Flo Rida

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Tramar Lacel Dillard, popularly known as Flo Rida was born in September 16, 1979.  He was raised in a family of seven sisters.  Dillard joined GroundHoggz, an amateur rap group when he was in 9th grade.  The group contained 3 members:   Fist, Key Lime and 1Bred.  They all resided within the same apartment complex in which Dillard lived.  The recording was done at underground studios situated in Carver Ranches.  GroundHoggz remained as a team for 8 long years.

A brother in law of Dillard was considered to be a hype man for 2 Live Crew, a local rap group.  Upon witnessing Dillard’s talent when he worked together with Fresh Kid Ice, a 2 Live Crew member, a member from the Jodeci band was impressed.  However, since he got rejected by many major labels, Dillard sought after other careers outside music.  He continued studying international business management for 2 months at the University of Nevada and then went to Barry University.  He came back to Florida in order to pursue his career in music just after a phone call from Poe Boy Entertainment, an independent label.

In 2006, Dillard signed a contract with Poe Boy and began collaborating with other artists like Trick Daddy, T-Pain, Trina and Rick Ross in the name of Flo Rida.  His 1st significant release was ‘Birthday’, a promotional street single featuring Rick Ross.  His very first guest appearance was on DJ Khaled’s We the Best album song ‘Bitch I’m from Dade County’.  This album featured Dre, C-Ride, Brisco, Rick Ross, Trina as well as Trick Daddy.  As an American rapper, Flo Rida shot to fame through his hits like ‘Low’ which featured T- Pain.  This was a No. 1 hit song in the US for 10 weeks straight during 2008.  ‘Right Round’ which featured Kesha was another No. 1 hit song for 6 weeks.  Upon the release of these 2 songs, the record for digital download sales was broken.  Some other internationally acclaimed hit singles of Flo Rida include ‘Whistle’, ‘Wild Ones’, ‘Good Feeling’ and ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’.  His frequent collaboration with various artists in the making of his and others tracks have brought about a good mix of musical talents to the spot light.  Other artists’ hit songs which features him include ‘Trouble maker’ by Olly Murs, ‘Bad Boys’ by Alexandra Burke and ‘Running Back’ by Jessica Mauboy.  So far, Flo Rida was successful in releasing 4 albums namely the Wild Ones (2012), Only One Flo (Part 1) (2010), R.O.O.T.S (2009) and Mail on Sunday (2008).  Altogether, his music has obtained more than 75 million downloads throughout the world.

Katy Perry

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Katheryn Elizabeth, popularly known as Katy Perry was born in October 25, 1984.  She is an American actress, song writer and a singer.  Due to the limited exposure towards mainstream music in her childhood, she was left with no choice but to continue her career as a teenager in the field of gospel music.  After the release of her very first studio album in 2001 named Katy Hudson, she moved to LA in the hopes of getting into secular music.

A collaborative album was recorded by Perry with the Matrix and released in 2009.  An album made with Glen Ballard was not released because of some contractual complications. Perry singed a deal with Capital Records in April 2007.  She shot to fame through her single ‘I Kissed a Girl’ from One of the Boys – her 2nd album in 2008.  Three additional singles including the No. 3 ‘Hot n Cold’ were produced from this album.  Teenage Dream (2010) which was her 3rd album had singles like ‘Teenage Dream’ and ‘California gurls’ that were topping the US.  Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Later on, No. 1 singles like ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F), ‘E.T’, ‘Firework’ and No. 3 single ‘The one That Got Away’ secured their spots in the chart.  The album turned out to be the 1st where a female artist was able to generate 5 No.1 Billboard Hot 100 songs.  Overall, it was second only to Bad (1987), Michael Jackson’s album.  In 2012, Perry chose to reissue the album and named it as ‘Teenage Dream:  The Complete Confection’.  It produced the successful No. 1 single ‘Part of Me’ and No.2 single ‘Wide Awake’.    Prism, her 4th album that was released in 2013 generated 5 singles with the No. 1s like ‘Dark Horse’ and ‘Roar’.

Perry has won several awards and nominations.  She has 3 Guinness World Records and was part of the Forbes list of ‘Top Earning Women in Music’ for 3 consecutive years beginning from 2011.  Having sold 81 million singles and 11 million albums worldwide, Perry is considered to be among the best-selling female artists of today.  She has also released perfumes like Killer Queen, Meow! and Purr.  In 2011, she voiced Smurfette from The Smurfs for the first time in her film career.  After this, she made a documentary film in the name of Katy Perry: Part of Me which focused on her life as an artist and the breakup of her marriage with Russell Brand, a British actor and a comedian.

