Tag Archives: music

Stripes: Something You Need to Know

You need to know that there is a new song on the radio. This is not just any old song, no, this song is worthy of interrupting your regularly scheduled Stripey posts and I was even going to do a crafty post…you’ll just have to sit tight til Friday for that one…because this song has literally changed my life.

Thank you Muse for making some of the best music around and changing my life. Woah…things got deep.

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Stripes: A’ca Awesome

This week I’ve been really homesick for the familiarity of my college town-the restaurants, the parks, the people, work, school, and, especially, a’capella. It’s been a while since I’ve talked about just how much singing was my life for the last year, but really guys, it’s taken this absence from music for me to realize just how much of my life was tied up in the a’capella scene. And that’s how this post came to be in my mind. I got an email earlier today asking if there were any videos of me singing on youtube so I poked over to send find some links…a half hour of singing later I spent the email. This a’capella business is quite addicting.

This is my “I’m craaaaaazy for a’capella” face.

So I sat down, and after 20 more minutes of a’capellaing (including pulling out sheet music and a pitch pipe to make sure I was doing it right) I decided I should totally start a list of ways you know you sing a’capella. If you sing a’capella, you’re welcome. If you don’t, you should. You’ll love it, trust me. Then you’ll think my list is freaking hilarious. And you’ll be apart of the best hobby ever. WIN.

This is my “hitting an epic harmony” face. You know you want to be this awesome. A’capella can help you achieve this level of coolness.

You’re an a’capella singer if:

-You’ve choked on food because you forgot you were singing and accidentally took a bite (true story, this happens to me at least once a year…I am skilled at being alive)
-Organizing your sheet music takes hours and the project never gets done because you immediately remember how you wanted to learn the T2 line on “that one song” and the VP on “that other song” and “that song” is SOOOOO FRRRREEEEEAAAAKING AWESOME!!!!
-You carry a pitch pipe and have a pitch pipe app so you can never get caught without the pitch
-You use singers hands while singing in:
….the shower
….the car
….Coldplay concerts (…not that that’s from personal experience or anything…yeah…)
-You match pitch with random hums and pitches then make harmonies and dissonances with it (we’re talking hair dryers [every morning], pop machines, city buses, your car, air conditioners)
-You know your hairdryer hums at an E
-You hear a noise and immediately try to imitate it
-You’ve immediately thought of 10 ways you could somehow add that noise to a song some day
-You’ve heard a song on the radio and tried to figure out how many parts it would take to a’capellaize it
-You conduct music while you walk around, are sitting at a desk, or driving
-You’ve been in a vocal percussion off with a friend. In public.
-You wish you could harmonize with yourself because life would be 10000 times easier and better if you could
-You’ve heard the a’capella version of a song before you hear the “real” version
-You sing the a’capella artistic liberties to the “real” version of the song even when you’re with non-a’capella people
-You warm up to sing in the car
-You are legitimately concerned about your posture while singing in the car (and adjust your seat so you’re sitting super up right if you’re driving for a long distance so you can properly support your sound)
-You love long car rides alone so you can learn every part to a song (including the vocal percussion) and no one cares that you just have to sing it until it sounds perfect (which, for your information, is approximately 7361 times per part)
-You’ve used your pitch pipe in the car to test your range while driving because it feels like your voice is especially low that day
-You’ve wondered what a cop would say if you got pulled over for testing your range while driving
-You have a singing bucket list of songs you want to sing
-Eric Whitacre is on that list
-You’ve had a choirgasm
-You’ve put off homework/studying for finals/making important phone calls/sleeping/eating/going to the bathroom to sing
-You’ve sung, in harmony, on public transportation
-You scope out places with awesome harmonics just in case a singing occasion should arise
-Colds and sore throats are an excuse to try and beat your “personal best” low note
-You secretly LOVE having a man voice while sick…who are we kidding? that’s not a secret.

Can I just say this list was WAY too easy to make. Holy cow. I’m not sure if I’m proud of myself for coming up with so many ideas, or if I feel like a total nerd because every single one of those are true for me. And by nerd I really mean most awesome person ever because clearly that’s what you are if all those things apply to you.

This one had nothing to do with singing…I just got silly (what else is new?). But you can also see my main man Harold in the background! 

What do you guys think? Are you just as a’ca-nerdy as me? Have any suggestions that should be added to this post? Any suggestions for future a’capella posts you’d like to see?

Stripes: Sing-a-Long Sunday

This may come as a surprise to you, but I LOVE singing along to anything I hear just about anywhere and since I’ve been driving a ton more than usual, I’ve have ample time to sing my heart out. Lately I’ve been almost exclusively listening to Pentatonix’s EP which dropped a couple days ago and the one and only Beyonce so I hope you enjoy the following songs as much as I have!

Happy Singing!

Stripes: A Little Thing Called A’capella

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, there’s this little thing I’ve been doing for a while called a’capella. A’capella, or the production of music using just human voices and bodies, has been a pretty big hobby of mine for the last couple of years. I think I’ve mentioned this before, if so please forgive my repetition and if not ignore what I just said, but a’capella has pretty much been my number one hobby for the last year. I spend all of my free time doing a’capella-y things including: singing, finding new music, and listening to other groups (when I’m not watching British TV, of course). And here is the first image ever on our blog of me singing curtesey of Miss Sequins!

Ok, so I’m not actually singing here…I’m blowing a note in my pitch pipe…but close enough (and in the rest of the pictures my face was absolutely ridiculous or I moved too much and made them blurry).

Wanna learn more about a’capella. One: Feel free to comment and ask me any questions. Two: Watch the following videos. And three: Sing your heart out anywhere anytime (unless I am trying to sleep and you’re within earshot, in that case I will give you my look of death and hate and nobody wants that).

This one has been passed all around the a’capella community since the day it was put out. It’s super mainstream and really exemplifies what the human voice can do. I adore their rich sound and am working on trying to adapt my voice to have more of this same fullness and depth. They are super cool and I’m really excited to see what they put out in the next couple years.

Barbershop is one traditional type of a’capella but they have so moved beyond the straw hats in recent years. I know I’ve posted this one before but I am absolutely in love with this song (probably because it largely marked my entrance into the a’capella world as I know it today). Enjoy!

This is An Aladdin medley by Vocal Spectrum (another barbershop group)…it’s super cool how they fit the whole movie into 7 minutes and they have some pretty awesome vocals that, dare I say, span the spectrum.

I’ve been itching to sing this one since I found a copy of the music floating around the interwebs a year ago. OMG dream song.

And a good peek into the silly side of the a’capella movement. Oh yes this is happening. (Also, got to see these guys sing live in February! They are really awesome guys!)

And of course some Eric Whitacre…this man’s music has the uncanny ability to put me into the most intense trancelike state

These are just some of my favorites. What kinds of music do you like? Are you a fan of a’capella or hate it? (Secret time: I actually hated modern a’capella the first time I heard it. I was dating the first of my a’capella men and I remember thinking this music is weird and I actually forced myself to listen to it so we could have more to talk about…clearly this relationship had a firm foundation. And back to the main point, you may not like it yet but you’ve just gotta find which kind of a’capella floats your boat. Turns out I just wasn’t really a fan of Rockapella but loved everything a’capella ever.) If you have any cool a’capella videos please post them! I’d love to see some new stuff!

Sequins: Sing A La La Long

I know I usually leave Stripes the task of talking about music. It’s for a multitude of reasons: Stripes cares way more than I do about music, Stripes writes about music with much more passion than I could ever muster, Stripes listens to more music overall than I do….

A lack of cool, inside music info is one of the (many?) ways I fail the Ultimate Hipster Test. Honestly, guys, I get my stuff from Pandora and my stud muffin of a roommate. Stripes usually tosses me a couple bones, like Goyte’s Somebody I Used To Know, but really I live in a dark, outdated hole when it comes to music. I don’t really apologize for it, though, because I like my outdated hole. I spend a lot of time listening to Rush’s various albums, the original Broadway recordings of Les Miserables, things that Pandora deems “like Iron & Wine”, and the various songs that Monsieur has taught himself to play on the guitar.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not painfully aware of my lack of cool insider music, and that I’ll grab onto any chance I can to find outcool new underground music. So I jumped on the giveaway train for a budding artist’s second album. Mostly because I wanted to be a cool kid. Imagine my surprise when I actually won the giveaway on Elycia’s blog for Chantilly‘s new EP!

However, as luck would have it, the album is actually very good. Turns out? Chantilly is a very talented artist, and I’ve been digging her music ever since I got both her albums in the mail. Her music is perfect for the purpose that I ask music to serve–I can start her albums, and then tune them out while I work on a painting. Or while I clean the apartment. She has a soft and honest sound that makes you forget you’re listening to an album and rather, you just have a super cool bff over and she’s playing her guitar in your living room because, as it turns out, you’re an eclectic and fun person with a variety of artistically-inclined friends who share their talents with you. PS not that I’ve ever pretended that…

For the jealous (or skeptical) readers, you can listen to her here.

Stripes: Car Singing Day 27

Here’s the post I promised yesterday. I really did not intend to do more than a little blurb about the concert and say it was fun and stuff but Coldplay really blew me away so yeah, they got their own post.

Here are the facts about my driving habits for the last 5 years:

-I’ve been in college for 5 years at the same school.

-My family (and I mean my whole immediate family and at least half of my extended family) all lives around the Seattle area either in the city itself or in the various suburbs dotting the map around the epicenter.

-I did a distance relationship with someone who lived in Seattle while I was in college.

-I am adventurous (sometimes, anyways) and love to get out of our little college town to do cool things.

Because of all of this I have driven between Seattle and my college town about 100 times…and if you’re counting there are 2 ways each time and each way takes about 2 hours. In other words, I’ve spent a lot of time driving over the last few years. I was originally going to post about all the things I do while I drive that I think are kind of weird (cause I do a lot of weird stuff when trapped in a car alone) but when I started the section on car singing I realized I had way more material than necessary for a blog post so instead I decided to focus on my favorite (and most ritualized and obsessive) part of driving: Car Singing.

