Category Archives: music

Moved to my new and even more public blog

Hello! I’m now taking my music career very seriously. So seriously that I now blog at sharliza.com rather than here. Check it out!

Also I’m looking for:

  • someone to film videos
  • someone to take photos
  • someone to be my groupie

Please contact me on Sharliza Jelita’s website! Have a nice day.

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Dell sucks… until mine is here.

Dell - Yours is hereLet’s start with how Dell sucks.

After much research, I bought a Dell Studio 1557 laptop online, to make music with. 9-13 days – I can live with that. However, it eventually took Dell over a month to make and send me a laptop. I was not amused. I even tried to cancel my order, which I was told, by a human being, that it was successful – but NO! They took my money – turns out I couldn’t cancel.

After a long, fraught and annoying wait, I was underwhelmed when an automated computer voice rang my mobile to confirm the date and time of my delivery. And when the package finally arrived, it sat unloved and unopened for half a day while I got on with my life.

I didn’t even bother opening it in the end – got my partner to do it. Spied a big ‘Made in China’ label. Seemed to crawl through orienting itself into life as a laptop. Vista as well! Was not impressed.

How Dell redeemed itself

In under 24 hours I’m totally sold on this product. Specs below. My main considerations were for it to be good enough for making music, a PC (was considering a Mac… but I love PC really) and cost under £700. I’ve gotten so used to this thing now, going back to my desktop seems strange!

Intel i7-720QM(1.6GHz) Mobile CPU – 6MB L3 cache, quick mobile processor. This had only been out about two weeks when I ordered the laptop
4GB RAM
320GB 7,200rpm hard drive – 5,400rpm would be more likely to cause latency/write issues
512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HP 4570 – I like playing games; this is good enough for not-so demanding games
64-bit Vista OS

After it got into the swing of things, this laptop really shone. My desktop computers rely on wifi dongles to connect to the internet and they cut out all the time – but this laptop’s connection is very stable. The sound is great for a laptop; it’s like surround sound. The screen is wide and bigger than I expected (15″ inch widescreen). As a result it’s not as light as I would like, but considering how powerful it is (and it has a DVDRW drive), it’s acceptable. The keyboard is lovely to type on as I write this; the keys big, light and comfortable.

And the speed. It’s quite ridiculous how the speed of a computer can affect internet experience. We only have bog standard wifi and the router’s quite far away. My year-old desktop is very good, but this one is on fire – working though a Java-based website CMS in real-time, as if I’m just working through Explorer locally. I also installed Sims 3 and imported my Sims 3 files from my desktop so I can continue my game. Seems to work fine. I think Sims 3 automatically uses settings that give the swiftest gameplay, which is why the graphics aren’t as good as on my desktop – but it’s not jerky, and is definitely good enough.

I did encounter some stupid errors which presumably is due to Vista – like default shortcuts in My Documents pointing to a location that doesn’t exist and refusing to install Cute FTP despite having the right version of it.

I’ll give making music a go on this thing, after I figure out what software to use! Here’s hoping the laptop won’t slow down…

P.S: Are you looking for a Dell Studio battery for this laptop?

Jazzanova Jazz Cafe

Really nice gig. Jazzanova had a really good turnout; decidedly mature audience. During the first two songs I did think ‘Hmm, may be nicer to listen to this at home’. But it got better when they played stuff like No Use and Days to Come. I prefer it when they’re all syncopated beats and electronic and mushrooming sevens and strange chord progressions. It’s all about the 7s, heheh. A few songs sound a bit dated, like what overseas hire bands would play in Singapore clubs in the 90s, and I don’t think I rate their latest single from their latest album too much, as I found it too mainstream, even cheesy funk at parts. I found the guitarist very cute. He’s got a nice, soft kind look about him. The singer was amazing, he could funk bass AND sing like a mama. He had a cool zebra print towel as well. It was so great right at the end when he interlaced Gypsy Woman with another song they played twice that night with a great bassline which I know but don’t know the name of.

It would have been great to make a whole night of it, have a nice terrace seat upstairs with food and drinks, cool disco afterward – at least would have warranted the £25 cab fare home.

