A world of music at my feet!

Today I finally did something I have wanted (and planned) to do for aaaaages. I upgraded my Spotify account to Spotify Unlimited! Woop woop! No more adverts, and no more “You have spent all your minutes this month.” Gotta love it. Don’t ya…? I’m currently listening to Beyoncé’s new album “4”, and I’m actually quite pleasantly surprised – at least after the first couple of listens. I used to be a massive Beyoncé fan, but I must say she has annoyed me a bit lately… I do like this album way more than the last one though. So far anyway. And it’s nice to have the opportunity to listen to it before I decide wether or not to buy it. Isn’t that what Spotify is here for?

Click on the image to get to "4" on Spotify

Behold, a revolution…!
Spotify and all the other online music streaming services (like Wimp, Pandora etc.) is the best thing to happen to the music industry in a long time. It’s not exactly big news that the music industry has been struggling for a while, mostly due to so many people downloading music from the internet and not paying for it. Album sales are down by a crazy %, and times are tough. You’re probably sick of hearing about it, but bear with me for just a minute. Maybe you don’t know WHY it is such a problem. Anyhow, this new online streaming business seems to be (a part of) the remedy. Long overdue, the music industry has realized that it needs to change drastically, and get the consumers back on its side. Meet them half way and give them a better alternative, rather than criminalizing them for (understandably) taking advantage of what’s suddenly available through a massive development in technology. And it’s looking up. As an example, in January 2009, there were 1500 paying customers to the different streaming services available in Norway. Today, that number is up to 240 000 (April 2011), and artists are finally starting to make money from people streaming their music online.

Once upon a time…
I used to download lots of music from Napster and Limewire back in the day, but I haven’t for years now. I guess I think differently now that I know how things work, and how much money artists are actually loosing because of “illegal downloads.” Plus, there are so many easy and cheap alternatives now. I’ve used the free version of Spotify since it first came to Norway in 2008, and I started buying some music online (on iTunes) once that got easy to do. Still, I’ve always liked having a physical copy of the albums I really like. There’s just something about flicking through that leaflet while listening through an album for the first time… Now, I’m proud to say that all the music in my iTunes library is either imported CDs from my own collection, or music downloaded and paid for on iTunes. Or free downloads that the artists have put out there themselves. Cause a lot of them do that to, which is cool. It’s only fair to give something back to the people who support you, and who, to be honest, you are writing the music for. I’m planning to do a lot of that myself, putting a song out there now and then for people to download for free, but I hope people will still want to buy my EPs and albums! 😉

Try before you buy…
Now that Spotify has arrived, I really can’t see a valid argument for downloading music “illegally.” If you are at all passionate about music, I’m sure you can manage to cough up 5 pounds per month in exchange of having access to most of the music in the world at any time. Because with Spotify Unlimited there is no time limit, and if you upgrade to Spotify Premium (for ten quid a month), you can even get access offline, and on your phone. So why not use Spotify to “try before you buy,” and then pay the little money it costs on iTunes or in the record store to get the music you end up loving? If you “have to” have it on your hard drive that is? Seriously – if you like and respect an artist, shouldn’t you want to support that artist? And if you don’t like the music enough to pay for it, is there any point in it taking up space on your hard drive when you can just listen to it on Spotify whenever you want? Another thing is, when you download songs on the Internet, more often than not the quality is SHIT. You may not think it makes much of a difference, but my… It does. The files are shrunk down a crazy amount, and they loose a lot of details in the process. It’s like a document or a photo that has been run through the copier again and again – after a while it will inevitably look… Pretty Shit… As a musician, I would like for people to enjoy my songs (my babies, my art) the way I intended for them to be heard. With all the details intact.

