Alex and Ani Number 7 Charm Bracelet?? Yes, Please!!!

 

I have a new obsession. It started one restless night where the internet became my best friend. My Google search of bumblebee (I was looking for tattoo designs) brought up an Alex and Ani bracelet with a cute little bee charm. It was on sale, so I bought it. Since then, I’ve purchased a couple more bracelets.

One day I came across the number 7 design. Of course I HAD TO HAVE IT! The number 7 and I have always had a connection. Not in a typical lucky number kind of way, but Not only does it represent the name of the magazine, but the number 7 also holds a special place in my life. It’s a number that has been reoccurring in my life. I am the seventh child out of nine, I have nieces and nephews born the 7th of the month and also one of my daughters was born on the 7th. I gained more love for the number after reading the description for the bracelet on the Alex and Ani website:

Seven is a number unlike all the others. It is the most intensely spiritual, the most mystical, and the most scholarly and analytical. People who embody this number are known to be truth-seekers and information-gatherers. They often travel within to uncover inner wisdom. Natural researchers and teachers, they need silence and alone time, good books, and the peace found outdoors in nature to rejuvenate their souls. Notice and feel the spiritual workings around you, and seek the divine truth.

I’m going to end this post here, because well…. what else can I say about my connection to the number 7 that Alex and Ani didn’t cover? Not much actually. . . and so, enter the contest so that you can win this beautiful bracelet. Thanks for playing!

 

 

 

Pen Bleeds

Music is a universal language that speaks when words of the heart whisper in muted tones. Open your ears and listen to the message that translates desires of dancing souls.’

The easiest and most effective way of reaching out to people and spreading a message is through the power of music: to create harmonious sound, to tell a story through lyrics and inspire new avenues of approaching life around us.  A great song has the ability to connect with you, taking you on a roller coaster of highs and lows, providing a glimpse into the artist thoughts and emotions.  But have you ever wondered about the writing process or how the lyrics to your favorite song came to life?

Every song has a back story that serves as an inciting cause of its creation. One song that captivates my curiosity about the story behind the lyrics is the summer hit Wake me up. This gem produced  by Swedish house newcomer Avicii, and written by the talented Aloe Blacc, who supply’s the tracks soulful vocals embraces a coming of  age. The melody inspired by country blue grass roots, takes you to a place of euphoric nostalgia, creating a sense of serenity and unadulterated freedom. I imagine when Aloe Blacc wrote the lyrics to Wake me up, he rescinded to a time in his life where he was lost in the wilderness, torn between adolescence and maturity.

Think about this… when we were children the greater responsibilities of life fell on our parent’s shoulders, leaving us to roam free without a care in the world. But as we grew up and transitioned into adulthood, we discovered that the world is a cold and lonely place where only the strong survive. Making that grand leap into adult hood is challenging and scary for every young person. So if you’re not sure about your journey, it’s quite all right don’t fret. Were all feeling our way through the darkness searching for the light.

In the spirit of poetry, I’ve written an expanded triolet poem that encapsulates the back story of Avicii’s Wake me up. This is my first attempt at writing a back poem to a song that inspires me, but I think I’ve captured the bitter sweet struggle between growing older and holding on to days of our youth.

Time of Remembrance

Wake me up when it’s all over

Parents lecturing, teenage mayhem

Fear of fantasies turning sober

Wake me up when it’s all over

Count the hours life grows colder

all these memories fade to black

Wake me up when it’s all over

Parents lecturing, teenage mayhem

 

Wish I could stay forever young

 Childlike innocence roaming free

Languishing in vivid dreams unsung

Wish I could stay forever young

Bliss is ignorance on the devils tongue

red or blue pill down the hatch

Wish I could stay forever young

Childlike innocence roaming free

© Seven Magazine

Songs From Our Hearts

We all have that special song that means a little more to us than other songs. This issue of Seven we want to share a little bit of or hearts with you and reveal one of those special songs to you.

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“Frail” by Jars of Clay

Convinced of my deception
I’ve always been a fool I fear this love reaction Just like you said I would

A rose could never lie
About the love it brings
And I could never promise
To be any of those things

[Chorus:]

If I was not so weak
If I was not so cold
If I was not so scared of being broken
Growing old
I would be…
I would be…
I would be…

Blessed are the shallow
Depth they’ll never find
Seemed to be some comfort
In rooms I try to hide

Exposed beyond the shadows
You take the cup from me
Your dirt removes my blindness
Your pain becomes my peace

[Chorus]

…frail

————-

Frail by Jars of Clay is one of my biggest go to songs when I’m in a slump. When I’m feeling depressed or morose this song calms me and helps me get out of my mood. There’s something about the rhythm that is so soothing. The slow beat, the melodic and entrancing singing… it just does something for me. It brings home the point that I’m my own worst enemy and that I tend to stand in my own way. I absolutely love this song and have since I first heard it in my teens.

