Written by Sabine Démosthènes
When I first listened to Kanye’s “The College Dropout” album, I felt like I was rekindling my love story with hip-hop. It was during the era of Ja Rule, DMX and Nelly. I wasn’t feeling the love anymore and had not been discovering new artists.
And then, Mr. West came into my life in an epiphany kind of way.
With his sophomore album, I was still in Kanye’s land. Until this day, listening to both his albums, I had the feeling he was one of my big brother’s childhood friends and I was listening to their conversations discussing the greatest NBA players to who shot Mr. Burns in The Simpson’s (we all know it was Maggie Simpson).
On those two albums, Kanye was saying some pretty hard cold truths about life in a very clever way. I have to applaud his song writing during that period.
But, as the years passed and the social media empire took control of so many things, including the option of thinking before writing or saying something that could end up being the stupidest thing you read, not of the day but of the minute! Kanye seemed to have been more lost and less focused.
He married a woman whose entire empire and fan base was in big part due to social media creations (and that is okay) but I always expected Kanye to be with a woman of substance. Someone with more going on in the brain department, more an academic girl (hmm hmm like me) or an intellectual. But, it wasn’t the case.
And then, he goes from someone that was not afraid to tackle the subject of slavery in a very smart and clever way, like in his song “We Major” featuring Nas The Great and Really Doe to supporting the current president of the so called free world (I really don’t see what the free world stands for anymore).
In my mind, something seems odd. Last week, Kanye brought up the subject of slavery again. It was as well put, just as he sang in his first two albums. This is what I thought at first, since I didn’t see the video but read the headline on a website that I won’t name because I’m ashamed. I was just numb.
But then, (and of course my brother tried to make see his comment in a different light), I realized the problem with Kanye is that he takes himself way too seriously. When you are really listening to what he said, it’s not almost crazy. The way it came out was damn crazy! As the very black girl that I am, I know that this subject always brought us into discussions.
Actually, in a funny kind a way, Kanye is making us think about this delicate subject. My problem is why do you go to TMZ (of all organisations) instead of having a very intelligent conversation with Christiane Armanpour at CNN or Gayle King at CBS. Those journalists would have pushed the envelope and asked him to be more clear.
No, he went to TMZ.
For him to be a supporter of the man that is the so called Commander-In-Chief of the Free World is so weird. Especially for someone that had blasted George W. Bush. But, can we assume that maybe he is supporting this person for a very selfish reason?
Maybe, because he is going to be less rich, he needs this person?
It’s only a question I’m asking.
Please, don’t throw the first stone at me. I am innocent.
The weeks to come will be something!
We will listen to the upcoming albums and maybe after one song, we will be so mad at ourselves for even listening to it, or maybe, it will be another masterpiece. For the masterpiece part, I wrote it because one of his collaborations will be (if it’s still happening) with Nas. So, it could really be good.
In the meantime, let’s hold our breath for the next Kanye moment.
And let’s not throw the first stone at Kanye… Yet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
So in that way, I am happy to be a musical innovator!
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!
Written by Sabine Démosthènes
Photography credited to Beatie Wolfe
Thank you Collision 2018
Dear Beyoncé fans,
Yes, you guys, even other celebrities.
I would like to address my concerns about your sanity.
Back in the day, we were amazed when Michael Jackson moonwalked his way across the stage at every concert. We were the generation that wanted to be the epitome of cool. We were a Wu-Tang Nation, a Tribe Called Quest Squad. The Brandy and Monica drama was our lunchtime discussion, no hashtags required. Whitney and Mariah were the Diva Queens, but we were reminded that they too were human and flawed. Not the goddesses of planet Earth.
Today, it seems Beyoncé is the only being a walking supreme Mother Earth mother and everything she does is worshipped like she was the Messiah.
There are some problems guys…
Did she find a cure for any disease? Did she create a new technology with the purpose to give people a better life? Did she fight the good fight, to relentlessly bring justice to the less fortunate?
She is an entertainer, a good one. I do respect her dedication to entertaining us mortals, but that’s it. I respected her more when she was keeping her life more private. Now, all I see is a brand, not a human being.
Madonna, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Cindy Lauper, Joan Jett, Reba McEntire, Bonnie Raitt, Salt’n’Pepa, MC Lite and Lauryn Hill were the ultimate warrior women in the music industry. Yes, they were admired for the passion they brought to their art and that was pretty much it.
I’m tired of reading about or listening to people that put Beyoncé on a pedestal like she was the next best thing after the creation of Nutella (I love Nutella – my life depends on it). I feel even worse when I read about other celebrities acting like total stupid groupies.
Come on, have some self-respect.
To the Beyhive crazy crowd, please chill out. I mean it.
She is not a God. She is an entertainer, one that may take herself a little too seriously (remember the pregnancy pictures of her twins, last year’s Grammy performance with the Mother Mary theme, her Lemonade video clip, and many other examples, unfortunately).
