Tag Archives: creative

Review: The New Lorde Album – An Instant Classic

Lorde

I listened to the new Lorde album, Pure Heroine, over the weekend. New Zealand, I think we may have an instant classic.

Now I’m mindful that I may be a little biased by the fact that I am a patriotic Kiwi and Lorde is one of our own, but evidence for this album’s substance (get it substance) is found in the quality of the work, not my opinion – and judging by how Lorde comes across in her interviews, I think she and her team would have it no other way.

The album from start to finish intrigues you. Lorde invites you into her mystery that gradually unfolds throughout the album but never becomes fully realised. The album is like a piece of music that takes you on it’s journey that doesn’t reslove back to it’s root chord – a space where Lorde and her team have us right where they want us.

And musically, there’s so much to love about the album.

Lorde’s vocals and music are refreshingly unique. In a world of pop princesses who lack differentiation, Lorde’s sound has the world trying to figure out exactly where she fits – and I believe that’s exactly how Lorde and her team would have it. If people can’t decide where Lorde fits in the music industry, she remains out of the box, unlabelled, uncompartmentalised.

Some have tried to compare her to others in her music peer group, saying her sound is similar to artists like Lana Del Rey, but I think this minimises just how unique a sound Lorde has. To me, Lorde and her team have done a great job in beginning the crafting of a new sound which is why people are getting so excited – people want to join a new journey, one of new discovery,  of fresh potential unlocked – and in this 16-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, people have found just that.

The drums on the album are something to behold. Simple but intricate. Understated but full – still artistic in nature, understanding that music can be found in the empty spaces of pieces as much as in the full bass lines and deep drum loops.

The production and songwriting on the album is also quality, meticulously measured, ordered in a way that best reveals the mystery Lorde and her team want the world to be part of.

It was difficult to choose my favourite tracks on the album (and to be honest I think this may change as I listen to the album more) but I would have to say my favourites on the album at this stage are Buzzcut Season, White Teeth Teens and Ribs. All very different, all great in their own artistic ways.

For me, this album goes down as one of the best albums to come out of New Zealand in recent memory with Lorde being one of our (New Zealand’s) most interesting artists. Her worldwide appeal is, and will be, birthed out of what makes her unique and that’s what really excites me about her and her music.

If this is the debut full-length album project, it’s frightening to think of the heights, and audiences, Lorde and her team can reach with their sound more refined, realised and shared. And the world eagerly awaits how that will play out – but in the meantime Pure Heroine will provide plenty of mystery and food for the soul until that time comes.

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Why I Write

Street poet

In regard to blogpost writing, I’ve had a rough last week or so.

The past few days have seen me write thousands of words, engineer and re-engineer hundreds of incomplete sentences and paragraphs and spend hours exploring real-life stories against truths I believe the world needs to hear.

All these actions work toward crafting that brilliant blogpost, the one with enough substance to impact the next person that reads it, who will positively impact the next person they interact with, and so on.

But this week, it just hasn’t been clicking.

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s the change of season, maybe it’s the other projects happening in my life beginning to impact my ability to order my thoughts – I can’t quite put my finger on it.

But one thing I do know is this – my latest rough episode of blogging has not left me discouraged.

It’s because the reason I blog goes beyond clocking up large numbers of readers to follow my writing (though I am extremely humbled by the number that do) or the encouragement I’ve received to continue sharing my thoughts in this way (though this encouragement is appreciated).

The reason I blog is because I have a conviction that I am part of a group of people seeing the world differently for us, who have the capacity to share what they see, believe or hear from angles the world has never seen before.

I believe all of us are part of this group in some measure. We all hold something (or some things) that the world has not seen, heard or read about yet, until you’ve painted, played or written them for us.

And this is why I am not discouraged.

My belief that I hold pieces of writing within me that the world hasn’t read yet, and needs to hear, far outweighs my feelings of anxiousness when I can’t string two coherent words together within a timeframe I define.

I know I hold messages that need to be heard. And I know that my readers hold things that need to be shared too.

So for those reading my writing, I apologise for the delay between new blogposts. This piece is a little insight into my last week.

If you enjoy reading my writing and want to see more of it, be encouraged in this: I know I hold written pieces within me that can change the world, and that is why I write. That is why I share. That is why this pursuit continues.

That is why I am not discouraged. The right words will come. And when they do – I’ll be ready.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scootervagabond

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The Difference Between Smart People and Wise People

owl3So for people who are following my writing, I thought I would share a bit of my story.

When I was 19, for about a year I acted, danced and sung my way across New Zealand with a performing arts company – one of the coolest things I’ve done.

