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Singer/Songwriter Sheyda Releases New Single “Wish I Could Want You” – Essentially Pop

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“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, …who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming” – Theodore Roosevelt

Sheyda Fassari’s lifelong dream was to be a professional singer, writer, and performer. So, you can imagine how much being accepted into Belmont University’s Vocal Performance program meant to her. While she was studying though, she was told that she had vocal nodules and that these nodules could only be removed through surgery. For anyone else, this could have meant the end of her dream, but for Sheyda this was just the beginning. When she switched to a double major in songwriting and business trying to switch gears from singing, one of her songwriting teachers encouraged Sheyda not to give up on herself or her dream. Fast forward to today and Sheyda is not only actively playing in the arena and pursuing her dream, she is also releasing her third single “Wish I Could Want You”.

When I heard the intro, I thought I was going to be listening to a straight-up pop song. The shaker and synthesized vocal tracks at the beginning are catchy and set up a rhythmic structure that gave me Justin Bieber “Sorry” vibes. Suddenly a programmed snare sound comes into the song and completely flips the rhythmic structure of the song on its head. At that point, the song started giving me all kinds of R&B/Hip Hop vibes that blend with that already existing pop feel. I appreciate how minimalistic the production stays in the first verse because it allows the genre of the song to shift seamlessly and for Sheyda’s warm and resonant vocals to shine. In the first part of the verse, Sheyda’s vocal lines feel very reminiscent of the way Drake structures his vocal lines in songs like “Hotline Bling”, almost sing-speaking the words within a very tight set of notes in the key of the song. However, all this changes again when Sheyda starts singing the pre-chorus. It’s almost as if She starts revving her engine here letting the listener know just how much horsepower her voice has. Her voice takes on a soulful, and confident quality as she starts shifting gears into the chorus going from that tight sing-speaking verse rhythm to more held, sustained notes. The warm rasp is still there almost like a trademark of Sheyda’s sound and a way to bridge all the different genre elements that come into play in the song. Aside from Sheyda’s voice signaling to me that we’re transitioning into a chorus, the production starts to change as well, building slightly while keeping its minimalistic structure allowing Sheyda’s vocals to be the driver of the song and maneuver through the different genre elements she mixes into each of her songs.

I’m very impressed by Sheyda’s vocals in her new single especially given her vocal journey so far, and I can’t wait to see wait to hear more from her moving forward.

Stream “Wish I Could Want You” here.
Listen to “Wish I Could Want You” on YouTube – 



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Jeopardy! And the PR Nightmare that Sony Enabled – Essentially Pop

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The death last November of legendary Jeopardy host, Alex Trebek, left a huge void. The search for the person to fill that void generated considerable publicity. Several distractions appeared along the way to the beginning of season 38, the first without Trebek, that have overshadowed the excitement of the start of a new era. The carryover of reigning champion Matt Amodio’s 18-game winning streak into the new season was also pushed to the back page.

The Start of the Search

The search that led to the rise and fall of Mike Richards as Jeopardy host, was a huge story in the television world. When Alex Trebek passed from cancer at the age of 80, the buzz started as to who would replace him. The search for the new host of the beloved game show was highly publicized and took months. A series of guest hosts helmed the program while Sony Pictures hunted for the permanent replacement.

Focus groups were brought in, Sony executives weighed in and many candidates were vetted. As the executive producer of Jeopardy, Mike Richards headed the search process. Naturally, when Richards was named the new host, controversy erupted. The media questioned whether Richards hired himself, overlooking the fact that he may well have been the best choice for the job. Sony themselves mentioned he wasn’t part of the process once he was eligible.

Controversy

As Sony prepared to shoot the first week of the new season with Richards as host, a story came out concerning a wrongful termination suit filed against The Price Is Right while he was executive producer of. Sony was aware of the suit when Richards was named host but did nothing to get out in front of it.

After the news came out about a podcast show Richards had been a part of nearly a decade before. It was reported that Richards had perceived negative comments in a failed comedy attempt. Although this story made a splash, Sony most likely became aware of it during the vetting process. Production of the first week of episodes went ahead with Sony refraining from publicly addressing the issue. Richards issued a public apology and agreed to sensitivity training. He nevertheless decided to step down as host after the first week because he wanted the attention to be on the show and not himself.

