Tag Archive: youtube


Today’s insight is for a song/video I made called “The Condom Wrap” (ha ha, get it? See, it’s a rap, and putting a condom on is called “wrapping it up.” I’m so funny).

INSIGHTS INTO A SONG

I’ve always wanted to enter a rap video/song contest of some kind, but didn’t know how to find out about them.  In fact, I didn’t even know about the one I made this song for, but sometimes I have a way of finding things I wasn’t expecting…

Basically, what had happen was…

I had heard Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” song while at work one day, and wanted to see the video.  So, I went on YouTube and typed “Ludacris” and “Fantasy” into the search engine. Lo and behold, one of the video choices that popped up was an advertisement for a contest being held by Trojan (the condom company) and hosted by Ludacris.

Intrigued that Ludacris would be helping out for a condom video contest, I clicked on the link.  In a nutshell: the contest called for any contestant to spit out 16 bars about Trojan Magnum condoms (a.k.a. the condoms with the oh-so-shiny gold wrapper) either using any 4 of the beats they provided or acapella.  Once all the entries were in (deadline for it is April 13), the judges would decide who had the best rap, and the winner will receive $5000!

Now me, I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to win that kind of money, especially if all it required is me rapping 16 bars about the type of condoms I already use.  Still, I didn’t know if I’d be able to come up with something that sounded slick or clever – I peeped out some of the entries they already had on the site, and a few of them were quite good (and many of them were really, really bad). I downloaded the beats provided, listened to them for a bit, then went off to watch TV before going to bed.

The next morning – like, right as I was about to head out and catch the bus to go to work – my brain suddenly started spitting out verses and words for me to use on one of the beats.  This type of thing happens to me quite often, where I’ll be in the middle of something and suddenly I’ll think of the right words for a song or beat I had in my head, and it’s quite annoying ’cause it means I have to stop whatever it is I’m doing and write the ideas down right then and there.

So, I had a choice to make: do I risk being late for work to write down my idea, or do I say “ah, screw it, the idea will be there later?” As history has taught me, it’s usually best for me to write it down A.S.A.P., so that’s what I did – I wrote the whole thing out in about 10 minutes, then headed off to work. (And no, I was not late.)

As for the song itself, it’s not even really a song. It’s 16 bars of me talking about Magnum condoms. But it’s pretty funny, has some good wordplay in it, and should win me the $5000 ’cause my competition SUX!!

Some Interesting Song Tibits

1. Per contest rules, the song had to be about condoms, but it couldn’t be vulgar, contain any bad language or be too explicit.  Having these kinds of rules actually makes it EASIER for me, ’cause it means that instead of saying something directly, I have to imply it. And in rap, that’s ALWAYS a fun thing to do.

2. The hardest part of writing this 16 bars was the parts between bar 9 and bar 12.  I wanted to set it up similar to the way Eminem sets up some of his lines, where he will have this looooong sentence that doesn’t seem to make sense until the punchline is revealed at the very end.  In this case, I talk about being a conductor at an award show, and if you listen to the sentence itself, which runs on for 3 lines, it doesn’t seem to relate to condoms at all… but then you get to the end and it’s like “Ahhhh, I get it – that’s funny!”

INSIGHTS INTO A VIDEO

First off: most of the people who entered this contest must not have a studio or recording equipment.  A good portion of them recorded themselves playing the beat out loud, then rapping into the camera.  The result? BAD AUDIO. Half the people can’t be heard, and another 3/4 of them just sound like they’re rapping inside a tin can!

When I decided to do MY video, I wanted the audio to sound good. So, I recorded the track using my Garageband program first. Then, when I recorded the video, I played the song so I’d know where to lip sync for LATER, when I would import the video into my Final Cut program and mix it all together.

Anyway… so, the video itself was made during the time I was in the process of moving, so I didn’t have time to put together anything as fancy as I would have liked.  Still, seeing as most of the videos in the contest thus far haven’t been that creative, I wanted to do a lil’ SOMETHING to make mine stand out.

