This is the ultimate funk discovery of this year for me.
I love Slave and I bloody love Maze.
One evening after I first moved in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn sometime in July I was walking around the hood after a recording session with a good friend’s band ( See sneak footage of the sesh here – The Saturators – Check out their stuff too – My good friend Misha is the head Saturator and is THE guy for knowing what’s up in the city), seeing what food was about and what drinks were flowing and what a saturday night looked like in my new area.
I stumbled upon an amphitheatre that was hosting one of the free outdoor parties…
This is where I was first introduced to the legendary Maze song above, and since then I haven’t stopped playing it!
Being extremely wrapped up in NYC Life, I completely disregarded poor little sunsetsoulsister. My musical alter came along (Alexandra Blue) and stole all my attention away!
Although this means that no writing has been done in the blog sense, I have been writing lyrics and poetry… so all was not lost.
This stay in NY was extremely different from the first time around. Less focus was on fun and playtime ( in the standard sense of drinking and partying) and most of my time was spent in my room writing lyrics and melodies ( my new kind of playtime 😀 ) or on the subway to jam nights, writing sessions or singing lessons. Harlem was where you could find me most of the time!
I got to play a few shows both supporting established acts as a Background artist and I performed a track I wrote with Namaste Humble at a random gig. What encouraged the most growth was vibin on stage at random jams and seeing what my improvisation chops were saying!
If any singers or musicians are reading this with an idea of going to NY to pursue music the best bit of advice I could give you as someone who is just finding their way is – Do not be afraid of Craigslist and Jam nights! Speak to everyone and be as open as possible. Also, know your limits and skill level. I went in thinking I was going to be miles behind everyone (I was behind most, obv, but not ALL) but because NY is so big and there are so many ‘scenes’ there is no need to be intimidated. There is always going to be someone behind you in their journey, and help them along just as you would appreciate a peer further on their path giving you a little nod in the right direction.
I did manage to get a couple of trips upstate in (hello winetasting!) , and of course went to some blinding gigs (Derrick Hodge and The Weeknd and loads of local bands) but my highlights have to be attending jam nights like The Lesson @ Arlene’s Grocery and Village Undergrounds jam/open mic on a monday. These are places that really are about nurturing and experimenting with your gift in a safe and fun. Other nights I really wanted to get to but didn’t manage were Tuesday nights @ Zinc and Wednesdays @ Williamsburg music centre. Hear nothing but great things about these 2 nights.
Halloween I semi experienced, (went out the night before, had my own crazy vibes that ended on a very hungover Halloween official day), I stayed on the couch with my housemate. We talked about life and watched Les Mis haha. The night following Halloween was Subway Management’s Mansion party so I, of course, turnt that place up until the Jello shots turned me down. I dressed as a Peace Warrior, basically I utilised the most prominent part of my wardrobe, camo print and face paint.
I got to take part in Thanksgiving (which was amazing, and FULL OF FOOD). Previously to that it dawned on me that Firework night in the UK may be my favourite non holiday. I really missed it this year, and was very disappointed there were no fireworks at the supposed British bonfire night celebrations!
As I sit here in McCarren Park I can’t help but ponder life.
I am struggling with balancing ambition and my incessant need for new experiences with being in the here and now and present in the moment.
For instance today, it is a beautiful day and my plan was to go to yoga, then grocery shopping and then start some new work that a friend has introduced me to. So I walk the 30 minute walk to my new yoga studio (loom in Bushwick – review and yoga journal up soon!) and get there a bit early. For most people I would imagine that this is their ideal. For me being early always can put whatever I am early for in the ‘optional’ box in my head. Especially if the sun is shining and its mid September. Yoga is something I enjoy immensely, and at the moment it is important that I go as much as possible – My back is out of wack from a summer of dancing and adventures.
All this being said, and knowing how important it is long term for me to go, why did I not go? Why did I choose to sit in the sunshine for a few hours instead?
This is a consistent theme of my life and as I am reaching mid 20s (yes Tony, REACHING MID 20S. I am NOT nearly 30) I am trying to figure out where my priorities are at these days. I thought Yoga was a big priority, but it turns out that even that is subject to change depending on the weather?
I think it is because I am British, and when the sun is out in Brighton, UK you would think it is city of The Unemployed! Everyone flocks to the beach and the drinks flow until way past sunset – Mid week!
So anyway, back to how my day has rolled out (It is still only 1.30pm – My NYC Brain is in full effect, clearly). I’m in McCarren Park with the idea that I am going to go and be all Yogi in the Park and concentrate on being in the here and now, and all I have done is thought about things I would like to do in the future or aims I have for my time over here.
