Tag Archives: Alicia Keys

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

A quick epilogue to last week’s J. Clyde post:

I got to see his beat-making operation up close just before Christmas, including his killer record collection. Dude has a lot of records. Thousands. I was especially jealous of his soul collection, despite the fact that I hadn’t heard of half the groups represented. The more obscure something was, the more fun it was to see him walk over, put it on the turntable and drop the needle on the tiny snippet that was sampled in a rap song I’ve heard dozens of times.

He has these relationships tucked away in his brain, but while we listened he told me about an iPhone app that helps neophytes like me make those types of connections. It’s called WhoSampled, and it’s about as much fun as you can have for $2.99 (you can access the same database from your browser for free, FYI). I’ve been using the app more and more lately, and I thought I’d share a quick (unsolicited and unpaid) illustration.

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Bryn Davies

So the Grammys were this weekend…

I know, I know.

A sizable percentage of you are probably groaning, closing this tab of your browser and saying something like, “Ugh, I can’t stand hearing about those self-congratulating millionaires and the mass-marketed, radio-friendly, auto-tuned crap they give each other awards for making.” Maybe a few of you even added air quotes when you said “making” to drive the point home. Would have been a nice touch.

As much as I enjoy and care about the Grammys, I can’t blame people for detecting, and reacting to, a degree of fakeness. Sunday’s broadcast certainly had its share of artifice, with a Maroon 5/Alicia Keys duet that perfectly embodied pop music’s insider culture and a Bob Marley tribute that hit so far off the mark it seemed genuinely bizarre. (Speaking of which, I made a note a little while ago to write a post about how Bruno Mars might not be human. He’s too good. His voice, stage presence and skin are all unreasonably perfect, and he has this general aura of unreality about him. I’m starting to think that birthers have been rooting around for the wrong Hawaii birth certificate…)

But here’s the thing. There are real people at the Grammys, too. Actual human beings who buy garlic and orange juice at the grocery store and make music that finds success on its own terms. I thought I’d use today’s post to tell you about one of those people, someone whose appearance on the TV screen during Sunday’s ceremony made me cheer out loud as reflexively as I would have if someone had told me that Chris Brown was stuck in an airport somewhere and wouldn’t be available for reaction shots. That someone is Bryn Davies.

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