Tuesday, 30 June 2009

If I build it will they come?..Episode Three

I like sculpting. 95% of the time anyway. The other 5% is set aside for the occasions when for various reasons I produce work that to me looks like it was made by a chimp. Using his feet. This can cause despair but my philosophy is it's helpful sometimes to either bring you back down to earth if you're getting sculpturaly cocky (I know what I mean!) or maybe just need to be made to take a break & hold back till you've got something really worth making. Anyway 95% of the time all is well. (read full article)

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Hello...whats occurring?....

The scale of personal and societal occurrences over the last few weeks has left my brain feeling like a used teabag. If you’re anything like me, you’re choking on humidity, Gordon Brown has lost all your money, the remote is too far away to turn Jeremy Kyle off, student finance has you waking up in a cold sweat and you won’t be going to see Michael Jackson in July, or indeed ever. But, I have good news! Well, good news if you like to read about the absolute cream of unspoiled musical talent, and the odd gadget. The Fat Blog now has a new contributor, (that’s me, in case you haven’t guessed) and I’ll be covering two of the most important subjects in the whole wide world: music and technology. You can expect regular gig reviews (and the odd account of a club night, Rinse FM’s fifteenth birthday party is on the way…) paired with a healthy smattering of technological musings, and information about what may be coming out in the not-too-distant future (…did somebody say Xbox 720?).

A bit of background about myself is only polite too, I suppose. My second year at Goldsmiths University is on the horizon, as is the arrival of my results from the first year (pray to any and every God you know on my behalf). I study English and History, but don’t pity that, people usually exhale slowly and give me a charitable smile when they ask what degree I’m studying towards, but I’m having a lot of fun and have worn an admirable groove into the sofa at the student union, and, if I’m honest, most pubs in the general area!

So anyway, keep an eye out for me. I’m always open for suggestions aswell so if there’s anything you want me to look at or chase up (I’m not afraid of placing a phone call or twelve to find out the latest for you lot) give me a shout at kirstysimmonds@live.co.uk.

Stay safe, in a bit!


Get connected.....

Continuing on from my tips and tricks last week I thought I would do something along the same lines but not necessarily Photoshop based. I talked before about networking (if you are an avid reader you will remember these posts some months ago) and thought it was important to talk about these again.

In the current climate you need to stay motivated and digg your heels in when it comes to not giving up! (Imagine a 3 year old refusing to put back the Percy Pig toy because damn you and the irate shop keeper, they
will have it!).....

1st networking:
There now thats over.

2nd, remembering who you are & why you are doing what you are doing! For a long time and even still now I get caught up in what other people think I should be doing, what their judgement of success is and how I should be achieving various goals (they have established) in my business. Then I remember, this is about me. I didn't quit a fairly well paid job in fashion to fail. No way. Like I said to someone yesterday, this is something that has to work because I have no other option and if I fail or end up losing what feels like a massive one sided fight right now, man I am going to go down kicking and screaming!!

Fat Talent among other things, has helped keep me motivated, remain in touch with people in a similar business (networking!!) and more importantly have fed my ideas hungry brain and helped to filter the bad from the good. The monthly fashion and music show has introduced me to a whole bunch of awesome people & opened up business opportunities that I just need to start utilising. So this sounds like a huge plug for FT and in a way it is, but you know what, I wrote this off my own back and I think their fab! If you can, get yourself involved with them or a similar organisation. Get yourself a mentor, get yourself connected and follow your instincts! (Well it has been a weekend of tributes with all this MJ stuff so thought I would join the riot!)

Signing off

Carli aka foto's

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sunshine is in my step - but leave the shirts on

I think it has finally hit: there is a gait to my step and I have banished the winter fleece to my wardrobe! That's right: summer is here! And what a relief it has arrived! After a long, drawn out and damn right depressing winter we are finally feeling some warmth.

I love that I can leave the house in a t-shirt. I can don my sunglasses and I can actually work up a sweat. I love sitting out in the parks, feeling the grass between my toes and feeling the full brunt of the sun's warmth.

I do, however, have one objection.

Why do people insist of swanning around shirtless in the park?

Why do people whip out the bikini and lie splayed out as if they were on the golden sands of California?

The closest beach is a good hour and a half from central London - yet I'm still seeing the budgie smugglers (or speedos) on parade.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy the rays, and certainly nothing wrong with making the most of the summer. There is, however, something fundamentally wrong with a sun burnt older man frolicking with his gut on full display. This site greeted me the other day in none other than Royal Greenwich Park. A park, stately in its history, proud in its regality was playing host to a big, fleshy parade of flab.

