Category Archives: Case Studies

How a poem becomes a song. Lessons from the master.

The collaboration between Leonard Cohen – possibly the greatest poet of the generation and Sharon Robinson  began 35 years ago. Cohen was looking for a backing singer and Robinson was seeking a life as a songwriter, but happy to audition.

Robinson shares the mechanics of collaborating with Cohen, how a poem becomes a song. There’s a pattern. “I go to his house, we sit in the kitchen and chat, and have something to drink or eat.” Work begins with a verse or two that Cohen presents her with, on paper. Robinson reads it, they talk about melodic possibilities. Rarely, if ever, do they talk about the meaning of the words. “We both feel that the song should be self-explanatory,” Robinson says. A single song can take a year or more to emerge. Robinson takes a poem home and studies it. “I try not to ask Leonard, ‘What does this mean? What’s this about?’ We don’t really go there.” Does she try to work out meanings for him, or for her? “Probably both, and hopefully those are the same, or somewhat the same.” It’s the multitude of meanings, we agree, that gives the songs their broad resonance.

Sharon firmly resists over-intellectualisation. Too much of that and you lose the connection to “emotion and soulfulness”. “When you start with a poem, you have to figure out how to turn it into a song.” Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it has to be reworked. If she can’t find it on her own, she’ll call Cohen and ask what he sees as the chorus. In some cases, the answer is relatively clear. For “Alexandra Leaving” the last line is repeated, at the end of every third verse, so the poem was “already beautifully structured for a melody”. Invited to elaborate, she says it’s hard to explain: “there are numerous ways to skin a cat when it comes to writing a song”. Yet the structure is closely related to the number of syllables in a line, which in turn dictates the set-up of the melody. In this sense, she works backwards, from a culminating idea towards the front of the song.

She offers ideas for the melody, maybe more than one. Then she records one. “At the time, Leonard had a little boom box in his kitchen, we’d listen to it there, on a cassette.” As he listens, she can tell straight away his reaction. “He’ll just listen quietly. I can tell if he likes it, but there’ll be issues, and changes. Other times he’ll start dancing around, or something like that. There are a range of reactions. In the end, I just wait, for 10 minutes.”

“She knows how to write the music that makes Leonard look bigger.” It is no wonder that In October 2001, when Cohen released Ten New Songs, his first album for several years, Robinson had a co-writing credit on every track.

Check out a phenomenal rendition of “Alexandra Leaving” from Cohen’s 2012 tour.

This blog is a distillation of an article by Philippe Sands.  I hope this post helps some of the poets on Tallenge, and others, visibility into the collaboration process. In my next blog, I hope to go further along this creative continuum.

Do share this blog with those who you feel will enjoy reading it, or will find it useful. Thanks!

-Sasha

 

 

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Kick your way to luck

What marks the difference between just another talented person and a superstar? Effort and just that tiny bit of luck that gives one the ‘kick’ to move ahead on to the fast track.

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That seems to be the story of the newest viral sensation Havard Rugland, who is now claiming his career with the NFL alongside the success of his Youtube video ‘Kickalicious’. With a very European football style, our man has gone a long way ow

ing to the success of his video which went viral after he posted in September 2012. The video has been receiving a great response from different team managers across the US since this December.

The 27 year old kicker is now on his way to the NFL tryouts for the Jets. The video was a result of a brainstorm after his home soccer club disbanded. With two of his brothers and a friend, the video was made in five days and hit 500,000 views in its first few weeks. His journey to New York provides a blueprint of sorts for anyone looking to turn a homemade video into a global hit.

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Homemade videos of this sort exhibiting ones talent have been a rage on youtube, proving to be a lucrative chance to build a career for a whole bunch of today’s superstars. ‘Amateur is the new pro’. Everyone’s on a hunt for fresh talent and fresher faces. It’s a vicious cycle of talent drives virality which drives talent in return. So where are we today?

In a space where you don’t need to know the ins and outs of everything regarding your field of interest but can squarely go ahead and dabble with the little you know. If you’re good with your talent and if you portray it the right way, you just might be the next big superstar moving on to the race to be a global phenomenon.

Our next blog will tell you how you can jazz up your entry to make it more noticeable and memorable. Till then, keep creating for the world is full of opportunities. Or well, atleast the internet is!Come up with creative videos or images of your talent. Write up a blizzard if you love to write. Create good content that is interesting and has a touch of unique quirk that screams out your personality. And you’re good to go. That’s what we offer you on Tallenge. A chance to be a winner, who’s on the way to Fame, Fortune and Glory.

– Ayesha

Tiny Tallenger

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3 incredible podcasts shaping startup thinking, one episode at a time!

As any entrepreneur knows, the days between taking the first step of your startup journey to having your idea become a reality, swing between exhilaration and paranoia.

