Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Radio and Ann Romney

From Johnny J at Cumulus I learned all about writing commercials.

I wrote spec commercials for salespeople to pitch to prospective clients. I wrote commercials that were recorded and aired--after Johnny looked them over and gave me pointers! I learned to put the hook at the beginning, not the end. Also to make every word count. Brevity and clarity are of most importance when information is being squeezed into 15-, 30-, and 60-second commercials.

And of course, the beauty of a really great commercial is to make it seem like you aren't jamming all the information into that tiny spot!

Speaking of..uh hum...speaking...I watched Ann Romney's speech tonight at the Republican National Convention and I was truly impressed with her eloquence and unabashed honesty.

I am not a crier. I probably cry, at most, twenty times during the calendar year. I just don't cry. But when I heard Ann Romney talk about how important women are to our country, to husbands, to children, in their jobs, and to their communities, I cried. I haven't heard a woman speak so simply yet powerfully about the incredible influence women have and that they do not expect life to be easy.

I love to see powerful women who are real. To me, real means they have problems that they work through. They love their families. They love their husbands. They love to work hard. They love to give. They sacrifice. They go without. They are daughters. They are wives. They are mothers. They are grandmothers.

Basically, Ann Romney reminds me of my own mom. And frankly, I think everyone who heard her speech could think the very same thing and feel gratitude for a mom who loved them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saying Goodbye...

So what does it mean when I wake up and wish my alarm were going off, telling me I had to get up at 5:50 AM to go to work? It means I miss my internship with Cumulus! (Check out more pictures on Facebook!)

Erik, my brother, and I absolutely LOVED interning at Cumulus! Last year we interned during the summer and returned again!

I thoroughly enjoyed being on-air daily with Chris Farber on Y105! I learned how to prep news for the Hollywood Scoop, Music Minute, and Weird News. Then Chris gave me my very own spot: Olympic Moments!

During the Olympics I scoured the news (and, of course, watched the Olympics) for not only results but also noteworthy human interest stories revolving around the Olympics. The first week had a lot of Michael Phelps...the second week a lot of Usain Bolt! But I learned to sift through the mounds of information I had collected and compile it into a 3-minute informative yet interesting daily piece.

After the Olympics ended, I thought my spot would end, too. But it continued as Back to School Tidbits. This spot was a real challenge for me! How many different items of Back to School news could there really be to talk about?

My first spot was easy: Back to School shopping. Then Back to School anxiety the next day. I wasn't sure where to go next.

Fortunately, the ideas started coming. I talked about Back to School for senior citizens, safety tips for college students, communication ideas for parents and new college students, communication ideas for parents and k-12 students, reducing Monday morning stress by having a homework plan for the weekend and packing backpacks Sunday night. I loved finding new and fun ways to talk about one subject: Back to School!

I learned a lot of other things from Chris, too! Will tell you about them tomorrow, as well as what I learned from everyone else at the station!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Birthday, Voice Tracking, Internship

Today is my brother, Erik's, birthday! He is 24. We celebrated by mixing I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm on our upcoming Christmas album Jazzy Christmas To You II! (Check out Jazzy Christmas To You! on iTunes.) We also voice tracked O Come, O Come Emmanuel and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night yesterday!

Okay, so maybe that wasn't actually part of the festivities...but we did have a fun breakfast of German Pancakes (an oven soufflĂ© dish, click here for a recipe that's similar to ours), presents (of course), Dairy Queen ice cream cake (a Chaston tradition), birthday signs all over the house recounting his accomplishments and activities during the previous year, game playing, and movie watching. All in all, a pretty sweet birthday!  (We had Happy Joe's Taco Pizza yesterday to kick off the day's celebration!)

A highlight birthday present for Erik was an orange label LP first edition release of Chicago's first album when they called themselves Chicago Transit Authority--a title that the CTA required them to discontinue using, hence the band name simply being Chicago!

I only have two days left of my internship at Y105. I am really going to miss being on-air with Chris Farber on the Y105 Wake-Up! I have absolutely loved interning with Cumulus again (I interned last summer, too)!

After doing the "Olympic Moment" during the Olympics on the morning show, I started doing a "Back-to-School Tidbit." I love researching for the spot! Tomorrow, I'm going to talk about safety tips for college students and their parents. Tune in at 9:50 a.m. CST on Y105.

More tomorrow!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Moving Forward with a New Logo!

I am so excited to unveil the new logo for Jillaine Records! I can't divulge anything about it yet...it is still in the development stages. But trust me, it is sweet!

A simple overview would be that it is sleeker, more streamlined, and fits my evolving look. No, I'm not suddenly going "punk rocker" or "pop diva," just more indicative of where I am and who I am.

Also, look for a redesigned, more complete "brand" look to my website and associated sites in the coming months. Not that anything is wrong with my site the way it is, I just feel like it is time to move forward on several parts and pages.

