ItsNotYouItsMe Blog: 2019-02-24

Saturday, March 2, 2019

MMSCENE STYLE STORIES: In the Blizzard We Dreamed by Valerie Yuwen Hsieh

"Osman at AMCK Models and Jack at Named Models team up for In the Blizzard We Dreamed story captured exclusively for MMSCENE STYLE STORIES by fashion photographer Valerie Yuwen Hsieh. Beauty is work of hair stylist Kisa Yamada, and makeup artist Miranda Baron.

In charge of styling was Yiota Dendrinou, who for the session selected pieces from Maison Kitsune, Ka Wa Key, Scotch & Soda, Red Wing, Daniel W. Fletcher, Weekday, R.M.Williams, Wood Wood, Ullac, Lianne Trowbridge, Clarks Originals, Rains, Staffonly, American Apparel, Remus Uomo, Adam Jones, Gloverall, K-Way, YMC, Danshan, Junli, and Filippa K. Photography assistance by Alex Sutherland.

Discover more of the story below:" -

Friday, March 1, 2019

It's One Of Our Most Favorite Faces On TV & Streaming ServicesEverywhere, Coming To A Concert Near You! It's The One and Only Annie Murphy From Schitt's Creek

It's one of our most favorite faces on TV & streaming services everywhere. Coming to a concert near you! It's the one and only Annie Murphy from the beloved and super duper hilarious show Schitt's Creek. That's right carebears, Annie has electrified us in all her pop glory. Our Schitt's Creek hearts are palpitating. The sitcom starlet turned pop kitten uses her ex-socialite mutant powers to showcase and channel her inner Paris Hilton and Amber Rose.

It is said that the latest episode of the show, explores Alexis' coming of age. She not only was a star of a previous reality show, but she also skipped into the musique studio one day to record its theme song for it!

Once the beat drops it's all over from there. Forget the title of the tune, "A Little Bit Alexis," cause we want a whole lot more of Alexis. The tune is inspired and influenced by the 2000's bubblegum pop era that we all know and adore.

Annie Murphy's ex-richie rich character Alexis Rose soars even higher on our love radar since unleashing this latest series motif. Now in its fifth season, Annie says publicly the following about the brand new spankin' song: "I had such a blast writing these lyrics. We went through all of Paris Hilton's stuff and Lindsay Lohan's stuff. We wanted it to be spoofy, but we also very selfishly wanted to write a banger. Britney Spears was another inspiration, both for the choreography. Alexis dusts off as she auditions for the town musical and for the lyrics, delivered with an appropriate amount of Auto-Tune."

The creator of the funny series, Dan Levy, who also happens to portray Alexis' brother, known as David, also divulged the following in a press release: "The short-lived career as a reality-show celeb was one of the first character notes I had for her. While working on the episode, I immediately thought back to that reality show and wondered, ‘What if it had a theme song?’”

There you have it love muffins. The rest is TV magic in the making. Without further ado carebears, dig out the latest ItsNotYouItsMe feature with actress Annie Murphy in her inimitable role as Alexis and the poptastic jam "'A Little Bit Alexis"!

Pss, on a sidenote snickerdoodles, Annie also chit-chatted with Billboard in an interview spilling all the intriguing tea you'll wanna read about featured below.

What inspired you to take this on?

When we had the table-read for the episode, it basically just said, "Alexis performs 'A Little Bit Alexis,'" and after we read that script, I immediately ran to Dan and begged him to take a shot at writing it. He very graciously kind of patted me on the head and was like, "Okay, give it a shot."

What was the creative process like after that?

My husband [Menno Versteeg] is in a band called Hollerado, and I took it to him and our other buddy [Nixon Boyd] who's a producer and in the band with my husband. We just hunkered down for a couple of days in Nixon's studio and this strange thing was birthed. [Laughs] We really wanted to slowly drive people insane while forcing them to dance. So we just tried to saturate the song with as much pop-y, trippy stuff as possible. I had such a blast writing these lyrics. Britney was pretty heavy on my brain. We went through all of Paris Hilton's stuff and Lindsay Lohan's stuff. We wanted it to be spoofy, but we also very selfishly wanted to write a banger -- an early-2000s banger that people would actually like.

Was it difficult to write at all? Have you written any songs prior to this?

I wrote most of the lyrics, but then when it came to actually making the music and doing the technical side of things -- I know absolutely nothing about that. So [Menno and Nixon] were my easy access. They really know what they're doing, and they're two of my best buds, so it just made sense to go to them for help. I did a web series years ago where I helped write a kind of a spoof called "Young Love." But no, this is definitely not usually in my wheelhouse. There was very little pressure, because if I did a terrible job, I could just be like, "What, I'm not a musician, I don't know why you let me do this!" [Laughs]

How long did it take to make it?

We got the bare bones of it done in a day, and then I went in for another day and re-recorded the lyrics and just polished everything. Then it took Nixon a week and a bit to mix everything and really put all of the bells and whistles on it. So I didn't work that hard on it at all. [Laughs]

In the lyrics, you included Alexis’ iconic catchphrase: "Ew, David!" Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to do that?

