3 Reasons You MUST Vibe with Taylor Simone this Thursday

Promo 2This Thursday, April 11th, Taylor Simone will grace the stage at the Bitter End in downtown New York for her last concert of the semester. Now I already know what you’re thinking…downtown?! As Columbia students, we tend to limit our adventures to the area that our President conveniently labels as “Morningside Heights” aka places between 96th street and 125th…and that’s a stretch. If we do somehow manage to venture downtown, we make sure that we change out of our sweatpants into something we’ve been waiting to wear but haven’t found a good excuse to, then Instagram the entire adventure — from the subway, to the dinner, to the expensive table that we hope the guy next to us is paying for, and finally we change our Facebook profile pictures to something that sums up the “epic” night we had.

Well friends, it’s about time to put away the sweatpants and start Bachannal weekend off right. The talented, smooth, and soulful Taylor Simone is promising to give a show that will be one of the highlights of her career. She’s bound to be famous soon, so wouldn’t it be nice to take advantage now and see her before the prices skyrocket? And just in case you’re still wondering if it will be worth your while, here are 3 key reasons you should go and support:

1. She opened for Snoop Dogg during Bacchanal 2 years ago and killed it. She was only a FRESHMAN, already making her claim to fame.

2. She’s performing some new songs, and covers. Remember my post on covers? Yea, here come the fans.

3. It’s a Thursday night, and there’s nothing better to do (trust me). The concert is called VIBE for a reason. Vibe with Taylor, Vibe with your friends, and immerse yourself in the amazing atmosphere.

Disclaimer: this is open to EVERYONE (you know, the entire world…not just CU students).

Get ready for a great time, check out her tumblr page, and listen to her cover below of Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar:

Time to Hit Up the Thrift Shop, Mackle’s Back

Well isn’t the Bacchanal Executive Board just awesome?

It looks like the rumors didn’t have it (thank God). Contrary to previous reports, Macklemore will be performing at Columbia University’s spring concert on April 12th, along with Ryan Lewis. DJ duo Flosstradamus will then follow the performance. So why did the Board leave us to have a near heart attack and believe Macklemore wasn’t performing? Apparently there were safety concerns with the NYPD, blah blah blah…do we really care? We forgive you Bacchanal Board.

Also, remember the post about the Morningsiders and how amazing they are? Well, you should review it because they are the opening act. The show begins at 11 am. Here’s the full press release:

Dear Columbia Student Body,

The Bacchanal Executive Board is proud to announce our spring concert lineup. Columbia’s own Morningsiders will open for headliner Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Following their performance, chart topping DJs Flosstradamus will take the stage. The concert will be held on Low Steps on April 13th, and begin at 11am.

The early start time was chosen to accommodate a last-minute schedule change for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. This is only a slight blip in what promises to be a wonderful day for the Columbia community.

See you there, Columbia!

The Bacchanal Executive Board

Co-President – Geneva Miller
Co-President – Kay Sorin
Secretary – Vincent Nasri
Treasurer – Jonathan Lee
Concert Chair – Joe Girton
Concert Chair – Luis Arias
Publicity Chair – Anais Ross
Fundraising Chair – Gil Feig

So get dressed in your best thrift shop attire. You know, the kind that you can throw away after a good time.


After lots and lots of Botox, John Mayer is Back

Did you even notice that he was gone?

With so many artists on the scene, it seems a bit difficult to keep up with every single one. Vocalist and guitarist John Mayer has been out of the game for a few years now, but he’s finally ready for a comeback. Billboard’s new cover story highlights John Mayer and his 3 year medical journey to recovery. It started in the fall of 2011 when Mayer was diagnosed with a severe tissue inflammation on his vocal chords, known as granuloma.  Between constant touring, and excessive drinking resulting in acid reflex (life of a rock star), Mayer’s vocal chords had enough. To fix the problem, Mayer went to see Dr. Steven Zeitels, who if you remember, miraculously fixed Adele’s vocal chords and saved her career. Mayer’s problem wasn’t so easy to fix however, and there was a time when he never thought he’d sing again.

So what did the trick?

Botox. Lots and lots of Botox. Seriously. Just like too much Botox freezes the faces of the Real Housewives, Botox also has the capability to freeze vocal chords, allowing them to heal. So after 3 years of constant rest and jam sessions on his guitar, John Mayer is returning with a Born & Raised tour. Yes, a year after an album release does seem a tad bit late. But then again, he’s John Mayer, and he’s a heart-throb. I’m betting on some improved musicianship, and ambition to do something great. So here’s to an Adrian Peterson-like comeback, Mr. Mayer.

How Do Artists Get Views on YouTube?

