music

Swing Time: The Hudsucker’s Quintessential Spring Playlist

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In what feels like one of the longest seasons ever, winter has given us some crazy cold temperatures and dropped off its final bit of snow, but soon enough we can put all that pesky cold gear away because we’re just days away from a brand new season. And a brand new season means a fresh new playlist!

As spring makes its grand arrival, one of the best ways to cure the seasonal affective disorder so many of us experience in the chillier months is by not only heading outdoors and switching up your exercise routine for runs sans treadmill, but giving our music playlists a much needed “spring cleaning”  with hopes to boost our mood. With longer days and the smell of flowers in the air, March promises to bring warmer weather, more sunshine, and ample opportunities to get outside and do something.

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Here’s to the Ones Who Dream: Essential Life Lessons From ‘La La Land’

Bursting onto the big-screen with a high note of retro glamour, glitz and style, La La Land is one of the most daring original movie musicals in a long time. In addition to vibrantly illustrating stylized trimmings of Hollywood musicals from the ‘40s and ‘50s blended with an ardent Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers flair, it’s no wonder this breathtaking, heartfelt homage to silver screen classics is one of the best films of 2016.

Winner of seven Golden Globes, recipient of 11 BAFTA nominations and soon to be the expected winner at the 89th Annual Academy Awards for Best Picture, La La Land is not just any musical though with beautiful costumes and twirling. It’s a luscious and vivacious look into the world of dreamers who power through reality to accept change.

Following the lives of two dreamers, La La Land is quick to highlight its character-based plot with two artists and their respective dreams. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist hoping to open his own jazz club, while Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress attending audition after audition. Drawn together by their common desire to do what they love, the two begin a love affair complete with song and dance that’s reminiscent of Astaire and Rogers dancing “Cheek to Cheek.” But as they each find success, their decisions begin to fray at the fragile fabric of their relationship and threaten to rip them apart.

In his multicolored and impassioned third feature, director, Damien Chazelle portrays love at its finest. But the 31-year-old filmmaker also asks young, driven millennials who dream beyond the norm, is it possible to have it all?

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5 Female Artists You Need to Hear in 2017

It might be too early to say with the year just starting up, but with what we’ve heard for the past 12 months, 2017 is gearing up to be a great musical chapter ahead. With plenty of promising up and comers slowly making their way to the forefront of the music scene, there is a long list of emerging artists who have released singles and EPs in 2016 that are now raising the bar for impressive debuts.

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Luke Bryan Pays It Back with His Latest EP and “Farm Tour”

{Image Credit: Capitol Records Nashville}

For years, reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan has given fans new music every spring break with his annual beach party-themed EPs. Fun-filled and nostalgic for old crowds and new, the records have been a favorite among many since its initial debut in 2009.

But after ending the highly anticipated tradition just last spring, Bryan is turning a new leaf this fall as he returns with a new collection of music — one the award-winning artist is better associated with: his country boy roots.

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#HBD: 6 Wishes

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Winter tends to be a hard season for me. While I have been blessed in this past year to really dive deep into work and solidify my career as a writer—my utmost desired passion—things start to slow down as the new year approaches and memories start to creep in. Most times and in the tune of Talking Heads, these memories can’t wait though. As I skate through this season with my head held up, time gains on me and creates thin ice along the way, revealing memories that have lain dormant for months. Yet, lately they have begun to push at the door of my reality and send me in a tailspin that takes nights of mourning into my pillow to just get over. But letting that grief out doesn’t work, and it’s as if all that progress from months ago and just letting go has been lost all thanks to a season that beams as bright as it twinkles.

It’s a season governed by reclusiveness, where activities are fed to dormancy and our life becomes still, indwelling and most often silent. Like many others though, I think a lot during this season about my life, the people in it and the people who are no longer with us. Since the start of winter, I have stilled my soul, quieted my mind to the important bits that matter to my living, but every time I come up for air from this abyss, I find myself hitting a slope deeper into darkness all because I think about him.

B. (more…)

Look at the stars fall down

Teddy Kelley - Unsplash 01

"So while turning in my sheets,
And once again I cannot sleep."

Monday morning started off on an awkward foot. I woke up at around 4:27 a.m. because someone crank called me. This hasn’t been the first time either. I have a funny feeling it’s the same crank caller who called me last year on my birthday, at the end of this past April and a few times this past May. But while I have an inkling of who it might be, I really don’t know who it is. Yet the thing is, I never get phone calls at this particular number, especially after midnight from an unknown caller and oddly enough these calls have been around the same time.

"There is no place I cannot go, 
 My mind is muddy but, 
 My heart is heavy does it show,
 I lose the track that loses me,
So here I go."

Could it be a coincidence? Probably not. I remember telling my best friend once there are no such things as coincidence. And hilariously enough, the same week I said that to him, two people he interviewed for one of his “passion projects” said the same thing. Is there no such thing as coincidence? That’s besides the point. Life and fate love screwing with us for shits and giggles, there’s no denying that.

