Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Get to know: Shameem

Shameem is the spiritual, fruit-loving, soulful singer that my life has been missing, and I promise that you need this lady (or at least her music) in yours too!

This socially aware powerhouse is all set for the release of her second album, The Second City, and enjoying the drop of its first single, Under One Sun

She's the type of person who likes to share, so audiences for her upcoming national tour are in for a treat - the stories and inspirations behind the songs.

So I'm going to let her introduce herself, meet Shameem.

Hi, I'm Shameem Taheri-Lee, better known as Shameem.
 But you can call me Sham, because that's easier to pronounce properly. I know that "Shameem" looks easy to say, but it's not; people always get it wrong!

I'd describe myself as a passionate, spiritual, rather workaholic musician.

Currently I love summer: the sun, the heat, the frangipanis, the fruit! Mmm, mangoes...

I'm a musician because I'm crazy about making music. And I think that music is a powerful way to get a positive message out there to a lot of people.

The first thing I do in the morning is eat some fruit. Gotta start the day with fruit.

I'm most excited for  January 16 [2015] to roll around, as that's when I release my new album.

I can't wait to perform in cities all around Australia in February - we are doing a national tour to support the album release. Yay!

I'm most proud of my younger brother, who took time off his studies this year to do volunteer work in Broome. The world would be a better place if people would give priority to serving others, and not just getting ahead in the rat race.

I'm excited for this album because I've been working on it for a long time, and it's been finished for a while now, so I want to release it and get it out there already! It's definitely a more mature and well-developed sound than my previous recordings, so I'm really keen to see what people think of it.
I'm nervous that I need to sell a lot of tickets for my album launch in Perth. It's at a really fantastic, big venue. These are the little things you worry about when you're a self-managing musician.

Don't tell anyone but the first big concert I ever attended was 5ive - you remember, that British boy band? I was completely smitten with them when I was around 12-years-old and I still have two of their albums!

At school I was a floater who hung out with everybody: the geeks, the Asians, the white people, the musicians, the sporty people...everyone except the "cool" people; they didn't like me.

I couldn't live without my diary. I'm such a busy person, and my diary is like my lifeline.

I want to perform at Live Aid.

My biggest fan is a middle-aged man on Facebook. In fact, there are a few middle-aged men on Facebook who are super fans. They come to heaps of gigs, are always commenting on or sharing my online posts and are really supportive of my music! It might sound a bit strange - [a] young female artist with older male fans - but seriously they're all really lovely, nice people.

I want to sing for Sting. He is my song-writing idol; I simply LOVE his music.

My favourite song is changing all the time. I have a new favourite song at least once a week I think. Right now it's "Heaven" by Emeli Sande.

I love to watch Star Trek. Next Generation is my favourite series, followed by Voyager. I don't get much time to watch TV, so I rarely get to watch it, but I always hang out for it when it's on.

Right now I'm reading the Qur'an. I'm not a Muslim; I just want to know what it says for myself, instead of getting second-hand information from either a fanatic religionist or up-jumped layperson who has no idea what they're talking about.

When I'm not singing I'm on the computer, promoting my music like a good self-managed musician should do.

When I'm on my phone I'm playing solitaire to chill out and defrag my brain from all the things I have to think about all the time.

Something not many people know about me is that I am a primary carer for my mum, who is rather disabled having been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 12 years ago.

I would tell my thirteen-year-old self that building a career in the music industry is going to take time, so be patient! And don't wait for anyone to anything for you: you have to do it all yourself.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Forest Falls // TOUR DIARY

Tour diaries are my personal favourite (so maybe I'm a nosey person..). And the wonderful guys and gals from Forest Falls have been kind enough to share one from their recent tour with Love 'Em!

Listen to their music and read their words; theirs' is a world I wouldn't mind visiting.

The Heavy Hearted Girl Tour was a departure from the norm for us. We have done the trip up the east coast before but this time round we did it without a drummer. The obvious drawback was there was no boom-tsh for punch lines during on-stage banter. However, we did find there were many pluses. Firstly, the car ride was infinitely more spacious. On our last trip one band member had to cuddle a floor tom in order for everything to fit in the car. More importantly we really honed the set during our percussion hiatus. Having no beats to hide behind meant that we were super aware of our parts and how the dynamics worked. We made a lot of alterations to improve the tunes and our performance as a whole. We'll be releasing some live tracks from the trek in the near future.

The first leg of the Heavy Hearted Girl Tour was action packed. Although the first show at the Wesley Anne was sweet and intimate, it was marred by an unfortunate event. We have so much gear at the moment, much of it newly bought in the latest stint of recording, all of it black and imperceptible like all music gear. Basically, I'm angling towards the fact that it's hard to keep track of it all. Sure enough we left our beloved Casiotone keyboard behind. I know what you're thinking, "what's the big deal? Just go back and get it!" and you're right, but our gig was on the eve of Melbourne Cup and we planned to leave the next day. Jon packed an alternative keyboard but was so paranoid that it didn't have a case that he wrapped it in a doona. We hadn't even left Melbourne yet and we were all a little edgy. When we arrived in Canberra all our worries just dissipated. We were blown away by just how lovely (and resourceful!) everyone was. Our friend Nigel at the Canberra Musicians' Club managed to track down a Casiotone keyboard and put us up for the night.

Before the gig at Smith's Alternative we stopped by the studio at 2XXFM for LocalnLive with Reuben Ingall. Reuben's silky smooth radio voice soothed our nerves and we played a couple of raw versions of Coming Home and Heavy Hearted Girl. It was recorded with three regular mics that we usually use for talkback. Even so, we were pretty content with the performance at the time. When we listened back later it sounded so bass heavy. Our eyes quickly fixated on Jez who sings the lowest harmony of the song. We soon found out that ironically Jez had hung further back from the mics in an attempt to lay low. While everyone else sung close to one microphone, he had unwittingly tripled his input by singing to all of them from further back. He maintains this was an accident, although I have a sneaking suspicion he was craving the spotlight. We'll have to fling him another recorder solo like the one [he had] in Julia to keep him happy.

