Erica Chase’s 3 C’s in Life
Choice, Chance, Change
You must make the Choice.
To take the Chance.
If you want anything in life to Change.
– Erica Chase
– Erica Chase
James Corden has really taken late night TV to the next level with his brilliant carpool Karaoke that has featured everyone from Stevie Wonder to One Direction. I tune in every single time for this because who doesn’t love to see the biggest artists singing their songs and cracking jokes with James Corden?!
Karaoke is one of the most fun musical pastimes because it is about not taking things too seriously in a world full of very serious things. When you combine that, with these huge pop artists and a top comedian, it is just plain awesome.
The best karaoke hits to sing with a group of people are songs everyone knows. So with carpool karaoke, you have these major artists singing their big pop hits but not taking themselves seriously and sometimes even making fun of their stuff from the past.
Jlo did a great job of just having fun, laying her guard down and belting out some of her biggest hits while in carpool with James Corden. She may even be the new karaoke queen!
As a culture, we are fascinated with celebrities and artists, but we are more interested in seeing them as a “real person.” So this segment combines the kind of fun and jokes you would see with your friends at a karaoke bar with some of the biggest artists of today. It is pretty genius, and the clips from these segments almost always go viral. The karaoke duets that James sings with his A list guests are also pretty fun because he is actually a trained singer. Sometimes he even impresses the artists and shocks them with his harmonies and vocal abilities.
When you combine music, comedy, celebrities, and LA traffic, you are bound to have something interesting happen! Artists letting their guards down and just being down to have fun and/or poke fun at themselves while singing karaoke hits of their own makes for a very smart creative segment. Carpool Karaoke is only getting more popular as time goes on and is one of the most anticipated special segments that James Corden’s audience and the general public await.
When writing the next pop song that potentially grasps the world’s attention for a microsecond, there are a lot of elements that go into it. There are only 12 notes in music but the endless combination of them and different rhythmic and lyrical patterns make music infinitely possible.
Songs can be written about anything. However, typically in pop music the writing topics are only about a couple of things: love, heartbreak, having a good time, and sometimes an inspirational anthem.
Love is the biggest writing inspiration for most songwriters because as humans we spend much of our lives dealing with love in all of its glory and pain. It is truly something everyone experiences in some way.
A great song has three main components: lyrics, rhythm/beat, and melody. When all three of these are in sync, for example, Bruno Mars/Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” you’ve got yourself a hit on your hands. Song lyrics tell the story and often are the most memorable element. However, the melody and beat are also often what the listener holds fast to.
The trick to writing a great pop song is to tell a story in the simplest of ways that can be identifiable with anyone, but yet does not sound generic. It still has to have a flow and a narrative and cannot be full of clichés. There is a delicate balance to writing great lyrics.
Hooks are pretty self-explanatory: they are the elements of the song that hook you in and grab hold of you in some way. A lyric, melody or beat can all be hooks – although most of the time, people refer to the main chorus or tag of the song as the hook. It just has to be something that when you hear it once, it makes an imprint and is usually the thing people hum or sing when they have the song in their head!
I chose these three because they are all very different pop songs by three great pop female artists, but these three songs embody everything we’ve been discussing in this blog.
Adele’s “Hello” has a powerful booming chorus hook, combined with deep meaningful lyrics about heartbreak/love/loss.
Rachel Platten’s “Stand By You,” is an anthemic song with a positive lyrical narrative and catchy melody.
Meghan Trainor’s “No” is almost reminiscent of a late ‘90s era boy/girl band song with that super catchy beat and multiple melodic hooks, but with a simple and identifiable lyrical content.
All three of these songs succeed in the so-called pop song “formula” and when writing the next pop song, tracks like these are a good guide.
– Erica Chase
When discussing the greatest pop artists of all time there is a lot of subjectivity involved, but there is also a sort of short list that most people can agree upon. I am going to focus on that and discuss 3 artists on that list that I think have had such a profound impact on not only pop music, but also pop culture as well. In no particular order:
Michael is the undisputed King of Pop music. He embodies everything that any pop male singer, pop female singer, pop band, and any pop artist in general need to make an impact. The thing is though – he has all of that and so much more. The term X factor should just point to a picture of him. He was innovative and the way he danced and invented so many signature moves was just one aspect of his genius.
Michael was also a true musician. He could hear the melodies, feel the grooves and was so in tune with his inner self – he naturally just knew when it was cool and when it wasn’t. His pop songs such as “Rock with You,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Black or White,” “The Way you Make me Feel,” and so many more have become the gold standard of pop music and music in general.
