#mamusicindustries MED7011: An introduction to Popular Music as Culture

Hello everybody!

My name is Orsi and this is my second semester studying the MA in music industries as a distance student (although I did travel up twice last semester to say hello, so I am hoping I can do the same this semester too!).

I am doing this MA as a part time student since I’m also working full time managing an online vinyl shop called Fat City and working for a small label called Jazzman Records. I did a BA in Music and Media Management 2005-2008 and that is essentially why I moved to London (apart from my dream of working with music).

During and after my BA I worked for a small label called Brownswood Recordings, and before starting my current job I worked as a project and account manager at two different digital agencies for roughly three years in total.

Apart from that I’ve been hosting my own radio show called Little Miss Sunshiine for about 2½ years on Laid Back Radio, as well as doing some other radio related things on different stations, and last year I took the big step of playing records in public (and I say big because for me it’s very nerve wrecking…)

As for this module, I think all weeks sound really interesting because they relate to personal as well as professional interests of mine.

I guess in a bit broader sense, when I think of music as culture I keep getting drawn back to three things:

1. Can there be commerce without the culture?
2. Would we have a “rich” culture if there wasn’t a commercial/financial side to music?
3. That I’ve unconsciously been part of some sort of “music culture” throughout my entire life.

On a personal side, music meaning, identity, but especially history and heritage in terms of why music I hear today sound a specific way due to music from the past has always interested me. I guess my rather big range of musical taste comes from trying to explore the musical background of music that I have come across and liked.

An example of this is Hip Hop.
Not only was I part of the culture of Hip Hop when I was growing up, and by culture I don’t just mean the music but the four elements and what they represented etc, but being part of that culture sparked an interest in me to dig deeper to discover where the samples & breaks came from in the music I was listening, singing and dancing to. And thanks to that I discovered a brand new world of jazz, funk, soul, disco and electronic music, which in turn lead me to pop, rock, blues, country and so on.

From a professional/business point of view I’d say it’s vital to understand the culture behind music because I think that’s essentially what you are making your money from (but I might be wrong…).

So in a way, the better you understand the culture the better you can use it to your advantage to exploit it and earn more money.

That might sound a bit grim, and maybe it is wrong, but so far that is the impression I get…

Working and in a way “belonging” to a niche part of the music industry, I sometimes get the feeling that people who belong to it too feel like our work/music is more important because we “create better musical culture” but I have never really been convinced by that.

What makes good culture? or good music for that matter?

Sorry, I won’t ramble on… Let’s just say I have a lot of thoughts and questions, and I look forward to have even more once this module is finished.

Only idiots run! #TeamBangs #RunDemCrew #MakeItCount

Last day of the third week of training for the Berlin Half Marathon and let me tell you – this week has been the shittiest week of 2012. No joke.

Without really going into anything other than running, this week was hard as hell.

It started out with some ‘issues’ that I won’t dwell or go on about because as far as I know, everything has been talked about and resolved, but let’s just say that a situation occurred that  kind of made me very sad, disappointed and a bit upset.

On top of that, this no smoking business had resulted in pretty much insomnia. I had been getting on average about 3 hours sleep per night for roughly two weeks, which is not a lot when you need to be up by 6am the very latest every weekday morning to squeeze in either run or a bootcamp session before work.

Safe to say that the tiredness got the best of me – all I wanted to do was to cry my eyes out, dig a hole in the ground and disappear forever.

Everything was a struggle and I just couldn’t see how it was going to get any better.

After having a lovely run, and the longest one I have ever done, with Run Dem Cew on Tuesday, I went for another one on Saturday and it bloody hurt! Now don’t get me wrong, I know I am a beginner, but so far running has never really hurt in the way it hurt on Saturday. My legs, my feet, my thighs, my stomach, my back, my shoulders, everything hurt.

I wasn’t even doing my long run, “only” 3,5 miles and I felt like my body was going to fall apart. How the hell am I meant to run 13 miles if I am on my third official week of training and my body is falling apart after less than a quarter of the distance!?

