July 2002

Volume 2

July 2, 2002

Singers Lying About Being Single

Why do singers lie about being single. It's a management practice I have deplored for years. Managers tell singers their audience will like them more if they are single because it gives them the illusion that they are available and can go out with them. They lie to impressionable young people to get their money via record and merchandising sales. 

Some even take that lie a step further to reassure their trusting audience by saying I wouldn't lie to you and tell you that I don't have a girlfriend if I really did, knowing full well they have a girlfriend and have been dating.

Why does this infuriate me you ask? I'll tell you why. I've seen so many young people over the years believe the things said to them by singers and end up so hurt and disillusioned when they find out otherwise. I remember a couple months ago, a family member of mine was talking to me about a singer she listens to who said he doesn't have a girlfriend. She said to me "Aisha do you think he has a girlfriend?" Obviously she wasn't sure he was telling the truth. I looked at her innocent, confused face and I was so upset that a singer in cohorts with a manager sitting in an office decided it was wise to lie to my relative and countless other  people to boost sales.

You should have seen how confused she was wondering if the singer was lying or not. It really infuriated me. Who are they to put anyone through that  and so unnecessarily. It's such a selfish and thoughtless thing to do. The truth is the singer she was wondering about doesn't have a girlfriend, but he does mess around. It broke my heart witnessing all of this because I knew better.

I think it's a bad practice that needs to stop. I've seen the trauma it causes when their listeners wonder if they are telling the truth and then when they find out they do have girlfriends or they do play around. Some of the ones who don't have girlfriends feel 'oh, I didn't lie to them' because what they don't tell you is they sleep with several different women and several of these women they don't even know, so technically they don't have a girlfriend. That's even worse.

They do more damage than good causing trauma to impressionable young people and all because they don't have integrity. To deliberately misrepresent whether or not you have a girlfriend and or see different people because you believe it will cost you record sales is wrong (I had to add the "and or" to that sentence because some cheat on their girlfriends as well). You need to start thinking about the innocent young people you influence and the damage you do to them. That doesn't make you a singer. It makes you a prostitute for money and fame like the groupies you sleep with. Ah, and here it is you thought you were better than your groupies. See, you're not so different after all.        

Then when their audience finds out they hide behind their management saying it was their idea. You were man enough to cash those royalty checks and sleep around, yet you aren't man enough to stand on your own two feet to the people that made you rich and say I lied about not  having a girlfriend and sleeping around and agreed to all of this because I wanted your money. 

 

July 3, 2002

Princess Diana

I've just read two biographies in the last couple weeks, one about Princess Diana and the other mentioning her in several chapters. The biographies revealed a lot of things I didn't know. It really made me more aware of the influence of the press. So many things were not mentioned publicly, so people have a slanted view of things and not the whole puzzle. It's sad reading a book knowing the outcome in advance when it is a sad one, but at the same time you learn  from other people's mistakes. 

The author of the biography about Princess Diana was unbiased and summarized what happened very accurately. I have to admit, a few of the things revealed in the book were a bit personal and shouldn't have been included, but that's journalism.

When my mom and aunt Rose were teenagers, they sang for the Queen along with many other people who went out to greet her when she visited Jamaica. I remember when I was about 4 or 5, my mom woke me up early in the morning to watch the royal wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana. My aunt Rose in England sent commemorative items marking their engagement. I watched along with billions of people as Diana and Charles married in St Paul's Cathedral. I'm sorry their marriage did not work out. I've read books and articles about what happened and I have my personal feelings on it, but I do not want to write about that.

A few years ago, I watched again along with billions of people as her two sons walked behind her funeral carriage. It's sad to know at their young age, out of respect for their mother, while grieving they had to walk behind her carriage, keeping their composure before billions of people.  

Her children have been through a lot, from their parents disagreements, their divorce to her passing. Reading these books, I kept thinking about them. It doesn't matter if you are royalty or not, bereavement is something you feel the full extent of like everyone else.  

During the crash that claimed Diana's life in Paris, the vehicle slammed into a 32 foot concrete pillar in the Alma Tunnel. Sadly, no one was wearing a seatbelt. Diana's boyfriend and the driver died on the scene. Initially paramedics believed Princess Diana only sustained injuries to her leg and a cut on her forehead. Her bodyguard was hurled forward, his face slamming into the vehicle's dashboard. This flattened his face to the point that his eyes were moved roughly 2 inches from their place. 