A jam in a Canberra Garden
We met another of Canberra's loveable music industry icons when we arrived at Smith's for sound check that night. The venue's resident sound guy, Bevan, had a phenomenal presence in the city and was revered by all the acts, organisers and radio peeps we met. He had a fully digital set up and was eager to learn the inner workings or our set to ensure the best sound on the night. We felt so comfortable on stage and the relatively petite venue was filled to the brim with our tunes.

The next day we set off early to drive to Sydney. After a couple of hours on the road we eventually arrived at long-time Forest Falls' friends, Chris and Sarah's.The gorgeous couple had housed us twice before on other musical endeavours but had recently upgraded to a new pad. We were prepared for the tiniest smidge of floor space to sleep on but instead [we] were given the kapua-suite. A hidden loft that not even Chris and Sarah's real estate knew about - it was legit although scaling the twenty-rung ladder to get to bed proved difficult on the night of the show.
So, the show! The show went really well: Dylan Wright, who had supported us as a solo act, was headlining and he and his band smashed it. The opener, Forster Anderson, had an equally commanding presence on stage despite being but one man. We were so impressed by him in fact, [that] we asked him down to Melbourne for our last show of the tour and he said "yes" everyone!*

Road Trippin'

So after the show we embarked on the ten-ish hour long long drive to Melbourne. Things got a little loopy there for a while, especially when Gabe ("Mumbles") and Jon got on the CB radios together. Gabe relentlessly impersonated other commuters on various channels and Jon proudly sang Queen songs - acapella and in their entirety. Somehow we all made it home unscathed and still friends, ready for the next few shows in the city of Melbourne!

F O R E S T  FALLS - http://forestfalls.bandcamp.com/

*Just quickly, Gabe is emphatic that we shout out to Satellite Cafe in Newtown. He swears it's the best coffee. Reuben: juice, second coffee and muffin he's ever had in one sitting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anna O // Symphony Launch

Let me introduce you to Anna. Anna O.

She's the red-headed powerhouse whose name you should familarise yourself with.

I may be a blogger, and in turn a writer, but sometimes my words really can't justify something. So instead, read Anna's and listen to her music. I'm sure that you'll love her just as much as I do.

Mahalia: Congratulations on the new single! How are you feeling?
Anna: Thank you! I am so stoked with how well Symphony has been received so far, and excited to see where it goes.

M: What's it been like working on Symphony?
A:  Symphony was the last track that I wrote for the EP and it was a very last minute addition. In terms of writing, it came together quite quickly, but we spent a fair bit of time on it in the studio. The team [of people] I have around me are unreal; my producer, Rhys Machell, put the bulk of the tune together, with the help of my guitarist, Simeon Nelson. Then it was sent off to Karl Cashwell, who added in the amazing string parts and some extra ear candy. It was so cool hearing each new mix as the song developed and I knew it was the right song to release first.

M: What were you feeling once it was released?
A: I was really keen to get the song out, but once it was out I tried not to put too much expectation on it.

M: Did it get the initial response you were hoping for?
A: The response Symphony has been getting is so much bigger than I could have hoped for. I'm feeling really good about the direction my sound is taking, and that's been confirmed for me in so many ways, which is nice! Getting featured on HillyDilly a few days after I put the song up on Triple J Unearthed was definitely a highlight and has opened up some really great opportunities for me - but you'll hear more about that soon!

M: What's happening for you now?
A: At the moment, I'm just under a week out from the single launch show of Symphony at Amplifier Bar on Saturday (December 13th). So I am currently in rehearsals for that and preparing to hit Sydney and Melbourne with a couple of shows in January. There's a few other exciting things on the horizon, but yet to be announced, so keep an eye out!

M: What should people know about your upcoming EP? What should they expect?
A: I'm yet to settle on a title for the second EP, but people can expect a shift in [the] sound from my first release. I would say it's less pop and more electronic sort of vibes, but there's still lots of similar elements in the melodies, vocal layers, and beats. Lyrically this collection of songs are based much more around storytelling than personal experience. I wanted to communicate particular emotions and explore different concepts that haven't necessarily happened to me but are common human experience. I'm really with how the tunes are coming together and can't wait to release them to the world next year!

M: What inspired you to take up music?
A: I've always been drawn to music, and I've never loved anything else enough to stick at it. It's like I have this deep-seated knowing that music is what I'm meant to do, and I've never been able to shake it..so here I am!

M: And just because it's nearly Christmas - are you a candy cane taker or leaver?
A: I feel like such a party pooper to say it, but I'm not a massive fan of candy canes. Give me Mum's Christmas roast any day.

Don't miss Anna, follow her music: http://www.annao.co/  AND  https://www.facebook.com/annaomusic

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Horns

A diverse mix or indie and rock, Daniel J.C. and Roy Amar, The Horns are an exciting new Melbourne offering.

Metalhead, multi-instrumentalist Amar and Electro/Rock 'n' Roll vocalist Daniel, mightn't seem like the right fit, but give it a listen and you'll see why opposites attract. It definitely works.

The Horns started as a playful joke and an indie-loving girlfriend in need of a break from metal, but it's grown to be amazing in its own right.

With their debut single having just been released and their debut EP looking very strong, it's about time you became acquainted with The Horns, don't you think?

Mahalia: Play With Fire is your single, what's the process been like for you guys?
Daniel: It's been amazing and unlike anything we've done before. We started this project with the overall goal to really perfect the recorded songs before anything else, which is sort of backwards to how we've done it in the past. It's always been write some songs, play some shows, record said songs so by the time your product is out there, your first impression has kind of been lost and you can become jaded by the project before you've even released a thing. This way, above all else, we've really worked on the recorded material and I think it really shows in the music.

 M: So it sounds like The Horns became a thing in quite an unusual way. Can you tell us about this?
D: Yeah, absolutely. I guess it came out of a need to try something completely new. Roy loves his metal [music] and I'm into all things electronic so we have never actually written pop music before, which I think is our biggest asset. It's still all so new to us and super exciting. The whole thing, funnily enough, started out as a bit of a joke. Roy, who had only ever written hard rock and metal songs, thought it would be funny to write a happy pop tune for his girlfriend, so he did. Unfortunately she loved it and wanted more so he kept going it all kinda spiralled from there.

