Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’, we are going to discuss Dylan Gardner, an INCREDIBLE singer/songwriter/producer, who is on his way to taking the music industry by storm! Dylan is from San Tan Valley, Arizona, and according to his website’s bio, “…has spent the last 10 years of his life obsessed with the art of songwriting…”. The bio also says that Dylan is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, and Pro-Tools producer (doesn’t this guy make you feel like you’ve wasted your life on Netflix…yeah me too). In 2013, he was signed to Big Deal Music Publishing, and recorded his debut album ‘Adventures in Real Time’, which was co-produced with John Dragonetti of the indie rock band ‘The Submarines’. So please read on to see why Dylan Gardner’s music is what you should be thankful for this year.
Dylan uploaded the first video (a cover of the entire second side of The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ album, with each song performed in 15 second intervals) on his YouTube channel on April 9th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfb4BuTL1A&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g). I really enjoyed this cover because it was creative (I mean who else would think to cover an entire side of an album), and it really showed what an incredible musician he is. In this video we got to not only see Dylan sing, but also play numerous instruments such as: the piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and ukulele. The cover really flowed well, and felt like one big song of Beatles awesomeness. The next video we are going to discuss is Dylan’s cover of Vampire Weekend’s song ‘Diane Young’, which was uploaded on June 18th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZrfTd_7p1s&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g&index=6). This was a really cool cover because it kept the vibe of the original song, but also added a special energy that Dylan’s fans have come to love. Another thing that I really liked about this cover is that it was an acoustic cover that Dylan performed live in his bedroom. This felt really special, because it takes you back to when your favorite YouTube artists would make similar covers in their rooms. This cover definitely holds a nostalgic vibe because of this, which just adds another layer of cool to this video. Next up we have Dylan’s mash-up of alternative rock band Ben Folds Five songs, which was uploaded on June 25th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EaUF95V2Hk&index=5&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g). This is definitely one of my favorite covers that Dylan has done (even though that’s sort of hard to say because their all awesome). What makes this cover stand out a bit, is the fact that he performs a mash-up of snippets of Ben Folds Five songs, that start with different letters of the alphabet (by the end he’s covered songs that have titles ranging from A-Z). I just found this idea to be not only very creative and cool, but it also shows the type of meticulous dedication Dylan has in his work when it comes to his craft. I can’t imagine how long it took to find the songs, arrange them so they sound like one big song, learn to play the music on the piano, and then actually film it. This video should make us all really excited, because if Dylan puts this much hard work into a cover video, imagine how much hard work and creativity he puts into his own music! The last video that we are going to discuss is his ‘Let’s Get Started (through the Decades)’ video, which was uploaded on July 7th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FL_6s6U0b4&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g&index=4). I decided to add this as a bonus video on this blog post, because it was just too awesome to leave out. The video plays the first 1min 40sec of his debut single ‘Let’s Get Started’ (off of his debut album ‘Adventures In Real Time’, which we talk more about in the section below). The song is divided into 9 sections, and each section shows the sing performed in the style of a different decade of music, ranging from the 1930s-2014. I LOVE this idea so much I honestly can’t even tell you guys how much! I have never seen a video like this, and it’s definitely a really fun promo piece for the single, and shows that no matter what style of music it’s performed in, ‘Let’s Get Started’ is a great song. This video also cements the fact that Dylan is a very creative and talented musician, and makes me REALLY excited to see what he releases in the future.
