5Q for Stefani Vara – H-Town

The first time I interviewed Stefani Vara, it was for Popular Hispanics.   I was excited because she had been signed to a major label, had scored fashion endorsement deals with known brands, and had even stood on red carpets with the likes of Chris Brown (prior to his incident) and other such folks.  It was an ambitious (if Ido say so, myself) 20 question interview.  You can see the original PH version here and the reposted 2-part REAL popolio version here and here

It was what I considered a no holds barred interview and I even asked her take on Chris Brown’s situation.  I wasn’t sure if Stefani would be game, but she pulled no punches, didn’t asked for any of the questions to be changed, and answered every single last question.  By that, I was truly impressed.

Since that interview was so exhaustive, I decided to keep things simple this time around.  Most exciting is the tentative Texas Mini-Tour that Vara will kick-off in her hometown of Houston at the end of October.  Additionally,  she will be sharing fashion, beauty, and lifestyle tips on a few websites very soon.  Find more about the tour, the tips, and more in this EXCLUSIVE 5Q interview.

Listen to the “Middle of the Night” Magnificent Remix, the first single from Stefani Vara’s forthcoming sophomore release.

Click the first pic to go to Stefani Vara’s Facebook Page and second, at the end of the interview, to get to her Twitter Account.

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1. I hear you’re still working on writing and producing material for your sophomore album.  How is that going? What direction is it going in lyrically and musically? It’s a creative process, but I’m loving every minute of it.  Right now I can tell you that I am writing the majority of the sophomore album, but will be collaborating with a few talented songwriters as well. 🙂  The album has taken somewhat of a different direction with more dance-infused songs with a Latin flair.

2. What’s the next single?  How is it different from your first single for this set, “Middle of the Night?” “Middle of the Night” has really taken off; it’s actually Number 19 in Turkey as we speak (THANK YOU TURKEY!!!!).  I just finished a few dance remixes of “Middle of the Night” and I’m doing my own Stefani Vara version of a ‘70s classic…People are gonna’ be truly surprised when they hear it.  LOL!

3. I also hear that your fashion, beauty, and lifestyle tips will be featured at various websites.  How did you become an “expert” in these areas?  Where and when can we find your tips? Yes, I am very excited about this opportunity.  I’m now a talent expert for a few websites including ehow.com and about.com. The segments will go live later this month.  Having the opportunity to attend some events and performing, I do get questions about fashion and hair, so when the opportunity of hosting personalized webisodes on fashion and organizing how-to’s came up, I jumped at the chance.

4. You have some Texas shows coming up later this month and into October.  Can you tell more about them?  What cities are you hitting?  Is Austin one of them? I’ll be doing some intimate concerts in Texas performing new music as well as a few covers by some of my musical influences.  Right now I’m looking into Houston, Dallas, and Austin…I need to show my home state some love.

5. What can Texans expect from your upcoming shows? The upcoming shows will have a more acoustic feel but also dance music with Latin flavor.  With these shows and sophomore album, I wanna’ show the audience that I am a versatile performer and not just a performer you can stick in a pre-determined category!

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10Q for Sariah

Sariah is a dance-genue who calls herself “the Queen of Hearts.”  She set things off with her first single, “Deep N Luv,” in 2010.   In 2011, she kept it going with the follow-up, “All About Sex.”  Both tracks have charted on the Billboard Dance Charts.  Not too shabby for someone fresh out the box.  Read what Sariah has to say about her two dance hits, sex anthems, and more in this EXCLUSIVE 10Q interview.

Watch the official “All About Sex” video.





Click the pic to go to Sariah’s official site and the “All About Sex” single cover at the end of the interview, to get to her Facebook Page.

***

1. Tell us about the new single, “All About Sex.” “All About Sex” is a record with a message allowing women to feel free to have what ever kind of relationship THEY want to.  Women are always judged so much in every angle and men get away with SO much!  Well, not anymore.  I had the power in this specific relationship “All About Sex” discusses and I decided when it was over, too.

2. Why was this chosen as the next single? It was chosen because of the strong lyrical content and the very strong production!  It was my favorite as well.

3. How is it different than your first single, “Deep N Luv?” “Deep N Luv” is one of my favorite records, too.  It brings the hip hop and pop world together!  I think it’s a darker record than “All About Sex.”  It discusses more of getting into nightlife and all of its fabulous opportunities.