M: How would you describe the music that you're making now?
D: It's always incredibly hard to describe the music you make but I'd say, it's pop music with a bit more substance I guess. I've always been really inspired by the darker, more sombre sides of life too so there is more than a little melancholy hidden beneath the romanticism and happiness of the songs.

M: Where are you hoping to go with this new project?
D: Everywhere! Roy and I have been making music for most of our lives and it's kind of all we know so if we can find a big enough audience to us support that, nothing would make us happier.

M: You've got an EP coming out in 2015, can you give any hints about what we can expect?
D:  Big pop tunes with a lot of layers. It's also a perfect representation of everything that we are. We got one of the first songs we ever wrote on there and also have a track that we wrote on the fly in the studio, so I guess it captures where we were and the very beginning and where we are headed.

M: Who are you currently listening to?
D: We are launching our debut single, Play With Fire at The Railway Hotel, Brunswick, on the 5th of December so I'm essentially just listening to our own music and getting a few brand new tracks ready for the show. Although my girlfriend just bought me Nick Caves' second record, The Firstborn Is Dead, on vinyl so [I've] definitely been giving that a good listen.

M: How would you describe the dynamics in your duo?
D: It's actually pretty ridiculous. Roy and I are very close friends but we're opposites in every sense of the word and in absolutely every way. Somehow though, when it comes to creating music, we just click. We are kind of like the ethnic version of the odd couple but hey, it works!

Keep in touch: www.thehornsmusic.com &www.facebook.com/thehornsmusic

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ryan O'Neal // Sleeping At Last

I am going to be honest with you, I am NOT a Twilight fan - not really. I devoured the books (but honestly there isn't many that I don't) but the movies never captured me the way they did the masses. I am not a Twihard.

But the soundtrack, that I am willing to admit my love for.

Ryan O'Neal scored (pun not intended, but yep..) the gig of the highly anticipated and oh-so-important wedding scene. Not a bad job really.

And the very talented O'Neal has continued strongly since then, with a so many yet-to-be-announced projects. He was a pleasure, as is his music.

Mahalia: So it was a few years okay but can you tell me a little about how the chance to be on Twilight's soundtrack came about? How did that process work?
Ryan: I've always been a huge fan of the Twilight soundtracks, so about a year before Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 came out, I decided to take a chance and try to write a song for the film. I watched all of the previous Twilight films back to back...and read a bit of the Breaking dawn book to see how the story was going. So I began to write...after sitting down at the piano for a while, I came up with the first few chords of what became Turning Page  and to me, it felt like a wedding march. I leaned into that and wrote a love song.  I completed my song and recording and sent it over to my publishers and crossed my fingers that somehow it'd make it into the hands of the filmmakers. After several months of silence I had assumed it was a no go. And then I got a phone call from the [Twilight] music supervisor [saying] she had good news - that my song would not only appear in the iconic wedding scene, but that it would be reprised in the honeymoon scene as well. I was completely blown away! Life changing for me!

M: What've you been up to of late?
R: I've been working on the nest phase of my music series, Atlas - which is an ongoing series of new music inspired by the origins of the universe and the life inside it. I completed the first year of the project, 30 songs, and am about to begin year two! In addition to that, I started a new company called, Emphasis. It's a website where music fans [get] to hand-pick their favourite lyrics from their favourite bands and make a custom t-shirt. A dream come true for me, as it was an idea I had long ago - so to finally see it turned into a real thing has been so fun!

M: How would you describe your music to someone who hadn't heard it before?
R: I'd say it's generally quiet music...lots of acoustic and orchestral instruments. I love film scores, so there's a lot of that influence there and I love pop song structure, so that's in there too! It's a little bit folk as well.

M: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would you perform?
R: There are SO many places I have yet to play and see!! I'd love to play a show in Iceland. And Paris...
M: What does a day in your life look like at the moment?
R: I wake up, spend a little time with my wife, Cayt and new baby girl, Lily. Then I begin work, which is different every day! If I'm writing, it means sitting at my piano in my studio and working on lyrics or melodies for the new song I'm writing and recording. Other days it's music "business" stuff...like planning out the months ahead with my manager, or preparing announcements, blog posts, etc. Or sorting out new merch. It's always a little different, but every day I try to write a little bit. That's my anchor.

M: What's the plan for 2015?
R: Continuing on with Atlas: Year Two (which will be about 24 new songs!), I'll be writing a film score for an upcoming documentary and I've got a whole bunch of other plans I can't announce yet! Can't wait!

Make a shirt: EMPHASIS 

O F F I C I A L S I T E : http://sleepingatlast.com/

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ella Hooper

You might know her from the newest version of ABC's Spicks & Specks but Ella Hooper isn't just any TV captain, she's a mega-talented 90's inspired pop songstress in her own right.

On the brink of launching her first solo album ( Hooper is originally from Killing Heidi fame), Ella is preparing herself for what's to come.

A new direction and a new record (although I promise she's a lot more fun than the album might hint at) Ella Hooper is a name you should get familiar with.

Mahalia: Well first off congrats on your upcoming album In Tongues, it sounds incredible! What has the process been like for you doing a solo album?
Ella: Going solo was a long and complicated decision for me to make, and the recording process of the album mirrors that. It's taken an age but I've learned so so much, and now I see that these lessons have been invaluable.
There's been way more work and responsibility - but the rewards are amazing. I feel much more connected to the entire album, artwork, mixing track selection and all...it feels good.

M: Do you have a favourite song off the album?
E:  Ooh that's hard! I'm proud of them all for different reasons...but Everything Was A Sign is a big ass ballad that holds a special place in my heart and seems to kick everyone right in the soft bits every time, so probably that one.

M: I've been saving this question for someone super cool! How do you choose the titles of your songs? Is this a part of your song writing or does it happen later?
E: Good question! I LOVE naming songs.
It used to be an after thought but now I see it as a real art. I often start with the title and if it's strong it can inform and direct the whole song. Lots of great song writers I know say it's a really important part of writing.
Plus you want to feel cool intro-ing the song live.