So, I did what I will, from this point forward, call the “Obama Milli Remix” video archetype: I costumed myself out in 3 different ways, kept the camera still for 14 minutes, and recorded my vocals as three characters.  That way, when I edited the video, I would look like 3 different people all rapping in the same spot.

And the characters? Well, there’s “Tupac” me that’s all thugged out; Wildn’ Out me with the wild hair whose face you can barely see; and “Suave” me, with the nice suit on.

Then, of course, there was the prop of the video: the Trojan condoms! Since the contest is about them, I figured it would be a good idea to showcase them at various points in the video.  I had a Trojan Magnum box that I hadn’t thrown out for some reason (no, I’m not a hoarder!!) and a few condoms left, so I switched between them during the video.

All in all, this was a very fun project to work on, and the last music video I recorded in my old apartment 😦

Some Interesting Video Tidbits

1. I did 3 takes for each character. I also played back the song a heckavalotta times – the song is 1 minute 4 seconds long (per the contest rules, the videos/songs would only be judged on the first minute; the remaining 4 seconds is the fade out time) so that’s a LOT of replays back!

2. Because the contest rules said we couldn’t show any logos in the video, the Wildn’ out character’s sweatshirt – which was an American Eagle branded item – had to be turned inside-out.

3. I didn’t want to show too many close-ups of the condom box because it had been slightly bent, and had those wrinkly white lines in it on parts of the front.

4. And yes, those are MY condoms.  If I didn’t use them, there would have been no way I would have gone to the store and just bought them for a video project – condoms aren’t necessarily an expensive item, but if they’re not the kind u can use, spending money on them is not worth it.  Especially at places like CVS or Wal-greens where they charge almost $17 for a 12 pack – like, are you friggin’ KIDDING me?!? I can go to Food 4 Less and get the same box for $7, why the heck are you people charging me extra for some dang condoms?! —– Oops, sorry. I went on a rant there, didn’t I?

Welp, that’s all for now – oh yeah: voting begins on April 15. I don’t know if YouTube people or friends/family can vote, but if so, please vote for my video!! Thanks!

-A.P.T.

Hey peeps, what it do, nephew, how’s it hangin’, is u wangin’?? (Shout outs to my man Capo Snake for that last one!)

Aight, enough with the intro, peeps, let’s go!

So, the last video/song I dropped was for “Teach Me How to Snuggie,” thus effectively allowing me to have made a visual for every song off my “Prince of Parody, Vol. 1” album (available on iTunes – click HERE to check it out). And just today, one of my fans asked me what my next YouTube video was going to be.

On that end, I have no idea.  Actually, scratch that – right now I’m deciding between two different songs.  One of them is a parody, while the other one is an original song that’s just plain funny.

In reference to the latter song, the lyrics are already done and the chorus has been recorded.  Normally I’d stick with my M.O. of going strictly with a parody song/video… but when I came up with the idea, it made me laugh so much while I was writing it that I had to see if it would be worth recording.  And when I told the idea to a couple of my lady friends (who will also be on the song), they couldn’t stop singing it over and over after only hearing it ONE time.

Once the song has been completed, I’ll probably put together a video for it, one that’s not too complicated.  I’ve noticed that there are a LOT of YouTube videos that get hits, many of which aren’t all that impressive.  I think the content of this particular song won’t require me to do too much visually, yet I’ll still be able to make it funny.

So that’s all well and good, but what about albums??  When are my next ALBUMS coming out, you may ask? Well…

As you may have noticed, the climate of music has changed.  Are people still buying albums? Absolutely.  Are they buying them at the same volume as they were 10 years ago? Absolutely not.