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Perry’s musical style shifted towards gospel during the early phases of her career.  After hearing the Queen’s ‘Killer Queen’ at 15, she became inspired and motivated to pursue a vocation in music.  She refers to Freddie Mercury, the band’s fontman as her greatest influence over her music with his ‘I don’t care’ attitude.  Perry explained that Pet Sounds and The Beach Boys have had a huge influence over her music as they were among her favorite records and all the melody choices were made out of it.  The 30 year old artist also holds The Beatles album in high regard describing them as the only song choices she played over and over for 2 consecutive years.

Perry refers to Alanis Morissette and her Jagged Little Pill (1995) as important inspirations in music and decided to work with Ballard, Alanis’s frequent collaborator.  According to her, Jagged Little Pill was the record made by a female artist with true perfection.  Perry is also influenced by 10 Cent Wings by Jonatha Brooke and Flaming Red by Patty Griffen.  Her autobiographical film Katy Perry: Part of Me was greatly influenced by Madonna’s Madonna: Truth or Dare since she considers Madonna as her role model expressing likeness to evolve like her.  Though Perry’s music includes disco, rock and pop, Katy Hudson has gospel.

Her releases Teenage Dream and One of the Boys contain love and sex as their themes.  Teenage Dream has the influence of disco while One of the Boys involve records of pop rock.  The Prism album was mostly influenced by pop music and dance.  In terms of lyrics, the album speaks about daily life, self-reflection and relationships.  In general, self-empowerment is seen as the common theme in many songs of Katy Perry.  She had also co-written songs that were recorded by artists like Jessie James, Iggy Azalea, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Lesley Roy and Selena Gomes & the Scene.  Perry’s vocal range falls into the category of contralto.

Throughout her career, she has extended her support to several causes and charitable organizations particularly focusing on the welfare of children.  In 2013, she helped children in Madagascar providing them with food and education with the collaboration of UNICEF.  She was officially declared as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 3, 2013.  She also made sure that part of the money generated by her tickets to concert ‘Prismatic World Tour’ goes to UNICEF.  In 2010, she assisted in building and designing the Boys Hope / Girls Hope foundation for youth in Maryland with the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Shaquille O’Neal and Raven Symone.

 

Harry Styles – Taylor Swift Reunion

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Harry Styles and Taylor Swift are said to have rekindled their romantic relationship.  Sources have claimed that Styles, the One Direction singer had sent text messages and 1989 roses to the lucky songstress.  As per the reports reaching Mail Online, some sources imply that the couple had been dating secretly for three months.  Furthermore, a source had even revealed that Styles had been texting Taylor for quite some time now.  The English singer is thought to have sent 1989 roses to Taylor in order to celebrate the huge success of her album ‘1989’.  According to Mstarz, 1.3 million copies of this album were sold in the very first week since its release.

Another source revealed that Styles had been bombarding Taylor with calls and texts pleading for a rematch.  What is more astonishing is the fact that Taylor herself had confirmed these claims.  When she spoke about the release of ‘1989’ to the US Weekly, the 24 year old couldn’t help saying that her song ‘How You Get the Girl’, reveals how a man should get his girl back.  The publication compares this to a guide for all the men out there.  Taylor stated that it is written for someone who just broke up with his lover and then wants to get back with her after 6 months.  She also added that getting someone back needs a lot of work and not just simple texting like ‘Miss You’.  As she had pointed out, this makes us wonder whether sending 1989 roses falls into the category of ‘lot of work’.

It is assumed that Taylor is having doubts about ‘Never Ever Getting Back Together’ with Styles.  Hollywood Life states that NWM sources claim of Taylor having second thoughts about Styles.  She was even reported to have talked on how well he had matured.  Anyhow, an uncertainty lingers in the air about the reunion of ‘Haylor’ despite Styles’s efforts to win back Taylor with roses.  Truth be told, Taylor had even reported to have told the US Weekly about her decision of ‘giving up’ on men just after her relationship with Styles came to an abrupt halt.  Since then, she had been focusing on her music career instead.