4. Congrats on “Deep N Luv” and “All About Sex”charting on the Billboard Dance Charts. How does that make you feel? Thank you SO much!  It excites me so much that I just want to create more and more and more records!  I am just so happy that my music has had a positive influence on my fans, DJs, and the radio!  I am very happy to be back in the studio in hopes to create more hits for my hearts.  🙂

5. What are some of your favorite sex anthems of the past?That’s a great question!  Madonna, Britney, and Christina Aguilera have some of my favorite  sex anthems for sure.  They are all sexy and beautiful women and have showed that through their music!

6. Do you consider yourself a role model? I do consider myself a role model.  No matter what I do, I always work hard to have class and style along with personality and passion.  I think being a role model is being someone who others can look up to and learn from.  I truly hope I am that to others.

I really work hard to stay connected via Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace to reach out to my fans, other artists, and keep in touch with all of my good friends.  My family will always come first, too.  I am constantly learning from my surroundings and hope to always be a role model for young artists throughout the world.

7. That said, what are your thoughts on songs like your own, which are sexual in nature, but may be considered controversial or viewed as inappropriate for young girls?  Especially those by pop stars who seem to court this young female audience. Sexuality stirring controversy in pop is nothing new…Elvis and Marilyn Monroe were considered risqué for their time.  Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” made waves in the eighties as did Cher in the nineties.  Pop has never shied from pushing sexual buttons.

8. What are you trying to bring to your dance music that hasn’t been brought before?
I am bringing power, sexiness, passion, royalty, and a strong show to the dance world. 

9. Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I will be on tour with my full band wearing all of my own designed clothing!  I will be working on raising money towards foundations that my family are a part of: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Patricia Cronin Foundation.  I will also be cast in a movie. 🙂

10. Any last words or anything you want to say, clarify, set the record straight on, or put out there to your fans via THE REAL popolio? First, I just want to thank you for taking the time to listen to my music and enjoying it!  Thank you also for having me and for your great questions! 

I am SO thankful for all of these incredible opportunities and cannot wait to come and perform in a city near you all, my hearts!  Also, stay positive, encouraged, and inspired!

Love,
Your Queen of Hearts

10Q for Joey Salinas

Joey Salinas is a pop singer who has a history with THE REAL popolio. We have featured him many a time in our various incarnations.  Speaking of incarnations, his third and latest project is entitled Identity, is actually a series of 3 EPs, and is his most ambitious and conceptual release to-date.  Chapter I was just released on Tuesday.  And, it is just that, an exploration of the different layers of identity as applied to musicality through the lens of the concept of human variability and sameness. 

It’s like the proverbial onion.  Layers can be peeled away to reveal different angles and appearances, but at the core you still have an onion.  Guess I’m fascinated by the concept of identity.  See what Joey Salinas had to say about it all in this EXCLUSIVE 10Q interview!

Listen to the title track from the first part of Joey Salinas’ Identity project!

Click the cover of Identity:  Chapter I to go to Joey Salinas’ official site and second pic, at the end of the interview, to get to his Facebook Page.

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1. Tell us the concept behind Identity, both creatively and musically.
The Identity project is basically a trek through the evolution of the music that has created what people now know as my sound, beginning with Identity:  Chapter I.   This first chapter is an exploration of the many facets of pop music, from the gritty, dark, and heavy synth bass in the title track to the light, electric, and effervescent melody in a song called “Stomp.”  Creatively, I wanted to break apart my initial concept to be able to provide something new and fresh for my fans to look forward to throughout the year.

2. So, it’s a series.  How many parts?  How will each be different from one another and how will they be connected? When will each be released? Yes, Identity is a series of three (3) chapters that fans can look forward to through this year beginning with Chapter I released earlier this week on Tuesday [August 16th].  Musically, they will each have their own theme that will wrap them into their individual chapters, but each will maintain the overall Identity concept.  Fans can also expect a few nice surprises as each chapter is released.  Fans can expect Chapters II and III toward the end of 2011/early 2012.

