2017 – The Year of Concerts

Quote: “If you told me I could only do one thing, I would choose live concerts.” — Mandy Patinkin
Song: Greatest Love Story by LANCO
Location: Red Deer, Alberta

2017, what a year!! I think it was absolutely fantastic. But, this isn’t for me to reflect on the year. Well, I guess it is, but, a different type of reflection. For me, 2017 was the YEAR of CONCERTS. There are few things (if any) I love more in this world than live music. Concerts are one of my favorite ways to spend money. No problem. I love hearing musicians I love, LIVE. So, here is a nice little reflection on all of the artists I was able to enjoy LIVE this 2017 year!

First up, one of my favorites artists (may have to do with the fact he mentions my name in not one, but TWO of his songs) BON JOVI.
Bon JoviBon Jovi at The Forum. What an incredible show and start to the Year of Concerts. This House is Not For Sale was not only a wonderful tour, but Bon Jovi told a story that I will never forget. Almost 2-3 decades ago (many many years), he performed at The Forum to a half empty crowd. He figured his career was almost done and he went “home” to whatever hotel they were staying at that night and cried himself to sleep, thinking it was all over. He said, “If only I could have told myself then where I’d be in 25 years, performing to a SOLD OUT crowd, here, at The Forum.” The Forum had many memories for him, all which he shared, but that was the one that stuck with me the most. It was cool to see one of my favorite artists in such a monumental place for him! He also was a CLASSY performer. Totally family friendly, no inappropriate language, kids were rocking out to him just as hard as the adults. What a GREAT GUY!! Anddd….Tommy and Gina. ❤

The LumineersThe Lumineers – OMG. I have waited SO LONG to see The Lumineers. I miss them every time. They were opening for U2 and I cannot wait to see them on their own tour, but this was at least amazing. Also, The Lumineers and U2 in ONE SHOW? How much more perfect can life get? This was an absolutely fantastic set for them. They were soooo good. Cannot wait to see them again. Will definitely buy tickets!! (They’re in my Top 5 favorite musicians list so really….they could have sucked and I’d still buy future tickets, but it was awesome to see them thriveee!!)

U2 at the Rose Bowl. U2 tickets are way too hard to get. They’re also way too expensive. I bought the cheapest tickets I could get my hands on in pre-sale, and they were awful seats. I’m glad I saw them, it was a huge check off the bucket list, but I would never see them again unless I was way closer. This was the Joshua Tree Tour, in honor of 30 years since that album was released, and their stage show was a replica of it. 30 years ago they didn’t have big screens so…..they didn’t here either.  U2So I get it but also, how do I know it was Bono and not some impersonator? I don’t. Because they were the size of ants. They sounded great though. But in the stack of concerts this year, they didn’t even come close to being at the top. I told a great friend of mine after that, “I wouldn’t see them again unless you and I were dating and you’d never seen them.” To which he responded, “I’ve already seen them.” Thanks for that dude. Clearly you are NEVER going to ask me out, literally handed him a neon sign saying go for it. Hahaha Forget him, I mailed him a shirt, and…I’ll go again. But only if my tickets are super close. Or not at the Rose Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see them at a tour that’s not a replica of the past.

Brett Young – Fantastic. He was the first opener for Lady Antebellum and joined the stage with them again at one point during their set. Can’t wait to see him on his own tours!

Kelsea Ballerini – Peter Pan. OMG. I love that song. So much. I’m also a weirdo fan of anything Peter Pan so, that helps. She was the second opener for Lady Antebellum and what a great performance. It was like her own mini-concert. Super glad I was able to see her and hear Peter Pan ring through the valleys surrounding the Hollywood Bowl!

Lady AntebellumLady Antebellum at the Hollywood Bowl. FANTASTIC. There’s just something about live country music. One, they’re always exactly the same as the radio because they don’t auto tune themselves. Two, they’re just fun. Although I haven’t really listened to most of Antebellum’s new stuff, I’m a fan of their oldies and they played just as much of that as their new record. You Look Good World Tour, another great one for the books!

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at the Staples Center. Woohoo. We’ve hit a country double whammy. The Soul 2 Soul Tour was absolutely AH-MAZING! How can it not be when you’re seeing BOTH Tim McGraw AND Faith Hill in one setting? To make it even better, I bought second hand tickets…which ended up being VIP. VIP in the Staples Center is the life you always want to live. Tim McGraw and Faith HillTrust me. Also, Tim McGraw is a favorite of mine and he played all of my favorites, including Shotgun Rider: A song which I don’t leave out on any mixed CD I’ve ever made. True, classy, country performers. Humble and Kind. They live what they preach…or they live what they sing. One of the top concerts of the year for sure.

Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. Now, this one is a tough opinion to beat. Coldplay is and are, my favorite musicians. So even if they had a crappy show, they’d be #1 in my heart. I actually had already gone to the A Head Full of Dreams tour in 2016 (at the Rose Bowl), but knew they were returning in 2017. ColdplayJust days before the 2017 LA show, my friend’s sister posted some videos from their Edmonton show and I realized I was going to have to buy tickets to see them again. Just because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I do think Mylo Xyloto was a better tour. (I saw that in Edmonton.) But, it is cool to see their tours in outdoor arenas. Then you can get the full confetti and fireworks show!! (And I LOVE FIREWORKS as much as I LOVE CONCERTS.) Side note: This concert was just a few days after the terrible acts in Las Vegas. Thank you to Coldplay and the Rose Bowl who had extra security, and also had emergency exits explained for EVERY SINGLE SECTION before the show was allowed to begin.

Tom Walker. Let me guess, you don’t know who he is? LOOK HIM UP RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THIS GUY IS GONNA BE SOMEBODY and you can remember when GINA SAID LOOK HIM UP. Absolutely FANTASTIC. AND he’s one heck of a SUPER NICE GUY TOO!

