Friday, January 30, 2009

My predictions were right (this time)

When I blogged about that BBC shortlist for 2009, I wrote about which artists I had the highest hopes for. My top 3 was Frankmusik with '3 little words', Lady Gaga with 'Just dance' & Kid Cudi with 'Day 'n Night'.

It turns out that I picked the most succesful ones off that list as Lady Gaga's 'Just dance' is currently holding the UK number 1 spot and Kid Cudi is right behind her at number 2 with 'Day 'n Night'. I'm not quite sure how Frankmusik is doing, but I still stick to my guns on that one too. I think it's a great track. Maybe it will pop up again in the future (becoming part of a commercial, movie or something along those lines)

The official winner of the BBC's list was Little boots. Who, I think, is not bad, but not the best of that list.

Anyway, I already told you before...I also do miss the mark sometimes. But it feels good when you get it right : )

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daniel Merriweather, Change

Daniel may be more familiar with this man's voice than with his name as he has been doing backing vocals on tracks by Mark Ronson and others in the past, but now he's ready to show himself to the world with his own album, which will be out in April 2009. To give us all a taster of what's to come, here's the first single off the album; 'Change' (and a mighty fine taster it is too ; )

My only criticism to Daniel is the fact that he flaps his hands around like he is some kind of player or black rap star. To me that always looks silly on white boys (unless your name is Eminem, then you are forgiven) Great voice though!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Follow this blog

For my regular blog readers...I've just put on this new add-on, so we can see who's all 'part of the family'. Sign in on the right-hand side at 'follow this blog'.

2009 remix of Storm's 'Time to burn'

Big up to the power and interconnectedness of the Internet! I blogged about the 2009 remake of ‘King of my castle’ and got a personal ‘thank you’ note through MySpace from the man responsible for the remix, Rowald Styen.

And now he has contacted me again to tell me about his latest adventure, a 2009 remix of Storm’s ‘Time to burn’.

As I watched the Utube clip, I got so bloody excited. I try not to swear these days (all part of becoming a mum, I guess ; ) but throughout hearing the tune, I couldn’t stop myself from saying: ‘F*****g hell...F*****g hell’, whilst grinning from ear to ear.

This is the kind of track that can always re-ignite my passion for dance music. As I hear it, I am transported back into a club, hands in the air, shaking my head in disbelieve at the giganticness of this tune. Big up! Of course, the original was already fantastic and gigantic, but I always found that there were a few moments where the track crossed from being accessible to being a bit cheesy and even other mixes that have come out since have not been able to remove that occassionally cheesy feel. Rowald Steyn, in my opinion, is the first person who’s managed to do that.

I am also happy to hear Mark Spoon’s legacy carried forward. I always worried for him and his wild partying ways and, sadly enough, it was a fear that turned out not to be unfounded. He died of a suspected heart attack in 2006. Rest in my peace, my friend!

Mark Spoon, by the way, was at the heart of my infamous ‘wandering around the streets of Berlin in a dressing gown’ incident. I’m not sure if I have ever shared that story yet. It’s a bit of a mad one.

Anyway, check out this 2009 mix of ‘Time to burn’...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A sucker for your sound, I Monster

What an original promo! Done by New York-based director Mike Ritchie. The single 'Sucker for your sound' has just been released (17th of Jan) and is available on 7" vinyl and download format through the Twins of Evil label.

The I Monster website is brilliant too. Go check it out!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Alex James from Blur: Coldplay were 'ordinary'

This is quite a funny article that I just found on the BBC's Newsbeat page. It shows how easy it is to misjudge a new act. Personally, I've been right about some artists in the past, but made some major misjudgements too. For instance, I was totally wrong about the Spicegirls back in the days (I was convinced they'd never make it) and I also am starting to take back my earlier judgement on Katy Perry. I expected her to be a one-hit wonder, but 'Hot 'n cold' ended up growing on me & 'Thinking of you' definitely shows that she is way more talented than I ever gave her credit for.

