Tag Archives: songwriting

January Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 Jan


Where does inspiration come from? SamSmithTomPetty.Jan2015.VH1If you thought that Sam Smith’s Stay With Me sounded familiar, that it reminded you of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down, well, you were right! Turns out, the two songs are so much alike that Smith will be paying Petty and co-songwriter Jeff Lynne royalties on the track. Smith’s camp said, “Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement…” Check out the mashup. Sounds like all the parties did the right thing.


Idina Menzel IdinaMenzel.Jan2015performed her hit song from Frozen on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special, but it was very cold and she had difficulty hitting some high notes. Yes, you guessed right, criticism ensued. This is the response she tweeted, using her words from a recent interview:

How do you define success? “There are about 3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical; being a perfectionist, it took me a long time to realize that if I’m hitting 75 percent of them, I’m succeeding. Performing isn’t only about the acrobatics and the high notes: It’s staying in the moment, connecting with the audience in an authentic way, and making yourself real to them through the music. I am more than the notes I hit, and that’s how I try to approach my life. You can’t get it all right all the time, but you can try your best. If you’ve done that, all that’s left is to accept your shortcomings and have the courage to try to overcome them.”


Super Bowl ads are GodaddyPuppySuperbowlAd.Jan2015famously touted and analyzed, sometimes before the Big Game even airs. So it was when GoDaddy tested the waters online for their spot featuring a Golden Retriever puppy falling out of a truck and finding his way back home. Although trying to lampoon Budweiser’s heartwarming puppy ads, they were immediately criticized. The SPCA of Monterey, CA tweeted “If you can buy a puppy online and have it shipped to you the next day, it’s likely you’re supporting inhumane breeding.” And after tens of thousands of people protested, CEO Blake Irving tweeted, “…What should have been a fun and funny ad clearly missed the mark and we will not air it.” For doing the right thing, score one for GoDaddy.



Yves Saint Laurent is surely smiling. Saint Laurent Paris (as his house is now named) has a new model. Joni Mitchell. Black and white portraits of her playing guitar at her house in Bel Air wearing the brand’s folk tunic, classic fedora, and a leather cape made especially for her. Part of the Saint Laurent Music Project. Say what? Too cool for school you say? Mais, oui! C’est magnifique!


By providingWorldVets.Jan2015.belize free veterinary care around the world and helping animals during disasters, World Vets: International Aid for Animals improves the lives of animals. Veterinarians volunteer their expertise in underserved populations of animals, perform surgeries and treat injuries, and offer training and educational opportunities in developing countries.



Soundtrack to this Issue is what else?
Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down
From the album, Full Moon Fever (1989)

C’mon, sing along:
Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.crWho rescued whom?
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

 Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”


Sam Smith/Tom Petty pic: VH1
Sam Smith’s rep quote: Rolling Stone
Idina Menzel pic: Just Jared

Idina Menzel quote: Broadway World
Joni Mitchell pic: Hedi Slimane/Saint Laurent Paris
World Vets pic: Punta Gorda, Belize ©WorldVets
I Won’t Back Down lyrics: Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne ©Gone Gator Music and EMI-April Music, Inc. 1989

Music Review: My Favorite French Singer-Songwriter

25 Oct



A rare artist America should know, October 19, 2013
By Yvette Perry

This review is from: Amoureuse (Audio CD)

Having a French family, my visits to Paris always yielded happy discoveries. And one of the earliest, and surely the best, was Veronique Sanson. I have loved her since I was a teenager. Now that I no longer have a cassette player, I knew it VeroniqueSanson_amoureusewas time to get one of my favorite albums, Amoureuse, on CD. So happy that I found it here on Amazon, where the sound quality is exactly as it was on the original release. This is, to me, her best album. Every song is memorable. In fact you’ll find yourself humming the tunes long after you’ve hit the “off” button. I think they are perhaps the songs she is most known for. Her voice, her lyrics, her melodies – put together her songs are made luminous. Trying to describe her by saying that she’s a bit Linda Ronstadt, a bit Joni Mitchell, well, it’s just too pat. (Although she was married to Stephen Stills!) She’s a unique artist and one of vast talent. If you catch her live performances on YouTube, you will find how easily and powerfully she connects with her audiences. I hope you will give this album a listen. This artist is well worth your time!

Amoureuse album cover: Veronique Sanson Official Website
Review: Amazon
Concert 1979 (Live): YouTube/Michel Didier

How Do You Write a Song, Mark Knopfler?

11 Oct

You know Mark Knopfler. Dire Straits. Sultans of Swing, Romeo and Juliet, Tunnel of Love, Money for Nothing. And solo albums, too. A great songwriter. And that MarkKnopfler.10.10.13.crvoice. So distinctive, gruff yet honest. He mixes different styles and genres of music, blends them to make a sound that is his alone. Put together that voice, the lyrics, the melodies, the music, and he makes you feel what he feels.

But it’s that Mark Knopfler is one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. That’s how I consider him first and foremost. No doubt about it.

He came out with a new album last year, Privateering, which is finally being released here in the U.S. now. He told Rolling Stone that he’s more in love with writing songs than he’s ever been, and credits a sense of discipline that has developed with age … and that his perspective as a writer has definitely shifted over the years:

“I don’t know whether your heart ever necessarily changes, but time changes the way that you perceive the world, and you just hope it gives you more empathy and all those other things.”

Oh, so now Money for Nothing is in your head and it won’t stop? Yeah, try to get that guitar riff out of there. Better yet, don’t! You’re welcome.


Privateering: Mark Knopfler Official Website
Interview: Rolling Stone
Pic of Mark Knopfler performing in Barcelona, Spain: Miquel Benitez/Redferns via Getty Images


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