2015 got off to a slow start musically, but as the ice starts to melt in New York, Toronto’s Young Empires are heating things up. Earlier this year, in association with Coors Altitude, their first new song in quite a while, the ultra infectious “So Cruel,” became a Youtube sensation, chalking up close to a million views. See video below and you will see why it’s so popular.
Born on the same day: Grace Jones and According2g.com. Photo taken by a complete stranger.
5 years ago on this very day, I launched the website According2g.com. The impetus for this site was simple – I was sick of seeing so many corporate sites not give you the “real” scoop on the hottest art events and concerts. I was tired of watching countless websites kiss celebrity ass or hate on them not based on in person experiences but instead based solely on following the pack instead of leading the way by copying popular internet opinion. In short, it was “Us vs. Them” and I decided to be an alternative for US so we didn’t have to support THEM to get our information. They say to be the change you want to see in the world, so that’s exactly what I did and have continued to do 5 years on.
With that thought process, in 5 years, I’ve written:
over 6,600 posts (which averages to over 3 posts a day, 7 days a week)
posted 365 concert videos
written about 830 celebrity “Encounters with G”
reviewed 900 Art exhibits
reviewed 825 concerts
and wrote essays about 225 social observations, all the while posting over 13,000 world exclusive photos that I took! I typically only write about events where I could find something positive to say. I’d estimate that less than 2% of all the blogs I’ve written are based in negativity – occasionally, doing my “job” as a journalist, I felt it was my duty to call out a celebrity on their bullshit, but overall if I had nothing nice to say, I just chose not to write about it. Can you say the same about your other favorite sites on the internet? DOUBTFUL!
In those 5 years, I’ve clocked several million page views, certain artists/bands/websites/celebrities that I admired from afar are now my friends and either my words have been quoted, my picture has appeared or my videos have been reposted on nearly every website and music magazine that I’ve spent most of my life being a fan of (from New Music Express to Rolling Stone to The Daily Mail!). I’ve heard more times than I can count that my images in a Google search or story I’ve posted made a positive impact in someone’s life – that’s always been the goal, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I get stopped in the street occasionally with people wanting to take MY photo; I was recruited by MTV to host an episode of their show “Weird Vibes” and to those who know what a huge fan of MTV I’ve been for the majority of my life, that a major life accomplishment! Also, the statistics I posted above (which are not easy to accomplish) are not matters of opinion. Quite the opposite, they are facts and these are facts that you will not find on nearly ANY other blog on the entire internet. Trust me, I’ve looked! For that and more, I express my deepest gratitude! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
It’s not all wine and roses, as they say, and I’ve experienced a lot of really bad stuff too. Sadly, as it turns out, many of the people that at the beginning of this quest that I thought were “US” have turned out to be “THEM,” and again, this applies from the people behind the scenes in publicity and marketing all the way up to the artists (in all genres) themselves. If you’ve learned nothing else from this site, you should know that plenty of A-listers have reached the top and are also nice people, so I’d like to remind you that it CAN be done! I’d also like to remind everyone that these communities are not necessarily mainstream all across the world, so here’s two of the golden rules that I live by: One – you can catch flies easier by using honey instead of vinegar. Two – get over yourselves!!! You could have it so much worse, so be grateful that anyone even cares about you and your art.
Since According2g.com came into being 5 years ago, the way people consume news has changed dramatically (whereby anything longer than paragraph is now considered a “think piece”), everyone seems to just want a disposable photo (that they probably didn’t take themselves), focusing on a negative story instead of something positive is championed and Google and anti-social media sites such as Facebook want you to pay them to reach your followers that you grew organically (brilliant for them, but really crappy for people like me as this model makes it impossible to make a living off blogging), so what is the alternative? I’m an artist in my own right – composing song lyrics, writing books of poetry, making abstract paintings and I’m currently working on a coffee table book. These types of projects (and I’m open to collaboration, so please hit me up!) are going to be taking precedence and I can’t tell you where the next stop on the journey is, but each day and each step of the way fills me with excitement.
To those that have gone on this journey with me and are still with me, I thank you unconditionally for your love and support. It means the world to me.
PS. The photo above is me with Grace Jones, taken backstage after her show at the now defunct Roseland Ballroom in 2012. She invited me backstage after she picked me out of 3,000 people in the crowd to dance on stage with her! It was not only one of my “signature” and essential New York moments (which once again proves that if you put yourself out there, ANYTHING can happen), but Miss Grace Jones and According2g.com share the same birthday. So happy birthday to us both!
Victoria LeGrand of Beach House and Geoffrey Dicker
Beach House are an indie-pop band who are getting ready to take over the music world. Before they can do that, they have to meet me. I’m happy to say that has happened! Carry on with world domination Victoria and Alex! And thanks for being super cool!
Bright Light Bright Light aka Rod Thomas is setting the music world on fire. His debut album “Make Me Believe in Hope” is released in the United States today, June 26, 2012! The album is pop perfection with highly danceable and extremely addictive songs. This collection of songs deals with finding love, being in love and getting your heart broken and all to delectable dance beats. If my glowing recommendation to get the album is not enough, Sir Elton John was recently quoted as saying that “Bright Light Bright Light is the hottest thing in the music business at the moment.”
I asked Rod Thomas a few questions, but before you familiarize yourself with the man, get to know his music. Click play to start your day off right!
According2G: What are your favorite pop songs of all time?
