Addicted to Music?

This music lover is “addicted” to music. From the blog, “Celebrity Dolls and Guys”

Celebrity Dolls and Guys

Although not a common question–it exists.  Sure, we all know about drug and alcohol addiction but we don’t focus on musical addiction.  Seems so harmless.  But, did you know it is absolutely possible to become addicted to music.  When you dance, when you cry to a song, when you close your eyes and allow music to envelop you—you are releasing oxytocin and dopamine.  2 hormones associated with elation and feeling good.  It took me a very long time to understand that I in fact have an addiction to music.  I don’t need to ‘blast’ my favorite tunes either, I just need to hear what I consider “touching” and I get lost in the melody and lyrics.  One artist that comes to mind is Chaka Khan.  It’s not just the music she sings to but it’s her “hooks” and her voice is unique–some say a scream; but she is not screaming…

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Music Notes: Support Independent Music

Being a lifelong music lover, I must admit that I never thought much about independent music and independent artists until the past year or so. In my mind, I always defined indie music as a genre of “alternative” or “non-mainstream” music. I thought of indie artists as folks who sold their music out of the trunk of the car. Well, ignorance is NOT bliss, and thankfully I have come to realize not only the definition of, but the absolute value of independent music. If you’ve been following This and That With Calandra, especially the Music Notes section, you will know the love affair I have had with music since childhood. My life’s soundtrack has included the genres of R&B, soul, hip-hop, gospel, jazz and more. You may also have read my re-introduction into the downtempo chill genre through Mr. Fresh’s Sunday Soundtrack Podcast. It is through this particular venue that I have been most exposed to several gifted and talented independent artists, including Mr. Fresh himself.

Wikipedia defines independent, or “indie,” music as “a term used to describe independence from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, and an autonomous, Do-it-Yourself approach to recording and publishing.” Any conversation regarding the demise of pure music, regardless of genre, usually comes down to money and business, the main functions which drive the music industry. It seems that the music itself is considered secondary. This has been disheartening to this musical purist, who for many years relied on “classic” selections within her favorite genres in order to be musically entertained. Now, having been exposed to such wonderful indie music – new and fresh music – I feel surrounded by others who share a passion for music and who have chosen to express their musical gifts apart from the major label machines of the music industry.

Having said all that, This and That With Calandra: Music Notes is dedicated to supporting indie music by introducing our audience to a number of these talented artists, through interviews and links to their music. So look out for our indie artist spotlights and more!

(31WriteNow Challenge Day 23)

Music Notes: A Conversation With AfterSix Productions


It was my honor to have the opportunity to sit down with Dan McCollum and Doug Ramsay, who together make up AfterSix Productions. On August 9, 2013, they released their debut single, Chamorrita, which is the first single off their soon-to-be released project What Love Is. Listen to my conversation with these two amazing musicians…and enjoy!

Here are the links for “Chamorrita”:

iTunes –

Amazon –

Bandcamp –

Google Play –

Rdio –

Shazam –

Spotify –

AfterSix Productions can be found online at the following:

Related Posts:

AfterSix Productions To Release First Single From “What Love Is”

Coming Summer 2013 – AfterSix Productions to Release “What Love Is”

Coming Summer 2013 – AfterSix Productions to Release “What Love Is”

A6PI have been waiting a LONG time to make this announcement. Finally, AfterSix Productions (A6P) will be blessing us with the long-awaited release What Love Is, a collection of smooth grooves and tight vocals centered around love and relationships.

I first introduced you to What Love Is back in March 2012 (Read Mr. Fresh and The Sunday Soundtrack) when I wrote about Mr. Fresh, one half of the A6P team. DBassist rounds out this talented duo of musicians and music producers.

Aside from the music itself, I appreciate the title of the release. Instead of exploring the question “What Is Love?” the project gives us a bold statement of the answer. In other words, it’s time to stop seeking and start embracing the answer to the question. According to Mr. Fresh, the release counters the “forlorn, negative” messages of today’s love songs and brings a “positive and uplifting” voice to the project.

That’s all I have to say about What Love Is…for now! Check out A6P on Facebook, Twitter (@a6productions), and YouTube, where you can find promos and teasers like the ones below. I hope to sit down with these two masters of music production for an interview that I will gladly share with the This and That crew. And of course, we will spotlight What Love Is with a full review after its release. Summer 2013 – find out What…Love…Is…

I can’t wait!