3. How is Identity different than your previous works? Identity: Chapter I is a fusion of all the genres that inspire me.  I decided to mix my Pop roots with R&B and Dance, just to name a few, so there is always something for everyone to enjoy!  With my last two albums, the concepts weren’t as elaborate as this latest project has become.  With In The Beginning… it became a compilation of all the songs I had been working on at that time.  They ended up piecing together nicely and I liked how they collectively sounded as an album   With the … [And Then There Was] Alexander album, my focus was more on the songwriting and vocals.

But, the Identity project will encompass everything about me as a performer and an artist.  This project was put together by a concept based on the idea that in life, we’re all chameleons; we can be something different and take on many facets while still holding true to who we are – just showing different sides to ourselves.

4. You’ve released two singles since the beginning of the year, “My Time/Too Much Going On” and the title track, “Identity.”  As you stated, the first set was released on Tuesday, August 16th.  Other than that, what’s next for the project? Well, I’ll be looking forward to promoting the first EP with a few performances and just having fun with this project.  I’ll also be working on the upcoming chapters of the Identity project so fans can look forward to those.  Expect some singles off the upcoming chapters as well and, who knows, maybe even a few remixes.

5. Can we expect any music videos? That is definitely in the realm of possibilities this time around.  This project is going to keep me busy for a while.

6. If you could take on any type of identity, who or what would it be and why? Well, I kinda’ like being an entertainer because that way I don’t have to choose.  Do I?  I love music, I love to sing.  I love to dance.  I love to act.  I love to perform.  I love being able to switch it up whenever I want.  And, with each of those endeavors, there’s an infinite list of options to choose from.  But, in the spirit of the question, if being an entertainer, which gives me that flexibility, wasn’t an option, I’d love to be some type of archeologist or explorer of some kind; searching the world for undiscovered wonders.  I think that would be awesome.  I clearly watch too much Discovery Channel and Nat [ional] Geo [graphic]!!

7. Share one thing about Joey Salinas that you wish people would get that they don’t. That’s a good one.  I’m pretty much an open book, so I guess I’d say that.  If people don’t understand that I’m as upfront as can be, then that’s what I’d want them to know.  Creatively, I write from past and present experiences and the experiences of those around me as I see them through my eyes.  And, personally, I like to put all the cards out on the table.  I don’t like surprises.  I like knowing what’s going on and I like for others to know where I’m coming from and what my direction is.  There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what’s going on with a situation and feeling lost.

8. Seems to me that people have trouble accepting that we are multi-dimensional and can be more than one thing.  It’s like you can only choose one identifier and that’s it.  Along the lines of identity, why do you think we are like this as a society even though we must realize as individuals that we are more than one thing (gender, sexuality, nationality, citizenship, right-handedness vs. left-handedness, passion, history, background, etc.)? I’ll try to answer this in the best way possible, because that was quite wordy.  LOL.   I think people function fine as the multi-faceted beings that we are.  I think the problem lies when someone starts to pluck out individual characteristics and puts them under a microscope.  It’s when someone makes it an issue that another is mixed or gay or legal or religious or handicapped that we have to educate and help for there to be an understanding and knowledge of each other’s differences; show the beauties of it and share commonalities.   It’s about educating the ignorant. That’s all.

9. You’re working with singer-songwriter, Tom Goss, who I have interviewed for another site.  Didn’t think he’d be one to use choreography and dancers. Tell me about that.  How did that come together? Yes, he’s a dear friend of mine.  I met him at a show another friend of mine was performing at.  He was in the basement office getting ready for his set, tuning his guitar.  I’m drawn to other singers (when I find them).  So, we got to talking and kept in touch and have been friends ever since.

He’s currently promoting his latest album [Turn It Around] and is going to shoot a video for a song off the album.  He had some ideas for it and knew he’d be able to reach out to me.  So, he did and I said, “Of course,” and that was that.  We begin shooting later this month.  It’s going to be fun.  I know I’ve got tons I’m working on with my own projects, but it’s refreshing and healthy at times to get out of your own little bubble and help enhance someone else’s world.

10. Give me one scoop for THE REAL popolio of something upcoming and exciting that your fans will be reading hear for the first time.
Expect [the first] video for the Identity project really soon.

10Q for Bird Call Before Her 8/17/11 Show@The Hole in the Wall – ATX

I first posted Bird Call’s (aka Chiara Angelicola) video for her award-winning song, “Waltz in the Snow,” a few weeks back.  As I stated in that post, and will restate here, she will be playing the Hole in the Wall THIS WEDNESDAY, August 17, 2011, with Johanna and the Dusty Floor

Before then, get to know a little bit about this intriguing up-and-coming Brooklyn-based artist with our EXCLUSIVE 10Q interview.