Miraculously the bodyguard survived the crash. I was stunned to read about the extent of the injuries each person sustained and flabbergasted reading about the surgery the bodyguard underwent to reconstruct his face. It was a miracle he survived the crash. The surgery itself was a miracle as well.

I'm impressed with the surgeon's humility and discretion. He did not speak to the press and after successfully completing the surgery he acknowledged that things would not be the same as they were before by telling his patient that he is not God, he can only do so much. Considering that by God's grace he did a great job reconstructing the bodyguard's face with very few signs of what had happened remaining, I find his humility refreshing. Many people with the skill God has given him would continually brag and wrongfully believe they are God. 

The circumstances surrounding her death are marred in controversy. Blame has been placed on so many people, from the photographers that chased them, the driver of the car who was later found to be legally drunk (though some dispute this and with evidence) to royal family/MI6 conspiracy theories. 

One of the assassination theories states that because her boyfriend was Egyptian and they planned to marry, the royal family and the British government did not want the future king of England, Princess Diana's son William, to have a black step-father. There were also claims that two MI6 agents were present at the British Embassy in Paris when the accident occurred. There is no concrete evidence that they planned to marry or that such a plot existed, but the theory is believed by some people.  

Another theory is that another car caused the accident. It was reported that a white Fiat Uno blocked a lane of the tunnel, then hit the car carrying Diana in an effort to get the vehicle to slow down. Sadly, this has happened again since the accident. I recently read about two separate incidences involving a pregnant actress and a famous television news reporter whose baby was present in the car. Their cars were bumped by photographers in an attempt to get them to slow down so they could take pictures of them.

Blame has also been directed toward the French emergency medical system. In America, when you dial 911, an ambulance arrives within minutes. The paramedics carefully place you an the ambulance and rush you to the hospital for treatment. In France they treat you at the scene of the accident. Princess Diana did not reach the hospital until almost 1 hour and 40 minutes after the accident occurred, where she died shortly after. 

Though Princess Diana appeared to only have an injured leg and a cut on her forehead, she sustained massive internal injuries. They did not realize this until the surgeon began operating. The pulmonary vein was ruptured and the blood drained in the body for over an hour and a half. Some people believe had they rushed her to the hospital right after the accident and immediately started surgery, the doctors would have seen the ruptured vein and been able to stop the bleeding. 

Internal injuries are very deceptive. A friend of my family died in a crash on his way to a soccer game in a foreign country. They believed his injuries were not serious and did not send him to the hospital first, allowing the other crash victims whose injuries seemed more life threatening, to go before him by helicopter, due to the lack of space. He died shortly after.

God knows what happened that night in the Alma tunnel. However, there is a cause and effect. I do believe had the press not hounded them that day, these events would not have taken place. Their plans were changed because of press intrusion. After all, if they were not trying to get away from the press, their plan to rush to her boyfriend's apartment leaving through the back door, would not have taken place, nor would the accident that claimed three lives and permanently altered another one. 

I was saddened to read that photographers took pictures of her injured in the car and pushed away people who were trying to help the crash victims, so as not to block their shots. All to get that perfect shot. When is enough, enough. In the news, you hear about people being shot to death, but it was a shot of a different kind that claimed her life. 

 

July 4, 2002

Post September 11th Safety Precautions

Happy 4th of July. The terrorist attacks of September 11th threatened the peace and freedom of the world. Don't just think of this holiday as a day off, your day to barbeque and have a good time. Let it be a reminder to you of the freedoms we enjoy and to be thankful to God for them. Remember the people who have suffered and died so you could have these freedoms. 

Now so many more precautions are being taken to ensure our safety. You have to be appreciative of these things and not take them for granted. 

Terrorists try to instill fear in people through hatred, ignorance and violence. The fear of what they've done, what they could do or will try to do next. You can't live in fear. Enjoy your holiday and be thankful to God for giving you life and the freedoms you have. 

 

July 8, 2002

Publicity Stunts

Why do people use other people for publicity. Silly question I know because the answer is obvious, but I say it because sometimes I'm amazed at the audacity of some people. Do you not have enough  confidence in your work that it can stand on its own. Bringing up the name of someone really famous is a cheap way of garnering publicity. 

I do not believe in using controversy to sell products either (publicists everywhere gasp). If what you are promoting requires you to resort to that, then the product is not very good to begin with (publicists everywhere say "er, that's why they hired us"). 

