John Macpherson

Ah, the power of technology 🙂 I came across this 19 year old singer / songwriter from Ontario, Canada on Twitter (please go follow me @accompanykike! and him @johnmacmusic) and liked what I heard so I’m glad that I was able to get an interview with him! This is my second artist interview but what’s even more exciting is that it’s my first ever video interview – and also his first blog feature! Meet John Macpherson below, and as an extra special treat check out the exclusive release of his brand new song “The Faster I Fall” (my FAVORITE of his) just for us – before it’s even recorded yet! Having already built quite a following for himself in Canada, I’m definitely sensing that we have a potential teen heartthrob on our hands 🙂

Again, I want to reinforce the power of technology here & reiterate that I met John Macpherson on Twitter. So if you’re an up & coming artist trying to get some more exposure, please follow me on Twitter @accompanykike & I would love to feature you too if I like what I hear!

Well that’s John Macpherson for you! Take a listen to his recorded singles below as well as the interview transcript if you weren’t able to watch it above, and be sure to check back for his forthcoming EP! (Note to John: Please record “The Faster I Fall” ASAP so I can put it on my ipod!! lol)

Kike: For those who are just being introduced to you, how would you describe yourself & your music?
John: I’d say it draws from a wide variety of influences but I think it’s something very human & real, something people can relate to. I’m not talking about the club or throwing my hands in the air because life isn’t like that. I know what I want to hear in music and I think some people want to latch onto those things that are real and human that you can understand.

Kike: What makes your music different from the music that’s currently out there?
John: I think anything that’s from my perspective, like if you write your own songs and sing them, they’re going to be different because it’s just your way of seeing the world. You see a situation in a different way than another songwriter would see it and it’s just your lens that you look through.

Kike: When did you discover you had a talent for singing & songwriting, and how long have you been doing so?
John: Well, actually I was around 10 years old and it’s kind of embarrassing but I was always inspired by boy bands at a young age, like I just wanted to be up on stage. I loved microphones and always liked the technology so I wanted to just sing in a microphone. But I actually started off kind of rough – I mumbled, I couldn’t really sing – I wasn’t one of those kids who was amazing at 10 but I just worked at it & got a guitar & tried to write my songs ever since I could play a few chords & that’s been about it.

Kike: Do you remember the first song you ever sang?
John: I think the first song I ever sang that I can remember publicly was “Time of Your Life” by Green Day. It was at a graduation & I was about 12 years old. Back then I was probably just so excited that they let me up on stage – when you’re young you don’t really have those self-conscious things as much, it’s funny.

Kike: Who are your musical influences?
John: Modern day I’m really into good singer / songwriters like Ed Sheeran – I know he’s a big one I’ve been listening to lately for contemporary, he’s really good. There’s always the classics like Bob Dylan & The Doors were always my favorite band. And then guys like John Mayer for more current. So I kind of like a mix of everything, just whatever’s good writing. And even dance music, I don’t mind deadmau5 stuff like that, underground dubstep stuff, I’m pretty much open to anything as long as it’s good.

Kike: Since you’re so young, are you currently pursuing music full-time, or are you also in school?
John: Right now I’ve just been working and recording but I’m looking into a few things like school & other things to keep my options open to a few paths but still including music in everything.

Kike: What projects are you currently working on? I know you’ve already put out a few singles, but do you have any plans to release an EP or debut album soon?
John: Yeah, right now I’ve started on an EP & it’s kind of exciting. I like the songs I’ve written for it and it’s kind of cool – it’s a bit of finding myself & my direction. It’s really acoustic based & really raw & real, just to hear my voice & hear my songwriting with not too much flash – just real up close & personal.

Kike: Have you had the chance to perform live in Ontario yet?
John: Yeah definitely, I’ve done quite a few when I was younger like random coffee shops & events & getting up at shows and putting on shows, opening for people, playing small festivals, things like that. Even musical theater, just any way to get up on stage – so I’ve had a bit of experience with that.

