The multifaceted recording artist Prince and his crew arrived in Toronto to commence a tour of Canada and let me tell you the folks in Toronto this Thanksgiving weekend are very excited. If there is one thing that people in Canada know about it is their music. Prince is not only respected and loved his talent is appreciated by the educated and sophisticated musicitizens of Canada. As this was Thanksgiving day in the United States, Toronto made certain to give the artist inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, voted the 28th greatest Rock & Roll artist of all time by “Rolling Stone” magazine a warm welcome, and on Thanksgiving Day did not want anyone to go hungry.
Here are some of the best of Toronto and what they cooked up for the man of style, the one and only Prince “Welcome 2 Canada”!!
As he’s done with past configurations, he’s reinvented his songs to encompass whatever style he feels at the moment, and been very good at treating his audiences to new experiences every time out with imaginative arrangements that always inject new, unexpected twists. Sting is not afraid to try anything new, in his view nothing in life is worthwhile if it does not have some risk. So many people I know are one degree of separation from this extraordinary talented man who’s music and lyric’s I have enjoyed over the years and the man who’s given so much back with his music. Sting move’s the audience with his awe-inspiring bass playing which is the central focus of the show. It is worth it, and you are spellbound by the magic the gift that this man was given and the generosity with which he share it with the ever appreciative audience. The band is made up of Vinnie Colaiuta, whom Sting referred to as “a drummer’s drummer,” father-son guitarists Dominic and Rufus Miller, Jo Lawrie on violin and backup vocals and Peter Tickell on violin and mandolin. This is what I like and love about Sting he is not afraid to mix it up and see what happens. At the core of any great musician is the ability that without effort everything blends into acoustic harmony. I personally would have loved to have seen what Sting would have done with two sitars on stage with him but then that is me when it comes to music wondering what if. Sting also can make you wonder about yourself and took me back to a film I had just seen The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard written and directed by Jeremy Lalonde about something Sting brought up “emotional annihilation” as the root behind the male fear of commitment, and while I listen to the music my mind wonders about what Sting just said and all of a sudden you are left measuring yourself with the man on the stage who it seems is always giving, growing, experimenting, caring and who’s no ordinary rocker. Later in the evening I shared some ideas about Sting with a friend and he responded “I know Sting and his family well they are great people”. The world is small and yet again I find myself one degree of separation from Sting. The adventure of discovery never ends for Sting and My Name is Khan.
My first live performance while growing up in Toronto was at Ontario Place, a song recorded by Maurice Chevalier, Louise. So gees Louise, as Kismet would dictate in the kaleidoscope that is life, My Name is Khan kicks-off it’s music interview with Sophie Belluka Sparks who was born in France. Sophie Belluka Sparks is a friend, singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ. She can deliver you her lyric’s in a incredibly gripping, haunting manner in Italian, Spanish, English and naturally French in which the most vulgar of words or phrase sounds like a fine wine. Sophie loved learning languages while in school and University, and her favorite producer happens to be a fellow Canadian living in Toronto Deadmau5. Music is universal and only recently Mick Jagger recorded a track singing Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs) with a super group called Super Heavy which also features Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Damian Marley and staring Oscar-winning Indian musician A R Rahman. When I first heard the Gypsy Kiss track from Sophie’s up-coming album my instant comment was “wow this would mix so well with a Bollywood tune!”. The song to this page is Katarina where Sophie has infused the kick drum from the library of sounds by Deadmau5, the Gypsy Kiss video was only recently done, and if you are about to get that bottle of vodka from the freezer and start a party then you can kick-start it with her Deadmau5 “Sofi needs a ladder” Sophie Belluka Sparks remix. Sophie Belluka Sparks makes the world dance so let’s get this party started on My Name is Khan. Here is the interview enjoy the music, peace, love and respect from My Name is Khan.
1.What inspired you or led you into your current field of being singer, songwriter, and DJ.