Whitney had a voice that was otherworldly. The way she was able to channel so much in that voice that you could hear the pain and the joy and truth and tragedy. She also had that fearless X factor quality where she stepped on stage or walked into a room and the vibrations changed. Her pop albums were unrivaled in the late 80’s, early 90’s and despite her troubled personal life, she is remembered most for her amazing music contributions. Even in 2016, on shows like American Idol and The Voice, young pop artists are competing with pop covers of Houston’s catalog and they still sound as fresh today as they did then because great music is timeless.
The Beatles are my all time favorite band without question, and while some people may consider them as more of a rock band, they redefined modern pop music. They really pioneered the 3-minute pop song that is still the standard today. Their early pop hits such as “She Loves You,” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” gave you everything you need in a great pop song (catchy melody, great harmonies and memorable lyrics) all packaged in a perfect 3-minute package.
However, the Beatles really are at the top of the pack because they evolved and colored outside the lines. With the help of George Martin, they really created the modern pop and rock music landscapes. Albums such as Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, and Let it Be really are master class for all pop artists and especially for any aspiring songwriter. Study these!!
The most meaningful song lyrics are different for each person. Some people find deep connection to really dark, sad lyrics, and some find comfort in lyrics about partying and having a great time. It is truly subjective, but there are some songs that have really impacted the world with their message and it is this kind of meaningful music that all songwriters and artists long to make.
I want to give a few examples of songs that I think have deeply meaningful words, but also that have resonated with the masses as well.
The first would be John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Not only is this one of the greatest songs ever written (in my opinion), it is also a call for peace. Although it was written over 40 years ago, it is just as if not timelier today. In fact, after the Paris attacks late last year, a musician played this song on the piano in the middle of the street while people mourned and grieved as a united front. One of the best song quotes from “Imagine,” to me is in the chorus: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” This song lyric has always hit home for me as an artist and a dreamer.
The second example is Neil Young’s “Ohio.” This song was written in the aftermath of the Kent State massacre in 1970. This song has a powerful anti war overtone, but it is also a cry for help and peace. Song meanings don’t always have to be black and white, and can mean really different things to different people or the same people in different circumstances.
The final example is Adele’s “Someone like You.” This is arguably the biggest song in the last decade and truly changed pop music forever. I think the reason for this is because everyone can relate to love in some way whether it is falling in love and losing it, or growing it, or loving a friend or a family member. Love is universal, raw emotional vulnerability is universal, and that song and its meaningful words really echo those sentiments in a real way.
Thank you and always #chasedreams
So far, there have been great new music releases in 2016 that have really rocked the start of the year and some great ones coming soon. I want to focus on 3 in particular that have been shaking up the music industry: Kanye West- The Life of Pablo, Rachel Platten-Wildfire, and Zayn-Mind of Mine.
Rachel Platten really became one of the hottest new music artists towards the second half of 2015, with her smash single “Fight Song”. It got a huge boost when she performed the song for 50,000 plus fans during a stop on Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. This really catapulted Rachel and her music to a larger mainstream demographic. Her debut record also includes the hit single “Stand By You,” which is another great upbeat pop song. Her new music videos give a good glimpse into Rachel and her performance and artistic styles. I think Rachel is just getting started and, as she has stated recently, is working on even more brand new music to give to her fans.
It was just about a year ago when the pop music world stopped for a moment. Zayn Malik had announced he was leaving One Direction and pursuing a solo career. While it has worked out for some artist that leave a successful boy/girl group i.e. Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce to name a few, many were uncertain if Zayn, known as the “quiet one,” would be able to be a star in his own right.
IF the first single, “Pillow Talk” is any indication, Zayn’s release is definitely one of the most highly anticipated new music albums coming out this year. His sultry tone and semi risqué lyrics are enticing – it seems as though his credibility as a solo artist is building each day and the fans are embracing Zayn.
Arguably one of the most controversial releases in 2016 would be Kanye’s album. Not only did he change the title and the track listing several times before it was released, one of the songs, “Famous” referenced Taylor Swift in not the kindest of ways and has reignited their “famous” feud. Additionally, the way West released this album was different and in some ways, very 2016 of him: he exclusively released it via the high fidelity streaming service, Tidal.
This made the album the most pirated album in history, because Tidal is a paid subscription only service that costs significantly more than its competitors, most notably Spotify and Apple Music. Time will tell if this was the smartest business and artistic decision, but I am sure it will not be the last of Kanye.
When pop music is in its full power, it strikes just the right emotional chord – and when you have an out of this world gift such as Kelly Clarkson mixed with an emotionally charged song, you can bring even the most stoic of people to tears. That is exactly what Clarkson did on the American Idol stage in all of her very pregnant truth and glory.
