My Songbird Fantasy

Image ID : 16616006
Copyright : Sergey Nivens

From the time I was a little girl, I fantasized about having a beautiful singing voice, but I wasn’t destined to be blessed with such talent.  Though I am not tone deaf, and can carry a tune, the quality of my singing voice is very basic and certainly not worthy of any type of showcase.  At least I was realistic at an early age (eight years old to be exact) about my utterly ordinary voice, and never attempted to delve into some delusional idea that I might someday develop pipes which would rival Mariah Carey.  Instead, I happily lived vicariously through my favorite singers, imagining what it must be like to have such sweet melodies emanate from one’s vocal cords.

Of course, like most of you, I’m not afraid to belt out a tune while driving my car or taking a shower.  There is something so cathartic about being able to let loose like that, so I allow myself to indulge in it frequently.  Why not?  It’s not like I’m going to try out for American Idol or The Voice.

It’s pretty sobering to think that the majority of singers never really get a chance to fully live out their dreams of stardom, despite having massive talent. I recently watched “Twenty Feet From Stardom” which follows several prominent backup singers from the 1960’s to present time. In one portion of the documentary, Merry Clayton describes her experience recording the vocals for the 1969 song “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones.

In an excerpt from an article on, Merry describes the evening:

Well, I’m at home at about 12–I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said you know, Merry, are you busy? I said No, I’m in bed. he says, well, you know, There are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come? He said I really think this would be something good for you.

I said, Well, play the track. It’s late. I’d love to get back home. So they play the track and tell me that I’m going to sing–this is what you’re going to sing: Oh, children, it’s just a shot away. It had the lyrics for me. I said, Well, that’s cool. So  I did the first part, and we got down to the rape, murder part. And I said, Why am I singing rape, murder? …So they told me the gist of what the lyrics were, and I said Oh, okay, that’s cool. So then I had to sit on a stool because I was a little heavy in my belly. I mean, it was a sight to behold. And we got through it. And then we went in the booth to listen, and I saw them hooting and hollering while I was singing, but I didn’t know what they were hooting and hollering about. And when I got back in the booth and listened, I said, Ooh, that’s really nice. They said, well, You want to do another?  I said, well, I’ll do one more, I said and then I’m going to have to say thank you and good night. I did one more, and then I did one more. So it was three times I did it, and then I was gone. The next thing I know, that’s history.

Now listen to her raw vocals.  You’ll get the chills from her energy and passion:

Now that’s magical talent!

There’s Still Musical Talent Out There…GREAT Love Song

Don’t go thinking that I am a sappy, hopeless romantic, but I do appreciate a well-written, soulful love song. Amy Wadge and Ed Sheeran penned one of the loveliest songs of all time, and in the new millenium to boot. I’m sharing the official video for the song, as well as the lyrics. Though I find some of the dance moves a bit overtly sexual and somewhat inappropriate for the lyrics which expound a pure love, I also regard the video as pretty romantic since it is filmed in a ballroom reminiscent of the one featured in “Beauty and the Beast”, which remains one of my favorite all-time films.

Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud”

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re seventy
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at twenty three
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way (mmm)
I know you will still love me the same
‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand
That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are (oh ohh)
La la la la la la la la loud
So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are


Sarah lil’Mini Phoenix Dancing

This little girl is AMAZING! She’s got some mad dancing skills for sure! Check out her moves here:

There’s another incredible video of her doing freestyle to Truffle Butter, which has a great beat but is a nasty song. I can’t post the actual video here, but you can look it up on YouTube under: Sarah lil’Mini Phoenix | Truffle Butter | #immaBEAST

Oh To Feel Music Again…


I am completely sick of pop and Top 40 music and have been for a very long time. Most of it is filled with vacuous lyrics and modulated voices, and the only visceral response which it triggers in me is disgust. The worst offenders for me in recent years have been Katy Perry and Meghan Trainor, but I am also underwhelmed by the fact that every song by The Weeknd sounds exactly the same, and that other artists are starting to bore me to tears.

Even some alternative bands have been on my banned list, such as Walk The Moon and Florence + The Machine. I swear, if I hear “Shut Up + Dance” by Walk the Moon ONE more time, I will rip out my eyebrow hairs one by one! I also do not see what the fuss is about Florence + The Machine, because that excessive female vibrato and operatic quality in Florence Welch’s voice absolutely grates on my nerves. The only song I like from this band is “Heavy In Your Arms” because it is dark, and Florence keeps her ridiculous vibrato under control:

However, because I have been diving deep in the musical waters of alternative music lately, I have been pleasantly surprised by the incredible talent which lives there, and I have been finding some amazing songs and unbelievably talented artists. Alternative music has always been a favorite genre, and it has always appealed to my quasi-goth, vampire loving self. If music is dark, murky, disturbed, and off the beaten path, I am far more likely to enjoy it (however, I love R&B, blues, and Motown as well). There are old school alternative bands I will always adore, including Radiohead, NIN, and Rage Against The Machine, but there have been some new additions to my iPod lately. I have been eating up music by Satin Jackets, Phantogram, Wolf Alice, Muse, AWOLNATION, Coleman Hell, Royal Blood, Dorothy, BØRNS, and I could definitely go on.