No, and actually that was the second day I went in -- there was that build-up [in the song], and I was standing in the vocal booth like, "Oh, man we need something." And then, all of a sudden, I don't remember if it was Nixon or Menno, but someone was like, "Is it too on-the-nose for an 'Ew, David'?" And I'm like, "That's obviously exactly what we needed there!" It just rounds the song out in a very annoying, perfect way.

The scene where Alexis performs it is so funny -- what was it like filming it?

I wanted to do my own choreography, and really I have to hand it to Dan for trusting me with this. And this is not giving Britney the compliments she deserves, but I did try to borrow a little bit from her when I stumbled through that choreography as Alexis. A little bit of "I'm a Slave 4 U," a little bit of "Work Bitch." On set, no one had seen the choreography before, and I think only Dan and the director had actually heard the song. So I was really performing it for everyone for the first time. There were some real loud cackles going on, so I was encouraged by that. You have to shoot from different angles all the time, so I ended up doing it like eight or ten times in front of everybody. I really could've done it all day long, it was such a fun thing to shoot.

Do you think there will be an accompanying video at all in the future?

I would love nothing more than that. But I think it would have to have, like, a $20 million dollar budget, 'cause we'd have to shoot at all locations around the world. We'd have to hire the most beautiful, talented dancers. We'd have to get the craziest costumes -- or just set up a green-screen and hack it out for $150 bucks. [Laughs] I think that's definitely the route we'd go.

Will Alexis debut more music in Schitt's Creek future?

I don't know, that is a Dan Levy question. But I would not say no. I would not turn down the opportunity to butcher another song.

Fans of the show on Twitter are loving the song. How do you feel about the reactions so far?

Loving it! In Canada people were tweeting at me this morning like, "I hate you so much, I woke up with this in my head, and I know it's gonna be in my head all day." People have added it to their workout playlists. The tweets keep rolling in, so I'm thrilled that it has gone over well so far. I hope people stay on the side of sanity, because once it gets into your head, it doesn't wanna go.

How do you feel about the song getting released on streaming services?

It feels strange, 'cause it makes it so much more professional-feeling. And as I said, I am no musician, but I'm still glad that it's out there. And I just have a dream one day of dancing in Ibiza to "A Little Bit Alexis." That's my long-term goal. I gotta get Calvin Harris on this or Diplo or deadmau5. Any and all of those talented people are free to have their way with this song.

You did joke on Twitter that you wrote this for Alexis Bledel in 2005.

[Laughs] That was a tweet from Rupinder Gill, who's one of the writers on the show. But Alexis Bledel is also more than welcome to have her way with this song if she so chooses. It's open -- it's fair game for anyone who wants to take a stab at it." -

The Number Ones: The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There”

According to one of our musical sources...

The Staple Singers – “I’ll Take You There”

HIT #1: June 3, 1972

STAYED AT #1: 1 week

Does a religious song have to be about a specific system of beliefs? Does it have to invoke deities, or denominations, or holy words? Or can it just be a song about imagining a better place, a better future?

The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” never mentions any particular god, or any set of beliefs. It only imagines a place where things are better. But it’s still hard to hear it as anything other than a gospel song — one of the purest and most direct that ever went to #1 in America.

Like Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin and Al Green, the Staple Singers came from gospel. And they also kept using gospel to inform their pop music. But the Staple Singers’ transition to pop music wasn’t as simple and immediate as those other stars’. It was more of a gradual thing. Gospel became message music, which became soul music, which became some form of pop music. Even when the Staple Singers were singing about sex, they were doing it as a family gospel band. And while there were certainly people within the gospel establishment who rejected what they were doing, the family kept those ties strong.

The Staple Singers were the creation of Roebuck “Pops” Staples. Pops, born in 1914, was the youngest of 14 children, and he grew up on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. Pops dropped out of school in eighth grade, and as a young man, he played with blues musicians like Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson. At 21, he moved his family to Chicago, where he worked in stockyards and steel mills. In 1948, the Staple Singers — Pops, his wife Oceola, and three of their four kids — began singing at Chicago’s Mount Zion Church, where Pops’ brother Chester was pastor. Mavis, the youngest of them, was about 11.

The Staple Singers started recording in 1952, for a bunch of different labels. In the beginning, they were making straight-up gospel music, and they captured a lot of people’s imaginations. The Rolling Stones adapted their 1955 song “This May Be The Last Time,” transforming it into their 1965 song “The Last Time.” (“The Last Time” peaked at #9. It’s a 10.) Bob Dylan later wrote about being fascinated with their 1956 take on the gospel traditional “Uncloudy Day,” on which the young Mavis sang lead. By 1965, the Staple Singers had moved to Epic Records, where they recorded Freedom Highway, an album explicitly inspired by the Civil Rights struggle. From there, they started covering popular songs like the Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” blurring the line between gospel music and secular pop. And in 1968, they signed to Stax.

