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

So, it’s been a year since I started and kicked it of with my first MY TOP 10 Countdown in September 2008.  Since was jumping off, I kicked it off with MY TOP 10: 90s/00s Pop/R&B Diva Music Video Jump-Offs.  Well, this is the twelfth month, so I thought it would create nice symmetry if I presented the men as a bookend to that very first countdown before Year 2 officially begins.  This time around the Div-Os, or Divos, will get the spotlight.

4. Usher “You Make Me Wanna…”
Usher or JT?  Who’s is the Prince of R&B/Dance/Pop?  Did they really have a dance-off some years ago?  Well, Usher one ups JT — on this countdown, anyway.  Like many of the Divos on this countdown, this was not Usher’s first recording, but this is the one that broke through.  This is the first single from his sophomore release, My Way.  The BONUS is “U Remind Me,” the first single from his junior album, 8701.  I really liked this song when it came out.  Looks  like they purposely casted Mya, Brandy, and Tamia look-alikes (in that order) throughout the video and the real Chilli (from fave group, TLC) is featured at the end.  We all know how their story ended up, but we’re not going there.  Enjoy the videos.

***BONUS*** Usher “U Remind Me”

Darci Monet was introduced to popolio last month by way of my LTR (Long Term Review) of her latest release, Fusion, here.  Now, she joins us for a pop quiz.

DMAugust 28, 2009

Name:  Darci Monet
Genre:  Pop/Rock
Latest Release:  Fusion (Self-Released)
Release Date:  May 12, 2009  

This, That, or the Other
1. Underground OR Mainstream? How about Mainstream with an Underground edge?
2. Maintain Artistic Integrity and Vision OR Make a lot of Money? (or both)?? I think these days musicians have the opportunity to do both if they choose to.
3. Studio or Stage? Recording sessions are my favorite thing EVAH.
4. Spirituality or Hedonism? Both.  I’m a Taurus.  We like to thank God for the self-indulgence we are about to commit.
5. Make Love, Have Sex, OR %$*!? When I find time for any of those options, I’ll be sure to let you know. 

Fill in the Blank
6. Music is my therapy.
7. I’m musically inspired by my artist friends, random acts of musicality from toddlers & the occasional broken heart.
8. My favorite old school joint is “Have A Good Time” by Rufus & Chaka Khan
9. If I were super hero I’d be The White Oprah.
10. Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll should change to Sleep, Cheeseburger, and Ann Wilson.

Short Answer
11. I make music because:  I can’t seem to help it.  I’ve tried to quit many times, but every time it hunts me down and gets in my face.  I’ve finally acquiesced.
12. I want my fans to:  Be moved and blessed by my songs.  And tell their friends to buy my album. 😉
13. If I could share one thing about myself it would be:  I’m as down-to-earth a person as you’ll ever meet…but, I don’t suffer fools gladly.
14. Wild Card!  Here’s a subject:  The baker’s dozen is neither a baker nor a dozen.  Discuss.
15. I want my musical legacy to be:  That I was considered a “modern day poet.”  Perhaps unattainable, but I do try.

Listen to Darci Monet’s “Raging” from her latest release, Fusion.  Go to her MySpace Page for more.

Darci Monet’s favorite old school joint!

Editor’s Note:  I couldn’t find a video of just “Have A Good Time,” but I found this medley performance on Soul Train.

So, it’s been a year since I started and kicked it of with my first MY TOP 10 Countdown in September 2008.  Since was jumping off, I kicked it off with MY TOP 10: 90s/00s Pop/R&B Diva Music Video Jump-Offs.  Well, this is the twelfth month, so I thought it would create nice symmetry if I presented the men as a bookend to that very first countdown before Year 2 officially begins.  This time around the Div-Os, or Divos, will get the spotlight.

5. Justin Timberlake “Cry Me a River”
So, though this was JT’s second single (the first was BONUS video “Like I Love You”) from his solo debut, Justified, I take it as his official jump-off  because it made quite the splash. It tackily interpolated his relationship with Brit-Brit, though.  Hey, this is just one editor’s opinion, but, I can’t deny the success of this video.  He was smart to enlist Timbaland to give his N’ Sync clean-cut boy sound a grittier urban upgrade. 

***BONUS*** Justin Timberlake featuring Clipse “Like I Love You”

Lisa Lisa just released her first album since 1994’s LL 77.  It’s called Life N Love.  And, she’s been touring non-stop for years.  Now, her shows will include not only the ’80s hits, but this new stuff, too.

San Antonio, you’re in luck (sorry, Austin 😦  ; though, it’s not like we’re miles and miles away) — Lisa Lisa is hitting your town on Thursday, September 6, 2009, at The Industry Nightclub and you have a chance to get on her personal guest list. 

Now, Lisa Lisa’s ’80s Fashion Flare Photo Contest  is open to other cities, too, but air fare is not included in the prize. You’ll have to get your own booty there if you win and don’t live in San Anto.

Check the flyer for the details and click it to go to Lisa Lisa’s Official MySpace Page Blog about the contest.  The contest ends next Tuesday, September 1, 2009, and the winner will be announced the following day, Wednesday, September 2, 2009.


So, it’s been a year since I started and kicked it of with my first MY TOP 10 Countdown in September 2008.  Since was jumping off, I kicked it off with MY TOP 10: 90s/00s Pop/R&B Diva Music Video Jump-Offs.  Well, this is the twelfth month, so I thought it would create nice symmetry if I presented the men as a bookend to that very first countdown before Year 2 officially begins.  This time around the Div-Os, or Divos, will get the spotlight.