M: If you could play a show tomorrow, where would it be and who would be in the audience?
E: I'd like to play a lush over-grown Roman ruin type amphitheatre, lit with fairy lights, incorporating a 360 wine bar, to people, fairies, nymphs and satyrs sitting on tiered seating and pillows on the ground. A bit of a Midsummer Nights Dream fantasy gig, because why not?!

M: Who are you currently listening to?
E: I've been obsessed with Harry Belafonte for a couple of years now, but also the new Laura Jean record, Australia, is great, and Jack Ladders' new album Playmates is incredible. Also Tyrannamen are rocking my socks. I like to mix it up.

M: How would you describe yourself?
E: I'd call it sassy, spiky, heart felt, dark pop. 90s ethos with a 70s swagger. Apocapop.

M: How would you describe yourself?
E: I'm not as dark as my recent music. I think I'm actually pretty fun and funny, but I might be wrong about that last bit as most laughs I get are usually unintentional?!
But I don't mind.
I'm passionate. Enthusiastic. Hard working. If I like the job.

M: What are you hoping for In Tongues?
E:  Simply to start on the road to redefining myself as an artist (no biggie!) and to perhaps reach new listeners who might like this new stuff. I'd love to be able to grow people's understanding of me, musically. But it's hard. There's a lot of water under the bridge.

M: Do you have any hidden talents? Care to reveal one to us?
E: I'm very flexible? I have double jointed thumbs. Also, I was into 'twerking' way before it was cool, and then heinously uncool, as I used to study belly dancing and shaking your ass (and other bits) is a part of that discipline.

Visit Ella's Facebook :: https://www.facebook.com/EllaHooperOfficial

+ buy In Tongues! https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/in-tongues/id929385942 or

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Timothy Nelson & The Infidels

 I have rewritten this intro so many times, but really what can I say about the crazily talented Timothy Nelson & The Infidels.

Not one for playing by the rules, the band's music is loosely described as pop, and at best a kaleidoscope of cool.

It mightn't fit into a genre, but TM&TI have already found themselves a permanent position on my summer playlist.

Mahalia: So first up, can you tell me a bit about where the name Timothy Nelson & The Infidels came from?
Timothy: My parents are responsible for the first half, so you'd have to take that up with them. I took Infidels from a Bob Dylan album 'cause I liked the sound of it. The Infidelity aspect of the name fits in a way because we all play in about [a] million other bands.

M: Do you have a favourite song from your new album Terror Terror, Hide It Hide It?
T: My favourite at the moment is Do U Need It, the chords are a bit jazzy and it turns into a bit of a space jam towards the end. I realize I just made it sound terrible...go listen for yourself. I dig it.

M: You guys don't stick to just one genre, has there one that you've really enjoyed?
T: I don't really care for genres, it the songs are good then I'm into it. The same goes for writing and it does for what I listen to. I see us as a pop band because we basically make pop songs, but we don't have a specific set of rules as to how we arrange them.

M: Where are you hoping to go genre-wise next?T: I just want to write the best songs I can and the way they come out in the studio will be forever influenced by whatever trip I, and the band, are on. A bastardized version of my favourite records and theirs.

M: How does your writing process work? Especially considering that you aren't confined to a single genre?
T: Some songs just fall out of the sky, others take years. It can start anywhere really, be it a lyric or a some chords or just a short melody. The process of writing songs I find is so messy it's crazy to even call it a process.

M: What's coming up for the band in 2015?
T: We're going to keep playing shows far [and] wide, and always working on new material.

M: Do you guys believe in New Year's resolutions? If so are you planning any for Timothy Nelson & The Infidels?
T: I think the general consensus is to get less fit, take up smoking and spend more money when possible.

M: What's your personal favourite style of music to listen to?
T: Hits.

M: Current favourite song?
T: Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

S a y H e l l o !  http://www.tninfidels.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/TNInfidels

Friday, November 14, 2014

Better than Perfect by Simone Elkeles

Title: Better than Perfect
Author: Simone Elkeles
Source: Bloomsbury Publishing for review
Buy it here: The Book Depository

Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!

Derek has a perfect body, the sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. 

As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild? 

I'm going to be honest: I thought I wasn't going to like this book. But man, am I glad I stuck with it! I suppose even if it had been awful it only took me a day to read, so I wouldn't have been with it for long! Actually though, I really enjoyed Better than Perfect. It was cute and had just the right amount of romance-verse-other-plot-lines to be interesting, and obviously kept me reading till the very end.

The use of alternating perspectives between the two main characters (Derek and Ashtyn) was really effective here; although I have read many books where this type of writing falls flat and is just confusing. I felt that it added so much to this book. I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if it was from a solo point of view.

Having said that, I did get frustrated with Derek a fair few times throughout this book. He changed his mind so often that it made my head spin, but he grew on me throughout the book. By the end he had almost completely redeemed himself!

Ashtyn was a rock. She was one cool girl and I think so many teenagers could learn from her. I really admired her for working so hard for the things she wanted and for never backing down from a challenge. All these obstacles kept being thrown her way but she was never bitter and she ended up on top. I read a thing somewhere that talked about people who were just themselves and didn't really worry too much about fitting in to the 'right' group; Ashtyn was the embodiment of this. I really admire her.

Better than Perfect was such a surprise for me. It does cover some themes that probably aren't suitable for young readers. Aside from this I would recommend it to anyone really that just wanted a light book; this one doesn't require too much on the readers' part. Oh and obviously they've got to like romance. It was a cute book and I'm kicking myself for judging it in the beginning.

PS - This book smelt incredible. Kudos to Bloomsbury!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Greenlife Online

Alpha Beige WeWood Watch
When I received a package in the mail from Greenlife Online, it was basically like Christmas had come early. And I wasn't disappointed when I opened it!

From the word go it's obvious how important the environment is to this company.
"All [the] products I sell have to have a clear eco-friendly or sustainable aspect to them. I also try and source products from companies that do extra to help the environment," says owner Matthew Devitt.
Hayburn Mahogany Proof Sunglasses
I took both the watch and sunglasses with me to lots of different places, mainly because I knew they were so unique. Both the watch and sunglasses were a big hit with everyone who saw them. And they might look fragile when you see them, but they're definitely sturdy enough to be passed around.