Listen to Bird Call’s version of Beck’s “Lost Cause.”

Click the first pic to go to Bird Call’s official site and second, at the end of the interview, to get to her Facebook Page.

***

by Gretchen Robinette

1. You probably get this question all the time, but how did you come up with the Bird Call moniker?  What does it mean?  Quite honestly I am not quite sure if I experienced a specific moment when Bird Call came to me.  I think it was more of a culmination of experiences that led to a moment where I just intuited the name and that was that. 

I got my first two tattoos of these two sparrow-style birds on my forearms a few years ago, after that I started subconsciously paying more attention to birds, in general, their morning songs, bird paraphernalia, etc.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a crazy bird woman when I’m old and gray.

2. Congrats on winning the Performance Category in this year’s International Songwriters Competition with “Waltz in the Snow!”  I don’t think many up-and-coming artists even know about it.  How did you hear about it?  How does it feel to have won?  I heard about ISC through several different mediums including Folk Alliance, Sonic Bids, and newsletters.  It’s one of those things that I didn’t really pay much attention to the first few years.  Once I released my first record I submitted my song, “Momentum,” and never heard back.  The second year I submitted “Waltz in the Snow” and I didn’t think much of it.  When I got the word that I was a finalist, I just flipped out and was like I don’t care if I win because I was just so stoked to have made the finals.  When I received notice that I won, I was pumped that these greats like Tom Waits and Peter Gabriel acknowledged my songwriting.  Manifested dream.

3. Diggin’ the look on the cover of your latest EP, Other Creatures, with the rainbow braid and feathers.  Very bird-y, of course.  What was the inspiration?  Do you ever perform in a look like this or would you appear in a video that way?  As far as photos, I always like exploring different ideas that pop in my head when I’m dreaming, working out, or in the shower.  I like creating stories in my head and then bringing them to life.

The cover for the EP was more of an exploration and art piece that I did with my fantastic photographer and close friend, Gretchen Robinette.  I usually don’t dress too crazy on stage but I can never say no to glitter. 

4. The reason I ask about videos is because you look like a totally different person in the “Waltz in the Snow” video.  Not only do you look younger and more innocent, but very classic, ‘50s, I think (if I’m getting my eras right), but definitely old school.  Tell me about this persona and the video.  Which is more you?  I’m a chameleon.  I like exploring different parts of my personalities. When I write, I take on the role of the story-teller of that song.  “Waltz in the Snow” is very much about an innocent girl experiencing Brooklyn for the first time.  We tried to emulate that in the video. It’s all based on the story.

5. What about “Waltz in the Snow?”  Why did you decide to write a song like this both lyrically and sonically?  It is your ode to Brooklyn, correct?  I wrote it when I first moved to Brooklyn during the daunting cold of my first real east coast winter.  When I write it seems to come from some place outside of me and deep within me at the same time.  I cannot try to manipulate what comes out too much.  It felt right at the time.  I can say that I intended the 3 count time as I have always wanted to write a waltz.

6. Use this question to wax poetic about Brooklyn and tell us all, especially us Austinites, why Brooklyn is so exquisite.  I feel that when artists move to New York they move with a drive and intention to build something great.  Brooklyn carries this energy constantly from day into night.  You feel it around you, and it is what keeps me motivated, creating, being inspired, and challenging myself. 

7. How did the co-headlining tour with Johanna and the Dusty Floor come together?  Why not tour solo?  Johanna and I both released our records on May 24th and we had both been talking about touring our music out.  It seemed logical to split costs and combine efforts to tour the country together since our music is so compatible as well.  We’re really stoked about it all and having a lot of fun.

8. Have you been to Austin before?  What can we expect from your Austin stop at the Hole in the Wall?  It will be my first time in Austin.  I’ve never been.  I’m bringing my California-native-via-Brooklyn vibes and hope everyone likes.  I have heard nothing but great things about the Austin music scene.  Really excited and looking forward to playing this fun spot with some great local acts as well.

9.  Tell us one salacious rumor that you’ve heard about the ATX.  I hear that when you walk into any bar you get your first couple of drinks on the house.

