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Maia Sharp - New Album

Maia Sharp Photo front PageMaia Sharp’s new album Mercy Rising takes the listener from the highs, of the beautiful, seductive and romantic “You’ll Know Who Knows You,” which may be the ultimate love song of this century, to the reflective and picturesque “Things to Fix,” about a relationship that has ended. The former, burns with passion, mixed with ‘I want you and nobody else,’ and the latter uses the metaphor of fixing broken and worn things in a house for what the individual failed to address in the relationship, that perhaps would have made a difference. The words, “What I should have said / And what I should have done / Ya’ I keep skipping over number one / On my list of things to fix,” will take anybody who has been in that moment back there again.

The person in “Things to Fix,” stands in contrast to “John Q Lonely,” from Maia Sharp’s 2008 album Echo, and he was also dealing with a relationship that had come to an end.

She explains, “It shows that I have been doing it long enough that we can compare the end of a relationship thirteen years ago compared to the end of a relationship now.

“John Q Lonely,” is just a crab and his reaction to being hurt is just takes his football and he is going home. He is not going to play this game anymore. He closes himself off. His reaction is to pout. If love didn’t like me then I’m not going to like love.

“Things to Fix,” is a pretty different mindset. It is open and she is aware enough to see that there is something at the very top of my list that I’m avoiding, but the crux of the song is procrastination. It is when you have something in front of you that you should really be prioritizing. All of a sudden, the screw in the doorknob is the most important thing, because you will do anything to distract yourself from the most important thing you should be working on.

The biggest difference between the songs is “John Q Lonely,” was a title that I had, and I brought it to my co-writer Mark Addison who I had been writing with on and off since my first album. It was from a phrase that we liked, and we created a character. “Things to Fix,” is real. I moved to Nashville at the end of 2019, and I found my place a couple of months later. Anytime you move into a new house there is always something. There are little things that…as cool as the previous owners were, there are always little things.

Read More

Evie Sands - New Album

Evie Sands Photo Front PageEvie Sands started her music career (writer puts hand over mouth and mumbles, as it is never polite to discuss a woman’s age) that many years ago, but you would never know it from her new album, her vocals are crisp, the music more imaginative than many of today’s artists, and that is not a slam on today’s musicians and songwriters, but rather a nod to Sands. If you were not aware of all that Evie Sands has already accomplished during her career, you might think she was just starting out, because of her unbridled enthusiasm.  We wondered how she has managed to stay on top of her game and with such a contagious, positive and fun attitude.

“I trust in the music and then I let it go. I think it is probably a combination of things. It is my ongoing and will be forever, my insane passion for music, about making it, listening to it and breaking it down. I enjoy it, but I like to figure out what is that stuff sonically, what is going on and it is the enjoyment part of it. It is just ongoing. It is just like I was born, and I started listening. I just get excited. Then there is the striving to continually get better and all the skills that are involved, whether it is continuing to be a better singer, a better songwriter, better composer, a better musician, a better producer and engineer. It drives who I am.

I never look to chase the trends. I have learned that is a losing game. By the time we see and hear things, it already took a while for those things to be created and released, so by the time we say that must be the kind of stuff people want to hear and by the time I could get it out there it would be a day late and a dollar short. It would be old news. Also, it wouldn’t be honest, because for me making music is all about being connected to the heart. It is a combination of my heart and honesty. There is also the little bit of the artistic muse that visits us. Sometimes stuff comes and I don’t know where it comes from. It is like a channel.

Sometimes I have something I really want to say. It might turn out to be more R&B or Rock with elements of something else. It could be rootsy, Jazz and whatever happens, I just go with it. When it feels right, and it feels good… (she changes direction) …the first person I have to please is myself. Once it meets the bar where I go yeah, yeah that’s cool then I will bounce it off a couple of people whose ears I trust, and I will just see how they respond. Read More

  Misley - Fashion for Women

Misley Spring Fashion Photo One 

Misley - Designed and Made in Spain

Amelie Blake - U.K. Interview

Amelie Blake Photo TwoAmelie Blake may not be a household name or at least yet, but some of the films and television shows that you watch and many of the movie trailers enticing you to watch a particular film have music created by Amelie Blake. The new mother and affable British woman, who grew up in Warrington, England is now also turning her attention to writing songs for other artists. She is very focused on her music, but also quite low key about her success, a far cry from that moment when she first learned one of her songs had been picked up.