I realise that not all of us should be obliged to have buff, sculpted abs bodies - nor should we. That being said, any blatant display of flesh outside a gym, pool, water related and bedroom activity, is not really welcome in my book. Particularly when is is burnt to a crisp (a result of not being sun safe enough) and monstrously hairy.

I do not want to become militant about flesh on display, but a certain amount of discretion would not go astray. I am not asking for a full purdah type situation, just a covering up of a stomach that protrudes more than a metre from where it should be!

Words: Katie Cowell

Episode Two: If I build it will they come?

A blank piece of paper. Occasionaly the most daunting thing an artist will see before them. I'm a Sculptor. That's what I'm best at but I also draw from time to time. I used to draw all the time as a kid & would quite happily sit in my room at night drawing anything i could think of. Obviously being a child in the 80's I was mostly influenced by Star Wars & Transformers & took great pride in my drawings of AT-AT's (or "Darth Vaders dog monsters" as I used to call them until I found out they were called AT-AT's)....(Read full article)

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Fat Chat: Music & Fashion entrepreneur A.Kay

The young & multi-talented A.kay has been writing songs for years and his music is very 8o’s influenced. He loves nothing more than to seek difference,and in his own words..." I tend to create experimental music which is aspired by; hip hop, electro, dance, techno and pop". We found out a bit more about the guy behind the music & fashion label.....

Hi A.Kay, you say your “Swagger and sound go hand in hand” how would you describe them both, as you state Fashion Design is also one of your many talents?

Well I’m really into being creative and also I love to take risks, this relays to my music and designs because they are both mirror images of my minds status and also what I’m interested in at the particular time. At present I have a great infatuation with the 80’z era and new rave colours, this can result in some of cloths being really bright or colourful and my music having that 80’s rap / pop dance the feel to it. But please understand I’m here to create quality and honest music! So in 10 years from now I will still listen and be proud! Lol

Who do you think in the music industry is doing big things right now and who if you had the chance would you like to do a collaboration with?

To be honest I feel a lot of people are doing and achieving great things at the moment, arstist such as: Tinchy, Bashy, Dizzee, N-Dubz, Wiley and chipmunk I feel are doing a lot in the commercial side of the game. But then I feel artist such as: Getz, Scorcher, Wretch 32, Kano and Skepta are doing well within the underground / independent label status.

Now in regards to whom I would collaborate with, to be real I would fly to Chicago and meet Mr Kanye West. He is one of my biggest inspirations within this game and I really admire his work. Plus it’s my dream to be an artist that can also collaborate with artists from the states, and create the link between the US and the UK.

PS “showing them that we do have urban talent” lol.

Your track ‘My Plimsole’ looks set to do big things... other than obviously “plimsole” what gave you the inspiration to write that track?

The inspiration of the track was really me looking into my past and also remembering as a child how I was forced to wear them by my mum, then thinking about the big turn around and how it became a new trend. Although they do differ from the ones I used to wear and now we have a big variety, its shocking to see how they have put; Nike, Adidas and Puma in a state of bother. Also because my partner creates some really good pairs for me which everyone asks me for! Lol

Who and what has shaped you into the artist you are today?

I feel as if all the people who rejected me and my ideas before has really helped me to be who I am today. This resulted in me working harder, bettering my skills and also finding my-self as an artist. Along with this close friends and family also have played a big role, plus completing a degree and finding my manager has really enabled my status at present. “I have a really long way to go, but my passion is to continue to create quality and new music of substance” also to be the UK’s Kanye West! Lol

Plus watching him and his existence within the industry has help me greatly, because there’s; no guns, no drugs and no lies! I seriously feel that your audience and fans need the truth, especially the younger generations.

You’re not signed to a major record label at the moment, how have you started to get your music recognised and your name out there?

Well…………… this is where the hard work really begins! Lol

At the moment I feel my music is promoted by “word of mouth”, I have done quite a few shows and posted my stuff on; Myspace, Facebook, Profile Pic and Twitter. I also have done a video and uploaded it on Youtube, I feel that I’m getting my music and name out there just through people hearing my stuff, but I wont lie it’s not easy! Also where I’m independent, it’s all funded by me and understands it’s not cheap .lol But I do feel we are doing well, because without no backing a lot of people are aware of the “plimsole” song and more than 1500 people have viewed the video to it on Youtube.

And for our totally random question....if you was the PM what is the first rule that you would abolish?

I would abolish” the sex age restriction of 16”!

I would change it to 18 to give people more time to understand and have knowledge of the implications / consequences behind sex, also maybe this will help to decrease to percentage of under age pregnancy.

