Why Zayed Will Steal you Heart

Since music so easily accessible in a world where you can download from Youtube, most of us music-savvy listeners have heard just about every sound out there. So, when we stumble across a new sound, one that is full of pep and yet still has that special connection with us that we can’t totally explain, we’re drawn to it and want to listen to it over and over again in hopes that we’ll be able to commit the power and beauty of it to memory. This is what it is like listening to the new single “Symphony for a longing heart” by Zayed Hassan.

The piece is one of those rare and powerful selections without lyrics that can either make or break a song. In this particular song, Zayed lets the power of the music speak for itself and successfully connects with his viewers that way by knowing how much to put into his song and what leave to the viewer. True art is all about letting the customer (in this case, the listener) put themselves into the situation and make it their own. The beauty of lyric-free music is that we all hear it a different way and don’t have to get past the sometimes cumbersome lyrics in order to connect fully with the musician and what he wanted. Zayed uses this information to create a strong piece that is all about remaining open to interpretations of all sorts.

Zayed’s creation is full of conflicting emotions and thoughts, which normally would result in a mess of different thoughts that just confuse the listener. In the expert way that this song is constructed, however, the thoughts and emotions, as much as they vary, are realistic to the typical human heart that is longing for something: happy, sad, angry, bitter, etc. The list goes on and on and really helps the listener develop a full sense of the emotions that go along with longing.

What is really interesting about this song, though, is that Zayed allows you to decide whether you want it to be a sad kind of loss that revolves entirely around missing someone that was once close to you, or whether it’s a loss that’s saying, “I miss you, but I’m doing what I need to do to be happy.” which is a very interesting kind of loss, and a great idea to put forward. There is also the interpretation that he puts forward that it can be both a happy and a sad loss, which is probably the most original idea to put in the song ever.

With the kind of grace that would make most musicians jealous, the different instruments are blended effortlessly together to create a full and non-obtrusive ensemble that gets your foot tapping and your imagination going a thousand miles a minute, picking parts of the song that you feel directly relate to your life. Any artist can make a song that is relatable to everyone, but it takes a very talented musician to create a piece that can be interpreted in a different way by every listener out there.

Starting off with one instrument and then building to the full sound that fills your ears as it reaches its climax, the piece is full of effective dynamics that are sure to make all ears turn and listen to this upbeat song that is full of life. The joy that he inserts into the chords dissolves into ones that hurt your ears, but only in a way because it is tinged with sorrow. This is where Zayed really shows his talent as both a musician, and a truly smart one that knows his job is to do whatever he can to connect with the audience. And he does this by putting himself into the song.

By that I mean that he makes himself vulnerable to his audience by putting his own longing and loss into the song. We can hear those dissonant chords and know that it is his own emotions and memories leaking into the song. He may not be aware of doing so, but that’s what makes this song so amazing. By doing this integration of his own emotions, that means that he is truly feeling the music and making it as full of passion as he can. None of this can be dissected formally, its simply a feeling that the listener gets when closing their eyes and just feel the song.

Music is all about sharing your life and memories with others around you in a way that is safe on both ends, but effective. Zayed does this so well that it is more about the experience of sharing your memory with him as you listen. Everyone enjoying this song is unknowingly broadcasting their own interpretations and memories into the environment around them: by everyone connecting with the song and sharing these memories, they are going into a collective memory area that is engrained in the song and connecting with one another. It is not a physical connection, of course, but it’s the feeling that you’re connecting with Zayed and then with his other fans, too, because all fans are connected by a collective fan base. Basically, Zayed extends a special relationship to his listeners, and allows them to feel connected all together through “Symphony for a longing heart”.

Overall, Zayed’s newest piece is full of memories and reminiscence for every listener, but encourages the good along with the bad. In connecting with them through every beat of the song, he steals your heart and makes you feel as though you are part of the song itself and therefore part of Zayed (in a totally non-creepy way). That’s the job of a musician, to share with his audience. Zayed’s skills are exceptional and his song clearly demonstrates his craft and style as well as his careful interaction with his valued listeners. You won’t regret listening to his catchy and relatable song, so go ahead and see how it grabs your heart.

