Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sabrina Valenzuela: Musician, Gamer, YouTuber

Sabrina Valenzuela is a singer, songwriter, and song coverer from the UK. In addition to doing covers of popular English songs, she also does covers in Japanese! Impressive. I tried learning Japanese as a child... It just didn't quite work out then. She also does vlogs to keep her fans updated and talk about her interests and hobbies. Along the way is one of Sabrina's originals that has a fantastic groove during the verses and a great lead part as well. In fact, this song reminds me of one of those rare English songs that are used in video games. It could also be a radio hit, easily. If anyone is wondering why her title is in quotation marks, it's because I took it from her YouTube page (thanks Sabrina). I figured, hey, it's better than the one I came up with, and fits perfectly, so why not keep it the same. I interviewed Sabrina a while back, and here is what she had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself:

Hey there everyone! My name is Sabrina Valenzuela, I'm 21 years young and a singer/songwriter from London :)

2) How long have you been singing?
I've been singing since I was 15. It started off as a casual hobby of mine, and I was inspired by great vocalists such as Celine Dion. I aspired to one day sing with such great vocal technique and confidence, so I began taking singing lessons during my teenage years.

3) What instruments do you play?
I usually play and compose my songs on the guitar, which happens to be my favourite instrument. But I have dabbled in playing other instruments such as the ukulele and piano. I am constantly looking for new ways to express myself creatively.

4) What are your musical goals and where do you want to end up?
My main musical goal has always been to reach out to people and connect, and for others to feel that they can relate to my lyrics and songs. My dreams have grown over time, and my musical inspirations are endless. I work towards one day becoming a professional recording artist either within the pop genre, or singing for video games.

5) Who do you admire? (can be musical or not, I saw on your page you like video games, Japan, etc.)
I admire video game soundtracks, and I am inspired by the art form of storytelling, visuals and music combined. I also admire the sounds of different languages and enjoy learning of other cultures. For that reason I am often caught singing in other languages, such as Japanese! I am inspired by good food, haha! Come on, no one can be inspired on an empty stomach! :)

6) What advice do you have for aspiring singers and songwriters?
First of all, don't doubt yourself or your abilities, or else you'll give others a reason to doubt you too. Secondly, remember to always have your listeners in mind. They are your audience, and one of the most important aspects of your musical journey. Without them you wouldn't progress, so appreciate them <3

7) Random thoughts:

Cup of tea anyone? :D

My thoughts on the interview:

Keep practicing; you'll get to that level if you never give up. You already have a successful channel on YT, and it will only continue to grow as you learn new techniques and release more songs!

I love playing the guitar and piano as well... but drums are my favorite. I played the ukelele once in my entire life... does that count? :) I did manage to pull off two entire songs (by Train and Jason Mraz, of course, what else could I play with such little experience!)

Helping and connecting to people is a must... eventually you will need help, and if people remember your kindness, they will help you in return. That's actually my biggest non-musical dream... as far as singing goes, I'd say you have a shot in both the video game and pop worlds.

Great advice for all of us, Sabrina!

And yes, I could use a nice cup of lemongrass tea... though I'm sure Caribbean and English teas are quite different!

For more of Sabrina's music, vlogs, and her cheerful personality, visit her YouTube page here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

David Dang and the Flute of Harmony

David Dang, a composer in Germany, goes by the production name Flute of Harmony. Yes, this does mean he plays the flute. However, he also creates entire scores that are high in quality and production-ready. For example, the composition above, Blossoms, is a very beautiful and touching orchestral piece with a sweet melody line that could greatly dramatize any scene, from a game to a movie to a commercial advertizing change in the world. This is what David had to say during our interview:

1) Tell us about yourself (name, age, country of origin, current country, schooling, etc.)
I'm David Dang (21) from Germany. At the moment I’m studying.

2) What equipment and instruments do you use?
For my compositions I use: Beyerdynamic DT770, Ultimate Ears U700, M-Audio Profire 610, M-Audio Axiom 69, Casio PX 130, Yamaha HS80, Beyerdynamic MC930 (stereoPaired), HighEnd PC

Libs: AudioBro LA Scoring Strings, ProjectSam Symphobia 1&2, ProjectSam TrueStrike 1&2, East West Quantum Leap,  Synphonic Orchestra, East West Quantum Leap RA, CineSamples Drums of War 1&2, CineSamples, CineBrass, SampleLogic Cinematic Guitar, Spectrasonics Omnisphere/Trillian

Flute: Azumi 2000RE

3) I read your mission and goals about having a strong will in your passion for music. What can you say to encourage other musicians?
Music is a language which can be understood by everyone. So don't give up in what you are doing and go forward your own way.
4) What musicians have inspired you?
Joe Hisaishi, Kenji Kawai
5) Random thoughts:

Don't give up on trying to do what you really want to do.
Where there is love and inspiration, we don't think you can go wrong.
Our passion is to compose and play music..That's what we do...