10. You’re a new bird species.  What are you called, what do you look like, and what does your bird call sound like?  Describe.  I am the Pantheonicus Horned Pegagasius Owl.  I try to balance my life with innocence and a healthy challenge on a daily basis.  I also watch B-side horror films and do yoga.  Hooty Hoo.

by Gretchen Robinette

EXCLUSIVE: 15Q for BoyMeetsGirl Music Part 3

Boy Meets Girl is George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam.  Now they are BoyMeetsGirl Music (BMGM) because, according to their website, the original name now brings up so-called dating sites and two other bands on internet searches.  They will always be Boy Meets Girl to me.  They started as an ‘80s singer-songwriter pop duo.  They are most known for writing two of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” singing back-up on Deniece Williams biggest, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” and their own, “Waiting For A Star To Fall.”  Just two weeks ago “WFASTF” was included in a list on the MTV Buzzworthy Blog regarding standout sax solos in reference to Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.”

They were lovers, spouses, and divorcees.  Through all of it they were and still remain friends and will forever be creative collaborators.  Every emotion of every era came out in their music.  Simply put, they are darn good pop writers.  I fell in love with their ode to love, their breakthrough sophomore release, Reel Life.  I saw “WFASTF” on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on TV in middle school, asked my parents to get me the full release, and wore that tape out.  I still have it and have listened to it from time-to-time as the years have passed and I’m listening to it now as I write this. 

There was just something about how sweet their pop sound was and how that combined with the intertwining of the feminine and the masculine voice, their melodies and harmony, and the purity of their love that came through their music.  ‘Nuff said. 

BMGM were gracious enough to provide me a song (plus one) to stream with each part of this interview.  So, today you get two songs and one of them is very special.

First, listen to “Don’t Remind Me” also from their last release, 2003’s The Wonderground, like yesterday’s selection.  George shared via email that it’s “the second to last song” that “gets overlooked” and that it is “one of [his] faves.”  He also thinks that “Shannon sings a great vocal on this one.”

Now, the one I’ve been most excited about sharing with you.  Here’s the demo version of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves) Me” as sung by Shannon.  If you didn’t know, now you know that BMGM wrote it for Whitney Houston and it became one of her biggest, and now classic, hits.  Enjoy!

Click the first pic to go to their official site and second, at the end of Part 3 of the interview, to get to their Twitter Account.

Part 1
Part 2

***

1980

11. What artist was the greatest to work with?   What artist would you like to work with? Individually and as BoyMeetsGirl Music?

Shannon:  We haven’t personally worked with many artists.  Our songs for other artists have been produced by other people.  One of my favorite experiences was co-writing a song with Henry Mancini, writer of “Moon River” and a number of other classic songs from a ways back.  His guest bathroom walls were plastered, literally, with the sheet music from his umpteen hit songs.  And, he was a very kind and humble person, to boot.  As far as who I’d like to work with, all I can say is it’s a shame that John Lennon is dead. For many reasons!

George:  Yipes, a massive question!  Well, there are so many interesting bands and writers – Maroon 5, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the Script, just to name a few.  Never met any of ‘em except for Maroon 5, but I’m a big fan of their great music and I’m certain that working with them would be creatively exciting.  Good songwriting is one aspect I appreciate plus I’m learning new ways to record and create sounds to make the best use of the myriad new studio tools available.

12. After working so closely together, being married, and divorcing, how can you still be friends and ocassionally write together?  How do you make it work?

Shannon:  George and I have always been friends and are committed to maintaining our high regard for one another.  It’s just a choice we made.  I love writing songs with George – his music inspires me and we still have fun writing and recording.  Magic still happens.

George:  As it was for us from the beginning, we wrote.  Wrote our way through best times and worst; and so, we still do.  It’s an important part of life, is how I see it.

13. Okay, I’m going to ask the un-PC question, I would say Whitney Houston probably has one of the most soulful voices out there.  And Deniece Williams is pretty soulful, too.  How did two white folks get so much soul?

Shannon:  Here’s my un-PC answer.  Once, at one of the very first music business functions George and I ever attended I was in the ladies room and was somehow introduced to the wife of one of the A&M Records honchos.  She’d apparently heard some of our music and exclaimed in shock, “Oh my God, I thought you were black!”  It actually surprised me, but made me laugh, too.  I grew up listening to the Four Tops, the Spinners, Aretha Franklin, and attended the Alma Mater of Jimi Hendrix.  Not that I sound anything like any of them, but maybe just a little soul soaked in. Plus…nobody has a lock on soul, we all have soul! 