In the year that I have spent building Tallenge, the one thing that has educated, inspired and helped me stay on course has been the 45 minutes I spend every morning on the treadmill – listening to podcasts. And 3 of them deserve special mention:

  • Andrew Warner of Mixergy – A brilliant and inspiring podcast where successful entrepreneurs come in and share their experiences. Andrew has the uncanny ability to ask the exact questions that you are thinking of asking the guest. I must’ve listened to most of the interviews that Andrew puts out and I often step off the treadmill to jot a helpful nugget.
  • David Siteman Garland’s Rise To The Top – A badass podcast, especially for entrepreneurs in the media/Internet space. The guests are always fantastic and open up with David’s style of interviewing. I have many favorite episodes that stay on my phone even after I have heard them once.
  • Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders  Podcast – From the Stanford Technology Ventures Program puts out these brilliant podcasts for the world to learn from and get inspired. Speakers like Phil Libin (Evernote), Brad Feld (Foundry), Jack Dorsey (Twitter and Square), Mark Pincus (Zynga), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) and many rockstar entrepreneurs and founders share their thoughts, answer questions and interact with students. This is the show that put out an interview with Zuckerberg in 2005, when it was still ‘The Facebook’! This academic-sounding podcast is truly inspiring and I look forward to every new episode that Tina Seelig puts out.

I hope these talented and dedicated people know how much they are impacting the thinking and work of entrepreneurs across the world. Through this blog post I am sending out a big thank you to them!

If you haven’t, you must listen to some of these incredible podcasts. If you have, send them a shout-out of appreciation.

Do you have any favorite entrepreneurial podcast? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

-PG
Tallenger-In-Chief 

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Clicks Of The Trade

Vastness seems to be the way of today’s world; vast portals, with huge reach, large networking provisions and unlimited opportunities. Over 2.1 billion people today are connected in a gigantic network using the social media forums; which makes them the best place to display art and photography in an effective manner.

When discussing chancing upon the right opportunity using social media, eight talented young photographers working with the Legatum Foundation  come to mind. They bumped into each other on Twitter and travelled 53,000 miles to 8 countries to document the remarkable work of social entrepreneurs who have impacted about 11 million lives over the last three years, naming it Project Rise . Post-exhibition, the photographs have been used to make a photo documentary album called Rise.

Eric Lafforgue’s use of Fotopedia has been similarly commendable. After leaving the world of multimedia editing, he took up photography as a hobby in 2006 while he was in Ethiopia and put up his culturally awakening shots on Flickr and Fotopedia. Today he has a vast range of publications to his name, including National Geographic and Time Magazine and is well on his way to being an acclaimed professional photographer.

When said photography networking using social media, the Plus One Collection Magazine of February this year comes to mind. Photographs collected from more than 500 photographers using Google+. The proceeds from the sales of the book  go to an organization named Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

The pool of talent that literally lies a click away is huge. Talent doesn’t seem enough in an age where everyone owns a D-SLR until you’re focused with that camera. Photoessays are fast becoming a popular fad of most people today; which is mostly what my next post will be about.

With so much photography happening online, I’m left wondering, “How far can you click using the web?”

Would love to hear what all the talented photographers have to say about that.

– Ayesha
Tiny Tallenger

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Talent Online – Virality Drives Success

A talented performer making it big. Yeah, no surprise that. But internet virality, elevating one to the status of a phenomenon in little time, that’s what the internet has become about. We’ve heard the story more than once in recent times, and Web 2.0 has been nothing short of a boon for bringing talent to the fore.

Not so long ago, we saw the rise of pop singer, Colbie Caillat. After a couple of failed attempts on the reality TV show – American Idol she went on to upload videos of herself on MySpace, and before she knew it, she had a major fan base online.  A Universal Record contract was soon in the offing leading to a record-breaking solo career as well as collaborations with the likes of Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift.

Extending online discovery to genres like comedy, we’ve seen the likes of Brooke Brodack a.k.a Brookers who rose to stardom on the WWW with a host of online videos that popularized her. In 2005, a 20-year old Brooke began to post comic videos of herself in the name of “Brookers” and by 2006 she was the most subscribed comedian on YouTube. Her most popular video – Crazed Numa Fan!!!!, brought her instant success and soon she had her own YouTube channel with over 50 million views to her credit. Since then she has collaborated with various artists and comedians.

This successful trend of posting material online has got people making videos of themselves and uploading them by the dozen. However, talent backed with perseverance, is a must to make it big – which I shall focus on in my next post.

So go on, leave your thoughts, feedback and I’ll soon get back to you about it.

-Aparna
H’Appy Tallenger

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Discovering Talent: A Decade Of Change

Stating the obvious, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Reverbnation give talented people an amazing opportunity to showcase their work and gain access to a world of eager consumers.

A decade ago, artists with a song on their lips and a hope in their heart, would knock at the doors of talent agencies and recording labels. The executives at these agencies held all the cards – access, creative freedom, campaigns, PR, marketing, budgets and more. The artist had very little elbowroom.

All that changed with the internet becoming this extraordinary talent discovery platform. People everywhere started using virtual space to present their skills. Suddenly the internet became crucial in determining who was good and what to see. It granted artists a wide latitude to decide their content and their audience. With sufficient tools for video production, hosting platforms, and social media marketing, a person could reach out to audiences all over the word in an unprecedented manner. The talent finally was in charge of his destiny and ultimate success.

Coming a full circle, agencies and labels are now going all out to ensure they do not get left behind in tapping this talent. The YouTube video of a young boy led to him being signed up by the recording label of none other than L.A. Reid. And just like that little boy – Justin Bieber – there are numerous talents doing their thing online and are on their path to glory.  More about those in my next post.

Leave a comment if you would like me to cover an upcoming artist who you believe will be the next entertainment superstar.

-Aparna
H’Appy Tallenger

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