I just had to answer all these questions for a possible blog feature and I had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought y’all might be interested in checking it out:

What is your first musical memory? My first musical memory is starting to watch MTV as a six-year-old back in 1989 and continuing to watch it through the early 90’s. Seeing videos like “Rock the Cradle of Love” by Billy Idol, “Epic” by Faith No More, “November Rain” by Guns and Roses and “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul had a huge effect on me. Now, music from that time period makes me happier than any other music. I’m so glad that some of the club music from that time STILL gets played in the club whenever I go out, 20 years later. “Show Me Love” by Robin S., the best song of all time in my opinion (which is NOT the same song as “Show Me Love” by Robyn from 1997), will apparently never die as long as there are clubs in New York City. Thank God for that!

What was the first concert you ever went to? It was probably some boring crap at Carnegie Hall, since that was right in my neighborhood, but the first real concert I ever got excited about going to was Jamiroquai at the Theater at Madison Square Garden with Busta Rhymes opening, in 1997, when I was 14, right after “Virtual Insanity” had just blown up in America. Jason Kay, the lead singer and songwriter of Jamiroquai, was an excellent showman, and I think he’s definitely written some of the best groovy/funky songs I’ve ever heard. Busta Rhymes was riding the success of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” at the time, and he was adorable. It was nice to see Busta putting effort into his show then, because when he came and did a show at Harvard, where I went to college, 8 years later, he half-assed it worse than an amateur and I was really disappointed. The best concert I ever went to was the Spice Girls farewell tour, and if you don’t like that, you can kiss my @$$. 🙂

What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration? There is some really incredible, soul-stirring electro-pop coming out these days, and most of it comes from my favorite artist, the UK’s Frankmusik. He is a total genius. There are also some amazing remixes of stuff like his floating around out there, including one of his song “Confusion Girl” remixed by Russ Chimes. That is the best, most beautiful electronic song I’ve ever heard. The use of strings in that song is just heavenly. Then of course I always draw inspiration from early 90’s club pop, like stuff from Black Box, C&C Music Factory, Robin S., etc, because they were the masters of perfectly danceable pop that makes you happy, and I just think that sound needs to come back in a big way. I’m always happy when someone tells me my songs remind them of early 90’s club music. That is the highest compliment I can get.

Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” or “rock,” describe your sound. Early 90’s club music-inspired electro dance amazingness.

Stones or Beatles? Neither. Sorry! I like synthesizers. I respect and am in awe of both groups, it’s just that I don’t really listen to anything they’ve put out.

What’s your dream collaboration? Frankmusik, Robin S, Britney Spears.

Do you find the song or does the song find you? Mostly, the idea for the song and the melody pop into my head as a response to me thinking about something in my life that usually has to do with love, relationships and dealing with emotionally retarded boys.

How do you discover new music? I check Frankmusik’s twitter over and over to see if he’s put out anything new. Also, I listen to terrestrial radio (sorry!), internet radio (everybody happy now?) and occasionally check the odd blog about electro/dance music.

So there you have it. Whaddaya think? Leave a comment below. 🙂

So after I made my video of me rapping my rap over Frankmusik’s “Confusion Girl” remix (watch it here), the next logical step was to get Frankmusik to watch it and see what he thought! I tweeted it to him on Twitter a couple times with no response (he’s a busy dude), but persistence pays off, so I tweeted it to him again AND HE WATCHED IT AND TWEETED BACK THAT HE THOUGHT IT WAS “ABSOLUTE GENIUS!” AAAAAAAAAAAAAH CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? NO? THEN LOOK AT THESE SCREENSHOTS!

My successful tweet to Frankmusik (at the bottom of the screenshot):

mytweettoFrankmusik

And his unbelievable tweet back (second tweet down)!

Frankmusikcallsmeabsolutegenius

I LOVE FRANKMUSIK AND CAN DIE HAPPY NOW. AT LEAST ONCE THIS GODDAMN ALBUM IS DONE. Follow me on Twitter!

So as you know, I love Frankmusik (www.myspace.com/frankmusik). Recently I realized that a lot of his songs are about heartache and failed relationships and I thought to myself, “Who are these lametastic girls who keep letting him down and jerking him around, and why does he keep going out with them?” So I did what any normal person would do. I wrote a rap about it. Then I made a video of myself rapping it over his “Confusion Girl” remix.

The best moment of my life thus far.
The best moment of my life thus far.

