Sunday, November 27, 2011
11:12 AM

~I didn’t quite meet my deadline for totally shutting down THE REAL popolio, but here it is, my FINAL POST, better late than never~

To Whom It May Concern:

Just like my very first Letter from the Editor, I have put this final one off.  And, just like then, I don’t know what to say.  I thought going into a long diatribe and hitting all the major highlights of THE REAL popolio’s 3 year history would be the way to go.  Then, I thought short, sweet, and to-the-point would be better.

I probably will lean toward the diatribe because this is my LAST EVER Letter from the Editor.  Instead of hitting all the highlights, though, I think I’ll just share why and how I started this in the first place and what I got out of it.  Maybe, that’s the way to go.

I had come from founding a poetry organization where I hosted open mics and slam competitions.  I don’t like to repeat myself if I can help it, some time had passed, and I was itching to do the next thing.  I knew I liked live venues and wanted to expand on just introducing people to the stage; I wanted to move into live music events where the artist plays, but where I also get to sit down and chit chat with them a bit.  Interview them before their sets.

I envisioned something like Bravo’s Inside The Actors Studio, not where I necessarily have a set list of questions, but where the audience gets to ask a few questions in addition to mine.  A music-based talk show for all intents and purposes.  Something more interactive in a different way than the usual music show.  More in-depth than the usual music interview.  Keeping it short, because obviously, it’s all about the music and that’s what people really want to see.  I still haven’t been able to find a way to manifest this, but I hope this is my next step; my next evolution.

Anyway, I had met my former creative partner on THE REAL popolio and we had been getting to know each other as friends.  I learned that he was an experienced podcaster and had been doing it for years.  I did want to collaborate with him in some way.  As when I meet any creative that I’m intrigued by and being as big on collaboration as I am, I asked if we could work together on something.

I knew nothing of the worlds of podcasting and blogging and that isn’t even necessarily what I thought we’d work on.  I didn’t know what we’d end up doing.  Normally, people don’t take me up on my collaboration suggestions.  He did.  I intimated to him the desire to do the live music/interview shows.  He suggested creating a blog and building a network from that blog and then moving to offline events based on the blog’s branding and that pre-established network.

Though I did a few popolio events, it didn’t quite pan out the way either of us envisioned.  The blog itself is a full-time job as would be organizing any live event.  So, I decided to tackle this thing called blogging and approached my site as an online music magazine ala’ Rolling Stone, MTV, or Vibe.

I’ve always thought of my projects in terms of Studio 54.  Not for the drug use, but for the mix of different classes and types of people.  My poetry group was open to all levels and styles and I think that’s what we got.  Similarly, I wanted to feature established, known, and/or major artists as well as up-and-coming, unknown, and/or underground/indie artists all under my very loosely-defined “pop” umbrella.  I think I achieved that as well.

I wanted to have as many features as I could plug original content into.  I really wanted to have as much original content as possible. Commenting on major music stories relevant to the site was fine, but what’s the point of repeating what everyone else is saying?  I know it means hits and potential advertisers, but I wasn’t really interested in that.

I don’t think you can reinvent the wheel.  Obviously, I wasn’t the first pop music blogger ever in the world, but you can put your own spin on it.  Make it your own.  So, I tried to make my features original, creative, and fun.  For the most part I thought of them in terms of a romantic relationship.  That’s why I had features called Just Picked Up, LTR (Long Term Review), R&R, Single and Listening, and Tuesday Tease.  Then there were the ones that played on “pop,” “pop music,” and “popolio” like the pop quiz interview and the pic-olio.   I even created my own rating scale for the review features. 

I knew my reach would be global on the internet, but where I’m from and where I’ve been has always been important to me.  I think places help shape who you are and who you become.  So, I made a conscious decision to highlight an artist when they were local or regional.   That was done as simply as adding the name of the city the artist is from, lives, or is associated with with a dash to the title of the post featuring them.

So that’s how things got rolling, not so much in a nutshell.  I’d like to close things by sharing my overall regrets and highlights regarding THE REAL popolio.  You can’t have yin without yang, so here goes.

My regrets:   I think when you’re starting you’re so passionate that you bite off more than you can chew and you over-promise. I hate to come off flaky, but there are things I just didn’t get to or where the communication just fell off either on my side or the other.  If I could go back I’d promise less and do everything I set out to do.

I intended to finish pending things off (complete things I hadn’t gotten around to) as I got closer to my self-imposed shut-down date, but then I did those massive end-of-site countdowns and those took a lot of time and effort.  I did that because I feel that most of the time you’re going to have to document and celebrate yourself because no one is going to do it for you.  Not unless you’re considered part of the upper echelons and who decides, that, really?  That’s a whole ‘nother conversation, but I’d been doing it for 3 years, so I felt it deserved a fitting conclusion.  You do this sort of thing partly for yourself but you hope some someones are following you along for the ride.

Yet, on the other hand, at a certain point, you just have to decide that you’re finishing and you get done what you get done and what you don’t you just have to let go of.  You throw it on the wall, see what sticks, and move on to the next thing.