It was a great experience. I performed in some iconic New Zealand theatres, met some fantastic people and made some life-long friends – but looking back in hindsight these were not the things that would impact me most on that tour.

The tour introduced me to a person who would shift how I see the world – someone like noone I’d ever met before.

He was an interesting character. A gentle giant who stood at about six-foot-two (or it seemed so at the time). He would’ve been in his fifties then – a tall,  lean, white male who everyday donned the same set of thick glasses perched lightly on his nose and had a head of greying hair that always looked slightly unkempt.

A part of his role on tour was to drive our tour bus. We spent hours on that bus – travelling from city to city – town to town. And while he drove, I found myself for hours on end sitting next to the guy, picking his brain about everything and anything. From practical stuff to big picture stuff, from people’s everyday problems to life’s big questions.

On that bus, for that year, I learnt more about myself and the world than I had learnt in any other year in my life. That person taught and helped me experience life concepts and ideas that still inspire and bamboozle me to this day.

Given all this – there was one lesson he embodied that stood above them all.

He modelled for me what a wise person is.

And this led me to explore the difference between a smart person – and a wise person.

Beyond that tour bus, I have interacted with many different kinds of people from many different walks of life, and in my experience the people I’ve met have fallen into one catergory or the other. Few have fallen into both.

So – based on my experience (and opinion) – here are several differences I have encountered between smart people – and wise people.

Smart people know a lot. Wise people apply what they know well.

Smart people tell you about something. Wise people show you something.

Smart people present arguments. Wise people walk you through experiences.

Smart people can make the simple complex. Wise people make the complex simple.

Smart people protect what they know benefitting themselves. Wise people share what they know benefitting others.

Smart people revel in the mystery of their work. Wise people willingly help others unlock their mystery.

Smart people hate being wrong. Wise people recognise being wrong as an opportunity to be better.

Smart people look to critique others. Wise people know the critiquing begins with themselves.

Our Parliament is filled with smart people… not necessarily wise people.

Our universities are filled with smart people… not necessarily wise people.

Our churches are filled with smart people… not necessarily wise people.

My hope for all of us is that one of the big pursuits in our life would not be limited to just becoming smarter.

My hope is that like my now friend from that tour all those years ago, we would continually pursue becoming wiser.

I wanted to finish this piece by honouring that friend I met all those years ago on that tour. Those conversations we had on that bus have changed my life forever. Thanks Gee.

Photo credit: www.zazzle.com

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The Practise of Pausing Time

me at the altar3Fifteen minutes is a long time when you’re waiting at the altar.

Hollywood movies warned me this was the way it was meant to play out, but that did not prepare me for how I was feeling at that moment.

Two o’ clock, at a snails pace, turned to two fifteen. I could sense from guests a small amount of pleasure at watching me squirm. To be honest I would’ve enjoyed the squirm as well from the pew seats.

Surely she’s not too far away.

And then like the Hollywood movies – our wedding story began to unfold.

A light murmur spread through the church as my future wife arrived outside. Once the murmurs settled, our wedding song began to play, and one-by-one the bridesmaids elegantly made there way down the aisle. My wife then joined the party by entering at the rear of the church.

And then it happened.

As soon as she came into my vision…

I paused time.

I paused it. There’s no other way to explain it.

And for that paused moment, which may have been brief, I was not bound by that hour – or that minute – or that second. I was freed to live that moment out with the intensity and fervor that it deserved.

Her elegance, those eyes, the breathtaking beauty, the nervous excitement, that dress – the moment became bigger than the timeframe it was lived within – removed from the confines of time and space.

When I close my eyes I can still relive the whole moment in its intensity and entirety.

***

It’s this practise of pausing time that I think is a great lesson for all of us.

For a lot of us, with time –  it always seems like we’re running out of it or we don’t have enough of it. I’ve been a victim to its pressure, encouraged to save it and told not to waste it away.

My past has conditioned me to pursue being on it – to set plans to it that are bound by it. And I’m told if I’m wise I should manage it well, set it aside and watch it carefully.

But these are not the concepts that grind me the most about time. It is my feeling that I am subject to it. Like time is my Master.

Well today is a new day. I’ve been looking at it wrong.

Time is a means – it is not an end. It exists for us, we don’t exist for it (let that breathe for a while).

Time is a tool with which we live within not a master that we serve under. We need to master it, not the other way around.

We must engage more in the practise of pausing time.

And I’m not talking about planning our time better – that’s too mundane. I mean we must learn to pause time – more.

In moments like walking down the aisle toward your future husband, holding your baby in your arms for the first time, standing atop gorgeous mountains or walking alongside flawless lakes – in these moments when time stands still – we need to stand with it. Be attentive, be immersed, be still.