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule and go check out the MYSPACE people!

Interview: Tanayha Mcleary

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


By now you would know that Fat Talent and Make Me Music have a very special relationship, and one of the perks is getting the new ish direct to your door (you know what I mean).

We only just finished this last night so be one of the first to feast your ears. Not only is it a new single, we give you the remix.

Black Eyed Peas 'I Got A Feeling' - Eriki-Ma remix. The video is cut from the official Black Eyed Peas video.

And to top it off you can also download the HQ remix Mp3 for free here!

Mazel Tov!

* Please do not take music that isn't given for free. Support all music, signed or unsigned, and feel free to stay away from the stale ones.




I hate the term 'female producer', really, what should it matter whether you're male or female! It really dosen't, but the truth is, we did dominate the industry 10 years ago when software and plugins were unavailable to the masses. Now days things have changed a long way, and thank God.

Meet Goldy. She's from Leeds (I know, I couldn't believe people actually lived and breathed outside of London either!). Her beats really speak for themselves. When I first encountered her about a year ago she was on that Bass-line sound. I never really liked B-L but her work (no ass kissing obviously) actually made it interesting to listen, which I never thought was possible.

After her B-L dabble she went back to her J Dilla roots and came back with an array of funky soulful vibes which would go down well on any ipod playlist. The other thing that struck me most about Goldy (which unless you're a producer, you probably wouldn't appreciate) is her skill as well as talent. Mix wise she has her sound scape down to a T'. Every producer has their own mix style and preference to where certain elements of the piece sit, and where her strengths lie is in the fact that she doesn't go OTT with the base or allow the snare or high hat to run away with itself. Her samples are also spot on, clipping her audio sections discreetly with little sign of 'over' or 'under cuts'.

At only 18 she's giving producers much older than her a run for their money and considering she's improving month by month it will definitely be interesting to hear her work in a few years time from now. I predict she will only get better and more dangerous with her productions. Artists and other companies will have to listen closely because as we all know, the whack piano man's are getting weeded out, which is great for the rest us and also means no more half hearted 'I need to get the bills paid' productions, or worse still those 'yeah man that beats tight (but it really isn't)' productions.

Check out '90's' and 'Funk Soul' on her myspace...

Other female producers you should already be aware of....



Monday, 22 June 2009

Introducing Musician Neil Thomas

Multi-instrumentalist Neil Thomas is currently working on his debut album.
A late bloomer, he began playing music at the age of sixteen and over the past
ten years has blossomed into a consummate songwriter and musician
(Read the full interview)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Adjustment Layers......How to

Right, thought I better be of some use or of use to some of you, whichever I have decided to do a post about photoshop! So for those of you that don't know, this is a mini tutorial on using adjustment layers. I have used CS3 on a mac so things may differ if using a older / newer version or a PC.

Adjustment layers basically allow you to adjust curves, colour balance, saturation, levels and various other common editing tools by layer, so you can target different areas of the image rather than the
whole thing. This is particularly useful when colour managing an image as you can concentrate on the skin, then the hair, then the background and so forth building up as many layers as you like. Plus you use the brush so can choose opacity and the use of layers allows you to alter opacity as well.

So open your image. Choose the area to focus on. In this case I am reducing the red in the face and the yellow in the background. First your go to the layers palette and select the 'adjustment layer' tool. A new layer will appear with whatever adjustment you have chosen. In my example you can see that I have used the selective colour tool, therefore my new layer is concentrating on adjusting various colour channels within the image.

Adjust as you would but concentrate only on the part of the image you want to change. So in this c
ase I am adjusting the magenta / red in the face. Don't worry about anything else in the image, just the part you want this colour adjustment to apply to.

Once done select the mask on the layer, take the brush tool, make sure black is selected and choose your opacity. I would recommend 50% at first, subtle but it works. Then brush back in those areas you do not want the changes to take place. So, in this case I brushed back in the clothes, background and hair so that the adjustment only affected the face. You can then adjust the opacity of the layer if you wish.

You can also do as many layers as you like. So the next example shows a few more colour adjustment layers and you can see from the mask where the picture has been affected and where it has not. Each new layer will concentrate on a different part of the image.

Once you have what you want and you are happy with the adjustments you can carry on editing as normal!

PS: For skin, selective colour is often used. However I find that using the hue/saturation tool is just as effective when using layers and just change the hue ever so slightly and the saturation of the magenta.

More random ramblings and tips and tricks to follow next week! If there is something in particular you want to know.....get in touch!

Carli x


Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Ringleader!

