6/14/20 BLM Protests in LA & Music Inspo for Social Change

Today is the big day. Protests are occurring all throughout the Los Angeles area in Long Beach, Inglewood, DTLA, Hollywood, etc. to address the racial inequalities and injustices that black community struggle with a daily basis. While I feel almost guilty for not attending, I also know that I can show my support in other ways that I could identify and resonate most with.. and that’s music. It was the year 2017 when I realized the true impact music has on people to become inspired and to inspire others. It was also the same year when I picked up my pen again and began to hone in on my song writing skills. That was when I realized I could put my love for writing and music together in order to create music that express the deep emotions I felt when learning about the corruption and darkness that pervaded the world while attending my sociology courses in college. Though I may not experience racism as overtly as in the same way as the black community, I have and currently experience micro aggression that, in hindsight fortunately, has left me feeling almost lonely & outcast (which may also be contributed to my introverted & artistic tendencies). However, I was keen of the different nuances of human interaction & treatment that existed in our hierarchical society today. And while I felt the sadness of the world, it left me feeling almost powerless and overwhelmed myself. And I think the realization was a pivotal moment for me, because it led to me to resort back to music as a way of escapism but also on the same token, a way to create social change. Almost 4 years later, and my disposition has not changed. Here is to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement of 2020. Hope at least one of these songs incite or invoke some feeling and desire of change within yourselves and consequently, to the real world. Comment your favorite below!

much love x Lo


Everyday People by Sly & The Family Stone (1968)
I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
I am everyday people, yeah yeah


A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke (1963)
It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there above the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change’s gonna come, oh, yes, it will


(click here to purchase A Change Is Gonna Come on Amazon)

Preach by John Legend (2019)
I can’t sit and hope, I
Can’t just sit and pray, that
I can find a love, when
All I see is pain
Falling to my knees
And though I do believe
I can’t just preach, baby, preach
Whoa, oh
I can’t just preach, baby, preach


(click here to purchase Preach on Amazon)



Where Is The Love? by The Black Eyed Peas (2003)
People killin’ people dyin’
Children hurtin’, I hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preachin’?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin’ on
Can’t we all just get along?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where’s the love)


(click here to purchase Where Is The Love? on Amazon)



There’s Got To Be A Way by Mariah Carey (1990)
There’s got to be a way
To connect this world today
Come together to relieve the pain
There’s got to be a way


(click here to purchase There’s Got to Be a Way on Amazon)

Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson (1988)
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change


(click here to purchase Man in the Mirror on Amazon)

Upcoming Artist: Yebba

Been following Yebba (Abbey spelt backwards, full name Abigail Elizabeth Smith) for a while now, and I am so glad she is know getting the recognition she deserves. Yebba is known to perform quite frequently in an artist local showcase in various states like Los Angeles & New York known by the name SoFar Sounds (which is one my dreams to perform at one day). And every time, she does not fail to deliver. With a wide range, melodic rungs, and milky smooth tone, I hope ya’ll enjoy this one. Yebba just realized a new album “Distance” (2020) which is heaven sent. feel to check it out below.

Netflix Documentary: Amy (2015)

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Just finished another documentary, Amy (2015), and hadn’t realize how much of a true talent Amy Winehouse is. To provide some context, Winehouse is an English singer- songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues and jazz. Before watching the film, I had absolutely no idea that Winehouse was mostly influenced by jazz singers such as Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, and Tony Bennett. It makes so much sense now. Her songwriting ability and vocal gift only has inspired my own creativity an artistry. (For those new to my site, I currently work at KJazz 88.1FM & am always excited when hearing about new jazz music). Anyhow, when I first heard Valerie by Amy Winehouse I fell instantly in love with her sound.