My thoughts on the interview:

Your studying and practice definitely pays off. All of your songs are incredible and you have a lot of nice equipment.

Perhaps the best thing about music is its ability to transcend language barriers. None of us know all the languages of the world, but there are many people that view our music, once it's online, who speak languages we don't understand or speak rather poorly. For example, I know most of the common languages used in the Western Hemisphere, but do not know Japanese or German, yet I understand David's and many other people's music perfectly. Music is a very special thing.

I agree, never give up. Have passion, because you often influence other people more than you would ever realize.

For more of David's wonderful music, visit his channel here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Passion for Music

Lately, I have been meeting even more musicians. The passion and excitement we all share for different types of music is both encouraging and invigorating. All around the world, composers are starting to do what makes them happy...what sounds good to them, rather than trying impress people with music that did not interest them in the first place. They are putting their hearts into their productions and becoming more creative, regardless of whether they ever see a dime for their work.

In addition, there are many people out there who are beginning to bridge cultural gaps and combine types of music to represent their cities and the people in them. I had the privilege of traveling to Miami, Florida this past weekend to visit a place called Miami Vineyard Church. They were celebrating the release of their new album, Miami Vineyard Live and threw a concert for anyone who wanted to attend. They revealed that they went from only playing standard American rock-type music to learning styles such as salsa, gospel, funk and caribbean styles of music in just a few years. Many of their songs combined lyrics in English and Spanish to create the "Miami style" or "Miami voice."

I myself, having grown up with five different cultures know all about combining styles. It can seem scary or strange to people who are not used to it, but it excites me, and I have made many compositions over the years that combine styles you would not ever think of combining in a way that they are not usually combined. I haven't released many of them yet, but one, called Heaven's Judgment, combines hardcore music with a hip-hop beat. However, unlike groups that rap over rock music or add guitars to a dirty south beat, I keep these styles separate for a surprising twist. In fact, a group of people and I may perform it in a show later this month. It's on my Youtube channel, but here it is now:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teshelle Combs - Lead Singer Extraordinaire

Teshelle Combs, lead singer of Farewell Debut, has made a debut of her own with the unofficial release of her band's second song, I See Love. At only 22 years of age, she has already traveled the Southeastern United States as well as the Caribbean both as a singer and songwriter. As the first singer that I have interviewed, I say Teshelle has done a fantastic job, and I know she and many fans are excited for Farewell Debut's album, which is in the making. This is the interview I had with her:

1) Tell us about yourself:

I'm 22 and from St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. I have a degree in creative writing and a minor in philosophy from the University of Central Florida. I currently live Cape Coral, FL, with my husband and my dog.

2) How long have you been singing?

I first sang on stage when I was 2, but I just cried most of the time... cuz I was 2!!! I've been singing in church ever since then, and professionally since college.

3) Who are your inspirations as a singer?

My dad. He's a great singer and musician and he taught me how to sing. I guess Celine Dion, too. Her CD was the first one I couldn't stop listening to as a kid.

4) What do you hope to do with your singing and your band?

I hope to finish an album and start touring in Florida, then the U.S., then the world. I want it to be a full-time career some day.

5) What advice do you have for new singers?

Sing along to everything you hear and challenge yourself as you do. Use that to practice your style and your range and your ear for harmonies. Also, if you want to be a singer, you have to actually get up there and do it or it will never happen.

6) Random thoughts:

If you're lucky, you'll marry an awesome producer who can make your music sound fantastic for free :)

If you like Farewell Debut and Teshelle's singing, check out my Youtube channel from any of the videos at the top of the screen... since I produced the song ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guy Bidois: Composer and Outdoorsman

Guy comes from the island nation of New Zealand. There, he studies music of both English and Japanese styles, and he is very ambitious to pursue a lifelong career in music at many different levels. Sakura reminds me of the title screen for a tactics RPG made by Square-Enix. It also reminds me of the game Baten Kaitos, which is what a lot of my own music reminds me of... except Guy's music is a little more peaceful :p I always respect musicians that can compose a song without percussion.

1) Tell us about yourself (name, age, country of origin, current country, schooling, etc.) Kia Ora, my name is Guy Bidois-Kelly. I'm 19 years old and from New Zealand- Maori decent. I'm currently studying a Bachelor of Music (Majoring in Composition) at the University of Auckland. I grew up in a town called Rotorua. Music pretty much entered my life randomly...

2) What equipment and programs do you use to make your music?

Some alcohol and a free day of thinking :P, Oh but I do use Sibelius 6 to get the final pieces done. I really would like Logic Pro to make more professional sounding tracks. I also use a handheld recorder to record Guitar pieces.