The ScriptThe Script at The Wiltern. YES. This may have been the concert of the year solely because of my INSANELY AMAZING tickets. ON THE FLOOR, as close as possible, inside the pit. Amazing. The Script, like The Lumineers, I have missed every single tour. EVERY SINGLE ONE. But, FINALLY, I was able to catch them on the Freedom Child Tour. A very fitting name too. They were absolutely AMAZING. Sounded great, were personable, and just put on an absolutely amazing show. This was also my first time at The Wiltern, and since then, it has become my favorite place in LA to watch concerts. Great venue!! Can’t wait to see The Script again!!

Sheryl Crow Particle Kid. At first I thought he was a weird opener for Sheryl Crow, but let me tell ya, this guy has some talent. He also told a story about him listening to Sheryl Crow as a kid and how he can’t believe she’s now like his crazy Aunt. Had me sold at that story. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m all about the personal stories these musicians like to tell. I soak them up like butter in a croissant.

Sheryl Crow at the Fonda Theatre. I literally left work at 8:30pm and bought a ticket for this show at 8:55pm. The show started at 9. What a great buy for a Monday night. Sheryl Crow was one of my childhood favorites and I still love her. You really don’t realize how many hits she has until you listen to her Greatest Hits albums and it’s every single song she’s ever sang. She did not fail in person. Sounded identical to every recording ever and was a true country artist on stage. Love her mellow indie vibes.  Also, Fonda Theatre was another rad venue.

Liam Gallagher at The Wiltern. First, I LOVE OASIS. Oasis is one of my Top 5 musicians/bands. The chances of me ever seeing them perform are 0. Okay….maybe 0.1. Seeing them separately is all I can do, and of course, it’s Liam’s voice we want to hear. Liam GallagherLiam has a bit of a reputation when it comes to concerts….he’s been known to storm off stage and not return, forget lyrics, start fights with the audience. He did none of that during the As You Were Tour. He put on a freaking great show AND his voice was incredible. He didn’t sing Wonderwall which broke my heart, but you have to be thankful for just getting a show when it comes to the Gallagher brothers. I would definitely buy tickets for Liam again, and just hope that this show wasn’t my one lucky time. Also, shout out to everyone attending. I believe this was the nicest crowd of people at a concert this entire year. The crowd actually stayed 30 minutes after the show had ended to sing Wonderwall, and other Oasis hits that didn’t get touched. It was beautiful. I met some cool people there too. Definitely a great memory!!!

OH MY GOSH. THIS BRINGS US TO THE LAST CONCERT OF THE YEAR. LANCO. LANCO was by far, the friendliest band this year. They even invited me in (thanks to a very persistent friend) for a meet-n-greet before the show because the tickets were a birthday gift for me. They were so genuine and polite, it made me even happier to be a fan of them. LANCO1Even better, I have been a fan of them BEFORE they were on the radio. The friend from the U2 story, he always finds me these super indie bands before they make it big. LANCO was the first band that I was able to send HIM before they became popular. Although Troublemaker was their first big hit, Greatest Love Story is my favorite. (And again, I knew it before the radio play.) I LOVEEEE that song. It’s ah-mazing. Go listen to it if you haven’t heard it yet. The cool thing about LANCO, they performed at the Troubadour which is a venue that has stories to tell. It was very popular in past decades for musicians to perform in, but it is also a very small venue. This allowed a close intimate performance with the audience. Their frontman, Brandon Lancaster, at one point, divided the crowd and then ran through the middle of us banging drums, etc. Something I’m glad he’s taking advantage of now, because that’ll be much harder to do at the Staples Center. (I trust they’ll get that big.)

LANCOLANCO also holds a special place in my heart because it was my LAST CONCERT of 2017, to finish off 2017 The Year of Concerts. I should mention, by the way, I didn’t wake up January 1st and say, “This is gonna be the year of concerts.” It actually just became a joke mid-way through the year because I was just continuously going or continuously buying tickets. (I am also missing some of the openers but…I put in the openers that mattered in my heart, and my ears.) Either way, what a year of live music it has been!!! It has been AWESOME. (And for those not familiar with the venue names, these were all in Los Angeles. I’m just writing this blog from my Canadian Winter getaway.) Thank you to all of the bands, venues, friends I went with, performers, audience members beside me, merchandise attendees, THANKS Y’ALL for supporting and being a part of making live music happen.

Can’t wait to find out who I’ll be seeing in 2018. I’m hoping to make a trip out to Nashville. Hmmm, 2018, The Year of Travelling, sounds pretty good too, no?

Happy New Year Y’all! ❤

 

 

 

13 Reasons Why, 13 Reasons Why Gets a BIG YES!

Quote: “Everything…affects everything.” –Jay Asher
Song: Hannah Baker’s Tapes
Location: Los Angeles, CA

It’s been 10 months since I last blogged. Blogging all of a sudden became trendy and I was like nooo. That’s not why I started this. Plus I got way too busy working as an actor. BUT…something has made me come out of my blogging shadows…13 Reasons Why.  A show that I assumed everyone would love, became one of Netflix’s most controversial shows. I read the book in high school (That’s right…a much ignored fact is this is based off of a BOOK) and fell in love with it. Jay Asher, the author, told the story in such an exquisite way, that you felt like you were right there with the characters. When I heard the book was going to be made into a television show, not even a movie, but a television show, I was very very worried. Rarely does TV do books justice. Rarely does film even do books justice. BUT…I have to hand it to Netflix, after recently finally watching, still scared, I have to give them full props. They completely nailed the series. So, here are 13 Reason Why I think 13 Reasons Why deserves way more credit than the internet haters are giving it.

