Welcome to 52 Songs of Happiness, a collection of
unique music from around the world brought to you by
We hooked up with the fantastic The Flaws to chat about “Shade Life” and the special place near home that inspires their music.
Irish band The Flaws write anthemic music that feels like you’ve been listening to it all your life, even after just one listen. We met the lead singer, Paul Finn, to chat over the track and to hear about their choice of Placelist.
Hi Paul, good to meet you. Introduce The Flaws and tell us about your music.
Hello! We number four in total. There’s me, Paul Finn, alongside my bandmates Shane Malone, Colin Berrill and Paul Mallon. We’re influenced by all kinds of music but we play a mix of pop and rock, with some acoustic-based material. Our songs are mostly fun but at times they’re a little serious.
How did “Shade Life”, your song for 52 Songs of Happiness, come together?
It was written on an acoustic guitar in my sitting room, while looking over a photo album. I remember it well!
Tell us about the location you've chosen for your Placelist.
We’ve chosen Monaghan in Ireland, and in particular Capragh Lough, the lake where I used to go fishing when I was a kid, which is beside a lovely field full of trees and a clear opening towards the water. Nearby, there’s an old abandoned house that has a rich history. It’s a special place.
Your Placelist is very diverse – we’re guessing you’ve been inspired by a real mix of musicians. Any particular music heroes?
Billie Holiday was an amazing singer who added so much to the great American songbook, in particular ‘Strange Fruit’, which is such an important piece of music that she helped make popular.
Secondly, Miles Davis, another great jazz musician, was a true pioneer of the art form and his expression and composition techniques were truly unique. His rendition of Gershwin's ‘My Ship’ is one of my all time favorite pieces of music. And lastly, a bit different but still a hero would be Kevin Drew from Broken Social Scene, who’s a great songwriter and I really love the community that surrounds him and the music his band makes.
Which person would you love to collaborate with?I would have loved to work with the late Carl Sagan, as he would have made a fantastic lyricist and some of his writing is inspiring. I’ve been incredibly influenced by him over the years, alongside fellow scientists Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking.
52 Songs of Happiness artist Bean is set to become a pop music icon.
We reach the halfway point on our journey with the 26th contribution to 52 Songs of Happiness, from Nashville pop star in the making, Bean. Her electrifying song “Carnival Ride” is a sweet slice of pop to celebrate this milestone! We met the singer to discuss her track, and her choice of Placelist songs.
Hi Bean, thanks so much for getting involved in 52 Songs of Happiness! How would you describe your music?
I would say my music fits into the category of ‘sophisticated pop’ if there is such a thing: a Taylor Swift vibe lyrically and production wise, but with a dash of soul! All my lyrics come from my heart and the production makes them fun, happy, and bubbly.
Tell us where you wrote your song for 52 Songs of Happiness.
I wrote “Carnival Ride” after my very first visit to the pier in Santa Monica, California. The beautiful lights illuminating the waves crashing against the sandy beach while the sun says goodbye. There was magic there… and so I grabbed a pen to write what is now one of the 52 Songs of Happiness.
When it comes to your own songs and your inspirations, who are your top three musical heroes?
Firstly, it would be Chris Martin because Coldplay will always be my favorite band of all time. Secondly, Katy Perry, because through years of figuring out who she is as an artist, when she needed to keep the determination and endurance, she never gave up on her dream, and now she’s a mega star. And lastly but certainly not least, The Beatles: the originators of pop music in my opinion. They created the best chord changes I have ever heard and are just the hottest British group ever.
Of the current generation of artists, I’d love to collaborate with Bruno Mars, as he is a lyrical genius. Wow, this may very well be the hardest question I've ever answered and it's difficult to name just a few!
Away from music, are there any people that have inspired you?
Most definitely, my mother. Mom is the most inspiring woman I've ever met as no matter what life has thrown her way, she's kept the faith. It baffles me at times, as if I was in her shoes I'd want to pull my hair out and give up! But she simply takes a deep breath and realizes that, “this too shall pass" and everything is going to work out how it should. She is an inspiration, letting me know that everything is happening with perfect timing and patience is the very best quality to possess.
Tell us about the location you've chosen for your Placelist.
Santa Monica, and California in general, are such
magical places! While visiting the pier in Santa Monica for the first time, I
was inspired to write a song and couldn't stop. I put the pen to paper and was
completely motivated by what my eyes laid upon, and since then Santa Monica
will always be one of my favorite places.
Keep on movin’ to the next thrilling new band - Chicago’s Living In Pretend are the real deal!
