT want to be named.

THANKS SO MUCH!

Love,
James

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ann Arbor Art Fair

There is some awesome music going on at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, especially down at the South University Art Fair. (Yes, each section of Ann Arbor has its "own" Art Fair.) Today, I got to hear some great music at The 107one Sesi Mazda Main Stage on the corner of Willard and Church just off of South U. 107one just happens to be one of 4 stations that broadcast through the company for which I am interning (Ann Arbor Radio).

Today we heard:
Nathan K
Note To Self
THE MACPODZ (who I follow on Twitter and already have their Live @ The Ark CD)
Nervous But Excited (whom the lesbians came out to see!)
and The Ragbirds

All the bands were awesome! And if you live in or near Ann Arbor, HEAD ON OUT! The shows are 3-9PM! Thu, Fri, Sat. Parking and transit is available at Pioneer HS and Briarwood Mall.

Here are the bands coming up!

THU:
Bridge Club
Brett Mitchell
Khalid Hanifi
Billie Mack and the Juke Joint Johnnies
George Bedard and the Kingpin

FRI: (International Artists!)
The Mean Reds
Jamie Register and the Glendales
The Sugar People
Matt Hires
Serena Ryder

SAT: (12-5pm instead of 3-9pm)
Black Train
Wayward Roots
Nite Flight
Ypsituckey Colonels

HAVE FUN!
I'll be myspacing and facebooking and twittering (maybe youtubing?) all of these artists w/in the next few days! LOOK OUT! Haha.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sho-towntv Feature!

At right this second, my audition is featured on http://sho-towntv.com/ !

Go right now! How awesome!


Today's Playlist

Today's Playlist

Kelly Clarkson - "I Do Not Hook Up"
Mariah Carey - "Obsessed", "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time", "Fly Like A Bird"
Paula Abdul - "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow"
Pussycat Dolls - "Hush Hush; Hush Hush"
Rupaul - "Jealous Of My Boogie", "Cover Girl"
Whitney Houston - "I Didn't Know My Own Strength"

Lots of love,
James

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Karaoke

I try to go to Karaoke every Sunday night at Gigi's in Detroit! So much fun, and I LOVE Karen, the karaoke host! She's AWESOME! It's a "gay" bar, but everyone is welcome. It can be slow on Sundays, but twice they've had the Detroit cast of Grease come in! She had like 30 singers on rotation! It's all digital, so even if you don't have a song up, she calls you up and you can add a song or choose not to sing! So come on down: gay, straight, bi, trans, pan, a, blah blah blah! LoL. If I can drive from Ypsi, you can drive from where you are (unless, you know, you live like 100 miles away)!

CU There
James

A snippet abt a NEW TRACK

Hey! I am so excited. I just heard part of the new track I am working on with Dytopian Fiction (aka Doc LaRue). It is HOTT! I have to match it up, however, with what I have. I can already feel some tweeks, but tweeks are nothing! What an awesome sound. Everyone head over to HIS MYSPACE and drop him some love. Tell him I sent ya! And don't forget to head over to MY MUSIC MYSPACE and hear some of my self-produced work. This jam is going to be way HOTTER than that! I PROMISE.

Lots of love!
James

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sho-Town TV

Today, I auditioned for the Sho-Town Television Network. Sho-Town is an online endeavor to create new content, such as shows, music videos, talent showcases, and whatever else they feel like making. They'll even be creating a sitcom in the future.

I auditioned as a singer, but made it clear that I am a multi-talented individual. I was an actor in Magic Mentah, an independent Science Fiction film that is still in production. I am an Electronic Media & Film (aka Telecommunications) student so I do technical work on a daily basis when I am in school. My focus is audio/music production, so I am familiar with some of the equipment they use in their recording studio (yes, they have a recording studio). I also self-produced a CD with my sister last year (which you can find on my music myspace. I mean, if you pass this mofo (or just plain MO) over, well you're missing out. LoL.

So, I went in, and the two gentlement I met and deal with were extremely nice guys. These guys were extremely polite, professional, and definitely enjoyed their media endeavor (is internet television a medium or is it media because of its combined media?).

I sang two songs. Yes, TWO songs. I started with one of my favorites of all time, Heavy On My Heart by Anastacia. A rendition of it, by me, can be seen on my YouTube account. When I finished singing, the producer or director or whatever his title was for this segment said "Damn" or something similar that made me feel good. Haha. I killed it... in a good way. HA!

Then I sang another one of my all time favorites, I Know Where I've Been from the musical Hairspray. A live performance of this is my highest viewed video on YouTube.

Overall, they were very welcoming and held good conversation. They said that video of my audition will probably be up by Wednesday, so I will keep you posted.


Thanks for reading.

Loves, Hugs, and Kisses.

James

Friday, July 10, 2009

Today's Music

Today, I made a special CD to try and get me pumped and excited and just have a great day!



Here is what it consisted of:



Beyonce: "Radio", "Halo"

Mariah: "Obsessed (Remix)", "I Stay In Love (Duet Remix)", "Right to Dream"

Kelly Clarkson: "If I Can't Have You", "Tip of my Tongue"

Pink: "I Don't Believe You", "Crystal Ball"

PCD: "Hush Hush; Hush Hush"

RuPaul: "Jealous of my Boogie", "Devil Made Me Do It"

Queen Latifah: "Cue The Rain"

Black Eyed Peas: "Boom Boom Pow"



That was my playlist for the day... AWESOME!



James

Mobile

I went 2 Wyandotte 2day & got a palm reading at the street fair. Charise from Boston Tea Room was extremely accurate in her reading. I need an intuit though.

iBlog...

I have wanted to do this before, I tried to start 1 up, but it just never lasted. I'm lazy. Haha. But this is going to be my music blog.

"Your music blog?" You say... Yes, my music blog.

I am James Taylor, Jr. (That's me... that's really my name. No, I'm not related to THAT James Taylor. LoL.) I'm a (don't laugh) singer/songwriter... I'm also a performer, voice-over artist, a writer, actor, and many other things.

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 11th, I am auditioning for http://sho-towntv.com/. I recently auditioned for American Idol, but did not make it. I, honestly, not to sound conceited, know that my sister and I did not make it not because we lack talent and/or personality. We simply are not what they wanted for Season 9.

If you'd like to hear my music visit:
http://myspace.com/ldtaylor
Live performances of covers and original music:
http://youtube.com/tjamesk

If you'd simply like to connect with me on a daily basis, I can be found on:
http://twitter.com/james_taylor_jr
http://facebook.com/jtaylorj

I will be posting hopefully, sometime before Monday.

Loves, Hugs, and Kisses.
James