I still believe she could be a really cool person to hang out with, but you guys are not obligated to be fanatics and idolize her. Admiring her accomplishments as an entertainer, ok, but being a crazy-ass fanatic, hell no!
Beyoncé is a human being, like the rest of us. She is not perfect. I want to see a bit more authenticity from her through sharing less of her private life. By not making a grand spectacle of her every outing with the crazy outfits and the entourage.
Damn, could she be more like Tina Turner?
Be the big diva on stage and give everything you got, but after, please just be human.
So Beyhave’s army, you may want to send me some hateful emails and I guess you will put my name on your blacklist, but please, consider my advice to you, the young at heart.
Written by Sabine Demosthenes
I still remember it like it was yesterday, when I heard the song Bohemian Love for the first time.
The voice I heard sounded a little familiar but with something special and unique to it. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I felt like someone had just cast a spell on me, or should I say, into my soul.
The group I Blame Coco was making its way into my musical library. I had everyone from my mother to my colleagues at the office, listening nonstop to my new obsession, Bohemian Love.
But, I had a feeling that Eliot was still searching for her true self.
She seemed to have realizeed it because she said no more to I blame Coco and she started her quest of finding her voice and her true self.
She found it and I love everything about it.
Eliot Sumner makes me think of a mix of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and of course, her father.
He was one of the members of the group The Police. Maybe you have heard of his solo songs in the 80’s, 90’s and today.
But Eliot is her own person and she is creating her legacy in her own way.
Her 2016 album Information is beautiful jewelry. You can have a taste of Electro-Pop, something synth-rock-like with a psychedelic twist. For me, this is heaven to my ears.
The first song of the album gave me some serious goosebumps and listening to it was so visceral.
Dead Arms and Dead Legs is a masterpiece in its simplicity.
The rest of the album is a beautiful ride into this world Eliot created.
I’m crossing my fingers that she
will do a little show in Montreal.
She did make it to Toronto in 2017, but maybe we can hope that she will jam with us in our beautiful city for The Santa Teresa Festival or Osheaga.
I fell in love, musically, with another Sumner.
I guess I won’t be the only one.
Written by Sab Demosthenes
We’ve waited a long time for this show.
The wait is over!
Emily Haines will entertain us December 4th, 2017 at The Sainte-Thérèse Avila Church in Sainte-Therese.
I am like a little kid right now. I’m all excited and I can’t wait to hear songs like Fatal Gift, Legend of the Wild Horses, Statuettes, and many more.
I wrote a nice chronicle about Emily’s new solo album, Choir of the Mind.
This is how you start the holiday season, with an ethereal and kick-ass concert, in a beautiful venue. What a beautiful gift from Miss Haines!
You can be sure I will be there like the huge fan that I am. Afterwards, yours truly, the Chronicle girl will post some beautiful pictures, and maybe, some surprises on The Chronicle.
It will be an honor to share with you this visceral experience, but I think it will be even more special if “you are in Montreal” you can all join us and be taken away by Emily and her Soft Skeleton, just for one night.
I can’t wait to discover this world next Monday!
”We could live
For a thousand years
But if I hurt you
I’d make wine from your tears
I told you
That we could fly
Because we all have wings
But some of us don’t know why’‘
Never Tear Us Apart lyrics from the Kick Album 1987
Michael Hutchence gave me wings. When I saw an INXS videoclip on TV, I wanted so much to be just like him (I know, I was a young girl and he was a man). I wanted to captivate everyone attention like Michael did with mine. I was mystified by him.
Michael Hutchence was my ultimate man. I was a big U2, Depeche Mode and New Order but I was a die-hard INXS girl and this is until now.
INXS was part of my youth, my rollercoaster teenage years. But 1997 wasn’t an easy year for me. I was being bullying at school, I still find comfort when I came home or listening to my walkman listening to music and by INXS album on a cassette.
But the music and the dancing seem to have stopped for me on November 22, 1997. My world stop turning one more time when I heard my magical man wasn’t around anymore to make me dance.
There is no other frontman like Michael and with his brothers, they were unstoppable.
His magnetism, his sex appeal (oh yeah), his voice and his charisma make him a unique and exceptional singer.
If you are asking what my favourite INXS songs are, it will be hard to answer. They all have a special meaning for me. I may not have been the only person having this dilemma.
When I watched Michael’s interview, I realize even when I was a child that it is okay to be different and to be wild and free.
He was a free spirit, a wild horse with a sensitive soul. I saw myself in him. I felt less like an outsider.
When he is singing those lyrics, Mystify, Mystify me! Eternally wild with the power, to make every moment come alive, that is what I’m talking about. You can feel his soul.
20 years without his gentle soul seem like yesterday everything was less magical without him. He did leave a big hole and we still feel it.
I wish I could thank him to make me want to dance again wishing he was next to me. He did play a big part of my youth and he is even more present in my adulthood.
I will tell you finally my favourite INXS song that I still play in a piano. Here we go!
Stay with me…