We met up with Andrew and Eli to chat over their track “Keep On Movin” and their Placelist song choices.
Hi guys, how would you describe your music?
The band is the collective consciousness of the two of us. We write hook-driven pop/rock that falls somewhere between M83 and Maroon 5, with a blend of acoustic and electronic production elements, with layered ethereal vocal harmonies. We started writing together while working on Eli’s solo album and decided it was worth pursuing the sound we found. Since then we’ve been really lucky to get to collaborate with a lot of great Chicago musicians who inspire our songs and take them to places we could never have imagined.
Did “Keep On Movin’” come together in Chicago?
Yeah, it did. We wrote the song in our apartment on the north side of the city, then recorded it in our upstairs studio, and mixed in our basement studio. That is how most of our writing occurs.
Chicago is dear to your heart isn’t it, as you’ve chosen the area for your Placelist as well?
Yes, Lake Shore Drive runs the length of downtown Chicago, along Lake Michigan. It’s one of the most beautiful ways to see the city, and our favorite spot to listen to music. The best time to drive down the lakeshore is in the middle of the night, when traffic is sparse and the city is quiet. Nothing beats it.
Your sound mixes a love of melodic rock and synth
sounds. Which artists have inspired the music?
Currently John Mayer, he’s the best songwriter of our generation. He respects the music that came before him, adds his own perspective, and has consistently put out great music for over ten years. Not many other people from our lifetime can claim that. He also plays guitar like the heroes of the classic rock era and earned those peoples’ respect.
And heading back a few years, Jeff Lynne, who’s the epitome of what I want for my career. Apart from Electric Light Orchestra, he’s had a successful solo career, created the Traveling Wilburys supergroup with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison, and is a respected and in-demand producer with an extensive list of collaborators. He didn’t confine himself to one aspect of music, and has constantly expanded his list of accomplishments. We’d love to do the same!Placelist: http://CokeURL.com/c8ne
A productive songwriter inspired by the sounds of the 60s, Michael Mazochi’s music demands your attention.
Michael Mazochi has released three records as a solo artist and is about to launch a new band called The Von Furs, with Mazochi playing most of the instruments and producing. His track “Teenage Dream”, written as a solo artist, is featured as one of the 52 Songs of Happiness.
Hi Michael, your music seems to have classic elements of both British and American folk and rock.
Yes, I would say my musical heroes are The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Kinks. I dig The Beatles for arrangement and song-craft, Dylan for lyrics and storytelling, and The Kinks for their sense of melody. I’ve always wanted to create a modern update of a mash-up of the three.
At the moment, Deerhunter, The Walkmen, and Kurt Vile are all doing great stuff. Behind the scenes, I’d love to work with Nigel Godrich. I love what he brings to a song and the mix of artistic integrity and accessibility that feels unforced and thought out.
Tell us about the location you've chosen for your Placelist?
I’ve chosen the same location as the title of my track for 52 Songs Of Happiness - a special place called Bowdoin Park, near the home I grew up in downstate New York. As a child my brother and I would gather what seemed like the whole neighborhood at the first snowfall to go snow-tubing and sledding down this completely insane hill. It was a far reach in the old memory banks for this song, so I decided to do the same with the treatment of the music. It recalls earlier Americana styling that I hadn’t touched in a while.
Family life seems an important factor in your music?
Yes, by far the greatest influence in my life is my mother Linda, who was (and will continue to be a saint in my eyes. My most vivid musical memory was hearing her sing gospel songs in a church choir and around the house while she was going about her daily business as a teacher grading papers. She always did what she felt was right regardless of how much pain it caused her, and she taught me that the right decision isn’t always the easiest one. To this day, the love she left me has sustained me as a human, as a man, and as an artist.
What are you planning for the rest of 2013?I am going to release some new material. The first order of business would be figuring out how to get the songs out in the ever-changing modern music industry. There’s a major freedom to the game right now - it’s nice to see bands doing it for themselves and finding personal successes with that route.
Josh Burke is VP of Marketing and Direct to Brand Partnerships at Music Dealers. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Josh has been a musician since a very early age. After receiving a degree in Jazz Performance from Roosevelt University, Josh was a professional jazz musician and promoter, organizing fashion and music events around Chicago. Josh joined Music Dealers during its early stages in 2009, where he developed the Rights Administration department and served as Director of Operations until moving into heading up the Marketing and Direct to Brand teams.
August 2011, when Music Dealers forged a partnership with
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