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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Get to know: Shameem

Shameem is the spiritual, fruit-loving, soulful singer that my life has been missing, and I promise that you need this lady (or at least her music) in yours too!

This socially aware powerhouse is all set for the release of her second album, The Second City, and enjoying the drop of its first single, Under One Sun

She's the type of person who likes to share, so audiences for her upcoming national tour are in for a treat - the stories and inspirations behind the songs.

So I'm going to let her introduce herself, meet Shameem.

Hi, I'm Shameem Taheri-Lee, better known as Shameem.
 
 But you can call me Sham, because that's easier to pronounce properly. I know that "Shameem" looks easy to say, but it's not; people always get it wrong!

I'd describe myself as a passionate, spiritual, rather workaholic musician.

Currently I love summer: the sun, the heat, the frangipanis, the fruit! Mmm, mangoes...

I'm a musician because I'm crazy about making music. And I think that music is a powerful way to get a positive message out there to a lot of people.

The first thing I do in the morning is eat some fruit. Gotta start the day with fruit.

I'm most excited for  January 16 [2015] to roll around, as that's when I release my new album.

I can't wait to perform in cities all around Australia in February - we are doing a national tour to support the album release. Yay!

I'm most proud of my younger brother, who took time off his studies this year to do volunteer work in Broome. The world would be a better place if people would give priority to serving others, and not just getting ahead in the rat race.

I'm excited for this album because I've been working on it for a long time, and it's been finished for a while now, so I want to release it and get it out there already! It's definitely a more mature and well-developed sound than my previous recordings, so I'm really keen to see what people think of it.
 
I'm nervous that I need to sell a lot of tickets for my album launch in Perth. It's at a really fantastic, big venue. These are the little things you worry about when you're a self-managing musician.

Don't tell anyone but the first big concert I ever attended was 5ive - you remember, that British boy band? I was completely smitten with them when I was around 12-years-old and I still have two of their albums!

At school I was a floater who hung out with everybody: the geeks, the Asians, the white people, the musicians, the sporty people...everyone except the "cool" people; they didn't like me.

I couldn't live without my diary. I'm such a busy person, and my diary is like my lifeline.

I want to perform at Live Aid.

My biggest fan is a middle-aged man on Facebook. In fact, there are a few middle-aged men on Facebook who are super fans. They come to heaps of gigs, are always commenting on or sharing my online posts and are really supportive of my music! It might sound a bit strange - [a] young female artist with older male fans - but seriously they're all really lovely, nice people.

I want to sing for Sting. He is my song-writing idol; I simply LOVE his music.

My favourite song is changing all the time. I have a new favourite song at least once a week I think. Right now it's "Heaven" by Emeli Sande.

I love to watch Star Trek. Next Generation is my favourite series, followed by Voyager. I don't get much time to watch TV, so I rarely get to watch it, but I always hang out for it when it's on.


Right now I'm reading the Qur'an. I'm not a Muslim; I just want to know what it says for myself, instead of getting second-hand information from either a fanatic religionist or up-jumped layperson who has no idea what they're talking about.

When I'm not singing I'm on the computer, promoting my music like a good self-managed musician should do.

When I'm on my phone I'm playing solitaire to chill out and defrag my brain from all the things I have to think about all the time.

Something not many people know about me is that I am a primary carer for my mum, who is rather disabled having been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 12 years ago.

I would tell my thirteen-year-old self that building a career in the music industry is going to take time, so be patient! And don't wait for anyone to anything for you: you have to do it all yourself.




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holly Hastings // Love Holly

In a world of mass-produced, sweat shop sourced clothing, it's people like Holly Hastings that really shine.

Since 2013, Love Holly has been selling British designed, British made clothes to the world. Love Holly is all about casual but class, the less effort the better. A mix of Britain and the Californian sunshine vibes, this online boutique aims to offer amazing products made to premium quality. All whilst ensuring its workers are paid fairly and treated just the same.

Holly Hastings
Not everyone can pull off something like this, but Holly isn't just the namesake, she's the driving force and is going from strength to strength.

Love Holly is the whole package - clothes, lifestyle and attitude.

Mahalia: For those new to Love Holly, can you give us a little sneak into how your boutique was born?
Holly: I wanted to create an online boutique encapsulating an affordable and easy-going collection with an element of subtle luxury - using British labour, materials and values. So every Love Holly piece has been hand-made in different towns and cities all over England. The website and all of the packaging have also been sourced and manufactured in Britain. When setting out to create Love Holly, I wanted to take pride in valuing ethical production, fair wages, decent working conditions and positive environmental impacts. Having a 'Made in Britain' business is so important to me as I know that everything is made fairly and by manufacturing in the UK, I know I'm helping the British economy back to growth.

M: What is your personal favourite season to dress for?
H: The Love Holly collection is so trans-seasonal and I live in off-duty pieces - jeans and tees or dresses and wedge trainers and layers of dainty jewellery. I guess Autumn/Winter is my favourite season to dress for. I love crisp mornings and I'm a huge fan of layering and faux-fur, which is kind of awkward to pull off in the warmer summer months.

