Saturday, September 13, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
Well, I sit here attempting to write this letter for the second time. I’ve been putting it off. It’s the weekend of Hurricane Ike in Texas and I’m in Austin. popolio kicks off on Monday, September 15, 2008, and, though the hurricane puts things into perspective and my heart goes out to those involved, I’m still excited about popolio. I think things like hurricanes, unexpected occurrences, and Acts of God (or whatever you personally attribute them to) are reasons to pursue your goals, live your lives, and ignite your passions even harder, deeper, and brighter.
I have laundry going in the washers downstairs from my apartment and the last track of Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah just finished. I hit “Honey” again because it’s my favorite track. This is my first Letter from the Editor and I don’t really know what to say. I don’t know what I want to communicate or how I want to come across.
I know I love music. I love music and the entertainment/art fields, in general. Some people separate entertainment and art and I realize a lot of times there are fine differences, but I think a lot of things become intertwined. For the most part, we call them music artists, not entertainers (though I don’t have a problem with entertainers, either), no matter at what level or of what genre. Most would admit entertainment is part of the job. Others would say it’s not a job, it’s a passion. At the end of the day, it’s music, and it moves us.
Who doesn’t love music? Movies you can watch anywhere, but you need translation. People don’t mind listening to music in other languages without translation. All kinds of people love to dance to salsa, there are hip hop heads in Japan who rock the gear and know all the rap lyrics, and pop stars travel the world and have their songs recited back to them on their tours. Do all salseros speak Spanish or all Japanese hip hoppers English? No. Music is the true universal language that makes the world go round. What I love about music is that it can make you shake your ass at the same time that it can truly inspire change in the world.
…pause…I need to go put my laundry in the dryers…back…Now I’m putting in Janet’s Discipline.
So, what is popolio? popolio is a music blog that will feature pop music and artists in Austin, Dallas, Texas, and more. I hesitate to use the word “pop” because I think it gets a bad rap. I’m using pop in the most general sense of the word. I’m thinking more along the lines of pop culture, though it is strictly a music entertainment site.
I want to cover local and regional up-and-coming and established artists. Give them an opportunity for a little shine. Doesn’t mean I won’t be covering more mainstream acts as well. Most of what I listen to is more Top 40 R&B and pop. Growing up, I developed an affinity for black and urban music and culture — especially the R&B/hip hop and new Jack and Jill swing of the 1990s. Doesn’t mean I’m not open to stuff I haven’t listened to before. That’s the magic of pop — it can draw on so many genres and styles and any song could become a pop hit if it connects with the masses. It’s just a classification and I like what I like — just like all of you.
I’m excited to be working on popolio with J.W. Richard, who’s based in Dallas. He brings many years of podcasting experience and know-how, through his own Mandrake Arts & Media. Check out his websites at: http://www.mandrakesocietyradio.com and http://mandrakefm.com. They’re a little different than what we’ll be offering on popolio, but variety is the spice of life. I’m new to both the worlds of blogging and podcasting. I’m thinking of popolio more as an online music magazine than an actual blog. It will be exciting to see where this journey takes us and what popolio becomes.
Let me tell you about myself. I am of Panamanian descent, born in Panama and raised in El Paso, Texas. I grew up Northeast El Paso to be exact. I started my Bachelors at UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso for those of you who don’t know) and transferred to UT-Austin (you all should know) and earned a BS in Radio-TV-Film with aspirations of directing music videos, which I haven’t done yet. I went back to EP for two-and-a-half years and returned to Austin to earn an MA in Advertising from UT again.
Though I haven’t gotten to use either of my degrees in my real-day-job-life, I pursue interests like these in my fantasy-after hours/own time-life. I’m left-handed, my favorite group of all-time is TLC, I love super hero comics, and in a former life I founded and ran a poetry organization that hosted open mics and slams in my hometown.
September is the kick-off of popolio and our new features. Look for a pop quiz and popolio podcast interview with Austin artists, Cheryl Hill and Phil Dutra, respectively. Check out MY TOP 10, a daily countdown by yours truly. We’ll bring you a snapshot of new releases on Tuesdays. There will be music and show reviews. J. Dub and I hope to bring you our regular music conversations on Richard & Rodriguez podcasts.
This is just the beginning. There will be a lot more. I hope you check it out, come again, and stick around. Welcome to popolio.
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat