Artist Highlight | For Mallory

Hello and welcome to my newest music series: Artist Highlight!

I generally wanted a space to talk about a single musician or band a month, but back in early April, when I went up north to visit with my family, my cousin’s daughter brought her violin and played us some songs she’s been learning in her class. She did a really great job and after the performance I asked her how she was able to play it and she explained to us in great detail. I hope she continues to play the violin or maybe switch/take on another instrument later on, if she ever does this, I hope it’s the cello! I love the cello just as much as I love the violin.

A little later I asked her if she’d ever heard of Lindsey Stirling before, and she told me no, which really puzzled me but then again, it didn’t, because in school, she’s probably forced to know classic works and nursery rhymes at this stage, so in a way to help introduce her and everybody else who happens to read this, to other violinists!

Let’s start with the lovely Lindsey Stirling.

I didn’t find out about her through America’s Got Talent in 2010, I actually found her on YouTube like most people–but I think I would have enjoyed seeing her on the show a lot! Anyways, the first song I heard was “Crystalize” of course and remember seeing the music video, thinking these two really work together. Although her music was considered hip hop on the show, for this song she had kicked up the dubstep hype that was going around at that time. I was hooked to her channel my whole senior year and honestly believe she cemented my drive for modern symphonic music.

Before Lindsey came into my life, the first violinist I was ever “introduced’ to was back in 2004, this year at its core was a changing time for me. I had just started on my hip hop phase and so I was listening to a lot of unique beats on my own without being heavily influenced by my mother. The song in question was Twista’s “Overnight Celebrity” as it features an actual violist on the track, Miri Ben-Air. I remember watching the music video for the song and was stuck by the fact there was a woman violinist. It seems kind of scary that this was the second time I was listening to two very different genres of music together and absolutely loving and wanting more of it. I had begun this a year before when Evanescence’s debut album came out in 2003.

After the song disappeared, I didn’t find anything like it again until around late 2007 or early 2008. I had found these two girl groups from England, bond and eScala. They were not your average girl groups of that time, they never actually sang, they were a string quartet. This was my first show that if you’re a part of a group, you don’t a singer. Unfortunately, by the time I had found both of them, they were on hiatus and honestly haven’t released anything new for a couple of decades.

Later on in my life, this would sort of happen again as I had discovered Apocalyptica, which was originally a tribute band for Metallica out of Finland! They have three celloists and one drummer and they make symphonic metal music. I’ve talked a bit about them over the years. They have a lot of cool songs like “Broken Pieces” with Lacey Sturm and “White Room” with Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix.

There is another group I found back in 2015 I think, it was when the symphonic metal band Kamelot came out with “Silverthorn” as it was the band’s first album with a new singer. They had a song called “My Confession” and they featured the German group Eklipse and even though they were all woman, I wouldn’t consider them a pop-y, although they have done some covers of David Guetta’s “Titanium” with Sia, and ‘Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake, they do like to take risks and create renditions of popular rock songs, and my favorite is still “Weak Fantasy by Nightwish.

Back in 2017, when I was on Netflix, I had found the Han Zimmer: Live in Prague and was just stunned by the fact that this huge music producer was getting together with his longtime friends and putting on shows for everyone. I mean, he performed at Lollapalooza a couple of years ago! How in the heck does that happen?! Anyways, the show itself was absolutely amazing and I will not lie, I totally cried when Lebo M came out to perform some of “The Lion King” songs on stage! There were a lot of elements I enjoyed but I really fell in love with the violinist Rusanda Panfill and celloist Tina Guo. You may already know Tina’s work without even know it as she is the one who did the Wonder Woman main theme. These ladies really play beautifully and definitely recommend that concert to anyone.

I was never truly able to learn to read music nor do I feel the need to play any instrument, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love seeing other artists become so passionate with their work though, it’s so interesting to see these musicians put everything into their work. Whenever I watch concerts on YouTube, I love to see them basically one eye on the maestro and the other on the sheets on the podium in front of them. They tend to have some intense facial expressions and they always seems to change with whatever tempo they are playing at that moment.

If you would like to check out the artists I’ve mentioned and/or any others (because I had an even bigger list to start, but we’d be here forever!) that fit in this post, click here to the Spotify playlist!


Song Review: “Cold Blood” by Apocalyptica

I’m taking a new step into adding more music posts onto my blog. Every Tuesday will be a favorite artist/groups. What I like about them and their music styles. On Thursdays, I will be doing a different review of some sort. I generally miss doing these types of posts but they can be very time consuming to the point where they lose my interest. There are some weeks when different music comes out and I usually can’t get a review out that Tuesday, so I’m hoping having a day like Thursday will be less stressful for me. 

Since I’ve been mainly talking about female singers on my Tune Tuesday posts, it feels a little weird breaking out and talking about all-male bands again. If you haven’t heard of the Finnish metal band Apocalyptica before, you are certainly missing out. However, if you’re a hardcore metal fan it might seem a bit difficult to accept these guys into your normal outlook of what a heavy metal band should sound like. If you know me very well, you’ll know I like challenging people into listening to big female fronted metal bands like Arch Enemy or maybe Epica. Apocalyptica doesn’t have a female vocalist, they have used Lacey Sturm, the former singer of Flyleaf and Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil in their tracks. What people may not be able to understand is that the group doesn’t necessarily use the normal metal-like instruments.

The group consists of three classically trained celloists and one drummer. Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaasko, Paavo Lötjönen and Mikko Siren, They started off being a cover band for Metallica. They’ve released seven albums and are about to release their newest next month. Last year, they added vocalist Franky Perez into the band and he is featured in their live shows and on their new album Shadowmaker. I heard the first single on Sirius XM Octane the other day, I’ll be honest I don’t normally listen to their music in a casual way, only a few songs have actually captured my attention in the last two or three years. When I heard the song though, I had to rewind my TV during the damn intro because I like that ominous tone. It is amazing that there are NO guitars in their songs and it’s just these classic instruments. the only sound you are familiar with are the drums and cymbals. I love the powerful stance it gives out in the first few seconds, sounds like a true metal song! It’s magic!

After hearing it, I immediately found it on my Spotify and put it on my Starred list. I can’t wait for the rest of the album. If you’re not a fan of them or have never heard of their music before, I dare you to give this song a listen! Enjoy!