Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Being "Tawdry" and "Offputting"...

I got a review once from The Daily Vault that resulted in an A- (not too shabby). To this day, I think the reviewer was the only one who really got me musically, and I was SO happy and relieved about that, even though my brother wasn't as appreciative of what was said about the production of GATA City. (TBH, I don't think it sounded as "homegrown" as we were told in the article.) I think this will be remedied in future projects; but we've heard quite a few favourable comments from others (including, but not limited to people in radio) about the production, so I just chalk it up to "this shxt ain't for everybody". I mean, considering what passes for "the sound" nowadays... if this is what is considered "chique", then, I'll stay sounding "homespun", thank you very much, LOL.
The review also said this:

An integral part of [Tha]Gata Negrra’s image is her weirdness, which can seem a bit tawdry and offputting. Her music, however, is anything but. Gata Negrra might like to be... an anime character that wears gaudy clothes and makeup, but GATA City is an ordinary mainstream pop album – an enjoyable and a great mainstream pop album.
Huh. Okay.
I'm guessing the reviewer has never been to Japan. Or watched an anime. I could be wrong.
At the time, I wasn't quite offended; I've been getting that "OMG whatthehellisthat" reaction all my life, so it isn't new to me. I did bristle a bit at "tawdry" and "gaudy", which are usually pretty negative words:

taw·dry- adjective \ˈtȯ-drē, ˈtä-\ : cheap and gaudy in appearance or quality; also : ignoble <a tawdry attempt to smear his opponent> noun: cheap showy finery

gau·dy-  adjective \ˈgȯ-dē, ˈgä-\
1: ostentatiously or tastelessly ornamented
2: marked by extravagance or sometimes tasteless showiness : outlandish <gaudy lies> <gaudy claims>;
also :exceptional <a gaudy batting average>

Note that "gaudy" is actually used as a synonym for "tawdry".
Those words are just more shorthand for "We don't get it". Or, "We can't wrap our eyes around it. It's too much."
Okay. I'll buy that for a dollar. Like I said: it's nada new.
I was talking with someone I know who works for a prominent indie label and, in general, likes my look/brand, and he likened me to a fire that, when the audience comes to drink, instead of giving them a water fountain trickle, I visually give them a faceful of high-jet water. I thought it was funny, actually. And not por nada: it's kind of the point.
The odd bit is that this guy, who I respect and admire immensely and love him to death, actually suggested that I strip down--like a LOT--and give you guys the full-jet later (and yet, he loves and promotes people like Kerli, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj and Madonna). I didn't immediately object--I mean, this guy is who he is for a reason-- but it would be, I dunno, untrue to me. I don't like giving people the untruth. I want to give you the full truth. I don't mean truth as in shedding all of the clothes and barrettes and adornments. Those are just amplification. I mean, if everyone wanted truth, we'd all be running around naked, no?
I mean full truth as in giving you the whole ThaGataNegrra experience. And that is what people come to see me for. You didn't come to see me sans synthlox extensions, sans clothes, sans the..."explosive" version of me. You didn't come to see me be "normal". You weren't attracted to me because I'm freaking "normal".

You came because you saw me flying my freak flag, didn't you?

You came because you saw that it isn't some chyck making play she's so unusual (yes, that is indeed an intentional Cyndi Lauper reference) like some artists you might see out saw that it is coming from a place where genuine "weirdness" is rampant. You've either visited that place or wanted to visit that place, or wanted to know what that place looked like before you went there.
That's what I represent.
And if I came to you with my natural coily hair as it is now, in blue jeans and a fxcking plain black t-shirt and tried to sell you the Meowness, you. Would. Not. Buy it. Period.

I will say that when I was younger, all the way up to where I am now, I have expressed myself differently than that of my peers, even if I had on the same outfit (or elements of the same outfit), I must have carried it differently than they. I've seen people look at old pics of me and say, "You didn't look weird at all!" No, not to them in the picture. But, if you were walking down street with me at the time it was taken, in that outfit, you'd have heard a whole bunch of taunts thrown at me. I never got that. Still don't. But it is what it is.
Back then, it was: "THIS bxtch..." now it's: "THIS bxtch is walking through the supermarket with ma-fxckin' CAT ears on."
I do that because it's true for me now. That--walking through the supermarket with ma-fxckin' cat ears on-- is. MY. TRUTH. And I would be less than respectful of me-- of you, even-- if I didn't do that.
I just took a course that advised the very thing that I am already doing. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this. And I'm proud of the fact that I've already got "it". One less thing for me to learn.

