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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

On my way to Williamsburg to finish a new tune with Christian from GoodandEvil (one of my most exciting recent discoveries!) that we started the very day we heard about a great loss in our barely intact world of music and entertainment… MJ. michael_jackson_bad_era

So much has been written, spoken and especially fabricated about this one-of-a-kind artist with a capital letter “A”, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be able to tell the difference between what’s true and what’s utterly untrue and false. As I’m typing this blog, Larry King and his colleagues are speculating about the possible reasons as to “why, how and when…” May he R.I.P. – or are we incapable of granting one’s final wish, I wonder?

I never really intended to blog about this, particularly because of the
overwhelming number of articles, blogs and statements issued over the past
couple of weeks, but on the other hand, how can one blame people for not
being able to ignore the life and death of someone as significant in the
world of music, entertainment and our pop culture?

On a lighter note, daily news feeds and airplay updates are coming through
from back home. Yes, “Thinking of Someone Else” has finally been released in
Russia and what is now known as the CIS – the original Dean St. Radio Mix of
“ToSE” hit 179 cities across the former USSR last Friday and is climbing up
the charts. It made me smile when I heard from my Russian representative
yesterday that this very track is one of the highlight new releases
according to the main FM station in… Siberia. I mean, seriously, NY to
Siberia and beyond – is the world shrinking or…?

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The Riffs & Rays Remix is going to hit the radio stations back home within
the next few days, although one of my personal favorite stations in Russia,
Europe + already aired the premiere of the tune on one of its leading
weekend shows, “Euro-Mix” last Saturday night. Hearing the same song on
various European and US stations over the past few months was probably not
as bizarre as listening to it on one of my childhood favorite programs – it
took me way back to my teenage years when I listened to the radio, wrapped
up in bed on a winter night with my earphones and a radio Walkman hidden
away under the blanket WAY past midnight!!!

Wait, wait… “ToSE” is still in the Top 5 on iDance FM… How come?
Requests… Really!!! The good “old school” way.

There’s so much more I’d like to share with you all, but since I’m already
running late for my session with Chris (plus, I daren’t spill the beans just
yet about the rest of my upcoming stuff…) I’ve got to cut right here. And
I promise to keep you posted in the following weeks as the latest projects
and news “in the making” unfold on daily basis. I’m so psyched!

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Pop Music. Funny how this unpretentious, light-hearted term has truly become a phenomenon and has taken over so many of our lives. Some swear by these two words, others consider the very notion of it way beneath them. But so very few of us have been left completely sterile and ignorant of this genre.

Quite ironically, as I flipped through the online pages of Wikipedia (another representative of today’s pop culture – forget Webster’s dictionary – Wiki is the big boss now!), I noticed how Pop Music is not referred to as a set genre, but instead: “music charted by the number of sales, plays, etc. that the work receives. It is not a particular genre or style of music, but simply that which is the most popular for the tracked period of time.” So true, I never looked at it that way.

Another interesting point made by the same source is that in opposition to music that may require education or formation to fully appreciate it, “a defining characteristic of pop music is that anyone is able to enjoy it.”

What about the pop stars? I often wonder how the simple term “singer” has gradually shifted from the very essence of “a music artist” to the pompousness of “a pop icon” and finally has reached an arguably low form of art under a very glittery “pop star” position.

Can’t say too many pop stars worrying about this too much nowadays, but a significant chunk of the album-buying (not the single buyers!) demographic in today’s marketplace have raised the question on a number of occasions. It’s hard to blame them, really, as there are more and more single-oriented records and much less “conceptualized” albums being made these days. How many songs do you really LOVE on an average album you normally buy nowadays? 1? 2? The days of “I love this album, what a work of art” are pretty much over. Itunes has made it a lot easier and much more convenient to operate on these terms – you like one or two songs on an album but aren’t willing to spend 20 bucks on a CD of 12 tracks, 10 of which you don’t really like? No problem. The obvious downsides are probably present, as well, but let’s leave that to the critics…

It is a shame, though, that most artists (not all) have been replaced by what we now call the “pop stars” on a larger scale. Television has certainly helped a great deal, and particularly all the music-oriented reality shows. But can you do? C’est la vie, really.

These afternoon I came across Nickelback’s Rockstar video spoof about “Pop Stars” which is absolutely hilarious, but at the same time, quite sad if you look at it from a realistic standpoint. Funny and all that, no doubt, but the ironic thing is that joking aside, it actually is a very objective synopsis of what’s popular today. It’s pointless feeling distraught and nostalgic about it, what’s done is done and that’s the end of it… For now. I’m constantly surprised – pleasantly surprised – when I witness first-hand the ever-growing “comeback” of real hunger and thirst among average music lovers for REAL music. Not to say that today’s pop hits aren’t very commercial and very catchy – no offense at all – but what ever happened to the days when we were regularly discovering the big shots like Elton John, The Beatles, Aretha, Barbra, The Jacksons….? Revolutionary talent, that is… It’s hard to beat that sort of caliber, isn’t it. Plenty of fabulous one-hit wonders have emerged lately, there’s no denying of that! Great sounding, well-produced, highly addictive commercial successes all around… But what happens a few months down the line, when what was hot last month is no longer the “flavor of the month” today?

