On a perfectly sunny, summer Saturday, my girlfriends and I sipped champagne on our front lawn trying on wigs and attempting to have a garage sale. One of my roommates and fellow singers Alysse was purging all of her beloved clothes and knick knacks to prep for a move to the east coast. Friends were stopping by to give their farewell and pick through her belongings. Alysse has always attracted the most amazing people and it was this day that she introduced me to The Diamond Light.
Nothing rings truer than authenticity. When it comes to music, we look for artists and the songs they write to tell our stories through their own. It’s a comfort to know that we’re not alone and the message is carefully dressed in the arrangements and melodies of a good song. Sometimes the music that is thrown at us on a daily basis is a manufactured version of that. It’s the McDonald’s of music where we get it really fast and easy but it won’t sustain us. That is why I am so thrilled to have discovered the enchanting Elaine Faye.
I love happy accidents, but the older I get, I realize they aren’t accidents. They are the experiences destined to take us from one place to the next.
When I go out to a show I want to be blown away. There is no in between. Once you’ve had that truly great live music experience where everyone is dancing and waiting on baited breath for that next lyric there’s no looking back. That’s what I want. As I devour the music it’s easy to forget all the work that goes into making a truly great band and the road that brought them to the stage.
It’s a common theme in LA that there’s a slow climb up to the holy grail of achieving your dream. Growing up in LA I’ve seen my friends, friends of my parents and many acquaintances go through all stages of this process. I love when I see amazing artists especially musicians shape shift into their original voice and rise above the rest. I love seeing the hard work behind the scenes start to reach fans that spider off their enthusiasm to more future fans.
I would give anything to have lived in the times of Otis Redding, James Brown, Sam Cook, Young Aretha and Tina and others of their time. I’ve watched past television performances and they all radiate this sweaty, passionate essence behind their wails and screams. They also really knew how to MOVE. We live in a time where all artists are little to polished. There’s a lack of letting go in fear of the internet backlash that might surface post performance. Back then, Tina’s hair would whip while her raspy voice belted. Aretha wouldn’t let drops of sweat get in the way of her sexually driven vocals. Otis’ voice would crack and sweat stains would penetrate his three-piece suit…and it was brilliant.
So it’s happened again. I super-fanned out this past Monday night at The Witzend in Venice. It was a lovely evening of acoustic music. Candles were lit, friends and lovers were piled up on cushions and others were dining but still attentive. It was a mellow night of quiet guitars and sweet melodies. But come the end of the night, a man jumped onstage to shake up the room…he was a last minute special guest and within 30 seconds I was waving my arms and hollering like I was in church. I couldn't help but think , “oh this is what I needed to hear tonight.” I love watching a performer that pulls your sense memory to that moment you were inspired by music for the first time. This was and is the captivating, Ultralove (“Mike Ultralove Wagner).
It has been my observation that LA is saturated with girl singer-songwriters singing about the pains and joys of love. They’ve got stickers on their guitars, they know 3 chords and they sing about how a guy doesn’t know what he’s missing. Some are lucky enough to place their music in toothpaste and cotton ads. Oh and there’s a lot of ukelele…I go nuts in trying to showcase local artists and only come up with some 2 dimensional unicorn forgettables.