I was recently reminded that for some reason Cyndi Lauper was a big influence on me. That I loved the look that Prince and all his proteges touted in the Revolution and New Power Generation eras. That it was all about shell-toe Adidas. That I wanted violet and white hair. That I had an affinity for and with cats. That I used to want to be like the characters from Battle of the Planets/Gatchaman. That I was a lot like Yuri from The Dirty Pair (Adam Warren version). That I once got teased for looking like "a reject from the X-Men" (which I thought was so funny...).
It certainly explains a lot about me.

If you notice the last part of the definition for gaudy, it says: "exceptional".

ex·cep·tion·al (ikˈsepSHənəl)adj.
1. Being an exception; uncommon.
2. Well above average; extraordinary: an exceptional memory.
3. Deviating widely from a norm.

I can take that.

So, when I got the link to the review from The Daily Vault, it was accompanied by an email from the writer. In it, he expressed the fact that he loved what I was doing, to keep up the good work, and signed it, "Your fan from Canada".

In the end...still expressed being a fan. I was humbled.

That is what being true to who you are can get you. It takes longer, but it's worth it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Random Birthday Post

So, it's my birthday, and because one of my dancers, 3D, posted this on my wall on Facebook
...we ended up watching Chapelle's Show. Of course, I remembered that Mr. Chappelle and I share a birthday...and because of the episode where this happened, I was reminded of this:

This is my fave of that meme....HAHAHAHA
Okay, I'm done.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

When I'm Stuck...

It's never fun to be stuck in a rut when you want to create something. I tried to describe the feeling once, and the best I could do was "It's like being pregnant with a LEGO sculpture and having to give birth to it brick by tedious brick."
I know. That WAS weird. But that's how it felt!
I mean, it's like I'll get a few things: a line here, a line there, an idea for a song over there. I jot them down straight away if I can. But have me sit and try to actually come up with a whole's rough.
I imagine it's due to stress, and stagnant energy. It's totally frustrating.
I have been told that I need to move from where I am to shake that up. Oh, but if it were that simple. Hopefully soon, where it is airy and sunny and I can go connect with the earth if I need to. I think that's something everyone has to do every once in awhile...
I used to dance to free up energy, but I don't so much anymore. It just doesn't bring me the same joy it did in my least for now. I think it was smothered out of me by a few key toxic relationships that used to be a part of my life. Maybe later, my view on that will change. Now when I stress, I sing it out, even though my voice isn't the best. But I feel that in my heart, and I just have to get it out...and what songs I choose are ultimately up to how I feel, the ones that I'm making an emotional connection with at the time. It feels good. Somehow, music has always been able to do that for me.
Not much to this blog...but thought I'd share.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Still "The Two-Take Kid"...

Last month, I had the genuine pleasure of making an appearance in a good friend of mine's video. His name is Mr. Live and he is one of the MCs I can truly say I have a healthy amount of reverence for. Although you wouldn't know it by the fact that I showed up extremely late to said video shoot!
The call time was for 9 AM at the earliest--how about, due to unforeseen circumstances (read: NOBODY'S alarm went off at Tha Cat Lair), I ended up there at more like, 1 PM? It seemed as if everything was conspiring to stop me from arriving, but we made it, and Mr. Live was very forgiving (not sure about his partner Earl Blaize, though. He barely said two words to me, LOL).
At any rate, I sat in the subway car, brushed on makeup as fast as I could, and watched the filming take place. I was comforted by the fact that it reminded me of how guerrilla my own video had been when it was filmed. Peace again ended up being a part of the production by proxy. I need to just take him everywhere I go forever.
Soon, it was my turn to film, and I needed to have a 'tude, so I got into character for my brief moment. I was worried I would suck and screw it up, thereby cementing the exasperation experienced by the cast and crew who waited for my tardy ass. I looked dead in the camera and said my line on cue (I had been listening to the song almost non-stop for the past three days, right up until I showed for the shoot), and cringed at the slight pause...then cringed even more at the round of laughter that came afterwards. OMG, I thought, that must've really sucked.
"That was good!" said one of the crew, laughing. Mr. Live looked satisfied. "I feel kinda jilted," he said. The take was good! Thank God.
They wanted to get another one, so I said the line a second time. More laughter and more satisfaction from Mr. Live. So I was relieved and very happy.
Besides the party/fantasy scene that took place, I was basically done. I said, "I better had gotten it in two takes, showing up as late as I did...shxt!"
A recurring theme in my life, with anything I've done, was to finish my work in two takes. I admit that at most points in my life I would nail it in one, but not always. My father had taken to calling me "The Two-Take Kid". Hence, the title of the blog.
I'm just glad I haven't lost my touch.
Here's the finished product below.