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/573580/20141121/taylor-swift-harry-styles-reunion-1989-haylor.htm#.VG9rOzSUdqU

Gwen Stefani on a park trip with her family

 

Busy mom
Busy mom

Being a busy singer, reality show personality and a fashion designer could be hectic.  But Gwen Stefani, a mother of three has proved that regardless of her busy schedule, she still considers it a priority to take her sons out for fun.  The 45 year old went to the Griffith Park in LA with her husband Gavin Rossdale and sons Zuma, aged 6, Apollo, nine months and Kingston, aged 8 for a family weekend fun time.  Though Gwen was away from work, she was still seen with a glamorous figure.  The blonde beauty was wearing black skinny jeans with ankle boots to go with it and a sequinned sweater, off white knit and a polkadot scarf.  She had red lipstick on with a flawlessly applied make up that matched her blonde curls that were styled to give that alluring look to her face.

At present, Gwen works as a coach in the reality TV show, The Voice but it looks like she enjoys spending the day with her favourite boys just as much as she loves working.  In one instance, Apollo’s carrier kept swinging from her waist but Gwen decided to cuddle her baby than to use the carrier.  The baby was wearing a black track jacket, woolly shorts, grey and a brown striped beanie, polkadot socks and neon green moccasins.  A pacifier was planted firmly in his small mouth.

Gwen and Gavin looks at their son Kingston hanging from the monkey bars
Gwen and Gavin look at their son Kingston hanging from the monkey bars

Zuma and Kingston were dressed in wide shades of neon green and black while Gavin kept observing them in black sweatpants, black trainers and a black and grey jumper with hair tied into a bun.  The family did not forget to bring Chewy, their Pomeranian pup for their fun outing.  Gwen is frequently seen with done- up looks when running her errands.  She is popular for her very own style which also includes her golden locks.  Gwen met her long time hairstylist Danilo 15 years ago at Vivienne Westwood show in NYC.  It was her first fashion show and Danilo made her hair.  Briefly after this encounter, she pleaded him to do her hair once again for the ‘Simple Kind Of Life’ video.  Gwen Stefani is making a comeback on her fashion industry with a collection of new items for her L.A.M.B line which was launched during the New York Fashion Week last September.

Justin Bieber’s new strategy to win Selena Gomez back

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There is no one who would know the best way to approach Selena’s heart other than her ex-boyfriend Justin.  Nothing seems to have worked despite the desperate measures taken by him to make up with his former 22 year old lover.

Although the notorious 20 year old has broken his long time lady love’s heart on many occasions, she seems to have come back to him whatsoever.  This is a pattern Justin had learnt over the course of time.  According to the information given by a source to HollywoodLife.com, Justin believes that if he totally ignores Selena, She would come back running.  Sweet strategies like sending flowers, going to bible study and attempting to be super sweet had no effect so far.  It is more like if he tries to impress, the more she tries to keep away from him.  This made him go back to his past strategies- flirt with attractive ladies, ignore her and act like he cared less.  That was the true reason behind him unfollowing her on Instagram this month.  Justin figured out that reverting back to his bad boy behaviours could act as a wakeup call to Selena, who unfollowed him on Instagram a month ago.  The source further tells us that the release of ‘Heart Wants What It Wants’ by Selena had melted Justin’s heart which had made him want her back even more.

Apparently, Justin is under the impression that this is a positive sign from her which means that she is interested in forgiving him.  He totally believes that they are made for each other and should be together.  To make things even more exciting, Justin was spotted looking at some engagement rings at Avianne & Company Jeweller’s showroom in NYC’s Diamond District for more than an hour on a short visit to the Big Apple.

Although he did not go for the engagement ring, he did buy three diamond watches, a Jesus head pendant and a Cuban link bracelet.  Jelena fans have no reason to feel disappointed as a source reveals that Justin has plans on going back to the same shop on his next trip to NYC.

Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey was born in March 27, 1970.  She is an American actress, song writer and a singer.  Brought up on Long Island, New York, Mariah came into recognition in the wake of releasing her very own studio album in the name of Mariah Carey (1990).  This went multiplatinum and was placed among the No. 1 singles four consecutive times in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Following the guidance of Tommy Mottola who later turned out to be her husband and the executive of Columbia Records, Carey continued with her success on albums Merry Christmas (1994), Music Box (1993) and Emotions (1991).  She became established as the highest selling act of Columbia in no time.