There is an artist that I LOVE who I’ve been listening to for at least the last year and a half who is amazing, who is brilliant, who is my inspiration. He is from the UK and for a year and a half I was trying to figure out how/when I was going to get over to London to see him play. Then Perez Hilton’s tour brought him to NYC tonight, so I went to see him. His name is Frankmusik and if you don’t know about him, you bloody well should, because he’s just the best in every way. (www.myspace.com/frankmusik) I had corresponded with him a bit over myspace and facebook (he’s a fan of mine on facebook, which just blows my brain out of the back of my head), and hoped to meet him one day, but didn’t know how or when it would ever happen. Well, boy, did it happen tonight! Here’s how it went down:

My delicious friend Lane and I went to the show, waited for an hour for it to start, and then Perez Hilton came out and announced that the first act would be Frankmusik and I just lost my shit. He did his set and I screamed so loud and so much I partially lost my voice. I jumped longer and higher than I ever knew I could, getting plenty of extra stamina from the excitement of the show. I just couldn’t believe that after a year and a half of watching his videos and hearing his songs and meeting him on myspace, here he was, right in front of my face, performing the songs I loved so much. It was sort of killing me that he was ten feet away from me but probably didn’t even know I was there, since when you’re on stage you can’t really see the audience. So I just waved and yelled as much as I could, and hoped the light would catch my disco-ball visor that I’ve worn at my last few shows (see pics). Then the end of his set came, and Lane and I left to go get some dinner. I figured I’d come back to the venue after eating to see if I could say hello after the rest of the show.

So I come back from dinner after about an hour, and as I’m walking along the street toward the venue, I just looked at the sky and prayed in my head that somehow I’d be able to find him and say hello, even for a second. I get back in front of the venue and who’s coming right out the door but FrankMusik!!!!! And before I say anything he looks up, sees me, his jaw drops and he says “JC?!?!?” and lemme tell you, that was like the best fuckin’ moment of my life. I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO SAY HELLO FIRST BECAUSE HE KNEW WHO I WAS FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’S LIKE IF BRITNEY SPEARS SAID HELLO TO ME FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

Breathe, breathe. So anyway, he says, “JC?” and I was like “Hey!” and we hugged a big wonderful hug and chatted a bit, and I said “Did you see me in the crowd?” and he was like “Yeah!” and we talked about my disco ball visor and I was like “Now, I’ll give this to you, but you have to wear it, because it will look fabulous on you!” And I gave it to him he really liked it and we took a couple of pictures (see pics).

The second best moment of my life thus far.
The second best moment of my life thus far.

Then he said he was really hungry and I said we could get a bite, and he said sure, after the show. So then he went back in and I saw him around the show a bunch of times while the other acts were playing, but other people were always talking to him, so I didn’t want to hog him, haha. But the whole time I was trying to get my head around the idea that this amazing artist I’d only known through the internet, who’d been an ocean away the whole time I’d known of him, was standing in the same room in the same building in MY city, and had just spoken to me! It was so surreal. If you’ve never gotten a chance to meet someone you idolize in real life after only knowing them from the internet, I recommend it. It’s like living inside a wonderful, ridiculous dream.

So after the show I waited for him to come out of the venue, which he finally did, and asked if he still wanted to grab a bite, but he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I did get to chat with him about how his album had done in the UK and what he’d be up to now (HE’S COMING TO AMERICA TO RECORD!!!! YAYYYYYY!!!), and he was so sweet. “It was so great to finally meet you after all this time–it’s been years!” he said. I just wanted to give him hugs, which I did a few times, and each time we hugged he’d give me a peck on the cheek. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It was such a funny position to be in, talking like friends but me freaking out inside because I’m also such a huge fucking fantard of his, but him being so sweet and friendly and remembering everything about how long we’d been in touch etc. I was blown away by how sweet he was.

There are certain people I know that I’m just wild for and when I see them I just overflow with love and affection. I get really enthusiastic about expressing that love, because, well you know, because love is the most important and wonderful life-affirming, life-sustaining force there is. So even though we’d hugged a few times already, before I let him go, I was like “I just wanna give you one more hug before I go,” and as I hugged him really tight and my face was right by his ear I couldn’t help but say “Iloveyouyou’resofuckingawesooooooooooome!!!!!” which he was very sweet about. I fucking love this guy. You have to buy his album right now!

But the story doesn’t even end there!!! I started walking west down 15th street, still just dizzy from joy and amazement, and when I got to Union Square I hear someone whistle at me and he yells out “Hey JC!” from his cab. I turn around and there he was, hangin’ out the front window, talkin’ to me. Can you fucking believe it???!??! So my brain was just on auto-pilot I was in such shock and I was just like “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey FrankMusik!” in my silly voice. And then I kept walking while his cab was at a stop light, and then his cab caught up to me and we waved and said hello again, and then he said something else I couldn’t hear as his cab sped away and I went into the train station. Standoffish he is not. He is THE BEST. SO SWEET. TOTALLY AMAZING. MADE MY NIGHT, WEEK, MONTH, YEAR. LIFE!!!!!

