Avi Kaplan: The Evolution (in Videos)

There are only a handful of musicians who move and excite me otherwise they are mostly meh. I hadn’t really been able to truly dig music since the ’80s (with few exceptions).

Until nearly five years ago (2014) when I stumbled across Pentatonix’s Christmas video, The Little Drummer Boy, on You Tube.  Two vocalists in particular stood out to me: Kirstin Maldonado and Avi Kaplan.  I especially loved Avi’s booming bass voice. I was very sad when he announced in early 2017 that he was leaving Pentatonix to pursue his own music as well as to spend more time with his family.

It’s been a joy watching him grow and mature as a musician striving to find his own path.  And boy, with his latest song, I believe he has finally arrived.  But, in order to truly appreciate his latest music, you really need to revisit his past music, and then as you listen to the Change On the Rise, you will truly understand why his fans are so excited and wowed and stunned!

Avi was born and grew up in Visalia, California, a city in the San Joaquin Valley.  Being Jewish, he was subjected to ridicules and bullying as a kid. Having grown up near the Sequoia National Park, nature greatly influenced his music.

In the video below, you will hear the story of how Pentatonix and Avi came together to compete on a television show (Sing Off) that would change their lives forever.

September 2011

The video below was where I first discovered Avi (in 2014).

December 2012

The song below won Pentatonix their first Grammy.

2013

Below was Avi’s final performance with Pentatonix.

September 2017

Avi loved Folk music so naturally the music in his debut album fell in that genre. The song below is my favorite.

First solo album (Sage & Stone) released in June 2017-Avi & the Sequoias

I believe sometime in 2017, he moved to Tennessee to live in a cabin deep in the forest outside of Nashville. Here he would spend his quiet days writing and playing songs. Every once in a while a video surfaced of him. Otherwise, he basically took a sabbatical in order to delve into his own music away from the chaotic world.

September 2018

And then this! This music video premiered on You Tube on the said date below. For those who closely followed Avi and his music, well, this was a real treat.  We’ve listened to the kind of music he sang in the past, and this…this was NOT what we expected.  Far, far from it!  We were speechless and so incredibly moved to tears.  Yes, Avi is finally coming into his own. And I expect him to continue to surprise and shock us with his talent in songwriting and singing.  Oh, did I mention that voice?  Simply put…there is no other like it.

March 22, 2019

Avi’s official website 

His You Tube channel

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FANtastical Friday: My Favorite Bass Singers

 

Who says that bass singers can’t be successful? There are plenty of bands with bass singers; but, how many of them are the lead singers? Or better yet, soloist?

Hmm, I can only think of a few.

Eddy Vedder, Pearl Jam

 

Johnny Cash

 

Randy Travis

 

Josh Turner

 

Jim Morrison, The Doors

 

These are just a few I could think off the top of my head. Anyhoo, the reason I got on this bandwagon was because of a new song I listened to earlier today that just absolutely wowed me.  Newly released to the public (earlier today), Change On the Rise by Avi Kaplan (formerly the bass singer from Pentatonix). His voice is incredible!  I believe we are possibly looking at one of the prolific bass singers in modern time right here.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

You Tube Tuesday: Writing and You Tube

 

(*YouTube Tuesday idea originally came from the Martians Attack blog)

 

Not too long ago, I used Pandora (Film Scores station) while I wrote.  Now, it’s You Tube.  It’s full of choices including Epic Music World, The Guild of Ambience, The Prime Cronus, The Soundtrack Beast, and on and on.   Some of my favorites though are Fesliyan Studios, Vadim KiselevTaylor Davis, and Audiomachine.

 

What about you?  What/who do you listen to as you write?

 

If you’d like to participate in YouTube Tuesday, post something from YouTube that you enjoyed and tell us a bit about it.  Don’t forget to include the link to this post in yours so I can check it out.  Also, if you’re on Twitter, tweet about it using the hashtag #YouTubeTuesday.