  1. It was based off of a book.
    I’m starting off with my biggest grievance in all the complaints. “How could Netflix create a show like this?” Well…they didn’t create the show. They produced the show. Jay Asher technically is the one to THANK (or blame) because this series is BASED OFF OF A BOOK. A really fantastic book that you should probably read. I have yet to meet one person who read the book first, that doesn’t like the series. So far it seems that everyone who hates it, walked in not knowing what was going to happen therefore became very hateful.
    So no, Netflix did not create anything. They produced. BUT…they deserve an A+ for producing this, and adapting it at times. The book is over a decade old so some things had to be updated for the times, mainly the use of social media. Netflix worked well with Jay Asher plus the man at the helm of the Netflix adaptation, Brian Yorkey (who is known for multiple Broadway gems such as Next to Normal and If/Then). Although they do not follow the book completely the same, none of their changes really bothered me too much. They definitely dramatized and exaggerated from the book, but that’s what TV does. At the end, they DID stay true to their story. (Unlike HBO’s Big Little Lies, who completely ruined their adaptation of the book…and it’s not getting a Season 2 now. Surprise Surprise. It didn’t deserve one. They couldn’t even tell the first story right.) Even with all the dramatizations, fans of the book are able to essentially see their story. The biggest difference is that there are a few untied ends, allowing them to create a Season 2.

    Here is a link for all of the main differences, in case you’re interested: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/a9224403/13-reasons-why-book-vs-show/

  2. The Cast.
    I want to give an incredible shout out to the cast, along with the casting director. The show was cast perfectly. Also, almost all of the young actors are under the age of 22. There’s only about 3-4 who are over 23. This is a young cast with almost no big time experience, going into an incredibly difficult and touchy subject and storyline. And each and every one of them handles it so so well. There may have been a few spots where you can tell the acting is a little cheesy and forced, BUT…none of those moments happen in the scenes where it counts. The scenes where they could have shied away. I think this cast has a lot to be proud of. Not only for what they personally brought to the screen, but also what they had the courage to bring to the screen. The story, the vulnerability, the perspective, and the truth.

  3.  Selena Gomez was not Hannah Baker.
    Here is a little unknown fact, or at least not widely known. Selena Gomez was supposed to play Hannah Baker. I want to personally thank Selena for being so true to herself and this show, that she said, “No. I can’t play this.” Not because she didn’t want to, but because she realized the part wasn’t for her. She was way too big of a celebrity. It wouldn’t have been about Hannah Baker. It would have been about “Selena Gomez playing Hannah, lead role in new Netflix show.” So this reason I will keep short and sweet, but whether you’re a fan of Selena Gomez or not, you have to respect her for making this decision. She gave away a role, so she could make the project better. (She was a producer on the show.) Thank you Selena for being a much bigger part of this than anyone can think, by simply moving to the sidelines. And thank you for producing such a great series.

  4. Clay Jensen.
    Since we’re talking about the cast, and actors, let’s zoom in on Clay Jensen and the actor who portrays him, Dylan Minnette. There were so many times I just wanted to punch him in the face, so, that means he did a really good job of playing Clay; The nerdy student who was in love with Hannah but was just too awkward to do anything about it. At times Hannah was giving him neon signs to make a move and he’d just let it slip by. And then when he did make a move, she freaked out and he got scared. (Rightfully he got scared.) Dylan Minnette had to play someone who was almost emotionless, yet, had too many emotions to deal with. He was playing 2 opposites that were hitting him at once always and I think he did a brilliant job. And CLAY JENSEN’S EXIST. I can think of one right now. It makes me wonder if I were to die, how many people would wish they had said something, like Clay wishing he had told her he loved her. Dylan Minnette will have a very bright future (he has already worked some big time shows), especially if he continues to power out roles like this.

  5. The addition of Jeff Atkins.
    This was a big difference from the book and the show that I only liked because the actor pulled it off. In the book, the student who dies in the car accident caused by Jenny (in the show her name is Sheri), is unknown to most of the students. But in the show, it ends up being Clay’s unlikely best friend. This could have been a plot line change that was deeply hated because it then causes the reason for Clay to be mad at Hannah when she needed him most. BUT…watching the show with this “new character” panned out because Jeff Atkins was AWESOME. He was AMAZING. He was the best guy on the show. He was so nice to Clay (who was actually his tutor) and tried to help Clay out with the ladies, especially with Hannah. He told Clay he wasn’t drunk before driving, and ended up dying because Sheri had actually hit and knocked over the stop sign. But Clay didn’t know that until the tapes, so he had been mad at Jeff for “dying like that.” When Hannah came to Clay crying (because she had been with Sheri when the sign was knocked over), he thought she was trying to make his death about her, that’s when their friendship started to fall apart. Clay was in mourning. ALL of that…is new in the series. But thanks to the actor who played Jeff, Brandon Larracuente, it all paid off. (Brandon is also an actor on Netflix’s other big hit, Bloodline.) Everyone liked Jeff. Who wouldn’t? Plays sports, is funny, AND NICE? A winner guy that we unfortunately lost in this fictional world. And, since Hannah knew he was one of Clay’s few friends, his death weighed even more on her. Great addition to the storyline for sure!

  6. The Cinematography
    The shooting of the series is beautiful for sure. It was shot in Northern California, which is already a beautiful place. But sometimes the shooting goes from beautiful to uncomfortable. In the best way possible. Like when we watch Hannah’s face as she’s being raped. The camera just sits there and doesn’t move. Or when we literally watch her slitting her wrists. It’s not implied. We see it. And the camera again, does not move.
    In Beyond the Reasons, a short documentary where the producers and actors talk about the making of the show, they say that the director said to leave the camera on so long that it becomes uncomfortable for the audience. And then leave it longer still. Brian Yorkey himself said that they had to do justice for people who are watching this show and have suffered from what they’re seeing. If they were to gloss by it, that would be undermining what they went through. They were showing it- the events, the pain, the turmoil- full out. Which does not usually happen in cinema media. This decision is a huge part of why they received so much controversy. But it’s a decision that, I believe, obviously I believe, was the right one.

