Category Archives: Artists

“I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero”

I’m on the one month Netflix trial and I’ve binge watched everything that caught my attention. One of the best things I saw it was the documentary about Lady Gaga called “Five Foot Two”. I can’t call myself a fan of this singer, I only like some of her songs and think she’s a charismatic performer. But I really loved this Netflix documentary and I want to thank Lady Gaga for shining spotlight on chronic pain, hoping that it will raise awareness about this problem. Invisible illness is not invisible to the sufferer and the only thing worse than pain is not being believed by family, friends or even doctors, who think it’s stress, or all in your head or that you’re faking it looking for attention.

Lady Gaga reveals that she’s fighting pain that stems from a broken hip suffered on the 2013 tour. There’s a part of the documentary that shows her on the couch in tears, because her right side of the body is in a spasms and that her face hurts.

She reveals that when she feel the adrenaline from her fans, she can go, even if it doesn’t mean she’s not in pain. She shows the drugs she takes to control pain , the treatments she gets to ease it, the doctors she visits to find a permanent solution and it’s an incredible discovery for those who, like me, are used to see her full of energy, singing and dancing on a stage.

Honestly, chronic pain and invisible illness can be as limiting as any other disability and the fact that others can’t see them, doesn’t make them disappear. They’re fucking real!

So if you have Netflix, I really recommend “Gaga: five foot two” even if you’re not a fan of Lady Gaga. It also shows many her aspects of celebrities’ life as if that sometimes being reach and popular means also being alone, because bringing along a relationship may be hard for the lack of privacy.

Due to her pain, Lady Gaga had to postpone her Johanne tour and I read online a lot of encouraging and supportive messages from other celebrities and from her fans. Good for her: these are things that help, along to the right meds. I loved how she pointed out that she’s lucky because she has the money to get the right and the best cures, unfortunately many of the treatments that help with chronic pain are meant to be paid by the patient.

I wish I had the financial possibility to cure myself, I wish I had more support and not only from my friends and above all I wish I had half of Lady Gaga’s spirit and energy to face chronic pain and what it brings.

If I continue to define myself by what I can’t do any more or by what others do, I will destroy my self.

TRACK OF THE DAY: The Cure- Lady Gaga

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“Travelling tends to magnify all human emotions” Peter Hoeg

 

I know I probably write the same each time I post something about London, that is “this is one of my favourite places”, but I can’t help if every corner of this city is amazing.

Here’s Hampstead Heath part one, I don’t really have part two, since I have no pics from Parliament Hill or Kenwood House or Keats’ House, but I plan to go there as soon as I go back “home”, so stay tuned. Here’s our stroll from Hampstead Heath tube station to The Spaniards pub.

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We headed on the right and panted for a solid quarter of hour on an uphill road called Heath Street, with a little deviation on mount road where I took a pic of a lovely white house that looked like something out of Alice in the Wonderland. My friend will never admit that, but we get lost as we followed Admiral’s Road and ended in a narrow street with a lot of plants and mud. Never trust the locals again! My advice is going straight on from the tube until you get at a roundabout. on the left there’s a park with more ponds and nice walks, on the right there’s Spaniards Road.

We followed the  main road, but you can also venture in the nearby park, where you can have a pretty nice view of the city. I stopped there just for a couple of pic, then I went back to the safe, trustable pavement.

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After a bit (or a lot, it depends on how you’re tired) of walking uphill, you get to a white building, That’s the Spaniards, one of London’s oldest pubs, immortalised by Dickens in “The Pickwick Papers” and it’s said that Keats wrote there his well known “Ode to a Nightingale” I didn’t stop there for lunch because I wasn’t sure they had gluten free options, so I ate a banana to stop my stomach from grumbling while I was waiting for the bus and taking pics of an attractive blue plate. I forgot I was right in front of Harry Styles’ crib, so I apologize once again for being in his security camera recording, eating a banana.