With that thought, it’s dawned on me that putting together a whole album these days may not be the most profitable route to go.  Take a look at recent examples by Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Lil’ Wayne – three artists who have figured out way to sell a TON of copies of ONE of their respective songs.  Britney did it by releasing teaser snippets of “Hold It Against Me” a week before it came out; and, just recently, she spent the last 14 days putting out snippets of the video for it – by the time the video dropped, the world was DYING to see it/hear it/buy it online!

And so it is, I’m considering doing the same thing.  Granted, right now I’m back in full-on writing mode (finally!), so I have ideas coming at me for an official A.P.T. album as well as another Prince of Parody album.  I’ll probably release at least one more A.P.T. album for the heck of it, and concentrate on releasing any future songs as singles as they come to me.  Plus, the Prince of Parody thing is great because I can release an album of spoof songs at any time and have most of the songs off it be popular since they’re essentially remakes of songs already proven to be popular.

Wow.  That last sentence was a tongue-twister.

That’s all for now – new song droppin’ later this week, fam!

-A.P.T.

Well… my world was certainly rocked yesterday.

I spent over 32 hours straight the 2 days before (from Saturday til Sunday morning) editing my album, “The A.P.T. LP,” with no sleep, resulting in me not feeling too good on Monday. But that wasn’t the bad part. No, the bad part was when I went to check on my YouTube views, only to discover that my page had been taken down.

No page, no videos, no views… and, most importantly, NO advertising for my album.

Yes, all those videos I had that included links to my site where people could get my albums and mixtapes were taken down. Takes quite a toll on your album sales when you can’t even tell people where to find your stuff.

So, what do I do now?

Rebuild. Rebuild, rebuild, rebuild!

I went back and read the terms and conditions of YouTube, and have a few theories as to why they may have taken my stuff down. One, I had quite a few videos up where I used other people’s beats without permission. Two, I was advertising my products on the site, mentioning the price in the process. Apparently if you’re not paying YouTube for ad space you aren’t allowed to do that. And three – and this is my uncle’s theory – someone from either McCain or Obama’s campaign took it down. My site was getting a LOT of attention and subscribers, and, with the Democratic/Republican conventions happening this week and next week, more and more people would probably be seeing my videos – and lord knows that might be disastrous for their campaigns!

Regardless of the reason though, I always like to learn lessons from my mistakes. The first lesson: if you’re going to use other people’s beats, get a license saying you can do so. That way, you can legally use them and not have your stuff taken down.

The second lesson: don’t put your eggs all in one basket. I placed all my videos on YouTube, but didn’t even consider uploading them to MySpace, photobucket, or other sites where it would have been hard for them to take down every post I had out there.

And the third lesson: utilize MySpace more. The site is set up so musicians can advertise and/or legally sell their music. Now that I know how to gain friends on the site, it should be easier for me advertising-wise to get to more people, and, hopefully, sell a few albums.

Am I down about all this? A lil’ bit – I had high expectations for how this whole album would roll out, and now I have to re-think my strategy on how to get people to know my stuff is out there. But hey, I’ve always been a person able to get knocked down, pick himself back up and try again, and this time is no different.

By the way, my new YouTube site address is www.youtube.com/APTsongs. There’s always a chance it could be taken down, but for now it works.  In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out a way to re-post up my videos on this site – because wordpress doesn’t allow for HTML code, I can’t just load up the vids at another site and paste them on here.   Worst-case scenario, I move all this stuff to blogger.com, where HTML code is appreciated!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

Another week, another video…

Hey, wait a minute: where’s the video?  Oh, wait, that’s right – YOU CAN’T SEE IT!

So, I woke up this morning to upload an ad for my album, “The A.P.T. LP” onto YouTube.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I go to click on my YouTube page… only to find that it’s been disabled!

Yep! They disabled it.  ALL my videos were taken down, and my account was suspended.

Why?  Well, after reading through the site’s terms of use, I think I may have broken quite a few rules, including:

  • Using other people’s copyrighted works (i.e. any remixes I did to other people’s songs without their expressed written permission)
  • Using the site to advertise my projects for the purpose of making money (i.e. telling people how much my album was vs. just telling them where to get it without mentioning price).