This is all very in line with my Piscean profile, I spend a lot of time in my own head idealizing life and pondering how great XYZ would be blah blah. So it is all positive thoughts and ideas and planning etc but how do I achieve any of these things if when it gets to it, the sun is out or my fickle fish self flows on by whatever I had planned.
Am I really doing things I want to do, or are they just things I have convinced myself that I want to do over my 24years?! OR Do I just have no discipline and follow through? OR am I ruled by my own expectations? I think that might be it.
The book I am reading at the moment is called The Power of Now and it’s by Eckhart Tole. I am so trying to practice with the thoughts in this book, and also building on the Tao of Pooh that I listened to as an audiobook sometime last year.
I suppose this is more of a shout out to anyone feeling philosophical at this changeover of season time for any advice.
Any ideas on how to get shit done whilst in keeping with being happy and present just the way everything is in the now?
My first idea would be to get a solid meditation routine in, but what if I do not feel like it one morning? Do I force it because I know it is good for me long-term OR go with my flow of that moment?
Sunsetsoulsister is back in the BK just in time for summer to kick in. haha!
My summer was stellar and I could not be more grateful for all the amazing things the last few years has churned up, but now let’s get Fall happening, US Style! It looks as though it is going to be interesting!
So I am back in Bushwick with the BK fam and loving it. It was touch and go if I was even going to return for a while! I had China knocking at my door with an opportunity to sing over there, but for one reason or another that didn’t pan out so, lucky I had a Plan B in BK.
The initial period of this trip is very different to the last time. Last time I was with my brother, it was savage weather with snow and late blizzards and all that, and we did not know a soul. This time around it almost feels too easy!
In my first week back there have been dinners, many a hangout, beach trips and Karaoke, of course. It is so funny to me how much the Yanks love karaoke. In the UK it is like pulling teeth to get ANYONE to get excited about going to karaoke.
I used to work in a karaoke bar that just had private rooms and it was always so hilarious watching people come in who were absolutely dreading it – usually were in attendance by some sort of forceful office/Birthday/Hen+stag situation! By the end of the night 8/10 times these people would love it, and it always entertaining hearing all the stories upon their departure from the venue.
Basically my point is, when I get home in Dec UK people – Karaoke is HAPPENING!
Considering I spent the first 4/5days in a bit of a weird jet lag/ Super moon / summer hangover vibe it has been a very lovely and chilled chance for me to settle in.
I have visited Rockaways beach, Travelled upstate to The Catskills (I know UK peeps, I don’t get the name either…) and my local literally across the street from my new digs. Much fun has been had, and I am enjoying exploring all over again!
So I am going to try my best to keep on updating in between everything going on.
So following the monster of a party, where things got out of hand… as they always do in Borough mansion (and Id have it no other way – work hard, play hard!)
I woke up pretty bewildered at the state of my room, and also still pretty wobbly! So I was continuing the party mood into my fun Friday. I went to Manhattan, found my favourite shop (Scent Elate) bought the whole place, basically and then went on to explore the Lower East Side. I thought I had been to LES before, but upon arrival I knew for sure I hadn’t explored this part and man was a bummed that I only discovered such a cool hood as I was leaving! Lots and lots of cool cafes and boutiques, and will defo be exploring more of that end when I am back next time.
Then I got my nose pierced… I don’t know why I had been so set on having it done whilst in NY but it was D Day and I did it! It didn’t hurt (maybe it was the alcohol still in my system relaxing my nervous system or something haha) and the place I got it done could not have been more sanitary and helpful.
Venus body arts in LES, 5/5 across the board. Would highly recommend for any piercing needs or information.
Shortly after I got my nose pierced, the hangover set in and I started to die slowly. It was also ridiculously hot, and in my drunken state I decided to wear some crazy short shorts, which in the humid and hot light of day were not Manhattan appropriate. Nice one Alex!
But do not think that I could just go and die in my bed, oh no! This was also the day that Babeland were shooting their music video on a roof in Clinton hill. Yep, live singing and filming by sunset. The race was well and truly on.
The funny thing about this afternoon is how organized and on time I was, despite feeling a little worse for wear, and how disorganized the normally super organized member of the band was. She was not working to any kind of times this day, and didn’t even realize it! I was actually hurrying her along, and giving her assistance in her organization. Haha. I reveled in this one instance where I happened to be the organized one, I have to make the most of these situations because they are a rarity, that’s for sure!
It was definitely a bit manic and we were all worrying we weren’t going to get the shot, but we did in the end and with a little help from our friends we absolutely nailed it! I will 100% post the video and a more in depth post about it when it’s released.
To celebrate our excellent work, we went for dinner (eventually – after about 3 hours of ADD behavior mixed with excitement) and I had the best Fish and Chips of my life! Yes, in Brooklyn… I know! We went on a little walk to a restaurant called Mayfield. The food was brilliant, and it was pretty late too, don’t think we ate until midnight, but there was none of the end of day dregs @ Mayfield.
