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