Kike: What’s your favorite part about performing for a live audience?
John: I just like the unexpected nature – like anything can happen. People can yell something out, people make requests, you just come up with things on the fly & that’s really fun. Instead of just freezing up, it’s really fun to just roll with it & see where it goes. You never know what’s going to happen – the sound could cut out, something could happen but just rolling with it and just having that energy with people and that feedback.

Kike: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be?
John: First of all, I’d probably say Toronto at the SkyDome because it’s close to my hometown, it’s like the big city in Canada so it’d be awesome to play a sold out show there.

Kike: If you could open for anybody in the world, who would it be?
John: That’s such a tough question – I think probably a Taylor Swift tour would be cool because she’s cute & she has a good audience there. That’d be awesome, I think that would be fun.

Kike: Who do you want your music to reach?
John: I’ve always said this, I just want it to reach whoever needs it and whoever can use it. It doesn’t matter how big or small your following is – if you write something that can reach somebody & they say “You wrote my story” or “Your song is the exact experience I went through,” I think that’s the cool part. Even if it reaches one person, that just makes me happy to have that. Maybe you don’t know why you wrote a certain song or the reason behind it, but maybe the reason was to reach them & that’s kind of a cool thing when you can write your own story but also write other people’s stories in a way they may have not been able to express. It’s always cool if you can soundtrack a moment. I’ve always found music so much better in context – you hear a song on the radio & you might not like it at first, but then it plays at a certain moment & you’re like, “Oh, I get it now, it just fits.” It fits your life in a way, so that’s what I’d like to do for people.

Kike: Who’s the one person you would love to hear your music? This can be a famous person but doesn’t have to be.
John: Honestly, somebody going through a hard time, like I said, people who need it. But it’d be pretty cool if Neil Young or Bob Dylan or [now deceased] Elliott Smith & Jeff Buckley – singer / songwriters that I really love – it’d be really cool to write with them or to have them hear it. Pretty much my idols, but everyday people too, that would mean the same to me.

Kike: Is there anything else you’d like to tell the world about yourself?
John: I’m a Virgo, currently single, vegetarian for a little while now. Check out youtube.com/johnmacmusic to see some videos – I don’t know, I’m just a quiet kind of guy I guess. I use music to say intricate things or what’s on my mind but I’m just pretty quiet & easygoing.

Ed Sheeran…A Little Acoustic Folk for Ya

Ok, so I’ve been meaning to write about this guy for months so I know again I’m SUPER late but I just need him to be on my record as well.

To make a long story short, I think his music is BEAUTIFUL. Perfectly quiet, introspective & chill, but brace your heartstrings because this is gonna get pretty emo! Lol but anyway, I am so happy this guy exists to make music for people like me to LOVE & enjoy. I love how you can hear his accent peek through a little bit when he sings :)…This is perfect material to use on one of those teen / young adult drama shows, it would fit in perfectly & I think would make a killing!

Take a listen to his album, +, below if you have Spotify & check out my personal favorites (although I really think the album as a whole is awesome) right beforehand. Hope you enjoy!

Favorites

  • The A Team” – Deep, deep, deep dark lyrics that kind of catch you by surprise against the song’s melody. And I love how passionate his voice gets when he sings, “She don’t wanna go outside tonight…” Please actually check out the video if you get a chance, I think it’s a really awesome way of addressing such a real & disturbing issue.
  • Drunk” – Going pretty far to the emo side now lol, but I really just like the intro instrumentals for this one (& think the video is kinda hilarious in a pretty sad way…haha)
  • Grade 8” – Nice little upbeat contrast to the rest of the album
  • Small Bump” – Disclaimer: Another really emo one! Haha…but again, talking about some deep / real stuff.
  • Lego House” – This guy has such an interesting & hilarious sense of humor to me…do you recognize the star of the video? LOL
  • You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” – Listen to that beatboxing! Very reminiscent of Jason Mraz to me…
  • Give Me Love” – My absolute, #1 favorite on the entire album, from those beautiful calm strings at the beginning to the passion you can clearly hear gradually building in his voice again. You’ll get a nice hidden track thrown in there too.