The second single of her Daydream (1995) album, ‘One Sweet Day’, which was a duet with Boyz II Men was topping the Billboard Hot 100 for a record breaking 16 weeks and still remains as the No. 1 longest running song in the American chart history.  Amidst her on going album recordings, Carey decided to shift her music styles from pop and R&B to hip hop.  This change was apparent with her release of Butterfly (1997).  Carey remained separated from her husband at that time.  In 2000, she left Columbia and signed a recording contract worth $ 100 million with Virgin Records.

Carey underwent an emotional and physical breakdown and remained in the hospital for severe exhaustion prior to the release of Glitter (2001), a film she acted on.  Due to the poor reception of her film, the recording contract was brought down to $ 50 million which in turn led to a downfall in her vocation.  In 2002, she also signed a contract deal worth several millions with Island Records and following an unsuccessful period emerged on top of the music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005).  The 2nd single of it was ‘We Belong Together’ which turned into one of her best singles in the 2000s.  This song was later entitled by the Billboard as the ‘Song of the Decade’.  Carey took on a supporting role in Precious (2009) for which she was nominated for NAACP Image Award and Black Reel.  She later won the ‘Breakthrough Performance Award’ at an International Film Festival.  All through her profession, Carey had sold above 200 million records across the globe which makes her among the best sellers in the music industry.  She was also honoured as the ‘bestselling female artist of the millennium’ in the year 2000 and the ‘bestselling recording artist of the 1990s’ in 1998.

The Recording Industry Association of America has ranked Carey as the 3rd top selling female artist in America with a certified collection of 63.5 million albums.  In 2008, Carey released ‘Touch My Body’ that became her 18th No. 1 single in America more than all other solo artists.  She even secured the 2nd spot in the VH1’s ‘100 Greatest Women in Music’ just 2 years before.  Apart from commercial achievements, Carey has won 31 Billboard Music Awards, 11 American music Awards, 19 World Music Awards and 5 Grammy Awards.  Having a Guinness World Record with the title ‘songbird supreme’, Carey is popular for her melismatic style, 5 octave vocal range, signature whistle register and great power.

Mariah Carey is also a humanitarian helping out in many charitable organizations.  During the early 1990s, she was involved with the Fresh Air Fund.  She became the co-founder of a camp in New York which provided career opportunities to inner city youths.  As a result, she was awarded the Congressional Horizon Award.

Music and the Staging of Opera

 

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Music is another form of expressing actions and emotions on stage.  According to camerata fiorentina whose studies and researches on Ancient Greek theatre prompted the making of operatic genre, music was administered by libretto: ‘Prima le parole, dopo la musica’ which means words first, music after.  However, this concept is arguable based on the fact that music and libretto have asserted power according to eras.  In reality, music doesn’t only help serve the singing and the libretto.  It exalts and completes them by illuminating the character’s emotions and interests thus highlighting the different intensities at various circumstances.  By experimenting with melodies, rhythms, nuances and tones, the composers try to exploit the incredible suggestive power the music has in order to generate specific atmospheres that staging or lyrics cannot produce.

Some authors make use of repetitive musical themes to represent an emotion, concept or a character.  Wagner, in the prelude to Das Rheingold manages to announce about the birth of Rhine.  The opera starts with a special triad which rises out of silence and gradually resonates in vast profundities: the Rhine gets out from the original chaos.  Motifs are added little by little until a melody is created.  First comes the brass instruments followed by strings like the shining waves on a stream’s surface.  Motifs become faster when orchestra gets animated and enhances the prelude with Rhine swelling and stirring to foam.

Music is amazing.  It never fails to capture the heart of the audience directly.  Theatrical dimension was a subject that was marginalized before the twentieth century.  Opera productions looked static and resembled more like a costumed show during the seventeenth century.   The staging was considered an important aspect when the opera house programming turned its focus to an already existing repertory over a new creation.  Additionally, the importance of dramatic gifts and singing were considered equals during the twentieth century.  Opera stages are extraordinary with awesome visual impacts and vast machinery.  Endless possibilities of staging are made easy through technical progress, image projections, digital technology and special effects.  Staging isn’t a direct outline of work.  It conveys a meaning or an idea.  The director comes up with a view for an opera.  This view could be somewhat close to the author’s conceptions, libretto or a personal interpretation.  Some directors try their hands at transposing the action to a different era, under a circumstance or in an insignificant timeless setting.  Such transpositions exhibit specific dimensions of work and enhance their importance by uncovering some of their hidden aspects.  For instance, the themes generated in a baroque opera could be viewed as real by means of a modern production.  These views created by directors can change the way how the onlookers see and understand the work involved.  Opera constantly regenerates and reinvents itself.  No one knows what might happen on stage prior to the rise of curtains.  This is why opera is very exciting.

