Tag Archives: John Boswell

Your Own Personal Grammys

Are your favorite performing artists underrepresented for their work? Does the mainstream “best of” not reflect your tastes? Then make your own awards. This is my blog, with my completely biased opinions – The Grammys, this is not. That said, the rsmithing.com music awards for the past year go to…

Best Video: MelodysheepHappy Little Clouds

I interview the mastermind behind Melodysheep, and all-round cool dude, John Boswell, here.

Best Concert: Beats Antique, Cat’s Cradle, May 4, 2012

I recount how I discovered Beats Antique here and document another of their gigs here.

Best New Artist: How To Destroy Angels

It’s atmospheric Nine Inch Nails with a female voice. Totally works.

Best Comeback: Quicksand

The band’s breakthrough album, Slip, is a certified classic.

Best Shoutout to Me: Garbage

One of my favorite bands featured my artwork in a promo video. Full story here.

Album of The Year: Deftones, Koi No Yokan

The Deftones‘ enduring talent surges ever forward.

Best Electronica: Photek, KU:PALM

Photek came back after many years with a sparse-yet-rich new record.

Best Topical Humor: CollegeHumor, Look at This Instagram

Thanks to Sarah Khanna, food blogger at butteredup.com, for turning me on to this. I think.
What do you think? What were your best musical moments of the past year? What other categories would you include? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Who’s Been Commenting?

A great reward of blogging is making connections with professionals whose work I respect. Here’s a look at some recognizable figures commenting at rsmithing.com in the past 12 months. Check out the posts to see their remarks:

Mack Collier

Mack Collier

Mack Collier commented and said thanks in my post, Blogchat: Sundays on Twitter. As a strategisttrainer and speaker on social media, Collier helps companies better connect with customers. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time has helped businesses of all shapes and sizes better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. [Mack's Site]

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss commented a couple of times on my post, Last Book Read: Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. Strauss is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and also writes regularly for The New York Times, having repeatedly made its bestseller list with books such as The Game, Emergency, and Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. [Wikipedia]

John Boswell

John Boswell

John Boswell generously answered my questions in this post: Interview with MelodySheep and Symphony of Science Mastermind. Boswell is the artist behind autotune projects Symphony of Science and MelodySheep, gaining international recognition and millions of YouTube views for his inspiring musical tributes to Mr. Rogers, Bob Ross and Julia Child, among others.

Mike Sager

Mike Sager

Mike Sager said thanks for my quick post inspired by his writing, From Music and Words into Movement – The Fun of Art. Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He has been called “the Beat poet of American journalism, that rare reporter who can make literature out of shabby reality.” [Wikipedia] In thirty years as a journalist, writer at large Mike Sager has immersed himself in the lives of pit-bull fighters, heroin addicts, Tupperware saleswomen, and an actress named Roseanne. [Esquire]

Jay Baer

Jay Baer

Jay Baer stopped by after I reached him on Google Plus to weigh in on my post, How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview. Baer is a social media strategist, author, speaker and President of Convince & Convert. Founder of five companies, he’s worked with over 700 brands (including Nike, Cold Stone Creamery, Sony, ExactTarget, and ConocoPhillips) since 1994, including 25 of the Fortune 1000. His blog is ranked among the world’s top marketing resources, and was named #3 social media blog in the world by Social Media Examiner. [Wikipedia]

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal noted his use of contrast in my analysis of his work: Contrasts Make Connections. Madrigal is a Senior editor at The Atlantic, author of Powering the Dream, and has previously contributed to WIRED, covering science and technology as a contributor to the Wired Science blog. [Twitter]

Also engaging via brand representatives were McDonald’s Corporate in: Fast Food and Fast Lessons in Public Relations and, as a bonus from 2011: Delta Airlines in my post, An Airline Gets it… Right?

What do you think? Have any well-known figures or organizations commented on your work? Have you ever had any brushes with celebrity? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Stuff You May Have Missed – August 2012

I make it a point each month to write at least one post in each of the six categories here at my blog: photography, social media, PR, technology, music and writing. It’s my way of keeping myself accountable for having a productive blog, and these are topics I’m interested in on a personal level. Most months I’m able to do this without thinking, since the posts are topics I’m into anyway, but sometimes I’ll go more into one than the other. I’m happy to report that this month has been happily well-rounded, with several posts covering all of the categories we favor at rsmithing.com. In case you missed them, here’s a review:

Single Image Sundays & More

In photography, the Single Image Sundays theme dominated, with posts about a wasp, a restaurant, Mars, and my first-ever re-blog. The WordPress platform has this one-click feature that lets you easily include another WordPress post into your own blog, which worked perfectly this month as The Savoia (which happens to be done in WordPress) featured my artwork this month, which was quite an honor.

I constructed this image for my post about Twitter with the results of a Google image search for “Twitter Logo” and “Wrench.” Then I used Pixlr to edit the two together.

Social media-wise, we started off this month strong with a post about 5 Really Useful, Really Easy Twitter Tools. What’s even better is that I’ve since discovered more, and will likely be doing an update. Some Twitter developers even reached out to me because of the post, including setting me up with a premium account (full disclosure in the case of JustUnfollow), which was very kind and a pleasantly unexpected surprise. More to come on Twitter tools, for sure.

