I Am Officially Obsessed

I’ve always had a thing for music. I love to sing (usually badly and loudly along with the radio). I’ve played drums since I was in 3rd grade, and always wanted to learn to play more instruments. And I’m the type of person that needs to have music playing pretty much 24 hours a day.

Sure I have a few favorites–Meat Loaf, Poe, Heart, Reba McEntire, Pink–but for me, loving a particular song or style of music has always been more about what it says to me, what I’m feeling, and, of course, a really great beat.

Enter Karmin.

So, I first heard Karmin’s Brokenhearted on the radio a few weeks ago. It caught my attention right away because it was peppy, upbeat, the kind of song you could have a blast singing along to. Add that to the fact that the lead singer has an incredibly beautiful voice and I was hooked. I actually found myself spinning the radio dials every time I got in the car, hoping I might hear it again (because of course, I had no idea what or who it was at the time).

Eventually, I managed to find the video by searching YouTube.


And of course, Cadence and I had a singing/dancing party in the living room to celebrate.

But, even more exciting, I found that lead singer Amy Heideman is originally from Seward, Nebraska, and that she and partner Nick Noonan have spent the past few years posting videos of both original and cover songs on YouTube.

Seriously, the amount of talent these two have is mind-blowing. Don’t believe me? Search “Karmin” on YouTube and prepare to spend the next few hours clicking through their video library.

Nick has a great voice and an immense amount of musical talent and Amy, well Amy’s got one of those voices that you can’t help but stop and listen to. Unlike so many other popular singers these days, (ahem…Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, etc.) Amy doesn’t need any fancy studio equipment or auto-tuning to make her sound good. She’s got an incredibly original sound and an immense amount of talent.

Oh, and she raps. That’s right folks. Even white girls from Seward, Nebraska can rap. 🙂

So yes, I am officially obsessed and I’m proud of it. If you’re not familiar with Karmin yet, what the hell are you waiting for. Here’s the video for Cadence and my current favorite…

365 Project – Day 342 – Utterly Heartless

No KISS. No Bruce Springsteen. No Rush. No Cars. No Moody Blues. No Jethro Tull. No Cyndi Lauper. Ho Heart. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has a habit of passing up truly legendary musicians while allowing others to slip quietly past the velvet ropes into their hallowed halls. What gives?

Each year since 1983, a nominating committee composed of rock & roll historians selects nominees in the performer category. Arists are eligible 25 years after the release of their first album. Ater the initial nominees are chosen, ballots are sent to more than 500 “rock experts” who cast their votes. Performers who receive the most votes (and more more than 50% of the vote) are then inducted.

There are a lot of artists who have been snubbed over the years, a lot of truly talented and amazing performers that have somehow just not made the cut. The one that truly baffles (and downright angers) me is Heart.

Good bands come and go. Great bands endure and thrive. I don’t think there is any argument which category sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson fall in. As I sit writing this, they are still going strong, making music, delighting fans and enjoying a career that has already spanned four decades.

Heart has sold over 30 million records worldwide, and was ranked #57 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Heart has achieved Top 10 albums on the Billboard charts in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and now 2010 with chart singles in each decade. The Wilson sisters’ four decade career makes them one of the most enduring hard rock acts of all time.

And Ann and Nancy Wilson don’t just rock in the studio (like so many popular artists who need to be sampled and remixed to actually sound decent). These women lead the band, write their own music, play instruments, and sing both lead and backup vocals. And they sound just as good whether you’re listening to one of their albums or sitting in the crowd at one of their concerts. Their music ranges from the gritty hard rock favorites like “Barracuda” and “Crazy on You” to the popular 80’s hair band hits like “Alone” to the more folksy ballads like “Dog and Butterfly” and “Hey You”.

Ann and Nancy Wilson can do it all, and they do it better than damn near everyone.

In addition to the success of the group Heart, the sisters have also achieved individual musical successes.  Ann lent her voice to chart-topping motion picture themes like “Almost Paradise”from Footloose, “Best Man in the World” from Goldenchild, and “Surrender to Me”from Tequila Sunrise, while Nancy composed and performed the scores to a half dozen motion pictures including the award winning Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous.