 

Iconic Series: Movie-Saturday Night Fever

saturday-night-fever

 

We can’t visit the 1970s without looking at the movie that shaped the decade: Saturday Night Fever.

This movie did several things.  It propelled disco music and dancing to great popularity as well as made actor John Travolta a house-hold name for the upcoming decades.   The soundtrack of the movie featured several songs by the Bees Gees which quickly became one of the top soundtracks of all time.  This did wonders for their singing careers with Staying Alive as one of their most recognized songs.

(A side note: In case you didn’t know, Saturday Night Fever has a sequel, Staying Alive which interestingly enough was co-written and co-produced by none other than-Sylvester Stallone)

Iconic Series: Song-“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

edmund-fitzgerald-ship-wreck

 

As a writer, I am also a lover of music and movies.  I will run an Iconic Series featuring various musicians/songs/films that I love, and which ones I deemed as being iconic of the times.  To start off I like to focus on the 1970s and one of the most iconic songs of that decade has to be “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

It’s a legendary and tragic tale, second most known of all shipwrecks behind the Titanic.  “The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan.” (Reference taken from the Shipwreck Museum website)    Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer, wrote and performed this ballad which created an even more (world-wide) interest in this iconic ship.

 

Motionpoems: Short Film & Interviews

motionpoems image

 

 

I’m interrupting my usual posts to bring you a special short film: Creased Map of the Underworld

 

This film took a poem written by Kim Addonizio which was then put into motion by film-maker Bryan Michurski.  It’s gritty, and it’s dark.   After watching it, you may never look at the world, or death, quite the same again.   Through Motionpoems, I had the honor of interviewing both Kim and Bryan.  You can read it here.

Reasons Why Christmas Is Great For Writers

magical christmas

If you’re a writer, especially if you write fantasy of any kind, Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year.

 

1. Magic is in the air: there’s something about this particular holiday (out of all holidays) that no matter where you go, you can sense magic in everything. And for the creative souls, the magical feel tends to be extra strong.

2. You’re already a kid-at-heart: with holiday cartoons and movies and music galore, and don’t forget all the yummy sweets that accompany Christmas…how can you not feel like a kid again?

3. Christmas tends to re-awaken the muse: I can only attest this to be true for me.  I love the idea of a man and his elves and reindeer residing in a magical place where we can’t see…as a child I envisioned this place as a beautiful haven in a world that was too focused on “reality.”

 

What about you?  What does Christmas means to you as a writer?

How To Jump-Start Your Muse

day ten

Ever have days when no matter what you do, you just can’t get going?  The harder you try, the more frustrated you get, and still nothing.  There are dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry hamper is over-flowing, and to top it all off, you’re worrying about making your paycheck stretch ’till the next payday.   Recently you lost a loved one to a horrible disease, and one of your siblings is going through a nasty divorce.  Life can be so distracting at times, and all you want to do is write to take your mind off them even if it lasted for only a few minutes, you desperately need that reprieve.distraction

How can you do this when the muse refuses to cooperate?

1.  Take a deep breath.  Sit back in your chair, close your eyes and let yourself be immersed in the sounds around you.

2. Next, acknowledge all the things that are bothering/distracting you, and the reasons behind them.

3. Then write them down in a notebook, or type it on your electronic gadget.

From personal experience, many times these were all that was needed to jump-start my muse; but, not always.

What can you do then?

4. Put on some music.  For me, non-lyrical types work best especially ones from soundtracks for movies.    The “film scores” station on Pandora is  a great place to start (and it’s free!). Tunein (internet radio) is another great (also free) place to check out.

5. Move.  You’ve probably seen this particular one on many writing sites as a possible solution to “writer’s block” and I for one can definitely say that it does work (most of the time).  Go outside and take a walk.  Try some gardening, or mow the grass.  Wash those dishes, or start a load of laundry.  For many, taking a long shower or bath does wonders for them.  Busying your body with an activity other than writing tends to free the muse/mind to wander to wherever it desires to go; many a writer have had an epiphany this way.

 

If all else fail,  pick up a book and lose yourself in it.      Book reading