To find out more information about about Zayed, check his page out on Facebook, or on Twitter!  You can listen to his song by clicking here.


For Your Information

Home Sweet Boat: Houseboat Rentals in Amsterdam

In the cold temperatures that are attacking most of us and keeping us locked up with blankets and coffee, the idea of traveling somewhere balmy and snow-free is really appealing. There are frustrations with travelling, though, trying to figure out what clothes to take, where to go, what hotel to stay in, and – the hardest decision – what books to take with you. So, what if there were an option to take your entire house with you on your trip? No packing restraints, no trying to choose the right hotel, and great, home-cooked meals that you know and love? That option exists in renting a houseboat.

Houseboats are a great way to have an adventure, providing safety, lots of space, and convenience for the travellers. The expansive houseboats available today are packed with all of the modern amenities, ensuring that you will be as comfortable as possible in your travels. There is plenty of space for clothing, so choosing what to bring becomes an easier task. There is also space for more than just a book or two, making those bookworms like myself happy people. After all, a vacation is supposed to be a time when you can relax and unwind. If you don’t have all of the possessions with you that make you comfortable, how are you expected to enjoy yourself? Tastefully decorated and easy to access, a houseboat is definitely an option to explore.

So, you have the ‘what’ (an adventure) and a ‘how” (a houseboat) part figured out for your next trip, but you still haven’t figured out a ‘where’. Sure, there are plenty of amazing places in South America that you can visit that will provide you with the vacation experience, but if you’re going to use a houseboat as your home base, you may as well take advantage of somewhere that offers a beautiful experience with as much access to a houseboat as possible: Amsterdam.

Filled with beautiful architecture, intriguing culture, and excellent food, Amsterdam is a beautiful, action-packed location to take a trip to. It is exotic and full of adventures for both the experienced and unexperienced traveller. It’s great for a student, a couple, or the whole family. Designed to give everyone the best adventure possible in a location that is beautiful beyond words, Amsterdam is the perfect place for an adventure on a houseboat.

Sure, a houseboat is a strange way to explore, but isn’t that the best part about an adventure? Trying new experiences and making the best of them? Life is all about taking chances and living to the fullest, so what better way to do that than exploring an exotic location full of fun and adventure by day, and winding down in the beautiful, lulling houseboat by night? Go ahead and take the leap, you never know how much you’re going to like living on a boat until you try. Who knows, you may even decide to become a sailor!  So for your next holiday be sure to think about an Amsterdam houseboat.

Image Credit: id-reel.blogspot.com (Google)
Image Credit: id-reel.blogspot.com (Google)
For Your Information

LeviTrap SP

We’ve all taken those terrible road trips over dirty, dusty roads that make us half wish we’d stayed home. So, if an option existed enabling you could take those beautiful old roads dust-free, would you be interested? Of course.

LeviTrap SP is a newly developed heavy-dust suppressant that can help those dust-free dreams come true. This product is used in trafficked areas that are prone to lots of dust. The product is applied onto a road by a sprayer, either handheld or machine, and that’s it! Simple, right? The complicated part is in the science behind LeviTrap SP.

This whole process is similar to the effect of a sprinkle of rain on a dirt road. The dust is suppressed due to the water, but as soon as the sun comes back out, the water is gone and the dust returns. This product, however, ingrains itself into the particles of dust that would normally bounce up into the air. Unlike water, it does not evaporate, and thus keeps the dust locked up tight on the ground.

The truly amazing part of LeviTrap SP is that there is little need to apply maintenance to the product once it has been sprayed. Occasionally at intersections, a small amount will need to be reapplied to ensure the dust stays in its place. Users will tell you that one application of this product can last years without maintenance, and the only places that will need replenishing will be locations where tire wear is the highest, such as intersections, as mentioned above, or curves in the road. Luckily, there is no shelf life for LeviTrap SP, so there is no wasted money on an expired product, which always makes for a happy customer.

