While I Was Writing: Reviewing The Music That Plays While I Create Magic
By Heather Renee
The Gem by BukTroy – ( https://soundcloud.com/buk-troy/the-gem-by-buktroy-another-buk )
One of the downfalls of using social media tends to be the constant barrage of mixtape links. We never ask for them and certainly don’t want them. Personally, it irritates me to no end. I like to discover the music that evokes emotions, jogs my memory, or inspires me to write something great.
I wasn’t disappointed when Troy S. Harris II posted a link for his song The Gem. It’s refreshing to something good off of a mixtape or an Indie artist that actually shows some potential. Music is poetry, an expression of self. A musician finds find ways to own that expression.
Troy S, Smith II aka BukTroy is owning his expression perfectly in a tribute to the woman he loves. The Gem caught my attention as it is refreshing to a positive take on love. Harris takes pride in his love, his muse, and possibly his support system.
I chatted with Harris because I wanted to get his take on The Gem. I wanted to hear the story behind it. If my hunch was right, this was a great love story set to music. We chatted via FB messenger and my hunch was right. This is what Harris had to say about his piece:
The Gem… Written out of love about a woman I know. You know how you see someone, and at first sight you just say damn! For a man its she’s bad then a mutha Lol… But just on a subliminal level. Never out loud.
When I first saw her I couldn’t get her off my mind. Then we had the first date. Went dancing and watching her move, unlike any other woman dancing, I fell in love. After a conversation, a 12 hour date, she told me about men in her past. And I knew I wanted to make the rest of her life, the best of her life.The song was very crudely recorded, because I wanted to give that raw feeling. And it just came so easily.
Click the link above to check out The Gem on Soundcloud.
Young Covers Thinking Out Loud- ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr8jQ7cCsXQ )
Michael Jackson was my very first crush the subject of the many story lines that ran through my mind. I switched back and forth between loving him platonically to wondering how old he would be when I was finally able to get married. I know it’s silly and quite fanatical to say but I felt somehow connected to the sadness I saw in Jackson’s eyes. He was on the cover of the very first notebook that I ever cherished. I think I wrote “I love Michael” a thousand times in that thing.
Of course I cried when MJ passed. I thought he would live forever never imagining that his demons would take over. I found him again last summer. A cover band by the name of Who’s Bad had captured the essence of Michael and renewed my love on that beautiful night.
I fangirled for Who’s Bad as hard as I’d done for Michael being sure to follow the band on every social media site that they promoted on. This is how I discovered the uber talented L. Young. He was the highlight of my day doing justice to many of my beloved songs by the King of Pop.
Young is a one man band. His a cappella performances on YouTube bring to mind a performance of The Roots however, Young makes beautiful music with just his talents alone aweing listeners. He had me at hello with his tribute to the King featured on the Who’s Bad Facebook page.
( L. Young sings Michael Jackson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGtLGzZWitQ)
I dropped what I was doing to immediately find Young’s YouTube channel and I was not disappointed. I loved every cover and original song that I listened to. I was most taken by Young’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud. I got goose bumps as the notes to the first chorus began. It’s been awhile since I was compelled to download the cover instead of the original song.
Sheeran gave us a beautifully written song, L. Young made it his own and perfected it. Do yourself a favor. Buy Young’s music on itunes and add him to your Soundcloud.
T-Pain NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts- ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIjXUg1s5gc)
When T-Pain debuted on the radio I didn’t want to like him. I guess I was caught up in some kind of respectability conflict. I like to think of myself as prim and proper but I’m more of a foul mouthed sailor with decent manners.
My taste in music tends to be indicative of my personality and the things that are important to me. T-Pain speaks to my inner “ratchet” and wild child. He takes his place on my Banger’s Playlist next to the likes of Ester Dean, DJ Quik, and Akinyele. Some criticized the auto tune. I thought that nobody could ever do it as well or better than T-Pain. As far as I’m concerned Pain should be the only one allowed to use it.
It wasn’t just T-Pain’s music that I loved. I developed a small crush on the musician. He has that swag I like. The laid back personality of an artist. The sense of humor of a regular person. For a nice chunk of time I had a dedicated playlist on my phone. I listed to Pain while I walked the towpath, did homework or wrote.
I don’t even remember how I discovered Tiny Desk Concerts by NPR Music but I’m glad that I did. NPR gave us a stripped down T-Pain. No auto tune just Pain doing something that maybe some of us doubted that he could do: just sing.
The lyrics of his songs never changed during the 14 minute concert but Pain delivering them from his soul made them different. The performance gave me something that I didn’t know that I needed. I have the link saved in my now because sorry not sorry, T-Pain’s Tiny Desk Concert is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.