Are you out alone?

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I won’t lie, my high school experience was awful. Forced to do subjects I didn’t understand and didn’t want to understand. Coupled with evil skinny wannabe’s making life a living hell every day. Let’s just say I did not grow up the most confident person.

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However, one night long after high school and after a very strong Jack and Ginger Ale I thought, screw it! My favorite local bands are playing (Back in South Africa) all my friends are busy, I’m going to this gig alone. I tell you…it was by far one of my best nights out yet!

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It got me thinking about that saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

My grandfather was a horse trainer in South Africa. I suppose like my father he was known for his work ethic. He truly believed that the moment he was not around, his stable would just collapse. Again I repeat, If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I wonder if musicians around the globe have adopted this theory too?
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What makes me make this connection? I have one word: looping.

Either musicians feel they need things done their way or it won’t be right, so they do it all themselves. Or, they struggle to find other musicians who can commit to the time needed to become a great band. So they do it all themselves with loops.
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The first time I witnessed looping live was nothing but sad! The poor dude on stage just could not sync up his looper. The end result was a mess! I thought, Wow, what a bad idea. However, enter YouTube! I was looking for female covers of one of my favorite Nirvana songs, “Heart Shaped Box”. I found Hawaii native Kawehi.

Everybody who is actually nobody but, thinks the are somebody (yeah, get your head around that) always condemn musicians who do covers! They call it selling out and always say they would never dare put themselves at that level. They would rather be a waiter or bartender or toilet cleaner than subject themselves to such disgrace. I say to these pretentious pricks…open your damn minds! If you can’t even do a cover well or creatively, how do you expect people to even like your original music? You have to start somewhere, so why not start with the greats?

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If somebody, such as Kawehi can do a Nirvana cover and make it so ambient, deep and melodic, to me, that is being original!! Don’t get me wrong, I agree that doing a cover and trying to do it like the artist who wrote it, is not original. However, Kawhei changed the song around and made it her own. That I respect. Maybe doing this on her own was a good idea though I am sure some would say things such as, “We cannot bastardize Nirvana like this.” All I’m saying is that the video went viral and got her noticed!

In South Africa, there is the King of looping, Mister Jeremy Loops. Jeremy has toured the world and opened for the likes of Twenty-One Pilots. Jeremy traveled the world on yachts before he got noticed. Not having a connection to other musicians, he acquired a loop pedal. This was the best thing he could ever have done! He made a name for himself looping, especially with his first hit, “Down South”. Give  it a listen…

Having been to many festivals in South Africa, I have seen Jeremy a few times and he is always inventive and entertaining…
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Then, you travel across the globe to Australia and see the likes of Tash Sultana. She began her career busking and launched her music with Bandcamp, and of course social media videos.

Tash started out playing the festival circuit with her band MindPilot. However, she entered an induced psychosis by eating magic mushrooms on a pizza. For 7 months she lived in a very weird headspace, to say the least. Music was her escape from this condition, therefore, she started to busk until she developed RSI in her hands. In order to deal with this, she got a loop pedal and looped her instruments. This led to her first major hit, “Jungle”, and the massive success she has gained. Personally, what attracts me most to Tash is her very unique voice!  She is one in a million and will go far for sure!
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Now we move to London, England- and, again, an artist who got somewhere doing a cover! I will never understand this unwarranted arrogance and prejudice towards recording or performing covers…truly it’s so pathetic. Win Grammy, and then maybe you will have a point…but oh wait! An artist who went viral doing a cover actually did win a Grammy!!! Shock!!! Horror!! Fair enough, not with the cover, but it shows you that being humble and learning to pay your dues first, goes a damn long way!

Jacob Collier is truly incredible, his first album “In My Room” was done- where else- but in his room with many loop pedals and instruments. All of which he played himself! He is truly creative and inventive and deserves all the recognition he has gained! He is one to watch, for sure!

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Looping is catching on and is clearly music of the future. I predict fewer bands and more solo artists. The reason for this? I am not yet sure. Maybe money, time, ego..who knows?However, as long as it is a step forward to good music in the future, I am happy.
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I do miss the days of bands rocking out, putting on amazing shows for obsessed fans. However, we now live in a world where less is more. You can’t change the world. You can only change how you view it and create your reality in it. So try and find the good in all that you can.
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Kat Coetzee