Car Singing, my friends, is an art form that I have developed over years and years of ridding in cars. I no longer do the whole half hearted, kind of singing along, easy to pretend I am on bluetooth in case that old man creeper in the next car looks in my window. No. I car sing like I am on American Idol and this is my last chance to prove I deserve to make it to the final episode.

For long trips, like the one home, I have started doing vocal warm ups (and cursing the fact that you can’t stand while singing in the car causing your breath support to suck and making those high notes in ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ nearly impossible to hit with a full voice). These warm ups accomplish two helpful things:

1. Protect your voice from damage. Let’s face it, unless I’m really tired or emotionally drained, I’m going to be singing the whole time I’m in the car. I am a marathon singer when need be and I don’t want vocal fatigue to kill it for me (and I want to be able to talk the next day…especially helpful for when you’re planning a long drive the next day so you can pick up where you left off and sing more).

2. Helps you to hit those notes like a pro. I would totally recommend some sort of warm ups so you can activate your vocal chords and gain more control over your sound. You’re going to sound 1000000x more like Whitney Huston/BSB/Lady GaGa if you can control your voice and know it’s limits.

The next step is your music selection. I usually start off on my iPod which requires some prep work in the form of an awesome playlist. I don’t mean to sound super conceited but I make awesome playlists and I think it makes or breaks the car singing experience. I have a play list of fast, dance music (think Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Rihanna, N*Sync…I don’t discriminate) another one literally titled ‘Sit on the Porch Mix’ which is all slow, bluegrassy acoustic stuff (think Nickel Creek, Hem, Iron & Wine) and another that is full of music in between these two genres. I also have an a’capella/showtunes mix that I reserve only for my most focused car singing times. I prefer a playlist to just picking an artist (aside from every once in a while when Coldplay or Sufjan Stevens calls me…can’t say no to that) because I like to mix it up. It can get boring singing one person’s stuff and that’s the last thing you want while car singing. I do, also, sometimes change over to the radio to mix things up a little bit and hear some new music…gotta keep it fresh.

After picking music it’s time to sing. I usually like to start off just singing melody but then adding in some bad ass harmonies when I feel the moment is right. It’s also really fun to put on simple music and make up songs/scat/vocally percuss/improv over it.

Now it’s time for the next best part of car singing: CAR DANCING. Oh yes, I took it there. Car choreo is very important because why bother taking all that time and effort to get ready to sing if you’re not really going to get into it? I usually limit myself to hand/arm motions or tapping out cool rhythms when driving for obvious safety reasons but sometimes you just can’t help but shimmy a little. And I say, embrace it. Embrace it good and just let it happen.

I realize that car dancing is the part that makes your awesome car singing less easy to hide form passers by. But you know what? You’re already awesome car singing so who cares? That person only wishes they were as good at car singing as you. So feel free to watch their lame, boring car drive away and sing with peace because you are a million times cooler than they are.

And this final part may just be my own a’capella perfectionism coming through (ok, most of this is my a’capella perfectionism coming through) but I sometimes get super obsessive about a song and will keep singing it over and over until I can nail it in my sleep because practice makes perfect. This includes but is not limited to: the words, correct notes, accurate harmonies, emoting, and proper car singing choreography. Yeah, I have a little OCD when it comes to performing BUT it feels sooooo amazing to sing something perfectly. Totally worth the work but also optional. I realize not everyone is into singing the same song 20 times in a row and that’s ok.

So a quick summary of my car singing routine: Sing healthfully [always, please!], sing proud, and dance your little heart out!

And now for the part you were waiting for, the outfit:

Sweater: Old Navy

Dress: A&E

Leggings: The Loft Outlet

Boots:

What’s everyone’s favorite car singing songs? I personally am a fan of Somebody I Used to Know by Gotye (so many opportunities to harmonize and add stuff) and Take Care by Drake and Rihanna right now but that’s subject to change. Anyone else break out the car dancing? I’d love to hear what you all do!

Stripes: An Ode to Coldplay Day 25

Can I just say, after having written this post, that this was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write! I seriously had issues limiting myself to a reasonable number of songs.

Tonight is the day I’ve been waiting for since I was in middle school: I get to see Coldplay live!!! Gahhh! So, in addition to my outfit (at the bottom) I thought it would be fun to put a bunch of my favorite Coldplay songs in my post today. Here you go!

Outfit:

You’ll have to excuse the boringness of my outfit-it’s the last lab day of the challenge.

Shirt: Target

Jeans: Gap

Shoes: Rocket Dog via Famous Footwear

What’s everyone else’s favorite Coldplay songs?!

[Edit: Hey guys sorry I changed out the picture, I didn’t realize the first one was so blurry. I mean, it’s not like I posted it while in the middle of class or anything…cause of course I would *never* do that.]