Sunday, September 29, 2013

Reggae Month! / "Get Free" Major Lazer ft. Amber (of Dirty Projectors)


I just got this really awesome idea for Music Daily- Reggae Month. A way to incorporate an island vibe to the music that I share with you guys. Reggae is the main type of music played here in the Caribbean and there are many different branches of this from Dance hall to Soca and Calypso and it plays a big part in the culture. I'm not extremely familiar with a lot of music in this genre considering in the USA, pop, hip-hop and dance music, not to mention country (which I don't really listen to, to be honest) are the dominant genres, however, I think that by having to dig up 31 songs to post on my blog that it might even help me to learn more about the place in which I've been living. Without further adieu, I welcome you guys to Music Daily October- Reggae Month!

Now although it's still September, I wanted to get a jump start on this reggae month with some Major Lazer. Major Lazer is a DJ group in the UK and they are AMAZING! From the moment I first heard them, I was like, "These guys are special." Most of their music is dance hall and reggae related which makes their sound extremely authentic and I love it.

This song that I'm posting today called "Get Free" is a song that is full of mojo; I always feel like I'm in a five minute trance while listening to it. The track made my Major Lazer is just really unique and smooth- pretty hard for me to describe, really. Amber, the singer of the song has a strange style to her voice that is in perfect harmony (pardon the pun) to the lyrics that the song is comprised of. Her voice isn't extremely powerful or anything like that, but she reminds me of Haley Williams from Paramore in that although their voices aren't memorable for their complex rifts and tricks that they do with their voices, they are memorable for their tones and quality. As for this song, Amber's voice is the best fit; I mean, I don't think that this song would have done the same for me if Jessie J or Beyonce stepped in and sang the song.

The lyrics are simple yet deep and that's what I love about the song. It talks about struggle and yearning for a chance to "get free" and follow your dreams. When you sit down and follow the story, you find that the song is able to resonate with you, no matter where you come from or what path of life you're on. Songs like that earn a special part in my heart because they're used to do something positive and therefore can be remembered for a lifetime whereas when you have songs like "Pop Champagne" or "Your Love is My Drug," songs that were so popular in their time, are so easily forgotten when a new line of top hits come in. Now, don't get me wrong- I loved those songs and still love to hear when they get played on the radio every three years or so (LOL), but I think we need to find a balance between catchy tracks and important lyrics like how Major Lazer and Amber have in this song.

Well, now here's the chance for you guys to hear for yourselves. Tell me what you guys think in the comments below and if you guys have any reggae or Caribbean influenced songs that you know and want me to check out, feel free to leave the title and artist below as well. Thanks guys!

Love Always <3,
Katrina Lowell

Creative Identity

Hey Readers,

A funny thought just ran through my head as I sit here in the parking lot waiting for my mother; this thought happens to be one about my creative identity as it applies to me as an artist. I like to call myself an artist in that although I can’t particularly draw well, nor can I mold anything of importance or dance or anything of the sort, but I have an appreciation and a knack for anything that has to do with language and music. The funny part is that who I've created in terms of my persona when it comes to that special part of my brain (AKA Katrina Lowell) is so different from who I actually am.

can still remember when Katrina first popped into my mind and from that day I've held her close. In a way, I've referred to every part of me that has found a way to reach outside of my bashful mind and touch others as “Katrina.”  I don’t think that’s right because after a while of believing that everything bold and beautiful (not the soap opera, but the two adjectives put together) about me belongs to Katrina, then she begins to become like another person in my eyes. In fact, at school when I write essays or compositions, I either always have a character by the name of Katrina, be it the narrator or another female character or I put that the author was Katrina Lowell and not me, although I’ll put my name at the top of the page. The funniest part is that when it’s done and I read it, it feels like a distant part of me.

During the summer I did a lot of reading- Stephen King novels in particular. Now, Stephen King is an amazing writer and all, but as a disclaimer, his material isn't for everyone, so beware. Anyhow, one of the novels that I read was called “The Dark Half.” This book was about a writer who after having a long period of non-production  due to writer’s block, decided to try writing under a pen name. These books were extremely popular when they came out and were on high demand. Through a turn of events, the author decided to come out and say that he was the real author of these books and that he would be “burying” his alter ego. Long story short, his alter ego came to life and started killing the people that he believed encouraged the author to stop using him. The story went into detail the relationship of the author and his very life-like persona.