FRANKMUSIK, ILOVEYOUYOU’RESOFUCKINGAWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!!!!!!

Cannot WAIT till you come back to New York!!!!

And also, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

So yesterday I went to the ASCAP New York Sessions music conference (which I knew about and could go to because I became a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) many months ago. Here are some helpful things I learned:

1. From the keynote interview with Rob Thomas (of Matchbox 20 and solo work):
-No matter what level you’re at in this business, you better be working your ass off if you want to get anywhere or stay anywhere. Rob talked about how he gets up at 8:30am every day (bet you didn’t think a self-proclaimed pot-smoker musician did that!) to take care of business emails etc, then writes for hours every day if he’s not on the road or otherwise engaged. This man has sold tens of millions of records. Financially he’s set for life. If he never did another thing, he’d still have the respect of almost everyone in the music community for his huge success and great songs. And yet he works for hours every day just like the struggling 17-year-old nobody, trying to write great songs. Because that process never ends.
-Getting a record deal is NOT the end of your hard work. It’s the beginning. Sure, it’s hard work to get enough people to come to shows that record company people start paying attention, but it’s way harder to make and promote a record that will sell millions of copies once that record company has invested a million dollars in you and is breathing down your neck for a great record that you don’t know if you know how to make.
-More often than not, being successful in music means touring your ass off. Thomas mentioned that for 3 and a half years after the first Matchbox 20 record came out, he was on the road. And you thought the 2-year Guns N Roses tour you heard about on Behind The Music sounded long.

2. From the Making a Great Demo panel:
-Make sure you have a great room to record and mix and master in, because if the room doesn’t sound great, your recordings will really suffer. There is a company called Auralex which will do a free consultation of your recording room and help you figure out how to maximize its potential.
-Success is about the song, the song and the song. If you don’t have a great song, nothing else you do is going to make it successful. If you have a great song and you put it out there, it will find success in one way or another. Case in point: the music publisher on the panel mentioned that he signed a songwriter with bad recordings and no record deal because his songs were amazing. The song is the most important thing. Make great songs. Period.
-Just like with everything else in the arts, those amazing songs must be submitted through a manager, agent or lawyer to get heard. Unsolicited stuff is not going to get listened to.
-One musician on the panel mentioned that before his record deal he survived off of licensing music. He started out with this by going to music supervisor conferences and meeting supervisors to whom he could submit his music. Smart guy!
-The A&R guy from Hollywood Records on the panel mentioned that he has kept in touch with acts who had potential but weren’t ready for a deal when he first heard them, so keep working on that craft and getting better, and you might get lucky even if you don’t start out being a genius who’s ready to be signed. He also mentioned that once he signs an act, he expects them to be writing constantly.

3. From the marketing panel:
-It’s more important to have a coherent plan for what you want to achieve than to be on a million websites and social networks.
-Clear Channel has a program called “New” which helps local acts get heard on major radio stations. Go to a Clear Channel radio station’s web page and search for the New program.
-It’s essential to gather the email addresses of people who are interested in your music so you can keep in touch with fans
-The best way to get written about in blogs is to perform and otherwise “do something worth blogging about.”
-LOGO TV channel has a contest where you can get your music video on the air
-On myspace, your page views are much more important than your friend count to record labels etc, because a high page view-to-fan-number ratio means you have avid fans who keep coming back. It’s true–I visit FrankMusik’s myspace a lot, because he kicks ass and I can’t get enough of him and I will support him for the rest of my life because he’s a freaking genius. But I am only one friend.
-bandcamp.com is an awesome site that is very helpful for musicians

From the songwriters and producers panel:
-You make your own opportunities. No one’s going to hand you anything (what have I been saying all this time!?!?)
-How to handle the eternal problem of people telling you you have to sleep with them in order for them to help you in the music business: Never give them any reason to believe you’re there for anything but to work, and if they hit on you, just let them know you’re there to work and nothing else, and they’ll hit on someone else and work with you. Or if they don’t, someone will.
-Jingle writing can be a good thing from which to transition into producing music for artists.
-One producer told a story of going to see a young band he loved that only had 8 people in the audience, 7 of whom walked out of the show. That band was Gym Class Heroes, they of the huge radio hits. No Doubt had shows like that too, early on. If you believe in what you’re doing, keep going no matter what. Do more shows. Find your audience. It takes a while, but they’ll find you and then you’ll have your big awesome shows.