M: What is the most loved item in your wardrobe?
H: I live in my black Mia tee dress! It's so versatile that I can wear it during the day, dress it up at night and it's also a perfect holiday throw on too.
Mia Tee Dress in balck

M: Obviously you are British yourself, but what is it about the style of Britain that inspires you?
H:  I love an effortless, cool style and always feel great in just black, grey and white. My mum definitely influenced my style growing up, investing in timeless pieces that look amazing forever, but I'm also inspired by girls all over the world. I adore the contrast between European chic and the slouchy Californian lifestyle, and always end up with one basic piece in my outfit no matter the time or occasion. For me, it's all about essentials, muted tones and textures and then accessorising to change up a look. I like to feel comfortable and look good, but not spend ages doing it.

M: Since the start of Love Holly how has it expanded? What's changed?
H: Since I launched Love Holly in 2013, a lot has changed. I'm in the process of creating a new covetable collection to be launched next year - think animal print, classic two-pieces, clutch bags and metallics...But all will be revealed. Stay tuned!

M: Which item do you think every girl should have in her wardrobe?
H: A great fitting tee - I think that's essential for both girls and guys!

M: If you could style anyone in the world, who would it be and what would they wear?
H: I adore the Olsen twins and Nicole Richie - they have a great look and a real edge. I think they would look great in a Lottie long cardi with the faux-fur collar and layers of dainty jewellery.
Stacker rings

M: Does Love Holly have anything it lives by? A motto or saying perhaps.
H: Love Holly is THE online destination for simple, stylish and utterly effortless pieces. The collection is easy and laid back for an everyday 'off-duty' look. Luxurious jersey basics and dainty jewellery, designed and made in Britain, with exclusive vintage pieces sourced from around the world delivered to your door.

Don't forget to use the code LOVEHOLLY1 to get 10% your first order!

If you love Holly as I much I do, make sure to check out the site! Click here: http://www.loveholly.co.uk/

Friday, December 19, 2014

Forest Falls // TOUR DIARY

Tour diaries are my personal favourite (so maybe I'm a nosey person..). And the wonderful guys and gals from Forest Falls have been kind enough to share one from their recent tour with Love 'Em!

Listen to their music and read their words; theirs' is a world I wouldn't mind visiting.

The Heavy Hearted Girl Tour was a departure from the norm for us. We have done the trip up the east coast before but this time round we did it without a drummer. The obvious drawback was there was no boom-tsh for punch lines during on-stage banter. However, we did find there were many pluses. Firstly, the car ride was infinitely more spacious. On our last trip one band member had to cuddle a floor tom in order for everything to fit in the car. More importantly we really honed the set during our percussion hiatus. Having no beats to hide behind meant that we were super aware of our parts and how the dynamics worked. We made a lot of alterations to improve the tunes and our performance as a whole. We'll be releasing some live tracks from the trek in the near future.


The first leg of the Heavy Hearted Girl Tour was action packed. Although the first show at the Wesley Anne was sweet and intimate, it was marred by an unfortunate event. We have so much gear at the moment, much of it newly bought in the latest stint of recording, all of it black and imperceptible like all music gear. Basically, I'm angling towards the fact that it's hard to keep track of it all. Sure enough we left our beloved Casiotone keyboard behind. I know what you're thinking, "what's the big deal? Just go back and get it!" and you're right, but our gig was on the eve of Melbourne Cup and we planned to leave the next day. Jon packed an alternative keyboard but was so paranoid that it didn't have a case that he wrapped it in a doona. We hadn't even left Melbourne yet and we were all a little edgy. When we arrived in Canberra all our worries just dissipated. We were blown away by just how lovely (and resourceful!) everyone was. Our friend Nigel at the Canberra Musicians' Club managed to track down a Casiotone keyboard and put us up for the night.


Before the gig at Smith's Alternative we stopped by the studio at 2XXFM for LocalnLive with Reuben Ingall. Reuben's silky smooth radio voice soothed our nerves and we played a couple of raw versions of Coming Home and Heavy Hearted Girl. It was recorded with three regular mics that we usually use for talkback. Even so, we were pretty content with the performance at the time. When we listened back later it sounded so bass heavy. Our eyes quickly fixated on Jez who sings the lowest harmony of the song. We soon found out that ironically Jez had hung further back from the mics in an attempt to lay low. While everyone else sung close to one microphone, he had unwittingly tripled his input by singing to all of them from further back. He maintains this was an accident, although I have a sneaking suspicion he was craving the spotlight. We'll have to fling him another recorder solo like the one [he had] in Julia to keep him happy.

A jam in a Canberra Garden
We met another of Canberra's loveable music industry icons when we arrived at Smith's for sound check that night. The venue's resident sound guy, Bevan, had a phenomenal presence in the city and was revered by all the acts, organisers and radio peeps we met. He had a fully digital set up and was eager to learn the inner workings or our set to ensure the best sound on the night. We felt so comfortable on stage and the relatively petite venue was filled to the brim with our tunes.

