Like Disco Superfly (or Songs You Need to Hear Now)

portishead, the cure, tove lo

Today is Sunday which means you should be relaxing. Need some inspiration to kick back? Or some choonz to jam out to during your Sunday routine? Here’s a playlist for you from me and the DJ boofrand.

playlist

Hip Hop is Dead – Nas

Hey Love – Quadron

I Ain’t No Joke – Eric B. & Rakim

Sex and Candy – Allen Stone

Oh Miah – Blackmill

When Will I See You Again – Shakka

Tennis Court – Lorde (Flume Remix)

Don’t- Ed Sheeran (Sable Remix)

Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran (Alex Adair Remix)

I’m an Albatraoz – AronChupa

Habits – Tove Lo (Stay High)

Glory Box – Portishead 

Close to Me – The Cure

The is Ska – Scacid Dub Remix

Bliss and Chaos

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A whole month has slipped by without a single peep from me on here!

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Life is full right now- blissfully and chaotically so. The days are full of laughter, tears, new people, fresh challenges, a different job and my continual exposure to the particularities of living in a small community. I let people go and reconnected with others… I am discovering who I am in this moment in time and place in the world.

“It’s all what you make it, and you’ll make it through.” 

I haven’t been as diligent with the goals that I set for myself as I would like. In all honesty though, I’ve learned more about myself in 3 months away than I ever could have back in my West Coast comfort bubble. It’s a trade-off that I don’t feel bad about. Relationally, mentally and emotionally I’ve been challenged to change my way of thinking, reacting and problem-solving.

For me, connecting with people here has been the biggest blessing. I’ve lived the past couple years most of my life worried about making lots of friends and fitting in. Being popular and all the rest of that garbage. Having a fresh start and knowing no one’s opinion of me matters more than my own, made all the difference. I’ve been here a short time, but already I have many people who have opened up about significant parts of their life, and allowed me to do the same with them.

It’s like the saying goes- the days are long but the years are short. Hindsight comparisons of your prior and present self reveal how each little thing we do changes us.

As I was drawing in my sketch book I came across something I had scrawled on a random page.

“YOU MAKE YOU.”

My life is a constant striving for the ideal and for interesting experiences and people. I really believe that you create your own reality and that your present is a culmination of each choice you’ve made and experience you’ve had to this point. I want to make my life a magical, beautiful thing.

I’m working on it.

Are you? Do you agree that you can control how your life plays out? What used to be important, and what is important to you now?

“Whatever you do, do it good.”

I’m not done making mistakes and taking chances.

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“NOTHING GREAT IS CREATED SUDDENLY.” It was just a kitschy plaque I saw at the grocery store, but it stopped me in the aisle. If you read my blog here regularly, you know I am passionate about constantly improving and about following your dreams.

spinsbythesea

When I was introduced to secular music for the first time, I was very influenced by Jason Mraz’s early albums like Waiting for my Rocket, Selections for Friends, and Mr. A-Z. His lyrical prowess was unlike anything I’d encountered in my sheltered musical experience. His flow, storytelling and impressive range in vocal skills made Mraz one of my favourites and remains so to this day.

I’ve been in my new home for two months (a 3,555 km move from the West Coast to an arctic island). Just before I got here I downloaded a bunch of Ed Sheeran’s stuff. Immediately, I experienced the same love of his mastery of words and sounds to tell stories. I might be late to the Sheeran party, but if you look at my iTunes you will see many of his songs show 27-35 plays (and that’s not counting any of the plays on my phone, only my computer). I listen to his stuff one at a time on repeat. There are several songs that have hit me with chills or brought me to tears on the very first listen. There have been songs that have spun me backwards and made me deal with things in my past. There are songs that give me total hope for my creative future.

Why do I love these guys?

They have lived.

I heard Take it Back for the first time today while I was out running errands. I set it up for repeat. I went and bought a coffee and walked down the rocks of the beach over faded yellow ropes and discarded seal skins to the very edge where I could feel the wind hit my face and I was as close as I could be to the water. Me and my black coffee, I closed my eyes and I could feel it all. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It just hits me. I was not discouraged by how inadequate I feel in comparison to his song writing. I feel inspired and I know the more I listen to people who are great, the closer I will get to creating something worthy of further inspiring others.

But it’s not just practice. It’s living. My favourite artists have taken chances, had rough times, had great times, they’ve gone to the university of life and that appeals to me so much. I’m 5th child after a doctor, nurse, teacher and business man. Both my parents have worked at a university. I just want to go places and meet people and keep saying yes. I’m done three years of uni, but it’s hard to think of going back when I have so much I want to do outside of expensive books and minds that are learning so much but reach the world and have no idea what they are passionate about or value. They wrap themselves in their degree and face the world, find someone who likes what they’re wearing and take a safe job to pay for their new condo and pay for the normal life they have always been expected to live.