  7. They took Chances.
    Literally…read #6.

  8. They add the teenage perspective on social media.
    In Beyond the Reasons, I believe it was Brian Yorkey (but could be wrong, I was trying to write the quote down) so let’s just say, someone says, “Social media is curated. Even with all that and all the updates….you still really don’t know what’s happening in [one’s] life.” Exactly. Social media is not an accurate portrayal of life. It’s the life we want people to know about. The one that makes our parents feel fine at home after we’ve moved away. The one that makes people jealous of us. The one that helps us pretend we’re happy all the time. I have been out of high school for 5 years now, and already social media has become more relevant that when even I was in school. Social Media deserves a lot more credit than older generations give it. We are always plugged in, whether we like it or not. It’s like passing a note in the hallway, except now it can be passed to 5000 people in less than a millisecond. And on top of that, it can never be thrown into the trash. It will exist forever.
    Although some may say Hannah didn’t really need to commit suicide, that things weren’t that bad….I say how do you know that? Teenagers, and children in general, even young adults, don’t have this wide perspective. They have the perspective of the tiny little hole in the world they see every day. School. And then social media added on top of that? So you can be mocked even away from school? Forever?
    I love that this show brought in social media. And since so many viewers saw that as “not so bad”, it shows there is still a problem with the different generations understanding what social media can actually do to a person. It can, yes, it CAN, utterly destroy someone.

  9. Clay’s Parents. Hannah’s Parents.
    Both parents dynamics were very interesting. Let’s start with Clay’s parents: The overbearing mother who was genuinely worried her son was showing suicidal signs too. She was doing her job to the best of her ability and I liked how honest they were with it (even though her reactions were a little relaxed at times.) But that may because of Clay’s dad, who I really liked. He continued to ration Clay’s behavior as a typical teenager which I thought was so interesting. Most parents just assume they’re child is going psycho and react as such. But his dad was steady and patient, realizing his son was going through something, but also realizing he knew him enough to know he wasn’t a drug addict, etc. There’s something to be said about his confidence in his child and how he was raised. I really liked that.
    Hannah’s Parents: Just amazing acting. They both portrayed so well just the emptiness and questions they were suffering from. Also, big props to the make-up and hair team, who definitely added to the quality of their performances. All I wanted to do was hug both of them. They did an amazing portrayal.

  10. The show wasn’t meant for parents. It was meant for teenagers. Period.
    One thing I really like, after reflecting on this show, is that it wasn’t made for parents. It was made for teenagers and young adults. Most youth shows have factors in them that allow parents to watch and also be entertained. Although parents may watch this and be “entertained”, they may not understand it like someone in their teens would. And that’s because the show doesn’t try to cater to parents because it’s not for parents. It’s for those who have/are experiencing what Hannah, Clay, Justin, Jessica, etc. all experienced. That’s integrity on the producers and writers parts. That’s the integrity Netflix allows their original shows to create.

  11. Netflix does reach out to those who may be feeling suicidal.  
    A huge knock against this show was that it was triggering. I really hate that word. It’s so overused. At this point, everything can be “triggering”. Watch Reality TV then. BUT…the people who complain that this show is triggering, are the same people who complain that TV doesn’t show anything important anymore. So yes, this show does conjure up many events that may throw people into horrible memories. BUT…they give fair warning. You don’t jump into this show blind. Not only does the summary already let you know what’s about to take place, but Netflix actually added warnings before certain episodes that may be “triggering.” Especially if they are about to show graphic pictures, like the rape and suicide itself, they give huge warnings on the screen before the opening credits even role. These warnings also include a phone number to the suicide hotline number. They did the best they could. They were portraying an adaptation of a book, but made sure they were warning and giving advice, as best as they could, to those who might suffer from watching it, being reminded, or anything else that may not even be related to the show. They did what they could without interrupting the message of the story. This brings me to #12.

  12. Netflix produced it.
    Netflix is one of those dream production companies because they give so much leeway to their artists. That’s how they wind up with absolutely brilliant shows like The OA, Sense8, and Bloodline. They do not squeeze their artists with restrictions like network television does. Netflix holds the reins very very loosely. This is the only reason 13 Reasons Why was able to be as powerful (controversial or not…it was powerful) as it was. They did not need to sugar coat anything. They let everything play out, very very raw. This, THIS, we have to thank Netflix for. Thank you for allowing this show to be raw and not sugary. Because in real life, this is not sugary at all.

  13. They’re truthful. They really are.
    Continuing from above, the show is raw. It is truthful. One of the arguments I’ve hated the most other than “Netflix created this story”, is that “This isn’t what suicidal people do in real life.” Excuse me? How do you know? Not ALL of them go through this, yes. But I guarantee many do. In fact, the idea of leaving noteS, rather than a note, is very truthful. Especially when you are a creative writer, like Hannah was. The show caused me to really think about suicide and what it would be like to feel like you’re out of options completely. I am a person who leaves sticky notes in my friends cupboards or cars, for them to find later. I love leaving clues for something bigger. So yeah, actually, this show is very accurate. Because I could see myself doing something in a similar fashion with the way she left her notes. And if I see that, that means many people see that. She wasn’t necessarily out for revenge; she just wanted to finally be heard and able to say her piece without interruptions.

So, my blog probably isn’t going to change your mind about whether you like the show or not, but I REALLY needed to stick up for one of my favorite books. Because this show did the book justice. (Unlike Big Little Lies….still bitter.) I don’t know how I’m going to feel about Season 2. I really wish they would have just wrapped this all up to create a mini-series. But, if Season 2 has Jay Asher and Brian Yorkey involved, I have hope that it will be great. (Still worried though…I think it may get melodramatic with Tyler’s chest we see at the end of Season 1.)

As Clay says near the end, we all just need to be way nicer to each other, don’t we? If this show teaches us anything, it’s that YES. Every. Little. Thing. Matters. It does.

Tony Reavis drops his EP, So Grown: Interview HERE

Quote: “I want to stay real to me.” –Tony Reavis
Song: My Life in Second Grade by Tony Reavis
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Alright my bloggers! Today we have a special blog with actor and musician, Tony Reavis. Reavis, who lives in Los Angeles, released his EP, So Grown, TODAY, but still had some time to interview with me! Read the interview and check out his EP. Links are at the end of the article! If you don’t want to read the interview but want to hear some amazing music, just scroll to the bottom!