CotyPoynterartist: Volcano Choir
song: Alaskan

last time I saw you
you has me housed up on your red red rum
stranded in the housing
of our moving house and…

we were gonna hit every port
and every Cape Town
we were gonna give a full report, of sorts
to your mother up in Kano and her new cohort

damn!
can’t believe your father left his land
the creed
to cry;
rely, rely, rely, rely
behave, behave, behave, behave…
spend all of that time not wanting to

climbed up your carpet
there’s a car pit in our minds were in
shameless and humming
like a violent strumming

we were gonna hit every mark, in stark
but the sutra didn’t suit ya that long day in the park
I’m talking about it
talking real love
I wanna re-up
on that love

damn
can’t believe you left me on the lam
to be seen
to be scribed
I’ll tell you now tha’you
rely, rely, rely, rely
behave, behave, behave, behave
spend all of that time not wanting to

rely, rely, rely, rely
behave, behave, behave, behave
decide, decide, decide, decide

repave, repave, repave, repave

(can’t believe you hardly understand)

inside, inside, inside,
the lathe, the lathe, the lathe

lover won’t you talk to me about the long red war

——

This song hits me for it’s flow and poetics. It’s idea of love an how we all want it in some form. How we can be abandoned by those who aren’t family, how love expires. It touches on many aspects of love, in opinion, which is why I’m fond of it lyrically. Listening to the song, it’s almost sickeningly beautiful. The end is very appropriate for the context of the song, which is a portion from an interview with Bukowski, when he read a poem about his first wife who died of cancer then weeps over her.

KimmyJaheim- Everywhere I Am

I hear you voice inside my head, everywhere Oh, yeah, clear  as day inside my head everywhere

It’s killing me softly with every heartbeat Thinking you  can’t see How your son’s living (Hey, Mama)

Is there an address up in heaven? I feel like dropping you  this letter But it will be ‘Return to sender’

How I wish I could bring you home Flowers on tombstones Lets me know it’s been too long Since I’ve been in those arms (Yours  Mama)

It’s getting colder every winter I can’t take the heat in  summer Can’t hardly deal with all this drama but

(Just when) I’m inches away from losing my mind (That’s  when) I swear sometimes

(I hear your voice inside my head) And it feels like  you’re (Everywhere) Everywhere (Everywhere I am)

Just when (Just when) The walls are closing in on my  world (That’s when) I see my favorite girl

(Clear as day inside my head) And it’s obvious you’re (Everywhere) Everywhere (Everywhere I am)

Was that you saying, just keep on praying You’ll see the  day when it’ll be worth the waiting (Hey, mama)

I think I’ve received your message Think how I’m receiving  blessings Finally got the platinum record

Did you see me on Soul Train? Dedicated the whole thing To your memory just hoping You’re out there and knowing (Yeah,  mama)

You were floating on stage with me Someone said they saw me  glistening Gotta let you know I’m listening to you

Just when (Just when) It’s the most important time of  my life (That’s when) That’s when I swear sometimes

(I hear your voice inside my head) And it feels like  you’re (Everywhere) You’re everywhere (Everywhere I am) Everywhere I am

(Just when) Just when the heavens open up on the world (That’s when) I see my favorite girl, Julie

(Clear as day inside my head) It’s so obvious you’re  everywhere You’re everywhere (Everywhere I am) Everywhere I am

If God is in the spirit world talking to my heart Then for  an angel I know it can’t be hard You are my guardian and I know You’re  still playing your part (I know you are)

Just on the other side but always in my life No need to  just believe, smile, I know you’re here with me And I’m reaching out my hand  and to the promise land To feel your presence when I need strength

Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (I know that you’re  watching) Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (I know that you’re watching  over us, yeah)

Everywhere I am, everywhere I am Everywhere I am (Mama,  I know, yeah, yeah)

Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (Where I am) (You’re  watching me) Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (Where I am) (I can  feel it in my soul)

Everywhere (Where I am) (Everywhere) Everywhere (Where I am) (Everywhere, yeah)

Everywhere that I am (Where I am) (I know you’re there,  yeah, yeah)

Just when (Just when I’m inches away from losing my  mind) That’s when (I hear your)

I hear a voice inside my head (I hear your voice) Everywhere, everywhere I am (Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie I love you,  Julie we miss you)

Just when (Julie we still got love for you, baby) That’s when (Just, just, just when I hear your voice)

