She remains a Smooth Operator, no?

Before record stores neared extinction, Sade was often stocked in the easy listening section. The band’s breakout success in the 1980s owed much to the advent of adult contemporary radio, where huge hits like “Smooth Operator” and “The Sweetest Taboo” eventually got sandwiched between selections from Michael Bolton and Kenny G. But then and now, Sade had an appeal that lifted it far above the slush pile of schlock.

The band’s trench-coat-favoring Nigerian-born frontwoman, Helen Adu, known to the world just as Sade, is more responsible for the popularizing of gold hoop earrings than an entire industry of jewelry executives. ..As a generation turned, house D.J.s turned remixes of Sade ballads into club classics, and a raft of hip-hop artists repeatedly sampled her…Sade is one of the most relentlessly quiet famous people on the planet. But in her extended silences, her place in the pantheon of cultural influence has only grown more enormous.

…Much of the current fascination with Sade derives from the fact that her fans know so little about her, starting with the pronunciation of her name. (Many Americans believe it’s pronounced Shar-day; it’s Sha-day.) In an era that rewards people less for their talent than for their associations with other famous people and the ability to leverage those associations over Instagram and Twitter, Sade’s disinterest in self-promotion has had a reverse effect. Her longstanding lack of interest in speaking about herself makes the world more likely to want to speak about her. […]

In 1982 or 1983, Mr. Matthewman and Mr. Denman left Pride and formed a group around Sade. They signed to Epic Records, where executives quickly realized they were dealing with an artist with no direct historical precedent. “She was one of those rare artists I fell completely in love with because she came just the way she is now … “She was very young, but she was very sophisticated,” Ms. Blond said. “She didn’t follow anyone else’s style. No one was as beautiful or had as sleek of a look as her. She didn’t mind designer clothes, but you’d never ever look at her and say, ‘Oh that’s a Chanel outfit.’ She never looked like a brand. And her songs seemed to become classics immediately.” […]

Calling her elusive or mysterious might color her as unkind or remote. She was not that. She was, rather, just very comfortable in her command of her art, as well as her presence. Having very little in common with her, save the close approximation of dressing quarters, a bit of me yearned to be as cool and composed as Sade. She remains a Smooth Operator, no?”

Dan Beck, a former senior vice president at Epic who worked on the United States promotion for Sade’s first four albums, said, “There was grace to everything she did.” [,,,]

In 2012 Mr. Watson had a retrospective in Hamburg, and Ms. Adu flew in without any pomp or circumstance. She simply treated it as if she was showing up for a friend and smiled luminously as she sat with him in her trademark earrings, silk shirt and jeans…

Ms. Adu can also sometimes be spotted on her cat-loving child’s Instagram. On Mother’s Day this year, this undated portrait was published. Back in January, on the day she turned 58, a recent picture appeared. She looks impeccably happy. […]

“It’s always like that with Sade,” he said. “Time will go by and she’ll start working on it. For her, it’s like getting out of bed on a Sunday morning. You know you don’t want to do it, but at some point you just do it.”

“When we were having our first success with her, I said, ‘This lady could have a hit album when she’s 90 years old.’ Most artists try too hard,” Mr. Beck said. “And consciously or unconsciously, I think people have a special appreciation for someone who isn’t out there waving their résumé at you every five minutes. She’s completely unique.”

~Jacob Bernstein, excerpts from Sade’s Storm of Cool (The New York Times, October 25, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post inspired by her Son’s picture and quote on Instagram: “To my Queen. Words cannot describe how lucky I am to have you in my life and call you Mumma, you are my whole world and I love you with all my heart, thank you for being you, the most beautiful person inside and out, happy birthday Mumma Shard🍾🍾🥃🥃💕💕”
  • Image: The artist Dirt Cobain created a mural, circa 2014, of the singer Sade in West Hollywood, Calif.

Bruce

bruce-springsteen-october-2016-cover

About an hour before every concert, Bruce Springsteen draws up a set list of 31 songs, written in big, scrawly letters in marker ink and soon thereafter distributed to his musicians and crew in typed-up, printed-out form. But this list is really just a loose framework. Over the course of an evening, Springsteen might shake up the order, drop a song, call a few audibles to his seasoned, ready-for-anything E Street Band, or take a request or two from fans holding handwritten signs in the pit near the front of the stage. Or he might do all of the above and then some—as he did on the first of the two nights that I saw him perform in Gothenburg, Sweden, this summer.

That night, at the last minute, Springsteen jettisoned his plan to open with a full-band version of “Prove It All Night,” from his 1978 album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and instead began the show solo at the piano with “The Promise,” a fan-beloved Darkness outtake. Eight songs in, he again went off-list, playing a stretched-out, gospelized version of “Spirit in the Night,” from his first album, 1973’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., which he followed with “Save My Love,” a sign request. Onward he went with tweaks and spontaneous additions, to the point where, by the time the show was over, it was past midnight and Springsteen, a man approaching his 67th birthday, had played for nearly four hours—his second-longest concert ever.

“Yikes!” said Springsteen with mock alarm when I relayed this fact to him the next day, at his hotel in the Swedish port city. “I’m always in search of something, in search of losing myself to the music. I think we hit a spot last night where I was trying some songs we hadn’t played in a while, where maybe you’re struggling more. And then suddenly”—he snapped his fingers—“you catch it, and then, once you do, you may not want to stop.”