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GO: Where are you from Tony/where do you call home?

TR: I’m from a suburb of Seattle but I just say Seattle because if you’re not from there, no one knows. Seattle will definitely always be home.
But shout-out out to Kent, if people know what it is, because I definitely wear Kent with pride as well. But again, if you’re not from the area, you have no idea.

Tony ReavisGO: What inspired you to start in music?

TR: I’ve always done it as a hobby since back when I got into the arts. I’m definitely an actor first, and a comedian, but it’s always been something that I’ve been interested in and thought I was good at. (And had people tell me I was good at too!) When I moved to LA, I used it as a way to express myself and my stories. I have a lot of stories to tell, even if they’re goofy. This is a way for me to tell those stories and you know, that’s the goal.

GO: You said “back when you got into the arts”, have you not always been involved in the performing arts?

TR: No. Looking back on my life, I can see the seeds that were planted and how I always wanted to be but it wasn’t until I was about 20 years old. Before that it was always about baseball and sports and when I was done with baseball I was like “What do I do now?” Then I kind of fell into it and fell in love with it, and now, here I am.

GO: Let’s get into the EP itself, where did the inspiration for the EP come from?

TR: Well, the main thing I always want to do, whether it’s with my comedy or writing, or anything like that, at the end of the day, I want to make people laugh, smile, and feel good. But, when it comes to music, the most important thing to me is realism. When you look at me and hear that I’m doing a rap album, there can be a lot of raised eyebrows at that. So the most important thing was being real to me.

GO: You definitely don’t look like most rappers. You actually look like a pretty clean cut guy. Will your music reflect that too?

TR: My music is very different from other rap music but not in a parody way like Weird Al. It’s more story. I’m never going to rap about anything I don’t believe in. It’s never gonna be about guns or money because that’s not the world I live in. I have a song called My Life in Second Grade because that to me is silly, fun and no one is ever gonna have a song about that. It’s just my kinda thing. I want to stay real to me.

GO: My Life in Second Grade is hilarious and was released about a year ago. Was that your first song?

TR: Yeah, I released it because I’ve been working on this for a year and a half and when you’ve worked on something for so long, you want to share it. I released it kinda quietly. I didn’t promote it or anything, I just shared it. Just so people who heard I was doing this music thing knew what I was doing.

Tony ReavisGO: Where did the idea for the EP title, So Grown, come from?

TR: Basically the idea of the EP being titled So Grown is in light of itself because I feel like I’m still a child and that goes along with a lot of the songs. They all tackle important life things but the satire of the songs is that I’m not grown at all. So the song Grown Ass Man is that I list off the things that make me a man but they’re silly things that probably prove that I’m not a man. Worst Valentine’s Day,  I tackle love, but at the end you see maybe I’m not as mature as I thought. Or in My Life in Second Grade, I think that might be the first time in rap history that someone raps about second grade. Because it’s not just an anecdote, the entire song is about a day of my life in second grade. So it’s all a wink wink but in the end you see I still have a lot of growing up to do.

GO: Your song Worst Valentine’s Day… it goes through a bunch of stories that happened on Valentine’s Day….are those real stories that happened to you?

TR: Ha! Um, they are based on true events. It’s not exact. I took liberties for the art and sake of the story, but they’re definitely rooted in truth. Not exactly verbatim. There are definitely people out there, that if they listen to it, it’ll sound familiar to them.

GO: What’s your favorite song on the EP?

TR: Ummmm. It changes. It always changes. Used to be Dope Ass Day because that’s kind of the single per say. If one of my songs were gonna be on the radio, it’d probably be that one, plus I have the music video for it and it encompassed what I’m all about. Great vibe. But it changes. I have a song called The Party which may be my favorite song now that the EP is finished and I’ve listened to it all the way through. It’s an anti-rap song. I’m straight-edge and so it could be called anti-rap. I don’t do drugs or go to the club. And this song is about me at a party and how it was a rough time. It’s the most story driven so that might be why it’s my favorite song now. It’s a very interesting take on a rap song. But I’m sure everyone will have their own favorite song and you can make a good case for each one.

GO: I heard that you’ve never had a drink in your life, is that true?

TR: Yes. Very true. Never had a drink in my life. 25 years. Never done a drug that’s not medicinal… as in pharmaceutical… not what some people call medicinal. Yepp, just my lifestyle.

GO: Most rappers don’t live this type of lifestyle. You’re beating against the grain of a stereotypical rapper.  Are you scared?

TR: No. I mean, it’s just who I am. It makes me different but I don’t think different is bad. This goes back to why I even do the things I do when it comes to music and stuff. I just want to be true to myself. I don’t want to make a song about something that I don’t believe in. That’s why I’ll never make a song about gang violence. I never grew up that way. And some people did. Kendrick Lamar grew up in Compton. We have a very different background. And I respect those stories, but I didn’t grow up that way. It’s not me. And it’s very important to me to never pretend to be something I’m not.

Tony ReavisGO: What is your goal within this industry?

TR: Oh geez, that’s a tough question because I’m a very ambitious person. My goals kinda change every day because there’s so much that I wanna do. This whole music thing started out as a hobby but, now it’s something that I could see myself doing for a very long time. I’m always an actor at heart but, working on this music and working hard on this EP, this is something I want to continue doing. This is the first step into this world and I want to see where this takes me before I set any solid music goals, you know what I mean?

GO: I totally do! Since this was/is your first step, what was your process for making the EP?

TR: Process, oh man. Um. It was really weird. When I started it, I pretty much wrote about 9 songs in like a 5 day span. I don’t know what hit me but you know, the motivation came and I just couldn’t put the pen down. About 4 of those songs made it onto the EP.
One of the things about me as an artist, I always want to be doing something. It’s important to make your own work. Especially as an actor. So it just hit me and I showed a few people and they were like, “Yo this is really good.” So then it became something that actually started to happen. I took my time with it and that’s why it’s taken me a year and a half.
When I first went into the studio, my engineer gave me some good advice. He told me to have a plan and not just release it; otherwise only 500 people would hear it and then no one else. He said to listen to it until you’re sick of it then, release it when you’re ready with a plan. Like, Dope Ass Day, by the time the music video came out, I had heard that song so many times, I would have been okay if I never heard it again. But I’m glad I waited until the video was done rather than simply releasing the song, because now I’m in love with the song again. The first time people heard the song was with the music video and that’s what helped it become what it is, so I’m glad I waited past the initial excitement of just the single. Wouldn’t have had the same impact if there was no music video.