Bright Light Bright Light: Oh God … so many. ‘Hyperballad’ by Bjork is probably my favourite song ever. I guess that’s pop … but of the more full-on pop nature … maybe ‘Dreamer’ by Livin’ Joy, ‘Power Of A Woman’ by Eternal (purely for the number of key changes) or ‘Whadda Ya Want From Me’ by Frankie Knuckles and Adeva.
A2G: You collaborated with Scissor Sisters guitarist Del Marquis on “Cry At Films” which is available on your debut album “Make Me Believe In Hope.” How did that come about?
BLBL: When I was in NYC in the summer of 2009, I emailed Del as I’d heard his solo records and loved them. So we met for dinner and went to watch Depeche Mode together. We hung out and got on really well musically and as friends. Then I produced ‘Cry At Films’ on the plane home, sent it to him when we were swapping some music and he liked it. So we ended up turning it into a collaboration as we became better friends. It was such an incredible feeling to first hear someone from one of my FAVOURITE bands on my own song!
A2G: A lot of your mash-ups are widely circulated on the net. What’s your favorite mash-up you’ve done? How do you come up with the ideas for mash-ups? [Editors note: many BLBL mashups can be downloaded on his official Soundcloud page.]
BLBL: I think my favourite mashup is my track [“Your Lovin Moves (BLBL vs. Billie Ray Martin)”] which is ‘Moves’ verses Billie Ray Martin ‘Your Loving Arms’. It sounds really epic and really sad, I love it. Her voice just soars.
A2G: What are your favorite cities to perform in?
BLBL: NYC is a really special place to play for me. I’ve not played in too many cities, but Paris is always fun and Barcelona was a blast.
A2G: Do you feel any barriers in the music industry due to your sexuality?
BLBL: It’s not as black and white as that, I wouldn’t say. Only when you’re in venues and some other bands are laddy making boring “that’s so gay” comments, which isn’t even homophobia. It’s just fratty humour. I wouldn’t say I feel that that has been a hurdle over anything else.
A2G: What’s currently on your ipod?
BLBL: Arthur Russell (all time fave – Calling Out Of Context), Magnetic Fields (69 Love Songs), Austra, Broadcast, Dubstar and Nova Social.
A2G: What goes through your mind when you play live?
BLBL: It’s weird, I kind of zone out. I tend to get quite lost in it and sometimes I’ll play whole songs and then tune back in before I realise what’s happened. Everything and nothing.
A2G: After people listen to your album, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
BLBL: I hope that it connects with them in some way. The whole record is about connections with people and places, so I hope that the songs reach out and mean something to whoever listens. I hope that they at least feel that it’s made out of love of making music, and from a desire to be a musician not a desire to be famous or jump on a bandwagon.
A2G: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
BLBL: Depeche Mode at Madison Square Garden was immense, and Joanna Newsom with a full orchestra at Barbican, London was mindblowing.
A2G: 5 years from now, what do you want to have on your list of accomplishments?
BLBL: I would like to have recorded another few albums that I’m happy with, I’d have loved to have toured the US, met even more amazing people (the best thing about music and travelling), I’d like to have learned Spanish, and to have made my family proud.
Thanks again Rod for taking the time to answer some questions for us and I am looking forward to seeing your name across the world in bright lights! New York – reserve August 2, 2012 for a special acoustic performance from Bright Light Bright Light at Pianos. Ticket details are forthcoming. “Make Me Believe in Hope” by Bright Light Bright Light is out NOW! Get it and tell a friend!
Stay Connected to BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT at any of the following links!
The Jolly Boys have been integral to the fabric of Jamaica’s musical landscape and cultural heritage for nearly sixty years! The style of music The Jolly Boys play is mento, Jamaican folk that predates (and had a major influence on) ska and reggae music. The band is back with a new album of covers entitled “Great Expectation,” that range from Amy Winehouse to the Clash! The tracklist for “Great Expectation” is:
Passenger (Iggy Pop)
Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash)
Nightclubbing (Iggy Pop)
Hanging On The Telephone (Blondie)
Do It Again (Steely Dan)
Riders On The Storm (the Doors)
Golden Brown (The Stranglers)
I Fought The Law (The Clash)
Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash)
Blue Monday (New Order)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones)
Don’t You Want Me (Bonus Track) (Human League)
Also, The Jolly Boys will be joining Sade on her upcoming European tour. The dates are:
05.04.11 – Kopi Arena – Oberhausen, Germany
05.06.11 – Forum – Milan, Italy
05.07.11 – Schleyerhalle – Stuttgart, Germany
05.09.11 – Forum – Copenhagen, Denmark
05.10.11 – The Globe – Stockholm, Sweden
05.12.11 – Festhalle – Frankfurt, Germany
05.13.11 – O2 Arena – Berlin, Germany
05.14.11 – O2 Arena – Prague, Czech Republic
05.16.11 – Hallenstadion – Zurich, Switzerland
05.17.11 – Bercy – Paris, France
05.19.11 – Olympiahalle – Munich, Germany
05.20.11 – Galaxie – Amneville, France
05.21.11 – Arena – Koln, Germany
05.23.11 – Ahoy – Rotterdam, Netherlands
05.25.11 – O2 Arena – Dublin, Ireland
05.27.11 – MEN Arena – Manchester, England
05.29.11 – LG Arena – Birmingham, England
05.31.11 – O2 Arena – London, England
I saw the Jolly Boys perform recently and they covered The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.” It looked and sounded just like this…