Clear as day inside my head (I really don’t know what to  do) Everywhere (Sometimes I just put)

Everywhere I am (Oh, I put my hands up)

I’ll give it all up for ya mama Just when I go back to  church All your friends are talkin’ ’bout ya’ Talkin’ about how much I  look just like you

——–

When my mother passed many years ago, the hardest part for me was accepting that she wouldn’t be present to celebrate the many milestones I would accomplish throughout my adult life. For anyone who has lost a loved one, the challenge in dealing with the loss is constructively processing the emotions associated with it. Listening to music happens to be a form of therapy for me; it helps to relieve the symptoms associated with the aches and pangs of life. During those melancholy moments of sadness when I feel the need to be close to my mother, I’ll turn on my cd player and tune in to Jaheim’s Everywhere I Am. It’s a beautiful song that reminds me that no matter where I am in the world, I know my guardian angel is always with me.

What songs mean the absolute world to you and reach you in a way that no other song does?

© Seven Magazine

A Meeting In A Cyber Cafe

    Ruut: Interview and Album Review

ruut_1One of four daughters to classical musician parents, Ruut was born in Finland, and wrote her first song when she learned to play the piano at age 7. Ruut grew up living and traveling in Europe, until moving to the States at age 16.

Her various musical influences (including classical, gospel, jazz, Broadway, songwriters such as Carole King, Paul Simon, Elton John, and Tori Amos) shaped her piano-based story-telling approach to her own artistry.

Q: When did you know music is what you wanted to have in your life?

A: It sort of chose me. I started writing songs when I learned to play the piano at age 7, and I never stopped. But I made the decision to pursue it as a career in my early twenties, when I got offered a record deal.

Q: I see. Well it’s no surprise you were offered one. Your newest album, “Glimpse,” is very powerful. Rich and heartfelt, sometimes you can even sense a bit of pain within the lyrics. What was the inspiration behind it, if you don’t mind me asking?

A: Some big life changes prompted me to dig deeper than I ever had as a songwriter. We had just watched my Mother-in-law lose her battle against cancer, and soon after that I gave birth to my second daughter. I had also been away from the music scene for a few years, so Glimpse was the accumulation of every song I hadn’t written in that time.

Q: So you’ve been through a good bit from last album until now. Would you say you’ve embrace the events, good or bad, that happen in life?

A:Yes, for sure, though I feel like I have to keep relearning this lesson. When shit hits the fan, I don’t exactly say, “Awesome! Can’t wait to feel the pain and write another great song!” but it does seem that the good ones come out of the really dark times. I’ve paid a price for my best songs.

Q: So tell me, how was the journey to now for you? How has it shaped your musical style?

A: I’ve gone through many transformations as an artist in that time, from being signed to a Christian label, making a couple pop and dance albums and finally settling into being the songwriter I am today. I have no regrets in trying my hand in different projects. If anything, I got an education in the music industry. But when I have moments of self-doubt, I listen to Glimpse, my new album, from beginning to end. Its rawness, honesty, and simplicity center me every time and always provide the inspiration for me to move forward. This is something I’ve never been able to say about my own music. And that’s so much more than simply finding my own musical style. It feels like a new beginning.

Q: It’s certainly a amazing start to this new beginning. I have to ask, what, in your opinion, sets you apart from the rest?

A: That’s an excellent question I often ponder myself. It’s impossible not to feel intimidated by the sea of musicians out there – every minute someone writes a new song. So, I try to be great and really push myself to make the songs better. I edit my writing, and practice a lot. Also, the life I’ve lived and where I’ve been all makes me the artist I am, with a unique story and point of view. But, most importantly, I strive to be relevant and timeless as a songwriter, meaning, there will always be a need for songs that inspire, challenge, and unite us. I really believe that when we graduate from just sorting out our own lives to inspiring others, we start to stand out as artists. That’s when we begin to make our mark.

Q: That was beautifully true. Nobody ever knows when that it going to happen, but when it does, you just know. Thank you for that. So to wrap things up, what would be your advice to other singer/songwriters trying to make it?

A: Everyone’s journey is so unique, but I’ve found that the songs that I’ve written from the deepest place are always the ones people resonate with the most.

So I guess my advice would be to be honest, don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing, and your originality and emotional depth will set you apart from the rest.