The first song off of Dylan’s debut album that we’re gonna talk about is the lead single ‘Let Get Started’ (you can see the official music video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-ZvVm2d5a8). I think that this was an excellent choice to kick off Dylan’s career, because the song is fun, upbeat, and incredibly infectious. It has a very indie rock vibe, and will definitely have you singing along and dancing. I am honestly so obsessed with this song that I have had it on repeat ever since I first heard it (I promise you’ll feel the same way once you hear it!). Honestly this song does everything a good lead single is suppose to do, it brings the audience in and leaves you excited to see what else is on the album. I definitely give this song 5 smiley faces (because smiley faces are more fun than stars). Next up we’re going to discuss another AMAZING song on this album called, ‘Heroes Tonight’. This song has a very Coldplay meets The Lumineers kind of feel, that I think will quickly become a fan favorite. The song has a very “young and free” vibe to it that makes it the perfect song to jam out to in the car, listen to while you’re working out, or have a hairbrush karaoke session to (release that inner rock star people of the Internet!). The final song that we’re going to talk about is the song ‘With a Kiss’. I really love the lyrics in this song, because they really show off Dylan’s talents as a storyteller. One of my fav lines has to be in the hook when he says, “Love’s just a life, we all start with a kiss”, this simple sentence perfectly sums up every love story we’ve ever heard, and is a really interesting take on the classic love song. Although I wish I could have reviewed all of the songs on this album (because they’re all awesome), I picked 3 that I felt really showed off Dylan abilities as a singer/songwriter & producer. I would definitely suggest that you all check out the entire album, because all of the songs will blow you away.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s Monday Memos I am going to introduce y’all to an AMAZING new band whose music is so infectious and fun, that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. As the summer time rapidly approaches, your playlists definitely need a high energy boost, with music that will serve as the perfect backtrack to all of your favorite summer memories. I’ve always thought that the perfect song, by the perfect band, can make a moment truly unforgettable, and with this band you will definitely have fun summer memories to look back on. Who is this band? Well listen close, because you WILL be hearing this band’s name in the future. People of the internet, please allow me to introduce you to Animal Fiction!!! Now please read on to learn about why you will quickly become obsessed with this phenomenal new band.
Animal Fiction is a three piece indie pop band from Los Angeles, CA that consists of Eben Wares, Julian Walker, and Cameron Walker. Cameron Walker should be particularly recognizable by music lovers, due to his work as a touring member of the alternative pop band ‘The Ready Set’ and the indie band ‘1985’. He has also worked as a songwriter for Showtime, NBC, Nickelodeon, Disney, ESPN, and ABC. On February 18th, 2014, Animal Fiction released their debut self-titled EP. The EP includes 5 AMAZING songs that are upbeat and perfect summer tracks (think Foster the People meets Vampire Weekend).The subjects of the tracks talk about subjects like: breaking away from the norm and having an adventure, falling in love, and enjoying the freedom of being young. I really love that these songs are energetic and make you want to dance. Also, the sound of the EP is not only radio friendly (and trust me you will hear this band’s music on the radio VERY soon) but also contains a very unique sound that is instantly recognizable. It’s perfect for the upcoming summer season, and is a MUST on any and all playlists (so go to ITunes and get a copy…well finish reading the rest of the blog and then go…trust me, it’s worth the wait).
Animal Fiction’s newest song ‘Walk In The Sunshine’ (which is not included in their debut EP here’s the link so you can check it out Walk In The Sunshine) is another track that I am really excited about. This song is about having fun, being young, and enjoying life. This track shows that Animal Fiction has truly found their sound, and is becoming comfortable within it. I think that this song really shows a growth for the band, as artists, and their ability to craft and perform songs with catchy lyrics and infectious hooks. It can be very difficult for a band to create a sound that will help them have an immediate impactful debut, but Animal Fiction makes this task seem easy with ‘Walk In The Sunshine’. If this song is any indication of the direction that ‘Animal Fiction’ is heading with their music, then I am very excited for what’s ahead for them. I could easily see this song as a crowd favorite at a concert, and would be excited to see how Animal Fiction would visually show this song in a music video or concert setting. This track definitely solidifies the fact that Animal Fiction is a band to watch, and I think that it’s only a matter of time when everyone is blasting ‘Walk In The Sunshine’, and Animal Fiction’s other songs from their car radios.
So are you excited now?!? You definitely should be! I HIGHLY suggest that you check out Animal Fiction, and keep an ear open for all of the amazing new music they have in store. Whether you’re going on a road trip, hanging out by the pool/beach, or going to an awesome party, this is one band that you will NEED to have on repeat. So what are you waiting for!?! You know you want to check them out! Also, make sure you support Animal Fiction by purchasing their EP, checking out their music video for ‘Everyday is New’ (here’s a link to the AMAZING music video Everyday is New), listening to ‘Walk In The Sunshine’, and staying up to date with the band on all of their social media accounts.
