Rockstars, Singer/Songwriters and Inspirational Music

60yearssocial_annmargretI remember going to a U2 concert in Southern France many years ago. Somehow I worked my way up towards the front of the muddy mosh pit. I could almost see Bono’s sweat drip off of his amazing face. WOW! The tour was ‘The Joshua Tree’ album. This was the beginning of my love for rockstars. I would then fall for Robert Smith of ‘The Cure’. Songs like ‘Pictures of You’ from ‘Disintegration’ pulled me into a beautiful reverie and I thus became an official poet.

Kate Bush soon crept into my favorite box. Although she is/was not really a rocker, she was this incredible artist who shook me to the core. From ‘The Dreaming’ to ‘The Sensual World’, I was completely hooked. Her song ‘Lily’ intrigued me in terms of the seeming witchcraft she used. ‘You’re the One’ was so beautiful as many of her songs. I think I related to the crazy love she felt for her beloved. After listening to her for a few years, I begin singing. But, I would only sing when I was alone, I never dreamed of singing to anyone else. That would come years later.

Ozzy Osbourne came into my awareness also around the late 80’s. He was such a different style than Kate or Bono (Robert Smith kinda fit in though… ). I could not really put myself into a box in terms of ‘rocker’, ‘goth chick’ or ‘folkster’. I think I fell in love with it all. ‘Diary of a Madman’ was now an anthem to me. Unfortunately, I was a troubled teen and I tried to kill myself while listening to the music. I really don’t think the music had much to do with it. It was just a reflection of a sadness I felt inside. I still love Ozzy, I think he is a genius and his music will live on forever.

Fast forward to Tori Amos… instant love! I think it was the piano and ethereal voice that drew me in as it also reminded me a little bit of Kate. She is so unusual and her lyrical content is so wild. The song ‘Little Earthquakes’ from the album with the same name blew me away. I think it’s her voice too that just communicates passion like no other.

Then came a short stint with PJ Harvey. Her voice alone can catapult one into ecstasy or pain depending on the song…

These are just a few of the artists that got me started writing and singing. Now I have done a complete 360 degree turn in my mind and I write inspirational music. I think all of the darkness shot me into the light.

Please come and visit me at: http://andrealanemusic.com

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Techno Artists & Music

best-detroit-techno-groups-and-artists-u1Techno Music was created in Detroit, Michigan in the mid 1980s. It has an emphasis on rhythm while utilizing the best of advancements in music technology and music production. Techno is sometimes an instrumental genre and is usually discovered via DJ mixes, club nights and festivals. Some ingredients used are drum machines such as TR-808, TR-909, synthesizers, field recordings and sampling.

The main styles I would say that are the biggest influence on my music are as follows:

Detroit Techno

Detroit Techno is a subdivision of the techno genre which generally includes some of the earliest techno productions from Detroit. Detroit techno had its largest audience in the Atlantic. Some of the most common techno music artists include Underground Resistance, Mike Banks, Blake Baxter, Kevin Saunderson, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes and Juan Atkins. Some of these artists used whatever technology they had in their reach and initiated music with epic synth sounds and engaging driving grooves. I could never list a top ten of tracks from this genre as it changes all the time, but a personal favourite label was always the Red Planet series. This label seen some fantastic releases in the mid-90s. I witnessed both Ghostdancer and Stardancer in particular causing some serious mayhem when played out in clubs.

Dub Techno

Another famous sub category of the techno genre, dub techno is quite distinctively un-show-y, doesn’t try to wow or stun and is never overreaching. I could probably put the dub techno sound alone being the reason I wanted to produce techno music. Nothing more do enjoy still to this day is generating those lush minor chords on a synth then washing them with reverb and delay. I could spend hours applying the filters and tweaking the sound to death. The fact that this style of techno is able to stun and wow the listeners, is a testament to the strength of its subtlety. Dub techno is a work of structural, architectural and musical genius in my opinion. It is unquestioning, placid and deeply soothing. My favourite dub techno artists without a doubt goes is Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, sometimes known as Basic Channel. My all-time favourite dub techno track has to be Maurizo – Domina which holds special memories from Glasgow’s famous Arches, sadly no more, where I heard it at the regular Friday night event held by Slam.