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To see how her life ended with such tragedy through the highs & lows of her career, battling alcohol & drug addition, was absolutely heartbreaking to me. The film showed the dangers of fame combined with pressures from the media and world watching you. It is not for the faint of heart. It does sadden me that her addictions weren’t taken as seriously as they should’ve and were overlooked by those who managed her career; and that those who did reach out to her couldn’t get to her. It also really shows how powerful music can be in transcending individuals from a dark place, giving light to those listening. However, I feel that Winehouse has blessed the globe with her talent and music, leaving her mark to inspire following generations.

I hate to give out all the details, and totally recommend ya’ll give the film a shot on Netflix.

Emerging Artist 2019: Cynthia Erivo

So as you may be following, you know one of my favorite videos to watch on youtube is Terrell’s Blue Wall. On the show, he brings artists from all over the country who are either brand new, veterans, or are emerging artists in the new culture. For this episode, he brought in Britain’s Cynthia Erivo– who is a vocal goddess! She started in theater singing broadway including the broadway revival of The Color Purple. She also plays the lead role in the new movie Harriet Tubman. She is both an incredible actor and vocalist, it only inspires me as an emerging artist myself. She’s truly a one-hit wonder! Check out her amazing video below. Movie Harriet Tubman in theaters now.

Exciting News: December Vocal Performance

Excited to announce that I have a secured a spot to perform with a well established band in Los Angeles. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to have this opportunity. I will be joining a band in their Christmas concert performance, who is known to play classical soul, funk, R&B music. The concert will be taking place for a good cause, and I only feel honored to be a part of it.

The leader of the band and I have been in correspondence for a while as we have been meaning to collaborate on music for quite some time. The amazing part of having this opportunity is the fact that it is a Christmas benefit concert. All funds will go towards children with anger management issues to ensure they get the help they need to live happier lifestyles. As someone who aspires to build her own non profit herself, this is a great chance for me to learn from others who are doing the same thing. I am so lucky and blessed, it feels as though things are falling together for me to help me accomplish my long-term goals. There will also be A/B/C listers at the concert who are regular guests for the bands’ appearances. Aretha Franklin’s manager will be there along with many others alike, retired football players and others flying in from other states like Georgia to name a few. It’s going to be a huge event, and I can not be any more excited. This is a chance for to gain some exposure as an artist while also experience performing live in front of a huge audience of about 200-300 people. We will be performing Christmas and holiday songs that will appeal to everybody and who will find a liking to.

As a sneak peak, I thought I’d  include a snippet of me performing for rehearsals and recorded by the band leader himself. Quite honestly, there is no other place that feels like home than to be on a stage, holding a microphone, and pouring my soul out in the form of notes and melodies. While I can appreciate my performance (and I hope you do too) I am a perfectionist and so, it makes me so uncomfortable to hear my mistakes in the video. However, as an aspiring vocalist, I am learning every day to become a better artist. As I’ve always lived by, mastery takes humility and this is only the beginning. Anyhow, hope you enjoy.

I suggest you put your volume up since it is a bit low in the video!

 

Rare Documentary on Mariah Carey ♕

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For those interested in the personal and professional background of the Ms. Mariah Carey, like myself who are loyal fans of the diva icon, below is a rare documentary of her life. The documentary lends insight into her upbringing as a little girl who had a passion for music and how her career took off as one of the biggest music icon of the world. Topping the billboard charts and gaining 5 grammy awards along with many others, Ms. Carey is definitely an artist who has earned her way to legendary status, and rightfully so.

Mine Again by Mariah Carey

Of course, I look for a cover and the first thing I find is a cover by Kyla, a singer from the Philippines. So inspired, just shows how beautiful singing is. No one can do it like Mariah Carey, but this was damn near close.

Amazing.

This song’s been on repeat for me, and has been stuck in my head. Have you guys ever discovered a song and wondered where it’s been all you’re life that you can’t believe you lived this far without knowing it? Well, this is how I feel with this song. Forever blessed my ears. Much much inspiration. Hope ya’ll enjoy.

Billboard Music Icon Award: Living Legend Mariah Carey

At a loss of words. Mariah Carey’s speech just left me… speechless.
As an aspiring singer, I am extremely grateful for the power of music. How music can simply lift spirits in times of despair. How music can takes us to a different time, and place. How music can simply move us.
For me, Mariah Carey was one of the few who I drew great inspiration from.
Although, I know she is incomparable as a vocalist, I also know that great music is possible. It’s amazing how a series of notes can make one feel. How a few notes can get one to break out of the ordinary state and start.. singing. And if the music is great, it can take one to a state of nirvana. Music is pure beauty and I think anyone who identifies as a singer at heart truly feels this sense of nirvana through Mariah’s music. I also love how she referenced the concept of highs and lows, because to me, that’s all it’s really about. Hence my choice of name for this blog. Nonetheless Mariah’s drive is immeasurable. As she makes evident in her speech, it is the purpose and passion one finds in music that keeps great music alive, and living.

Her speech at the Billboard Music Awards was definitely one I needed to hear. Hope ya’ll find some inspiration in it as I had.

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You can find the video of her speech here.

Below is the script of her speech:

“I’m so nervous! Seriously, thank you Billboard for letting me grow up on the charts with you and for this incredible honor. Icon? I really don’t think of myself in that way. I started making music out of a necessity to survive and to express myself. And I just wanted to create something so I could feel worthy of existing. And if I’ve learned anything, anything at all in this life, it’s that truly all things are possible with God.

Without getting into all the drama, all the ups and downs of my career—we’ve all seen them, we all make mistakes—there’s been a few memes [laughs]. I guess I’ve always felt like an outsider. Someone who doesn’t quite belong anywhere. And I still feel like that lost interracial child who had a lot of nerve to believe I could succeed in anything at all in this world. But, and this is the truth, but I did believe because I had to. The truth is I’ve dedicated my life to my music, my saving grace, and to my fans who are unlike any other entity that I’ve ever known. They’ve lifted me out of the depths of hell and brought me back with their devotion and love. I want to thank all the people who’ve been with me on this journey, through the highs and lows, through the struggles. Through your struggles and mine. And to anybody who doesn’t allow themselves to be broken. And keeps getting up, and keeps holding on, and keeps standing tall, keeps on believing and keeps rising—I celebrate you tonight. And to anyone who’s ever told me that a song I wrote helped save your life, I thank you because you saved mine. And I’ll be eternally grateful for that. I love you. Thank you so much.”

You could purchase Mariah Carey’s Albums here:

Mariah Carey
Daydream
The Emancipation of Mimi
Caution [Explicit]

❦ Happy Birthday Ella Fitzgerald ❦

Happy belated birthday to the jazz queen, Ms. Ella Fitzgerald!

 “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald 

♫ Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good-lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry

You could purchase original here: Summertime

The Voice 2019 Cross Battles

Absolutely, so much talent on this year’s season. The Voice 2019 Cross Battles recently aired the other day and ya’ll know I had to put my two cents in for this one. I have a few that I am rooting for and they continue to deliver so much talent in every performance. My favorites are in order:

  1. Shawn Sounds

His runs are so precise! and his placement of every note, WHEW. TOO ON POINT.
If you know me you would know that I have always been a huge of Luther Vandross, which comes to a shocker to many of the older peeps since he is not a popular artist among the the young crowds. But I am an old soul at heart. And Sounds is so reminiscent of him, he was on the top of my list since day one. His low notes is just whip cream on cake! And his performances are just pure magic!

2. Jej Vinson

Let me start off by saying that no, I am not rooting for Vinson only because he’s Filipino– although it does not hurt that he is… I think it is safe to say that over the years, Filipinos have gained recognition in vocal competitions as many talented Filipinos have appeared on the show, haven’t failed to surprise the crowds every time, and continue to persevere. (e.g: Jasmine Trias, Jessica Sanchez, Charice Pempengco, etc. ) Vinson is one of them, and as one of my fellow peoples, he gives me inspiration to pursue my dreams regardless of the masses say/ think of Asians in the entertainment industry. Vinson’s vocal technique is prominent in his performances, and it is very clear that he’s had plenty vocal experience.  His vocals are solid and powerful, As an Asian contestant, I believe although he has a lot to prove, he can keep up and continues to deliver every time. Represent.