The next day we set off early to drive to Sydney. After a couple of hours on the road we eventually arrived at long-time Forest Falls' friends, Chris and Sarah's.The gorgeous couple had housed us twice before on other musical endeavours but had recently upgraded to a new pad. We were prepared for the tiniest smidge of floor space to sleep on but instead [we] were given the kapua-suite. A hidden loft that not even Chris and Sarah's real estate knew about - it was legit although scaling the twenty-rung ladder to get to bed proved difficult on the night of the show.
So, the show! The show went really well: Dylan Wright, who had supported us as a solo act, was headlining and he and his band smashed it. The opener, Forster Anderson, had an equally commanding presence on stage despite being but one man. We were so impressed by him in fact, [that] we asked him down to Melbourne for our last show of the tour and he said "yes" everyone!*

Road Trippin'

So after the show we embarked on the ten-ish hour long long drive to Melbourne. Things got a little loopy there for a while, especially when Gabe ("Mumbles") and Jon got on the CB radios together. Gabe relentlessly impersonated other commuters on various channels and Jon proudly sang Queen songs - acapella and in their entirety. Somehow we all made it home unscathed and still friends, ready for the next few shows in the city of Melbourne!

F O R E S T  FALLS - http://forestfalls.bandcamp.com/

*Just quickly, Gabe is emphatic that we shout out to Satellite Cafe in Newtown. He swears it's the best coffee. Reuben: juice, second coffee and muffin he's ever had in one sitting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anna O // Symphony Launch


Let me introduce you to Anna. Anna O.

She's the red-headed powerhouse whose name you should familarise yourself with.

I may be a blogger, and in turn a writer, but sometimes my words really can't justify something. So instead, read Anna's and listen to her music. I'm sure that you'll love her just as much as I do.

Mahalia: Congratulations on the new single! How are you feeling?
Anna: Thank you! I am so stoked with how well Symphony has been received so far, and excited to see where it goes.

M: What's it been like working on Symphony?
A:  Symphony was the last track that I wrote for the EP and it was a very last minute addition. In terms of writing, it came together quite quickly, but we spent a fair bit of time on it in the studio. The team [of people] I have around me are unreal; my producer, Rhys Machell, put the bulk of the tune together, with the help of my guitarist, Simeon Nelson. Then it was sent off to Karl Cashwell, who added in the amazing string parts and some extra ear candy. It was so cool hearing each new mix as the song developed and I knew it was the right song to release first.

M: What were you feeling once it was released?
A: I was really keen to get the song out, but once it was out I tried not to put too much expectation on it.

M: Did it get the initial response you were hoping for?
A: The response Symphony has been getting is so much bigger than I could have hoped for. I'm feeling really good about the direction my sound is taking, and that's been confirmed for me in so many ways, which is nice! Getting featured on HillyDilly a few days after I put the song up on Triple J Unearthed was definitely a highlight and has opened up some really great opportunities for me - but you'll hear more about that soon!

M: What's happening for you now?
A: At the moment, I'm just under a week out from the single launch show of Symphony at Amplifier Bar on Saturday (December 13th). So I am currently in rehearsals for that and preparing to hit Sydney and Melbourne with a couple of shows in January. There's a few other exciting things on the horizon, but yet to be announced, so keep an eye out!

M: What should people know about your upcoming EP? What should they expect?
A: I'm yet to settle on a title for the second EP, but people can expect a shift in [the] sound from my first release. I would say it's less pop and more electronic sort of vibes, but there's still lots of similar elements in the melodies, vocal layers, and beats. Lyrically this collection of songs are based much more around storytelling than personal experience. I wanted to communicate particular emotions and explore different concepts that haven't necessarily happened to me but are common human experience. I'm really with how the tunes are coming together and can't wait to release them to the world next year!

M: What inspired you to take up music?
A: I've always been drawn to music, and I've never loved anything else enough to stick at it. It's like I have this deep-seated knowing that music is what I'm meant to do, and I've never been able to shake it..so here I am!

M: And just because it's nearly Christmas - are you a candy cane taker or leaver?
A: I feel like such a party pooper to say it, but I'm not a massive fan of candy canes. Give me Mum's Christmas roast any day.


Don't miss Anna, follow her music: http://www.annao.co/  AND  https://www.facebook.com/annaomusic

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cheeky Babe Gear & Bling

I've been posting a lot on my Facebook, Instagram (@mlovee123) and on the sidebar of Love 'Em about Cheeky Babe Gear & Bling. And once you have a browse of the online store I'm sure you'll see why! (PLUS you can use LOVEEM for a discount at the checkout.)

The owner of Cheeky Babe, Nathalie, is passionate about clothes; specifically those feminine and comfortable. And a little bit fun and cheeky.

So indulge yourself in the interview and in the boutique, too!

Mahalia: For those new to Cheeky Babe Gear & Bling, can you give us a little sneak into how your online boutique was born?
Nathalie: Cheeky Babe was born out of my passion for travelling, warmth, beaches, freedom and my need for cheeky yet feminine yet comfortable fashion. The online boutique allows me the freedom I was seeking, as well as the privilege to indulge in, and share, the gorgeous fashion created by designers all over the world. I am lucky enough to travel the world for inspiration and also very lucky to have a mother-in-law who is a wonderful seamstress. Together we are working on the next Cheeky Babe exclusive collection. also, at the centre of my project was the desire to create a company that would help empower other entrepreneurs...and that's why I created the socialite (affiliate), party goddess and wholesale programs: to share Cheeky Babe's collections and success with other business oriented fashionistas.