So… talk about bad timing!  I mean, I JUST released my album yesterday, and now all my videos and ads for it have been taken down!

Oddly enough, I’m not frustrated about it… yet.  I think for right now I’m more in the “What step do I take next” mode.  The first thing I’ll probably do is open up another account and try to repost some of the videos with original content.  The only thing that sux is, I had so many subscribers on my channel, and now I’m essentialy going back down to zero.

On the plus side, I have a lot of MySpace friends now, so I’ll probably just work on cultivating more of them.  And, for future videos/content, I’ll know to only film or release stuff that I personally own.  So, in essence, it’s a learning experience, and at the end of the day, I’m just glad I didn’t get sued!

I’ll keep you all posted – in the meantime, get the album, “The A.P.T. LP!” Only 5.99 for the MP3, 7.99 for the CD!

-A.P.T.

E-mail – aptsongs@hotmail.com; MySpace – www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Another week, another video in the can.

That’s 10 videos so far, people!  (11, if you count “Hey Jesse Jackson,” which I count as half a video.)  When I started this thing, I had no idea how long I’d be able to keep it up for.  Now, I’ve gone from trying to figure out a video at the last minute to having video ideas for songs 3 to 4 weeks ahead of time.  I guess it’s true what they say, “practice makes perfect!”

Okay, so, since what I do is considered “art,” there are going to be people out there who like my stuff, and people who don’t.  One of the reasons people do not go for what they want to do in life is that they are afraid of getting any kind of negative criticism.  They feel like if someone tells them their work isn’t good enough, or that they are downright terrible at what they do, their self-esteem will shatter so badly they won’t be able to recover.

However, I’ve always taken the opposite approach.  I’ve always welcomed criticism because I figure that, in trying to become good at what I do, I’m not going to get everything right immediately, yet I may not always be able to point out what I’m doing wrong.  Unfortunately, most people are so worried about keeping a person’s self-esteem up (lest that person punch them in the face), that even if that other person does mediocre work, they’ll still say “oh, great job,” thinking they are helping the person.

This is FAR from the truth.  In actuality, it’s HARMING the person in the long run.  They’ll go along doing the wrong thing thinking it’s right simply because no one stopped them to say, “um, you could be doing that a LOT better.”

I’m fortunate enough to have people in my life (my brother, David, and my friend Michele come to mind) who don’t mind telling me when I’m doing a song or making a beat that either sucks or could be made better. Heck, I think I let my brother hear 4 or 5 songs late last year that he said wasn’t showing off my true writing potential.  After being mad at him for a couple of hours, I realized he was only saying that stuff because he saw potential in me to do really GREAT work, as opposed to just trying to get by with anything.

Because I put my songs out on the net, I get many, MANY chances to get feedback about my songs.  Some of it is sent directly to me via YouTube/MySpace/Wordpress comments, and the majority of it has actually been pretty positive.  However, I like to go to other sites that I’m not a member of and read what other people think about some of my stuff – it’s a great way to get an unbiased view of my work since I’m not the one directly asking for the feedback.

Of course, most of the sites have posted my “Obama” video, so the majority of critiques have been about that song.  The overall response is positive, but, like all art, there have been people who posted comments that weren’t exactly the nicest in the world.  I don’t like to promote negativity, so those comments won’t be mentioned here; needless to say, though, I find it hilarious that a person NOT liking the song would actually take 2 minutes out of their day to express WHY they don’t like a song of mine.  It’s like, regardless of if they liked it or not, they still spent time focusing a portion of their lives on ME – so, in the end, it still benefits me!