That said, the part of me that trusts my intuition believes it might be him. But I can’t be too sure anymore. Doesn’t it suck when a (mutual) relationship you invest so much time and love in creates self-doubt? That’s not healthy, but at least I’m better off for knowing that.

"And here I go..."

I sat in my bed early this morning, pondering the possibility of him crank calling me. First a letter in March. Then phone calls? While I know in my heart he read my emails for months and months, and even kept a few of them as part of his hidden trove, it  might sound supernatural but there is a part of me that feels weak in such a lifeline now. I can’t explain it. I use to tell him that all my emails were a bookmark to our friendship and I know he acknowledged it. I put my heart into each message and because he and I were alike, I know he always read them. Sometimes even more than once, weeks later, a month later, sometimes even a year later. But suddenly, one day in early May, probably the first week or so—I felt it. I had another dream of him but this time, much more aberrant as he had carved a piece of my chest out and buried it with a box of letters as I watched on.

It’s no secret that I miss him, every damn aching day. (And I love you to the moon and back.) But let it be known that I never loved him because of who he was or who he wanted to become. I only ever loved him because of who he was determined to be. I got to see a beautiful, magical side to him through every conversation, every moment, every laugh and because he was my best friend first, I always made sure to remind him of his magic when he would forget it. And he forgets it often because he’s insecure despite me praying each night he gains strength to be a better, more emotionally adept individual. A friend once told me, the reason why he was so confused about our relationship (as he said so a few times) was because of my strength. Or as he would say, a love that “towers” over anyone he’s ever known. (more…)

What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you

I’ve never really been a huge listener of Beyoncé’s music, but her album “Lemonade” is seriously everything I never knew I wanted. It is so raw and in many ways, empowering to the hurt woman who only ever opened up her heart most innately to love someone, the unfound man, she felt was deserving because he was “her person.”

That said, I think there’s a lot to be said about the value and power of art in any form. Months ago, I was told by someone who I’ll call out as a nitwit bungle to stop writing about my heartache and broken heart and yada, yada, blah, blah. However, I never listened—obviously—because well, I’m a journalist and it’s my First Amendment right in this country. And secondly, I’m allowed as a woman to not only heal however I wish through my choices (the same way nitwit bungle decides to heal her own way, ie. rug sweeper), but feel empowered through them as I venture alone on this path of a broken heart. This life is a shared one, no matter how you look at it. We’re all in it together, through every choice, through every judgment, through every moment shared with one another, intimate, physical, fucking all of it—no one is a real loner when it comes to life. Three might be a crowd, but it took the initial two to make it so.

While I won’t dive in further to draw parallels to the heartache I’ve experienced at the hands of someone I loved deeply, this album is amazing and a very cathartic record for those left brokenhearted. No one knows what Beyoncé really went through to write and produce this record and how hard it must have been for her personally to dive into such emotions, but I can tell it was difficult and equally rewarding. It takes a big heart and a strong woman to be that vulnerable and open about something so many people sweep under the rug due to fear of societal norms and taboos. And trust me, a lot of people sweep such behavior like cheating that Beyoncé’s pointed out about her husband, Jay-Z under the rug in hopes of continuing their rose-colored glasses existence with pets named off of Alice and Wonderland characters (like, sweet Dinah). Why, even some choose to brush it over with more vacations or ooh, let’s have a baby to show everyone we’re fine! 

The lyrics are full of punch and just so gritty and reminiscent of clenched teeth and fists, but also maintain a quiet and clever honesty that is sharp-tongued. Yet, it’s sad too. Heartbreaking even. But that’s what life is, right? We meet people, we fall in love, head over heels, spend time with them, get to know them and really get to know them, you know? As someone told me once in a cold tone, “endings are tough.” Well at the end of the record, listening to all of it and digesting this cathartic form of art, it’s sad and kind of a preamble for grace and strength for any woman in Beyoncé’s shoes who ever felt betrayed no matter who they are.

Have you heard the album? What’s your favorite track?

{Image Credit: Cosmopolitan}

“Lost when the wind blows…”

FishingGrandpa

I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather. I had someone in my life who was like one, but was in fact, my grand-uncle. He was really kind and sweet, and taught me a lot about people and the world at a very young age. I can vividly recall our dinners, trips to the Falls and his warm smile. Unfortunately, I lost him a few years ago and it still really stings.

I often look at my parents and wonder when the day will come that I get to bless them with a child so that my kids can feel that kind of generational love. Of course, I might never get there. But this isn’t about me or my needs. It never really has been. Because I never had a chance to know my paternal grandfather, nor meet my maternal grandfather, I always love hearing stories from my dearest friends about their grandparents.

Six years ago today, my best friend lost his beloved grandpa. And today, after waking up from a dream of the best friend and I talking most jovially together, I thought of him. I thought of how he’s doing. How he’s been coping in these last few months. (more…)