3) If you could travel to one place to gain musical inspiration and write for a week, where would it be?Maybe somewhere in Spain, or the most remote place from reality. But pretty much anywhere outside, as long as I have my Guitar with me.

4) Who has inspired or influenced your style?
Joaquin Rodrigo and Nobuo Uematsu definitely started everything for me. Without those two I probably would not of started to composed music or even think I could pursue Music as a career. Some other names that deserve recognition would be Ryuichi Sakamoto, Joe Hisaishi, Nujabes, Andy Mckee and Don Ross. Those Composers/Artists are who I look up to greatly.

5) What musical goals do you have set for the future?

My Musical Goals for the future would be to finish University, become a Music teacher for a few years, then I would like to travel and Compose my first Guitar Concerto. Then maybe take a crack at the Video Game Music Industry to do some freelance work.

6) Random thoughts:
My music teacher in high school told me, Never ever be close minded when it comes to music. I still follow her advice and will continue to. Now some words of wisdom from me....Keep composing music that makes you feel good; if your feeling down, compose something so sad that your own feelings become minimized.


For more of Guy's music and some of his outdoor playing, visit his Youtube channel here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Matt Poirier: Composer of Bright and Cheerful Music

Matt Poirier is a young, outgoing American guy that has a passion for video games and the beautiful variety of music found in them. As he continues to grow and write, Matt aspires to eventually become a professional composer for the industry. "Gardens," the song above reminds me of more than just a video game track; I could easily see this in a movie as well. Yep, one that stars Jim Carey and has something to do with a hilarious adventure he and his family have in 90 minutes. This song would go well as the movie's opening scene. Of course, there are several types of video games this could be added to to lighten a tense mood. I interviewed Matt last week and here is what he had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself
Hello, my name is Matt Poirier. I'll be 19 this November (2011). I currently live in California, US. I create music as a hobby for now, but hope to someday compose for role-playing video games. I've composed music for one (puzzle) game so far called Octix (The Octix Theme is on my YouTube channel). Hopefully in the future we'll see more games with my music.

2) Why did you start making music?

It's something that I enjoy and makes me happy. That's the simple answer. But I didn't start composing music out of the blue! It was a gradual process. My interest for music is ever-expanding...

3) What are your favorite styles to create?
Right now I adore orchestral music. I'll occasionally dabble into electronic music and mix the two genres.

4) Where do you get your inspiration from? Video game music mostly, but sometimes I'll unconsciously memorize a tune or rhythmic pattern from film or popular music, and that influences the music that I create. Artists I admire include Imogen Heap, Inon Zur, & Laura Karpman to name a few.

5) What advice would you give to other musicians?

I'm still learning myself, so I don't have much elbow room to advise. But if there's one thing I would say it would be: Do what makes you happy.

6) What equipment and software do you use?
Equipment: Just a computer and a mouse
DAW Software: FL Studio.
Primary VST: Symphonic Orchestra Gold by EastWest & Quantum Leap.

7) Random thoughts: Thanks Nate!

You're very welcome, Matt. For more of his orchestral and electronic creations visit his Youtube channel here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Original Bands and New Music

I have been working on a side project for quite a while now. The band is called Farewell Debut. I wish we had more time to write and work, but life is busy. However, we have gotten a few songs together and recorded a couple of them. Our new single should be done by next week, which means it will be my weekly Youtube post instead of a production track.

In fact, now that there are a few production songs on the blog, as well as a list of interviews yet to come, I may seek out different singers and groups to promote sooner than expected. Or... I could perhaps set aside a second blog for live music and reserve this one for production tracks alone. Either way, I am meeting some fantastic musicians from all around the world. Literally. In the first three weeks, I interviewed people from New Zealand, California, the UK, New Jersey, and Florida. While three of those places are in the US, they are from distinct (and popular) corners. Music is exciting.

As always, check back for constant updates, interviews, and most importantly, original music from ordinary people. Also, you can access my songs and Youtube channel at any time by clicking any of the Youtube videos in the bar at the top of the screen.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

La'Keerah Battle: Lifelong Musician

La'Keerah is a young, up-and-coming artist that has been playing music for as long as she can remember. In addition to playing music, she also records video game and media production tracks, which she has done for several years. The song above is one of her favorite examples. Battle hopes to use this and other songs to inspire and influence people on the deepest of levels, one that goes beyond the surface. I interviewed her about a week ago and here is what she had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself:

My name is La'keerah Battle, I'm a 20 year old composer and musician from NJ, and I'll be going to school to major in animation.

2) What software programs and equipment do you use? 
 FL Studio, Finale, and I play Alto Sax, and a Yamaha Keyboard.

3) How long have you been making music?
I've been writing music since 2006, but have played music all my life.