Supporting the industry…
I realize a lot of people probably don’t think of it like this at all. Quite simply, they like the music, they want to listen to it, and they don’t wanna pay for it when the alternative is there to get it for free. Fair enough, I totally get that. Like I said, I used to do it to. Heck, I’d rather not pay for a lot of things, if the alternative was there to get it for free. Like clothes, or food, or dental appointments. I know everything about being broke, and it sucks. But what people are actually doing by not paying for the music they are downloading, is hurting the industry, and hurting the artists they like. It’s probably the same people who buy cheap knock-off t-shirts and other un-official merchandize outside the concert venues – all they want is to pay tribute to their favorite artist by wearing their name and face on a t-shirt, but the truth is the artist would probably not be particularly happy about seeing cheap copies knocking about. Most people just don’t think about the fact that supporting the copies is damaging to the artist who is trying to make a living from their art (a living which merchandize, like it or not, is a big part of).

It’s certainly not my intention to point the finger here, and I hope you understand that. My intention is simply to share my thoughts and experience on the subject, and hopefully shed some light on it. Maybe you learned something you didn’t know, maybe your view on downloading music has changed a little bit. One can always hope, anyway. I just feel like it’s important to realize that artists are working people to, and they deserve to get paid for doing their job just like you and me. Don’t you think…?

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I hope you enjoyed your read! If you did, you are probably more than averagly interested in music, and I would appreciate if you could take 1 second to answer this poll for me! =)


Please remember to subscribe to my blog (top right corner of this page), “be-fan” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, and I will make sure to keep you up to date on what’s going on with me and my music. And please keep commenting, I love hearing from you! =) 

Take care & keep Shining! I love you!

xxx,

Audrey

My little boost of focus <3

Ahhh… Some days are just so hard to kick-start. And on those days, nothing else will do than my own little boost of focus, which I am about to share with you now. And don’t be “scurred” if you’re not the coffee drinking type – cause neither was I, until I tasted this glass of awesomeness a couple of years back. 

Mmm, nice and foamy...

Wanna go out for a cup of coffee…? I always hated the taste of coffee. And I really wanted to like it. Dorky as it may make me, I wanted to be able to “go out for a cup of coffee”, cause I thought it sounded so nice. Going out for a cup of hot chocolate doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? Haha… Anyway, like I said, I really didn’t like the taste of it. In any variant. People had tried to make me like lattés, moccas, cappuchinos, you name it, but I thought it all tasted crap…

Enter, SuperCoffee… Then, on a winters day in The Year Of Change 2009 (My perception of coffee wasn’t the only thing that changed for me that year), my lovely flatmates had their sister over from Romania. She didn’t speak Norwegian, and not much English, so communication wasn’t easy, but she was so lovely and sweet. I was watching TV one evening, when Nina, after rummaging around in the kitchen for a while, came over to me with a cute little glass of coffee. Touched by this little gesture, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t actually like coffee, so I took a sip, skeptical as few, and to my great surprise it was AMAZING! So I told her to show me how to make it the next time, and it’s been a part of my life ever since.

Step into my (c)office...;)

Wanna come over for a cup of coffee…? I just love sitting down at my desk to do work (i.e. school work, songwriting) with one of these babies in front of me, and it’s become a nice little treat for myself when I’m a good girl and get started on that to-do-list. Also, it is way cheaper than going out for a cup. I’ve shared it with many of friends before, and now it’s your turn. I have named it… SuperCoffee… 

Here’s what you need, and how it’s supposed to look when it’s finished:

Coffee, sugar, milk. And water, obviously.

Step one:
(in stead of ‘a*s’ say ‘buns’)

Mix 1 table spoon of Nescafé Brassero (It’s called Nescafé Original in the UK. It’s the dark one.) and 1,5 – 2 table spoons of sugar (sweeeet!!) with a bit of hot water (2 table spoons or so) from the tap in a little box with a lid, and shake it, baby, shake it! For as long as you can be arsed, really.

Step two:
(In stead of ‘s**t’ say ‘poo’)

Pour the mix in a tall glass/large cup, and slowly fill up to 2/3 of the glass with boiled water while stirring with a spoon. Gently. See the foam on top? Nice job! 😉

Step three:
(with b***h drop the T)

Fill the last third or so with milk. I use nothing but soy milk, cause regular milk pisses my tummy off, but you can use whole milk or cream or whatever you want. And VOILA!

Step four:
(don’t say ‘f**k anymore)

Drinkety-drink-drink! 