Singapore National Day… and get rich slowly…in music?

Really enjoyed watching the Singapore National Day Parade online. It’s better than ever and the music direction is not as cheesy. It looked Kraftwerky at one point. Seems like they are taking onboard lots (more) of inspiration from overseas but of course with a Singaporean twist. I’m seriously contemplating going back. I know I’ll move back at some point, but now, probably sooner than I expect. They are taking arts more seriously and now that I have experience and buy-in from people here I can see myself taking forward a music/performing career there.

For the first half of the show, half of my screen was the parade and the other half were posts on investing and an explanation on quatitative easing. Another blog I follow sometimes is Get Rich Slowly. Blogs like these can get quite addictive especially if written by good bloggers. I’m saving, paying down a debt from my “record label” (you can say all I got was a bunch of recordings, but that’s something to give the grandchildren), paying into a pension, investing a tiny little bit… but amongst all this order I feel that my life could be more exciting, and more aligned to what I truly am. [And, of course, the majority of people would agree with this re: themselves]. I’m not young forever, and children are looming closer. At the same time, I’m not prepared to lose the stability I have achieved in the past year.

And a big problem with me is that I can’t seem to equate music with making money. Maybe it’s because of very early conditioning – I remember, as a child,  my mother telling off my brother for being a musician because “it doesn’t pay”. Of course it does when done right – look at Beyonce! – and there are plenty of people who make money out of music in various ways. But I’ve always found that I shell out. I’ve made money out of it a few times, but never as much as what I spend on it. And I came to see at one point, that the people making money in music are not the musicians but guitar shops, rehearsal rooms, recording studios, even promoters – all in on the ‘dream’.

I do know a bunch of very lovely guys who are making a decent living off music. They play weddings and corporate events, as well as original stuff in the guise of another band. Absolutely superb musicians. One of them is a maths graduate and does their books. How convenient!

I should look into getting an income stream from music. Somehow. I want to sing happy 90s dance hits to happily drunk people and get paid for it. Just need to get some backing tracks and a monkey on a piano (or a cat!) and we’re off!

By the way my brother Malex is still performing and has released a couple of albums which are cult successes back in Singapore. He does have a day job, but he is still staying true to his passion! Check him out, he’s the one with the blue guitar.

Lovebox II – Doves 1, Groove Armada 0

Just out of curiosity, is it true that Groove Armada organised Lovebox? Because they certainly took advantage of it by not playing that many hits. I know their ‘greatest hits’ album fairly well and I only recognised a few songs in the set. The singer was absolutely exceptional, great moves, incredible voice and interesting adrogynous look. Pumping out new tune after new tune. Withdrew for a bit. Then came back. They played a little bit of At the river. OK. Then they played a blasting great Superstylin. The crowd thought, YEAH, the party’s happ’ning now! Everyone’s skanking and jumping! Light show bonanza!

But no! Right after that… it ended. No Get Down. How disappointing. I also overheard others muttering ‘…they didn’t play I See You Baby’. Was really miffed as I had been looking forward to that hearing them play Get Down all weekend. That song isn’t even that old! Why did they leave it out?

Doves were before them and they were great. Again, not crushed like sardines, and we got a super good spot right at the front. They played There Goes The Fear at the end. It’s also nice to hear them reprising a few tunes from their Lost Souls album. Can’t believe it was all those years ago.

Lovebox One

Duran Duran was the main reason I was at Lovebox, and had a great time. I really like gigs where there’re lots of people, but no crushing. NERD were pretty good – great musicianship though I do find their songs a bit all over the place -and they invited people onstage to dance with them. Initially it was pretty fun to watch but for the final song which was She Wants to Move – brilliant! – they invited a whole posse of girls to come onstage and it was hell for a few minutes and girls scrambled around me to get onstage. The good part was that it got people out and I could secure a good spot to see Duran Duran. I think they were eager not be a hits jukebox – and I respect their choice of choosing new songs – but not sure about their selection of back catalogue. I mean, I’m a big fan and I know the songs and certainly didn’t mind, but seeing it from the point of view of a semi-fan who knows mainly the hits, The Reflex and Hungry Like a Wolf  or even Too Much Information would have been better choices than Skin Trade or Election Day. Their new songs sound really cool and updated, though somehow it sounds like trying to hip-up and un-hip song at parts.