Kelly Clarkson became a household name in popular music during the inaugural season of American Idol, which wraps up its tenure this spring. Instead of just performing pop karaoke songs, Kelly would make each song her own and her vocal prowess was and is undeniable. Over the past 15 years, Kelly has had multiple platinum records, top 10 singles, top grossing pop tours, Grammy awards etc. She’s set a precedent for being a powerhouse vocalist and recording artists, and has inspired many of the pop artists and pop female singers that competed on and off American Idol after her.
Kelly returned to her launching pad on Thursday, February 25, to perform the emotional ballad she co-wrote called “Piece by Piece,” which was autobiographical. A nearly 9 month pregnant Clarkson was visibly emotional while performing the pop song, yet it is her rawness and her ability to sing through and cut through to the heart of the masses that not only highlights the power of a great pop song, but also of a great artist. Both Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, who are each top artists in their respective genres, were visibly moved to tears during Clarkson’s performance.
When a performer has the ability to transcend and effortlessly emote a song in the purest way, it has this unifying and comforting effect on pop culture. For one brief 3 and a half minute moment there is truth, beauty, and as Urban commented, “humanity.”
Thank you so much for the support and belief. Let’s all go and #chasedreams
Spotify is a digital music service that enables users to remotely source millions of different songs on various record labels from a laptop, smartphone or other device.
I am honored and so very grateful to be featured among great artists such as Justin Bieber, ZAYN, and the Chainsmokers on a music platform such as this!
You can download my song by purchasing it on iTunes here.
And always remember, #chasedreams.
Erica Chase was recently featured on ‘Louder Than War’; The go-to website for the latest rock, punk, metal and alternative music news, album and gig reviews!
Recording artist Erica Chase, has just released her new single/video, entitled: “Paris”, and it is powerful!
Louder Than war spoke to Erica, who is not only a talented songwriter, and singer, but has a running knowledge of the music industry, and eerie sense of what is supposed to happen and why when it comes to her music. Meeting her now, longtime manager, Dana Strum from the heavy metal band, “Slaughter”, and then nearly dying 24 hours later, was viewed by Erica as a sign to follow her dream.
Read more here.
There have been countless lists of albums that have defined and/or redefined pop music forever. This is my list of pop albums that changed the musical and popular culture landscape:
Pop 1. – Michael Jackson – Off the Wall
Pop 2. – Prince – Purple Rain
Pop 3. – Adele – 21
This record was groundbreaking for the pop genre and also for the seemingly shy and boyish, Michael Jackson. Most people assume “Thriller” is his greatest contribution, but in order to get to “Thriller,” you have to delve deep into “Off the Wall.” Michael had something to prove coming out of the gate and distancing himself from his brothers and pop boy bands. He needed people to know he was a true pop artist and musical master. From “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” to the title track to “Rock with You,” this album not only was sonically cohesive and produced spectacularly; this was Michael playing between the genre lines. He had disco, rock, soul, R&B and pop all welded together effortlessly and his good looks and dancing ability combined to make this album a master class of pop albums. The songs are tremendous and Michael was known as an amazing performer and dancer, but on “Off the Wall,” no one can deny the power and urgency in that man’s vocals.
Prince was doing his thing and had some hits prior to his masterpiece, but “Purple Rain” really let you know that “The Prince” had arrived. The title track alone is not your conventional pop song, but then again, nothing he did or does was or is. This record also had the benefit of being an early juggernaut in the newly formed MTV generation. Purple Rain spawned many pop hits and music videos that gave the masses a clear glimpse that this guy was not just an amazing songwriter, unique singer, and guitar player, but that he was also a true artist who impacted fashion and blurred gender roles. This album cemented Prince into long lasting pop stardom.
Adele had come out a few years prior with her debut album, 19. It spawned two moderately successful singles in the US, though she was markedly more successful in her native Britain. However, no one, especially not her, could have seen the global impact of her sophomore record. Sometimes, there is a crazy fluke in the world and it seems as though everyone is resonating with the same album at the same time. The first single off of this record was the roaring “Rolling in the Deep,” which came out strong out the gate and gave Adele some momentum in the US. Yet, it was the simple, yet emotionally jarring “Someone Like You” which catapulted not only the entire pop album, but also Adele herself into an almost revered and untouchable place upon the highest shelf in music, popular culture, and the world. Her current number one album “25,” did not really have anything to prove because Adele permanently cemented her place in the music world as one of the greatest pop female singers and top artists of modern times.
Pop Albums have the power to define a narrative and a soundtrack to generations of people and millions of memories. These 3 albums are hard to argue with and will continue to impact the world forever.
Thank you so much and #chasedreams!