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I hope you weren’t too distracted by the South Park references there – I just watched the South Park movie again the other day, and have that damn song stuck in my head… Sorry about that. ;-P


Aaah, the memories… ;-P  …
Not that that has anything to do with anything – oh, I’m rambling… What does have something to do with something, is the glass I’m drinking my coffee from. You see, my dad is awesome – he made that. By hand. He also made all this:

Pretty cool, huh? All of this and more is for sale in our garage. Holla if you wanna have a look.

That was the advert of the day, and now I’m gonna get on with that list. I’ve been procrastinating long enough…! ;-P

Please remember to “be-fan” me on Facebook, subscribe to my blog (top right corner of this page) and follow me on Twitter, and I will make sure to keep you up to date on what’s going on with me and my music. And keep commenting, I love hearing from you! =)

Take care & keep Shining! I love you!

xxx,

Audrey

WOW, what a DAY! :-D

Like a star… I spent Thursday morning at my old high school, where I had been invited back as “Guest of the month” on their very last day before the summer holiday. It was awesome! It was such an honor to be invited, and the amazing introduction Signe gave me on stage made me feel like a star. It went something like this:

“Ten years ago, a girl was a student at this school. And that girl was very brave. She moved away from home, to Vinstra, to study what she wanted to. This girl has continued to be brave, because now she has moved to England to study music at Paul McCartney’s Music school LIPA in Liverpool. Right now she is home for the summer, and we are very glad to have her as our guest of the month.”

And so on. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember I was highly moved, and entertained.

20 Questions… First I was interviewed on stage by two students who had prepared 20 questions for me, and such good questions! They asked me stuff like what my best and worst memory from school was, why I started singing, what advice I could give them for the future, and it dawned on me… I am actually in a position to inspire these people…! Which is in fact the most inspirational thing in the world. So I tried my best, I tried to tell them what I needed to hear when I was their age and looked something like this:

Don't laugh...! ;-P

A bit of a Julie… I tried to tell them that it’s their life, and that it’s so freakin’ important to follow your dreams and do what YOU wanna do. Don’t listen to the people who tell you you can’t do it, cause they don’t know what they are talking about. Dare to say it out loud, what it is that you REALLY want to do with your life. It’s YOUR life, and only you can make yourself happy. It’s all about you. Not everyone is as lucky as I was – I had Julie to give me a kick in the ass. Not everyone has a Julie. So if I was a bit of a Julie to some of these guys on Thursday, if I got through and motivated one person to go for it and follow their dream, I am truly grateful. Finally taking the step onto that stage was what I answered that my best memory from school is. And the worst…? That one was harder. I have no real bad memories from school, so all I could think of was the day when I was “smart” enough to bring my Furby to an exam and it wouldn’t shut up… I was like “Fall alseep, damn it…!” 

Shut uuuuup...!!

Awesome, awesome people…! After the interview I performed two songs for them (Orion and The First Kiss Hello Since Goodbye), and they were, I think, the most awesome audience I’ve ever had. It was so nice to get some response on the things I said! It was all very relaxed and fun, and I wish I had more time with them. Awesome, awesome people! =)

Hihi...

I also really, really wish I had some pictures from the performance/interview, so if any of my new friends at the school who took pictures or filmed are reading this, (I saw you guys!)  please send me pictures and videos! =) audrey.wilsen@gmail.com. Until then, here’s me on my way home with the awesome flowers I got!

Lucky meeee!

Which now look like this:

Great things to come… I am actually seeing at least one of these awesome people again very soon – I got an e-mail from my first singing student a couple of days ago!:-D It is so exiting, and I’m thrilled that the Culture School is lending me a room to teach in for the summer. I went there today and got a full tour from Øyvind, and the place is incredible. Everything is brand new, and it looks GREAT! The café is so cute, and it looks like it will be the venue for my christmas/EP Release concert in December/January. Will you come…? 

The youth café

Thrilled & blessed, and completely overwhelmed… I am overwhelmed with all the support my home town has given me the last couple of years, both economically and otherwise. Completely overwhelmed. This is just amazing.=)

They’re giving me the huge dance hall, which is a bit funny considering I will (most likely) only be teaching one student at the time, look how big it is!