Melanie Fiona recently did a cover of Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” creating a simple beat and turning the rap song into an R&B song of her own. Melanie’s already a well-known artist on the scene with two Grammy’s under her belt, so we have to wonder why she’s spending time doing covers. Was she was bored or does she just really like the song? Or, more likely, maybe she’s just staying relevant.

Whether they admit or not, emerging artists care what fans think about their music. After all, fans are the ones that pay the bills. Obviously, Melanie Fiona is not an emerging artist, but she is an artist that knows the importance of marketing. With social media dominating the way young people communicate, word of mouth and the virality of the internet drive record sales. Once an artist releases his music into the ‘cloud’ of the internet, he essentially gives the world permission to disseminate his track in any way it sees fit. Bad or good, publicity is publicity in the world of entertainment.

So what better way than to take advantage of YouTube and the millions of people who are already searching the site for videos? Obviously, musicians take advantage of this everyday. BUT, for some reason, most don’t want to post covers.

The explanation goes beyond fear of people “not liking” the song. You see, musicians are all about finding their own style, and differentiating themselves from others. Think about it – the most successful artists are those that are unique. So when a relatively unknown artist posts a cover of a popular song, she automatically takes away from her “uniqueness” since this is the way in which (most) of the world hears about her. To take an extreme case: imagine covering a Whitney Houston song that soon afterwards goes viral. Next thing you know, everyone in the world starts calling you the next Whitney Houston. Sure, it may seem like a great compliment at first, but it might not be so flattering when the world starts to realize you are not Whitney Houston…at all.

So, question for the musicians out there: what do all of you think about doing covers? Is it possible to make it without appealing to the audience and the songs they already know? Covers seem like an automatic way to get subscribers. If you need to increase your views, does it really hurt to take a shortcut and do a few covers?

Just a few.

Grammy First, College Later (or Never)

Take a look at the Billboard Hot 100 today, March 9th. You’ll end up noticing all of the typical names. From Rihanna to Bruno Mars, it’s not a surprising list. One particular song, “Started From The Bottom” by Drake, has gained a lot of popularity and now sits at #6. In his music video, Drake does a satire on his own lyrics (watch the video above), which makes sense when you think about it. Come on, we all know you didn’t really start from the bottom, Jimmy.

Like every famous artist, Drake ‘hustled’ his way to the top. But he also didn’t graduate from college.

As college students, we have to wonder how much of a return we are getting on our 6-figure “investment.” Artists who show real talent are sometimes faced with a choice of getting an education, or chasing their dreams. Which is more important? Better yet, why do they have to choose? Don’t we go to college so we can chase our dreams, or does the institution hinder us from doing so? Most students wind up postponing their dreams in favor of high-paying jobs. And sometimes, those dreams never become fulfilled.

Take a look again at the Hot 100 (the first 10 songs). #3 – #10: none of these artists graduated from college. Just last year, Drake graduated from high school. #1 and #2: Macklemore and Baauer sit at the top…two relatively new names on the charts, with viral singles. Will they last? Only time will tell. Either way, 80% of the artists on the top 10 did not attend college. These 80% have multiple platinum albums and multiple Grammys to show for it. These 80% have decided to postpone higher education for success.*

So the question is: Where does college fit in for musicians? Is there a correlation between success in this music industry and lack of a college education?
Or is it just pure luck? Seriously, we all know a college dropout who is struggling to make it in the business. Either way, the stats are a little daunting for college musicians lying in a pool of debt.

*Will.i.am. will be attending college this year to study computer science

Mackleless, Macknomore: Bwog Reports Macklemore will NOT be at Bachannal

And let the puns begin: “Mackleless” (credit: Olivia Harris), “Macknomore,” “Mackledissed,” “Mackleditched”

Rumor has it that Macklemore will most likely not be attending Bachannal, Columbia’s spring concert. Can anyone be surprised though? CU is known for bringing in has-been’s (i.e. Snoop Dogg) or will-be’s (Wiz Khalifa), so pulling off Macklemore would have been one for the books.

For now, we should probably start thinking of some other options. ASAP Rocky, Meek Millz, Kendrick Lamar, etc. are already being suggested on Bwog’s comments. While we’re reaching for the stars, maybe someone should take the subway/Metro North to one Beyonce’s places and ask her (kidding, kind of).