The entire package weighed less than half a kilogram. I was surprised at just how light a wooden watch and glasses could be!

The watch - shown in Alpha Beige - was super chunky; in fact I think it's the biggest in the Italian designed range. Even so, it was incredibley light and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately the sample was too big for my wrist so I couldn't wear it all day, but it appears that some links could be removed to adjust the size. And bonus points to WeWood Watches for planting a tree for each watch sold!!

I'm a glasses wearer almost always, and unlike most people I really like this! So for me to happily replace them with sunglasses is kind of unusual. But that's how much I loved "Hayburn" in Mahogany sunnies. 

They were super light on my face, but not fragile at all. I never felt worried about the glasses breaking or falling off as they fit perfectly on my face.

And as well as being a great fashion asset they actually work at protecting your eyes from the sun! Which is a total underrated feature on most sunglasses I've ever owned..
I seriously loved both of these products and have been recommending them to anyone that will listen! I'm really sad to be sending them back. But I can't wait to see someone else love them as much as I did.

So aside from the products what sets Greenlife Online apart? "I think I don't just talk the talk, but also walk the walk." I agree with Matthew's statement wholeheartedly!

BIG thanks to www.greenlifeonline.com.au for loaning me their products to have a play with!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Killing Richard Dawson by Robin Baker

Title: Killing Richard Dawson
Author: Robin Baker
Source: Pantera Press for review
Buy it here:  Amazon, iTunes, or any good bookstore!

"The phone rings. It's Jesus. I listen to him speak and then hang up..."

In this darkly comic, slow-burn thriller, reality is blurred...nothing can be taken for granted.

A gripping and poignant black comedy about love, friendship, booze, morality, death...and a generation's causal dissatisfaction with modern life. Sometimes, redemption lies in the darkest of places.

"You don't need to die to destroy yourself."

I loved this book from the first page. Actually before that. The author's bio in the back intrigued me so much that this had to be my first review book. Call me crazy maybe, but at least I didn't judge by the cover!

I loved the style of this book, you really felt like the story was happening around - and to - you. Which is always a huge positive for me. I felt that the author had done a great job of making realistic characters who actually act the supposed age! A huge turn-off for me when reading is if a character is too forced or just seems out of place, and this definitely didn't happen!

It's really hard to say too much about the protagonist without giving away a MAJOR plot point. I loved him and hated him in equal parts. For everything good he did, his lust for the character Jade annoyed me. I wasn't in support of that at all! Although Jade too wasn't off the hook in my eyes, I got really angry at the way she handled the events in the book; but even they were probably quite realistic reactions for many people. They certainly made for an interesting read.

The dynamics within the friendship group were a major point in the plot and the more strained they got, the better the book was to read! Everyone had their own part to play in the story and I still am wondering what happened to the few characters I felt didn't get a tidy ending.

Towards the middle of this book I nearly stopped ready, as it touches on some pretty hard subjects. As the title would suggest, murder, as well as drugs, eating disorders and some mild violence. I wouldn't recommend this book to a young reader or anyone who might find these topics too confronting.

All in all I really enjoyed this book! The ending left me so many questions, it was a bit like being hit in the chest actually. I enjoyed living in the world of Killing Richard Dawson for a few days. I hadn't read anything by Robin Baker before but I am going in search of his other book as soon as I can. I would recommend this to anybody who likes coming of age stories or crime/psych thrillers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


BEATZ is a powerhouse of music, sass and coloured Doc Martens. Meet Elishia, Brooke and Tayla.

After an unsuccessful attempt onto 2014 X Factor Australia, these girls are even more determined to make it big. And they're doing it their way.

Proving that stereotypes are nothing, BEATZ have smashed the teenage airhead image out of the park and are proving that girl groups are here for a reason.

BEATZ are definitely dancing to their own drum.

Mahalia: How long did it take BEATZ to decide to try out for X Factor?
BEATZ: Soon after we got together it was a pretty quick decision. We have all watched and love the show and [so we] thought 'why not!'.

M: Your audition was my personal favourite! How long did you rehearse for it?
B: Thanks so much! There [were] so many elements to our audition piece as you saw, from the singing, harmonizing and dancing choreography. So all up it took us about one month to perfect.

M: What have you been up to since your time on national TV?
B: Since X Factor we have been working on creating exciting YouTube covers, keeping active with our fans and performing as often as possible.

M: Why do you want to pursue music as a group?
B: As a group our personal strengths come together and create something special. Being so close as friends off the stage also allows us to easily connect on stage, making our performances enjoyable for both us and the audience. Constantly being surrounded by determined people keeps us motivated and excited for the future together.

What's your dream for BEATZ? Where do you want to go with music?
B: We want to be writing our own music and touring the world with it. Hopefully [we will] get to collaborate with big names in America and inspire others like we have been inspired to follow our dreams and to not give up.

M: You're all still teenagers, how do you balance normal life and being musicians?
B: Actually recently Brooke and Elishia turned the big 20! So Tayla is actually the only teenager in the group. Each of our lives though are always pretty busy, so we make sure to plan our days so that we are getting the most out of everything.

M: What's the plan for 2015?
B: For 2015 we want to focus on writing our own music and then being able to tour with it overseas. We want to continue to inspire our fans and keep as active with them as possible, while expanding and sharing our music with as many people as possible.

B E A T Z are as lovely as they look! Find more here: https://www.facebook.com/BEATZofficialmusic

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Banding with Buchanan

Alternative-indie is underrated. There I said. Finally.

Just have a listen to alt-indie group Buchanan and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

After spending a year of collaborative song writing and acoustic gig playing in London and around Europe, frontman Josh Simons has brought Buchanan back to Australia with more music and a really exciting sound.

The new single Coming Down debuted at number 29 on the Music Week Pop Charts and has had air play throughout the United Kingdom and (just to mix it up) Ibiza. Because why not really?

So relax, you're going to want summer and a long afternoon for this one.