Well.. one led to the other in different stages: I have been writing songs and poetry since I was 13 and it has been my second activity all the way through my studies and jobs. When I came to London, I started recording with various producers in the quest to create my first album, and during these collaborations, I was proposed to write for house music producers. This is when I discovered house music as my back ground is originally from acoustic/pop/rock and blues. I found the discovery of this new up beat style of music interesting and fun, and in 2006 the first house song I penned and melodies on a producer’s grove was “Lush” it was circulated on myspace and got many good comments, few weeks later the song was voted song of the day 7 days in a raw by Music tech Magazine. We were then proposed to get the song performed at the 2006 Cannes film festival at the Playboys party, Hugh Hefner’s 80th birthday , and the following day for Ivana Trump party. Shortly followed a collaboration with Robert Owens who put his delightful vocals on another song I penned and modified on another groove of the same producer, it was called “Sunshine”. In London, We were invited to perform in Soho with a live radio show on Push FM , Robert came along and sang the song, and other of his repertoire, Stuart Love performed Lush, we co hosted the live show with presenter Stouch Pepsy, it was a big success. Few days later, we were proposed a radio show on Push FM, a house music radio, we called it Kaleidoscope. I was not a DJ then, I was co hosting the show, presenting and inviting guests DJ and we would interview them. I had the pleasure to interview Frankie Knuckles, Robert Owens, Danny Rampling, Sebastien Ingrosso, Little Louis Vega, Mark Knight, to name but a few…These legends telling me the details of their journeys got me interested in learning the DJ skills , so I took mixing lessons and listened to a lot of different styles of house music, selecting, and doing my education. This coincided perfectly with going through a difficult time in my life when I couldn’t go nowhere near down tempo emotional music, movies etc.. so the somewhat unemotional up beat of house music was perfect to keep me in a happy mood when I needed to cheer up. (being a DJ saved my life … I can say that! When I became ready to play, Push FM proposed me to have my own solo radio show , every Wednesdays 2-4pm and this is when I started to play for my first yet invisible audience! . So, as a DJ, I actually started playing on the radio! It was the other way around for me..its only one year later, which had left me more time to make progress and define my style, that I played my first gig in a club, I was so dam scared!! But it went well, then followed the gigs at Egg, Ibiza etc.. 2. How would you define your musical style.
Considering where I come from as a song writer, and having discovered house music now, I can’t limit myself to just one style. So I am leading two creative musical career at the same time. One career as a singer song writer, working on my album “Looking for something” which is in acoustic/pop/rock and blues. I am also working on another album : “Gypsy Kiss” which are theremixes in house music of all the songs from my acoustic album, and one career as a DJ. I am actually more defined regarding to the style,I play, its happy tech house, happy techno, happy deep house/ progressive. 3. Who inspires you?
Everything with integrity can inspire me, great human beings of course, in the likes of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama, the existentialist movement, authors like Jean Paul Sartres, artists like Picasso , Kandinsky, Poets like beaudelaire, Proust, film makers Poets like Ingmar Bergman, Pedro Almodovar, Mozart, Chopin, Pink Floyd , he doors, Janis Joplin, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, producers like Deadmau5 whom I discovered in 2007 while continuing my house music education I was selecting his tracks all the time. He had created a new library of sounds which I thought was kind of grand! I used some sounds from his library for my productions. The visuals and concept he is putting in his shows is also very inspiring. A little mouse larger than life I would say! 4.What are you currently working on?
On he acoustic side, I am currently working on developing the production of a blues song I wrote called “Looking for something”, I had the chance to be accompanied on the guitar by Laine Hines, son of Deny Laine who ( founded the Wings with Paul McCartney.) Laine did a great job on the armories on he electric guitar, and since it is just a voice and a guitar at the moment, I really want to develop this beautiful song to its potential. I am also working on an upbeat song called Gypsy Kiss, we have just finished the video clip and I will release the track very soon on Beatport. On the DJ and performances front , I am working on a new concept which I am putting into place currently working with a team of people. I will have to update you with the progress next time!! 5.Where do get creative in or does this happen anywhere?
If a producer asks me to write on his grove then I focus in the studio and endeavour to come up with a good melody and lyrics to fit in. Sometimes I have to try hard to come up with something, and sometimes if I get inspired with the groove it comes pretty much instantaneously , like it happened with Blur song, Femi Fem aka Femi Williams (founder of The Young Disciples who won a Grammy award for “Ain’t about nothing” ) asked me to write on his groove originally for an add, he got me in his studio, put the groove in a loop and went to pick up his kids at school, by the time he came back, an hour after, the song was written, we recorded a first take straight away and Blur was born.
For my own songs, inspiration happens anywhere, in the street, in my bathsx, in my sleep, most of the time, they wake me up in the middle of the night, and when it happens I have to be quick singing it to my Dictaphone before I forget the melody.
6. what is that one thing that would make you feel like your dreams have come true?