3. Matthew Johnson 

Oh, Johnson! Ya’ll heard that FIRST run he hit us with? PHEW. Almost fell off my chair, Johnson was most definitely blessed with such incredible vocals at birth. It’s like his notes just fly out of his mouth with almost no effort. The way he sings is just so natural and effortless, I have so many parts that I love about this performance but 0:48 definitely got me. Truly so much soul, I can’t get enough! Definitely look forward to more from him as well throughout the season and believe he will do amazing throughout the season.

While I am not discrediting any of the artists on the show, these are just my personal favorites. Again, my opinion does mean popular opinion. I only hope ya’ll enjoyed these performances as much as I have. Music is such a beautiful gift and these artists just remind me of how singing really is the most beautiful and purest thing in the world! Just pure, raw talent. There’s nothing else in this world that I am most grateful for, really!

Peace & Light,

Lo.

Whitney Houston “I Believe In You and You”

No such thing as too much Whitney Houston.
This song really gets to me only because I love the message and melody of the song.
Hope this takes ya’ll back to a good place and time.

As you may know, Houston’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with. But I love when an artist can skillfully deliver the song with power and soul. Here’s a rendition of Ms. Little JoJo, which eventually sky rocketed her into fame at a tender age of 9.. I appreciate when I see so much vocal potential in young singers. Gives me life, really.

 

You could also purchase the original single here: I Believe in You and Me (Record Version)

“One Sweet Day” Mariah Carey, Boyz ll Men

It’s phenomenal when artists sound the exact same live. This is a performance of Mariah Carey & Boyz ll Men singing “One Sweet Day” at Madison Square Garden in 1995. I appreciate raw, authentic vocals. And I feel like that was the staple for most 90’s music unlike in today’s generation where autotune is the next cool thing. Growing up, it never made sense for me and still doesn’t. This performance reminds me of how great music used to be back then, meaningful and full of substance and just pure soul. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good jams out today since then but I don’t think they are as appreciative of the vocal ability that is so present in much more old school, classic songs. Some artists who have followed like Alicia keys, Beyonce. But Mariah’s voice has always hit me in a different way for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the instant gratification and the quick easy money that comes with pop culture today, but it saddens me that music evolved dramatically. Maybe great music is out there but has yet to see the light. Only time could tell. Anyway t’was my rant, Boyz II Men’s vocals and harmony has always been so UNDERRATED and Mariah Carey’s ability to keep up with the boys and simply just make this song more powerful than it is is just an indescribable feeling. ugh, soul music is just something else man.

I know performing a Mariah Carey is just vocal suicide.. but I appreciate when artists attempt it and sound good and the potential there is evident. The closest one I found is this, performed by Khel, Bugoy, Daryl Ong and Ms. Katrina Velarde, a Filipina singer.  Hope ya’ll enjoy. xox.

You could purchase the original here:
One Sweet Day

❦ Happy Birthday to Ledisi ❦

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Ms. Ledisi… her music brings light and warmth. So happy to have discovered her.

“I’m not focused on radio or whether I’m going to get all the audiences… all I wanted were great songs that were universal to any listener – Black, White, Green, Yellow; any kind a age difference.” – Ledisi

♪  When they look at me
What they fail to see
Is the love you got me feeling
Like I’m dancing on the ceiling
I can hardly breathe
‘Cause you’re all I need
So when they ask me why I’m smiling like a fool
I blame you ♪

 

Purchase Luther Vandross’ “My Sensitivity”:
My Sensitivity (Gets in the Way)

Purchase Ledisi’s “I Blame You” Here: I Blame You