Music Notes: TweetChat Series from Jua Howard

Music guitar

Earlier this week, I participated in a wonderful TweetChat entitled, “Soundtrack of Life,” (Twitter #chatwithjua) the latest installment in a series of TweetChats hosted by friend to This and That With Calandra and vocalist extraordinaire, Jua Howard. Here’s how Jua described the pending conversation:

Like myself, I am sure each of you have signature songs that remind you of those priceless moments in your life. What song reminds you of your first kiss? What song best represents your freshmen year in college? What was the first song you danced to at your prom? What was your self-selected theme song that got you through your first rough breakup? Come TweetChat at #chatwithjua and share with me the music that comprises the soundtrack of your life!!!

It was a nice conversation with other audiophiles about some of the music that influenced each of us over the years. Even more interesting than the actual song choices, were the common themes. I noted that most of the songs mentioned were ballads. It seems that we associate slow songs with the most memorable times in our lives – first kisses, proms, first crushes. Many of us remembered the music that our parents played during road trips and Saturday morning chores. Parental influence was a big theme. We were thankful for the variety of music styles played in our homes while we were growing up. We heard jazz, R & B, soul, gospel and other genres that stayed with us into adulthood. It shows that parents are not just a child’s first teacher in terms of the basic building blocks of reading, writing and arithmetic, but also the first music educators. Personally, I am grateful for my early introduction to all types of music. I shared with the group that my young children are now being exposed to different forms of music and they have already begun forming their own preferences. Many afternoons there is a fight between Izzy, who wants to hear The Time, and Yvette, who wants to hear Slave! Other days, they can’t agree on whether to listen to gospel or Bob Marley. I am so proud of my little audiophiles!

I think it is important for us to continue these conversations. There is so much music out now that has no rhyme or reason (literally!), that it is always great to share with others the music of our past. The soundtrack that shaped our childhood, helped us navigate our turbulent teen years, and then led us into adulthood, now gives us an appreciation for the importance of good music. It’s a soundtrack that we can share with ‘the youngins,’ who need to understand that the sample they just heard in some new hip hop track originated from a funk band, or R & B group of the past – from real musicians that played real instruments and wrote real lyrics and created real music! Because of this appreciation, we can also tune our ears to great new independent music, crafted by artists who respect real music.

Thanks Jua for providing such a great forum to share and reminisce!

Music Notes: All That Jazz!

The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon

The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon (Photo credit:

Lately I’ve been neglecting my favorite “sub-genre” of jazz, what might be considered ‘classic’ jazz. A few weeks ago, I was on the Internet and stumbled upon a great documentary on saxophonist Dexter Gordon. Of course I knew who he was, but I didn’t know his story. As a side note, I LOVE biopics and documentaries, but I have a soft spot for musicians. To me, a musician’s life story is also the story of his/her art. In order to best appreciate the music, one needs to be able to appreciate the artist’s story.

So I watched this documentary in awe and drawn to his music. I’ve actually never been a fan of the saxophone, but something about Gordon’s story and the life he poured into the instrument just touched me. Now I can’t get enough Dexter Gordon! Along those lines, I started listening (again) to Newark, New Jersey-based and listener-supported jazz station, WBGO, the ONLY local radio station that plays “Real Jazz, Right Now.”

I find jazz to be the most interesting music genre. There are so many forms of jazz, each one with unique and varied styles. Acid, bebop, classic, fusion, smooth, contemporary – all terms used to describe different forms of a music style that grew from African-American culture in the early 1900s. My father introduced me to jazz (namely what I call ‘classic jazz’) when I was a little girl; we listened to WBGO in the car while running errands, and he would encourage my reading by learning the names of artists on his album covers. I distinctly remember learning the name “M-A-Y-N-A-R-D F-E-R-G-U-S-O-N”! As a young girl of 10 or 11, I appreciated the ‘organized confusion’ of jazz – I was fascinated by piano riffs, bass solos and horn playing that was so improvisational, it sounded like a hodgepodge of random sounds. And yet, those sounds came together and made beautiful music. I think jazz is best enjoyed live, or the recording of a live set, simply because the magic is in the improvisation. Jazz musicians always seem to be in a perpetual jam session. Songs go on and on, and you get caught up in the music. Classic jazz is a style of music that doesn’t necessarily put me in any particular mood. It is a style that just encourages me to listen and enjoy the pure musicianship. It is an incredible feeling to just LISTEN to the instruments.

I have always said that if trapped on a desert island, with only one genre of music at my disposal, I would easily choose classic jazz. The thought of me on an island with the likes of Dexter Gordon, Count Basie, Art Blakey and a host of other jazz greats gives me life!