Anyway, this is that Newsbeat article:

Blur's Alex James has said that he passed on signing Coldplay to his record label in the 90s. The bassist went to see them with his fellow label heads, artist Damien Hirst and late Clash frontman Joe Strummer, but thought they were "ordinary".

"Then again, I still think Coldplay are a fairly ordinary band, although the singer is good," he wrote in The Spectator magazine.

James compared them to The Beatles and Blur - all found it hard to get a deal.
"We all thought they were ordinary and passed on them," he wrote. "I think everybody did, except Parlophone, just like [what] happened with The Beatles - and Blur."

Decca Records rejected The Beatles in 1962 before they signed to Parlophone, famously declaring "guitar groups are on the way out".

James, who will again play with Blur when they reform for a series of gigs this summer, explained that he, Hirst and Strummer preferred forgotten indie band Murry The Hump to Coldplay.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Trying to upload clips...

I am starting to get so frustrated. Been trying to upload some clips that I digitized ages ago (my Tina Turner interview, plus Harald Schmidt show from spring 2001)

I found these clips again on an old external hard-drive and I have been trying the upload them onto Dropshots, straight on to Blogger and I have even tried to burn them onto a DVD (just to see if that was possible). But none of it worked. I think the problem is that the clips start with a menu, I then have to click onto the chapter and that's when the clips play. So how do I now get these clips out of the hard-drive and on to my blog? Any suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My final days at MTV...

I guess it’s time for me to share this story now. It’s not that I want to revisit that time particularly- as it was such a painful period in my life- but you guys have asked me about it & I am not one for keeping secrets. So, here goes...

As I said many times before, MTV is an amazing company to work for. But sadly enough, it is a terrible company to get fired from. Each one of us, former MTV employees, have our own painful story of ‘being dumped by the one we loved so much’.

To be honest though, my ‘ending’ was much to my own doing. I had tried to leave MTV for years. Every time when MTV was letting people off (something that would hang over the offices for months and caused a horrible nervous atmosphere), I would go into the boss’s office and offer my resignation. Yet every time I was told that they didn’t want me to go and would offer me more money. So each time I stayed.

The reason why I had wanted to leave was that I had been there for so long. There was nothing new for me to learn & I saw no new challenges in my daily work. The ‘feel’ of the company had also changed over the years and had become very ‘corporate’. I craved a new challenge. Plus, I had having freaky nightmares about me being an old lady who was still hanging around the MTV dressing rooms (I looked like that crazy old woman from the movie ‘Whatever happened to baby Jane’). So anyway, I felt that I needed to move on.

But I never had the guts to actually leave (apart from those feeble attempts whenever they were laying off staff). The main reason for this was that I felt safe and accepted at MTV. It was my home away from home, as I had left my mother’s house at the age of 18 and moved straight to London. So MTV had become my new family in this foreign land. I grew up at MTV and in front of the MTV cameras.

The perks of being a VJ was also something that I had grown accustomed to. MTV would give me hefty clothing allowances every month, plus a personal stylist to shop with. Like most other VJs, I used the MTV taxi service all over town, I sent my parcels through the MTV postal service & used the MTV phones to call my family in Holland. I had also grown accustomed to travelling non-stop (my average was 2 foreign countries a week). Plus I was more than used to my ‘access all areas’ lifestyle.

But in the lead-up to being fired I had done something that I had never done before. On the Harald Schmidt show (a big German talk show) I announced that I was leaving MTV at the end of that year. But when that date came nearer and nearer I got cold feet and hoped that everyone would forget about my big announcement. I did say ‘no’ to more and more mainstream shoots and projects on MTV and started to spend more time away from the company. But I didn’t expect to actually leave.