I read an interesting interview with the legendary Sir George Martin, often referred to as “the Fifth Beatle”. His take on today’s pop-music scene isn’t all that lovey-dovey, either… “I’ve listened to quite a few records,” Martin said, “but I’m not terribly happy with the current pop music.”

Everything comes in a full circle, though, no doubt it’ll be that way in this case, as well. Just curious to see what will eventually prove to be the final straw that leads on to the new beginning, a brand new starting point of that same old circle.

Interesting times… And remember: what goes around, always comes around πŸ™‚

P.S. Some of you might be wondering right now: “who cares?” And that’s the bottom line, whether we like it or not – some do, others simply don’t! πŸ™‚

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Some of you probably heard about the Euro 2008 soccer semi-final results – Russia got completely swamped by the Spanish team. In fact, they met twice during the tournament, and on both occasions, Spain pretty much outplayed Russia, particularly in the semi finals.

Now, fear not, my friends, this blog isn’t about football (sorry, I should say “soccer”!) but rather about sometimes – only sometimes – actually feeling like you miss being home, in my case, back in Europe.

One of my best friends in Moscow sent me a message on Facebook this morning and we had a brief chat about the Euro 2008 – she couldn’t believe that I missed all of the games, except for the highlights (Russian cable TV made us, the viewers, watch the scored goals a million times over and over again!) – “It’s time you come back home,” she added, jokingly.

And then I realized something…

A lot of my friends – both in Russia and Georgia – have never really approved my moving abroad. Not only because we don’t get to see each other that often (I visited Moscow, where my parents are still based primarily, last September, but believe it or not, I haven’t been in Georgia for… 4 years… shocking!!!) but also due to a simple fact – you’d be surprised how many of my friends and relatives strongly believe that one should live and die in one’s very own homeland. An admirable kind of patriotism, no doubt, and as much as I love and miss both of my homes and the family and friends, I sometimes wonder if I could ever go back for good, having lived away from home for so long now… Should I feel guilty? I’m not even sure if this is good or bad.

Ever since I was a little girl, watching all the Hollywood movies, listening to what we used to then call “The American music” ranging from Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson, Whitney, etc. I had an inexplicably strong urge to one day live in this country and do what I love the most (and have always loved, in fact) here, in USA. A part of this fascination was definitely an offspring of my parents’ ultimate dream for me to live here someday.

When the first group of ex-Soviet people were finally allowed to cross the border into the Western world, my parents came to the States to visit some friends on several occasions, which was pretty much unheard of at the time. So every time they went away for a couple of weeks to the Land of Hope and Dreams, my cousin (it’s weird calling Ketuta my cousin, she’s my sister, for God’s sake – after all, we grew up together!) and I used to mark the days of their absence on our individual calendar as our grandma had suggested to keep us entertained and out of mischief… πŸ™‚ We were rather impossible, particularly when we were plotting the next “disaster” as a duo! πŸ™‚

Back when the Soviet System Collapsed and people were hopeful and excited about the future back home, my dad, was offered a very tempting and creative job in NY with a Green Card, refurbished home, etc. to go with it, and had my mom not insisting on going back to Georgia (“How can we ever leave our home, family, friends???”, she was definitely against it!) I’m sure we would have moved right away. But we stayed back in Tbilisi, and guess what? A year or so later, a civil war broke out! Good timing! πŸ™‚

The next opportunity was also turned down, but this time by none other than yours truly. When I came to New York to perform at the Alan & Marilyn Bergman show several years ago, my agent strongly suggested – no, he actually insisted – that I stay in the US and pursue my career here, except not in the pop world but on Broadway, instead. Because of all sorts of reasons, I declined the tempting offer and stubbornly made it clear that I wanted to live in London and that was it.

Well, I did move to London some time later, and I have to say I never ever regretted the teenage decision, although deep down, I always had a quiet urge to one day move here, to America, but this time on my own terms. How was it different from the previous offer? It was actually a great offer, now that I look back on it, but somehow I didn’t feel prepared at the time and don’t ask why – who knows! Immaturity being one of the issues, for sure πŸ™‚

So when I think about the struggle and a long path that perhaps could have been easier and shorter, after all, under different circumstances, I don’t for a second want to go back and leave all of this behind, especially being half way “there”, it would mean betraying myself in many ways. And as much as I love and miss my friends back home, there’s a constant will power and a passion for what I do and why I do what I love in a country that was always an ultimate dream destination for me – and there’s no way I could let it go. Those of you who had to make that journey at one point will surely understand what this is all about…

I don’t think I’d be so passionate and so madly in love with all of this had it dropped on my lap too easily and too quickly… Doubt it.

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