She recalls that moment, “My husband, Mike and I created some demos and we sent them to a lot of production companies, trailer houses and publishers and eventually after hundreds of emails one got back to us. They asked if we could do music for this brief and so we did. (Next) we were introduced to several publishers. We then wrote the album Songs for the Soul, which was a collection of a few songs we had written over the years and we also wrote some new ones for the album. It was put out there for the music supervisors to pick from. It is not written for a (specific) trailer. We write them and then we do not know what is going to get chosen.

I was driving to a job interview for a teaching job, but I had wanted to get out of teaching for a few years, because I really wanted to pursue my music. The phone call came (when I was driving) and I could not answer it, so my husband answered the phone and put it on the loudspeaker. My dad said, do you know that you are on this trailer? He started playing it over the phone and that is when I started to scream (as I was driving) down the motorway, because I was so excited. I didn’t care about my job interview after that.” Read More

Actress Ana Cerdeiriña

Ana front pageActress  from Madrid, Spain has been a lot of things when she first took up acting. She was a mosquito, a bird, the sun, and a tree, but as her career progressed, she was cast in juicer roles, such as, a nun who sold aphrodisiac candies, and a psychopath. One gets the sense the role she enjoys the most is being the mother to her daughter. Ana Cerdeiriña has been in drama series such as Si No Thagues Conegut, sitcoms like Gym Tony (2015) and her most recent role in the television series Los Hombres de Paco Reboot.

Life began for Ana Cerdeiriña, “in Salamanca, a little town in Castile y León. It is a big area in the northwest of Spain, but not as far north as Galicia. It is a university city with students from all over the world. I have a small family, my father, my mother, my sister, and me. The center of my life is my father, my mother, my sister and now my daughter. My mother is a nurse, my father is a doctor, and my sister works as a hospital administrator. My father and mother split up when I was twelve years old, and I went to live in Madrid with my mother and my sister. I have lived in Madrid for thirty years.

When I was a child and I wanted to become an actress, my mother and father thought that was bad news. They wanted me to study for a different career. In Spain when you are fourteen and sixteen years old and if you say you want to be an actress, it is not beautiful news, because it is so difficult to be an actor or an actress here. Our country has a lot of good things, but the arts and acting or creative (careers) are difficult.

If my daughter came home and said she wanted to be an actress I would probably tell her no, but fortunately she loves math and science,” says Ana Cerdeiriña.  Read More

These Fine Moments - Season 10

These Fine Moments Front Page PhotoThrough the magic of technology our guests recently at Riveting Riffs Magazine were Hilary Kaufmann who was in Austin, Texas and Robert Watts who was in the Greater Beaumont area of Texas, while this writer talked to them from Toronto, Canada. They joined us to talk about their brand-new album Season 10, whose title informs the listener that the music duo has now spent ten years performing as These Fine Moments.

Hilary Kaufmann talks about their respective musical styles when she first met Robert Watts, “We were different in that my musical interests were completely opposite from Robert’s. I was more into Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and I guess more Folk Rock and Americana, but I have been doing original music in bands for a long time. My band was a finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival. I am also a songwriter. Robert is much more edgy than I am, and he took me way out of my comfort zone. Our voices blended so well together it was a natural progression. I feel writing with him has really helped me to grow as a musician.”

Robert Watts picks up the conversation, “I come at it from a little different angle. My writing style is not so much literal, but it is more abstract. Hilary centers me a lot to keep me from getting too far out there.”  

“Robert’s influences are more from eighties music and I am slightly older, so my influences are mostly from the seventies,” she says.

As far as how their music has evolved during their ten-year careers together, Read More

Shadow and Bone - Review

Shadow Bone front page photoShadow and Bone, an eight episodes series debuted on Netflix in late April, and it features some of the best acting you are likely to see this year, led by Jessie Mei Li, the undisputed star of this show, both due to her character, Alina Starkov and the quality of her performance. Although, this part Lord of the Rings, part Stranger Things and part late 1800s Russian science fiction, fantasy series, based on the books of American author Leigh Bardugo features numerous good looking men and good actors to swoon over, we want to take a moment to highlight the brilliant performances by the actresses.