I LOVE looking forward. It allows me to look back and see how far I've come. I suppose if I were to dwell on what's ahead, I could feel overwhelmed. But really, that's silly and would only cause me to feel some things are impossible, instead of soon-to-be accomplished with just a bit more to do!

Besides, who of us is ever really finished with anything in life? Circumstances and opportunities are always changing and hopefully, we are progressing in our changes--always for the better, hopefully!

So on to a great August full of redesign and new music!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Family Jam!

I had a blast tonight in a family jam session with my Uncle John and Aunt Linda!

We sang classics like "I'm a Believer," "The Twist," and a more recent favorite "That Thing You Do." I love singing those songs! I may only be 25, but I grew up on those songs.

Ever since I can recall, when Uncle John and Aunt Linda came to visit, we always sang around the piano--Linda doing the playing--with someone playing guitar--usually John.  Their kids all grew up having jam sessions at home so they just brought the fun when they visited my family! They also sang a duet that is a medley of favorite songs. They have such a mellow sound. They sing so tenderly, too!

Another great part of their visit resulted in Linda sewing instrument dust covers! Frankly, I think she can sew just about anything.

No visit is complete unless we stop in at the Discovery Shop Cancer Society to find great buys on new or gently used clothes! And it was the yearly 50% off sale today!

We introduced Linda to Savvy Scavengers, my favorite boutique here in Dubuque! She found an incredible silver and purple necklace plus some superb looking jeans!

Tomorrow I will tell you about the great meals we have been making. There are so many spices, vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, etc. that promote heart health!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Michael Phelps...How Can He Retire?

I just don't think I can think of the summer olympics without Michael Phelps. I can't remember much before the 2004 Athens Olympics. Okay, I do actually remember the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

But even then, Michael Phelps WAS actually in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Australian Ian Thorpe was the man of the hour then, but now it's all about Michael Phelps!

So after 18 Olympic gold medals where does he go from there? Does he become a sportscaster? Does he coach? Does he become a motivational speaker?

I guess no one, maybe not even Phelps himself, knows what is next.

But, face it. Amazing athlete. Amazing Olympics so far!

And "The Moment" played on Y105 this morning! Hooray!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

NEW review of "Scars on My Heart"

A new review of my 2011 sophomore album "Scars on My Heart" just published on www.merryandbright.blogspot.com!

Here's part of the review:

The album closes with, in my opinion, the two strongest performances.  On "This Time" Jillaine explores her range, strategically incorporating the lows into the higher-register themes, with superb results.  Craig Alder is stunning on guitar and bass.

"Doubts R&B" is an extended reworking of "Doubts" from earlier in the album.  It goes back to basics - vocals and piano - with simply perfect results, and gets my vote for the best performance on the album.  It is a shining moment in all aspects - vocal and instrumental performance (Craig Alder returns on piano), lyrics, and arrangement.  Love, love, love it.  It is a great way to bring the album to a close - the listener is left wanting more.

On a side note, things have been a bit hectic! My dad had a heart stent put in on Tuesday and we are all adjusting to eating heart healthy meals! I think we eat healthy but heart healthy requires a lot more understanding and a little more preparation time sometimes. We are all supporting his efforts to being heart healthy! I will share some great recipes we are discovering. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Love Song? You Bet!

So I'm known for my angry, confrontational, "you-don't-love-me," "you-are-a-jerk" original songs. People who know me personally are often shocked I write so many of these songs because I am very happy, well-adjusted, and cheerful.

I have performed and recorded covers of many love songs, but I've never written one. Frankly, I have tried REALLY hard to write a love song, but never could get words to work out the way I liked. That changed a few months ago...NOT because I am dating someone I love!

I've never had to deliver a song on a topic before, but a last semester class required I do just that. Plus, I was assigned a co-writer, Justin Jensen. Musically, our styles complimented each other and we were able to knock out a beautiful love song, "The Moment," which just landed on iTunes today. It's a duet and features Justin on voice and piano.

My next point. I learned I could write on demand with the right co-writer.  This is liberating because I have overcome the "I-can-only-write-songs-about-what-I'm-feeling-right-now" writer's block.

So who knows? Now that I've made this break-through, it may even spill over into my cover art, which has never shown me smiling on the four albums and two singles I have released thus far. Maybe you'll see a demure grin on the next cover!  Maybe!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review of "You Really Meant It!"

A new review of my 2009 debut album "You Really Meant It" just published on www.merryandbright.blogspot.com!

Here's part of the review:

Jillaine is an independent vocal artist possessing a powerful, steamy, sultry voice that leaps out at you from the first few bars of her debut album, the 2009 release "You Really Meant It".  She does not have a sound similar to the greats - Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holliday - nor the contemporary stars of jazz like Roberta Gambarini, Sophie Milman, or Jane Monheit.  Jillaine has a voice and style all her own, and it's good stuff, cats, good stuff.

Stay tuned for more updates! I have an exciting announcement tomorrow!