Al Bell, the vice president and co-owner of Stax, signed the Staple Singers, and he’s also the sole credited writer of “I’ll Take You There,” the Staple Singers’ first #1 hit. Bell tells a story about how he wrote “I’ll Take You There” in a mental fog. His younger brother had been murdered in Little Rock, and he was in his father’s backyard just after the funeral when the words of the song came to him. He says he tried to think of more words, to flesh the song out, but they just wouldn’t come, so he let the song be what it was. Mavis Staples tells a different story. She says that she and Bell co-wrote the lyrics on the living-room floor of her Chicago apartment. Mavis was, and is, furious about not getting a co-writing credit; it’s part of the reason the Staple Singers left Stax in 1975.

In any case, Al Bell didn’t write all of “I’ll Take You There.” The song’s intro came from “The Liquidator,” a 1969 reggae instrumental from Harry J Allstars. (Some of the musicians who played on the song later joined Bob Marley’s Wailers and Lee Perry’s Upsetters.) Bell had bought “The Liquidator” in Jamaica. When he produced “I’ll Take You There,” he played “The Liquidator” for the musicians in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, one of the all-time great studio bands. The Muscle Shoals guys claim that they didn’t know “The Liquidator” was someone else’s record. According to them, they thought they were just playing the parts from Bell’s demo or something. But a few of the Muscle Shoals guys were just getting into reggae, and they figured out how to transform that titanic bassline into sweaty, funky Southern soul. Reggae had already started making inroads into the US, and Desmond Dekker’s 1969 single “Israelites” had made it up to #9. (It’s a 10.) But “I’ll Take You There” might be the first reggae-influenced single to make it to #1 in America.

“I’ll Take You There” is one of the bright, shining examples of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section at work. The song itself is a simple call-and-response — no verses, no choruses — so the band gets plenty of room to groove. And they are so tight, so locked-in, while at the same time so breezy and unfocused, giving each other space to run around and wander. Bassist David Hood eventually eases out of that bassline; I love the bit where he lets a whole new bassline into the song. Keyboardist Barry Beckett floats over everything, unbothered and unhurried. There’s a part where the guitar solo kicks in and Mavis Staples sings, “Daddy, now.” Pops Staples wasn’t playing guitar. Instead, it was the young white guitarist Eddie Hinton. But Hinton idolized Pops, and he was trying to play as much like Pops as possible. (And when the Staple singers played live, Pops played the solo, so Mavis didn’t have to change what she sang during the shows.)

“I’ll Take You There” is also a great showcase for Mavis, mostly because she becomes a part of the band. For most of the song, she’s just ad-libbing, working with the groove. She’s casual and commanding, whooping and grunting but always staying in the pocket. Sometimes, she takes over, bringing the full force of her voice. Sometimes, she just sits back and enjoys what’s happening.

“I’ll Take You There” came out while the Civil Rights struggle was still raging, and after the assassinations of so many figures, including Staples family friend Martin Luther King, Jr. And yet it imagines a time, or a place, where things might get better, where “lying to the races” is a thing of the past. There’s a beautiful audacity in that image — the same beautiful audacity that has powered gospel music since before the advent of recorded sound. And while we’re still not there, we can hear some version of that imagined utopia in that groove.

GRADE: 9/10

BONUS BEATS: The reggae-influenced UK group General Public — led by veterans of ska second-wavers the English Beat — had a minor hit with a 1994 cover of “I’ll Take You There.” (It peaked at #22.) General Public covered the song for the soundtrack of the movie Threesome, and they tried to get as much of “The Liquidator” as possible back into the song. Here’s their video:

And here’s an absurdly young Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake covering the General Public version of the song on a 1994 episode of The Mickey Mouse Club, with Timberlake putting on a fake Jamaican accent to attempt dancehall toasting:

And here’s an absurdly young Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake covering the General Public version of the song on a 1994 episode of The Mickey Mouse Club, with Timberlake putting on a fake Jamaican accent to attempt dancehall toasting:

BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s Big Daddy Kane’s 1998 take on “I’ll Take You There,” where producer Marley Marl scratches up Mavis Staples’ “daddy” ad-lib and Kane imagines a place where Ethiopians can eat in Red Lobster for free, and where war ain’t nothing but a game on Atari, and where fresh Gucci wear is only $5.99:

That’s my favorite example of a rap producer sampling “I’ll Take You There,” but there are so many others, especially from the early ’90s. Some examples:" -


"Jean Chang at Public Image Management shot by Clément Berrin and styled by Annie Horth, in exclusive for Fucking Young! Online.

Creative Direction: Annie Horth
Grooming: Ce Lica
Styling Assistant: Isabelle Conan-Cormier
BRANDS: Palomo Spain, Prada, Dries Van Noten, Kenzo, Ralph Lauren, Comme des Garçons." -

Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2019

"I don’t feel anger towards them actually, just more of a sadness that this industry embraces, even celebrates this mentality.”" -

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