Annd…just because I love this song so much…here’s another live version…I love how he starts live looping around 4:05 🙂

New Discoveries: October 2012

Hi everyone!

Here are my favorite songs that I’ve just discovered in October (as usual, I know I’m late on some of them lol). Full Spotify playlist below & YouTube links for those who don’t have Spotify 🙂

Hello Mello

  • Let Me Be Him” – Hot Chip
  • Running” – Jessie Ware (kinda reminds me of a cross between Goapele & Kimbra…?)
  • Night Light” – Jessie Ware (love those slightly ominous strings in this song, & such an artistic video! Love the modern / lyrical dancing which I could never master lol)
  • Pink Blue Hotel” – Loopless
  • At The River” – Groove Armada (so late on this one it’s pretty embarrassing)
  • My Friend” – Groove Armada (late on this too, but do you recognize the original basis for the vocals? Here’s a hint…)
  • Fly Me To The Moon” – Groove Armada (I love this slightly soulful instrumental version of the classic made popular by Frank Sinatra :))
  • New Life (Perseus Edit)” – Jeremy Glenn

Simply Smooth (R&B)

  • Where’s The Fun In Forever” – Miguel (do you hear Alicia back there?)
  • The Only One” – Stacy Barthe (ok, so I know I’m SUPER late on her, but I seriously LOVE this woman’s music! I knew she sounded familiar…)
  • Cold Hands Warm Heart” – Rudy Currence (HANDS DOWN my FAVORITE on this list!! I could literally listen to this on repeat…all the time…lol)
  • You Are My World” – R. Kelly (ummm…he is CLEARLY channeling MJ in this song. Those ad-libs at the end are almost IDENTICAL to MJ’s ad-libs in “Remember the Time“…it’s amazing how well R. Kelly is able to imitate him! After further research it actually seems like this was originally recorded as a demo for MJ that he never released…totally makes sense lol)

Dance Dance!

Rock On Mayne

  • Hold On You” – Ponderosa (pretty late on this too, but really feeling the Southern Rock-Soul in this song)

Let’s Get a Little Classy (Classical)

  • Prelude” – Muse (so taken out of context because Muse is not at all a classical group lol…but I just think this song is so beautiful, like it could be used in a ballet! This could also be totally unoriginal to Muse so if it’s “stolen” from an original classical piece please let me know lol)

Hope you enjoy until next time!

Brandy is Back

After four years and a brief stint as Bran’Nu, Brandy is back with her 6th and most recent studio album Two Eleven, released on October 12, 2012. I had a chance to listen and compare to her previous albums (I admit I hadn’t listened to a full Brandy album since Full Moon…) and here are my thoughts:

Overall I thought the album as a whole was actually quite similar to Full Moon. Originally I was kind of disappointed, thinking that Brandy hadn’t really diversified her sound since her last album, but then I realized she had 2 albums in between that I hadn’t listened to yet 🙂 Having now listened to Afrodisiac and Human Nature, I definitely see a pretty large difference between all 4 of her most recent albums. However, this latest one still reminds me of the heavy electronic influences that Darkchild brought to the majority of Full Moon (which is interesting considering Brandy’s split with him to work with a diverse group of producers after the their experience with Human).

My highlights / favorites on the album (as well as the full thing on Spotify) are below, hope you enjoy!

Favorites:

  • Put It Down” – Well since it was the lead single, I’ll start with it first. I thought this was such a nice reintroduction to Brandy (I didn’t even realize it was her when I first heard it)! And Chris Breezy was a welcome addition in my opinion 🙂 That heavy bass line is kind of addictive to me and the two of them are so cute in the video!
  • Do You Know What You Have” – Definitely one of my top three on this album. This is that classic 90’s R&B that I LOVE…and this sounds like the older-school Brandy that I remember & love.
  • Wish Your Love Away” – Pretty sad, but I think her lower range flows across those beats really well.
  • Paint this House” – This track DEFINITELY makes my top three on this album too. I love the combination of her soft relaxing background vocals with the ambient foundation of the song…I could listen to it all night!
  • Music” – I think this is a pretty cute piece & I really like the lyrics and smooth easy beat, it also for some reason feels like to me like it could have fit very well on her first album 🙂