Other than regular wear and tear, dust can sometimes be seen in areas that were previously sprayed, but this is only because the dust came from somewhere else and was deposited in that location. In these kinds of situations, the owner would just need to apply a bit more of the product, and the new, “foreign” dust would be trapped along with the old, previously taken care of dust.

In high, heavy traffic locations, LeviTrap SP helps in keeping dust down, but also eliminates mud as an added bonus. This is because once the product is spread, there is no need to spray the dust with water in order to keep it down, so there is no water to form mud. This makes for a safer environment that is easy to maneuver in.

All in all, LeviTrap SP enables drivers to have a dust-free environment, whether it is for work or play. Since it is not regulated by any particular agency and is 100% eco-friendly (can be contacted here), there is no difficulty or reason not to apply this product where needed. It makes for better vacations and thus, dust-free memories. 

For Your Information

The K.T. Foundation Gives Back

Every year, there are children who do not wake up Christmas morning with a brightly coloured presents from Santa under the tree. In fact, Christmas can be a hard time of year for many families when money is tight. Children expect many toys from Santa and often the parents can’t deliver. In times like these, the real superheros come into play, like The Knights Thriving Foundation Inc, otherwise known as the K.T. Foundation. This group was created by Rayland Van Blake , Rege C. Lewis and K.T. Nelson and is based out of Harlem.

This year, the foundation co-sponsored the annual toy drive put on by Denny Moe’s Barbershop. Along with Carl Banks, the Superbowl winner, the toy drive allows less fortunate children to have toys and gifts they normally wouldn’t be able to afford. The drive was able to bring in over 250 toys which ensured that each child would have several toys waiting under the tree for them on Christmas morning.  The drive is made possible because of Shaun Derik’s holiday party and some of Broadway’s best came out to support this worthy cause.


The organization collected toys during the annual Good Night Holiday Jazz party, and the crowds of children, many of which were brought by family services, eagerly spilled into the venue to join the celebrations. The night was one full of cheer and uncontrolled excitement for the children that have so little of their own, but also for the organizations and volunteers for the toy drive. After all, who doesn’t love spreading a little holiday cheer?


To top off the whole event, the children were treated with a visit from Santa himself and after the toys were handed out, he sat down and read them a story, much to the delight of the parents, volunteers, and children. After this wonderful event, K.T. Foundation continued sharing the holiday cheer by donating more toys from the overflow of the toy drive to the sick children at Harlem hospital, helping ensure that no child would miss out on the Christmas fun. The last of the toys went to the National Action Network Toy Drive which took place on Christmas Day.


The Christmas season is all about sharing with one another and helping those who don’t have the means to make Christmas special for the young ones. K.T. Foundation Inc, along with their co-sponsor and Denny Moe’s Barbershop, helped make Santa real for many little ones who feared that he wouldn’t find them this year. Christmas is a magical time for everyone, and all children deserve a chance to feel that magic, so they can pass it on to the future generation. To find out more information about K.T Foundation Inc, please click here!


Holiday Spirit

As the holidays take over my usually frazzled life, I find that the holiday spirit is a little hard to grasp onto this year. I’ve done the usual decorating and eaten way too many cookies, but it seems as though I am in a grinch mood. These past few days have been spent baking, however, and as I put the finishing sprinkles on my mouthwatering shortbread cookies, I found myself starting to feel the first tingles in the pit of my stomach.

Cooking has always been pretty enjoyable for me, but baking is another story. I always get frustrated and give up if I’m making cookies and I can’t get them in the right shape, or I spill batter on the counter, or I get my hands sticky and then touch my phone. It gets even worse if I manage to get them in the oven, only to have them mould themselves into a cookie blob in the middle of the pan. Sure, a good taste is the most important part about baking, but the cookies have to be somewhat presentable, don’t they?

So, when I started baking a couple of days ago, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I knew that one little mistake would send me roaring off in a tizzy and any hopes of getting my holiday spirit would be out the window. I was pleasantly surprised, though, that when I did make the mistake of adding double the sugar (I swear, I thought the recipe said 2 tablespoons!), I got upset, but just carefully started spooning the sugar back out until it looked more reasonable. I was so impressed with myself that the rest of the baking adventure went by without a hitch!