Huuuuuge!!!

Step into my office… I spent some time getting to know the piano in there today, and who knew – all I needed was a change of scenery, and the inspiration came flowing. Finally put a melody to a little bunch of lyrics I wrote a couple of weeks back. Yay! It was nice to have an office again – and by office, I of course mean this:

Piano+pad+pencil=Audrey's office

I am looking forward to spending a lot of time in my office this summer, and hopefully you will hear the result very soon. =)

Gotta go now, I need to get some sleep before getting up early for a High School Reunion planning meeting tomorrow morning. Should be fun!

Remember to “be-fan” me on Facebook, subscribe to my blog (top right corner of this page) and follow me on Twitter, and I will make sure to keep you up to date on what’s going on with me and my music. And keep commenting, I love hearing from you! =)

Take care & keep Shining! I love you!

xxx,

Audrey

Nobody’s Wife = social outcast??

I just have to get something off my chest. Weddings are following me these days; people are planning bachelorette parties and shopping for wedding dresses all around me, and it just emphasizes what everyone who know me well already knows; that I have somewhat of an attitude towards the whole marriage thing. I just don’t get it. I have never been the kind of girl who grows up dreaming about her wedding day, picturing the wedding dress and the flowers and so on. I have actually never pictured my wedding day at all. I like weddings, but I don’t get all mooshy about them, or by seeing someone getting proposed to. The exception is this video though – HOLY CRAP!!

I’m not gonna lie – I weeped.

I used to think it was an age thing, that it’s something you are ready for at a certain age, but as the years passed and my attitude stayed the same, I realized… It’s just not me. I had so many illusions of what it meant to be 20, 25, 30 – and now I’m 26 and none of them turned out to be true. It was weird to see so many people from my year settling down, while I didn’t, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the thought of people my age as husbands and wives, mums and dads. And there are many of them. I never know how to react when people tell me the “big news”, but I always try my best to look excited. Because I know they are, and of course I am happy for them. I understand it is right for them. I just don’t get it, and I cannot put myself in the situation where I would ever feel the same way. But when I say it out loud, that I’m not sure if I ever want to get married, people look at me like I just grew an extra pair of eyes. And then there’s the classic (and oh so annoying) response – “I’m sure you’ll change your mind, just wait and see…” Are people such creatures of habit and routines that not wanting to get married makes me a social outcast??

Iiiiiik...!!

But why…?? I just feel like, what makes me qualified to know that I want to be with someone for the rest of my life?? I mean, I can know that I want to be with a person right now, but the rest of my life is (hopefully) a long time, and I don’t even know what I want to have for dinner tomorrow… Heck, I don’t even know what to have for dinner today. I can not tell the future. Things happen. People change. Sometimes feelings change to, shit happens, and it is never expected. I know how I feel right now, and for me, that’s enough. I’m happy. I don’t need a ring and a document to prove anything. It’s not important to me. I don’t want to call someone my husband – I am perfectly happy with having a boyfriend. An awesome one. Who loves me.  I’d rather be two separate people who choose to stay together, than one “unity” that should.


Open minded, after all... Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that I will NEVER ever get married, though I realize that’s what it sounds like. I’m saying that right now, I can’t picture ever getting married. But like I said, people change, shit happens, and I may also change my mind. And even though I have never pictured what my wedding will be like, I have a pretty damn clear image of what it WON’T be like, should I ever do just that. I know that:

  • For one, I will never get married in a church, or in front of a priest. No way. I don’t have a religious bone in my body, and I feel like making a promise to a god that you in fact don’t believe in, is just wrong. I don’t care that it’s tradition, or that some people will think badly of me for doing it differently. It’s MY day, and if you’re gonna frown at me for doing it MY way, then I don’t want you there ruining it. NEXT!
  • I will not get married just because it’s expected of me. “But you’ve been together for so long, isn’t it about time to settle down, get married and have kids?” No. No it’s not. If I’m perfectly happy to live my life the way I do, who the hell are you to tell me otherwise??? NEEXT!
  • I will never get married “because of the kids.” “But it is safer for the kids if mum and dad are married.” Really? Cause I would think it’s safer for the kids if mum and dad like each other enough to stay together because they want to and not because they are bound to by law…??

