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Many musicians finds themselves in a tough spot where they are told what to do and they a deprived of their creativity to an extense that everything begins to fall apart in terms of emotions and aspirations, but some artists have managed to cut ties with these devils of the music industry and made their way into an honest succesful career, one of the most recent is Poppy.

Poppy

Poppy’s career went from being an internet pop star meme, to an honest artist that looks back happy of not being tied to a persona anymore.

She says:

I’m leaving it for the listener to decide what genre it is. [When] we went into the process of making the album, we just wanted ultimate freedom and no rules. I feel like we accomplished that.

Poppy

That is what is the most gratifying thing for Poppy during the making of this album, as if it were the first piece of music that was purely satisfying her creative demands and nothing more.

When asked about her previous team’s opinions on her creative decisions she said:

I think they didn’t understand [the art], but they pretended to understand it because they thought it was cool. But they actually didn’t understand that they were the exact things I was talking about. As far as the [music] industry as a whole goes, I don’t want to give it too much credit, but it definitely inspires a lot of what Titanic and I create. I think from past experiences with past teams that I have worked with, I found a lot of inspiration for this record. Specifically, my song “BLOODMONEY” was like an 11th hour song.

Poppy

However it ended up being more than just some people she worked with. Not long ago she parted ways with Titanic Sinclair, which was her partner in her music career, and made a strong statement in which she claimed that he was very “manipulative patterns”. “I was trapped in a mess that I needed to dig my way out of – and like I always do, I figured out how to handle it,”

In the end the album is a very interesting proposal that comes from very strong feelings, and it makes us wonder, how many more artists are bound to a world where they don’t belong?

The album as a whole is just about not stepping to anyone and disagreeing with people in positions of power and not accepting “no” for an answer or “you can’t.” And sometimes when people tell you [that], or at least when I’m told that I can’t, it makes me want to have it more. It’s all about burning down the music industry in a way and stepping out of any box that anyone might have tried to lock me up inside. The message is empowerment, not gender specific. Just empowerment.

Poppy Mirroring Black Mirror

There is an episode in the Netflix’s Series “Black Mirror” that tackles this issue about the music industry exploiting an artist, and it’s impossible not to see some similarities with real artists such as Poppy. In the episode, Ashley O played by Miley Cyrus is a very famous pop singer that is only being used for the purpuses of other people, up to a point where the people behind her career believe they no longer need her as a person, just her mind in order to use her compositions and make the necessary adjustments for a pop audience.

Ashley O’s real personality is much more honest and sad than her ideal look that is being sold. While it’s very literal and on the nose, it’s very real.

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For many people, Jools Holland sounds like something familiar, and when they manage to trace it to something people usually remembers “Later With Jools Holland” which is a TV show from the UK hosted by Jools Holland, and focuses on bringing different artists and bands at the same time to perform live.

It’s a concept which is has managed to remain fresh since 1992, it features around five bands and an audience of around 300 people.

Young Holland

However Jools Holland is also a very succesful and talented musician. Before the show, Jools Holland or Julian Miles Holland already made a career as a pianist, playing from the age of 8.

In 1974, Holland joined Squeeze as their keyboardist, and released their first EP in 1977 (Packet of Three), and their first LP the next year. The band was very succesful, with hits such as “Take Me I’m Yours” and “Bang Bang”. Both songs were composed by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.

That year, Holland released an EP called Boogie Woogie ’78, which showed a side of him that focused more on R&B, and jazz. After that his solo career flourished and eventually left the band. He occasionally came back to the band but his solo career was very well established as well as his career as a TV host, first in “The Tube”, and then “Later With Jules Holland”.

Holland

Music and Shows

In an interview with “ukmusicreviews” Jools Holland spoke about his career and the show:

If I had to push you what has been the highlight of your career so far?

Well I suppose that would have to be this moment now we are chatting (laughter). A friend of mine once told me that the great gurus always say that if this does this and that does that then tomorrow will be the best day ever. However, I always think that paradise is now. I also get a great feeling whenever we play next. I suppose that if I was to look back and pick out one thing it would most probably be a small moment on stage when I feel totally connected with the audience at that one moment in time. It’s great when you see that they are feeling the music as you are and they are tapping their feet and moving in time to the music that you are playing.