Album review:

ruut glimpse

This is my first album review I have written, but I assure you, regardless of what justice or injustice I do the album through my words, you will not be disappointed with Ruut’s newest ‘Glimpse.’ I am a rookie writing for a seeming veteran in the music industry. Such talent I have to the honor to meet. It’s a funny sort of thing. You take a trip with some friends to the local reservoir and you never know who exactly you’re going to meet. Such is the story when the first time I met Ruut. A beautifully sweet woman who has passion burning in her eyes. We exchanged names, as strangers do, then parted ways. I approached her later down the road to see if she would be interested in doing an interview, for at the time an August issue, of Seven and she agreed. The August issue was passed by. She
continued to keep in touch with me despite the let down. Instead of disappointment, she was enthusiastic at the opinion of me personally writing a review for her, so here I am. My first album review on such a spectacular album. I feel honored.

The album, Glimpse, starts with her song aptly titled ‘Glimpse.’ It carries a richness in the harmonies and a tenderness in the vocals. The song evokes a lucidity within the listener that makes you just want to lean back and close your eyes to recall the memories of the times you almost had something good. It is a song with heart, with pain, with passion. Relatable, powerful, it’s the appropriate opener. This one will hook you and drag you along for the ride. At the same time, this is one of the standouts on the album for its lyrics and its tone that the instrumental portion sets. This song encompasses what the rest of the album is about in its own way.

The album continues its very lyrically heavy trend throughout, but Ruut doesn’t sacrifice her ability as a musician during the album. She makes pleasant exchanges between songs, jumping from the dreamscape of “Glimpse” to the popish “Make It Good” then leading it to a gentle piano accompaniment of “Unbeatable.” Another powerhouse of a song. It doesn’t give you the same emotion as in “Glimpse,” but it shows off Ruut’s maturity as an artist. She admits that there are rough patches, there is pain when growing, but even if things seem too hard, stay the course.

With the beautiful richness that comes with this album, it is hard to deny the fact that a mother of two has created this. Although she has had albums in the past, this is the one to put her one the map. This is a stunning, powerful, tear-jerking tale of her time off from music; of her struggles. It was created for her husband, for her children, for her mother-in-law, for those who are unsure of their futures. The motherly lyrics comfort and show through in the most subtle of ways. Ruut has surpassed, in my opinion, many mainstream female artist who are producing music today with her truthfulness, with her rawness, with her punch-in-the-guts lyrics. She touches base on the human condition, both our flaws and our excellencies, in a way that is seen rarely few and between. If you have yet to listen to ‘Glimpse’ then you are sorely missing out, my friend.

For more information about this artist and her latest album, check out http://www.ruutmusic.com

© Seven Magazine

Power to the People

Rick-RossMusic has always been used as a means of expression. It inspires and motivates. Yet with lists such as this one named 20 Most Controversial Songs of All Time we see that music can also be crude and offensive.

Recently in the rap music world there was an uproar on lyrics that were said to be offensive. This song happened to be Rick Ross’ verse in Rocko’s U.O.E.N.O. The verse in question is “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Lyrics like this clearly depicting rape sparked raged a huge back lash for one of today’s most popular rappers. That being said, music has always been a source of controversy. I do not at all condone Ross’ lyrics but when music is constantly used to criticize culture, demean women, glorify crime- among other things, when is the line drawn and how far is too far?

The thing is that I don’t know that there is a right or wrong answer to this question. While for some a song may be entirely offensive, it could be poetic or relatable to another. Sort of in the way that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are songs like Killing In the Name by Rage Against The Machine and Fuck The Police by N.W.A. that take a look at our government, our flaws and expose them to the world. Songs that are the cause of controversy and despite how crude some songs can be, they tend to be effective in their execution. These songs are songs that are infamous for their meaning- Killing In the Name was written in retaliation to the Rodney King beating and Fuck the Police an expression of racial profiling and racism. Messages, that as controversial as they may be have been, have captured the voice of the times.

PowerToThePeople-Logo

We do not share the same beliefs or cultures or opinions. Therefore we won’t all agree on when music takes things too far. In truth I believe that we need to protest the things that we don’t agree with. Continuing my example of Rick Ross, the line highlighted above was the cause of so much backlash that Ross was forced to apologize for the line. Not all artists have the same motivations for creating controversial songs. Some do it because they believe in their message and others for the sake of publicity. After all, in such industries it is said that no publicity is bad publicity. However, regardless of any notions or messages we, the public and the fans, can make or break a musicians career. We are the ones who buy the albums, request them on the radio and attend the concerts. We are their bread and butter and if we choose to stand against them because of the message they are portraying in their music, as do our friends and family, it is the ultimate backlash. One lost fan in the scope of things is pretty insignificant but a lost fan who has something to say about an artist and makes their message be heard can be a devastating blow.