Jesse Mei Li’s character Alina Starkov grew up in an orphanage with her best friend Malyen "Mal" Oretsev played by Archie Renaux, both actors are relatively new to the film and television world and both turn in splendid performances. Alina Starkov is a mapmaker who discovers she has a rare gift that impacts the storyline, while Mal, is a solider in the Kingdom of Ravka’s army. In the midst of all the drama, there is an undercurrent of are you going to tell her how you feel about her big guy? Jesse Mei Li brings vulnerability to her character and innocence, but she also brings strength. Her character does not really understand everything that is happening to her, but when thrust into an opulent world, she longs for the simplicity of what she once knew. Li’s eyes portray deep hurt, at other times defiance, but never resignation. The dramatic tension created between Jesse Mei Li and Archie Renaux is believable and the sensitivity draws you into these two characters, both in their current time and through flashbacks to the orphanage.

One of the most amazing actresses this writer has seen in a very long time is Amita Suman who was born in Nepal and spent most of Read More

Allyson Morris - Jazz Album

Allyson Morris Front Page Photo One ACHILL…me some jazz, the new album from Canadian singer and songwriter Allyson Morris, is sultry, sexy and innovative. It may also very well be the best Jazz album produced in Canada in decades. The country has produced several outstanding Jazz singers and musicians, but few albums produced in Canada measure up to the quality that Allyson Morris and her producer / arranger Asher Ettinger created at Asher Music Studio in Toronto.

The album opens with an old David Frishberg song, “Peel Me a Grape,” for which a sultry, mysterious, almost James Bond like companion video was filmed. The creation of the video has a hint of mystery to it with two Peters and an Allyson, during a pandemic.

Allyson Morris recalls, “I ran into an old friend (Peter Clifford) who is in the film industry. I played the album for him and he loved “Peel Me a Grape.” He said you need a video Allyson. Nobody in the film industry was working in Toronto, because of COVID. That conversation was in June of 2020.

Peter Faragher started writing out the storyboard with my friend Peter Clifford who has an old 1968 88 Delta car, and we did that video on a Sunday afternoon when it wasn’t busy, down University Avenue (Toronto) and we (fastened) cameras to the car. There was a cinematographer in the front seat, one in the back seat and there was another car following me, as we drove through the downtown core. We ended up on York Street overlooking the CN tower and all of the buildings served as a backdrop for the video. They had gone out a few weeks earlier to scout out locations. It was an incredible experience and  Read More

Montse Muñoz - Actress, Model

Montse Munoz Front Page 2What happens when you have a beautiful model, a daring stuntwoman and a fabulous actress and they all meet? Well when they are three different people, we are not sure and this story is not about three different people, because our guest at Riveting Riffs Magazine recently was Montse Muñoz and she is actively engaged in all three careers. Perhaps the story of how she received her first name is a good place to begin.

“My first name Montse comes from Montserrat, which is a really high mountain mountain range, and they are difficult to climb. My name comes from these mountains. I always asked my mom why she chose this name and she said, because you asked for this name when you were born. She said all of your life you wanted to climb, and you always looked for the difficult way to arrive at the top. You are doing it step by step and that is why you have this name,” says Montse Muñoz.

She was born in the small city of Manresa, sixty-seven kilometers from Barcelona, located in Spain’s autonomous region of Catalunya. Legend has it that St Ignatius of Loyola, while on his way back from Montserrat stopped in Maresa to pray and that for one year he lived in a cave not far from Maresa.

She was one of only two children in her family and her extended family on her maternal and paternal side was even smaller.

When asked if her creativity is something naturally flows from her family, she laughs lightly and says, “My mother is the only one in Read More

October 1993 A Magic Evening

Jaime James Photo Front PageActor, singer and musician Harry Dean Stanton released a new album in February. Well actually, Omnivore Recordings released October 1993, an album by Harry Dean Stanton with the Cheap Dates, produced by Jamie James and Greg Allen (co-produced by Slim Jim Phantom, of the Stray Cats) comprised of some songs that were recorded live at the Troubadour and others that were recorded in the studio. You see, Harry Dean Stanton passed away on September 15, 2017 at the age of ninety-one.

Jamie James who had a band called the Kingbees and who also had played with Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, explains how this album, which was never intended to become an album, was born.

“My sister called me and said, Jaime I saw a picture of you online that I have never seen before. Where and when is it from? She sent me the link and I looked at it. I told her that is a band that Harry and I had for about six months back in 1993. It was called Harry Stanton with the Cheap Dates.

I remembered that Slim Jim Phantom had been digitizing music from cassettes. We had recorded four songs in Paramount Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard, back in ’93. He sent me a track, but I couldn’t find it. I called him and I said, could you resend that to me? I listened to it again and it was the Bob Dylan song “Baby Tonight.” I liked it.

I thought I like this, and I wonder if other people would enjoy it. I called “Slim” back and he had four songs, but it wasn’t enough to do (an album).