But like I said before, I accept all kinds of criticism, be it positive or negative.  I was a theatre major at Hampton University for 5 years.  That’s FIVE years of being critiqued for stage performances, improv skits, class acting assignments, and thesis work.  Once you’ve had practice hearing good and bad things about yourself via numerous performances, you develop a thick skin for the comments you’ll receive about others for anything you do, for the rest of your life.  Someone saying a song or mixtape or video of mine “sucks” isn’t all that damaging to my psyche – especially when 19 other people are standing next to that person saying the same body of work is “great,” “uplifting,” and “f–kin’ awesome.”

Yeah – I hear that I’m “f–kin’ awesome” a LOT these days.

So, the point of all this is simply: if you have a goal or a dream, expect criticism.  Don’t let it slow you down, and remember that not all negative criticism is bad.  If anything, you can use it to re-route yourself into the right direction, and prove the ones throwing the criticism at you wrong.  It’s worked for me so far, and it can work for you, too!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

Okay, so… um… hmm, let’s see…

I hesitate to tell people this, because… well, I don’t know.  It’s a catch-22 because, on the one hand, I’m supposed to be blogging here about my progress from average-working guy trying to make music in his studio apartment, to, hopefully, music mega-star who’s traveling the country performing his songs in different locals.  At the same time, though, when I DO type any progressions up that are significant, I don’t want them to come across as “bragging,” or have people suddenly treating me different. 

Well, except for people in the industry that didn’t care about me before.  I’d LOVE for them to treat me differently so I could do my music on a larger scale!

With that said, though, what I’m about to type is simply factual information about what has happened in the last couple of days…

So, I have a song/music video I did called “Obama, Obama,” a parody of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” that talks about all things Obama.  At this point, I don’t even have to say the “Lil’ Wayne parody” part anymore – right now the videos at over 62,000 views (and counting) on YouTube, and people are downloading the song at an alarming rate, both on this site and other sites like zshare and probably others I don’t know about.

The advantage of using an avenue like YouTube, as well as the Internet in general, is that a song can be spread quickly without me having to physically be there to pass it around.  And, apparently, my song has traveled to several parts of the country. 

Last night, I was checking some of the newer comments on my video’s YouTube wall (as I do on a regular basis now – my E-mail box is flooded with comment updates every other minute now), and I came across one that took me by surprise.  It was by a user named “Yourboyeddie,” and… well, here’s what the comment said:

  • “Classic fam.  I posted [the video] on my website.”

 

Nothing big – LOTS of people have posted my video on their website (and placed the song on their MySpace page – I believe my friend Michele was the first to do so, so SHOUT OUT TO MICHELE FOR THE SUPPORT FROM DAY ONE!)

Then, he left another comment:

  • “And I played it on the radio.”

 

Um, what?

I got played on the radio.  I got play on the radio?

I GOT PLAYED ON THE RADIO!!!

For some reason, I couldn’t quite comprehend what he was saying, so I wrote him and told him to let me know where and what station had played it.  He wrote me back:

  • “Yeah, I just played the majority of the 2nd verse on the radio and even posted your video on our stations website.  I played it about 6 minutes ago… well done, man.”

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

A few minutes later, I got another posted comment, this time from a user named “ZuluWarrior1856” saying:

  • “DAMN, just now KUBE 93 radio station played this song on the radio!! In Seattle.  This $#!+’s f–kin’ nice so keep it up, aptistheman.”

 

SEATTLE?!?  How’d my song get to Seattle?!? (Oh right, the Internet – I forgot this thing is everywhere :P)

Since then, I’ve been informed that my song has also been played in two other areas of the country: station WPEG in Charlotte and Louisville’s B 96.5 in Kentucky.  At the moment, I’m looking to get air play here in Atlanta, which should be a LOT easier now that other big radio markets have already played it.

So, now I’m in a weird type of zone because, on the one hand, my song is gaining in popularity and being played on radio.  On the other hand, aside from hearing all this great stuff, nothing has really changed just yet.  I’m still at my current job, I’m still in my studio apartment saving up money, and I’m still creating songs and videos to put up on the site.  It’s almost like this good stuff is happening to me, yet not happening to me at the same time.

