Tag Archives: music

What’s Your HeartSong?

Have you ever thought about how music defines us as humans? If music bubbles up from the very core of us, what tunes would you create: happy, sad, angry, discordant?

This weekend, I watched a History Channel special: “Beatles Go On Record.” As I listened to the progression of music the Beatles made together over the years, I experienced emotional flash-backs to my youth.

Beatles in iTunes

Beatles NOW on iTunes!

My first Beatles’ memory begins with the song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” when I was in second grade. On one occasion when my relatives came to town for a visit, my cousin and I hid ourselves in my bedroom listening to records. We put on the Beatles and started dancing — think Twist.

The Twist (Dance)Note: To put this story in context, you should know that Baptists aren’t terribly fond of dancing. My grandpa and uncle were Baptist preachers, and my Daddy was a Baptist Minister for Music and Youth. (My youngest uncle Phil, only eight years older than me, is now a Baptist missionary in Zambia.)

Back to the story: While my cousin and I danced and sang in my room, the door burst open. My uncle looked apoplectic as he surveyed the scene before him: my cousin shimmering and shaking to “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Where was I, you may wonder? BeHIND the door…unseen. Needless to say, things didn’t go well for my cousin that night.

Yes, the Beatles framed my experiences growing up. But they aren’t my only musical influences. Home itself was a musical experience. As kids, we wrote and performed musicals for the adults at family gatherings. I always wanted to grow up and become the Von Trapp Family singers. Between all the cousins, we had just enough bodies to perform.

Sound of Music: Von Trapp Family Singers

Sound of Music: Von Trapp Family Singers

When I was in junior high, Daddy created a musical group called Sound 70.  We performed across the state of Texas in churches, festivals, and even on a flatbed trailer-turned-stage with vocal singers, a Jesus Rock Band called Liberation Suite, drama, and bell ringers.

Sound 70: Liberation Suite

Sound 70: Liberation Suite

Rock music defines my generation. Classic Vinyl on XM radio lets me sing along with the Doors, Eric Clapton, The Who, Led Zepplin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. You name it, they play it. Great for driving in traffic. But Christian Rock/Alternative music is still my preference — SwitchfootSanctus RealRelient K, Hawk Nelson, TobyMac, Remedy Drive, Jars of Clay,  Skillet, Barlow GirlNeedToBreathe, The AftersLifehouse, and more.

Music comes from deep down within the heart and soul.

Bowen's Heart

Sometimes the music flows from pain. I was deeply moved this weekend by the story of Sanctus Real lead singer Matt Hammit and his little son Bowen, who was born with a broken heart — literally.  ABC World News ran the story. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Tiny Bowen was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 0n September 9.

Matt wrote the song, All of Me, based on his family’s experience.

Little Bowen’s ordeal transformed into an incredibly beautiful song that touches so many lives beyond Matt’s family and friends. Matt tweets and blogs about the experience.

Music flows out of joy and pain, faith and frustration. I’m thankful for artists who share themselves through music, so that I can find myself inside what they create.

When you drill down really deep, what flows out of you?

What is YOUR heartsong?

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Filed under artists, culture

From Serendipity to Space Harmony

Social media is unfolding a world of unknowns for us at NASA. Take for instance NASA’s serendipitous new relationship with the band, McFly.

I admit, I’d never heard of McFly before two weeks ago. Where have I been? How did I miss this phenom band? I just learned today that McFly snatched the Beatles’ long-held title in the Guinness Book of World Records as youngest band to hit #1 with a début album. (Not MY Beatles! Heaven forbid.)

So what’s the connection between NASA and McFly?

Social Media: Twitter, to be exact!

During the STS-125 Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope, McFly’s founder Tom Fletcher @TomMcFly encouraged his 40,000+ (now over 50,000) fans to tweet @NASA to play one of the band’s songs, “Star Girl,” as a Wake-Up call for the astronauts. “Ok followers, let’s tweet @NASA for “star girl” to be played in space!!!”

And tweet they did!

#StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace!

Through serendipity, a NASA colleague of mine happened to see all the #StarGirlinSpace tweets pouring over Tweetgrid. She contacted me to see if I noticed saw all the traffic. We googled “McFly: Star Girl” and discovered their YouTube music video, featuring the band members attempting their own back-yard-astonaut-training. We laughed so hard we drew a crowd in the office. We immediately contacted our buddies in Public Affairs to request formal contact with the band.

You might wonder why?

Why would NASA cave under pressure to a pesky bunch of over-zealous teens that clog up our @NASA twitter account? (Admit it: that thought crossed your mind!)

I’ll tell you why.

We’ve lost touch with the youth of our nation and the world. Sure, NASA boasts a solid following among men, educated folks, and the AARP generation. Yes, we get high public opinion scores for doing a good job. But, dig below the surface and you’ll find the Gen X/Y-ers simply don’t see NASA as relevant to their lives. McFly’s fanbase fits eXACTly within the age demographic we have trouble penetrating.

I watched the sample DVD they sent us: Radio: Active Live. These guys are GOOD! With their catchy tunes, fantastic harmonies, and amazing energy – not to mention good looks – no wonder they have tens of thousands of adoring fans. They look and sound like a modern-day version of the Beatles. And, they named themselves after Marty McFly from “Back To The Future.” What’s NOT to like? 

Band Members:

Tom Fletcher

Danny Jones

Dougie Poynter

Harry Judd

Hey McFly boys, can YOU ignite passion for space among your adoring fans? Can you give voice to the drama and magic of the unknown in a way we can’t?

Will “Star Girl” get airtime as a Wake-Up call? Unknown. (Actually, the song selection process is another blog post entirely.) No matter! We’ll figure something out. And, we have a number of potential ideas on how to collaborate outside the Star Girl option.

Thanks Social Media and Serendipity for bringing us together with such talented musicians who happen to like space! McFly boys, how cool if your fans screamed over NASA space missions! Someday….

If music is the key to engage the next generation in space, then play that chord boys! Play it LOUD!

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Filed under NASA, space