I called up Greg Allen at Omnivore Recordings and they had put out a Read More

Leah Belle Faser - Rising Star

Leah Belle Faser Intro Photo OneIt has been a long time since Riveting Riffs Magazine has said of any young artist that she or he has superstardom in their future. In fact, the last time we said that was when we sat down in April 2005 with then little-known singer, songwriter and guitarist Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry and that is exactly what we predicted. Here we are almost sixteen years later and having recently spoken with sixteen-year-old Leah Belle Faser from Atlanta, Georgia, we are saying the same thing. She has the voice, the songwriting skills and the maturity to become a really special artist, one that we suspect someday will receive serious consideration for and could possibly be the winner of any of the top music awards in Country music.

When you first listen to songs such as “Better Than Mine,” “Back Home,” “The Lift,” and “Second-Hand Store,” from Leah Belle Faser’s new album Crossing Hermi’s Bridge, songs about relationships and longing for home, the first thing you want to do is go to the album credits to find out who co-wrote these songs with her. Surely, you think, a sixteen-year-old could not write so insightfully about such mature themes and compose such well constructed songs. Then you think there must be information missing from the album credits, because all of these songs are attributed to this affable teenage girl who answers your questions thoughtfully and you realize not only are her songs mature, but so is she. Yes, she has all the exuberance of a sixteen-year-old, but she also is wise beyond her years.

Leah Belle Faser says, “There is only so much that has happened in my life at sixteen, so there are only so many things that I can  Read More

                        French Designer Alice Berry Atelier

Alice Berry May 2021

                       Alice Berry Atelier website

Actor German Torres

German TorresActor and singer German Torres who in recent years starred in some impressive musicals in Spain, Beauty and the Beast and 24 horas en la vida una mujer (24 Hours in the Life of a Woman) and in 2013 he received the award for Best Supporting Actor from the La Unión de Actores (the equivalent of the American Screen Actors Guild), for his role in Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov, was our guest recently at Riveting Riffs Magazine to talk about his career in theater, film and television, both as an actor and a producer.

At the time we spoke, 24 horas en la vida de una mujer, produced by highly acclaimed actress Silvia Marsó, who also starred in the musical with Felipe Ansola had just returned to the stage at Teatro Galileo in Madrid, after an absence of nine months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked German Torres what that experience was like.

He said, “It was fantastic, after the world stopped, returning to the stage is a miracle. The theater has maximum security and culture is safe now in Madrid. We are allowed to have fifty-five percent (of capacity) for the audience now. In other communities only thirty people are allowed.

We had forgotten, just a little about the energy of the stage, because it had been so long since we had performed.”

There were also adjustments the actors had to make, “It is difficult because the audience has masks on, and we can only watch their eyes (and not see the rest of their faces). There is a different (dyamic) with the audience now, but they like the show. The return of the rehearsals is very important after many months without performances.

I think people need to watch musicals and to hear music, because during the three months (of lockdown) they had to stay in their homes with just tv and books (editor’s note: during the time between this interview and the publication date, many regions of Spain once again experienced tighter restrictions concerning public gatherings).”

The musical is based on the novel by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig and German Torres explains, “It is one of his more famous novels. It is about a time when women were judged by their actions. Morality reigned at that time and that a woman of her (the central character known as Mrs. C.) class who was betrayed by passion brought about judgment and rejection by society.

My character is called A Man, he is a demiurge (a man with magical powers), someone who incites the character of Mrs. C to surrender to passion, he throws her into the abyss so that she can live her life to the fullest. He handles the strings of destiny for both the Read More

French Actress Sandra Leclercq

Sandra Leclercq Front Page 2Sandra Leclercq is an actress, playwright and screenwriter from France, with a green card for the United States and she had a puppet flirt with her recently, she designed a support chair to enable a young man with disabilities to compete in an Iron Man competition and she has travelled back in time from a women’s dominated society, 1,000 years into the future. Just to round things out she also used to be a tennis coach. Recently, Sandra Leclercq was our guest at Riveting Riffs Magazine, and we have become big fans of this delightful and fun lady.  

We asked her how it felt to have a puppet flirt with her, “It felt really good!” she says laughing.

We were of course talking about her voiceover work for a French advertisement for Spotify and Sandra Leclercq was the voice for the female puppet.