 M: What is your personal favourite season to dress for?
N: Summer. I love the warmth and the beach. I was born in Canada where it sometimes gets down to -40 Celsius. I'm sure you can understand why I love the warm weather so much!



M: What is your most loved item in your wardrobe?
N: A white chiffon maxi dress. It's fresh, crisp and comfy. I can dress it up or down, layer it in winter, take it to the office or the beach...and it's not black.

M: What are your hopes for Cheeky Babe in the future?
N:  As well as sourcing fashion items from all over the world, I am working on designing an exclusive Cheeky Babe collection, only available from us...I aim to create cheeky, comfortable, feminine clothes for every [girl] to enjoy. I [also] want to grow the team. I would love to have 100 active distributors/promoters in Australasia, Europe and America. We currently have 5. We currently have clients in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I'd like to expand to Asia and America.

M: Which item do you think every girl should have in her wardrobe?
N: A nice large scarf that can be used as a sarong, top, skirt or a scarf! A good quality, neutral coloured scarf is the most important item in a girl's wardrobe.

M: What about for guys?
N: A pair of blue jeans. Everything starts from a pair of jeans for guys.

Black dress as seen on Skye during Big Brother Australia 2014
M: If you could style anyone in the world who would it be and what would they wear?
N: If I could pick just one person, I'd pick a woman who is fighting for her life. Whether it's someone with a health problem, an economical challenge, a victim of violence or bullying. I'd love to help this woman feel better, have fun and maybe even start her own business with Cheeky Babe. She'd wear whichever items in our collection made her smile the most.
If I could style many women, I'd style all the women who don't like their bodies. I'd love to help them feel good about themselves. Help them reveal to themselves how beautiful they are. I don't support the super thin models pushed upon us as the only format for feminine beauty. As you see on my Facebook page, the real life "models" are from various sizes, shapes and ages. A confident and comfortable woman, at any age, is a beautiful woman.

M: Does Cheeky Babe have anything it lives by? A motto or saying perhaps?
N: Go on...be cheeky!


To have a little (a large!) online shop, click here: http://cheekybabe.tictail.com/ 
**Don't forget to use LOVEEM at the checkout to get a 20% discount until Christmas!**

Friday, December 5, 2014

Casetify // Casetagram


I got a whole lot of love for my Casetify case. I didn't realise anyone cared so much about what I was doing until they started commenting on my case every time I pulled my phone out! To be fair though, it is an amazing case.

My first impression was the packaging - obviously, but it was amazing. I was really impressed with how it arrived at my doorstep. Aside from the posting being surprisingly quick, my new case turned up in perfect condition. I loved how quirky and old-school the tie was. The colour scheme of black and gold, was classy and understated, which worked so well with such a colourful product!
 
I wasn't really sure what I was going to get when I ordered this case. I'm not the fussiest person when it comes to decorating my phone, but I AM quite careless with it (accidentally, I swear!) so any case I buy needs to be good quality and durable. Which, I am super happy to report, Casetify totally rocks at.

I was a little hesitant about these cases as I personally found them a little on the pricey side, I most likely wouldn't have attempted an online purchase without the lovely discount I was offered. But I am promising you guys, that the price is 100% worth it. (And maybe I'm just a cheapskate when it comes to my phone..) Also, every case has free postage which helps a lot.

I didn't do this, but a really fab feature of Casetify is that you can create your own, one-of-a-kind case with photos from Instagram, Facebook or your computer. I was lazy and I bought an already made one, but if you're feeling creative or need to buy a present for someone lovely, definitely give this feature a try!

Basically, I honestly loved this case. It's gorgeous and it feels really lovely in my hand - I often actually won't buy a case purely because it doesn't feel nice. I will definitely be looking on Casetify again when I need another pretty thing for my phone!

Note: To clear up any confusion, Casetagram recently renamed itself to Casetify. It's still the same brand, just with an updated name. 

Selfie generation..


If you want to get a matching case, go here: Young & Wild Case
Or if you'd like to have a browse, click here: http://www.casetify.com/invite/fk7ugc



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tanee Clothing // Modella Clothing

http://modella.com.au/

I am so stoked to review for Modella Clothing! From the very first email, phone call and now to this post, working with Krys and the brand has been so wonderful.


I thought this was such a lovely touch.
One of my favourite things about online shopping is the beautifully presented products; despite a most likely bumpy trip through the post, clothes always seem to arrive less crumpled then when a shop assistant puts them in a bag at the store. I don't know why that is, but Modella definitely didn't let me down. In fact, my expectations of online stores has only increased. I felt like I'd been given a birthday present! Which I kind of did; every purchase from Modella comes with a little surprise gift.

Although the clothes I was sent actually could've been worn as a set, they just wouldn't work on me. The top wasn't the best cut for my body type, so with the shorts, while it wasn't a terrible outfit by any means, wasn't something I was completely comfortable in or would actually wear. So, because who wants to see someone in a sort-of-okay outfit, I matched the top and shorts with clothes that I already owned. It worked SO much better this way and I actually ended up loving both pieces. (Despite a rocky start.)