I would have done more full album reviews.  I always felt like I was judging artists and, ultimately, feel music is art and not being a musician, myself, who am I to judge?  So, I would avoid them like the plague and when I was supposed to do one, I’d procrastinate like crazy.  I preferred interviews.  Those are more personal and intimate and made me feel like I really connected with an artist in a special way.

I’d get my act together on live events and not only would I have done more of them, but I would have figured out how to promote them better and get more butts in the seats, if you will, or feet on the floor.  That was always the tricky part.  Putting all this work into something and then not getting the turnout you quite would have hoped for.

My highlights:  I’ve been exposed to so many artists, music, and genres that I otherwise would not have been exposed to that I really enjoy.  I’ve gotten to interview artists I grew up with and that I consider myself a huge fan of.   I’ve met and interacted with so many cool and interesting artists, music reps, and industry people.

I learned so much about blogging, podcasting, Facebooking, and tweeting.  And the promotion (including giveaways and cross-promotions) and professional interactions that come along with all of it.  I have also written for other sites because of my experience with my own and that has just been invaluable to my personal growth as a blogger/music writer.  Though, there is always more to learn.

To the artists:  I hope to have gotten you at least one new fan or listener, but really, more than just the one.  I hope I got you tons of new fans!

To the reps:  It’s been nice working with you.  Thanks for bringing such great artists and neat stuff to my attention and allowing THE REAL popolio to be one of the regular outlets for your artists and their music.

A special SHOUT OUT to those who I developed ongoing relationships with.  I enjoyed the back-and-forth and the continuing collaboration.  Actually, that goes to the artists I developed ongoing relationships with, too!

To the other sites, blogs, and organizations:  Any cross-promotion or collaboration was fun and a learning experience.

To the visitors, listeners, and viewers:  I hope you enjoyed the ride.  Thanks for visiting and reading, listening to, and/or viewing any of our content.  I hope,   that like myself, you were exposed to artists and music you were not familiar with and grew to love.

Check for me at Twitter.  ‘Nuff said.

12:45 PM

peace, love & all that jazz,
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat
THE REAL popolio creator and editor

Univision’s 5th annual Premios Texas 2009 take place next Thursday, August 13, 2009, right here in the ATX.  In celebration and anticipation of the event popolio is hosting a ticket giveaway (read more about the show and the popolio giveaway here) as well as featuring nominated and/or performing Premios Texas Artist pop quizzes as a weekly countdown to the event EVERY WEDNESDAY.

Third up are latin hip hop it band and Austin’s own, Los Bad Apples, fresh off their songs, “Pobre Corazon” (listen below), being featured on the June 23rd episode of MTV’s Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and, “Luxury,” on yesterday’s season finale.  Representing for the group is lead vocalist Anita Benner.  Like VALLEJO, they are nominated for Best Austin Band. Good luck choosing between the two.  You can vote here.  Bet they are performing, too.  And, I gotta’ say Anita’s got some taste.  “It Takes Two” is one of my big time all-time favorite old school jams, too.

Week 1 VALLEJO pop quiz
Week 2 Bobby Pulido pop quiz
Week 4 Makano pop quiz

lbaName:  Anita Benner [Los Bad Apples Lead Vocals]
Genre:  Latin Hip Hop
Debut Release:  Los Bad Apples (Self-Released)
Release Date:  March 1, 2009

 This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? BOTH!
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)?? BOTH!
3. Studio or Stage? BOTH!
4. Spirituality or Hedonism? BOTH!
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? BOTH BOTH BOTH!!!

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my one addiction.
7. I’m musically inspired by other great artists/music/performers.
8. My favorite old school joint is It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ-Rock.
9. If I was a super hero I’d be Linguilady (just made that up) = my superpower would be to speak all languages.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Love, Laughter, and Passion

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  It brings me the same intense joy that I imagine a mother feels when she holds her newborn for the first time.  Of course, sometimes babies come out kinda’ scary-looking, but you love them equally knowing they’ll grow up to be beautiful!
12. I want my fans to:  Know how much I appreciate them. 
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  In my fantasy world I’d have a theme song playing and a bunch of backup dancers following me everywhere I went…shamon!
14. Wild Card!  The secret to good songwriting is to stay up all night singing Michael Jackson tunes while b*boys break dance to the music.  I wrote the best song of my career the next morning!
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  Vini.  Vidi.  Vicci.

lba_coverListen to “Pobre Corazon” from Los Bad Apples’ self-titled debut.  Check out their official site for more.

Anita Benner’s favorite old school joint!

LG

I thought this was an interesting story over at MTV.com that posted last Thursday, May 7, 2009.  I wanted to share it.  Check it out here.  Any thoughts?

ll99. Melanie C Featuring Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes “Never Be the Same Again”
From Northern Star
Released:  March 20, 2000

This was the third single from former Spice Girl, Melanie C’s debut solo album, Northern Star.  A massive hit in the UK, what made it huge was that two super-girl-group girls got together.  In super hero terms, it was like Storm of the X-Men teaming up with the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four.  In this case, it was Sporty Spice of the Spice Girls teaming up with Left Eye of  TLC.  And the song wasn’t bad either and that always helps.