Shock value is another cheap ploy. So many people have used outrageous publicity stunts to sell their products, that the public has become desensitized. It takes a lot more to shock people now because of this, so you find more entertainers and companies  trying to outdo each other as a result. What's wrong with making a good product that sells itself. That does still happen you know. 

You wonder sometimes if when singers and actors wear very little, if it is to distract the crowd from their lack of talent. 

Then they become trapped in a cycle where they are not comfortable with what they are doing (or wearing for that matter), but know people expect this from them, so they feel obligated to meet those expectations. They feel they have to outdo their last effort by being more outrageous and scandalous because they do not want to give up the public adulation. They need to break the cycle.

Yes, you want to look good when you go out, but when you say you are going to get dressed to go out, you should actually do that...get dressed. The term "getting dressed" is now becoming a figure of speech. 

 

July 9, 2002

Terrorism

What's with all these people giving advice on how to resolve the terrorist situation. They don't even have their own lives in order, yet feel they are equipped to solve this crisis. People are second guessing everyone in authority and offering these amazing insights that supposedly only they see. Don't you think they've thought of these things already. Many people are being very naive when they berate people in authority and offer their allegedly brilliant insights. That doesn't solve anything, it only creates more problems. In all of their complaints about how the government is handling the situation, no one has offered a viable solution to the problem which equates to whining.

Do you really think the people who destroyed the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent people want to discuss peace with you or anyone else for that matter. They aren't terrorists in a hostage situation making demands that you can negotiate with them, they are acting out what they feel like doing based on their beliefs. 

Why is it when some people write about this issue, their commentary is so one sided. People mention the people in Afghanistan that have been bombed in response to September 11th (and I'm truly sorry that happened to them), but neglect to mention the people in America who were bombed at the World Trade Center as though their lives aren't of equal value. So because America is not an impoverished third world nation, the September 11th bombing does not hold the same significance? Tell that to the bereaved families who's relatives and friends lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

I do not like war. I'm for peace, but regrettably, people have died in America and Afghanistan. People die when nations go to war. That's why it is called war and sadly it is a fact of life. 

If your insights are that brilliant maybe we should send you to negotiate with the terrorists (come back, why are you running away). 

If you want to help, pray.

 

July 10, 2002

Recording Studios

I love recording studios. I've visited many since I was a teenager. There are so many great studios out there. Each one is unique with it's own atmosphere. There is just something about that environment that I love. 

All my recordings have been made in my home studio. By God's grace, I even learned how to build a project studio (home studio) when I was about 16. 

I've only recorded in one commercial studio and one time. I booked an hour at a commercial studio  to do some comparative research. I wanted to see if the recordings I did there were better than the ones I did in my home studio. I recorded a vocal track and it sounded the same as the one I recorded in my home studio. It was a real learning experience for me. I've heard producers say over the years that it's not about the equipment and I learned that during that experiment, which is why I said in my bio (no, I'm not quoting myself out of arrogance, I just thought I'd cross reference it to show some consistency - smile ) :

"I think people make it harder than it has to be. Some of the equipment I've seen is just excessive and doesn't do much more than based price gear. It's not just something musicians with cheap gear say; it's true (laughs). If you are not recording a symphony orchestra, how much gear do you really need. Since I was a teenager, I was amazed at how you'll have a guy that produces a record in his basement on equipment not even worth 20,000 dollars and the CD goes on to sell 2 million copies. Then you'll have another guy working in the finest studios with 2 million dollar equipment and the CD sells 20,000 copies. It's makes you laugh when you look at it that way."

 

July 20, 2002

What Types Of Jokes Are Funny?

 I was reading an article about a celebrity who complained of cruel jokes made about him and he has a point. I've heard some of the jokes made about him and they are downright nasty and many of them slanderous. It's like people expect him to be unaffected by these cruel comments and he is a sensitive person with feelings. He's  even threatening legal action now and it's understandable. What he said really opened my eyes to the hurt this man and others have experienced because of other people's venomous words. 

There have been accusations leveled against people with no proof. When I read or hear about some of these things on the news I say to myself, if these people can claim to know these things and can accuse other people of these things, then they would have had to be there to witness it and are guilty to some degree as well. It's amazing how much trouble an implication can cause... especially when the person who implies it is forced to back up their claim.  