We were too hungry and too tired to walk any more, so we took the 210 bus heading to Finsbury Park and hopped off at Archway to catch the tube again. It’s a pleasant ride since you can see one of the richest London areas and have the chance to see many luxurious houses and cars. The bus goes towards Highgate Village, one of the poshest districts (if you want to have an idea about who lives there, look for “The Highgate mums” on social media and have a laugh) and I recommend you to visit the homonym cemetery, one of England’s greatest treasures since it has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country.

The East Cemetery is where Karl Marx is buried. Visitors may roam freely on this side, but there is an entrance charge, while admission to the West part is by guided tour only. Please notice that George Michael’s grave is in a private part of the cemetery, not accessible to visitors. I didn’t take any pics because I respected the meaning of the place, however, they’re allowed for private use.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

 

“Will you be the one to save me?” Evaride

Before you roll your eyes thinking “Here’s a childish post of a fangirl promoting some untalented boy band” read this until the end.

One of my top 3 favourite bands (Evaride) debuted with a pop-rock song called “Heartless” and I could spend thousands words to explain why it is amazing, but here’s not the the fan asking to support her idols, it’s something more important that affects me in a personal way, since it’s related to my child sponsor experience.

The proceeds of Heartless are going to benefit the community of Nyagihanga (Gatsibo district, East Rwanda). The band itself takes its name from the Rwandan boy Josh (Evaride’s drummer) was sponsoring through Food for the Hungry.  And as you already know, my sponsored child is from Rwanda as well.

So, please, stream it on Spotify or watch the lyric video below; if you like it, let Heartless take you to the stars by downloading it here: https://onerpm.lnk.to/Heartless

It will be a positive thing for your ears and for many children, families and communities as well.

Now you can roll your eyes or stop reading because it starts the “get to know the artist” part. Evaride is more than a band, it’s a group of friends and each one of them, despite his young age, has an undeniable and unique talent and a lot of experience as session musician or vocalist.

Sean Michael Murray

Sean has everything an artist needs: a killer voice, stage presence and contagious smile, moreover his skills transcend amongst different media. He began his journey in LA, then he moved to New York where he made his Broadway debut in Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning show, “American Idiot.”. From there, Sean joined the cast of the revival production of “RENT.”

Despite being on stage daily he wanted more, so he became the lead singer of a New York-based band called Fancy Reagan.  They won multiple battle of the band competitions and went on to win VH1’s reality show, Make A Band Famous, that allowed to them to record a song with Universal’s Republic Records. Their debut single “Knock Me Out” was the theme song for the NCAA 2015 March Madness.

As a solo artist, he collaborated with Bobby Green. They co-wrote the single “Changing Me” that got over 3 million plays on Spotify. Before joining Evaride, he was part of the NY based pop rock duo Static Stereo.

Hayden Maringer

When you get to know Hayden, the first question is: “Is there anything he can’t do?”. His professional resume is impressive:

As a guitarist he performed on the biggest tours, TV broadcasts and stages in the world with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Miranda Cosgrove and many others. He’sa film/tv  composer for Universal, BBC, and Ford to name a few.

He’s also a producer and a music director, that’s why he is skilled in every aspect of show productions. Moreover he owns the Maringer Music Management.

And last but not least, he’s an actor: you can see him in “My crazy Ex Girlfriend”” and as a guitarist on the Fox hit TV show “Glee”

I can assure you he is a first class guitarist, he can even make his guitar sound like a motorbike!

Josh Devine

Last member is the drummer Josh and it’s quite awkward for me to present him in a professional way because to me he’s simply JD, my lifesaver, my light in the dark.

Anyway, according to the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he’s the first son of the gifted singer of Seven, Mick Devine. He started drumming when he was three, but can also plays bass, guitar, piano and he can even sing.

He won the 2007 Uk drummer competition when he was only 15 and the following year, he won the Mapex Drummer of tomorrow competition. His will to work hard, incredible talent and some jaw dropping clinics, assured him to take part to studios sessions, shows and numerous tours with For all my Valentines, Charlee Drew and Fandangle.

In 2011 he begun working and touring with the UK rapper Skepta and later on that year he joined the back band who played for One Direction for whom he played the drums until they went on hiatus in 2015.

Meanwhile he wrote a song for Josh Golden and then for Kingsland Road together with the songwriter, producer and friend, Ollie Green. They thought that their voices in the demo didn’t sound bad, so they decided to release a few songs and see what would happen. They released the EP “Through the Fire” and the single “Never fade”.

At the moment he’s in Evaride, ready to start a new adventure and of course I’m still here, supporting him (-After all these years? -Always! cit,)

TRACK OF THE DAY: Heartless – Evaride

 

 

 

 

“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch”

There’s a part of the novel “About a Boy” by Nick Hornby where Ellie and Marcus see in the newspaper that Kurt Cobain committed suicide and Ellie gets so sad that she gets drunk, then jumps out of the train and throws a boot at a music shop that had a big Kurt Cobain’s cardboard in the window. She wanted to punish the shop owner who, according to her, was trying to exploit her idol’s death, to make money.

When a musician dies, it’s so sad to see that many greedy shops raise CDs prices and that there is an invasion of merch, without mentioning those who feel like to mourn their loss even if they had never listened to a single song. Was Chris Cornell right when he said that an artist’s work isn’t fully appreciated until their death? Or is it simply the mercenary or narcissistic desire to take advantage from the situation?

Luckily it’s not totally true, thanks to common people and fans and their sincere tributes (on socials I still see a lot of posts for Chester Bennington as I saw for David Bowie last year), sign that the death of a great musician can create a collective sense of loss and nostalgia. They may be gone, but their music and the feelings it gives, will remain forever.

I’m writing this because three days ago it was the 25th anniversary of Jeff Porcaro’s premature passing and the grief is as strong as if it had happened yesterday. As a huge Toto fan, music lover, drummers’ estimator, it’s still something hard to overcome.

In my opinion he’s one of the greatest drummers of all the time and this goes beyond his drumming skills (I know that plenty of drummers can play a Purdie shuffle): it’s about his personal groove, his consistency and also it’s something that goes beyond the notes. He took seriously his profession, he played with passion and dedication, not only with Toto, but also as a session musician. He was one of a kind artist and I totally agree with Steve Lukather that when Toto perform, it’s like Jeff is on stage with them.

(OT: I know that if someone posts something on Snapchat or Instagram story it’s to make it ephemeral and I’m not one of those disrespectful accounts that leak and share these things. But a friend sent me this video of JD playing the Rosanna half time shuffle: it’s something I’ve been craving for four years. So I hope Josh won’t mind… and neither you).

TRACK OF THE DAY: Josh Devine performing the famous Rosanna shuffle

” A friend who dies it’s something of you that dies” Gustave Flaubert

This day is never easy for me. Whoever said that time heals all wounds, was lying because each time I walk past the place where my best friend was involved in a car accident, I still close my eyes. And honestly I still wait for her to pop out from behind a tree how she used to do in our games or to hear her voice when the phone rings.

If the bond was strong, friendship never fade despite death, time and having new friends. We were 17 when it happened, we grew together, we had a special place where we used to play with dolls or Barbies, the same place that has witnessed our secrets and confidences about our first crushes. It hurts sitting there alone.

When a friend grows their wings it’s hard above all because it’s about someone like you, around your age and in the following years, at every milestone of yours, you ask yourself how your friend could be. Alessandra. Would she be a mom? Would she have a job? Would she be happy? Would us still be friends? I don’t know, I just miss her.

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This is a personal blog, so don’t look here for a way to cope with grief for a friend’s loss. Personally the only thing that works for me is music: artists can express what it means better than any so called “expert”, their words may caption perfectly how you feel. Look for your grief song, the one closest to your experience and play it on repeat, there also are dedicated playlists on Spotify. It helps a lot, above all on days like birthdays or anniversaries.