Mastering this practise opens up a whole new world of heightened awareness and sensitivity in the moments that matter.

You are not subject to time – time is subject to you.

So this is my challenge – in the moments that transcend time – I dare you to transcend with them.

I dare you to more often engage in the practise of pausing time.

Photo: That’s me waiting at the altar – she did eventually join me there:)

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Why I Want to Die Empty.

empty jarNote: I recommend you read this post slow and let it sink in.

When I initially penned the title of this post I thought it may be a little morbid. And it probably is.

To be honest I don’t intend to offend anyone – but I do want to share my truth.

A lot of people have asked me why I started this blog – and the topic of this blogpost provides a large part of that answer.

It’s because I want to die empty.

I want to make sure that when my day comes – I have nothing left to give this world. That there is nothing left in my tank.

I want to make sure that every bit of creativity I have within me has been spoken out, written, sung or performed.

I want to make sure that every God-given idea I’ve been gifted has been prayed upon and explored.

I want to make sure that every word of encouragement or inspiring thought I can share with others, is shared with others.

I want to make sure that every ounce of my love for my wife is completely expended.

I want to make sure that my faith is whole-heartedly lived out.

I want to die empty.

And I want you to die empty too.

You see the thing that holds a lot of us back is the same thing that could move us all forward. Fear.

We all generally have a fear of regret and a fear of failure, and one will overcome the other depending on which one we allow to affect us.

Our fear of regret HAS to overshadow our fear of failure – because when all is said and done – failure is  not gonna be our biggest disappointment. Regret is.

Fear regret – more than you fear failure. Turn your FULL life (of talent, creativity, wisdom) – into an empty death.

So –

remember that poem in your heart that you wanted to write…

that great business idea that you wanted to start…

that piece of art you dreamed of painting…

that building or piece of furniture you wanted to build…

that epic movie that you wanted to make…

Now is your time to make it happen.

Now is your time to start your journey toward dying empty.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9110803@N08/5377485512/

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Online Marketers and Organisations: Don’t Be ‘that guy’.

steve-1The best party’s I’ve been to are the ones where guests sub-consciously understand and play by the party’s rules.

Rules like – we’re here for fun. We’re here to hangout. We’re here to get away from the mundane day-to-day and enjoy ourselves, spend time with our friends, see what happens.

These sorts of rules frame 99% of social settings – enjoyment, the opportunity to relax and the ability to just ‘be’.

Unfortunately this is something that is lost on a lot of online marketers  and organisations wanting to make their mark in the social media world. It’s their lack of sensitivity in the space and for a lot of organisations their ‘corporateness’ that causes them to fail. Badly.

Social media is like a party. People are there for different reasons but primarily the general public are there to have fun, lighten up and spend time with trusted friends who they know won’t shove their agendas down their throat.

At parties, it’s those who come across as having strong agendas that are the ‘annoying ones’ – they cause people’s eyes to glaze over and then ultimately to look for other groups of people who are lighter, and there to have a good time.

Social media is a place for friendships, for a laugh, to be entertained. So tip for online marketers and organisations: laugh with people, be entertained – and as the friendship grows and conversations deepen you may get an invitation to speak. And when you do – be ready.

When it’s your turn to speak don’t be pushy, be charming. Be attractive. Be warm. The pushy guys generally lose out at a shindig, and same goes in the online world. It’s the guys who share cool, fresh stuff in conversations and tell great stories about the difference they’re making in the world through their work that normally get invited to tell their stories again. And again. And again.

So online marketers and anyone who wants to succeed in the social media space – it may be time to look at social media through different eyes. Don’t forget that social media is like a party. Don’t be ‘that guy’. Play by the rules.

Photo credit: http://images2.nick.com/

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Jessesworld Blog Rules: Nothing lame

ImageSo this is my first real post. Stoked you’re checking it out.

I thought this would be an opportune time to lay down some ground rules for this blog straight off the bat.

1. If you’re reading my blog – I don’t want you reading something lame. If this is going to take some of you’re valueable time, it better be a worthwhile read – so that’s the goal.

2. I wanna try and stay away from cliche thoughts and angles on topics (if I can help it). People want to hear and think about new ways of seeing the world – a raw perspective – hopefully what I write will give you that, whatever the topic.

3. Lastly, I wanna have fun. Topics I discuss on here will be out of passion for the topic – not hate on opposing views. I will always unashamedly share my position on something – though will also commit to listening and learning as others wanna share theirs.

The big idea of this blog is to share new ways of thinking about things, my vision of the future on different topics and to add value to peoples lives whether it be in a big or small way.

Here’s to the start of this journey:)

Cheers,
Jesse

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