When I was in high school my family went to an Episcopalian church on occasion and when the organ played or the choir sang I couldn’t help moving my whole body in time to the music.  Invariably, my stepmother would reach over and tap my legs and tell me to stand still.  An impossible request.

George:  Ahem, Deniece is incredibly soulful!  When Russell Thompkins of the Stylistics sang “You Are Everything,” I figured out what to do with my scrawny little voice – sing high like he did.  Between that and playing piano at church growing up…it’s a funny blend of influenzas…

14.  What’s next?  Individually and as BoyMeetsGirl Music?

George:  Shannon is writing something outside the realm of pop songs; watch for Ian Hopkinson, Larry Kenneth Potts, Shades of Day, and Heather Ballentine – all new artists with cool new records on which I did various things.

15. What do you want the Boy Meets Girl legacy to be?  What do you think it actually is?

Shannon:  I think we’re known for melodic pop music with great harmonies.   Some might add that our music is a bit saccharine, but I don’t worry about that.  I would love for the Boy Meets Girl legacy to be that our music resonated with those unspoken desires of the heart.  I’m a mushy cornball.

George:  I would add that the intro to “Waiting For A Star To Fall” with John Goux’s bubbly guitar, my synth riff, and Andy Snitzer’s soaring sax line…might be a classic pop moment.  Oh, and the key change (Arif Mardin’s idea) and the vocal break with Susan Boyd singing BVs [background vocals] with us…THAT moment!  We’ll see – too early to tell.

***BONUS***Any advice for up-and-coming songwriters, singers, artists and performers?

Shannon:  Be wildly individualistic and exercise the courage of your convictions.  Pay attention to the business of music.  Have fun!

George:  Work harder than you ever thought possible at something you can’t possibly get enough of.

Thanks for inviting us, Freddie!

2004

THE END.


EXCLUSIVE: 15Q for BoyMeetsGirl Music Part 2

Boy Meets Girl is George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam.  Now they are BoyMeetsGirl Music (BMGM) because, according to their website, the original name now brings up so-called dating sites and two other bands on internet searches.  They will always be Boy Meets Girl to me.  They started as an ‘80s singer-songwriter pop duo.  They are most known for writing two of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” singing back-up on Deniece Williams biggest, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” and their own, “Waiting For A Star To Fall.”  Just two weeks ago “WFASTF” was included in a list on the MTV Buzzworthy Blog regarding standout sax solos in reference to Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.”

They were lovers, spouses, and divorcees.  Through all of it they were and still remain friends and will forever be creative collaborators.  Every emotion of every era came out in their music.  Simply put, they are darn good pop writers.  I fell in love with their ode to love, their breakthrough sophomore release, Reel Life.  I saw “WFASTF” on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on TV in middle school, asked my parents to get me the full release, and wore that tape out.  I still have it and have listened to it from time-to-time as the years have passed and I’m listening to it now as I write this. 

There was just something about how sweet their pop sound was and how that combined with the intertwining of the feminine and the masculine voice, their melodies and harmony, and the purity of their love that came through their music.  ‘Nuff said. 

BMGM were gracious enough to provide me a song (plus one) to stream with each part of this interview.  So, Part 3 will contain two songs and one of them is very special.  Stay tuned for that.

For now, listen to “This Chronic Pain” from their last release, 2003’s The Wonderground.  George intimated via email that he “loves the guitars on this one.”

Click the first pic to go to their official site and second, at the end of Part 2 of the interview, to get to their Twitter Account.

Part 1
Part 3

***

Breakthrough

6. Tell me about the unreleased RCA album, New Dream, which you released via your website in 2004.  What happened with RCA?  Why did you decide to release it yourselves and why did it take 13 years?