Mahalia: What was your inspiration for Coming Down?
Josh: The song came about when me and producer Simon Duffy were remixing a song for another producer. We started to pull all these really interesting sounds together and realised that it was probably wiser to onto them for ourselves than to give them away on a remix. The actual song poured out in about five minutes that same afternoon and remained virtually unchanged from that day forward!

M: Have you always wanted to pursue music?
J: I think I was nine when I first played piano in front of an audience and it was televised. That was probably when I got the itch to perform, and to be honest it has never really weakened since then. So yes - it was always music I suppose. I'm a bit clumsy so I'm not sure I could find employment in a normal workplace - I'd probably be considered a hazard!

M: What are your favourite and least favourite things about being a musician?
J: My favourite thing in the world is seeing people connect with something I've written. It's the ultimate compliment and it always makes me feel incredibly warm inside. The worst part about being a musician? My frustratingly light wallet!

M: Who do you show your music to first? Whose opinion is most valuable to you?
J: I usually show a non-musician friend first to get and honest outsiders opinion. That is always the most valuable opinion in the early stages for me; a litmus test of sorts to see if you're on the right path with a new track or new sound. Mum usually gets a sneak peek before the rest of the world as well!

M: Who would you love to collaborate with?
J: Mike Dean or deadmau5.

M: Do you have anything coming up in 2015 that we should keep an eye out for?
J: We have a new album, and probably several singles between now and then. So plenty of things! I imagine we'll spend the summer finishing the album and then make plans to tour it from there. If you're a fan of Buchanan there's definitely lots in the pipeline and plenty on the way.

Have a listen to Coming Down!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Welcome to Brooklyn

Let's be honest, no matter how bad you are at it, dancing is always fun. And what better to compliment your I'm-sure-are-amazing moves than someone as talented as DJ Brooklyn?

Hailing from Queensland and calling residency at leading dancespot Platinum Nightclub, this bubbly blonde is all cool, all music and all ready for success and big lights.

As well as supporting massive national and international acts, she has been aired Australia wide on NovaFM and played in every major party spot the land down under owns.

She may go by the title of 'DJ' but this creative and music mastermind is already dreaming of universal success.

The bigger the party the better.

Mahalia: How did you start in this industry?
Brooklyn: I entered the 2013 Your Shot competition which is a nationwide search for newcomer DJs looking to make it in the industry. I was lucky enough to make it as one of Queensland's 20 wildcard entrants out of hundreds of applicants. I got to perform at Birdees Nightclub in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley in front of hundreds of people including a judging panel. I didn't win the competition, however I was head hunted by my now manager, Joey Lamattina, who sent talent scouts to the competition. Not long after the competition he contacted me and arranged a meeting and since then I haven't looked back.

M: What is it about being a DJ that attracts you?
B: Initially, back in 2008, I was at a Pussycat Dolls and Lady Gaga concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with my two sisters and Havana Brown came on as the support act. I was watching her in complete awe and I turned to my sisters and said that is what I should be doing.

M: How would you describe the music you make?
B: My sound at the moment would be bounce and big room. I also love to play vocal tracks; you can often catch me singing along to them in the booth.

M: So far which has been your favourite gig and why?
B: I'd have to say the gig I did in May in Penang, Malaysia. I was lucky enough to be able to play in front of over 2000 people at the H-Artisty Globe Art Of Mixing event. It was a super clubbing experience with a massive stage, dancers and [an] amazing light show. I felt very loved and welcomed over there.

M: I know my parents aren't so keen (read: not at all) when I play any type of dance/electro music! Do you share your stuff with your own family?
B: Surprisingly I have caught my mum listening to my mixes haha. I wouldn't say they LOVE dance/electro music but they haven't really given it much of a chance. They are more into 80's rock.

M: Describe your dream show?
B: I think most DJs would agree that playing on the main stage at Tomorrowland would be the ultimate dream.

M: Whose music do you enjoy that you think might surprise people?
B: Other than dance music I really enjoy my RnB/HipHop because it's fun and easy to dance to.

M: If you weren't living your DJ-ing dream, what would you hope you were doing?
B: Hard to think of doing anything else, but possibly running my own dance school. Other than music, dancing was another outlet/passion for me.

M: Do you go to many shows yourself? Who do you watch?
B: I'm lucky being a resident at Platinum Nightclub here on the Gold Coast, I get the chance to support and see many amazing national and international acts. Other than that I am usually booked every weekend so I don't get much of a chance to see anyone else.

M: Do you listen to music and think "I could remix this?!" or do you wait until you want to work on something? What's the process like?
B: I sometimes hear an old track that I use to love and think I'd love to make it more current and add it to my sets. Otherwise I just listen to tracks that are currently popular and make them my own by tweaking it, whatever works for my set and the crowd I'm playing to.

M: If you could give your teenage-self advice, what would you say?
B: For so long I never had the confidence to chase my dreams so I'd say to her - You need believe in yourself more and to trust the timing of your life.

For more B R O O K L Y N head to her facebook page :: https://www.facebook.com/DjBrooklynOfficial

Friday, October 24, 2014


Tom Gaynor? No. Well if I said Allday would that make it easier?

This 23-year-old started small, uploading free music online in 2011, but in just three short years he has released his debut album Startup Cult, amassed over 120 000 fans on Facebook and been featured on Triple J Unearthed.

Currently touring, the Adelaide-turned-Melbournite is only going up. Things are bright for Allday.

Mahalia: Allday is an interesting stage name (and definitely brings up some weird things on Google!), what's the meaning behind it?
Allday: My friends called me that one day when I was st---d, taking forever to decide what flavour of tiny teddies I wanted.
M: You landed a support gig with Lily Allen for Splendour in the Grass, what was that experience like?
A: It was rad. She is such a boss and playing to 5000 people is never a bad thing.

M: When I told people I'd secured this interview, they all asked the same thing "well, what sort of music does he make?" It doesn't fit nicely into any one box, how would you describe your music?
A: It's like rap music that takes little trips into R&B, pop and maybe electro at times. Mostly it's just stories about w--d and girls.

M: Things seem to have taken off for you once Triple J started giving you airtime, but obviously there was a lot of time before that. How important has social media been in getting your music out into the public?
A: I just like to talk to the people who listen to me, I'm always on social media. Some people say I'm funny on social media and some people say I'm annoying but either way I'm just being myself and that's all you can do.