4) What do you hope to do with your music in the future? 
 I want my music to touch the hearts of individuals, through whatever media its used in.

5) What inspires your music?
 My stories, my feelings, my life, everything really.

6) Random thoughts:

One note can create a melody.

For more of La'keerah's music, visit her Youtube channel by clicking here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Julian De Leon: Artist in More Ways than One

Julian De Leon is a creator of more than just music; he also makes original pictures and animations for his works. "Showdown" is a percussive piece, and it is one that Julian is extremely proud of. From video games to television to artists like you and me, he is inspired to fully immerse himself in the world of entertainment. Here is what Julian had to say about his passions in our interview:

1) Tell us about yourself:
I'm 21 year old illustrator, and composer from NJ. I'm going to be going to school for computer science, and then for animation. I absolutely love pokemon and Final Fantasy. I have a strong desire to do many things, from making my own games, to doing animations of both 2D and 3D, and to compose music for games, and maybe film too.

2) What inspires your music? The music of others is what inspires me. I get so excited sometimes hearing songs from games, or my friends, or film. I try to make something just as great or even better.

3) How long have you been composing? 3 years

4) What famous composers do you dream of meeting? Not really a dream to meet any composers, but I suppose I really wanna meet Junichi Masuda, or Kenji Ito. I especially like their styles of music. Even though there are lots of other composers I know I'd love to meet, these two stand out the most to me in the way their music is made.

5) What advice do you have for people who also wish to make music? Try not to ever get frustrated with what you make, and never talk negative about your music style. When I first started composing music I was so "smile" minded about making music that just about anything I made put a smile on my face. Of course I'm tons more experienced now, and everything I made back then was a hot plate of mess, but even when I didn't know what I was doing I still felt happy with what I made. Also, experiment. I learned most my music stuff from experimenting.

6) Random thoughts:
Never give up even when it gets hard, and every mistake is a lesson learned.

To hear more of Julian's music and see some of his graphics visit his Youtube channel here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jon Bourne: Master of Epic Film Scores

Jon Bourne is a music student in the UK who I met on Youtube. His music is geared toward the film industry, and it is for a good reason. Everything he makes is phenomenal. I have searched many times over the years for high-quality, original film scores, and nothing I have ever heard compares to what Jon Bourne makes. He is beginning his transition into the professional music production world, and I'm positive it won't be long before his tracks are heard all the way in Hollywood. One of his songs that really grabs my attention is "As Darkness Falls," so here it is!

...And this is our interview:

1) Tell us about yourself (where are you from or where are you now, age, how long you have been producing music).
My name is Jon Bourne and I am from Southend-on-sea, Essex, UK. I am 21 and am currently studying Music with Music Technology at Keele University. I have only really been writing seriously for about 2 years.

2) What is your favourite style of music to create?
Epic Soundtracks and Cinematic Trailer.

3) What programs/instruments/devices do you use?
At present i use:

Cubase Studio 5
Sibelius 5
East West Quantum Leap software: Symphonic Orchestra Gold, Symphonic Choirs (w/ VOTA), Stormdrum 2, Ministry of Rock & Goliath (all PLAY versions)

I am planning on upgrading my VSTs soon after the release of my album and am sold on:

East West Quantum Leap software: Hollywood Strings & Brass
Tonehamer/8dio: Requiem Pro, Rhythmic Aura & their Epic Percussion ensembles.

4) You are having an album released by a production company. Congratulations! Tell us how that came about.
Thank you very much! As I have said before, I have been writing seriously for about 2 years now and have built a solid portfolio to show others. I emailed various production companies and libraries that I found in a google search and in general research on the internet. One company got back to me - JW Media Music. They were impressed with my portfolio and said I showed great potential in writing this sort of music. I met with the managing director of the company who asked me to write a 10 track album, consisting of the better tracks found in my portfolio along with some new and exciting epic tracks. It is to be available to anyone, ranging from big TV companies to student film/trailer makers, who are in need of some epic tracks to put behind their trailer/tv show or advert.

5) What advice do you have for those looking to get into the production music business?
Just promote yourself as much as you can - facebook, youtube, twitter etc. and email any production company or library you find. Everyone starts somewhere.

6) How are you inspired to create your music?
I get my inspiration from the best of the best: Two Steps From Hell, Immediate Music, most of the composers who are involved with Remote Control Productions etc. I must also mention my good friend Paul Mitchinson, who also writes in a film music style. We have done collaborations on some trailer re scores which have had lots of praise from many youtubers. The constant friendly competition and support raises the standard of music making for both of us.

7) Random thoughts:
Thanks to everyone who has given their support and encouragement. I am always in need for more opportunities to promote my name and music so feel free to get in contact!

To hear more of Jon's great music, visit his youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/jonbourne100#p/u/5/D1fYB6S_Gko