Shannon:  Just before we were to release New Dream, RCA/BMG went through an upper-tier management shake-up in which our champions at the company were let go and, unfortunately, we and about seventy other bands were abruptly cut from the roster in a matter of just a few days.  They called it “getting the axe” and that’s exactly what it felt like to us.  At the time, we were not free to release the album ourselves unless we bought the masters, which we couldn’t afford.  There was no internet to speak of, no digital presence, or independent marketing opportunities like exist today, so New Dream sat in a vault for a very long time.  When the internet began to flourish and we were up and running with our own website, George and I requested that RCA/BMG reissue the album.  They agreed to our request, so we then bought a batch of the reissued CDs to sell from our site.

7. Talk about your last release, 2003’s The Wonderground.  As such a big fan of Reel Life, why should I check it out?

Shannon:  I like this question.  The Wonderground is quite different in tone and tempo than Reel Life and I’ve even read a few Amazon reviews from disgruntled Reel Life fans who didn’t much care for The Wonderground.  I understand that they were hoping for more music in a vein similar to Reel Life and were disappointed with our change in musical direction.  However, The Wonderground represents what we were personally experiencing at the time – divorce – and there is simply no way to put a happy face on such a wrenching life event.  We expressed musically what was closest to our hearts and trusted that the songs would find resonance somewhere, which I think they have. The songs are, for the most part, quieter, more introspective, tender…so, if you’re curious about that aspect of BoyMeetsGirl Music, then by all means, we encourage a listen.

George:  Check it out, just because we are most proud of this album.  We recorded it at my house, invited other musicians in, and I think it was a great experience for us all.   There is a tender and raw quality that I like.

Shannon:  George did a beautiful job of recording and mixing.  I love the sonic qualities he created on The Wonderground.

8. Will there ever be another BoyMeetsGirl Music release?

George:  I really love as yet unrecorded songs that we have compiled in the years since The Wonderground.  Why record?  Because there are some gems that would be so much fun to share with everyone!  Why not record?  Can’t think of a good reason.

9. Career highlight?  Individually and as BoyMeetsGirl Music?

George:  I’ll pick one, but I’m flooded with wonderful pictures.  Ha!  Grocery shopping in Idyllwild, California in 1986 and hearing the New Christy Minstrels sing “How Will I Know” on the overhead sound system, very exciting; oh, singing “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” with Deniece Williams (in way over my head!) at the Greek Theatre Los Angeles.  And, as Boy Meets Girl, I’d say meeting Dick Clark on American Bandstand.

Shannon:  One warm summer day when the windows were open, a car went by outside and as it passed I heard “How Will I Know” with a Doppler effect.  Such a small moment in time, but I felt it happened just for me to celebrate.

10. One thing you’d change or do differently?

Shannon:  I always wish I had been a more savvy marketer of our music.  I see some young artists today who are very much a part of the decision-making process and take a very knowledgeable, active hand in their careers.  This is admirable, even necessary to longevity and success.  Kudos to them and that’s my only real regret.  Other than that, my life has been an interesting ride so far and I’m a wiser person for the many mistakes I’ve made.

George:  Well put, Shannon – much to admire in the all-around talent that’s evident now at the top of the charts.

Latest

To be concluded TOMORROW…

EXCLUSIVE: 15Q for BoyMeetsGirl Music Part 1

Boy Meets Girl is George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam.  Now they are BoyMeetsGirl Music (BMGM) because, according to their website, the original name now brings up so-called dating sites and two other bands on internet searches.  They will always be Boy Meets Girl to me.  They started as an ‘80s singer-songwriter pop duo.  They are most known for writing two of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” singing back-up on Deniece Williams biggest, “Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” and their own, “Waiting For A Star To Fall.”  Just two weeks ago “WFASTF” was included in a list on the MTV Buzzworthy Blog regarding standout sax solos in reference to Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.”

They were lovers, spouses, and divorcees.  Through all of it they were and still remain friends and will forever be creative collaborators.  Every emotion of every era came out in their music.  Simply put, they are darn good pop writers.  I fell in love with their ode to love, their breakthrough sophomore release, Reel Life.  I saw “WFASTF” on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on TV in middle school, asked my parents to get me the full release, and wore that tape out.  I still have it and have listened to it from time-to-time as the years have passed and I’m listening to it now as I write this. 

There was just something about how sweet their pop sound was and how that combined with the intertwining of the feminine and the masculine voice, their melodies and harmony, and the purity of their love that came through their music.  ‘Nuff said. 

BMGM were gracious enough to provide me a song (plus one) to stream with each part of this interview.  So, Part 3 will contain two songs and one of them is very special.  Stay tuned for that.