The next day was hot and sunny, and happened to be a Saturday so everyone play in Prospect Park! I love Prospect, and may even prefer it to Central Park. It seems greener, and more for the purpose of chilling over Central Park that I never found particularly chill friendly. Another added bonus was the little league teams having games all around the park. The little guys were so small it was ridiculously cute! The groups of mischievous 5year olds provided a world of entertainment for a few hours while the group of 20 something boys in our crew were happiest playing Frisbee and reminiscing on their own little league days. Bless ❤
Our Saturday rounded off with a party – Shock horror – to celebrate a housewarming in the group. We grilled, listened to Beyonce, Babeland sang a song for the attendees and I must have laughed for about 4 hours straight. Perfect Saturday!
The last thing to talk about is my Farewell dinner, and the good old knees-up we had into the wee hours. We ate the most incredible dinner at CHIMU and I think that may have been my favourite food of my whole trip. My first taste of ceviche and I am hooked, since being back in the UK I have been on a mission to find some ceviche like this particular one, but have yet to find anywhere that trumps it as of yet!
My final words can only be
Thankyou to the Borough mansion crew and everyone at Subway Management for making my last 6 weeks in Brooklyn some of the best weeks of my life!
So much love, fun and happiness! You guys sent me back to the UK with a refreshed sense of positivity, and I cannot wait to see you all again in Sept!
So now that I am officially back to my UK life, I will be posting about the goings on of Brighton and how I am keeping myself going until my next trip. My feet get way too itchy in these parts.
I am making the most of the sunsets, my Homies and Brighton in the summer! There really is no better place in the UK to be when it is warm.
Below are some pics from the last 3 weeks of being back, and I have to say I feel extremely lucky to be able to come back to such exciting times.
I am at Love Supreme festival this weekend (YAY- bonus my mum and my sister are coming too – not to mention my BRIT School Soul sister also camping there with her mum), then Shakedown festival, then a soul weekender down in Margate with my dad and brother, and then a lovely family holiday to Menorca!
That should keep me going until I return to Brooklyn in Sept!
I am also working on new music, back at regular yoga practice, and doing well working for eBook Partnership.
I started this extremely sunny Sunday with excellent intentions of a gym session. But walked halfway there and decided I didn’t want to do that and instead I wanted to go for Brunch!
Enter Sunshine Ravegirl Sister (still me- just with my little devil pulling the strings)
On my walk back I spotted ‘Gallery Bar’ on Broadway in Brooklyn had a great deal for Brunch for 25$. I got back to my place and was the butt of some laughter when it became clear Id abandoned the gym to eat and drink instead. Oh well, YOLO and all that.
Gallery Bar has a great back patio and I managed to sit and chill in the sun there for a good few hours, and I am sure my waiter gave me unlimited mimosas for more than an hour… Ledge! I ate a very lovely omelet (didn’t take a picture- Think I may have started drinking before eating so all normal thoughts of blogging my activity went out of the window in favour of just ‘being’) and the service was excellent. Hidden gem right there!
Whilst I was occupying said patio I received a lot of Snapchats from back home as it was a bank holiday weekend so me and the girls were pretty much doing the same thing at the same time! It’s always fun to catch up with the girls and it’s at times like those that I think snapchat is one of THE best apps of recent years. Whilst being over here I’ve managed to share so much with so many people and I can keep up to date with all the goss back home. Win-win!
So after finishing my book and having a little laugh at the author naming his naughty drunken part of his ego Alexandra, I decided it was time to move on. On my walk back to the mansion I decided (stupidly) to go shopping along Broadway at some of my favourite clothes shops like VIM and 10spot. Cheap funky clothing and alcohol are a bad mix! Although I did end up with 2 pairs of YOLO flip flops…
The drinking continued on the front porch at the mansion with a variety of people, then the cops showed up for some investigation they were carrying out (long story- nothing to do with me, I wasn’t THAT bad), and that was our cue to relocate for a while. Beer Pong followed and after that it is all a bit of a blur! I do know though, I am a gold medal champion at Beer Pong after at least 3 drinks, anything before that I absolutely suck.
The moral of Sunday was that sticking to one drink is not always a good thing… when that drink is sparkling wine!
Monday (memorial day) started pretty early for me, tends to happen if I have had a heavy night on the vino the night before, I was still drunk off my ass until about 2/3pm and walking around in some crazy clothes that I decided looked good. It wasn’t until after a tactical nap that my brain returned and I decided I needed to get my life together as we were having an official memorial day weekend cook out in the backyard of the mansion!
The cookout was a roaring success with a ton of people, food and drinks! Perfect way to round off a fabulous weekend ❤