“You have to create the show anew, and find it anew, on a nightly basis,” Springsteen said. “And sometimes,” he concluded, laughing, “it takes me longer than I thought it would.”

~ David Camp, The Book of Bruce Springsteen


Notes:

  • Don’t miss full cover story at Vanity Fair.
  • Pre-Order Springsteen’s new book (delivered 9/27/16) at Amazon.

We’re going with it. All of it.

meryl-streep-1001-05

The quote, paired with Meryl Streep photographs, was erroneously attributed to Streep and has been going viral on the internet. The quote was written by Portuguese self-help author/life coach José Micard Teixeira. It’s not clear that this quote has any connection to Meryl Streep, but, we love the quote and we love Meryl, so we’re going with it…all of it.

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”


Credits: Photograph – Vanity Fair. Quote source: Splitterherzen

Is it a blessing? Totally.

robin-williams

Interview in The Guardian, September, 2010:

He takes everything, he says, more slowly now…”You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering from it. It’s not coming back.”

…it may well be down to the open-heart surgery he underwent early last year, when surgeons replaced his aortic valve with one from a pig.

“Oh, God, you find yourself getting emotional. It breaks through your barrier, you’ve literally cracked the armour. And you’ve got no choice, it literally breaks you open. And you feel really mortal.” Does the intimation of mortality live with him still? “Totally.” Is it a blessing? “Totally.”

– Robin Williams, 63,  [July 29th 1951 – August 11th 2014]. RIP.

 


Notes: Photo – Tracylord

 

I am what I am, and I do what I do

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My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me, and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do. I expect nothing, and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.

— Anthony Hopkins


Credits: Portrait – geektyrant; Quote – Emotional Alegbra

Words as Weapons


Jasmine van den Bogaerde, 17, also known by her stage name Birdy, is an English musician. She won the music competition Open Mic UK in 2008, at the age of 12. Her début single, a version of Bon Iver‘s “Skinny Love“, was her breakthrough, charting all across Europe and being certified six times platinum in Australia. Her self-titled début album Birdy was released on 7 November 2011 to similar success, peaking at number 1 in Australia, Belgium and The Netherlands. Birdy’s second studio album Fire Within is expected to be released on 23 September 2013 in the UK.

Find her album Birdy on iTunes.  Her website: Officialbirdy.com.

17 years old.  Incredible.


Sheryl goes home. Buys a church on the Internet.

Sheryl-Crow

“Sheryl Crow, 51, has sold over 50 million pop and rock albums.  She moved across the country from Los Angeles to Nashville, a place that, according to the title of her new album, “Feel’s Like Home.”…Today, Ms. Crow’s own home consists of a spacious stone mansion, a two-story barn and a church that she bought online for $5,000…

…Ms. Crow’s new songs reveal the singer’s search for a home of her own. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was kind of a soul-searching time for me, and I realized the one thing that I didn’t have in my life was roots.”…For the past seven years Ms. Crow has been in Nashville, where she says there are no paparazzi. Her two adopted sons, Levi and Wyatt, aged 3 and 6, can finally go to school without being photographed.

….Her parents, who have been married for nearly 60 years, raised her in a small town of “churchgoing, hardworking people.” Ms. Crow considers herself a Christian, but she doesn’t subscribe to specific religious rules. That didn’t stop her from buying a dilapidated church on the Internet, which she had shipped to her house and restored near the stables on her property, for her personal use. “Since I was 21, I’ve always had a strong relationship and an everyday, ongoing dialogue with a higher power,” she says. “He or She seems to be most evident in nature, which I guess is why I’m so environmentally driven to preserve what we have around here…”

~ Sheryl Crow.  Read full interview in wsj.com: Sheryl Crow Goes Country


Image Credit; Sheryl Crow’s new album “Feel’s Like Home” can be found here.


Cannavale

Broadway, excellence, complacency

“I can also be stubborn,” he went on. “I’m an idealist. I used to say to Sidney, ‘Pop, your movies are always about people fighting against something, the system or corruption,’ and he said, ‘That’s what life is about.’ I loved that. I’m fighting complacency. Most people think good enough is good enough. I go to the theater a lot, and communion doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s indescribable.” He met my eye. “I don’t come from anywhere, man, but I am always on the search for excellence.”

~ Bobby Cannavale, Actor


Robert M. “Bobby” Cannavale (43) “is an American actor known for his leading role as Bobby Caffey in the first two seasons of the television series Third Watch. He also had a recurring role on the comedy series Will & Grace as Officer Vince D’Angelo, Will’s long-term boyfriend. He portrayed Gyp Rosetti on the third season of the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire.  Bobby Cannavale was born in Union City, New Jersey, to an Italian American father and a Cuban mother, and grew up in Margate, Florida. He was raised Catholic and attended St. Michael’s Catholic School, where he participated in a number of extracurricular activities, including being an altar boy and member of the chorus. When he was eight, Cannavale secured the plum role of the lisping boy, Winthrop, in his school’s production of The Music Man, and later as a gangster in Guys and Dolls, which cemented his love for performing. Cannavale’s parents divorced when he was 13 and his mother moved the family to Puerto Rico. After two years in Latin America, they settled in Margate. Cannavale returned to New Jersey after barely eking out a high school diploma in the late 1980s, in order to be closer to New York to launch his acting career.  Cannavale began his acting career in the theater – with no acting training.”


Image & Quote Source: Broadway’s Hottest Outsider – NYTimes.com.  Cannavale Bio: Wiki

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