By this point, both women had already garnered huge success and established themselves as parts of 2 of the preimenent girl groups in pop history.  This was just a cherry on top of  the hits, trials, tribulations, and everything else that came with their VH1 Behind The Music specials.

I remember watching Gerri Halliwell, another former Spice Girl, on TRL.  I think she was debuting a solo video.  It was around the time of TLC’s “No Scrubs” being out.  It was on the countdown and she was next to the TV when it was screened that day.  Even she as a Spice Girl reacted to the TLC video like they and it were larger than life.  I always recognized, but that made me realize their contemporaries recognized, too.  Now, you all better recognize!  Here’s Number 9.

1. Young Love “Find A New Way”

I was introduced to Number 1 through J. Lo’s MTV reality show about dancers trying to make it, DanceLife.  I love to dance.  Not a trained dancer, but not a bad freestyle/club dancer, if I do say so myself.  And I love J. Lo.  So, I checked out the show and loved it.  Wish MTV had picked it up for a second season.

Anyway, Young Love’s “Find a New Way” was the opening song.  And the routine the dancers on the show do to it just bananas.  I also think it was genius to use this song for a J.Lo vehicle.  You would think it’d be a J.Lo song or pop/R&B song, but they used this instead. 

It embodies what the show was about and what a passion for dancing entails.  I liked it so much I checked out Young Love.  I didn’t know if it was just a guy or a band or what.  I still don’t really know.  Dan Keyes seems to be the main guy.  I picked up the debut album, Too Young to Fight It.  Loved it!  He really felt like a rich man’s Justin Timberlake; really hipper than JT, to me.  Not as poppy and R&B, more electro.  I just dug the sounds and songs.

His record company won’t allow the videos to be embedded on YouTube, so I could  only link them here.  The first video is the DanceLife intro so you can see my inspiration.  The links that follow are 2 versions of Number 1 — the original version and a black-and-white version directed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson and featuring model Kemp Muhl.  I really do love to dance!  Just felt like confessing that to the universe.

ORIGINAL VERSION

TERRY RICHARDSON DIRECTED VERSION FEATURING MODEL KEMP MUHL

3. Sophie B. Hawkins “As I Lay Me Down”

I don’t know if people would be surprised that I like Sophie B. Hawkins.  She started as a mainstream pop siren and then kind of went her own way and did her own thing.  I have her debut, Tongues and Tails, on tape.  I bought her first fully and creatively independent release, Wilderness, many years later, on CD.  I like both and still listen to both at times, so I’d say I’m a fan.  And I would check out her other releases new and old, eventually, too.

She did kind of become an artist that comes out of left field and seems to exist in an aura that’s a little on the unexpected side.  “As I Lay Me Down” from her sophomore release, Whaler, is classic Sophie B. Hawkins.  It’s  just beautiful and I love the African flourishes.

She’s still in the pop arena, but she definitely brings other influences and does her own quirky thing.  I like her.  This is why she’s Number 3 with “As I Lay Me Down.”

2 versions of this video were released.  Since I did have technical difficulties and this countdown sort of got derailed, I’m sharing 4 videos for your patience and pleasure.  “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” which kicked off her career with a boom, is the BONUS.  Apparently, there’s 2 versions of this video, too.   

You get the 2 versions of “As I Lay Me Down” and the 2 versions of  “Damn…”   The black-and-white one is the second “official” version.  And the last is the original version that was banned by MTV.  I don’t really see why.  Enjoy!

8. Esthero “We R In Need Of A Musical ReVoLuTion”

A few years ago, I bought Esthero’s Wikked Lil’ Grrrls album.  Before that, I had heard the name and knew I had heard her songs somewhere, but I didn’t remember the names of the songs or the songs themselves.  Her presence became known to me prior to my picking up Wikked Lil’ Grrrls, when I purchased Left Eye’s import-only solo effort, Supernova, and she was one of the stand-out collaborators on it.

That underground, not quite urban, not quite alternative chick with sweet pipes, street cred for miles, and who was everyone’s choice for a collabo from the underground to the mainstream, made her presence known with this jazz-infused 2005 album.

Number 8 stood out as a refreshing and rebellious anti-pop pop anthem.  Check the Ashanti and Britney call-outs.  She speaks out against MTV and radio playing the same artists and music over and over.  She even took a stand on the R. Kelly controversy or so it seems to me.  The album is nice and the title track got good promotional mileage including being used for Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives promos.  

“We R In Need Of A Musical ReVoLuTion” is my favorite track on the album, but “Wikked Lil’ Grrrls” is really good, too, so I’ll continue the pattern I’ve established with this MY TOP 10 of 2 videos a day.  Enjoy!

Jimmy Kimmel Live performance of “Wikked Lil’ Grrrls.”