Category Archives: music

“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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“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.

“The best traveller is one without a camera” Kamand Kojouri

<We were walking and you exclaimed:

-You’re pretty when you smile: you get dimples,

-They’re wrinkles.

You laughed, then you looked into my eyes and sweetly said:

-I love you because you never take yourself seriously!

So I grabbed your arm and screamed in my head: “Please, say that you love me again!”>

As I told many times, I love exploring London. One area that is barely mentioned despite of being surrounded by posh neighbourhoods like Maida Vale, West Hampstead, Queens Park and Kensal Rise, is Kilburn. I hope that the fact author Zadie Smith decided to set her new novel “NW” here, will give to Kilburn more visibility.

It is very easy to get there since the transport link is fantastic, I came here from the Bakerloo line, hopping off at Kilburn Park.

This area has been traditionally Irish for a long time, but now it has a huge and diverse mix of nationalities and races (I saw a large presence of Italians, for example). It is claimed to be dodgy at night, but the main street is always full of people. This one is a very long road called Kilburn High Road and it has chain stores (Primark, M&S), pound shops, a beautiful library, a famous cinema (The Tricycle Theatre), independent stores and a few pubs. Fun fact: Ian Dury formed his first band in 1970 and called it “Kilburn & the High Roads”.

Despite of being originated as an ancient trackway, a part of a Celtic route between Canterbury and St.Albans, High Road it’s not very attractive. Just a long serie of two storey buildings that make it look cheap.

In Kilburn Square there’s a very lively market where you can find mainly fabric, candles, hand made stuff and flowers.There are plans to redevelop it and revalue the whole area, but until now nothing has changed.

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I didn’t eat there, so I can’t suggest any gluten free option.

Last year I visited the S.Augustine Church, an Anglo-Catholic Parish Church consecrated in 1880 and affectionately known as the ‘Cathedral of North London’, one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. It is beautiful! I don’t like taking pics inside churches, so if you want to visit it, the church is generally open half an hour prior to the advertised service times and for up to 20 minutes afterwards. Additionally there is normally access on Tuesdays and on Saturdays in the morning.

I will surely come back: there’s one thing left to see, The Good Ship, a well known music bar actively committed to bring the best bands to Kilburn; it is also a place where you can see performing a large variety of artist, since every kind of entertainment is welcomed. Moreover there’s a 100 CD juke box and until the coin mechanism is fixed (probably never, they say) it is free.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Periscope – Papa Roach feat. Skylar Grey

“Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down”- Simon & Garfunkel

I always say that music is my personal lifesaver, there even are scientific studies according to which, adding musical stimuli focus the mind away from pain perception and shifts its attention to the music itself.

But music can be also used for raising donations and awareness for a charity intent; for sure everybody remembers big Charity projects as Band Aid and Usa for Africa: the songs are extremely popular as the artist taking part of the act are (or were) at the time they were released. But there is plenty of songs made by single singers or group of artist that are made to raise awareness about a hot topic (like Warwick-Wonder-Knight-John’s “That’s what Friends are for” against AIDS) or to raise money for the survivors of a disaster (as Haiti’s or Italian earthquakes) or for a memory fund (for example “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John).

Many charity songs were successful, many weren’t; some are well known, some aren’t. Here’s a short list of the ones that come up to my mind.

-“Let it be” cover by the Brit-American ensemble Ferry Aid, released following a ferry capsizing which killed 193 passengers and crew in 1987.

-“Everybody wants to rule the world” by Tears for Fears, the cause was Sport Aid (famine relief in Africa).

-“Man in the Mirror” performed by Michael Jackson who was raising funds for his own fund called “Burn Center, Childhelp, United Negro College Fund”

-“Mama” by Spice Girls and “One way or another” cover by One Direction; different songs from different years to raise money for Comic Relief, a major charity based in the UK which strives to create a just world free from poverty.

I’m sure there are many more; the latest is:

Simon Cowell produced a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in honour of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and to raise money for the survivors of the 14th June blaze. Over fifty artists participated in the project and the song has jumped to the top of the singles chart just two days after its release and has been declared the second fastest-selling single of the year, after Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you”.

Donate here to support those affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire: http://artistsforgrenfell.com

There also was a young couple of Italian architects and instead of staying silent and respect the pain of their families, this death has been instrumentalized by those who say that our youth has to emigrate in order to find a decent job. That’s true, but it has nothing to do with their decease, because, honestly, if nothing had happened they would have only been just a happy couple building its future in the wonderful London.

TRACK OF THE DAY: “Bridge over troubled Water”- Artists for Grenfell