Keep in touch with Animal Fiction!!!
Animal Fiction’s Facebook: AnimalFictionOfficial
Cameron Walker’s Facebook: CameronWalkerOfficial
Cameron Walker’s Twitter: cameronwalker
Ok, last night (March 2, 2014) the Oscars aired, and it was a night full of fun, jokes, exciting musical performances, and A LOT of amazing film stars. Due to the amazing films that were nominated, the musical performances that were booked, and the humor and wit that always follows Ellen Degeneres (the host this year), it was easy to predict that the show would be amazing! So if you missed the show last night, or just want to review all of the amazing moments, then keep reading! Ready? Let’s get started!
This year’s Oscars were hosted by actress/comedian/talk show host Ellen Degeneres. Ellen emerged on stage in a really cool black velvet suit, which instantly made her stand out from the rest of the celebrities. She began her opening monologue by stated that “it’s been a tough time for us [in California]…it’s been raining…thank you for your prayers”. She then spoke about how movies inspire important things like, “love, family, and friends…and if you don’t have these things, then you end up in this [show] business”. Ellen then compared the Oscars to the film the ‘Hunger Games’ by stating that, “everyone’s hungry…and Jennifer Lawrence wins everything”. She then made fun of Jennifer Lawrence’s infamous falls at the Oscars last year and this year and stated, “If Jennifer Lawrence wins again, we will bring her hers [award]…” Ellen certainly brought numerous other hilariously memorable moments throughout the night. One such moment was Ellen’s now famous group selfie with numerous stars such as: Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Channing Tatum, among others. This picture instantly went viral, and actually shut down the social networking site Twitter for several minutes, making it a true historical event. At point Ellen continued the selfie mania by taking a photo of her reaction to how large the crowd was, and then jokingly placing emphasis on stating that she would be tagging the photo, “#selfie, #blessed”. At one point in the show, Ellen came out dressed in an all white suit, then looked at herself and stated, “oh new clothes!”. Another one of Ellen’s funniest moments came when she appeared on stage as ‘Glinda the Good Witch’, after P!nk’s rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as part of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ tribute. Upon “realizing” that she “missed” the tribute, Ellen said, “Guys that’s not cool!”, “you always had the power…oh never mind…”. However, the finniest moment of the night had to be when Ellen brought a pizza delivery man on stage, and stared handing our pizza to numerous celebrities (honestly what could be better than a pizza party with Ellen!…oh by the way Ellen I’m still waiting for my piece of pizza…just so you know… Ellen later took Pharrell Williams’ infamous brown hat, and went around to the various celebrities present and asked for a tip, she even “scolded” Brad Pitt for not donating “enough”. Due to all of these hilarious moments, and her natural charisma and lightheartedness, Ellen certainly further proved that she is truly a hilarious comedian, and a great entertainer. As always she didn’t disappoint, and proved that this is the “age of Ellen Degeneres”. I look forward to the next show Ellen hosts, because you know that if Ellen leads, then hilarity will follow.
*This is only a partial list of the winners, for a full list please visit Oscars.com
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Even though it was not my pick, I can certainly see why ’12 Years a Slave’ took home this coveted award. The acting in the film was superb (especially the performances of lead actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o). The actors were really able to translate the emotional depth of the script to the screen, and thus made the audience feel the correct emotions at precisely the right time. The ability to have great dramatic timing is not an easy task to perform however, the actors in this film were able to do this with ease. This film also had an amazing script, which contained thought provoking themes, and dialogue such as “I don’t wanna survive, I want to live”. The dialogue had audiences clinging to the film’s every word, and helped the film strengthen its grip on all those watching it. I also loved the meticulous detail that the costume department and other crew members obviously used in order to make every aspect of this film perfect and this further invoking our attention.
Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Now this was truly a very difficult category to judge because all of these actors gave superb performances in their respective roles however, I do see why Matthew won this category. Matthew has the uncanny ability to perfectly embody any character he is given, and use his performance to transport an audience to where they need to be. His performance in Dallas Buyers Club was certainly no exception. In this film Matthew was able to make us feel every moment that his character Ron faced when he was diagnosed with AIDS. The fact this film is inspired by actual people and events (it has been noted that some characters and situations have been changed and/or created in the film), adds a great amount of credit to Matthew’s performance because it is very difficult to accurately translate a person’s life in screen (and selfishly I did want Matthew to win for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ because he’s from Texas, and I’m from Texas, so I have to root for my fellow Texans!).
Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
With stellar performances in films such as: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Aviator’, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, etc. etc., it should come as no surprise that Cate had a great shot at winning this award. The competition for this category was stiff due to the appearances of veteran A-List actresses such as: Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, and of course Meryl Streep (yeah “the” Meryl Streep). But despite the other amazing actresses in this category, Cate Blanchett’s performance in ‘Blue Jasmine’ was too amazing to ignore. Cate’s portrayal of a woman who goes from being extremely wealthy to losing it all ( including her mind) is perhaps some of Cate’s finest work. She is able to portray the process of a woman’s unraveling , without making it seem over dramatized or unnatural.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
This was another extremely tough category to participate in, but Jared Leto was able to rise above the rest. Although he has given several other good performances in various other films, I really think that Jared Leto was breathtakingly good in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. He was not only believable as the unique character of Rayon ( a young HIV Positive transgender woman who Matthew McConaughey’s character meets during one of his hospital stays, and later goes into business with when he begins the Dallas Buyers Club). In the role, Jared is able to accurately portray all of Rayon’s emotional highs and lows. Through this performance, Jared further cemented his place as a phenomenal musician and actor. Although he has said that he will focus on his band’s music ( 30 seconds to Mars), I think that Jared has proven that he has the talent to portray any character, and we will certainly see him in another Oscar caliber role soon.
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Although there were many deserving films in this category ( the minions in Despicable Me are soooo cute!) you just can’t beat a Disney animated movie. With talented actors such as: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, etc. etc. there was no way for this film to fail. Another thing that this movie had in its’ favor was a heartwarming story, amazing music (we’ll talk about ‘Let it Go’ later, but another favorite I mine was ‘In Summer’ performed but Josh Gad, which was a hilarious and adorable song that told the story of a snowman’s desire to experience summertime), and unforgettable moments and characters. These elements are what have made several other Disney films such as: ‘The Lion King’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ , ‘Mulan’, ‘Snow White’, and various other films classics among children and adults. Since its release, ‘Frozen’ has received praise from critics and has also grossed over $1 billion ( That’s unbelievably impressive isn’t it!?!). I definitely think that this film will enter the elite club of Disney classics, and I will definitely be first in line when they make ‘Frozen’ 2 ( hint hint Disney ).
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Once again we face a category that had many amazing contestants however, I have to say that I do agree that Lupita’s performance in ’12 Years a Slave’ was fantastic. I recently did some research on the actress, and I was baffled to learn that ’12 Years a Slave’ was Lupita’s first major film! Her delivery of the emotionally charged script was riveting, and left the audience completely entranced by the story. Obviously this was an amazing film for to help Lupita get her name out there, and I think that we will certainly see more amazing films from this talented new star. I can’t wait to see where her career takes her, and how many unforgettable moments and characters she will create.
Best Original Song: ‘Let it Go’ (from Frozen)
Frozen strikes again!!! I was so excited that ‘Let it Go’ won for two reasons: 1) It is an amazing and inspiring song about shedding what others think and expect of you, and living your own life ( this is a classic Disney theme, and one of the things they makes Disney music so epic!), 2) Idina Menzel performs the song!!! Now many people may recognize her from the hit Fox show ‘Glee’ however, my fellow theater nerds will recognize Idina from her various roles on Broadway (probably the most famous is ‘Wicked’, but seriously this woman is like the queen of Broadway…ok I’ll stop fangirling now…wait…ok I’m done now for real). With the combination of an amazing vocalist like Idina Menzel performing the song, and the talented writers at Disney, there was no way for ‘Let it Go’ to lose! This and all of the other music in Frozen definitely left me wishing for a sequel ( and Disney has now announced that ‘Frozen’ will be adapted into a Broadway musical…so maybe Idina will reprise her role??? Probably not but we can dream, can’t we?!).