But, I know it’s all about patience.  I think the advantage of having waited until 26 to see even a small form of success is that I know a little bit of what to expect and what to look out for.  A lot of people catch fame at an early age and, because they aren’t properly educated on how to do business or handle themselves, they get screwed in the end, or get themselves into things (drugs, wrong crowd, etc.) that they have no business in.

Another advantage: I know that becoming successful is partially about having fun, and partially about handling the business aspect of it.  To that end, I’ve already got an entertainment lawyer who agreed to represent me LAST year… but, up until now, I didn’t really have any momentum behind any of my songs or projects, so she didn’t really have a reason to push hard for my stuff.  Now, I’ve got a meeting with her on Monday to figure out my next step.  Funny how having numbers to back up your popularity rise suddenly makes people want to do business with you!

So, that’s the going’s on for now.  I’m shooting the video for this Sunday’s song tomorrow.  As for right now, I just want to get off the computer for a while, relax, and enjoy a good movie.  Peace out!

-A.P.T.

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

E-Mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MULTIPLE “Obama, Obama” Ringtones Now Available!! Preview Them HERE: “Obama, Obama” Ringtone – 2.99 *Only 1.99, this week only (July 8-15, 2008)!

Song #5 on this blog – “Obama, Obama (Remake of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli”) – has proven to be popular.  VERY popular.

I put in on YouTube on June 22, and, as I’m typing this, it’s been seen by over 6,000, and its popularity has been doubling every day.  This type of exposure is what I’ve been DYING for ever since I started making music!

I originally had a download link for the song, as I do all my other songs, and by the end of the second day 29 people had already downloaded it.  This got my mind thinking: would people be willing to pay to download the song?  To find out, I took the original link down and posted up a link where people would have to purchase the song for 99 cents.

After I put the link up, I went to work.  While there, I had a sudden though: what if, instead of making people pay for the song, I used this song as a way to get some of my OTHER music out so people could get a real feel for the type of songs I make??

I’ve been making songs for quite a few years now, and have enough of a catalogue built up to where I can give some of my songs away for free.  Given that the song got downloaded by so many people so fast, I figured I could provide a link that had the “Obama, Obama” song, and include 4 other songs in the link so people could hear my other songs and, hopefully, start to become fans!

And that’s what I did.  Now, the link includes “Obama, Obama,” as well as 4 other songs of mine – “Hooptie,” “Erectile Dysfunction” (my Snoop Dogg “Sexual Seduction” parody), “Bust My GAT,” and “Shout Out 2 My Big Girls.” 

So far, the new link has been downloaded 50 times in 3 days, and I couldn’t be happier!!  Those downloads probably only represent a fraction of the people who’ve heard my stuff – I’m assuming those people have made copies for their friends to listen to, which means I’m slowly starting to develop a fan base!!

Oh yeah – for those too lazy to click to the original link for the song, click here to go to the download page for the “Obama” mixtape 🙂 — “Obama, Obama” + Bouns Songs

Well, that’s all for today – it’s the 4th of July, and I’ve got fun to be had!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

First: it’s 3:16 AM in the morning, and I have yet to go to sleep.  I think I’m starting to get used to requiring less and less sleep to function during the day – a good thing, actually, considering the business I’m trying to get into!

Anyway… so, like I’ve said before, having this site has opened up the flood gates in terms of my creativity.  Of course, even I know that, as a person currently doing all this stuff solo, there’s only so far I can go before I’ll want to involve other people.  One of these avenues, of course, is my music videos. 