 

Taylor Swift not on Spotify anymore

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On November 3rd, Taylor Swift chose to draw her music out from Spotify much to the disappointment of her adoring fans.  Immediately after this, Spotify made a statement pleading her to get back.  After all, they make tons off from stars like Taylor.  Nevertheless, in another meeting, Taylor stated the reason behind her action and her point is quite straight forward- She doesn’t think that the art she had meticulously prepared ought to be disseminated for free.

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The huge success of 1989 is a thing that the music industry had not witnessed for 10 years since its decline.  Within the first week, the album sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide.  Clearly, Taylor isn’t short on cash and this has nothing to do with that.  The 24 year old pop star told Yahoo! Music that everything new like the free streaming service, Spotify with all the rapid changes occurring in music and its landscape makes her think it’s all a big experiment.  What’s more?  She doesn’t seem eager to give away all her painstaking work to some kind of an experiment which she thinks don’t compensate all artists, writers, creators and producers of her music.

Furthermore, she simply doesn’t agree in propagating the idea that music comes with no value and should be made available for free.  Taylor further added that the artists are not getting a fair share from services such as Spotify.  However, she doesn’t blame everything on Spotify but on record companies who are being irresponsible in paying up artists for what they truly deserve. Taylor’s perspectives in Yahoo interview is a reverberation of her views on Wall Street Journal she presented at the beginning of this year.  She claimed that Music is an art and it is both rare and important.  Hence valuable, rare and important things must be paid for.  In her opinion, music shouldn’t be freely available and each artist will decide upon their album’s price point someday.

Being open minded is an important step in being part of the progress.  Anyhow she thinks it’s disputable whether this is real advancement or something that takes off the word ‘music’ from the music industry.  Additionally, many people kept suggesting her to introduce her new music with ‘Shake It Off’ on Spotify.   She was open minded and gave it a shot only to feel not so great about the result.

What is Opera?

Opera could be deemed as a total form of art that enjoins drama, music, plastic arts, poetry, singing and dance on some occasions.  Each work combines all components of opera displaying a unique sense of beauty and excellence.  This is what makes an opera performance a phenomenal show captivating the sight, hearing, sensibility and imagination of the onlookers where every human passion seems to be at work.

Parsifal
Parsifal

An opera ‘script’ is called the libretto.  It could be a unique creation written by popular novelists or poets, but mostly, it features adapted plays, novels or tales such as the work of William Shakespeare.  Libretto has a wide range of subjects such as revenge, forbidden love, war, historic events, infidelity and ancient myths.  With subjects such as these, opera possesses an exploding universe full of human passions.  Love, death and tragedy are frequently made the main plot.  Sometimes the characters are portrayed to be torn amidst their duty and feelings where they will have to confront with difficult circumstances while being drifted through a wave of heightened emotions.  This overburdens them so much so that they end up committing acts of brutality or death.  Courage, sacrifice, love, enchantment, murder and suicide all appear together in the script of an opera.  Some characters remain grief stricken, others are rebuffed for their wrong doings, few others find redemption and on some instances everything ends happily much to the delight of the audience.

As far as the singing is concerned, the content is sung by performers in operas quite contrary to most theatres.  The intensity and the emotions displayed when singing has an impact on the significance and the weight of words.  Different voices are categorized into 6 main categories starting from the highest to the lowest pitch.  For men it goes from tenor, baritone to bass and for women, it is soprano, mezzo soprano and contralto.  Furthermore, voices are differentiated based on their agility and power as light, dramatic or lyric.  Dramatic voices exhibit less agility though powerful.  Light voices can vocalise and reach high notes easily despite them not being very powerful.  Generally voices are connected with different types of roles.  They help in emphasizing a character’s nature and personality.  Carmen from the Bizet’s Carmen is a wild temptress with knowledge of the world.  Hence her character is played by a mezzo soprano to indicate both darkness and warmth.  In Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gilda is a lyric soprano.  The purity, naivety, and innocence of her character are portrayed through her clear high pitched voice.

Carmen from the Bizet's Carmen
Carmen from the Bizet’s Carmen