M: Your album debuted at number 3, how did you feel when you found out?

A: I was pretty amazed, I was hoping for top 5 but I probably would have been happy with top 10. It took so much effort to make the album, like I borderline drove myself crazy and it was so cool to be rewarded by having people like it.

M: What are the best and worst things about touring?
A: The best things are meeting people, smoking free w--d everywhere we go, getting driven around, hanging with my friends, seeing the country and the world. The worst thing is probably taking your laptop out of the bag when going through security at the airport; it p-sses me off so much.

M: Music is such a great storyteller, what message do you want to give your fans?
A: I have lots of messages. But also sometimes I want to write a song without a message. Escapism can be worthwhile sometimes.

M: Finally, if you meet one person in the world, who would you want to have a chat to?
A: Larry David, I have to have dinner with him before I die or he dies.

"Some people say I'm funny on social media" :: https://www.facebook.com/alldaytunes

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

George Kalpa

George Kalpa may not be a name you've yet heard, but it's one you should definitely remember. This alt-rocker from Melbourne is an already established filmmaker and his debut album MODE is set to follow close behind.

The album, which features local talent as backing, was recorded in Kalpa's own Studio 11; a true ode to his unconventional style. Although no one could ever doubt that his method is unsucessful, MODE is a true testament to what Kalpa is all about.

MODE, which launched on October 11, brings an escape from reality, whilst dealing with heartbreak and regret. The album, littered with sax melodies, is a remarkable journey into the mind of the ever creative George Kalpa.

Mahalia: What/Who sparked your passion for music?
George: I did piano lessons as a kid and I hated it. I wasn't excited by learning other peoples' music. When I started writing my own sh-t on piano, it became something I enjoyed doing. I picked up the guitar when I was 15 and never put it down.

M: Your music is so different to what I've heard before, is this style what you personally enjoy listening to?
G: Thanks. I listen to everything from black metal to hip hop. If it's honest and real I appreciate it and enjoy it one way or another. When I was making this record I was listening to a lot of darker stuff from the 80's and film scores so that influence definitely found its way in there.

M: Tell us a bit about your new single and video clip, Leave That Street Alone.
G: Leave That Street Alone was a demo floating around in different forms over the better part of a year. The main synths parts were backwards samples and the percussion and sax came afterwards. I had the track playing when I was driving home one night and saw a laundrette in the corner of my eye. From then on I knew the song lived there and the idea for the video came. It was a great day.

M: How do you go about writing your music?
G: Everything starts as an idea, rough or solid. Having the studio on hand to document ideas is great because if I get that music first take I can use it wherever it needs to go down the track. I don't have a stringent process for writing music, if an idea comes I get it down and that's it. In the past when I would sit down and say "I'm writing a song today", it wouldn't happen. Well it might have, but I would have axed it the next day.

M: You're a distinguished filmmaker, why the transition into music?
G: Music is something that will come with no matter what other mediums I work with. It's a massive part of most other artistic forms.

M: Where do you see yourself in ten years' time? What would you be doing?
G: Making films and music. Hopefully not having to lug the heaviest gear on the planet anymore, whether it be an amp or light.

M: What's something that people wouldn't guess about you?
G: Listening to this album you wouldn't guess that I'm a pretty positive dude.

The stunning video for Leave that Street Alone is directed by the man himself! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rudely Interrupted

After being named for the challenges a disability adds to everyday life, to playing at the United Nations, gearing up for a national Australian tour, life as Rudely Interrupted is one heck of a rollercoaster.

 "We throw ourselves into the music and performance," says band member Rohan. "We take it very seriously, but we always have fun, we love the songs we play, they remind us of how far we've come and all the touring successes we've had around the world."

And if one thing is true, it's that their tours are a LOT of fun. As Rohan put it, "[band mate] Sam can get a little loose sometimes and his early touring days were so exciting for him [that] he pulled all sorts of stunts, faking heart attacks was a phase he went through".

Despite this rather interesting start , Rudely Interrupted marked a major milestone in 2008 when they became the first independent act to perform at the United Nations. "We felt it was very life affirming, an incredibly uplifting experience and also very humbling."

Since then the band has gone from strength to strength, and with their new EP being "all killer, no filler" you should probably pause right here to take a listen!

With their songwriting inspiration coming from shared conversations, it's no wonder this band is so relatable. "Working with the guys makes for a very unique environment to collect sparks from. We have fun, we encourage each other to express and build a strong work ethic around our instruments."

"'I Am Alive' is about the feeling of being alive, the ups and downs are what makes us all human, we embraced our differences, we want to tell people to for their dreams, try, fail, succeed and experience all life can offer no what your situation."

And just a day out from another show, Rudely Interrupted show no signs of stopping any time soon. This indie band truly show what happens when you push the boundaries. No disability was ever going to stop Rohan, Rory, Josh or Sam from "finding the perfect pop song".

"Anything is possible, it really is, you have to work and work at your skill set to develop your talent, be prepared to fail and keep working. We encourage everyone to chase their dreams, and dream big, shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon."

To find music, book tickets or just connect with this talent foursome, head to www.rudelyinterrupted.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lauren Glezer

With the stereotype 'all girls love shoes' firmly in place, Melbourne musician Lauren Glezer is definitely going against the grain. Her barefoot performances though, are not the only reason to give this gifted artist a listen.

A singer who performs it like she is, there is no such thing as stage persona when Lauren's around. What you see on stage, is what you'll get off it. Which is a refreshing and much needed trait in the music industry.

Her EP Searching For Tall (available from September 19th) is a positive burst of raw vocals and outstanding music. You mightn't have heard of her yet, but Lauren Glezer is out to prove that from little things, big things grow

Mahalia: Your EP Searching For Tall has been two years in the making, what was the process for it to all come together?
Lauren: A lengthy one! It involved writing the songs, selecting which songs I wanted to represent me in the world and how I was going to go about producing them. Once I had that all done, I had to figure out my best way in to the music industry. I'll let you know when I figure that one out!