Black 'Zippy' Shorts - Tanee Clothing
Butterfly Braid Top - Tanee Clothing




As I said, this Butterfly Braid top and I got off to a dysfunctional start. But I honestly think it was just the cut wasn't as flattering as it could have been when I first tried it on. The material didn't have any give in it, so a top that would be long enough on my torso and fitted absolute around my chest probably wouldn't have been something I could find. Nevertheless, once I paired it with this high-waisted skirt and tucked the front half in, I started to soften towards it.
I would definitely wear this out, tucked in but if you have a non-curvy body type it would look just as nice loose. It's unusual to have clothing made of such stiff material (but soft!) nowadays, so having the right size and fit in a garment like this is super important. I'm kind of disappointed that I couldn't pair this top with the shorts but I think it ended up even cuter with a flowy skirt.













The shorts I honestly have no bad words about at all. Unlike the top, I loved them as soon as I saw them. Super soft and comfortable, these shorts are the perfect mix of I-didn't-want-to-try-but-I-needed-to-look-good. The best of both worlds really. I wore these to a dance rehearsal and they were so easy to move in and I got so many kind words about them! I love the half-zips on the back pockets and the lining meant that I could even wear them comfortably in a Tasmanian Spring! I've been recommending these shorts to so many people, I'll be wearing them a lot this Summer.













Use the code 20PROMO for 20% off until 31st December!









Big thanks to MODELLA CLOTHING for working with me. MAKE SURE TO HAVE A BROWSE HERE: https://modella.com.au/



Friday, November 28, 2014

The Horns

A diverse mix or indie and rock, Daniel J.C. and Roy Amar, The Horns are an exciting new Melbourne offering.

Metalhead, multi-instrumentalist Amar and Electro/Rock 'n' Roll vocalist Daniel, mightn't seem like the right fit, but give it a listen and you'll see why opposites attract. It definitely works.

The Horns started as a playful joke and an indie-loving girlfriend in need of a break from metal, but it's grown to be amazing in its own right.

With their debut single having just been released and their debut EP looking very strong, it's about time you became acquainted with The Horns, don't you think?

Mahalia: Play With Fire is your single, what's the process been like for you guys?
Daniel: It's been amazing and unlike anything we've done before. We started this project with the overall goal to really perfect the recorded songs before anything else, which is sort of backwards to how we've done it in the past. It's always been write some songs, play some shows, record said songs so by the time your product is out there, your first impression has kind of been lost and you can become jaded by the project before you've even released a thing. This way, above all else, we've really worked on the recorded material and I think it really shows in the music.

 M: So it sounds like The Horns became a thing in quite an unusual way. Can you tell us about this?
D: Yeah, absolutely. I guess it came out of a need to try something completely new. Roy loves his metal [music] and I'm into all things electronic so we have never actually written pop music before, which I think is our biggest asset. It's still all so new to us and super exciting. The whole thing, funnily enough, started out as a bit of a joke. Roy, who had only ever written hard rock and metal songs, thought it would be funny to write a happy pop tune for his girlfriend, so he did. Unfortunately she loved it and wanted more so he kept going it all kinda spiralled from there.

M: How would you describe the music that you're making now?
D: It's always incredibly hard to describe the music you make but I'd say, it's pop music with a bit more substance I guess. I've always been really inspired by the darker, more sombre sides of life too so there is more than a little melancholy hidden beneath the romanticism and happiness of the songs.

M: Where are you hoping to go with this new project?
D: Everywhere! Roy and I have been making music for most of our lives and it's kind of all we know so if we can find a big enough audience to us support that, nothing would make us happier.

M: You've got an EP coming out in 2015, can you give any hints about what we can expect?
D:  Big pop tunes with a lot of layers. It's also a perfect representation of everything that we are. We got one of the first songs we ever wrote on there and also have a track that we wrote on the fly in the studio, so I guess it captures where we were and the very beginning and where we are headed.

M: Who are you currently listening to?
D: We are launching our debut single, Play With Fire at The Railway Hotel, Brunswick, on the 5th of December so I'm essentially just listening to our own music and getting a few brand new tracks ready for the show. Although my girlfriend just bought me Nick Caves' second record, The Firstborn Is Dead, on vinyl so [I've] definitely been giving that a good listen.

M: How would you describe the dynamics in your duo?
D: It's actually pretty ridiculous. Roy and I are very close friends but we're opposites in every sense of the word and in absolutely every way. Somehow though, when it comes to creating music, we just click. We are kind of like the ethnic version of the odd couple but hey, it works!

Keep in touch: www.thehornsmusic.com &www.facebook.com/thehornsmusic


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ryan O'Neal // Sleeping At Last


I am going to be honest with you, I am NOT a Twilight fan - not really. I devoured the books (but honestly there isn't many that I don't) but the movies never captured me the way they did the masses. I am not a Twihard.

But the soundtrack, that I am willing to admit my love for.

Ryan O'Neal scored (pun not intended, but yep..) the gig of the highly anticipated and oh-so-important wedding scene. Not a bad job really.

And the very talented O'Neal has continued strongly since then, with a so many yet-to-be-announced projects. He was a pleasure, as is his music.