In the public relations realm, I covered recent activity of Foursquare, wondering if its time has passed, and considered whether their recent PR efforts can get the buzz going again. Since writing that post, I’ve gotten interesting feedback from some like-minded users of the app, but overall, the jury is still out.

For technology this month, I wrote about the Mars Curiosity rover in anticipation of its landing on the Red Planet. Several weeks prior, I’d discovered this excellent video, “Seven Minutes of Terror,” which naturally got my space-geek senses tingling. I even chatted it up on Twitter with some people at NASA, which was totally fun, and further demonstrates the immediacy at our fingertips thanks to social media:

[tweet https://twitter.com/SpaceLauren/status/232301374577188864]

 

Actual people at NASA interact with a random blogger on Twitter via shared excitement over sending a laser-shootin’ robot to Mars. I don’t care what anyone says; that’s cool.

Melodysheep Autotune Magic

Music was a highlight this month, as I interviewed John Boswell, the man behind MelodySheep and responsible for the excellent remixes of Bob Ross, Bruce Lee, Mr. Rogers and Julia Child that have been going viral lately. This was my favorite post by far of the whole month. A few weeks prior, I’d discovered his amazing musical montages, so I thought I’d see what happened if I emailed him some questions – he graciously answered and is a cool dude. Look for great things from this guy in the future. In the time it took to answer my questions and get back to me, Boswell produced this outstanding tribute to one of my personal heroes, Bruce Lee:

 

Finally, writing this month was a quick blurb and graphic I constructed for an inspirational phrase that appeared in my brain one day: It’s better to be ambitious than ambivalent. It was a fun way to incorporate text into a visual creation, something I used to do quite a bit but have backed off of lately. Also, I really believe that statement, so I’m glad to be sharing it with others.

There you have it, the month in review. Any of these stand out to you? Any comments to add to any of these? Do you keep an editorial schedule? What is your system for posts? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Interview with MelodySheep and Symphony of Science Mastermind John Boswell

MelodySheep autotune creator John Boswell’s musical magic: Bruce Lee, Bob Ross, Mr. Rogers & More

John Boswell

John Boswell, aka MelodySheep, aka Symphony of Science

To say John Boswell grows ideas in the garden of his mind is at once an understatement and yet highly appropriate. As you may have seen on CNN, Forbes, NPR, or especially YouTube, Boswell creates infectiously catchy pop songs from such unlikely sources as Julia Child, Billy Mays and  Yoda – all through the magic of autotune technology and his incredible talent for musical montage.

The results are simultaneously hilarious, touching and highly enjoyable, as evidenced by the millions of views his videos have been racking up lately. I recently asked Boswell a few questions about his process, and his responses follow. Do yourself a favor and check out his full catalog, available for download at MelodySheep.BandCamp.com.

rsmithing: How did you get started in music, and what instruments do you play?
John Boswell: I started off as a keyboardist and turntablist for a metal band in high school – definitely an unorthodox way to begin, but I learned basic music theory and how to combine different elements of music, both of which paved the way for the work I do today. I play mostly piano and guitar but dabble in a handful of other instruments, like mandolin and accordion.

rs: Have any of the subjects of your videos seen them, and what have their reactions been?
jb: A few of the figures I have used in my videos have been in touch with me, and their reactions have been entirely positive. I think what I am doing can be considered a mostly positive endeavor to begin with, and it’s always fun to see yourself given the remix treatment.

rs: What’s been your favorite composition so far?
jb: It’s hard to pick a favorite piece of my own, but the Ode to the Brain video is definitely near the top. It was a blast to make and I learned so many things in the process, which is always a plus. The music came together really well too, which gave it all the right ingredients for a solid video.

 

rs: Happy Little Clouds got a million views in one weekend. What’s it like to get so much attention so fast?
jb: It’s always great to get the sort of recognition that the Bob Ross video got, and I always appreciate the comments coming in and love hearing people’s reactions. Attention spans on the Internet are very short though, so once one big thing is happening it’s crucial to think about what is going to be next and how it can be different and better.

rs: Which composition has been the most challenging?
jb: The most challenging video thus far was most likely the Bob Ross remix. His quiet voice and tendency to mumble, combined with the constant sound of his brush on the canvas, made it hard to isolate good vocal samples. Luckily he was philosophical enough to provide enough clean quotes to use in the song.

 

rs: Why did you go with a pay-what-you-like model, and how’s that going for you?
jb: I believe music should be available free to those who want to listen but cannot afford. There is still enough generosity in this world to make pay-what-you-want worth it to artists, although there has to be a critical mass. Anybody who works hard enough can reach that point, as I have demonstrated.

rs: Anything else you’d like to add?
jb: Bruce Lee video is coming next week!
rs: AWESOME! (rsmithing = long-time Bruce Lee fan)

UPDATE, 8/28: And now, Bruce Lee:

 

A big thank you to John Boswell for answering my questions. Check out his stuff here:

What’s your favorite autotune mix? Who would you suggest for John’s next project? Let us hear from you in the comments!