Felt like a Rockstar at day 2 of the Web Summit

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

MONTREAL – The feeling I had when I woke up last Wednesday was super happy and confident. I suddenly felt like a rockstar! Before I left for the summit, I grabbed a big glass of orange juice and my dear friend for the week, Grace, a beautiful dog whose home I was staying at, along with amazing hosts: Ana, Bruno, and Paola. Grace was looking at me with those big beautiful eyes and this look: “Oh no you are leaving…” I told her that today (Wednesday) would be a fabulous day at the summit and I would be back that night to tell her all about it.

Yes, I do have conversations with dogs. They are such good listeners… I think.

On my metro ride to the Summit, a young lady introduced herself. She saw my media bracelet and she asked me if I was going to the Summit.

I was happy to tell her yes. Her name wasDiana. She is a young, smart journalist for the Youth Association of Journalists in Lisbon (I hope I got the name right). Diana was a dear companion during the rest of the summit. We met every now and then and I truly cherished our new friendship.

One highlight of the day before I forgot to write about was walking through the Alexis Ohanion Sr interview for CNN. I kept my cool and I tried to listen. At the end of his interview, as I was on my way out and without any expectation, I told him to go see a talk on the main stage that I will tweet a picture of. I heard him say “oh ok cool”.

As I promised, I tweeted the picture I took. I didn’t expect that in the next 5 minutes, he would have liked the picture and retweeted it. Boom!!!

Only at the Web Summit things like this happen, or maybe in the subway.

Back to Day 2. I was sitting in the main auditorium during the early afternoon (around2 pm) to see the amazing Dr. Ben Goertzel of Hanson Robotics, a company creating expressive, life-like robots with friendly personalities. Dr. Goertzel wasn’t on stage by himself, Sophia and Hunt were rocking the stage with him.

Who are Sophia?

Here is Sophia:

Interview with Sophia

It’s so amazing to see them and to have to privilege to be invited to the press conference given by Dr. Goertzel and Sophie The Robot. Good questions were asked.

The Internet wasn’t at it’s best, so Sophia was under the weather, unfortunately. We did witness all the beautiful work that the Hanson Robotics Family has been building. The future looks promising for all of us.

Thirty minutes later, I went to another press conference. This time, it was with the brilliant artist, Imogen Heap. She is such a multi-talented musician, producer, engineer, philanthropist, and a kick-ass woman (yes, kick ass).

Mycelia is a research and development hub for music makers (Hallelujah!).

I even got the opportunity to ask her a quick question!

After this beautiful day, I went back to the place I was calling home for the week I was in Lisbon. Grace (the dog) and I hung out and she listened (again) to all the adventures I had during that fabulous day.

The next thing you knew, I was dreaming about the next day, the last day of the Summit with dear Grace next to me.

https://www.reddit.com

http://myceliaformusic.org

http://www.hansonrobotics.com

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Collision 2018 week – A conversation with Beatie Wolfe

This is a special week in the tech world. New Orleans is the place, not only for its festive atmosphere but also for the 2018 edition of The Collision Conference.

Collision 2018

How to start this special week with Beatie Wolfe? She is a very special singer-songwriter that is not afraid to be curious. She is an innovator and sound creator. The perfect musical scientist in my book!

I couldn’t be there in person for this year conference, but Beatie and I managed to squeeze in a really fun interview.

Let’s enjoy the ride.

Beatie Wolfe - Raw Space - London - photo by Stu Nicholls (20)_preview

SD: What are you looking for this year at the Collision 2018 Conference? 

BW: Meaningful connections and conversations with like-minded people who wish to inspire and uplift.

SD: Every time I listened to your album, Raw Space, I feel like I’m in a bubble. It’s a very pleasant sound environment. 

Beatie Wolfe - Raw Space - Bell Labs Anechoic Chamber by Theo Watson (14)_preview

Can you explain to us how you created this special atmosphere? 

BW: That’s very kind. I honestly don’t know. I think that I give an intense amount of focus to the songwriting, arranging and production process and I really do believe that God is in the detail. 

Beatie Wolfe - Raw Space - Bell Labs Anechoic Chamber by Veanne Cao (1)_preview

I was also aware that the stage for the album would be the Bell Labs Anechoic Chamber (the ultimate raw space!), which absolutely makes you feel like you’re in a bubble, so I think that influenced the recording/producing process too.

SD: You are the co-founder of a research project that is looking at the influence of music on people that are living with dementia. What inspired you to take part in this amazing project? 

BW: I was inspired by neurologist Oliver Sacks and his incredible work looking at the power of music to heal and move us, even when nothing else can. 

Oliver Sacks

While reading Musicophilia, I felt that there was no greater application of music than that: pulling people back from the most extreme neurological states, and when I heard that some of my family members had developed dementia, I felt compelled to start applying what I had been reading about. 

The amazing thing about the ‘Power of Music & Dementia’ study is that it was the first study to prove the power of music, outside of memory, (new music) for people living with dementia and this was something that Sacks had theorised but not yet tested, stating that “…music does not have to be familiar to exert its emotional pull…” and “…music is a necessity for those with dementia.”

SD: As a very proud Montrealer, I can see some of Leonard Cohen’s inspiration in your lyrics. Other journalists and bloggers can see it too. Are Leonard Cohen’s poetic lyrics what inspired you to be a songwriter?

Leonard Cohen Montreal Mural

BW: It is a funny story because Cohen did become a big influence on me, but only after I had played a number of shows and people in the audience would come up and say: “Are you a Leonard Cohen fan? Your music reminds me so much of his.” And back then I had no idea who he was (this was when I was about 16/17). 

Then, one guy from a show in Portugal gave me a CD mix of his favorite Cohen songs and from the first time I listened, I was hooked!

I realized that there was someone else who cared as much about the words as I did, someone who was so true to the story, that the music had to serve it. 

Cohen was such an incredible wordsmith, poet, and writer in his own right, that I ended up doing my dissertation on him for my English Literature degree, even though the University advised against it, thinking he could not be classed as a writer. 

Writing that paper, even against the advice of my professors, was what ended up opening a dialogue with Cohen and his team and at one point, just before he passed away, there was a conversation about him adopting one of my musical formats (the intelligent deck of cards) for “I Want It Darker.”

SD: When you see the words “Musical Innovator”, what kind of emotion does that bring to you?

BW: I think it’s definitely something different to just being a musician or singer-songwriter. For me, the music is always at the core, it is the reason I do everything. 

But I love creating worlds for each of my albums and allowing people to feel some of the old school magic that I felt for records at a kid, by creating new formats that combine the best of the old and the best of the new.

Beatie Wolfe - Raw Space - London - photo by Stu Nicholls (16)_preview

So in that way, I am happy to be a musical innovator!

Beatie Wolfe - Raw Space - Bell Labs by Veanne Cao_preview

SD: Can we expect a show in the near future in Montreal?

BW: Yes… 110%!! It is a place I have been meaning to visit and play in for so long.

Leonard Cohen’s city welcomes you, Beatie, with open arms!

Beatie Wolfe - Montagu Square - Montagu Square album cover - by Stu Nicholls (1)_preview

 

Written by Sabine Démosthènes

Photography credited to Beatie Wolfe

Thank you Collision 2018

https://collisionconf.com

https://www.beatiewolfe.com