To date, Ann and Nancy Wilson have sold more than 35 million albums, performed at sold out arenas around the world, and become one of the most recognizable hard rock groups in American pop culture.  Turn on a radio, a movie, a commercial, even a video game and you’ll be hardpressed not to hear some Heart.

So tell me, why was Heart snubbed once again this year in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame voting? Probably the same reason that mediocre performers like Justin Bieber can become an overnight sensation. Sadly, true talent doesn’t sell records anymore. These days it’s more about headlines and who you know. Boy bands are slapped together by record producers and sold to impressionable preteen girls in pretty packages. Female performers are judged more on their looks and their willingness to dress in skimpy skin tight clothes than their actual musical talent. And the worst part about it is that these are the industry types who are currently in charge of the Hall of Fame nominations. If you ask me, it’s about time for a coup.

Here are a few of my personal Heart favorites. Take a listen, and then give me one good reason why these amazing women have not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And if you need any further evidence to convince you, here are a few additional tidbits…

Select Discography:•Dreamboat Annie (1976) – 100 weeks on chart, multi-platinum selling
•Little Queen (1977) – 41 weeks on chart, multi-platinum selling
•Magazine (1978) – 25 weeks on chart, platinum selling
•Dog & Butterfly (1978) – 36 weeks on chart, multi-platinum selling
•Greatest Hits Live (1980) – 25 weeks on charts, multi-platinum selling
•Heart (1985) – 92 weeks on charts, five times platinum selling, Grammy nominated
•Bad Animals (1987) – 50 weeks on charts, three times platinum, two Grammy nominations
•Brigade (1990) – 49 weeks on the charts, multi-platinum selling, Grammy nominated
•Greatest Hits 1985-1995 (2000) – platinum selling
•Essential Heart (2002) – platinum selling
•Red Velvet Car (2010) – Top 10 entry in Billboard Magazine, September 6

Honors & Achievements:
Four GRAMMY nominations
Lifetime Achievement Award – GRAMMY Foundation Northwest Chapter
Lifetime Achievement – VH1 Rock Honors
Image Award: Lifetime Achievement for Excellence in Songwriting – ASCAP
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum – Exhibit
Electric Music Project Museum – Exhibit

365 Project – Day 314 – Finding More Than a Hero of the Day

Today was one of those days that just got me thinking. Not only was it Veteran’s Day, it was also 11/11/11 and National Metal Day. And yet, you turn on the news, and those things only got a nice little soundbyte while things like the Penn State sex abuse scandal and Justin Bieber’s alleged fatherhood dominated the headlines.

The way I see it, we’ve got our priorities a little mixed up here, and I think it’s time for a change.

These days, it seems like we are all so focused on things like money and fame and power and prestige. We idolize celebrities and athletes, worshipping them the way ancient cultures worshipped deities. We see them as heroes, even when their actions prove to be anything but heroic.

What does it say about us as human beings when we spend more time talking about people like Kim Kardashian and Charlie Sheen and the cast of the Jersey Shore than the brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line to protect our freedoms?

I’ll be the first to admit that I like watching television and movies  and listening to music as much as the next person. I like to be entertained. And, like my husband, I have started my own List of People I’d Like to Have a Beer With that includes several of the celebrities that I just think are cool (among them Carol Burnett, Lewis Black, Ellen Degeneres, Reba McEntire, and David Lynch). And yet, my appreciation of their talents has not turned me into a crazed fan or celebrity stalker. I don’t have to rush out and buy a brand new outfit to match the one Kate Middleton was photographed wearing yesterday, and I don’t spend my days analyzing the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Aniston love triangle. Instead, I like to spend my time trying to be the best damn wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and all around person I can be. I want my time here to matter.

So, today, I would like to pay homage to the heroes that all too often go unnoticed. Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to the courageous men and women who have served, are serving and will one day serve in the United States military. The job that you do is a job that few of us ever could do. You give yourselves to your country and your countrymen, putting your lives on the line to save ours. You go without, so that we can have plenty. You leave your families and friends behind so that ours can be safe from harm. You are the true heroes. We love you. We thank you. And God bless you.

And in honor of National Metal Day, I dedicate Metallica’s Hero of the Day to our heroes. http://youtu.be/CBJey2dkiAI

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