I kept hearing “Trip Switch” by Nothing But Thieves over the last few months and was intrigued by the fact that the more I listened to that song, the more I wanted to hear it. Usually I get tired of hearing a song all the time, but this one grew on me and tugged at my spirit until I broke down and investigated the other songs by this band. When I did, I was completely blown away, and can honestly say that I absolutely love every single song by this massively talented band. I feel like I want to crawl inside every song and live there, that’s how powerful their music is.

In case you want to explore music by Nothing But Thieves, you can check out their official website here:

Nothing But Thieves is one of the best bands to come on the scene this decade, and I am convinced that they will be HUGE. May their talent and their energy take them to the very top, because that is where they belong.

Wood Working In Bali

I recently was blessed enough to go to Bali for several days, and was able to visit Seminyak and Ubud for a number of shopping excursions. Ubud is known for its wood working factories and silver factories, so it was a dream come true for a wood carving and silver jewelry freak like me to visit. There are factories all over Ubud, most of which not only display the finished works of the artisans, but also feature the artisans at work on pieces.

One thing I did NOT like was how much the salespeople would hover over me as I walked through the stores. The best thing to do is to walk through a store without indicating interest in any of the pieces until you have determined which ones you are truly interested in purchasing, otherwise you will be asked incessantly, “You like this one? Give good price, not final price!” until you walk out of the store. The majority of stores will have what is called first price, which is the price they quote, but you are expected to haggle with the salesperson until you arrive at a price which is usually about 25% to 40% of the first price. Even so, whenever I would hear “6 million rupiah” ($500 US) for a 20 inch Buddha carving, I would think it was way too expensive and walk on.

One salesperson took the time to educate me on the different types of wood commonly used in Balinese carvings. I learned how to distinguish between hibiscus (which is always two-toned and has a slight reddish hue), coconut (a lighter, greenish, variegated wood), ebony, and mahogany.

Hibiscus wood

Hibiscus wood

Coconut wood carvings are in foreground here

Coconut wood carvings are in foreground here

Ebony wood carving

Ebony wood carving

He also informed me that there were three different levels of wood carvers: Student, Teacher and Master. Master carvings command the highest prices since the skill level of the artisan is the highest, followed by the Teacher and then the Student. I was thankful for the information because I discovered that a 24 inch Balinese Buddha wood carving which I have had for about 7 years was created by a Master out of a beautiful piece of hibiscus wood. Later in the day, I saw strikingly beautiful and ornate carvings like this life-sized horse:
Life-size horse carving

When I saw the gorgeous woodwork in Bali, it me wish I had a huge home with a real need for wooden sculptures and furnishings. If you love hand carved wooden sculptures and furniture with an ethnic flavor, you really should visit Bali.

A Celeb Based On What?

Reality shows have created a bizarre phenomenon in which individuals with no real talent have become celebrities. At the risk of offending those of you who are fans of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, or Snookie, I see no real reason to idolize these women who are tragic messes. I know that many were dazzled by the exorbitant lifestyles which Paris and Kim have been born into, and that others were intrigued by the partying lifestyle which Snookie led while on Jersey Shore, but these women lack talent. Money can buy many things, but it cannot buy talent, nor can it buy common sense. I know fans of Snookie applaud her for cleaning up her act and having a baby, but honestly, she needed to grow up. If she had continued on the track she was on before, she would have careened into serious mishaps which would have completely destroyed her.

Then we have shows like The Real World, Big Brother, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette. How is it fair that people who are only remarkable for their desire to be followed by cameras can become so incredibly popular? The melding of reality TV with the game show concept has created a hybrid that draws viewers in but which heightens the contrived atmosphere of living in a house together while filming takes place. All the people living in the house are pitted against each other and want to win the big prize, which heightens tensions and theoretically makes good television. At least shows like America’s Next Top Model, Survivor, Amazing Race, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, The Voice, The Biggest Loser, and Project Runway showcase true talent, athleticism or a dogged determination to transform. I regard the individuals who have met with great success through talent based shows as worthy of the accolades and fandom which they have achieved from being on a reality show.

I see no value in shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or The Real Housewives and find it laughable that the so-called stars of these shows achieved such recognition largely as a result of displaying their ridiculous and messed up lives without cowering in shame. I think if a family is going to be followed that most of the family members need to exhibit true star quality. Two families which I found rather interesting were the Osbournes and the Simmons family (Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels). I watched both of these shows while they were airing, and they held my interest because these families were powerful, talented and quirky, and also because I had been a fan of Black Sabbath and Kiss. Though both of these families actually possessed talent, this has not been the case for other musician families. As predicted, the networks milked this concept with a multitude of similar shows which have come and gone.


Here is a link to a site which has a list of all the reality shows, and it is staggering in its immensity:

Hopefully a new generation of TV programming will emerge which will hold the interest of an increasingly overstimulated population and which will also award celebrity status to people who actually have the talent and star presence to deserve such an honor.