Archives
some of my favourite songs:

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My meeting with Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Last may I was at a music conference in Singapore called Music Matters, focused on the future of the music industry, particularly in Asia.
(Thanks to the talented Michael aka Mobidextrous & Miss Melody for helping making this happen!)

Although I didn’t hear too much that I hadn’t heard before, it was great to gain some insights into the music scene in Asia, where Korean Pop is becoming like Beatlemania, and Mainland China is still no where to be seen…
Amongst many industry leaders and respected professionals, I had the pleasure of spending some time briefly with the busy Troy Carter, manager for Lady GaGa.

Troy Carter with Jarome Matthew of Pro Soul Alliance
Troy Carter. Lady Gaga’s manager and I

We discussed the importance of Asia for Lady GaGa despite difficulties in places like Indonesia with pressure from Islamic groups causing cancellation of her show there this week.

Troy confirmed that China is an important place for the future of Lady GaGa, but given the undeveloped state of the music industry there and various other challenges for foreign artists, they will take some time to plan and prepare for an official presence in Mainland China.
Ga Ga however sold out 4 shows in Hong Kong recently, with many mainland Chinese attending.

I was happy to hear Troy confirm that building a relationship with fans is the most important thing an artist can do, even for a major success like Gaga. he also talked about the importance of being comfortable with using social media and other technology to connect with fans, as important as touring was 20 years ago.

I look forward to helping out when China is ready for Lady GaGa’s appearance in the near future!

Troy Carter, manager, Lady Gaga

The future of education is here! Khan Academy online

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Since I posted about the insightful Ken Robinson talk about how defective the education of our children is, I’ve been thinking, how do I avoid putting my son into this mess? When will a functioning solution exist to address Ken’s excellent suggestions to reform education, given that government institutions are lazy, disinterested and short of funding?

Well as a parent, I was practically jumping up and down with excitement to learn of the non-profit Khan Academy.
Do you think founder Sal Khan is an education major? Of course not. Watch the amazing story about how this developed and how it mushroomed into a serious force in eduction with Bill Gates and Google supporting it:

Recording for Cheng Lin’s new Chinese release “Greater Than Gold”

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Over the last year since I set up a studio in Beijing, I’ve had the privilege of working with one of China’s most respected and well loved artists, Cheng Lin on songs for her new album, ‘Greater Than Gold’. Although not all the songs we worked on have been included in this release, I am happy to have been able to help with the project in some way.
I blogged about a song that we worked on which I also produced and arranged, Only One Earth which won a Green China award.
One track in particular, Ray of Light, was the final vocal recording for the album before Cheng Lin decided it was time to get this album out.

Cheng Lin 'Greater Than Gold' Album cover

Having sold more than 25 million albums through her career Cheng Lin is no stranger to album releases. What’s unique with this launch is that it’s her first album release in 15 years and it marks both and ending and a new starting point of her career.

The album covers remixes of some of her biggest hits throughout her career as well as brand new material inspired by western and multicultural rhythms and melodies. The result is a unique music style, produced by three time Grammy Award winner KC Porter.

It was a pleasure to collaborate on Cheng Lin’s album with a producer who’s catalog of music and productions includes artists such as Ricky Martin, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Carlo Santana, and Beyonce.

It was very cool to see Lin performing songs from the new album to a full house  in one of Beijing’s largest theatres, and hear a live band performing my arrangement of one of her songs, and hear the audience singing along with her hits!
You can listen to some of Cheng Lin’s new album ‘Greater Than Gold’ and purchase it here in North America.

Cheng Lin Green T House, Beijing

Happy New Year, Xinnian Kuaile! All about China in 10 minutes

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Chinese Year of Dragon

On the eve of Chinese New Year, Year of the Dragon, the legendary spring festival, fireworks are already going off all day.
To celebrate this rich and highly complex culture, I am sharing everything you need to know but probably don’t about China in 10 minutes:

Since childhood, the fireworks were always a big deal to me, I remember paying $10 for a pack of 100…
Yesterday I went to the seasonal fireworks shop in the land of origin, and they come in cakes of 5000 for $40!
But that’s not the biggest, see below:

10,000 Firecracker cake, China

10,000 Firecracker cake, China

The fireworks here are some of the loudest you will ever hear. It’s like a war zone here for 2 weeks!
The Chinese believe that if you make enough noise, any bad things will be frightened off and your new year will start out with only greatness.

