Is FaceNation the new improved MySpace for music?

Mylinks_facebook Mylinks_tunepak

Mylinks_join_mailing_list Mylinks_shows

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Should Delta Have Done It?

Hi there,
Did you watch the ARIAs on Sunday Night? Aussie pop singer Delta Goodrem performed a cover of 'The Day You Went Away' made famous by Wendy Matthews. Some people weren't happy! Wendy's version is beloved of the Aussie people, so it's pretty hard to beat. Is it one of those perfect pop songs that just shouldn't be touched?

Look I know I do go on about covers, ie 'other people's songs'. Let's face it, singing covers is how I make my living (weddings, parties, anything?) but it's more than that. I think there can be a lot of creativity in interpretation. You know Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley never wrote any of their own songs, but wow did they make other people's songs their own. But it can also be a minefield. People have connections to songs they love and don't always appreciate other folks messing with that!

Now just to be clear, there are 'cover bands', like Top 40 party bands or perhaps the band you might have at your wedding, then there are artists who perform covers. Please check out Thirsty Merc's version of Rihanna's 'Umbrella'. Just amazing and very different from RiRi's world famous version. Maybe this kind of thing could be called an 'original' cover.

If I think about what my own musical style is, I see it as being made up of a lot of the music I absorbed growing up (I'm still growing up!). Take a pinch of 80's synth pop, add a generous dash of ABBA, lightly spoon in some Madonna, don't forget to pour in at least a cup of Goldfrapp, and then sprinkle some Ella Fitzgerald over the top...and blend. Sometimes I can't resist going direct to the source of my musical love, but rather than trying to reproduce a song I adore, I might give it a go with a twist. Maybe if Delta had performed that song more differently to the original, it would have received a better reaction? 

I attempted to do my own original covers (with the brilliant arranging assistance of Simon Morel) last week at my (mostly original) gig at Kings Cross' El Rocco. Here are some videos. Let's hope you don't need to ask yourself: 'Has Mandy murdered it?'!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time to Pop the Cherry

Hi there,

I find it pretty intimidating playing brand new songs to someone for the first time. It’s one week until my first original gig of the year – where I’ve committed to perform some brand new songs destined for Album no 3...

It was a bit easier for me in the past when I mostly co-wrote songs. Like a trouble shared is a trouble halved, so the blame for a dodgy verse structure or naff lyric is not entirely your fault when more than one person has authored a song. This time, as part of the whole ‘do something that scares you’ routine, I’ve decide to write the whole bloody album by myself. The audience at Lizotte’s next week won’t hear entirely virginal songs, however – they will have been heard first, of course, by my fabulous accompanist.

I thought I’d try to make his job easier by recording rough demos of the songs I’ve written so far. A bit of midi drums and even a bass line, to give him the vibe man.  After his first listen (while I watched my knuckles turn white in another room), he said he didn’t ‘quite get’ one of the new tunes. But that one is supposed to be my Goldfrapp-esque dancefloor hit! He said it sounded like monkeys had played the drums in the opening. Things took a turn for the even worse when he started talking about my show tune. SHOW TUNE!? Oh you mean the sultry tear-jerking blues number? Oh dear. Things thankfully did improve when the songs were stripped back to the vocals and chords and his arranging skills were added on top.  Percussion-loving simians have now been banished and Minnelli-like melodrama has melted away.

Note to self: do not under any circumstances attempt to be a music producer. Don’t give up your night job!