That is the highlight for me. Being at one with a load of people who are getting the music that you are playing. You can’t ask people to love the music that you are playing unless you love the music yourself. That oneness with the people has been the highlight for me. That was a rather longwinded answer I’m afraid Kevin but I’m sure that you will understand what I am saying. If you can put that into one sentence, well done (laughter).

Later… with Jools Holland has now been on the TV for forty-two series. When you aired the very first series could you ever imagine yourself still doing it in 2016?

No not at all. If you had said to me when you and I bumped into one another backstage at Milton Keynes Bowl when I was trying to settle the argument between Sting and Tom trying to get Tom’s quid back with the help of UB40; if you had appeared to me in a strange veil informing me that you could show me the future and then have taken me into a tent, and you had told me that I would be running a big band consisting of twenty people that would tour all over the world and I would also have this TV show, I would have thought that’s not what I am planning. As they always say if you want to make God laugh then tell him your plans. Things just happen sometimes.

I am really pleased with the way that things have turned out and I am really pleased because I love what I do. I love the music we play but I would never have dreamed that would be the way that things were going to turn out for me. That also goes for Later…I presented The Tube for five years and that seemed forever when I was twenty. After that we started doing Later…and I thought that it was fun and that it would probably last for three series. The longer that it stays on TV it gets harder to believe. I also think that we have been fortunate to have some of the greatest artists in the world, sometimes at the beginning of their careers and sometimes at their last performances.

There is a very interesting aspect about how music can work in unexpected ways, even if there are connections with a show’s host and a performer, it’s a bit strange to be a musician and later find out that you’ll be very well known TV host because of that same musician side.

In the end Jools Holland is a musician, and every now and then he play the piano with his guests and manages to make the experience even greater with his talent.

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For any kind of performers, there is room for mistakes, and some arts are more gentle about it than others depending on the context and the particular feeling that is being comunicated.

In music, mistakes have the potential of being quite magical, wether it is during composition or a live performance, there is something about it that moves the way music works in an unexpected fun way that a planned performance cannot replicate. Of course it also depends on the type of music. When it comes to classical music and in some cases jazz, perfection is key in order to deliver a great performance.

This magic of mistakes can happen either in a live performance or during a recording. The basic idea is that a mistake can bring more feeling to the music or even sounds that were not intended to be there in the first place.

Live Performance Mistakes

Live performances ara filler with mistakes, and sometimes what defines a great performer is not how perfect the music is being played but how the musician is able to keep going despite the adversities.

It’s also important to know the origin of the mistake, if it’s just lack of practice and expertise, it can hardly be magical, but there is one common example, which is laughter. When musicians play and there is a clear connection and chemistry, fun things are bound to happen, and this feeling is passed on to the crowd. However that’s when the mistake happens, laughter can make someone make a mistake or a singer fall out of tune, but the idea of the magic mistake is that it doesn’t really matter, it even gives a feeling of “realness” to it.

While it’s less common, sometimes improvisation can come from mistakes, all it takes is a single note outside of the plan. Of course it all depends on the energy between every band mate.

It’s also important to remember that most of these mistakes are magical thanks to the crowd, in the end a live performance is made by both the musicians and the crowd that listens, cheers and fuels all the emotions.

Recordings/Composition

Mistakes

Many legendary songs have something magical about them that was brought by a little mistake.

According to the awesome Beatles anomalies site “What Goes On,” “…it is widely written that fitting with the lyrics [“Woke up, fell out of bed…”] was only coincidental, and the alarm clock’s purpose was originally as a marker. Nothing more. A happy accident that was capitalised on, as the Beatles often did.”

sonicscoop.com

There was also:

On one of the overdubs, Ringo shifted position very slightly at the very end, causing his shoe to squeak. This happened, of course, just when the sound of a pin dropping could be heard! A cross Paul shot him a sideways glance, and from the look on his face I could tell Ringo was mortified. If you listen quite closely to the song just as the sound is fading away, you can hear it clearly, especially on the CD version, where there is no surface noise to mask it.

sonicscoop.com

During a recording and composition it’s different than the live performance in many ways, due to the time that a musician has to play around with the path given by the mistake. Sometimes you have an idea, and it gets improved by playing a note you were not supposed to but makes everything better. In this case there is time to really listen to that and turn the mistake into the sound that is supposed to be played.

The main take away from this is to let the music take the lead sometimes, and let the unexpected happen.

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