 

Fireworks shop, Beijing China

Fireworks shop, Beijing

祝願你們也有個好年!吃得好,睡得好,身體好,過年好!
– Wish you have a good year! Eat well, sleep well, good health, Happy New Year!

New Song Released: Cool & Careless

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

For some years now, I’ve been working on Heather Dore‘s first original song (partly due to the fact that it started in the middle of my move to China)
I’m excited to share that it’s now been released!

This upbeat “sassy plea to unfaithful lovers” was written by Darryl Kromm of Canadian hit 80′s synth pop band Strange Advance.
Guitar was performed by my long time friend and amazing guitarist, Erol Sora.
Take a listen:

With the aim of creating the perfect 80′s inspired pop song, I looked to colleague and friend Darryl Kromm who already wrote some of Canada’s best loved and known 80′s pop songs.

Reworking Darryl’s upbeat yet dramatic account of the abandoned lover, I created a modern ‘future disco’ musical arrangement to the 80′s inspired lyrics to create a cool fusion of two musical worlds.

Written and recorded in Vancouver, Cool & Careless was produced in Vancouver and Beijing, and mixed in the new Beijing studio.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

 

Quality of Life

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

“Everything you have in life can be taken from you except one thing: your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.
THIS is what determines the quality of the life we’ve lived, not whether we’ve been rich or poor, famous or unknown, healthy or suffering,
what determines our quality of life is how we relate to these realities, what kind of meaning we assign them, what kind of attitude we cling to about them, what state of mind we allow them to trigger.”

– Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor

It’s never too late to reflect on our experiences and rebuild the negative neural pathways in our brain!

 

A new way to get what you want in life

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

I’ve been studying a lot about how to get more of what I want out of life over the last few years, mainly because I really haven’t been getting that despite every effort. One person that has started me on that path is an amazing person and artist, life coach Laura Harley.

But as I studied all the Ekhart Tolle’s and ‘The Secret’ and such famous resources to get back to the important things in life, I still felt something was missing, because these things didn’t seem to work even when followed completely. I met many others who said the same thing, so I knew it wasn’t just me…
I’ve been getting fantastic results from a specific expert in guided meditations recently, Kelly Howell, and I found the answer I had been looking for in one of her Theatre of the mind podcasts called “energy from within”.
Without getting into a lot of detail, The podcast featured a guest speaker who had read pretty much all the help books that exist, and came to a revelation which I will reveal in point form:
– your energy level determines your happiness, success & effectiveness in the thoughts you manifest & wether those thoughts become the things you desire. This is not physical energy, but something more mental or even spiritual.
– its not enough to just think positive thoughts & practise the secret famed ‘law of attraction’, you need to have the positive energy to make it happen
– certain things drain this energy & other things replenish it. This is different for everyone. This is called ‘energy metabolism’
– gratitude lists, positive thinking, books, and most other self help techniques cant work when your energy tank is low, if things are going wrong in your life despite your every effort, you need to replenish it and you will see things will start to happen
– inspired, effective spirit focused meditation is one powerful way to alter your energy metabolism, just like your food metabolism
– replenishing your energy is as simple as reducing the things that suck your energy (certain people, activities) and doing more things that you love that give you energy back (hopefully, your work, music, nature, good friends, and other activities)
– in future, good doctors will measure this & tell you how low you are, and help you raise it through specific activities suited to your needs
(for now, you’ll have to go to a life coach like Laura Harley)

Here’s how to start:

  • Step 1: start realizing who and what gives you energy & what drains it.
  • Step 2: eliminate all unnecessary energy drains (unfortunately some are unavoidable). Replace with those that replenish them
  • Step 3: start your day with 3 easy simple things that make you feel good and do them.

Make no mistake, this information is huge! It works, and if you use it, it WILL transform your life!

So now whenever life takes a nosedive, I quickly turn to some of those things that build up my energy again, and I find I’m able to survive some of the most extreme situations, and come out not only functional, but successful.
I’m still working on it and trying to get there to this place I aspire to despite many challenges, but at least now I have ALL the tools needed to do it!

What kind of things would bring you the energy you need to get where you want to go?