Who would you like to see perform? Read the original Bwog article here: Bwog Report

BHM Fashion Meets Music

It’s always fun when different forms of art combine to create a production. Last weekend, during the Black History Month fashion show, fashion met music (or did music meet fashion?). The show, headed up by Columbia senior Jasmine Sudarkasa included a lot of artistic elements, from a dramatized pillow fight, to a rendition of the Harlem Shake, and a remake of “GIRLS” (video above). One of my favorite parts though, was what occurred in between the different designers: a jazz band called “Steven Fowler.” The band had a Robert Glasper feel to it, as they began with a basic melody/theme and expanded upon it in each instrument. Each member had his own solo, incorporating the normal jazz elements of syncopation and harmonic dissonance. I didn’t catch the solos on video, although I wish I had. In the end though, the horns blended together to create a smooth sound as the bass line in the guitar carried the band forward. Overall, it was a great show, and it’s always wonderful to discover new bands.

Who wants to be a role model? Not Rihanna

I’m baaaaack!! I hope you’ve all had a great summer. I’m taking Bars and Chords in a slightly different direction this school year but before I get into all of that, I had to write about the interview with Rihanna and Oprah on Sunday. Simply put, I can’t help but notice that…

No one wants to be a role model!

On Sunday, Rihanna blatantly told Oprah that she doesn’t like the title of “Role Model.” Ever since then, a thought has been running through my mind…how can you have 11 number 1 hits, and not want to be a role model?!   In other words, I doubt she made it to the top without having someone she aspired to be like, so why wouldn’t she want others to follow her now? Still…now that I’ve had a bit of time to reflect, I’m starting to believe that most celebrities (especially music artists) would probably have given the same response.

To society, a role model isn’t just someone who tries his or her best. As RiRi pointed out in her interview, a role model tends to be synonymous with everyone’s idea of “perfection.” Whether you admit it or not, all of us expect perfection–for artists to fit into our mold of the A-List lifestyle. And when someone fails to meet expectations, record sales plummet, sponsors walk away, and your favorite artist is left to crawl to the top again.

Still, I can’t help but think about the words of Jessie J: NOBODY’S PERFECT. Technology allows our generation to gain a microscopic view into the lives of our favorite artists, which means that we can easily (and I mean EASILY) expose their flaws. What’s even more creepy is that we’ve listened to an artist’s entire album before the sound engineer finishes his final touches, an artist’s death becomes a trending topic while he’s still alive, a domestic violence case pulls two lovers apart before they even have time to blink…

So who do aspiring musicians look to in an industry where everyone makes mistakes (surprise surprise), and no one wants to be a role model? I don’t have the “perfect” answer for you, but I do know this: for aspiring artists, don’t focus on being a Good Girl (or boy) Gone Bad…start by creating your own dreams and goals instead of looking to live someone else’s. Also understand that fame is not the ultimate goal. In fact, it is often a by-product of hard work (and luck, or bad luck). Your talents, creativity and passion for music should drive you through obstacles.

So, I leave you with a bit of an oxymoron…

RiRi can’t be a role model, but she is, whether she likes it or not. It’s up to her to do her best to project a REAL image of herself, and up to us to stop asking for perfection.

Disagree or agree? I would love to hear your thoughts/comments below or on the FB page!

Remembering Whitney Houston

The Queen of Pop, Whitney Houston, passed away this weekend after being found in the bathroom of a Beverly Hills Hotel. She was only 48 years old. Although she had problems with substance abuse and anxiety over the course of her career, she will always be remembered as a singer whose voice touched millions. After learning of the news of her death, the Grammy Awards committee hastened to create a tribute for Houston. They finally decided on a simpler task,  tapping Jennifer Hudson to do a beautiful rendition of Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Whitney Houston was undoubtedly the most accomplished female artist of all-time, winning six Grammy awards, selling over 170 million albums, songs, and videos, and charting seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. However, it was not just her music that made her so successful. As an actress, producer, and model, it was the way in which she used her talents and carried herself that inspired women all over the world. Just as Michael Jackson did for Black males, Whitney Houston paved the way for Black females to gain exposure in the world of mainstream music. She especially did so after her “How Will I Know” video was put in heavy rotation on MTV. Before Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, MTV had been notoriously known for not playing music by African American artists. Houston also touched the lives as children, as she played the fairy godmother in the 1997 remake of Cinderella, singing and acting alongside Brandy. As portrayed in her rendition of “Impossible,” Whitney Houston made it possible for Black girls around the world to believe that they could be princesses too.

In spite of all of her fame, Whitney Houston always made sure to acknowledge her roots by visiting her old church in New Jersey. She started singing at her church in at age 11 after being inspired by her mother, Cissy Houston. The song Joy to the World from Whitney’s album “The Preacher’s Wife,” shows off Whitney’s vocal ability as well as her close connection to the church.

Let’s all keep Houston’s family in our prayers during this difficult time, and thank Whitney Houston for sharing her phenomenal gift with us. For she not only changed the world of music, she changed the world itself. Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.