I really love it (voiceover). It is really interesting. Even when I audition for animated movies or things like that, I like to have the picture of the character and to see what the animated version looks like. If it is an animal what kind of animal is it? Even when you are just using your voice, you are still acting. I think if it is TV, theater or voiceover in my opinion it is still the same, it is acting.

I did an audition before, but this was the first time that I recorded something that I booked.

I looked at the puppet and I loved it. It was very technical to have my mouth in rhythm and moving at the same time as the puppet.”  

Two years ago, Sandra Leclercq starred in the short film Miss You Dad, which was shot in the United States. It was a result of her very first audition in America.

“When I was first contacted for the audition I was in France and I told the casting director, sorry I can’t be there. I can’t go back to New York, because I had just returned from ten days of vacation there. (Some time passed) and I sent an email saying I hope you found your cast and if not, I am back to New York. She contacted me and said I would like to see you in an audition. That was a really good audition, and I booked the part.

 We started doing some rehearsals with Byron Chlohessy (the father) and Annee Agnello who was playing the child. The reviews were good and interesting. The shooting was done in Connecticut. All of us stayed in the same house for four days. It was a really good Read More

Jemima - Things I Never Said

Jemima Photo AA young Australian singer, songwriter and musician from Newcastle, by the name of Jemima just released her EP Things I Never Said, a collection of five songs that are more value for your money than most full-length albums. Get ready world, because this young woman is going to be a star. She writes good lyrics, has good vocals and has an engaging personality. She also has a very sharp marketing mind.

The first song on the EP, is “As You Are,” and it clocks in at three minutes and twenty seconds and has the perfect blend of retro Pop and modern Pop, with an easy flowing melody. Jemima tracked her own background vocals creating the feel of some of the early sixties all-girl groups. One should not however think of this song as an attempt to merely giving rebirth to an era of music that has long since vanished, by the time she was born, but instead it is an artist who knows what she likes and has taken the best from what she heard as a child, while listening to her parents’ records and bringing to both her songwriting and to the studio a keen sense for what resonates with audiences today.

She says, “I am twenty-four and I discovered this music by sitting in my garage, as a kid and going through my parents’ records and cassette tapes. I really liked that music. I wasn’t into Justin Bieber or whatever other music kids my age were listening to. It (the music on the records) sounded so intriguing to me and there is such a focus on storytelling, which I loved. It sounded more genuine to me. I went to school as Elvis when I was ten years old. I had the black wig on, and I wore a gold cape. I had this skintight white jumpsuit. I don’t know why my parents let me do that.”

Continuing she says, “The song “As You Are,” is about realizing you are falling for somebody, but also learning to accept that person for who they are. It took on a broader sense when I started working on the music video and it turned into accepting anyone that you love for who they are and not just in a romantic way.  Read More

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Cozy Rebel 2 Ocean Breeze

                        A New Collection from DREZZ2IMPREZZ and Beatrix Reuschel

                            

                

Camila Knight - Music from Barcelona

Camila Knight Photo Front PageCamila Knight from Barcelona, Spain is a cerebral singer, songwriter and musician. Although, she is from a completely different set of musical influences and is of a different demeanor than Taylor Swift, she reminds this writer, at least of the early days in Swift’s career when she became one of the first artists to build a strong fanbase through the use of the internet. Camila Knight is doing the same thing (more about that later), but it is also her lyrics that long after the music has stopped leave you thinking about them and applying them to your own life and reinterpreting them in the context of what, at this writing has been a historic almost fourteen months of COVID-19.

She talks about her song “Home,” which you can listen to and watch on YouTube, “I wrote “Home,” last year during lockdown 1.0 and I was uncertain about what was going to happen next. I did not expect the whole craziness with COVID, and I saw people with the fear of what would come next. (They were thinking) I am the next one and how will COVID affect me? I did not want to give into fear, and I wanted to communicate in this song, that you don’t have to give into fear. I was expressing my feeling of gratitude for little things in life. I was grateful for being healthy, safe, having a home and for my loved ones. I was trying to keep my spirits high. I wanted to communicate that we have the strength to overcome this and without fear. Maybe this is a moment of probation for us. (The message) is to appreciate what you have and your loved ones.”

Did it ever enter Camila Knight’s mind to hold back releasing some of her songs, since there has been little to no live performances by artists anywhere in the world during these COVID times?

“The first song that I released during COVID times was “Angels.” I had a feeling that maybe it was not the best time, because people were (focused) on other things life. I felt I had to share this song with the world. The message in “Angels,” is very appropriate for this time. “Home” is also perfect for this situation. These are crazy  Read More

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