Humongous, gigantic, elephant sized IF… Like I said, I’m not saying that I will never get married. So just for the fun of it, let’s try to imagine what it would be like, should I ever let myself get talked into marriage… If I ever got married (and that’s a pretty big-ass IF), it wouldn’t be for any of the reasons listed above. It would be because I want a nice little ceremony to celebrate my love for someone, followed by some food and a classy but awesome party with all my friends and family present. Which, to be fair, is probably the reason why anyone gets married – I just feel like there is often so much extra bullshit attached to it. My wedding day would all be fun, laid back and us. None of that let’s-sit-down-for-a-fancy-dinner-and-pretend-to-be-all-formal bullshit – the food is often so pretentious and snobby – no… If I ever get married, I wanna eat something I actually like. A big ass Southern Hospitality style barbeque maybe, outside in the sun somewhere. Summertime Norway by the fjord, that will do. Marie, wearing a bunad, will come walking up from the fjord, playing the violin, followed by me and my dad. And my dress? I don’t really care, as long as it looks nice. But it would be awesome if it was made by someone I know. I will certainly not spend a fuckload of money on a dress that I will only wear once, oh the insanity..! And I’d wear a bikini underneath, so I could hop in the fjord for a swim once it got too hot. Moahahaha… It wouldn’t even have to be white. I think I’d actually prefer if it wasn’t. Maybe I’d go for red – I just learned from Eileen yesterday that if you wear a red dress to a wedding, it apparently means that you are the groom’s lover. And well, marrying him is a pretty good indication of the same thing.  ;-P

Just a perfect day… The  ceremony would be short and sweet, with no mention of religion, but plenty mention of love, and when it was over, the barbeque would begin right away. It would be a wonderful summer day. Priscilla Ahn would sit there by her lonesome with a guitar, playing lovely songs. People would talk, laugh and play, and eat awesome food. Then, as the sun went down, VAMP would take over the stage, and the bar would open – with the amazing drink menu from Café Sør. And we would party until tomorrow took us.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Actually, come to think about it… This does sound nice. Very nice. It’s sounds like the perfect day. I do get why people do it. But still… If I could just do all this, have this day, without the actual getting married part, it would be just perfect… Hmm… I might just have a NON-wedding. Haha, and everyone would have to congratulate us on NOT getting married, how good’s that!?

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“Dear (your name here).

We have the pleasure of inviting you to our non-wedding on July the 25th, in celebration of our love and the life we share together right now and for as long as we both shall live want to. There will be awesome food, awesome drinks, awesome music and awesome people. 

Dress code: bright colors and a smile. Swim wear optional.” 

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Would you come? 

Charlotte Olivia – Just A Dream

Today’s post is dedicated to this charming young lady:

One of the best... Her name is Charlie, or Charlotte Olivia, and she is definitely one of my favorite people that I met during my first year in Liverpool, both as a person and as an artist. She has an incredible voice that you can recognize anywhere, and her songwriting is equally amazing. After a long while of silence she finally released a new song yesterday, and I recommend you all to go here and have a listen! You can download it for free from that same link, if you put your name down for the Charlotte Olivia mailing list. Also, you can visit (and subscribe to) her blog here. She’s awesome!

"Just A Dream" art work, by Giles Hinchcliff and Sara Graham

Let’s act like this isn’t real… The song is called Just A Dream, and it is truly mesmerizing. To be completely honest, I didn’t quite get a hold of it the first time through, but it is growing on me with every listen now and I absolutely love it! I love the wailing guitar, her characteristic ‘vocal wanking’ and the tasty harmonies. I love how she manages to get the mysterious dreaminess across both in the lyrics and the music, and how they both reflect each other perfectly. It kind of reminds me of a female Jeff Buckley, and that can’t be bad. I don’t even know how many times I’ve listened to this song now, and I don’t care. I can listen to it all night. I can only hope my dreams tonight will be as beautiful as this (Just A) dream of a song!