7. Ricky Martin “Livin’ La Vida Loca”
This man and this song is what kicked off the Latin explosion of 1999.  This is what paved the way for Number 8, Enrique Iglesias (click here), as well as Marc Anthony, J.Lo, Shakira,  Thalia and Paulina Rubio.  Though his US appeal was somewhat limited, no one made a bigger splash, at the time, than Mr. Martin.  It is from his self-titled English debut.  The BONUS is his live performance of “The Cup of Life” at the 1999 Grammys that preceded this single and set things off for him and the Latin thang’ in the US.  This performance went down in history as one of those it performances.

***BONUS*** Ricky Martin “The Cup of Life” 1999 Grammy Performance

So, it’s been a year since I started and kicked it of with my first MY TOP 10 Countdown in September 2008.  Since was jumping off, I kicked it off with MY TOP 10: 90s/00s Pop/R&B Diva Music Video Jump-Offs.  Well, this is the twelfth month, so I thought it would create nice symmetry if I presented the men as a bookend to that very first countdown before Year 2 officially begins.  This time around the Div-Os, or Divos, will get the spotlight.

With this video we should be back on track starting tomorrow.

8. Enrique Iglesias “Bailamos”
This song was included in the Will Smith vehicle, Wild Wild West. It was also Mr. Iglesias first foray into the English market and it was a huge success, though the film wasn’t.  It’s sung in Spanglish and set the stage for Enrique’s debut English CD, Enrique.  This was amidst what was dubbed the Latin explosion of Latin-tinged English pop mostly by artists of Latin descent in the 1990s.  The BONUS video is “Rhythm Divine,” the first proper single from his English debut.  It was a moderate success, but not as successful as “Bailamos.” 

***BONUS*** Enrique Iglesias “Rhythm Divine”

Austin artists Aly Tadros & Alyse Black take their Debut Tour 2009 to my hometown of El Paso.  All my El Pasoans go and check them out.  Click on the flyer to get to Aly Tadros’ Official MySpace Page.


Click on the flyer to go to the Official MySpace Page.


Contact:  Freddie Rodriguez

August 10, 2009 hosts One Year Anniversary Mixer
An evening of celebration and networking
with live music, appetizers, and wine


AUSTIN, TX, which sits under the umbrella organization of Dallas-based Mandrake Arts & Media that started with, announces its One Year Anniversary Mixer.  The Austin-based pop music blog,, which debuted on September 15, 2008, features a hodgepodge of local, regional, national, and international content.  The free event takes place on Friday, September 18, 2009, at Phara’s Mediterranean Cuisine at 111 East N. Loop from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The venue is BYOB and, therefore, only those 21 years of age and/or older may attend.  In conjunction, Mandrake Society Radio will be celebrating its Four Year Anniversary the next day in Dallas.  More details will be provided as they become available.

Special Guest, local power pop musician, Phil Dutra, will perform a short acoustic set. Though an open event, guests are asked to RSVP for a headcount.  Appetizers, wine, and cake will be provided.  Guests may order dinner on their own.  A limited amount of goodie boxes including the CDs of Featured Artists and other items will be gifted to first attendees.

The evening is set to be an intimate, low-key, informal networking event not only for fans but for all Austin-area blog and music enthusiasts and creators.  Background music will set the tone, but conversation will take the forefront.  Mostly, guests are asked to help celebrate’s one year existence and anticipate its second year. kicked off last year presenting itself as an online music magazine more than a blog. The blog set itself apart from other pop blogs by dedicating itself to original entertainment content and not gossip and operating on the underground, independent, and mainstream levels.  Creating its own definition for “pop music, ” embraces multiple genres such as Latin, R&B, and hip hop as well as pop.  Its features include online and podcast artist interviews, show pictures, streamed songs, music reviews, and music video countdowns highlighting Austin- and Texas-based content.

SXSW, ¡Pachanga! Latino Music Festival, and, more recently, Premios Texas 2009 Artists have been featured on pop quiz interviews. These artists include Austin and Texas artists David Garza, Vallejo, Maneja Beto, Los Bad Apples, and Bobby Pulido.  On the national level, Grammy Winner Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ posthumous release, Eye Legacy, was featured with a podcast interview with her brother, Ron Lopes, and a MY TOP 10:  Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes Video Countdown.  Maryland-based SXSW Artist and 2009 Grammy Nominee Wayna’s Higher Ground featured with pop quiz and podcast interviews with the artist.  Canadian Jennie Laws and London-based Welsh artist, Bright Light Bright Light (formerly SXSW Artist Rod Thomas) have also been featured.

Singer-Songwriter Phil Dutra was the first artist to be interviewed for the popolio podcast feature at on September 24, 2008, at  According to his MySpace Page and Official Site, “Phil sounds like the love child of REM and Barenaked Ladies on a hit of XTC.”  His song “Let Me Be Your Superman” from his latest EP release, Right Behind the Rain, was chosen “Track of the Day” at the influential web site and “She Walks Away,” another song from the same set, won the National Michael Lloyd Song Contest at the TAXI Road Rally held in Hollywood, California.

For more information or to ask questions please contact Freddie Rodriguez at or 512.945.1376.

About Mandrake Arts & Media
Consists of blogs and

History, poetry, and epiphany about building community.

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