Beyond the instant pleasure of performing my songs in front of an audience and witnessing the album being worldwide appreciated, the one thing that would make my dream come true, would be to have at least one of my songs convey its emotions to people around the world and becoming a classic that would survive for many decades and long after I will have left this world. That would be my legacy to this world! DEADMAU5 “Sofi needs a ladder” Sophie Belluka Sparks remix by SOPHIE BELLUKA SPARKS
There was tension in the air, thick and still, as if a Samurai warrior could slice through it with his katana like a hot knife through butter. Rioting was imminent. Parts of the city would burn, looters would take to the streets, while Mick Jones and Lou Gramm after a long time apart sat in the tranquil enclave by the pool of the Sunset Marquis Hotel to talk about re-uniting the band Foreigner. Mick’s brother Kevin and I looked from afar, soon venturing off to the nearby Argyle Hotel on Sunset to take a seat with excellent vantage point of part’s of Los Angels burning while ordering a Chivas on the rocks. While LAPD marshaled it’s forces’s and Korean store keepers stood on top of their stores with guns to shoot any thugs that would do harm to their property,many of my friends called and informed me they were loaded and ready, helicopter’s dotted the sky like scattered stars carelessly thrown. It was on this day Mick and Lou reached an accord to re-unite and tour once again as Foreigner. Mick and Lou turned tragedy into art with music.
Lou Gramm is no longer with the band and for that matter no one from that period is except it’s English founding member from Portsmouth Mick Jones. It was ironically eerie that once again I would be united with Foreigner in my home town of Toronto while some parts of the UK burned and smoldered because of rioting thugs, who’s rapacious trajectory for moral insanity is the cause of this tragedy. These are the kind of idiots that don’t get out much. The cloud hung over-head as the strobe lights flickered and Foreigner came on stage and began playing as if they had just dropped off their bags backstage and were knocking on your door. Not hard like a copper, but also not afraid to bang and say, “Hey! I’m fuck’n outside your fuck’n door”. The music comes and goes on the wind, it comes and goes to the brain. It let’s you hopscotch through time. Mick lay’s down some of his hypnotic rock riff’s and I get a flash back of his mom telling me about his guitar in Portsmouth and Mick never wanting to leave it. The band began playing a song Mick wrote “I want to know what love is”, and I thought of Portsmouth and all in the UK and wondered do those thugs really know what love is? This man from Portsmouth song still moves me, and that is art, so let’s once again turn tragedy into art, call your radio stations tell them play this song ” I wanna know what love is”, Tweet it to all in the UK, send it by Blackberry, Facebook it! UK has withstood many nasty vicissitudes of life it will over-come this but let everyone in UK ponder the words and the tune of “I wanna know what love is”, by Foreigner and Mick Jones. The quest to make a difference never stops at My Name is Khan.
I was uncomfortable reaching for the bottle of wine with Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) sitting next to me at dinner in Los Angles. Richard sensing my discomfort nodded his approval. “Richard, what kind of drugs did you guys do?” I asked, “we did fucking everything”, Richard also confessed that he was grateful to have been given a new lease on life and is amazed that he was still alive and what a blessing to see his children grow up. Similarly when dining with David Bowie at what is now AGO in Los Angles, David commented to one of my questions and said “Those years Tim are just a blur!”. Many people battle demons, and that oh so negative of a term addiction. Some like Ringo, Bowie, Manzarek whom I have known win the battle and live to experience a tear from the eye, a flutter of the heart, create and are reborn. Some I have known equally talented can’t win, and loose it all.
Amy Winehouse her voice captivated me, I had written lyric for her in mind to record if she could only recover, I marvel at the beauty of the human voice that can touch a heart, and Amy Winehouse had a voice that could do just that. In life Amy Winehouse lived in silence. Everyone could see a talent wasting before one’s eyes, but what was Amy going through. Did Amy Winehouse see the silence as infinite, fathomless,terrifying, death-defying, mind blowing, a swoosh of blood through the body, like the visual effect of a Rothko painting? No! Amy Winehouse was a girl who could not find the lead in her pencil even with a Swiss Army knife. The silence to her was blur to the sense of time, where the dark swallows the light. She stood on the precipice unable to spread her wings. In death as the Italians say, “lasciare che il vento che parla é il paradiso”. May you find your paradise.
My grandmother in her vibrant sari and HRH Queen Elizabeth II in her summer white introduce the first official trip abroad of William and Kate to Canada. “I suppose our grandsons are enjoying Canada in the summer?” comments HRH, to which my grandmother responds,” You think William and Kate will get bored of the food and want some curry?”. Asian fashion fusion has been going on for ages since the British discovered the great riches of India and Catai. It would be only appropriate to compliment this page with “The Power of Love”, by a great Canadian singer Cleane Dion. Soon you will be introduced to some of the creative chefs of Toronto and what they would have prepared if William and Kate had visited Toronto. The adventure of life, love, discovery, and a jolly good time never stops on My Name is Khan.