GO: What was it like making the music video for Dope Ass Day?

TR: It was a lot of fun! It was my first music video. It was a very light-hearted video and a lot of fun to make because it’s just a lot of fun, even when you watch it. And it was kinda my first step into this world. I was really really pleased with how it worked out. I worked with great people on it, Tilted Screen Media. They really brought my vision to life and I didn’t have to work hard on being like, “No this is what it’s supposed to be like.” We were on the same page from Day 1. You know it’s gonna be a successful thing when there are happy accidents- when something happens in the shoot and you think, “Oh yeah! We can use that!”

Tony Reavis and Brent WhiteGO: I’m guessing there was a happy accident then?

TR: Oh yeah! Brent [White], who is my hype man, we didn’t know what he was going to do in this video so we were like, “[Brent] go hang out for a while.” So someone buried him in the sand and we were like, “Hey let’s use that!” And that may be my favorite part of the video now!

GO: Do you plan to tour or perform live?

TR: I mean, that would be one of my goals and a dream come true to do that. You know, being an independent artist, it’s never easy. The first step is trying to gain an audience and demand. Because you know, if no one is listening, then there is no one to perform to. When you listen to the songs, they’re all story driven and the goal is to get music videos for all the songs. When you hear it, it’s funny, but when you hear and see, it’s funnier because you can see it play out. But I did a show in LA and it went way better than what I thought it would. And I think that’s because I’m an actor so I know to perform the song, not just sing it. So, it’s definitely great hearing it live because you can see me perform it. So that’s the long answer for yes, that’d be a dream come true.

GO: Before the interview, you told me about something that happened during your live performance, will you share the story for our readers?

Tony ReavisTR: When I performed Grown Ass Man, where the title of the EP comes from, which again, is a satire where I list off things that, in my eyes, make me a man. At the end, there is a trumpet solo and I say that’s one of thing things that make me so grown because I enjoy finer things like jazz. There’s a bit in it that I want to start rapping again but the trumpet keeps cutting me off. I was worried that it wasn’t gonna work but it actually worked so well that the DJ actually thought something was wrong with the track and that the trumpet wasn’t supposed to keep playing. So I was scared it wasn’t gonna work and it actually worked too well. So that’s a good thing.

GO: Tony! We need to know… is there more music on the way?

TR: Yeah, always! I released the EP today, but I’m already back at the studio working on new stuff, getting beats ready.

GO: Do you do all of the writing/creating yourself?

TR: That’s something I’m proud of. I don’t buy people’s beats. I make everything I do. I make it myself or I work with my buddies and they help me out.

GO: So, when should we expect the next album?

TR: This EP took me a year and a half but I don’t want my next one to take as long which is why I’m back in the studio already. It might have a bit of a tone shift. Not as funny and comical. Definitely won’t be serious like Eminem, but might not be as comedy driven, like this EP. So we got a long way to go before the next thing is ready.

GO: Okay, I have to ask, Trump or Hilary?

TR: Oh geez. (laughs) I will not get involved with this. Elections make me sick. I know it’s important for our country but all I ask is that people are informed because people just listen to sound bites or twitter headlines and listen to that instead of actually being informed on what either platform is about. And I made this decision before even coming into this industry, that if I ever became someone with a big enough voice that people would listen to, that I’d never name drop like “Oh you should vote for them”.  I say be informed because we all have different values and it varies what’s important to us. So it’s more important to vote for what you believe in rather than who Kanye West likes and who he told you to vote  for.

So GrownGO; Some wise words indeed my friend. Tony Reavis, thank you for coming in to chat with me today and best of luck in your career!

TR: Thank you Gina and thank you for having me! Thanks for the support!

GO: Tony Reavis’ EP, So Grown, is out TODAY! You can get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play AND Amazon!

To check out his music video Dope Ass Day, please click the link here: Dope Ass Day Music Video

 

Follow Tony Reavis on Social Media!

Twitter: @iamtonyreavis
I
nstagram: @iamtonyreavis

DIRECT LINKS to Tony Reavis’ EP So Grown:
iTunes: So Grown
Spotify: So Grown
Google Play: So Grown
Amazon: So Grown

 

 

 

Follow Gina on Twitter and Instagram @ginaomilon. Stay tuned for more blogs!
www.ginaomilon.com

The Gift of the Olympics

Quote: “When I watch the Olympics I become such an emotional wreck. I’ve always loved the Olympics, be it the Summer or the Winter Olympics.” –Bryn Terfel
Song: Olympic Fanfare and Theme by John Williams
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Michael Phelps

It’s 6pm on Saturday night as I write this. I’m on my couch, already showered and in my pajamas. I have to be up at 4am tomorrow but can’t sleep. For two reasons. First, I’m sick. Super sick. Like, I think my throat is about to explode. I have forgotten how to breathe out of my nose because I can’t, and it hurts to breathe through my mouth, so basically it hurts to live. Second reason, Michael Phelps final race is about to happen, and I wouldn’t miss watching that for anything.

Living in the United States is interesting. Growing up in Canada, I saw very different ways of how citizens react to what their country does. Canada is pretty passive. The United States is not. They complain on Facebook and Twitter, every single day of their lives, about something. It’s thoroughly annoying. If I see one more giant post about Trump or Clinton, I am seriously going to debate deleting Facebook. Now you wonder, sounds like all you’re doing is complaining. No no no. I just want to highlight what the Olympics does for our society.