Now, at the end of it all, I have two batches of severely misshapen peanut butter cookies, a slightly undercooked batch of ginger cookies, and two perfect batches of shortbread! I then had the brilliant idea to slather them in frosting and then throw a couple of sprinkles on there, just to complete the whole experience.


As I finished baking, I was so glad to see that I could still touch the magic of the holiday season, even if it took two weeks and five batches of cookies to achieve it. I guess growing up means that you have to find the holiday spirit by helping others instead of excitement over what you yourself will receive or gain. Sure, it’s corny, but it’s the truth, and I look forward to doing even more giving next year.

So, with the whole wonderful adventure behind me, I now find myself ready for the hot chocolate, fire place, and Christmas carols. Just in time, too! What are some of your favourite ways to get into the holiday spirit? What are some traditions that you want to share with the future generations?

Happy holidays!


Part of my World

Writing involves many exciting jobs in preparation, like reading or researching, memorizing a thesaurus, or maybe even travelling. The best task, though, is the people watching. We all do it, whether we want to admit it or not. As writers, we have an excuse; to find new characters!

Image Credit: blog.shareaholic.com (Google)
Image Credit: blog.shareaholic.com (Google)

Characters can either make or break a story, do you have to make sure they’re great ones. The only way to do that realistically is by basing them off of ear leak people, am I right? What are some of the places that you go to in order to get interesting people to watch? I love going to the mall to do it, but unless you sit in the food court, you don’t get to see people for longer than 20 seconds.

The most important part of people watching is to get a variety, and the food court is a great place for that. Also, you can overhear conversations and not down some great pieces of dialogue. The quick turn over always offers lots of people to eavesdrop on and makers you inconspicuous because no one I will notice you sitting there for extended periods of time.

When I’m hunting for a good character, I tend to watch for big groups of people. The best thing about a large group is that it holds the most options for the perfect character. If you’re starting from scratch, the different options are endless in a group of just four people. If you’re starting from a few characteristics – shy, loud, gentle, brave – then that makes a group fun in the sense that you can take characteristics that match the personality that you want, and create a strong, round character.

Finding your protagonist in a crowd isn’t hard, but one character that can be hard (and a lot of fun) to find, is your antagonist. Usually, they’re loners that are obsessed with revenge, or maybe they’re the popular “it” girl with identical drones giggling at everything they say and do. Regardless, essentially every person exists at the mall, and with the right skills and knowledge, can be found.

Antagonists can typically be found in stores, particularly in long lines that are moving at a snail’s pace. Those bring out the ugly in just about everyone, so you’ll find the bad and shady characteristics there. The same thing goes for the ones arguing with the cashiers. They have all the traits you can want for a kick-butt antagonist.

The mall works in finding new characters so well because people tend to relax, they figure that there are too many people to worry about being watched. At first, the “prim and proper” personality is up in front of the real personality and everything is correct and polite. By the time they’re ready to leave the food court or the store, though, they have started to let their guard down and their real personality shine through, allowing you to get to the good stuff.

That all being said, the best dialogue, plot twists, or personality traits can hit at anytime, so, like all writers advise, always have a pen and paper on you for just such an occasion. Characters are crucial, so don’t use the stock ones because you can’t think of anything else. Possibilities are all around you, so there is no excuse not to have a great character.

What do you see as the most important element in a story? Do you prefer to read about stock or original characters? What are some examples of strong characters?


Life as a Superstar

Music, as I have mentioned in various posts, is something that has always been a part of my life. I have a passion for creating music and listening to it. Due to this attraction, it only made sense for me to record my own CD, which I did a year ago. The entire process probably took close to a year and a half, and thought it was exhilerating, it was also totally exhausting!