Music is a means of expression- It inspires and motivates. Yet music can also be crude and offensive. Ultimately we as individuals must decide when music goes too far. We must decide what are boundaries are and ensure that we do not condone or promote those artists/songs that we consider disrespectful. We must take a stand as a society and draw our own lines because we have the power to stand up for what we believe in and the power to make a difference.

Anyone Can Write

What is the difference between writing lyrics for a song, poetry, and stories?
Joseph
Photo: Cara Hunter Viera
Well, each art form takes a different approach and certain techniques although I truly believe the best, in all three categories, are the pieces that come from experience and emotion.
Dreamcast Mcfly – Miami
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
mark
The difference between all three, in my opinion, is simply this. Writing stories are like putting events and memories together to let you know about what happened in that event. Lyrics are similar but actually put together with music, and poetry, which is the best one, is more of a descriptive and heart-felt set of lyrics just without the music. Trust me its amazing once you really get into it!
Mark- Miami
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(no photo provided)

“For me, the difference is as follows:The connection you are trying to elicit from your audience, and how you want them to interpret them to interpret, remember, and digest.”

Wendi- Detroit
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
dave
Lyrics for a song goes with the rhythm of the beat. As for poetry you don’t need the beat, you just need the rhythm of your heart.
David- Miami

Is Affirmative Action Crucial to America?

Has America progressed into a diverse nation where certain laws forbidding discrimination are no longer necessary?  With a two- term African American president at the helm of the country, some citizens believe we have overcome our negative past, prejudices, and preconceived notions in regards to our differences.

I don’t dispute facts, as a diverse nation, we have made great strides in bridging the race and equality gap. Many impoverished minorities manage to emerge through cracks of inner city concrete jungles to rise above poverty, deprivation, and less than desirable socioeconomic conditions. Those success stories are few and far in between, accounting for a small percentage of the minority population, who escape an all too familiar cycle of hell to arrive at the promise land of prosperity. What about their brethren? Still, there are large quantities of minorities who are marginalized because of ill social circumstances, partly due to a system of classism and race discrimination which currently exists in this country. To make a claim that we have achieved such heights where racism is obsolete is utterly absurd. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the 60’s, thanks to President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Affirmative Action and the Civil Rights Act were created to balance the playing field, diversify, and repair a broken system in which African Americans were widely discriminated against. Legislation created during this era helped pave the way for minorities to receive fair and equal access to employment, career advancement, voting rights, education and federal programs predominantly restricted to whites despite race, creed, color, gender, or national origin. No doubt their agendas were a step in the right direction, but what happens when right wing conservative organizations target racial equality as an attempt to destroy progress made during the civil rights movement?

reverse-racism

– Photo Credit: www.taboojive.com

Case in point, last week the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas which challenges the use of affirmative action in admissions. The petitioner Abigail Fisher, a white woman sued the university over their admissions policy. Ms. Fisher, backed by special interest groups and private donors (The Project on Fair Representation) states she’s a victim of said policies, citing reverse discrimination.

It’s true, affirmative action is used in most public and private institutions admissions process as a means of diversifying their student body, but it isn’t the primary provision that determines admittance.The university automatically admits students in the top ten percent of his or her class, then factors in race and other circumstances. Pro Publica published an article which looks at the conditions she faced when she applied to the university and the reason her application was denied. According to their research, Ms. Fisher didn’t possess the potential and academic prowess to meet the university’s standards. And race didn’t play a major part in her denial. Perhaps, had she been ambitious enough to achieve high academic marks, she would’ve been included in the top ten percent of her academic class, having no problems being admitted to the university of her preference.

In a 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court sustained the current affirmative action legislation, but in fairness redirected the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for further review. The lower appellate court was given orders to thoroughly scrutinize the university’s use of race in admissions, assuring they considered all other options before focusing on race. I applaud the high court for practicing sound judgment by standing in support of institutions of higher learning, and their responsible incorporation of affirmative action in the architecture of admissions as a means to create a diverse student body. What this means is previous advancements made in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), a case which permitted the use of race as a tool to variegate college campuses remains unchanged. The court’s ruling ultimately proved that Ms. Fisher’s legal team failed to demonstrate she was victimized by affirmative action in the admissions process.

equality-bill1

-Photo Credit: http://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk

The question remains, when will issues involving race and equality be passé in America? Culturally, intolerance has become a part of the American experience. The depths and effects of bigotry run deep, and without healing, hatred taught by our ancestors becomes transgenerational.  Perhaps, one day, the use of affirmative action policies to keep the scales of equality balanced won’t be needed. But the likely hood of that occurring is slim to none. Until we address the issues that prohibit us from moving forward as a progressive race of people, the fight for justice and equality will continue.