The Olympics have been going on for approximately one week and television/social media has been saved for a short time period. I want the world to realize how well the Olympics brings us altogether. All of a sudden every country is positive, peaceful, loves other countries and just want to be patriotic to not only their country, but to the world. I love the Olympics. I love everything they stand for.

Michael PhelpsAs a Canadian, the Winter Olympics are more exciting to me. They’re more exciting for our country, simply because we have more participants and know we have an actual shot at absolutely everything. Plus, they have ice hockey. BUT…even as a Canadian, I have so many childhood memories that come from the Summer Olympics. I remember going into my Uncle’s pool with my cousins, all of us pretending to be Michael Phelps. That was the Summer Olympics of 2004 and 2008. I would have been around age 9 and 13. Almost 10 years later, I am watching Michael Phelps again, with my goggles in hand, bursting to use a pool. It’s not just for kids and it’s not just for adults. The Olympics are for everyone, and how they inspire people, never goes away.

I’m an actor, fully trained. I could never be an Olympic athlete. But even in my early twenties, I’m still considering what sports I could start right now that would give me a shot at going to the Olympics. Archery? There’s no age limit on that one. As a kid, I wondered and wanted to know what it would be like to stand on that podium and hear your national anthem play as the flag of your country raises. I still wonder that as an adult, and always will. The Olympics fill me with such hope, happiness and curiosity, it’s amazing. It’s a shame they only happen every two years, because I think the Olympics brings a fresh wave of positivity to the world, every single time.

Greek ChampionTo make it even more exciting, we are watching history be made right in front of our eyes. In 100 years, these will be the records in text books. These Summer Olympics have already broken a huge amount of records. From Figi winning their first medal, to the numerous records Canadian and American athletes have broken or created. My personal favorite though, truly is, Michael Phelps breaking the record from 152 B.C. That’s a 2168 year old record from Greek athlete Leonidas of Rhodes, who until Phelps, held the record for the Olympic athlete who had won the most Gold medals. Phelps passed this record with his Gold win on Thursday, August 11 for the 200 metre individual medley. CRAZY!! THAT OLD OF A RECORD!! It was made during the B.C. era!!

So, Phelps race is coming up and he says it’ll be his last. Part of me doesn’t believe this, as he said it after London but then came back, and he also missed one Gold these Olympics for a Silver. He seems like the type of guy to come back just because of that. However, he will be around 36 by the next Games (means dying in athlete world) but more importantly, has a child and a fiancé, soon to be wife. In case after 5 Olympics, he truly is done, I am going to sit here ready to watch live history in the making. I’ll be able to tell my kids one day, I saw Michael Phelps race and it was like nothing else.

 
So, I will continue watching these Olympics and every Olympics, crying Rio_2016with the athletes as they start to cry of disbelief on the podium. I’m extremely proud of the Canadian athletes as they are representing my country, but truly, I am proud of ALL the athletes, for putting work and effort into something so beautiful and good.

I LOVE THE OLYMPICS!!

 

UPDATE: MICHAEL PHELPS WINS GOLD for the 4X100m Medley Relay! Congrats to him, Nathan Adrian (a personal favorite of mine), Ryan Murphy and Cody Miller. I was standing on my couch the entire time, waving my arms. After the race, Phelps took a moment to himself and then waved to the crowd, a sign that this may truly be the end. So glad he went out as deserved, in GOLD.

Thanks Dad & Mom

Quote: “My parents instilled a very strong work ethic in me from a young age, fortunately.” –Matthew Gray Gubler
Song: Butterfly Fly Away by Miley Cyrus
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Wow! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I keep gathering ideas but then don’t have time to blog them. Why? Because I am in my final semester of college. In fact, I’m in my final 2 weeks. So I am quickly writing a blog between classes, performances and final exams.

I could make this big and inspirational. Or talk about my 4 years of college. But instead I’m gonna say thank you. Thank you to my parents. Because they raised me to survive.

This semester, and entire college experience, has been crazy. These last 15 weeks I’ve taken a full course load, 3 night classes, worked 20hrs per week, am graduating (so that prep), plus am  producing my own show at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this summer. (Revelation, come see it….I wrote and directed it…and have an amazing cast…Tickets Here) This show also opens 8 hours (on the same day) after my final college performance. It’s been a heck of a ride and as I begin to hear my fellow grads say, “I’m not ready”, I want to thank my parents because I am ready.

Yes, I am soooo ready not only because of my parents but because of the amazing teachers I had in college, as well as all throughout my education. From kindergarten to right now, I’ve been instilled with discipline, confidence, common sense and a strong work ethic. But teachers deserve a whole other blog. This one is for my parents.

It’s no secret my parents and I haven’t always seen things eye to eye. But hey…they raised a strong daughter who learned to voice her opinion…..I think they should be proud of themselves. Now, from my point of view, I was a fairly easy kid to raise. I never drank underage, I didn’t speed when driving, I didn’t date any boys, I didn’t do drugs. They were lucky as I see it. I just argued with them on “important issues.” So from their point of view….I was a difficult teenager…. Pfttt that may be, but I turned into someone who can survive on my own.

FamilyRight from the get go my sister and I were raised to get by. We were never spoiled and were always taught to work for what we wanted. So when I decided to abandon ship and move to a different country for school, I worked 16 hour days every summer for 4 years…so I could afford what my 12 loans couldn’t cover. I found my own place, worked out credit, electricity, bills…I did it all. And I could do it all because I was never babied. I was taught from Day 1, this is how you live.

When I was a teenager, I remember wishing I had parents who would just simply buy me a car themselves, or offer to pay my tuition. But now, I am so grateful they didn’t. Because I learned how to do it on my own, and not only that, I can say I did it on my own. YES…my parents helped me!! And I still call my dad every time my car makes a weird noise or a light pops up. But I know that one day, they won’t be there to call anymore, and I’ll be okay. I know that because I’m graduating college and not freaking out. I am ready. I know what to do. I even know what to do when it doesn’t go as “planned” or “like they say it will”…I’ll just keep on going and working hard…because that’s what my parents taught me from day one. “Don’t sit around and wait for it to happen…make it happen. But you’ll have to work for it.”