It’s interesting how we find ourselves gravitating towards like-minded people. Without even realising it, we end up being around people with similar interests, tastes and careers. Makes sense, I guess. People who like music will go to music events, meet people there, and then start to hang out. The best thing about situations like this is when you can join forces and start to work together on ideas.

In any project that requires you to raise your
head above the water, to come out of the mundane 9-5 and try to make it on your own, you need a unit around you! Like-minded people to form a force to push boundaries and break down doors! Metaphorically speaking of course! I’m not encouraging people to start going round breaking and-entering! But think about it, if you and all of those people you know who have similar tastes joined together, you could make things happen!

As I sat in my producer’s living room late last week, he referred to me as ‘the ring-leader’. My partner agreed, like it or not, I have become one of the ring-leaders in our musical family! I have to say, part of this might be down to my rather bossy nature but most of it is down to my attitude. ‘If you can’t do it for me, I will do it myself!’ I will happily start a new project and then get the rest of my family involved. It is for this reason that I now have a monthly show in the heart of Birmingham. I am a ring-leader and proud of it!

So having embraced this title, it makes sense that this radiates off me as I perform and go about my day-to-day. I am after all, entering into an industry where image is a huge deal! Problem with that is… I am not that into my appearance! It dates back to my ugly duckling days! I was never the most popular girl at school. Wasn’t the pretty one; the one with the big beautiful eyes or perfect skin! I was the smart one! The one you would get to do your homework for you or ask to be in your group so I could do all the legwork! I liked that. Besides I was a mad tomboy so was much happier in this role.

By 16, things changed though, I got into college and likewise into heels and lipstick. I love my heels and like most of the ladies, have a tonne of shoes! However, there are times, when I have a long list of things I need to do so will quite happily throw on a pair of trainers and a hoodie and leave the house without combing my hair! Not a problem right now, while I am ‘Miss Anonymous’. But give it a couple years and if I do that, I will no doubt end up on the cover of ‘Heat Magazine’ with the slogan: ‘Yelitza - Lost her mirrors and lost her mind!’

Now I knew from day one I was going to have to become much more image-conscious once I really got into the music, but it wasn’t until I hit America that it really hit home! I do believe they are the most image crazed nation…ever!

Luckily for me, over there being English is a style! Confused? I was too… at first. But it’s true. The way our clothes fit, the combinations we come up with, are very different to the way the Americans do it. Now the celebs in the magazines mix it up but there is still something about the way we dress here in the U.K. that intrigues them State-side. So I decided while I was over there to really take that look to another level. I put on the same pair of jeans and t-shirt I would wear back home but went a little overboard and put heavy beads round my neck and killer heels on! Not rocket science, not really ground-breaking, but effective! And before I knew it, I was creating my own style. A style that I have now tweaked so that back home in England it is still subtle but noticeable. Because if there is one thing we Birmingham folk like, it’s subtly. Nothing over the top like London fashion can be. Not too baggy or mix-and-match like it can be in the U.S. Just me! It finally clicked, I have to think about being a ring-leader in terms of my style and not just my actions!

So here then is the tip for this session:

For those of you looking to hit the big screen, work on your style from now!

Style: it took me a while to work out my style. I think on a day to day basis, I do have a certain way of putting an outfit together, but it’s different for the stage. At least you should try and think differently. Like the lyrics you sing, your clothes are a representation of you. It sounds obvious, but trust me I’ve seen it. People who turn up and they look like the audience. Have made no effort because it’s their fourth gig this month and they are tired. You never know who is in the audience! I can’t say it often enough. You have to dress for the job. If you want to be an artist dress like one from now. And if you are anything like me (on a budget) you will fast learn ways to dress according to your pocket but still make it work! What I mean is, if you don’t have the funds to buy expensive jewellery, then don’t wear any! Why wear a huge fake piece of bling around your neck when you could just as easily wear a wooden beaded necklace and look great. If you can’t afford those expensive hair extensions like Beyonce, stay natural. Work with the short styles until you can rock the fab locks.

And don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be vain to look good. I don’t think I am vain, just aware! I know first hand that your audience are looking at every part of your stage performance. Not just how great you sound, but how you look! They are looking to you for style tips. Looking to you to help them feel like a celebrity too. They don’t care if you haven’t ‘made it’ yet. Why are you on the stage singing to them, asking them to pay to come in, if you aren’t going to dress up for them?

Something to think about...

Until next time,

P.S. Don’t forget to drop me a comment to check out my web sites:

Stay tuned to for more tips and don’t forget you can see me performing every month in Brum....email me for additional info litz_uk@yahoo.com