Mahalia: So it was a few years okay but can you tell me a little about how the chance to be on Twilight's soundtrack came about? How did that process work?
Ryan: I've always been a huge fan of the Twilight soundtracks, so about a year before Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 came out, I decided to take a chance and try to write a song for the film. I watched all of the previous Twilight films back to back...and read a bit of the Breaking dawn book to see how the story was going. So I began to write...after sitting down at the piano for a while, I came up with the first few chords of what became Turning Page  and to me, it felt like a wedding march. I leaned into that and wrote a love song.  I completed my song and recording and sent it over to my publishers and crossed my fingers that somehow it'd make it into the hands of the filmmakers. After several months of silence I had assumed it was a no go. And then I got a phone call from the [Twilight] music supervisor [saying] she had good news - that my song would not only appear in the iconic wedding scene, but that it would be reprised in the honeymoon scene as well. I was completely blown away! Life changing for me!

M: What've you been up to of late?
R: I've been working on the nest phase of my music series, Atlas - which is an ongoing series of new music inspired by the origins of the universe and the life inside it. I completed the first year of the project, 30 songs, and am about to begin year two! In addition to that, I started a new company called, Emphasis. It's a website where music fans [get] to hand-pick their favourite lyrics from their favourite bands and make a custom t-shirt. A dream come true for me, as it was an idea I had long ago - so to finally see it turned into a real thing has been so fun!

M: How would you describe your music to someone who hadn't heard it before?
R: I'd say it's generally quiet music...lots of acoustic and orchestral instruments. I love film scores, so there's a lot of that influence there and I love pop song structure, so that's in there too! It's a little bit folk as well.

M: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would you perform?
R: There are SO many places I have yet to play and see!! I'd love to play a show in Iceland. And Paris...
 
M: What does a day in your life look like at the moment?
R: I wake up, spend a little time with my wife, Cayt and new baby girl, Lily. Then I begin work, which is different every day! If I'm writing, it means sitting at my piano in my studio and working on lyrics or melodies for the new song I'm writing and recording. Other days it's music "business" stuff...like planning out the months ahead with my manager, or preparing announcements, blog posts, etc. Or sorting out new merch. It's always a little different, but every day I try to write a little bit. That's my anchor.

M: What's the plan for 2015?
R: Continuing on with Atlas: Year Two (which will be about 24 new songs!), I'll be writing a film score for an upcoming documentary and I've got a whole bunch of other plans I can't announce yet! Can't wait!


Make a shirt: EMPHASIS 

O F F I C I A L S I T E : http://sleepingatlast.com/

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ella Hooper

You might know her from the newest version of ABC's Spicks & Specks but Ella Hooper isn't just any TV captain, she's a mega-talented 90's inspired pop songstress in her own right.

On the brink of launching her first solo album ( Hooper is originally from Killing Heidi fame), Ella is preparing herself for what's to come.

A new direction and a new record (although I promise she's a lot more fun than the album might hint at) Ella Hooper is a name you should get familiar with.

Mahalia: Well first off congrats on your upcoming album In Tongues, it sounds incredible! What has the process been like for you doing a solo album?
Ella: Going solo was a long and complicated decision for me to make, and the recording process of the album mirrors that. It's taken an age but I've learned so so much, and now I see that these lessons have been invaluable.
There's been way more work and responsibility - but the rewards are amazing. I feel much more connected to the entire album, artwork, mixing track selection and all...it feels good.

M: Do you have a favourite song off the album?
E:  Ooh that's hard! I'm proud of them all for different reasons...but Everything Was A Sign is a big ass ballad that holds a special place in my heart and seems to kick everyone right in the soft bits every time, so probably that one.

M: I've been saving this question for someone super cool! How do you choose the titles of your songs? Is this a part of your song writing or does it happen later?
E: Good question! I LOVE naming songs.
It used to be an after thought but now I see it as a real art. I often start with the title and if it's strong it can inform and direct the whole song. Lots of great song writers I know say it's a really important part of writing.
Plus you want to feel cool intro-ing the song live.

M: If you could play a show tomorrow, where would it be and who would be in the audience?
E: I'd like to play a lush over-grown Roman ruin type amphitheatre, lit with fairy lights, incorporating a 360 wine bar, to people, fairies, nymphs and satyrs sitting on tiered seating and pillows on the ground. A bit of a Midsummer Nights Dream fantasy gig, because why not?!

M: Who are you currently listening to?
E: I've been obsessed with Harry Belafonte for a couple of years now, but also the new Laura Jean record, Australia, is great, and Jack Ladders' new album Playmates is incredible. Also Tyrannamen are rocking my socks. I like to mix it up.

M: How would you describe yourself?
E: I'd call it sassy, spiky, heart felt, dark pop. 90s ethos with a 70s swagger. Apocapop.

M: How would you describe yourself?
E: I'm not as dark as my recent music. I think I'm actually pretty fun and funny, but I might be wrong about that last bit as most laughs I get are usually unintentional?!
But I don't mind.
I'm passionate. Enthusiastic. Hard working. If I like the job.

M: What are you hoping for In Tongues?
E:  Simply to start on the road to redefining myself as an artist (no biggie!) and to perhaps reach new listeners who might like this new stuff. I'd love to be able to grow people's understanding of me, musically. But it's hard. There's a lot of water under the bridge.