Scottish Techno

So where did I discover this music? Right on my door step. As previously mentioned through the early to mid-90s I had the pleasure of being a regular attender of Glasgow’s famous night club “The Arches”. Hosted on a Friday night for many moons by legendary Techno duo Slam. They would serve up a mixture of these varieties of techno to welcoming, knowledgeable crowd every week. They too influenced by the sounds of Detroit and dub techno, among others, introduced me to these styles and I was hooked for life. As a lifelong fan of their label, Soma Records, I followed their releases and many of the artists they have. Funk D’Void has also been another firm favourite with his ability to turn has hand to many different styles of techno, more often than not bringing more melodic and emotional elements to a track. Check his aptly named Emotional Content track and you will get the picture.

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What Is Spiritual Music?

imagesI grew up with barbershop quartet music in the house. My mom is an incredible singer and at the time had been a member of the Sweet Adeline Chorus. They also had quartets and they would compete a few times a year. If you know anything about this style of music, it is very unique with old school songs and amazing harmonies. The problem was that at 13 years old, I hated it! I promised myself that I would never sing or make music of any kind. Go figure, because years later that’s exactly what I did. But, being a rock n roll spiritual singer was definitely not being in barbershop quartets.

I fell into inspirational/spiritual music after a long stint with numerous rock n roll/ pop bands. They were all fun but most of the time the audience had no idea what I was singing about because the drums were too loud! Aha! I was singing darker lyrics about relationships gone wrong. Ah, the mystery, or not, of failed relationships. After actively following a spiritual path and doing the inner work required to evolve, I met the man of my dreams and the sad love songs stopped. But with this new found joy and inner peace came new songs of hope and love. I began writing from a sense of ‘life can be better’ and ‘how can I serve humanity’? I asked myself hard questions like what do I stand for? What is my life purpose? What is the vision for my life? Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, my guru, has assisted me exponentially with these questions. Being an avid follower of his message and attending service at The Agape International Spiritual Center has been key to most of my recent transformation.

Well, I can tell you that now I’m living a life of freedom. The message in my music is encoded with freedom, joy, transformation and evolution. It is for the people who actively want to know how to be their best self and how they can live their dreams. I call it spiritual music or even inspirational music. For me this kind of music involves meditating on my highest potential and channeling the messages forward into sound and word. My intention is to inspire the listener to a point where they can no longer ignore their purpose and true calling. This is out of the comfort zone for some people. I understand… but why are we really here? Why are we living these dynamic lives that we lead? There are answers and usually they are found within the person asking the questions.

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The Basic Tricks When Learning the Piano

When you are learning the piano for the first time, it may seem a little hard to understand all the terminology. From scales to chords, it may seem almost overwhelming since most people just need to know some basic stuff and they’ll be playing piano in no time.

However, there are some tricks when learning the piano that can help you:

* Learn your music theory:

I’m sure you weren’t expecting this one. Learning theory when you just want to sit on the bench in front of the piano and start playing? Well, only by understanding some of the theory you will be able to evolve and become a better pianist. You don’t have to dig it all in, but knowing some of the theory will help you play any music you want.

* Listen to a lot of piano music:

When you are learning the piano, you have to train different things. You train your eyes to read, you train each one of your hands to play the piano, but you also need to train your ear. You need to be able to identify the notes that are being played.

What you can do, for example, is to get a piano music CD and just listening to it. You can start by trying to identify the notes. As soon as you evolve, you can try to identify chord patterns and intervals.

When you do this the first time, you might be able to identify only a couple of notes. But as time goes by, and you’re developing your hearing, you’ll start identifying more notes, the chords, and the intervals.

* Don’t try to learn the whole song at once:

Just like when you’re listening to the CD, you need to take it easy. You won’t figure it out all at once. Take time to learn the song you want to play and try to play it. You can even break it into small sections so it may become easier for you.

Again, it’s a matter of practicing.

* Learn your scales but don’t get obsessed by them:

Scales and theory go hand-in-hand. Scales will help both your fingers know the piano as well as you’ll have more dexterity. However, don’t make the scales be a huge priority. Yes, you need to practice them every day but they can serve as a warm-up before you start playing the piano. You can be sure that is perfectly normal if you get them wrong a couple of times. As you improve, your scales will improve as well.

Make sure that you start playing your scales slowly at first. With time, you’ll get faster. The important thing is to keep practicing.

There are mainly two kinds of pianists: those who play by ear and those who play by sight. But no matter of which pianist you want to be, all these tricks can and should be used.

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