Imagine me as an author with a pen name reading something as morbid as that book; I won’t like to you guys- I was kinda terrified. After that book I was like,” Oh okay yeah; Katrina’s gonna stay around for a while.” LOL. But in all honesty I think that the main problem is that Katrina and I need become ONE with one another. I let her be in the limelight because hiding in her shadows makes me feel safe. People that know me personally read my blog and honestly can’t believe that I’m the one behind the stuff that I write. Especially now that I’m at this new school, I've been extremely shy and quiet, hanging out and talking to very few select people of whom a majority are made up of Kenny’s friends and some others from Volleyball. I dare not tell them that I have a blog; I think only Kenny knows and I didn't even tell him the web address. I think as I merge with Katrina that I should keep to myself for a little.
I guess in the end, this post isn't quite as funny as it ironic or… how should I say it? Reflective, maybe? Yeah, maybe that’s what it is. I feel better now, LOL. I seem to always feel better after writing something. Well, I guess that’s it for now folks. Have an amazing day :).

Love Always <3,
Miss Katrina Lowell ;)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One Last Thing To Say...

Hey Readers,

So there's something I wanted to share with you- I've transferred to my dream school. After two years on this island working hard for the chance to get here, it feels amazing. It's hard to imagine that I moved here two years behind of the curriculum and within my first term making it to second in my class and then the following year first in class AND exams. I can't exactly tell you that my journey here was smooth sailing; from the time I started school over a decade ago, I had some sort of issue, be it a learning issue or a social issue and it broke me down quite a bit, but one thing that I've always been is determined. Being a victim was just never good enough for me. One thing that I have GOT to say is that my parents have been a HUGE part of why I've succeeded because when I was struggling to keep up in school, they were the ones who dedicated their time to showing me what to do and patiently helping me along. They've encouraged me from the beginning and I couldn't be anything without them.

Although I would love to sit here and talk like I'm accepting a Grammy Award, thanking everyone, I'd really like to get to the meat of my post- the last thing that I want to say, not just to and about my former school, but to all of those that I've left behind and to you guys to inspire you to always seek for bigger, better things, no matter what it is or how distant the dream seems. Well, here I go...


Two years ago I moved to this island with quite a few expectations of this new life; I applied to the school that my parents both attended, one of the two best schools here, with hopes of continuing the "legacy." After my first three weeks here, I realized that this dream wouldn't become a reality; there wasn't any room for me there and so I had to look elsewhere. I was struck with a anvil of disappointment, but I decided to make the best of my situation. When I was placed at the private school that I attended, I had high hopes. I had the naive idea that being such a small school that I would be liked by everyone; I'm American, I'm nice, I'm smart- what's not to like, right? Wrong. I wanted to do what I've always wanted to do at any school that I attended- I wanted to leave it better than it was when I came. But, I've done something better; I've left MYSELF better than I was when I first got there.

I won't sugar coat anything here- When the name "Katrina Lowell" is mentioned at that school, hatred burns in a majority of their eyes. They think I'm a pompous, arrogant, American chick with the false sense that I'm anything to the world when to them there's very little difference between me and the pile of trash that they place in their front yard to be picked up by the garbage authority to be disposed of and/or burned. I'll admit that it was hard for me to acknowledge this before, but now I'm able to see the bigger picture and it doesn't hurt so much anymore. It's funny how I can only see the pros in a con-filled situation after it passes. At any rate, here's what I've learned:

1. Being a "loner" is often more of a blessing than it is a curse- People use the term "loner" to loosely. What exactly does it mean to be alone? It simply means that those who can't understand you, don't want to understand you and/or are afraid of you for whatever reason distance themselves from you and make it evident to you that you aren't accepted in their circles and "don't belong" there. Now, think about that- is it really all that bad? Yeah, sure it does get hard when you're lonely and you see how everyone else has company of someone else, but the true secret to being happy is having at least one good friend that you can trust and who loves you for you. A lot of the time, the same people that you think have all the friends are the ones that don't have any REAL friends at all. Plus, being alone gives you a lot of time to think and become happy with who you are; you focus on what makes you happy, what makes you a better person and you focus on working towards your future which, believe it or not, won't matter if you're popular or not. So, really and truly I've learned that those who were my closest friends and still are are the people that I hold close like family, that I am a stronger, brighter, harder-working girl than I was when I first got here and that even though I thought it sucked, it has provided me with more blessings than I could have been given being little miss popular.