Some of the songs I write tell stories where I’m interacting with other people.  The problem is, at the moment I’m the only person starring in these videos, and the few people I know here in Atlanta seem to be camera shy (or, at the very least, opposed to appearing on YouTube, lest the whole world see it).  It sucks because I have all these great ideas for videos, but can’t use them at the moment because I don’t know anybody willing to help out…

Well, scratch that – I just found out today that one of the girls I work with actually got her degree in… well, I forget, but it involves casting, and she said she might know some up-and-coming actors looking to build up their resume by starring in my videos.  Which works great for me – I wouldn’t have to pay them (though I probably would so they could put on their resumes that they were “paid” to be in a video), and I could expand my video-making capabilities!

In the meantime… so, I was going to shoot one video, but I really want to use another girl and guy in the video.  I’m going to try my darndest to get them; in the meantime, though, I thought of a GREAT song I could do this week.  It’s a great idea because it involves me re-making one of the hottest beats currently out there, while at the same time talking about certain current events in this country.

I can’t give too much away, but I’m pretty sure this song will end up being as big as “Erectile Dysfuction” is (currently at 11,000 views and counting!).  I know of at least one person who will like the song (I’m talking about YOU, Ms. Goff), which is enough reason for me to make it.  I haven’t written the song yet, and the only thing I have so far is the chorus, but I have off all day Friday to make the song AND record the video.  (Well, that, and I’ll probably catch a movie – can we say “Love Guru” AND “Get Smart” in the same day?!?)

Okay, that’s it from me – I’ll probably write more later this week.  Then again, maybe not.  Either way, definitely check back here Sunday!

-A.P.T.

This week’s song/video is called “Smile 4 Dad (Letter 2 My Father)”.

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INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

This past week has been, surprisingly, emotionally tough for me.

My Dad died when I was 9 years old, at the age of 41, from lung cancer tumors.  At the time… well, me and him were very, very close, and his death hit me real hard.

Of course, as time goes by, one tends to be less emotional when talking about their dead relative.  See – I can even call him a dead relative and not be bothered by it!

It’s been 17 years since his death, and I’m long past the days where I’d cry every time I thought about him, or get upset when I’d heard a certain song on the radio that reminded me of him.  To this day, I still can’t listen to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” without wanting to break down in tears.  Clearly, that song is not on my iPod.

However, this week it hit me real hard.  Part of it is because (a) Father’s day is celebrated today, and (b) my parents anniversary was June 11th.  Had he still been alive, they would have been happily married for 30 years.

I decided to get my Mom an anniversary card to mark what would have been a momentous occasion.  She never remarried, so I figured that, after 17 years, she should be able to receive acknowledgement of her marriage date.  I went to Target to pick out a card…

…and it’s very hard to find a card that doesn’t say “Hope you 2 celebrate the day together.”  I had to read through almost 15 different cards before I found one that said “Happy Anniversary, Congratulations on your Achievments.”  In the process of doing so, I started to get real emotional.  Just thinking about the fact that other people are out there celebrating marriages, some by people who aren’t even in a happy relationship, while my mom lost a great guy who…

Sigh… well, it annoys me.

Anyway… so, in the midst of all this, I found this beat online with the chorus already mixed in.  It’s a very interesting chorus, talking about “Smile like you mean it” and “Say goodbye, to the world you thought you lived in…” and the beat itself was very upbeat.

I didn’t know if I’d be able to do anything with the beat at first, but then I started thinking that the subject matter of the chorus would match well with a song about my Dad.  It took me about 2 hours to write the song, messing with a few ideas here and there and finally deciding the song should be an open letter to my Dad about how I felt about his death and the time since then.

Some Interesting Tidbits About the Song:

(1) Most of my songs have a voice-over dub, where I say a lyric in a song twice to make it stand out.  However, I wanted this one to sound like I was speaking directly to him, and no one has a voice-over dub when they talk to someone.

(2) The line in the song where I say, “Finding out you had that tumor nearly ripped my ass apart/Oops, sorry – I meant ‘behind’,” is pointing out that, as kids, we weren’t allowed to curse around our parents.  The “oops” is in reference to the fact that I “accidentally” said “ass” in the previous line.  Genius!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

This video ended up being a two-day shoot – a lot for me, considering I like to be able to do my videos in less than an hour.

