Posts Tagged ‘NPR’

Lake Street Dive: Songwriting Masterclass at NEC

November 4, 2015

I had to share this video that combines songwriting and Lake Street Dive. If you haven’t heard LSD, check their many many live videos on YouTube.

Songs performed and discussed:
“You Go Down Smooth” (Olson) begins at 5:20
“Look What a Mistake” (Price) begins at 20:30
“Seventeen” (Kearney) begins at 46:20
“I Don’t Care About You” (Calabrese) begins at 1:06:05
“Let Me Roll It” (McCartney) begins at 1:51:35

After meeting while students at NEC in the early 2000s, Lake Street Dive has catapulted to stardom. NPR notes that they blend “jazz, folk, and pop in dangerously charming fashion.” In this workshop, the band—vocalist Rachael Price ’07, trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson ’05, stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney ’08 Tufts/NEC, and drummer Mike Calabrese ’07—returned to NEC to share its wit and songwriting expertise with students.

Do you really listen to full albums?

May 20, 2013

poodle DJ with headphones and 4 turntables

I used to love listening to complete albums – a set of songs meant to be listened to together and in a specific order. I hadn’t thought about that for a while until I saw this NPR blog post which asks,

When was the last time you really listened to an album all the way through, from start to finish without interruption?

And my answer, I’m ashamed to say, is a long, long time ago. Not only would I listen to an album all the way through way back then, but I would listen again and again, not only to those that I fell in love with at first listen, but also to those that didn’t grab me right away. And many of those non-grabbers grew on me with multiple listenings.

Now, I listen to single songs, jumping from iTunes to YouTube, in between answering emails and doing a million other non-musical things. If I can give my full attention for an extended period of time to a movie or a concert, why not an album?

What about you? Do you ever listen to a full album, start to finish?

See the full NPR post: http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2013/05/20/185534315/do-you-really-listen-to-full-albums?sc=tw&cc=twmp

Gangnam Style, an explanation

October 12, 2012

I don’t know what the lyrics to this song mean, if anything. But if you think the US music industry is strange, you should hear how they do it in Korea.

According to a recent report, there are three reasons South Korean pop music is taking over the world:

1) Korea decided to produce pop music like it produces cars. Industrialize and focus on exports. South Korea is a relatively small country — any industry that wants to get really big has to look outside. So music moguls in the country created hit factories, turning young singers into pop stars and sending them on tour around Asia.

2) Korean record labels transformed the way music was released. From the beginning, new songs debuted on national television, not on the radio, like was done traditionally over here. That means the moment Koreans started listening to Korean pop music, they were listening through their screens. They were watching their music.

3) Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world. So early on in their development, record labels had to get good at YouTube. And they kind of perfected it. YouTube videos by Korean record labels were so good, they got tons of views overseas. And that’s how the record labels knew where to tour their acts. They knew their customers wanted them before they even got there.

Listen to the full report from NPR here.

Olympic Poetry Writing Event

July 27, 2012

In the original Olympic games, they had poetry, dance and guitar jamming (OK, lyre playing) alongside the sporting events.

From NPR: In the days of the ancient Greeks, poetry and sport went hand in hand at athletic festivals like the Olympics. Poets sang the praises of athletic champions and, at some festivals, even competed in official events, reciting or playing the lyre.

“The ancient Greeks very much sought perfection in the body and the intellect, they saw it totally connected.” Tony Perrottet, author of The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games.

Read or listen to the complete story here.

What ‘Mastered for iTunes’ Really Means

March 5, 2012

The Record is a blog about how people find, make, buy, share and talk about music. It’s a collaboration between NPR’s Arts Desk and NPR Music.

Read their take on Apple’s new ‘mastered for iTunes‘ program.

Here’s a little of what Apple has to say about it.

Whether you’re a major label or a small indie, you provide the most important ingredient for iTunes—the music itself. It’s our job to faithfully and accurately deliver your songs and albums to fans around the world exactly as you intend them to be heard. To achieve this transparency, you need tools and technologies from us to ensure delivery of the highest quality master recordings possible into our ecosystem. With over 250 million iOS devices capable of playing your music, there’s never been a better time than now for us to communicate, codify, and distribute updated information to you about the best tools and processes used to produce the millions of AAC files delivered daily to our mutual customers in over 50 countries around the world.

Download the entire 10 page pdf from Apple here: mastered_for_itunes

Super Bass: can you hit this note?

February 8, 2012

Listen to this. It may well be the lowest note you’ve ever heard sung. If you don’t want to hear the back story, start at 2:50.

Is MySpace still around?

November 17, 2010

Hey MySpace, what’s up?

As most musicians know, Facebook has far outpaced MySpace. While MySpace has 130 million users, Facebook has over 500 million.

Erin McKeown notified me (via Facebook) about this NPR story on what’s new with MySpace. They’re reinventing themselves, refocusing on the category of social entertainment. According to NPR, that’s no big deal.

“MySpace’s new strategy and design are largely being greeted with a yawn.”

According to Nancy Baym, a communications professor who is studying social networks, no one is getting particularly excited about MySpace. Music, TV and film sites are springing up all the time. Some examples for musicians include Bandcamp, Bandzoogle, Nimbit, Topspin, ReverbNation, Soundcloud, Noisetrade and Fanbridge, among others. So there’s plenty of competition.

For musicians, the bigger question is, which one do I use? Erin McKeown says “There are so many different places for people to go and get information about tour dates and listen to your music and find out more about you, I feel like I need to have a hand in all of them. MySpace for me, happens to be at the bottom of that list.”

Listen to or read the entire NPR story here.

10 women music writers to bookmark right now

August 31, 2010

Here are 10 women music writers that NPR Music thinks you should bookmark right now. I’m not going to wait until I check them all out to pass this on. I’ll read and report back. Check them out yourself and comment here.

Judy Collins on Over the Rainbow

July 16, 2010

Judy Collins

Judy Collins was interviewed about the song Over the Rainbow on On Point. She recently recorded it for a CD that accompanies a children’s book also titled Over the Rainbow. She sings the verse, which was missing from the movie and from most other renditions. In the segment, they play a wide variety of versions of Over the Rainbow, with her commenting, plus lots of Judy Collins songs.

Listen to the entire thing here.

6 tips to get happy

July 16, 2009

According to a news report from NPR, a new course has replaced Intro to Economics as the most popular class at Harvard University. The course is called Psych 1504 or “Positive Psychology.”

The professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, calls it ‘how to get happy” and he uses source material from the relatively new field of Positive Psychology, as well as quoting the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Aristotle, Confucious, William James and Ellen Degeneris.

For many people, these six tips may not be surprising, but they serve as a reminder. I find it encouraging that our young scholars at Harvard are learning it, too. There are other courses like this being taught in colleges all over the place.

Listen to the entire story here.

Six Tips for Happiness
Advice from Tal Ben-Shahar

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions — such as fear, sadness, or anxiety — as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do — or don’t do — with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

Another one, he adds, is to dream big, and maybe that’s the connection to songwriting.