I don’t know if I can take this route. 

I want to make more mistakes. Learn more through the people I meet. I want to get lost. I want to stay up all night talking to strangers.  I want to buy a ticket and leave with no luggage. I want to write and sing and draw everything I see. I want to extend my heart to those in need. I want to drive until I run out of gas. I want to busk. I want to photograph things that no one but me sees. I want to notice the small details of the world and bring attention to them through art and music. 

For me, there would be nothing worse than turning 30 and feeling like I settled. I am 8 years away from 30. Jason Mraz is 37, Ed Sheeran is 23. I don’t necessarily aspire to fame, but I aspire to create big things. Important or at least meaningful things. Music, writing, art, maybe movies. I want to make stuff that touches people and changes them. That makes them think, like my favourite songs, books and films have made me reconsider my assumptions.

Back to the quote I found in the grocery store at the beginning.

I found extreme joy and hope in this quote. “Nothing great is created suddenly.” There’s no pressure. It’s up to me to remain driven and focused, but I can rest in the fact that I’m on a journey that can lead to greatness with each choice I make. I can achieve what I desire with time and hustle.

What choices do you wish you made? Is it really too late to make them now? What’s holding you back from taking the risks that could change your life?

Here’s the full quote: 

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” -Epictetus

What is the proverbial fig in your life? Are you rushing too much in hopes of ripening it faster? How are you developing your passions and skills to harvest a sweet fig at the end of your hard work?

When I Grow Up

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The plan was always to become a writer and an artist. 

I am reminded of this as my nephew who I nanny tells me his dreams for the future. The NHL, an olympic speed skater, American ninja warrior (even though we’re Canucks), NBA… and finally, an artist who sells his work.

chalkAs a nanny, my job description is diverse and ever-changing. My sister did a back to school photo shoot with her boys last week and I got to be the chalk artist for her.

So, technically, I got paid to make art. I didn’t sell anything but my time and talents were valued enough for her to ask me to do it for her. It was an a-ha! moment for me.

I want to keep doing the things I love always. Whether I am paid to do them or not. I must create; I must absorb and learn from other people’s creations; I must keep asking questions.

Now that I am working two jobs, my time to create is somewhat limited. But I try to play some music, do some drawing or writing and some reading every day. It keeps me sane and feeds my soul.

Today, I was off nanny duty, so I started my #radicalselflovebible.  It was great to just curl up in bed, put on an audio book (Harry Potter again, of course, what else?) and create something of importance to me.

I hope you hold on to the dreams of your youth and pursue them with gusto. And if you are having trouble finding what you want in life, hit the rewind button and look at what you spent time doing as a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? 

The Art of the Playlist

Love, Music, Thoughts

Lately, I’m all about the snail mail. You know, being 3,500 kms away from home does that to you. The internet stops working when it rains here, so that leaves me with a lot of time to write while the boys are playing or napping. 

There are a few ladies at my old work that are just awesome and I miss a lot, so I wrote them letters a few weeks ago. In addition to asking them how the sunny coast was and updating them on #arcticproblems, I also made them each a playlist. 

3 playlists

When Bangerz was just emerging, I watched an interview with Miley Cyrus, and she talked about how she loves to give and receive playlists. She talked about how that was a great way to get to get to know someone. Mixtapes and CDs have been a big part of my musical upbringing. This concept has stuck with me, though it’s taken a while for me to break down the assumption that making a mixtape has to be a romantic gesture. Sounds silly, but I thought it would be weird to just hand my friends a playlist or ask for one. 

I remember my sister making me a CD for my walkman for my trip to Quebec in grade 8.

I remember recording Party in the USA on cassette tape in my room when I started listening to secular radio secretly at night. Oh, 2009. 

I remember someone I danced with loading up my iPod with all of his favourite artists (many of which are still my favourites). I didn’t sync my ipod for 2 and a half years because I didn’t want to lose all that music. 

A good playlist takes time to make. You have to use your own collection and taste and select which aspects to share with another human being. You may be consciously or unconsciously sharing the memories and associations you have attached to this music. You want it to be both novel and nostalgic for the the listener. Maybe some artists or songs they already know, mixed in with things they haven’t heard yet. You want the playlist to flow song to song; order is important (at least it is to me). 