The first step to creating a CD is to pick the songs that you’re going to record, obviously, but the hard part is knowing which ones you will actually end up recording. As any singer will know, you can’t always sing the songs you want because when performing something, you always have to go with what best suits your voice. Originally, I had seven songs that I was going to record. By the time I was ready to actually record, I was down to four songs, and only one of them was from the original list.

The recording itself was definitely the hardest part because it had to revolve around sicknesses and fatigue, not to mention the normal elements that eat up time, like school and work. It took from July to December to get everything recording, and it was gruelling process.

The hardest part of actually recording a song is staying focused. When you record, you get tense, and it takes several hours to get a good basic track down. I learned early on that it is crucial to have the words memorized on the recording day, because even if you have everything memorized and ready to go, recording causes the dreaded problem that I ran into all the time…spontaneous forgetfulness.

This happens when you are a couple takes into the process and you’ve been singing for an hour or two. The last two takes went well, but you kept messing up on that one spot. This time, you’re going to focus everything on that one spot and make sure you get it right. Simple, enough, right? Once you start singing, however, you quickly realize that in all your focusing, the words have gone out of your head.


Image Credit: www.ehow.com (Google)
Image Credit: http://www.ehow.com (Google)

Poof, gone. And just like that, the frustration grows into anger and hatred for the entire process. This anger is exactly why it took over five months to record four songs. It is a time-consuming, angering experience, but it’s one that I meant a lot to me and when I look back now, I see all the good moments, rather than the bad ones.

There were days when I would literally throw things across the room in frustration, and there were others when I was totally exhausted, but so happy I had finished. Recording a CD is not something I will be doing anytime soon again, but I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to sing. I learned a lot about my voice and it was a great experience!

Does anyone have experiences they would like to share? Go ahead and display your stardom!


Food for Thought

Words are crucial in writing of any kind, that’s what writing is all about after all. In any language, strange expressions exist, and English is no exception. Two of the ones that get my attention the most involve cheese and corn. Yes, you read that right. The expressions are synonyms, too…or maybe for the purposes of sticking with the food theme, we’ll refer to them as “cinnamons.” No? Okay, anyway.

They’re used when referring to something as cliché or predictable: “Oh, that’s so cheesy.” or “Man, is that ever corny.” So, they’re totally inter-changable. My “beef” with these expressions is that there doesn’t need to be two food related expressions that mean practically the same thing, one will suffice! Having two expressions that mean the same thing makes me confused about which one I should use and why they’re both important.

I have the same problem with other expressions that have unnecessary duplicates. We writers know that having more than one way to say something is a good thing, but there is such a thing as having too many options. So, the question is clear: Is something cheesy or corny? Which word best describes something that is cliché? Personally I tend to use “cheesy” more often than “corny”, but I don’t have a reason for that. What are your thoughts on the cheese vs. corn debate?

On another note of expressions that aren’t entirely useful, there’s the idea that sometimes they are hard (if not impossible) to explain to someone who doesn’t know them.  This is especially true when someone is new to the language or doesn’t have much experience in the more colloquial part of a language.  I find that I have the same problem when I am reading in Spanish or having a conversation with a native speaker.  I miss some parts if it because they’re colloquial expressions that just do not translate into another language.  Then, when I ask what it means, they are at a loss as to how to tell me what it means even if they are trying to find a English equivalent.

That leads me to the question of why expressions change from language to language. Shouldn’t there be a universal understanding? But, then again, languages belong to different cultures and each culture has their own customs and, thus, expressions. Each culture has a right to have their own expressions, which explains why “cheesy” is not able to be understood in other languages. I just wish that there were a couple that could go from language to langue so that everyone understood them universally.  But, that’s just my opinion.  Do you think that some expressions should be universal, or that different ones in each language are a good thing?

What are some expressions that you think could be totally omitted from spoken and written language? Are there some that you’re more likely to use in writing than in conversational language or vice versa? Go ahead and share them!