I can think of times where acquaintances have been maliciously slandered in the press and it upset me to hear and read what was said. Some people feel that because they have that podium and are popular that it gives them the right to make nasty jokes about and or slander other people. While I'm not the type of person that takes people's nasty comments seriously because I know it's what God thinks that matters, I know some people take other people's mean comments personally.   

Some people want attention so bad that they make cruel jokes about people as though the butt of their jokes have no feelings. It reeks of insecurity and unkindness. Well adjusted people do not feel the need to do such things. 

People who have a really good sense of humor, don't need to resort to those tactics to get a laugh. To do so is inappropriate, tactless and in very poor taste. Truly funny and witty people can come up with funny material without hurting other people's feelings and destroying their reputation. There are jokes that can be written about people that are funny, but still kind and complimentary.   

When I write scripts and songs, I do not write mean jokes about people. I'm not desperate to get the audience to laugh, I'm more interested in trying to make them smile, reassure them or bring issues to their attention. You can express your opinion in a positive way.

A lot of these vicious comment people make about others are done out of desperation to get a response from the audience. It's a cheap ploy. It's basically someone trying to be cool at another person's expense and the sad part is, these very people cannot stand up to the same treatment they dish out. Now that's funny!

 

July 24, 2002

Contract Riders

Riders for concert, video and television appearances/performances...some of the requests are ridiculous. Yes, you want certain things, but be reasonable. Looking at some of the requests some people submit makes me laugh and cry at the same time for the poor person that has to get all these items because someone was being inconsiderate and indulgent. 

If you need all that stuff to perform, you need to revaluate your priorities. A lot of the food that is requested ends up being wasted. There are starving people in the world, yet some people are being extravagant and wasteful by requesting food they know they cannot eat.

Let's face it, entertainers are not royalty (though some seem to think so). Most singers start off broke, yet are demanding luxury items on these riders. That is so...common (well I used the word royalty, might as well contrast it with the word common).    

It seems the real performance is what is written on these riders.

 

July 30, 2002

Store Clerks With Attitudes

Why do some people who work in stores and banks have such an attitude when most of them are being paid a few dollars an hour above minimum wage... especially store clerks in expensive stores. They can't even afford the merchandise they are selling, yet have their noses in the air and expect people to respect that. I've never understood that. That kind of arrogance is laughable. They haughtily act like it's their establishment when most of them are broke. 

Banks

Speaking of banks - I waited in line there for a very long time. I usually have my headphones on. It's a habit I've had since I was a teenager. I waited in line long enough to listen to 5 songs on a CD - and for the money they make you'd expect their efficiency to be like that of a fast food restaurant. Why do they act like they are doing you a favor by keeping your money while they earn interest off it by investing it. 

They say money is power ....yet there is a Biblical scripture that states "All power belongs to God." Coincidentally, while I was waiting to deposit my money in the bank, so they could make more off of it in interest than I do, there was a power cut caused by lightning that shut everything down. We had to wait even longer because the computers shut down and had to be reset because of the power outage. God knows everything, has the power to do anything and the power that is lightning/electricity, which the lack of shut down the bank. Now that's power. How ironic.

 

July 31, 2002

Writers and Producers

Did you ever notice that songwriters and or producers who are artists often produce more successful and often better sounding songs for other artists than they do for themselves. I've wondered about that for years. I prefer writing for others and listening to other people's voices. Does that make you work better though.

Sometimes producers hit rough patches where there songs do not appeal to as many people. It happens. It's nothing to feel bad about. You are not a machine and it does not negate the good work you've done before. 

I've read articles where journalists credit certain producers with their artist's success, much to the resentment of some artists. That's such a delicate subject. Some artists develop a chip on their shoulders, feel they are puppets and they really shouldn't. Then they demand to be totally in control of their next project which 99% of the time does not do as well as the previous one as a result. It's great to want to do more, but make sure your efforts are up to scratch and won't compromise the quality of your music. 

It gets bad though, when a songwriter, producer and or artist resorts to unscrupulous behavior to keep their career going. Never be that desperate for a hit, cause then you are a junkie. You should not do that.  

I've seen people accept awards for songs, videos and movies that rightfully weren't theirs. I've read so many articles and books that reveal these things and witnessed it firsthand. Sometimes the companies are innocent and it's just one employee that does this and causes a lawsuit to be brought against the entire company.

It happens a lot in the industry, but make no mistake, that is not success and comes with a price.

   

 


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