The Firing

Mike Richards took himself out as Jeopardy host almost as soon as he began. Sony once again took a quiet approach until deciding to fire Richards as executive producer. The season continued production with former Big Bang Theory star, MayimBialik and former Jeopardy contestant, Ken Jennings sharing hosting duties. The damage, however, had already been done.

The Aftermath

Though Jeopardy will continue, the big story surrounding it has been the controversy the have allowed to continue. During his turn at the podium, Richards did an outstanding job, but Sony’s failure to get in front of this caused it to be to focal point instead of an upbeat story of the next phase of a legendary game show becoming the story of yet another celebrity that is being attacked by Twitter. A real opportunity was lost.

Only the executives who run Sony know why the studio chose to let the Mike Richards saga play out with no input from them. They may have feared a public backlash, but perhaps, should have considered that before making their choice. In the end, Jeopardy will continue its legacy, but without a man who may have proved to be an excellent permanent host.



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Beyonce Reflects On Turning 40, “I’ve made it to the other side of my sacrifice”

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Earlier this month, Beyonce turned 40, a milestone that has made her reflect on her life, career, and maturation as a human and an artist. On social media, she wrote, “There’s a freedom and liberation knowing that I’ve made it to the other side of my sacrifice. I’m finally giving myself permission to enjoy the seeds I’ve worked so hard to plant my whole life.”

The most important lesson Beyonce wrote she has learned is how fragile life really is and how important it can be “to stop and smell the roses during the good times. I thought I knew that at 21 or 30…but I didn’t. The more mature I become, the more I understand and the deeper my joy grows.”

The entertainer, influencer, and businesswoman also rightly affirmed that there is nothing wrong with getting older, telling her critics, “Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to feel old or unhappy when we turn 40 got it ALL THE WAY F’d UP.”

Happy belated birthday, Beyonce! We wish you nothing but even more wild success in the future!





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David Brookings Releases New Music – Essentially Pop

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Long ago, when David Brookings was an 11 year old in Richmond, VA making his live performance debut singing the first song he ever wrote, he probably never imagined that he’d be releasing a full length album in honour of the event called ‘Mania at the Talent Show’, it’s ironic that the first song he wrote was called ‘All I’ll Ever Want’. Now years later he’s releasing two preview tracks for the record.


The first of these tracks is called ‘Hard Times’ and is very much a song of social commentary. It perfectly conjures the feelings of uncertainty that we all have as we emerge from a global pandemic. This is very much epitomised by lyrics like “heaven help you if you sneeze” and “these are strange days, there’s an outrage”. But the complexity of how we are all feeling is balanced by more positive thoughts like “feel the wind though the trees” and “everything’s fine”. I’m sure everyone can relate to the “hard times” David is singing about. We are moving freely but there’s still uncertainty, we are not sure if we should wear a mask or not. Just the fact that we have to think so hard about every human interaction makes these hard times and that feeling is captured perfectly in the lyrics of the song. The fact that this veteran indie pop rocker puts these lyrics to an infectious, nostalgic nineties brit pop backdrop which seems to hark back to less complicated easier times, makes the dichotomy beautifully balanced.

The second track comes from a completely different mind-setbut one that is equally fraught. How do we ever really get over a first love. Can we ever really stop comparing everything that comes later to something that we increasingly think of as better than it really was. ‘Get Off (My Mind)’ sets this youthful melancholy and mature reflection to a more upbeat 60’s influential melody reminiscent of The Zombies or early 70’s ELO. No real surprise then that Brookings was inspired heavily by his parents record collection and repeat viewings of The Monkees. The irony of a song that pines after a love “flying strong” in his mind like “a ghost” is ironic from a guy who’s been happily married for 16 years. L

David Brookings has lived in many places in The States and even worked at Sun Studios, famous for Elvis and Johhny Cash, and he seems to have taken colours and tone from every place he’s lived, like an artist with a palette. All of this experience and musical saturation will come together in November with the release of the album but for now, this preview glimpse certainly whets the appetite.

David says: “I enjoy taking artistic license with stories inspired by my life. I look at music differently than I did when my first record came out, and I’m proud of my development as a songwriter. I try to always write about different, interesting things, projecting myself as a character in various situations and creating an interesting musical movie around that.”



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