Most animals teach their offspring to survive. The joke Papa Bear or Mama Bear doesn’t do my parents justice….they protected me like no other…but they also taught me how to survive.

Thanks Dad and Mom. Your oldest daughter is graduating college 🙂

This Is Not A Love Story

Quote: “If two past lovers can remain friends, either they never were in love or they still are.” –Anonymous
Song: When Your Mind’s Made Up by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from Once
           Say It To Me Now by Glen Hansard from Once
           The Hill by Marketa Irglova from Once
Location: Los Angeles, CA

In my final year of university, I spent the first portion of my semester portraying the role of Girl from Once. Girl is one of my dream roles and Once is one of my all-time favorite scripts, productions, etc. It’s a love story that doesn’t end happy and to me, that’s everything. Once started out as an indie film and then found success on Broadway. The great thing about Indie’s is that…they don’t have to be Hollywood fluff fairy tales. They can just be real life.

Once-LogoFor those who don’t know the story of Once, Girl and Guy fall in love with each other but they never fully admit it. The play ends with Guy going off to New York to chase his ex-girlfriend and Girl stays in Dublin, waiting on a husband who abandoned her in the Czech Republic. If just maybe they could have admitted to each other that they were the ones for each other, then maybe they just could have been happy.

I am a huge enthusiast of fan fiction. I write fan fiction for Friday Night Lights all the time. That’s the best part of being a fan after something ends; you get to decide their future after the show or after the play. Everything has fan fiction. But what I want to know is what the fan fiction for Once is. Because I think it would be just as broken as the play itself. I think Guy went to New York and him and his girlfriend got along for a while but then he realized it wasn’t what he had imagined it to be. It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the magic he felt with Girl. But at that point, it was too late for him to head back to Dublin. If he did, this story would become too Hollywood. In real life, it would be too late for him. He’d have to live with the fact that he chose the wrong girl and would have that empty space within him.

And what about Girl? I think she continued to stay away from her husband and possibly did end up getting divorced. But she knew she was always in love with Guy. She’s the one who could have stopped him from going to New York yet she let him go. She thought by letting him do what he needed to do, she was doing what was best for him. But when does the time come that you need to stop doing what is best for everyone else and do what is best for you? Because now not only is Guy living in America extremely unhappy, but Girl is a single mom living in Dublin wishing Guy would come back to her because that’s who she truly loved.

Once MusicalIt’s amazing the similarities to real life you find when studying a play you’re extremely passionate about. It’s amazing what I was able to instantly connect to. I understand Girl’s life to a tee. And that makes me sad. Because yes she’s amazing for keeping her wants and desires at bay for the better of everyone else around her, but then…when does she get her happy ending? She doesn’t. And that’s super sad. It’s also a neon sign that sometimes…sometimes you have to be selfish and just throw it all out there and hope that it ends up okay. Otherwise there’ll be a lot of regret. You’ll watch your guy, literally and figuratively, walk away.

There could be fan fiction where Guy comes back from New York and tells Girl he should have stayed but let’s be honest….that’s not how Once was written. Once was written to break your heart and surely whatever happens after the playwright’s words, would also break your heart.  Because Girl wasn’t just a girl who thought about Guy at 2am when she was bored. She was a girl who thought about him at 2pm during the busiest of days, wondering how he was. All the while, he was thinking about his ex-girlfriend in New York, other than slight moments where he did think about a future with Girl. But because she never said anything, he left.

I’m the girl who thinks about my guy all day long and all night long, wondering how he is, what he is doing, what he’s eating for lunch…oh yea. I’m a sap. I want those monotonous details. But let me tell you boys and girls, it really sucks when it hits you real fast and hard that the guy…is not thinking the same thing. And most likely only thinks of you when he goes to bed. Because you texted him reminding him you exist. Yea…that’s how it happens, but it happens.  If Two Lovers...And it sucks. And then you wonder what you did wrong. Well, you didn’t do anything wrong, as long as you don’t pull a Girl and actually tell him HEY I LOVE YOU STUPID. And when he still says thanks but no thanks…then it’s time to walk away. That’s the end. It has to be. Otherwise you lose your self-respect. Groveling for a guy is not classy and I mean we all do it, but know when acceptable groveling time is over. Know when you need to pick yourself up and go “Hey I left my heart on your driveway, you’ve ran it over too many times. So I’m done.” But if you walk away before telling him HEY I LOVE YOU STUPID….then that’s the story of Once and that will never heal. If he knows and ignores it, that’s not on you. There’s nothing you can do about that other than hope he changes his mind or you meet the guy meant for you, lickety-split.

In my favorite scene of Once, Guy says, “That’s a terrible lesson you have to learn, isn’t it? Wastin’ life ‘cause you’re frightened of it. Terrible.” A terrible lesson that they both learn by the end of this play. Wasted life because they were too frightened to give in to what they truly wanted.

If anyone out there is a huge fan of Once, please, let’s hear your fan fiction! If you haven’t read it or watched it…go do it now!! And for all the Guy’s and Girl’s out there…make sure the person you love knows it before they walk away. Then at least you won’t live with the regret. You’ll just live with a very empty painful spot inside of you that hopefully will eventually get filled. I’m sorry if you’re hoping that they’ll love you back and they don’t. I understand. Girl understands. And I am truly sorry. Go see a production of Once and cry your eyes out, it will help. That or listen to the full soundtrack.

What I want to know is…how many nights did Girl cry herself to sleep before she finally moved on?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quote: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” –Oprah Winfrey
Song: Midnight by Coldplay
Location: Los Angeles, CA

As 2015’s American Thanksgiving Weekend comes to an end, I wanted to post a link to a blog I was recently a featured guest blogger on.

Click on “Wilson’s Where To Guide” to check out the 5th Annual Thanksgiving Edition blog that I was featured on. While you are there, check out some of her other rad posts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gina