Monday, July 7

Auto-Tune Woes

I feel like live performances are just as important as what you do in the studio. 

Live performances and music videos is the visual 'other half' to what you record in the studio. There's the audio part and the visual part, and they need to match. 

That's another reason why I'm against the abuse of auto tune. 

There's definitely a place for auto tune. It's the 2010s, and it's there. 
I'm not saying don't use it all. 

You just shouldn't abuse it to where you can't get on stage and sound like your record...

I feel like, especially nowadays, if a person is going to spend their hard-earned money to come and see me, I'm going to make sure they get their money's worth. 

I will make sure that the money they worked so hard to get and could have spent anywhere else is worth being spent. 

That means, every time I set foot on a stage, I will give 200%. 
My dancers and my band all feel the same way. 
That is very very important. 

[Ne-Yo on London Live!]

Friday, June 27

Honor by Jimmy Carter

Oh the joys of summer, especially when my favorite tv shows are on hiatus. That means that my dvr gets a break from my beloved reality drama, dating-fashion-dance competitions, concerts, and talk show personalities to something with more substance.

I feel like a student again as I've started recording things like Food Tech (process of how food is made and packaged), Biography (more accurate versions of E! True Hollywood Stories), 30on30 (ESPN's short films of various sports history), First Ladies of the United States (pretty much the only thing I really watch on CSPAN), and various documentaries on the History channel. With the beauty of multi-tasking, I tend to look up sources online and give shout outs on Social Media while I watch too.

Of course, my husband appreciates watching tv without constant beeping for bad language too. So be prepared - I'm getting smarter than I look! I think all of this new knowledge would make me an valuable asset to any pub trivia team.

One such show featured this speech by President Jimmy Carter as he made preparations for a Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. possible. It's fitting now as it was then, especially as we prepare to celebrate our nation's Independence next week. Let this challenge you to re-think how you use the word HONOR in the future...

JULY 1, 1980 - Since I've been living in the White House and working in the Oval Office, I've known of very few unanimous resolutions or actions by the United States Senate. But it's especially fitting that this resolution and the effort to provide a suitable memorial for those who fought and died for our Nation during the Vietnam war, should have such broad and bipartisan support.

A long and a painful process has brought us to this moment today. Our Nation, as you all know, was divided by this war. For too long we tried to put that division behind us by forgetting the Vietnam war and, in the process, we ignored those who bravely answered their Nation's call, adding to their pain the additional burden of our Nation's own inner conflict.

Over the last few years, I have encouraged and I have been heartened to witness an enormous change in the attitude of Americans toward those who served in Vietnam. A Nation healing and reconciliation is a good sight to behold from the viewpoint of the Presidency, and we are ready at least to acknowledge more deeply and also more publicly the debt which we can never fully pay to those who served.

The word "honor" has been used so often and sometimes so carelessly—especially in public ceremonies—that there's a danger that it might lose its meaning. More importantly, we might forget what its true meaning is and, with it, the concept of duty and a standard of behavior and sense of humility that's precious and also irreplaceable. And when I say today that I am honored to be able to sign this resolution into law, I use that word with great care.

This is an important step toward the establishment of a permanent memorial for the young men and women who died in the service of our country in Vietnam; for those who, despite all our efforts, are still missing in Southeast Asia; and for all those who served and returned. We are honored to have a small part in offering this overdue recognition. They honored us and their country with their service, and no delay in recognizing them can lessen the value of their personal sacrifice.

Perhaps even more than those who served, our Nation needs this memorial as a reminder of what happened in the past, what was lost, and our need to learn from our experience. We need it also as a physical place where we can pay tribute to those young lives, what they meant, to kind of place apart, to recall the meaning of the word "honor," so that the word can retain all its simple and austere grandeur.

In honoring those who answered the call of duty, we do not honor war. But we honor the peace they sought, the freedoms that they fought to preserve, and the hope that they held out to a world that's still struggling to learn how to settle differences among people and among nations without resorting to violence.

All of us must be willing to sacrifice to protect freedom and to protect justice, but we are not called upon to sacrifice equally. In every war there are some who are called on to make the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Some come home with bodies that must bear daily pain for the rest of their lives. A tragically large number were still missing when the war in Vietnam was over, and we'll continue to exert the fullest possible effort to account for all those who are still missing.

It's a pointless act of inhumanity and cruelty to prolong the vigil of those who love, waiting for those for so many years, and it's a vigil that's shared not just among the families directly, but shared by all Americans.

At the time of our White House reception in honor of Vietnam veterans last year, Phil Caputo, the author of "A Rumor of War", permitted me to read from his book. I was greatly moved by this passage, as were the others at the time, and I feel it even more appropriate to read here today the same words, what Caputo wrote in 1976, I believe, about the death of one of his close friends named Walter Levy, who was killed in Vietnam trying to save a fellow soldier, and I quote:

So much was lost with you, so much talent and intelligence and decency.
You were the first from our class of 1964 to die. There were others, but you were the first and more: you embodied the best that was in us. You were a part of us, and a part of us died with you, the small part that was still young, that had not yet grown cynical, grown bitter and old with death. Your courage was an example to us, and whatever the rights or wrongs of the war, nothing can diminish the rightness of what you tried to do. Yours was the greater love. You died for the man you tried to save, and you died pro patria. It was not altogether sweet and fitting, your death, but I am sure you died believing it was pro patria. You were faithful.

To die for one's country is a sacrifice that should never be forgotten.

Caputo goes on to say that our country has not matched the faithfulness of that war hero, because our country tried to forget the war; that 11 years after his friend's death, Caputo wrote, there were no monuments, no statues, no plaques, no memorials, because such symbols would make it harder to forget.

I didn't read that part aloud last year. Now, we'll build a memorial to the Walter Levys who died on the other side of the world, sacrificing themselves for others, sacrificing themselves for us and for our children and for our children's children. With this memorial we will say with Caputo: "We loved you for what you were and what you stood for." We will prove with this monument that we care, and that we will always remember.

Sunday, June 8

Civil Wars Unplugged

Joy Williams: I do find it very fun that we get to play this MTV Unplugged set.
It is a privilege and honor for us,
but I feel like we always play... Unplugged.

John Paul: We should have done the opposite! (plays rocker guitar riff)