Then, one day, I was called into the office of a new boss. I had no idea why she wanted to see me. She just said ‘Simone, we’re taking the Partyzone off air. You are fired’. It was so unexpected and such a shock that I started to cry. And I hated myself for that. If I had known what she was going to say, I’m sure that I would have been fine. I felt so stupid for crying, especially as her office had big windows and everyone could see me. I walked out of her office humiliated & that was not the way I had intended to leave after all those beautiful years.

It was all made worse though when my dear friends and colleagues came straight up to me and said ‘Simone, we’re so sorry for you’. It turned out that everyone had known, apart from me. And no one told me. Not even James or Tania, my two best friends at the company. They said ‘We were told not to tell you’.

James and I had always had a ‘suicide pact’. We promised each other that we would leave the company together. But I was leaving alone. He also didn’t have the guts to follow through (as you know, we are still very close friends, so I have obviously forgiven him for this).

The rest of my period at MTV (the final days) was all a haze. There were no goodbyes, apart from a short tape that my colleagues made, with lots of ‘Good luck Simone’ and ‘We love you’. They also collected some money amongst themselves and gave me a bracelet that I still wear to this day.

My last shoot was with a crew that I never worked with. It was on top of a snowy mountain and at the end of the shoot, they forgot about me and left. So there I was, stranded on top of an Austrian mountain, feeling more lonely and betrayed than I had ever been.

No one had actually told me if my other show, the German version of the Dancefloor chart, was ending too. So I came back to the studio, filmed my show and asked afterwards ‘So what happens now? Are we still filming next week?’ No one seemed to know. And that was the last I ever heard of my German crew. No goodbye at all.

And obviously, it was not true that Partyzone or the Dancefloor chart had ended. It was only me that had been taken off air.

So there you go. It may not seem like such hurtful or shocking a story to you, but it was an awful period in my life. My main feeling was that of being betrayed by my own ‘family’. I just wished that it had been done differently. I was fine about the leaving part, but it’s the way that it was done that was so horrible. Still, others were fired in even worse ways than that at MTV. I’ll say it again ‘MTV is a great company to work for, but an awful company to be fired from’.

By the way, I still am good friends with many old MTV colleagues, including the big, big boss Bill Roedy. He is the sweetest man and is the best boss I have ever had. So it’s not the people that I ended up angry with, but the corporate monster that is now MTV.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Free download: Colin Munroe is the unsung hero

Just found this on the ever fabulous OnSmash. It's from the Canadian artist Colin Munroe, who you may know from his 'I want those flashing lights' (the Kanye West remix). After checking out Colin Munroe's MySpace page I have started to see what a great talent he is.

You can download Colin Munroe is the Unsung Hero mix-tape on OnSmash too.

This is the video for his track "Piano Lessons" featuring Joell Ortiz & produced by Black Milk. Directed by Philip Sportel.

One thing I don't understand though...why is he giving all his album tracks away like that? Can someone explain to me how this all works? I'm confused (though happy with the wonderful freebie : )

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy 2009, my dear blog readers!

Yes, I think it's going to be a good year. Let's make 2009 a year that is filled with music, fun and adventure!

And thank you all for your birthday wishes and for staying in touch whilst I was busy hanging out with my family over the holiday season. The kids are back in school now, so I can finally start digging around the Internet again for music news stories, great new tunes and vids.

As a comment on my Christmas posting, Fil asked me about my last days at MTV. It's funny how reading those questions still made me feel emotional. They certainly aren't the kind of questions that can be answered quickly. I need to look at what I can and cannot say without getting into big trouble with MTV/Viacom. Which is something that needs to be done soon anyway as I've been asked to write down my complete MTV story for a book. I will let you know if that plan become a reality in the near future or not.

There are some other- rather exciting- plans for 2009, but I'd rather wait with sharing details until I have more certainty that they are really going to happen (you never know in this industry)

Even so, I am thrilled that this new year has started and I have total faith that it is going to be a great one!

Happy New Year everybody!!!!!