Secondary Favorites:

  • Wildest Dreams” – Second single & for some reason I think it’s very well placed as the first full song on the album.
  • Without You” – I think this one actually showcases her range pretty well.
  • Hardly Breathing” – Kinda reminds me of Breezy & Jordin Sparks “No Air” (don’t play me, I LOVE that song & am not ashamed to say so haha)
  • Scared of Beautiful” – I think this is a beautifully written piece very characteristic of emotional & introspective Frank Ocean, although it’s not my favorite instrumentally…

And just as a last note, the Intro / Outro sound to me like they could be used on a dramatic BET commercial…maybe she should license it to them & get some royalties!

5 Videos for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!! If you’re on the East Coast and in the path of Frankenstorm Sandy, I hope you’re all safe!! But if you’re stuck inside like most people I know over here, hopefully these videos will help you pass at least some time and bring back some entertaining Halloween memories…

5. Backstreet Boys “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
LOL I had to do it!! Hahahaha…don’t tell me y’all didn’t jam to this song back in the day?!

4. Missy Elliott “Get Ur Freak On”
Ummm…this video was pretty weird right?? I was always pretty freaked out when her head snaked off like that lol…

3. Michael Jackson “Ghost”
MJ always had such an interesting affinity to ghosts, monsters, zombies & the like…I love it when that skeleton starts GETTING IT like MJ!! Haha

2. Busta Rhymes “Gimme Some More”
This video always scared me so much!! And it didn’t help that it sampled the theme from Psycho…but I always loved this song 🙂

1. Michael Jackson “Thriller”
Of course no surprise here, one of the most GENIUS & influential videos from the King of Pop himself!

So, what are your other favorite scary / videos songs that I missed??

For the Lover in You – Top 10 R&B Proposal Songs

Second freelance post is published! Preview below & the link for the rest 🙂

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s been engagement season for about the past 2 years. I’m thinking it’s because it was at that time when many of my friends began to approach the mid-twenties stage during which we supposedly try to start getting our lives together, including thinking about the future and who we want to spend it with.

So for those of you who are in this boat and perhaps thinking about popping that big question (or if you’re just in the mood to hear some good old-fashioned R&B love songs), here’s a list that may inspire you. Some are tried & true and some may kind of surprise you, but hopefully you’ll enjoy this list of the Top 10 R&B Proposal Songs.

Glooorious

So Martha Munizzi was a guest worship leader at the church I visited in Brooklyn (Christian Cultural Center) last weekend, and she performed this song that I heard for the first time, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since! Just can’t help but want to dance & groove along with this piece that I think is amazing both musically and lyrically (Lyrics below the video) – The music essentially makes you want to do what the lyrics are saying! 🙂 That background harmony that comes in around 2:52 is especially killer to me…Enjoy!!

Glorious Lyrics

[Verse:]
When you come into His presence,
lifting up the name of Jesus
and you hear the music playin’
and you see the people praising;
just forget about your worries,
let your troubles fall behind you,
don’t you wait another minute,
just get up and on your feet and…

[Chorus 1:]
Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping,
get to shouting, make it loud, and make it glorious.
Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising,
get to shouting, make it loud,
and make His praise glorious, glorious.

[Verse]

[Chorus 2:]
Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping,
get to shouting, make it loud, and make it glorious.
Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising,
get to shouting, make it loud,
and make His praise…

Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping,
get to shouting, make it loud, and make it glorious.
Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising,
get to shouting, make it loud,
and make His praise glorious, glorious.

[Vamp:]
I was created to make Your praise glorious.
I was created to make Your praise glorious, glorious,
Yes, I was, yes, I was.

[Ending:]
I was created to make Your praise glorious.