2. There are some things that they can't take from you- No matter how hard those people worked to bring me down, there were just some things that were a part of me that wouldn't crumble under the weight of their attacks. For instance, my brain; I won't lie to you- I did walk around like I was the spawn of Einstein, but that's just because being confident is the only way for me to move forward. Plus, after being a late bloomer and working hard enough to give me gray hairs, I think I deserve to say and do what I feel like. That's the thing that people don't realize; you can't hate me for working harder than you. I can sit here and describe in detail the structure of the nucleus without a biology book in sight- how the nucleus is surrounded by a nuclear membrane made up of two thin membranes that contain small holes known as nuclear pores and within the nuclear membrane was a jelly-like substance known as nucleoplasm that contained chromosomes that contained Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA) which contain genes which contain genetic information and all that other stuff. That, my dear friends, is just a basic example of what I can do, but you know what? I spent hours and hours, reaching hours like 4 AM and waking up at 5, just to be able to do things like that to earn me my 84% on my end of year exam. Who else wants to put that sort of dedication into their work? No one? Then if you don't, how can you look at me and hate on me when all I'm doing is what you don't have the desire to do? And the funny part lies in the fact that although they put heat on me for being a "nerd," I was the one with the 84 and they had the 41's. Besides my brain, things like the love of my family and close friends and my heart that stops at nothing to push me to fulfilling my goals are all things that they were just never able to take from me and therefore, they're really the ones that have lost in the end.

3. I am exactly who I want to be- One thing that I can most definitely say is that I have grown up so much and I am just where I want to be. Of course I've messed up along the way and I've felt defeated, but one thing that I've always been able to do is get back up when I'm down. When I first came here, I had a twisted idea of the world, and it's ironic that this "twisted" concept is that everyone is nice until given a reason to be mean. I've learned that human beings, at the end of the day, are animals that often lack reasoning and that's all that there is to it. As Ben Carson, a well known neurosurgeon and author, has said many times, we, human beings created in such a special way, are blessed with frontal lobes and need to realize that we were given them for a reason and should therefore USE them instead of operating like dogs who operate on instinct and not reasoning. I've learned the same thing and I've spent a lot of time soul searching. That's why I'm able to say that although there were a lot of things that I didn't like about my old school, those very same things shaped who I am today and help me to avoid doing things that will lead me down a negative path later in life. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Now that I'm at my new school, I feel refreshed. I've worked harder than I ever have in life to be there and I finally feel like I fit in. The smallest things, like putting on my uniform in the morning, make me happy. I finally feel proud in my uniform. I love it, no matter how ugly the big pocket on my skirt is or how masculine my black, leather shoes are. That uniform is the evidence of the journey I've traveled and I'm happy. I recently got into volleyball and I've met some amazing people along the way. My coach is a big part of why I'm there and he continues to be there for me everyday, lending an ear and helping where he can. I've also made some great friends that have helped me settle in, showing me around the school, making sure I never eat alone, introducing me to their friends and encouraging me in everything that I do; one in particular is Kody, who I just HAVE to mention because he is actually a family friend that I knew from before volleyball. On my first day of school, he waited for me in the morning, showed me to my class, introduced me to some classmates, bought my lunch for me that day and even helps me with my Spanish homework some days. I couldn't ask for a better friend and so although I highly doubt he's reading this or ever will THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH ;).

Well, I feel all out of words to say now so... I think I'm gonna go to bed and get some rest so I'm nice and fresh for school tomorrow morning (YAY!). Goodnight world.

Love Always <3,
Katrina Lowell