So here are three playlists I made for friends back home, along with one word to describe the people they are made for.

for a dancer

1- Colors Amos Less
2- Orphans Kingdoms Brooke Fraser
3- Put Your Records On Corrine Bailey Rae
4- Leisure Suite Feist
5- Flapper Girl The Lumineers
6- Mercy One Republic
7- You have been loved Sia

for an adventurer

1- Little Black Sandals Sia
2- July, July! The Decemberists
3- Opera Singer Cake
4- Mushaboom Feist
5- Walt Grace’s Submarine Test John Mayer
6- You Give Me Something James Morrison 
7- Mama Do Lorde

for a free spirit

1- Mermaid Train
2- White Winos Loudon Wainwright III
3- I Never Knew You (Live) Jason Mraz
4- Brandy Alexander Feist
5- O Valencia! The Decemberists
6- Half of Something Else The Airborne Toxic Event
7- Los Angeles, I’m Yours The Decemberists

You can see the some of the same artists cropped up throughout these three little playlists. That’s what I was in the mood to share and have been listening to this summer. 

Playlists capture your tastes and preferences and mood for a moment in time. Maybe you make it for a road trip where you won’t get any radio reception in the car. Or maybe for a wicked dance party at your new place. Or maybe you make it for your significant other. Whatever the reason for the playlist, it’s a snapshot of a moment that can be enjoyed over and over again. 

Do you like to make playlists? What is one of or some of your favourites?

I’d love to know in a comment below, I’m always looking for new tunes. Hope you found something new, or were reminded of a song you forgot about.

P.S. Anyone want to buy me this? Thanks. 

Like this? Check out my last music post: SHAKE IT OFF, TAYLOR.

Shake it Off, Taylor

Love, Music, Thoughts

I am super into Taylor Swifts new release Shake it Off. I have listened to her throughout her career, and this is certainly a new chapter for her. I smiled as soon as the video started, I recommend checking it out ASAP.

tswift shake it off

Her sense of humour and positivity shine through in the video and this song has a great message. 

Being at a point in my life presently, just having moved and faced many challenges and struggles leaving behind people and places I loved… it hits home, I suppose. I’m at a point of letting go of so much negativity and shaking off the past and this is definitely going on the list of power songs that I find super uplifting and/or I could just listen to again and again (see also Happy, You’ve Changed, You Need Me I Don’t Need You, Supernova, Change and Fashionable People).

I love the vibes and fun beat. It’s an empowering tune and I’ve got it on repeat for now. Even in her divergence from the style we had come to expect, she stays classy. She’s one artist that seems genuinely sweet and very honest through everything. 

Her new album 1989, is set to come out at the end of October. 

“I’m dancing on my own
I make the moves as I go
And that’s what they don’t know”

Don’t be afraid to not know the next step and do just your thing moment by moment.

Do you. 

Hats off to Taylor for pushing herself to make something new. I really can’t wait for the rest of the album. Aparently it is late 80’s & Bowie inspired. I have high expectations! 

Choosing Love

dreams, Love, Uncategorized

One of the biggest questions people try to answer is this: How can I be happy? 

My answer is this: do what excites you. Pursue your passions. Choose self-love and make time and space in your life for the things you love. 

Place yourself in the situations where you will get to practice your art (whatever it may be), spend time with the people you cherish, and surround yourself with individuals you admire and who make you better. 

Here are some of the things I love to do. 

I love to be behind the camera to capture every moment around me, so that in the future I can look back on happy times and places I have explored. 

camera

 

I love to make art. Drawing mainly, but any form is fun for me. 

drawing

I love to eat healthfully and make my food aesthetically pleasing and Instagram it all. (@jessihannahjay

food collage blog

 

I love to make music. Piano, guitar, singing, writing… This was on Main St. in Vancouver. 

Main Street Piano Collage

 

What would you do more of if you had the time? What activity or group of people makes you feel alive? What can you cut out to make room for what you love? 

The more you envision the life you desire, the more you practice things you like in every small choice throughout the day, the closer you will get to a life you love. 

 

♪ John Legend’s All of Me Cover

dreams, Love, Music

It’s been over a month since I’ve shared a midweek jam with you!

This semester I took a digital recording class. I changed the song I did for my final project 2 weeks before it was due, but I’m pretty happy with the result considering how fast it was done. I might start making wednesdays cover day, there are a lot of songs I’ve wanted to do covers of for quite a while. Taking this digital recording class was just the confidence boost I needed to start playing more music again.

I used to lead worship in a small group and at summer camp years ago, but stopped for silly reasons. It may not be career material, but it’s something I enjoy immensely. Nothing tops singing as loud as possible in the car with the windows down, or playing guitar on a hill overlooking the water early in the morning… but any music playing is good in my books.

So without further ado, my cover of John Legend’s All of Me.