 M: This Living has a really powerful message, why is this song important to you?
L: Thank you. It's important to me because I believe that in this society we work too hard and forget our hearts sometimes. We work to forget our feelings, we work to give our lives meaning, we work because that's what we're told we should do. I wrote this song in hope of inspiring people to consider whether they are living their truths. We all come baring unique gifts and talents and it's never too late to start using them!

M: Did you write all the music for Searching For Tall by yourself or with assistance?
L: I wrote the music and lyrics for all the tracks. I had a few incredible musicians colour the tracks with their amazing instrumental abilities.

M: Can you tell us a little about the 'no shoes while performing' that you've got going on? Have you always performed shoeless?
L: Sure! I haven't always performed shoeless...But recently I have discovered that I hate performing with shoes. I feel off balance and like I can't sense the floor beneath me. I feel it's very important to feel balanced when you sing!

M: If you could take your music to any part of the world, where would it be and why?
L: I love this question. I would take it to eastern countries. This way I could explore their culture and sing my songs. That's pretty much everything I love to do in the one experience.

M: What do you daydream about?
L: Chocolate. No jokes. Is that bad? Sad? Also flowers and natural beauty. Oh and playing music to people that are truly nourished by my songs.

M: As a child who was your music idol?
L: As a child, Alanis all the way!

M: Who is it now?
L: Alanis all the way. No...umm oh so many. I meet people every day in the Melbourne Music scene that are my idols. But outside of that, I'd have to say Bon Iver.

While you're here why not listen to Lauren's amazing single, This Living?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Julian Simonsz

Imagine singing on live television, in front of four musical superstars and not knowing if you'll even see their faces. This is the reality for an auditionee on The Voice, a musical reality show looking for the hottest new talent.

And in Julian Simonsz, a true star was found.

Following his journey in front of the nation, and his mentor Will.I.Am, Simonsz is now preparing for the release of his debut EP. With the support of his wife and his hard work, Simonsz is already excited for what the future has for him.

And with his charisma, voice and dedication, who wouldn't be?!

Mahalia: Judging by your reaction, you weren't expecting such a welcome onto The Voice. What was going through your head?
J: I was in shock! I couldn't believe that all four of the coaches turned around for me. It's always something I had dreamt of but in reality all I wanted was just for one to turn around, anyone! So to end up having all four, including Will.I.Am who was the one I really wanted, it was like a dream. It was so surreal hearing their comments afterwards, I couldn't believe that artists of that calibre were speaking about my voice and performance the way they did. It was something I'll never forget.

M: You've been described as 'Australia's answer to Justin Timberlake', how do you react to a comment like that?
J: I'm always taken away by that comment!! I really appreciate and feel honoured that people would ever think of me like that. I know I have a very long way to go but the faith that viewers and journalists have in me to make comments like that really inspires me too; and makes me want it even more.

M: Which song are you most excited for people to hear once they buy your EP?
J: My favourite track and the one I am most excited for people to hear is track two, Get Home to You. I feel like that track is really new and exciting, and the exact sound I was going for. It's a bit more edgy than the rest and has a bit of sexiness to it! The vocals are also very harmony based which I haven't really done before. I also love the production; it's simplistic but just seems to work with all the raw instruments and heavy bass line. I'm really proud of this track and it's one that I love listening to so hopefully others will too.

M: How long have you been working for the EP launch?
J: The EP has been a few months in the making. The first three tracks with MSquared actually only took seven days to record! The acoustics flowed on quite quickly after that too. But there is a lot of other work that goes in to it that takes time; like perfecting the final master, photo shoots, artwork, etc. and there's a lot of learning going on too. It's been such a good and challenging learning experience for me to go through this as an independent artist, so that's what takes a lot of time too. The actual recording has been the easy part!

Official video for I Do It For You

M: Tell us a little about your new single, I Do It For You and its accompanying video clip.
J: This single is co-written with the very talented team at MSquared (Michael Paynter and Michael DeLorenzis). For me I prefer to write songs based on my life and by tapping in to my emotions, I find it is more natural when I write that way. So that's how I Do It For You came about. It was written initially about my partner, the most important person in my life who I wanted to appreciate. But I wanted that theme and meaning to relate to anyone who listened to the song and saw the video. I feel like this song can be about anyone who the listener feels deserves appreciation or deserves to be celebrated for who they are and what they do. So leading on with that theme I had the idea to have real stories of appreciation in the music video, and what better way than to involve my fans! I asked fans to come forward and apply to be part of the music video and I received some really inspirational responses. In the end there were five groups of fans who were in the music video and it was so special to have them. There was something really nice about not having actors but having genuine stories and inspirational people involved and the team at Hats Off Productions portrayed their stories perfectly in the video. For me it was the perfect way to do my first music video.

M: Do you think you'll stay in Australia, or are you planning to take your music overseas?
J: Of course I'd love to stay here and make it big in Australia first, it's home!! I'm sure most artists can relate to the dream of making a name internationally though, so if the opportunity arises for me to take my music overseas then I would jump at it.

M: What advice would you give to anyone thinking about auditioning for The Voice?
J: Just go for it! It's always just going to be a dream if you don't try. Watching The Voice and similar shows aver the years I always wanted to be up there doing it, but it wasn't until I really decided to take my music seriously, and when I knew in myself that I was ready, that I just went for it and all of a sudden my dream became a reality. So my advice would be to just put your mind to it and do it. The hardest part is feeling ready to get out there and feeling ready to know that even if it doesn't work out at least you gave it everything. Once you are there and you do give it everything, you have nothing to lose.

M: Also, belated congratulations to you and your gorgeous wife! What role does she play in your music?
J: Thank you! She actually plays a huge role in my music. She has not only been the most amazing support that you could ask for in a partner, but a lot of people may not know this but she has pretty much taken on the role of being my manager! She's always had a knack for organising and communicating so it's come naturally to her. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes and she somehow manages to make it all work. She's also brutally honest about my performances, my music, even my styling which is really important. We work really well as a team and having my wife managing me at the moment has made this journey even more special. So that's the real place the initial inspiration came from to my first single I Do It For You!

Go back to the beginning with Julian's The Voice audition!