But yeah, the crowd, initially there was a bit of squeezing, but it spaced out during the set, more space to jump and dance and have fun. There were older people there as well – some with kids – so they were having civilised fun without annoying other people. Maybe I did. Heheh. Duran Duran is no longer the sort of band teenagers swoon over – Simon Le Bon is 51! – and me screaming “Nick!” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. In fact in between songs I can’t believe how quiet people are. And everybodywas just expecting an encore rather than clamouring for one!

It’s great to see them at a festival setting. Last time I saw them was in 2003 in Singapore. That was deffo one of the best gigs I’ve been to as I’ve waited 10 years – so lucky they came to Singapore again as the previous time they played I was too young and was taken to see Mickey Mouse on Ice instead. Was really miffed. But I more than made up for it! And now I’ve seen them in London too – when I was a kid listening to them every day I wouldn’t have thought I’ll see them in London. They sounded slicker, bigger and newer yesterday, but of course it was missing the spark that’s only possible in a smaller venue.

Today I’m off to Lovebox Day 2 to see Doves. Will it be as great as the last time I saw them, in Glastonbury 2003? Mainly because there was space to dance and have fun!

Making time

I would love to blog more often. But I can hardly find time to tweet! Have signed up my mobile so I can update on the go but at the end of the day who cares anyway.

I had a filling meal at Ranoush Juice; prior to that, got some shoes from H&M as my toes were peeping out of my Bata flats; prior to that tried to go vintage dress shopping at Portobello but as I was edging towards Notting Hill – smart me started from Ladbroke Grove – it got too crowded and my friend and I gave up and retreated. Bank Holiday + Labour Day crowds I bet.

I’m so comfortable and so happy. I may not be on TV, or in the latest magazine, but I’m so happy to be able to just chill and hang out, eat, have wholesome fun with friends. Definitely happier to be in London as a lot of my friends are here.

When I was in the Midlands most of my time was spent on the computer, playing computer games, rehearsing for gigs, playing gigs. I never went on holiday, had fairly mundane jobs, holding on to the dream. I got very agitated when I saw some frontwomen on TV recently because I could be doing that, and I do that very well. Yes, I’m going book gigs, yes I’m gonna write songs again…but maybe my priorities have changed? Somehow I feel – as morbid as it may be – that the last ever thought I’d ever have won’t be ‘I wish I was famous’ or ‘I wish I was a rockstar’…it’ll be more like ‘I wish I prayed more’ and ‘I love my family’. Wasted potential yes.

Since moving here I prefer spending time with people who mean something to me rather than people I should hang out with because they might get me that gig or some other favour. Maybe now I’ll make more ‘chill’ music because I’m not reliant on it as a ‘business’, and knowing the power of the niche it might actually be better than making music like chipmunks on speed.

Also I don’t really miss the lifestyle of waiting around for your gig to start, kinda fake people you ‘know’ and you always say hello to and don’t go much beyond that, trying to sell T-shirts and CDs, spending lots of money on rehearsals for gigs that suck, spending time + effort + money on merchandise, and the temptation to get off with someone. Pretty much sex, alcohol and rock n’ roll. I do miss performing, and creating structured sounds and noises, and I like recording a lot because that’s when we sound best, esp with a wizard producer.

I used to think, maybe I like to perform cos I like approval. It may have been the case, but the more experience I have the more I couldn’t give a shit – I know I’m good/just what I am. There’s no ‘kick’ to applause – they’re just being polite anyway. Those who howl are my friends, really. But it is LOVELY to have a few fans. People I never knew before liking us just through our music/performance. Unbelievable sometimes – but I guess if I find the pidgin amount of people actually liking us unbelievable then I’m not cut out for superstardom really, am I? Heheh.

Anyhoo. I’m happy and comfortable and looking forward to snuggling up in bed. Good night.