M: Do you have any hidden talents? Care to reveal one to us?
E: I'm very flexible? I have double jointed thumbs. Also, I was into 'twerking' way before it was cool, and then heinously uncool, as I used to study belly dancing and shaking your ass (and other bits) is a part of that discipline.

Visit Ella's Facebook :: https://www.facebook.com/EllaHooperOfficial

+ buy In Tongues! https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/in-tongues/id929385942 or
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/ellahooper

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Timothy Nelson & The Infidels

 I have rewritten this intro so many times, but really what can I say about the crazily talented Timothy Nelson & The Infidels.

Not one for playing by the rules, the band's music is loosely described as pop, and at best a kaleidoscope of cool.


It mightn't fit into a genre, but TM&TI have already found themselves a permanent position on my summer playlist.

Mahalia: So first up, can you tell me a bit about where the name Timothy Nelson & The Infidels came from?
Timothy: My parents are responsible for the first half, so you'd have to take that up with them. I took Infidels from a Bob Dylan album 'cause I liked the sound of it. The Infidelity aspect of the name fits in a way because we all play in about [a] million other bands.


M: Do you have a favourite song from your new album Terror Terror, Hide It Hide It?
T: My favourite at the moment is Do U Need It, the chords are a bit jazzy and it turns into a bit of a space jam towards the end. I realize I just made it sound terrible...go listen for yourself. I dig it.

M: You guys don't stick to just one genre, has there one that you've really enjoyed?
T: I don't really care for genres, it the songs are good then I'm into it. The same goes for writing and it does for what I listen to. I see us as a pop band because we basically make pop songs, but we don't have a specific set of rules as to how we arrange them.


M: Where are you hoping to go genre-wise next?T: I just want to write the best songs I can and the way they come out in the studio will be forever influenced by whatever trip I, and the band, are on. A bastardized version of my favourite records and theirs.

M: How does your writing process work? Especially considering that you aren't confined to a single genre?
T: Some songs just fall out of the sky, others take years. It can start anywhere really, be it a lyric or a some chords or just a short melody. The process of writing songs I find is so messy it's crazy to even call it a process.

M: What's coming up for the band in 2015?
T: We're going to keep playing shows far [and] wide, and always working on new material.


M: Do you guys believe in New Year's resolutions? If so are you planning any for Timothy Nelson & The Infidels?
T: I think the general consensus is to get less fit, take up smoking and spend more money when possible.


M: What's your personal favourite style of music to listen to?
T: Hits.


M: Current favourite song?
T: Taylor Swift - Shake It Off


S a y H e l l o !  http://www.tninfidels.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/TNInfidels

Friday, November 14, 2014

Better than Perfect by Simone Elkeles

Title: Better than Perfect
Author: Simone Elkeles
Source: Bloomsbury Publishing for review
Buy it here: The Book Depository

Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!

Derek has a perfect body, the sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. 

As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild? 




I'm going to be honest: I thought I wasn't going to like this book. But man, am I glad I stuck with it! I suppose even if it had been awful it only took me a day to read, so I wouldn't have been with it for long! Actually though, I really enjoyed Better than Perfect. It was cute and had just the right amount of romance-verse-other-plot-lines to be interesting, and obviously kept me reading till the very end.

The use of alternating perspectives between the two main characters (Derek and Ashtyn) was really effective here; although I have read many books where this type of writing falls flat and is just confusing. I felt that it added so much to this book. I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if it was from a solo point of view.

Having said that, I did get frustrated with Derek a fair few times throughout this book. He changed his mind so often that it made my head spin, but he grew on me throughout the book. By the end he had almost completely redeemed himself!

Ashtyn was a rock. She was one cool girl and I think so many teenagers could learn from her. I really admired her for working so hard for the things she wanted and for never backing down from a challenge. All these obstacles kept being thrown her way but she was never bitter and she ended up on top. I read a thing somewhere that talked about people who were just themselves and didn't really worry too much about fitting in to the 'right' group; Ashtyn was the embodiment of this. I really admire her.

Better than Perfect was such a surprise for me. It does cover some themes that probably aren't suitable for young readers. Aside from this I would recommend it to anyone really that just wanted a light book; this one doesn't require too much on the readers' part. Oh and obviously they've got to like romance. It was a cute book and I'm kicking myself for judging it in the beginning.

PS - This book smelt incredible. Kudos to Bloomsbury!




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Greenlife Online

Alpha Beige WeWood Watch
When I received a package in the mail from Greenlife Online, it was basically like Christmas had come early. And I wasn't disappointed when I opened it!

From the word go it's obvious how important the environment is to this company.
"All [the] products I sell have to have a clear eco-friendly or sustainable aspect to them. I also try and source products from companies that do extra to help the environment," says owner Matthew Devitt.
Hayburn Mahogany Proof Sunglasses
I took both the watch and sunglasses with me to lots of different places, mainly because I knew they were so unique. Both the watch and sunglasses were a big hit with everyone who saw them. And they might look fragile when you see them, but they're definitely sturdy enough to be passed around.

The entire package weighed less than half a kilogram. I was surprised at just how light a wooden watch and glasses could be!