Americans take action against injustice… finally

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Last month I blogged about the current collapse of civilization. Today I was excited to see that Americans seem to finally be waking from their slumber and taking action, moving the process forward. Understandably now that approximately one in every six Americans live in poverty. This week over 700 have been arrested in mostly peaceful protests on wall street called ‘occupy wall street’. Here is the website that started it. What’s interesting about this is you will find little in the media who are afraid, despite the growing thousands taking action not only in New York, but across the country. And major celebrities have started to back the effort. Protestors on wall street What’s amazing and unique about this protest is although it is modelled after Arab Spring, it has no leaders and is not affiliated with any other organizations. It is connected via open source technology and relies on the united efforts of all those involved who collectively are working together to initiate change and make their grievances known. Here is the Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street – this statement was voted on and approved by the general assembly of protesters at Liberty Square: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City: “As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses. They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization. They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices. They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions. They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right. They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay. They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility. They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance. They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them. They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit. They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit. They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media. They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt. They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas. They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.* To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!” *These grievances are not all-inclusive. To hear from many of the individuals involved directly, there is a blog: we are the 99% Maybe it’s time to start sharing the news and taking action if you aren’t already. It’s your world, your country and your life, take ownership!

The Collapse of Our Civilization

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

The Collapse of Civilization

It’s been some time now, and the verdict is clear… things are getting worse in the world not better:

  • Disparity between rich and poor
  • Too few jobs
  • Games and spectacles “to keep idle citizens entertained”
  • Rule by decree
  • Irresponsible behaviour of public officials

What does this remind you of? Sounds a lot like our civilization, right?

Actually, it is a description of Ancient Rome before it’s collapse!

Many argue, ” things will improve and this is just a temporary situation”, other extremists claim “the end of the world is near”
I don’t buy it. Historian Arnold Toynbee researched the rise and fall of civilization more than anyone, and according to his findings, right now is pretty much exactly when our civilization is due for collapse.

Of course, civilizations don’t just come and go, retired member of the Baha’i Universal House of Justice, the late Dr. Peter Khan describes how they exhibit cracks over time, often hundreds of years in the making, until eventually they crumble and collapse. Much has been written by various authors in an attempt to identify the fissures in the Roman Empire, some of which are very prevalent in much of world society now…

So how do we deal with this? Pure capitalism, like socialism and other man-made systems preceding it, is a flawed system based on certain false assumptions about human nature and well-being (nevermind total disregard of the environment based on an antiquated assumption of inexhaustible natural resources), and it is slowly unravelling before our eyes.
Individuals too, while affected by the system in place, are certainly culpable for the unwise and harmful actions carried out under the pretext of personal rights and “getting ahead of the pack”.
Ultimately, the relationship between society and the individual is so intertwined and mutually affective that ignoring one at the expense of the other has to be viewed as simplistic.
The effect of individualistic, materialistic attitudes so prevalent worldwide have never been so clear – They not only lead to unhappiness, they’re totally destructive.

I’ve been pondering for a long time on how our society is far beyond any kind of band aid solutions, well proven not to be effective. Even more so, I’ve been thinking about how our educational institutions are giving degrees and releasing supposed ‘experts’ into the world with ‘solutions’ for social development that are based in failed approaches. (I posted a great video about this recently that explains why & how the whole foundation of the education system is broken)

So, I’ve been looking into how we create a new civilization, how is it going to happen?

According to Dr. Peter Khan, a healthy civilization involves a foundation of behavioral change through spiritual transformation. A civilization depends upon certain moral and ethical, spiritual characteristics.

Assuming we need to start from scratch to see real improvements to the worlds major problems, we would want to have certain things to create a framework and guideline for a new civilization:

– We would want individuals comprising that civilization to engage in an exploration and application of divine teachings to daily life, so that we can build up a civilization in a reasonable and productive manner

– We would want civilized society to be imbued with a sense of altruism to the service of humanity. We don’t want selfish greedy people, but people who are altruistic, who think of the larger good.

– And essentially we would want them to transmit civilized values to the new generation of children and youth.

There are many who claim to be implementing these practices but the one organization that has really seemed to have grasped these principles and put them into action are the Baha’is.

They are implementing growth of a new type of civilization slowly but surely, in over 220 countries and territories in one collective, unified effort through their devotional meetings, the institute process, and study of the Ruhi Books, a focus on service to humanity, children’s classes, youth classes, and junior youth activities.
But most importantly, they are assisting in a transformation of the human heart and priorities of the individual, the only way true change and lasting solutions have ever occurred in the world.

Don’t want to waste your time contributing to humanity with failed solutions that band aid serious problems? Get involved in one of these activities!

Logic, reason, and common sense dictate that if what we’re doing isn’t working, doing the opposite may be a good place to start.

This makes paper books seem really boring…

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Check out this highly interactive book:

How cool that it’s a follow up to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth!
If only the education of children in our society was important enough to do this for schools….