I wanted to make the majority of the video look like a dream.  The video is in black and white because most books say that people dream in black and white.  I don’t know what they’re talking about – I can clearly see color in my dreams – but it made for a good contrast between when I’m in the “real” world versus the “dream” world.  I also posterlized the video so it would seem less like reality.

I shot the video in the park because (a) I live right across the street from it, and (b) my Dad took us (I have a brother) to the park a LOT as kids.  The hardest part of the shoot was trying to make it look like I was alone by myself.  On the first day of the shoot, it was sunny outside, and there were a LOT of people running around. I wanted to shoot on the playground at the swing, the slide, and the baseball field, but they were crowded with people.

Then, it rained, and I couldn’t keep filming.  2 days later, I planned to film again, but it rained early in the morning real hard.

I wasn’t going to shoot anything, and was going to delay the video… but then the rain stopped, it got a little bit lighter outside, and it hit me: since the playground was wet, nobody would be out there using any of the equipment!

I got my camera and ran to the playground.  Sure enough: NOBODY.  Well, a few drifters here and there, but for the most part, I had the place to myself.

Okay, so this is where I get all “artsy”: The theme of the video is “The Last Day.”  I wanted to film it as though I was spending one last day with my Dad at the playground, and the things in the video are activities I did with him when he was alive.

In the first sets of shots, I slide down the slide, swing on the swing set, and run around the bases on the field.  During the last few shots, however, those same places are revisited, only now there is less activity going on there because my Dad is no longer around: there’s no one to cheer me on at the slide, push me on the swing set, or play catch/baseball with me on the field.  I’m looking around to see him, but I’m the only one there…

Intermixed with that footage is footage of me “writing” the letter (i.e. the song) to my Dad.  I actually had about 8 mintues of footage of me doing this, but the few shots I have in there were enough.

Towards the end, I run into the field and collapse on the ground.  I was most impressed with this shot because I wanted myself to be at the very bottom of the screen, contrasting with the huge set of clouds – i.e. heaven – that my Dad has now gone into that I, for the moment, cannot follow.  I set up a fake camera stand for all my shots, but since I’m the only one doing all the filming, I never know how a shot is going to turn out until I review it, and this one came out great.

As for the ending… well, you’ll have to watch.  However, there is a cameo by my Dad at the end of the video.

So, that’s all the insight I can think about for this song/video!  I don’t do too many “serious” or “emotional” songs, so I hope you enjoy my attempt at it here.

That’s all for now – see you next Sunday! (And, happy father’s day to those whose fathers have come and gone.)

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

A.P.T. Here!

Greetings!  This whole “writing one song a week” thing is really starting to get the ideas flowing!  However, the last thing I expected to happen was for my water-works to start flowing too!

First of all, very few things make me cry.  I mean, very, very, very, VERY few things make me cry, or even tear up.  I tend to be rather level-headed about stuff, and don’t let things upset me enough to the point where I feel like bawling.

However, there are a few things that can, if not make me cry, at least get me in the mood to cry.

And one of those things… is the topic of this upcoming Sunday’s song/video!

I can’t reveal too much about it now – you’ll get the insight about the song on Sunday – but for now, let’s just say that, given the week that it is (which will also be revealed), I felt compelled to write this song, and it’s been all I can do not to break down and start crying. 

Even now, when I was recording the song, I could feel the tears welling up… of course, I was able to stop myself, but for me, ALMOST crying is about the same as crying.  It’s just that, the subject matter of the song… well, I can’t really explain it too much, except to say that it clearly hits a soft spot with me.

So, anyway… I just recorded the verse for it, now I have to double it… then again, I might just keep it the way it is.  Sometimes raw emotion is better than layered emotion.  Expect the song and video to be drastically different from what I’ve done in the past, people!

That’s all for now – I’ll give u all more updates later!

-A.P.T.