The watch - shown in Alpha Beige - was super chunky; in fact I think it's the biggest in the Italian designed range. Even so, it was incredibley light and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately the sample was too big for my wrist so I couldn't wear it all day, but it appears that some links could be removed to adjust the size. And bonus points to WeWood Watches for planting a tree for each watch sold!!



I'm a glasses wearer almost always, and unlike most people I really like this! So for me to happily replace them with sunglasses is kind of unusual. But that's how much I loved "Hayburn" in Mahogany sunnies. 

They were super light on my face, but not fragile at all. I never felt worried about the glasses breaking or falling off as they fit perfectly on my face.

And as well as being a great fashion asset they actually work at protecting your eyes from the sun! Which is a total underrated feature on most sunglasses I've ever owned..
I seriously loved both of these products and have been recommending them to anyone that will listen! I'm really sad to be sending them back. But I can't wait to see someone else love them as much as I did.

So aside from the products what sets Greenlife Online apart? "I think I don't just talk the talk, but also walk the walk." I agree with Matthew's statement wholeheartedly!


BIG thanks to www.greenlifeonline.com.au for loaning me their products to have a play with!



Friday, November 7, 2014

Killing Richard Dawson by Robin Baker

Title: Killing Richard Dawson
Author: Robin Baker
Source: Pantera Press for review
Buy it here:  Amazon, iTunes, or any good bookstore!


"The phone rings. It's Jesus. I listen to him speak and then hang up..."

In this darkly comic, slow-burn thriller, reality is blurred...nothing can be taken for granted.

A gripping and poignant black comedy about love, friendship, booze, morality, death...and a generation's causal dissatisfaction with modern life. Sometimes, redemption lies in the darkest of places.

"You don't need to die to destroy yourself."



I loved this book from the first page. Actually before that. The author's bio in the back intrigued me so much that this had to be my first review book. Call me crazy maybe, but at least I didn't judge by the cover!

I loved the style of this book, you really felt like the story was happening around - and to - you. Which is always a huge positive for me. I felt that the author had done a great job of making realistic characters who actually act the supposed age! A huge turn-off for me when reading is if a character is too forced or just seems out of place, and this definitely didn't happen!

It's really hard to say too much about the protagonist without giving away a MAJOR plot point. I loved him and hated him in equal parts. For everything good he did, his lust for the character Jade annoyed me. I wasn't in support of that at all! Although Jade too wasn't off the hook in my eyes, I got really angry at the way she handled the events in the book; but even they were probably quite realistic reactions for many people. They certainly made for an interesting read.

The dynamics within the friendship group were a major point in the plot and the more strained they got, the better the book was to read! Everyone had their own part to play in the story and I still am wondering what happened to the few characters I felt didn't get a tidy ending.

Towards the middle of this book I nearly stopped ready, as it touches on some pretty hard subjects. As the title would suggest, murder, as well as drugs, eating disorders and some mild violence. I wouldn't recommend this book to a young reader or anyone who might find these topics too confronting.

All in all I really enjoyed this book! The ending left me so many questions, it was a bit like being hit in the chest actually. I enjoyed living in the world of Killing Richard Dawson for a few days. I hadn't read anything by Robin Baker before but I am going in search of his other book as soon as I can. I would recommend this to anybody who likes coming of age stories or crime/psych thrillers.




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BEATZ


BEATZ is a powerhouse of music, sass and coloured Doc Martens. Meet Elishia, Brooke and Tayla.

After an unsuccessful attempt onto 2014 X Factor Australia, these girls are even more determined to make it big. And they're doing it their way.

Proving that stereotypes are nothing, BEATZ have smashed the teenage airhead image out of the park and are proving that girl groups are here for a reason.

BEATZ are definitely dancing to their own drum.

Mahalia: How long did it take BEATZ to decide to try out for X Factor?
BEATZ: Soon after we got together it was a pretty quick decision. We have all watched and love the show and [so we] thought 'why not!'.


M: Your audition was my personal favourite! How long did you rehearse for it?
B: Thanks so much! There [were] so many elements to our audition piece as you saw, from the singing, harmonizing and dancing choreography. So all up it took us about one month to perfect.


M: What have you been up to since your time on national TV?
B: Since X Factor we have been working on creating exciting YouTube covers, keeping active with our fans and performing as often as possible.

M: Why do you want to pursue music as a group?
B: As a group our personal strengths come together and create something special. Being so close as friends off the stage also allows us to easily connect on stage, making our performances enjoyable for both us and the audience. Constantly being surrounded by determined people keeps us motivated and excited for the future together.


What's your dream for BEATZ? Where do you want to go with music?
B: We want to be writing our own music and touring the world with it. Hopefully [we will] get to collaborate with big names in America and inspire others like we have been inspired to follow our dreams and to not give up.


M: You're all still teenagers, how do you balance normal life and being musicians?
B: Actually recently Brooke and Elishia turned the big 20! So Tayla is actually the only teenager in the group. Each of our lives though are always pretty busy, so we make sure to plan our days so that we are getting the most out of everything.

M: What's the plan for 2015?
B: For 2015 we want to focus on writing our own music and then being able to tour with it overseas. We want to continue to inspire our fans and keep as active with them as possible, while expanding and sharing our music with as many people as possible.


video

B E A T Z are as lovely as they look! Find more here: https://www.facebook.com/BEATZofficialmusic