Now listening to it through my awesome Beats By Dre headphones to get the whole experience, because good headphones make all music sound better – even when it’s as good as this to begin with.

Seriously, if you are at all serious about listening to music you should invest in a decent pair of headphones. I tried to listen to something through my iPhone headphones the other day, but it was so crap now that I’m used to these ones. The only thing I would say is that they are pretty bass heavy, and a bit uncomfortable if I use them for more than an hour straight. But all in all they have definitely enhanced my music listening experience by like a million prosent, so thank you Milena for one of the best christmas pressies ever! You’re CRAZY!

Aaalways… A bit of a sidetrack there, but whatever. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, headphones would be it. So go get them. Going to sleep now, and hopefully I’ll continue the part of my dream from last night where I could fly. Seriously, it was such a let-down to wake up. Grr…And then, tomorrow night, I’m proudly seeing my guilty pleasure band Bon Jovi in Oslo with my two big sisters, and I can’t wait! Sigh… Bon Joviiii… ❤

Take care, enjoy Charlie and please keep checking in, commenting and subscribing to my blog. I love hearing from you! 

Good night from meeee! 

Lots of luuuuv’,

Audrey

Oh, and PS: Sorry for the pic Charlie. You know I love your funnyface! ;-P

Annoyingly f*ing amazing…

Heroes… You know those people who are just annoyingly talented? Those people who both inspire you, because they remind you of how amazing music can be and why you love it so much, and sometimes discourage you, because they make you realize how far you have yet to go before you will even get close to their level?

Going on and on, the way it must… Yesterday’s post made me go on a Unni Wilhelmsen Youtube mission, and to my delight, a lot of performances have found their way to Youtube since I last checked. Jeeezes, she is amazing… Like, so much it hurts to listen to. People are probably getting sick of me going on and on about Unni Wilhelmsen, but seriously, check out these videos and you will know why she is my hero(in). If not, then you’re just immune to, well, emotions. Seriously, WATCH THEM, watch them ALL!!!

First out: Space Opera. So cool. Is it just me, or does the drummer look a lot like Jay Mohr…?

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One of the songs I couldn’t write: Secret.

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This next song, Orange, is a song I have performed a couple of times myself. Maybe a bit weird of me to pick that one, considering how specific it is, but for me it was the feeling of it as well as the fun and playful melody that drew me in.

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The one and only Won’t Go Near You Again. This has been the soundtrack to pretty much all my breakups. I never did learn though. Until that last one. 

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Unni does covers as well: Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell is definitely Hers…

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Unni in Norwegian (in Dublin!) and with the coolest guitar (and guitar playing) ever:

NOT FAIR!!!! 

Crossing fingers and toes… I also just found out that she’s doing another Rockefeller gig in July, miraculously enough while I’m still in Norway, and if I don’t get to go I will seriously cry myself to sleep for the rest of the year. Milena…?? ;-P

Cover songs & the Soundtrack to our lives

The songs I cannot write… Of course, writing and performing my own songs is what I’m in this game for, what it’s all about. But now and then, I stumble upon a song by another artist that hits me so hard it sort of becomes my own, and that’s when I decide to put a cover song on the set list. Some artists just have a way of writing the songs that I can’t, and sometimes it feels like they were written for me. “Won’t Go Near You Again” by Unni Wilhelmsen is just one of those songs, and that is not the only song Unni, or other artists, have written “for me.”

The Soundtrack to your life… I think this is one of the things that makes music so huge, and so important to so many people. You get a soundtrack to your life, your journeys, your relationships, songs that you can relate to, that describe your very own feelings. They become “Your songs.” And then of course there are the songs that are “yours” because of all the memories attached to them, like this one is to me; “Ageing Superhero” by Newton Faulkner.

You can find the original Ageing Superhero here. Now if Dan and I have “a song,” it would be this one, and it definitely has a special place in my heart. 

What about you? Do you have a song that is “yours?” 

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