First up was Pharrell with his track ‘Happy’ from the animated film ‘Despicable Me 2’. It was obvious that he used the fun loving, carefree tone of the song to inspire his performance. When the performance began, he appeared on stage in jeans, red sneakers, a T-shirt, track jacket, and a black hat reminiscent of his infamous Grammy hat. As the song progressed, back-up dancers appeared and danced around joyfully. Pharrell then walked off stage and went to the front row, where he preceded to dance with several of the actresses that were seated there. All of the backup dancers were dressed in fun, everyday clothing. The back screen had the lyrics of the song, and at one point of the song, a dance circle was formed and several backup dancers did break dancing in the middle. The song then ended with a back screen full of minions (small, yellow creatures that are characters in the film). The overall feel of the performance was fun, and it left you “happy”.
Karen O (most widely known as the lead vocalist of the rock band the ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ), performed the song ‘Moon Song’ (from the film ‘Her’), with Ezra Koenig ( guitarist for the band ‘Vampire Weekend’). The execution of the performance was very simple (which perfectly complemented the acoustic elements of the song). The staging consisted of a single spotlight on Karen and Ezra, with a bright moon in the background. Karen had on a beautiful, sparkly red dress, and sat on a set of steps with Ezra. The overall presentation of the performance was very serene and was dominated by Karen’s strikingly unique vocals.
Next up was the iconic rock band U2, who performed their song ’Ordinary Love’ from the film ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’. As always, U2 was phenomenal, and truly had the crowd mesmerized from their talent. This band has had numerous hits that have become rock staples , so it is no surprise that their experience and overall phenomenal charisma was able to keep the audience engaged . They certainly showed through this performance like wine, this band only gets better with time.
Wizard of Oz Tribute:
Next up was P!nk who performed ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ as part of the show’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ tribute. The back screen played scenes from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ throughout the performance, and the lights and staging were kept very simple in order to place emphasis on P!nk’s performance. P!nk looked every bit the classic Hollywood star, with a lovely sparkly red dress, and perfectly placed hair and makeup (she is a Covergirl, so you know she’s going to look awesome!). Her performance was simply breathtaking, and showed that P!nk is truly one of the most vocally gifted artists in music today. Her technique was flawless, and her execution appeared effortless. She was also able to translate the emotional depth that the lyrics of the song contain, and left the audience feeling every emotion that the lyrics depict (I honestly had to work hard at not crying…ok maybe I cried a little, but don’t tell anyone ok ). At the end of her performance she received a well earned standing ovation.
When Bette Meddler performed, all hope of not crying was eliminated. Bette came on stage (after the Oscars honored those in the film industry who passed away this past year), and performed her iconic track ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’. Bette did a phenomenal job performing this moving track, and truly entranced her audience. Her performance ended with a standing ovation, and further cemented that fact that she is truly a star vocalist and entertainer that is able to continue to move a crowd to her bidding even after all these years.
Last but most certainly not least, Actress/Vocalist Idina Menzel performed ‘Let it Go’, the winner of the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’. Idina wore a gorgeous dress, and the stage had blue and silver sparkly chains. When the chorus of the song kicked in the stage was lit up with gorgeous blue lights that perfectly complemented the rest of the staging. As always Idina’s vocals were nothing short of spectacular, and she was truly able to express the deep emotions that the award-winning song conveys through its lyrical content. She left the audience stunned and amazed, and definitely proved why she has always been considered one of Broadways’ brightest stars. She also received a standing ovation at the end of her performance, further adding acclaim to a golden night for ‘Frozen’.