Mine is “Never Fade” by Josh Devine and Ollie Green: JD experienced the premature departure of one of his closest friends who was very young and put in music his feelings. Those above are the words I held in my heart, unable to express them until this song came out. I’m playing it since this morning: I’m sure Ale likes it, she loved music so much!

I love you my friend: you will be always missed and never forgotten.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Who knew – Pink

“If it wasn’t for music I’d be dead” Chester Bennington

I wish music was enough. Another one gone too soon.

I can’t call myself a real fan of Linkin Park, I just loved their songs and be grateful to them because they introduced me to nu metal; then I started listening to Korn and POD and many others. I have a playlist on Spotify with the most meaningful songs of my life, among the many beautiful ones of Linkin Park, I chose “Crawling” because it has always touched me emotionally. How many times I’ve listened to it, curled up in my bed, crying. I added another one today, from the band’s last album, that is “One more light”; I find it devastating, all the lyrics of last album are shattering if carefully listened after Chester’s passing.

“Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do”

Goosebumps.

Many things have been written about Chester Bennington, the most heartfelt came from fans and colleagues, personally JD’s glistening eyes while talking about how much his songs influenced him and inspired him to make music, were more meaningful than a billion of empty words.

Media seized the moment to talk about mental illness, depression and how it’s important to ask for help. For sure: opening up to someone, therapy and meds works, but let me be brutally sincere: not all depressions can be cured. Not if you’re a grown up person who realised the real entity of their problem, if you’re trapped in a dark tunnel with no exit. Looking for help may help if you’re a young person who can still change their life, not if you’re Chester or Chris or someone like me. I know that depression will be on my side, I have good days, even excellent moments, but I know she’s always with me, ready to devour my sanity when I feel sick, hopeless, ignored or simply down.

Another thing. A real depressed person barely shows it or talk about it: look at Chester’s pics on his Twitter, read what he said about his new album or about his life (“I have such a lust for life now, such a positive outlook” he said). He looks happy and passionate, he loved his family, job and fans.

I’m wondering what Chester was thinking when he wrote his farewell letter to his friend Chris Cornwell, if the sentence “I pray you find peace in the next life” was something he hoped for himself.

“We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have”

Breast cancer is a devastating experience for a woman, she faces death and of course her first desire is to beat that monster. She also sees her body changing, she may lose her hair or go through a mastectomy and when the fight is over, her wish is to return quickly to her old life, to set a “new normal”. The thing I’ve often heard from cancer survivors is that they wanted to feel a whole again, but how is it possible when the scars remind them of what happened? Moreover, many of them got their nipples removed, so when they look at themselves in the mirror, they see a sort of alien.

Many hospitals offer a rudimentary tattoo and nipple re-pigmentation, but women should know that there are better options and that they come from those tattoo artists who practice a 3D technique. This makes inked nipples looking very realistic which, of course, helps women to regain self esteem.

Unfortunately many artists ask an incredible amount of money for that, something like an average price between 400 and 800$ per nipple (these are American prices, but here in Europe they aren’t cheaper at all). It’s a madness: why do you have to further charge a woman who got through a hard time of her life? There are several associations that help financially women, but I think it’s humiliating anyway.

Now here it comes the good news: there’s an American artist named Mark Corliss who do that for free, who tattoes  stunning realistic 3D nipples getting back nothing but gratitude. This is amazing! It all started while he was covering with tattoed flowers some surgery scars and the costumer asked him to ink her nipples. He later found out how much other artist asked for that kind of work and decided to do that for free.

Other parlours should follow his example, I don’t say they all should do that for free, but definitely at a reduced rate.

Mark said: “The world needs some good right now, so I think it’s a good time to spread the word”, so, please, help him to share this, so it can go viral.

Mark Corliss works in Cape Cod Massachusetts. Visit his Instagram profile here https://www.instagram.com/mark_corliss_tattoo/ or at http://www.spiltmilktattoo.com for more info.

Please tell me if there are other artists who give cancer survivors 3D nipple tattoes without asking them money: I’ll be happy to add them to this post. Thank you.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Don’t Stop Believing – Journey