For now, listen to their 1988 Number 1 hit,  “Waiting For A Star To Fall,” from their breakthrough sophomore release, Reel Life.

Click the first pic to go to their official site and second, at the end of Part 1 of the interview, to get to their Twitter Account.

Part 2
Part 3

***

Then

1. How did you come up with the name Boy Meets Girl?

Shannon:  Long ago, when George and I first moved to Los Angeles from Seattle, we were about to send out a spate of demos to record companies in the hope we’d get a recording contract; we made huge lists of potential names (for example, ‘George & Shannon’ wasn’t very snappy) and eventually settled on Boy Meets Girl, a name that described us and indicated as well, due to its lighter nature, that we made pop music.

It’s difficult to be entirely pleased with a band name forever, given you may be stuck with it for a while, but there you have it.  Man Meets Woman…on and on!

2. You sang back up on, arguably, Deniece Williams’ biggest hit, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” (from the Footloose Soundtrack).  How was it to also be tour back-up singers for her?  What comes to mind when you look back on those times?

Shannon:  Those were heady times.  We were honored to be singing back up for Deniece and were having fun traveling to new places for her concerts. George Duke was the producer for the Footloose Soundtrack or at least for “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.”  When we arrived at his studio to sing the back-up vocals the two writers of the song, Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, were also present.  They’re both immensely talented songwriters and they hung out in the control booth with George Duke, smiling at the way the track was going.  It was quite evident to all that the song was in the gates to be a big hit.  Deniece’s voice was perfect, the track was upbeat, punchy, and tunefully catchy.

3. Additionally, you wrote two of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits, “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).”  What are your thoughts on these songs today, working with Whitney, and the evolution of this diva, challenges and all?

Shannon:  First of all, Narada Michael Walden did a stellar job producing both tracks.  The first time George and I heard a recording of “How Will I Know” was when a friend who worked with Narada called us up from the studio and played it for us over the phone.  We were simply blown away at the power of the track and amazed at Whitney’s voice.  We’d not yet met her or heard her sing, so the whole thing was a revelation for us.  And, then, Narada and Whitney teamed up on the track for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” with similar results.  We never guessed both songs would become the pop classics that they have and of course we consider ourselves to be extremely lucky at the fortuitous circumstances in each case.  I think I can speak for George here and say that we’re both very grateful to Narada and Whitney and pleased to have been the writers.

We only met Whitney briefly, on one occasion, backstage at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles after one of her concerts.  She’s certainly enjoyed incredible success as well as a nearly equal amount of difficulty in her career, but in listening to her earlier work, I still regard her as one of the best pop/R&B singers ever to come along.  A born star.

George:   Agreed.  Anyone with doubts can watch those videos of “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and recall her spark.  Intensity unmatched and unique.  We will always be thankful to Whitney and all who helped make those songs shine!

4. How did you hook up with them and do you still keep in touch with Deniece and Whitney?

George:  I met Deniece when she recorded her My Melody album; Thom Bell was co-writing and producing and asked me to fly back to Philly with him for the sessions.  What a team; those two wrote a wonderful album of songs and beautiful arrangements.  Through our publishing company at the time, “How Will I Know” ended up in Clive Davis’ hands, for Whitney Houston, as he was collecting songs for her first album.  Shannon already filled you in on the session for that one, wow!  We no longer have any contact with Whitney.  I ran into Deniece in Chicago a few years back and we’ve been in touch a few times – her voice is strong and she looks happy.

5. Why do you think Reel Life seemed to resonate the most with a larger audience?  Why did so much go “right” with that particular project?

Shannon:  Hmmm…We had an excellent A&R man at RCA/BMG, the late Paul Atkinson, former bass player for the Zombies (Google them).  He encouraged us to keep writing until we had a solid batch of songs to record and regularly weighed in as we brought him demos to listen to.  Then, he lined us up with the also now late, great producer Arif Mardin, who upon first listening of our “Waiting For A Star To Fall” demo, agreed to work with us.  Those two people did their best to ensure that Reel Life was a quality album with at least one potential hit song.  We worked in the studio with a whole slew of fine musicians and engineers to come up with the end product.  All in all, Reel Life was a satisfying experience for me and for George and certain tracks stand up to the test of time.

Now

To be continued TOMORROW…

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