Image Credit: thefinsters.com (Google)
Image Credit: thefinsters.com (Google)

NaNo Prep: Student Style

As this year’s season of NaNoWriMo approaches, I find that I am nowhere as prepared as I have been in previous years. Being a full-time University student can really take a toll on having a fully thought out plot. A couple days ago I got to thinking that maybe I don’t have to have a completely fleshed out plot, maybe I can be like most writers and just figure the story out as I go. I’m not intending on writing a long novel this year, as I simply don’t have the time, but even so, the idea of not plotting every little detail out totally terrifies me!

I’m an organizer by nature, and my writing process is no different. I wrote a blot post a while back about how spontaneous plots differ from from planned out ones, and still think that both have a lot of potential. That being said, I still have to plan out everything before November 1st, otherwise, it’s going to be a rough 30 days.

Normally, in NaNo season, my plot will change as I start to write and find out that, no, I can’t write 2 000 words on how pretty that forest is. You realize pretty quickly that if you’re bored while writing the chapter, then your reader is going to be even more bored. So, you need to adapt to a new style of writing so you don’t fall asleep while in the middle of a sentence.

Successfully completing NaNoWriMo, is hard. I mean, the goal is to write 50 000 words in 30 days! Regardless of whether you get to 2 000 or 100 000 words, it’s really tough going. Other than attempting to make your word count sky rocket, you are trying to breathe life into brand new characters, keep your plot from deflating due to plot holes, and shut down your inner editor that keeps nit-picking every 50 words or so. Oh, and while you’re dealing with all those issues, you have to still do everything in your normal life. For 30 days. Is it just me, or does that sound totally nuts? Yup, but it’s a lot of fun, too.

My advice is to totally immerse yourself in NaNo life during November. The website has plenty of ways for you to get involved locally with NaNoWriMo. After all, you aren’t going to be the only one in your town or city that’s participating, and a huge project like this is always better when you have a friend to do it with.

As I said, I’m really struggling with my prep this year. I have a great plot, but I just don’t have a huge chunk of time that I can sit down and work out the potential issues and plot holes. What are some of your favourite ways to prepare for NaNo? What are some tips that you have to share? To those of you participating in this crazy adventure, happy writing!

Image Credit: ywp.nanowrimo.org (Google)
Image Credit: ywp.nanowrimo.org (Google)

The Bus

In the past year or two, I have used the public bus system to get around town. I always find it fascinating, the different kinds of people that are on the bus with you. There are two different routes I usually take, but I don’t go on the bus often enough to be totally comfortable. By that, I mean that I sit by the window, staring obsessively at the street signs to make sure that I get off at the right stop. Yup, that’s me.

On my adventures on the bus, though, I’ve learned that some people are comfortable no matter where they go, and it totally freaks me out! I mean, I can’t even listen to music while I’m on the bus, because I’m so scared that I’m going to miss my stop and end up God-knows-where and no way to get back to anything familiar. Then, there are some people that sit on the bus with computers out and headphones in, working away like it’s no big deal!

I’m jealous of those kinds of people, mostly because I am very dedicated student, so any time that I can get to work on homework or do some class reading, I’ll take it. The bus is not one of the places I can relax, though, and I wish I could be productive instead of staring listlessly out the window for the whole trip.

Due to the fact that I don’t take the bus everyday, I can understand how I am never comfortable enough to listen to music or chat with a friend sitting close by. Even if I did take the bus everyday, though, I still don’t think I’d ever be able to put loud music on and start writing a paper in the middle of a bus ride.

When I write, I go into another world completely and have basically no idea how much time passes or what’s going on around me at the time. There was once in middle school, when I had finished my work early in class, so I was reading a book. One minute, everyone’s working away and I’m happily reading, the next minute, the teacher is accusing me of being rude and disrespectful because I wasn’t paying attention to the explanation she was giving.

It turned out that I had been reading for an hour, and in that time, the class had finished their work and the teacher had moved on to the next subject. I had no idea that anything was even going on. I never read in class again!

So, to you multitasking people on the bus, I envy your skills, and hope that you never miss your stop!

Image Credit: http://www.freeclipartnow.com (Google)

Out of curiosity, does anyone else have the same issue as me on the bus, or am I just a fluke?