I wasn’t happy but I tried not to think about it. Until I woke up this morning, on my “long run day”, and felt like my entire existence was shouting NO to running. The thought of having to go for a run was actually so upsetting that I started crying.

And before you start judging me – yes I do look horrible on that picture, yes I was silly enough to take a picture of myself looking that bad whilst crying my eyes out, BUT, how am I meant to share this journey with you all if I am not honest and show you EVERYTHING of what I am going through.

So I cried for a while, tweeted about how I didnt want to go for a run, and then decided to stop being silly and just do it because I would feel much worse about the situation if I didn’t go.

Little did I know that whilst I was crying a bit more and preparing to go out for this very much dreaded run, people were saying all kinds of encouraging and wonderful things to me on twitter:

I really wish I would have seen this before I went out, because it wasn’t really a very pretty run…

I got to 0,75 miles and started crying because I just didn’t want to be out there. I didn’t want to be running and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t even done a mile.

When I got to 1,5 miles I was cussing everybody in my head.

I was cussing myself for having met Charlie Dark and for him to have started Run Dem Crew.

I was cussing Bangs for asking me to join Team Bangs and for making me feel so passionate about the team and the girls and this achievement and for getting me into running when in fact I was probably much happier when I was fat, lazy, smoking 20 cigarettes a day and not giving a flying toss about any stupid half marathon.

I was cussing all my girls in Team Bangs for being so lovely and great people and for making me looking forward to getting up in the morning to go training and for feeling so blessed about sharing this journey with them, because it is a crap journey that is too much effort and hard work.

I was cussing every person I have met in Run Dem Crew, at the sessions or online, for being so into this stupid fucking thing called running and for being so nice and encouraging to me. I mean, who the hell owns and wears so much lycra anyway!?!

It even got to the point where I was cussing my parents for making me and my mum for giving birth to me.

Yes it really got that bad. It got to the point where I literally wished I had not been born at all.

This was where I had my second cry. I think it was around 3,75 miles when I realised how far I had left to run.

I couldn’t breathe, my legs and shoulders were hurting, and I was seriously considering running in front of a car just so I could put myself out of my misery.

But somehow I carried on.

I was thinking of Berlin, of how everything was hurting, of how I’d never be able to do 13 miles, of how Candie was right – Come race day I would be there on my own. Me and the pavement. Nobody to run for me, nobody to carry me over the finish line. Every man/woman on their own.

And during all of it, I had the little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear:

How all this wasn’t worth it.
How I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody.
How I wasn’t “built” for running anyway.
How my life would be so much easier if I didn’t train for this stupid half marathon.
How nobody would care if I just stopped running now and not in 2,5 miles.
How it was ok to walk a little if I needed.

Every single excuse you can think of, you can believe that the little devil whispered it to me. And I listened, and I took it in, hell, I even agreed with some of it.

But I didn’t stop.

After the last excuse I turned my head to the little angel that had been hiding behind my other shoulder, smiled, and tried to run the last mile as fast as I could.

That is when I had my third cry.

Then I got home and was greeted by these wonderful words (I can’t say thank you enough to all of you – I was blown away with how amazing and supporting and encouraging you all are!):

I am going to be honest with you all – I have no idea why I didn’t stop. It would have been so easy and nobody was there with me so nobody would have known anyway.

Maybe it was pride, maybe it was because I was determined not to, maybe it was just luck – I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I am ultimately doing this because I want to be able to wake up every morning and be the best person I can be.

And I know that sounds cheesey, and a bit ‘self-help’/motivational coach bull-shit talk, but it is the truth.

That is the goal and I need to remember that, especially on the bad days and weeks.

Why? Because you need the bad to appreciate the good.

And people can take the piss and people can laugh, but I know that I will come out of this as a better person.

It’s not easy, and this week definitely was a reality check compared to the two previous weeks when I started to think that it might be a piece of cake to run 13 miles after all. It has grounded me, made me think and definitely made me appreciate rest days!

So much love and respect to all of you who are going through this journey as well.

And much love and thank yous to all of you who have been encouraging me to go out there and smash it. Words are not enough for me to express how much I appreciate and value your support.