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From toons to tunes! Animator makes great music.
June 2, 2011 11:26 PM   Subscribe

Meaghan Smith took an unusual route to the music business. She can't read music, for one thing. She went to school to study animation for another. Yet, along the way, she took her hobby of playing the guitar to work with her, giving impromptu performances of her songs in the stairwell of the animation building for her friends. One thing lead to another, and she just won the Pop Album of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards in Canada for her recording called "The Cricket's Orchestra." Her sound is a mixture of the music of the 20s 30s and 40s with the pop songs of today. Her videos often feature animation. A good place to start is "A Little Love" and also "I Know." Her song "Here Comes Your Man" was featured in the film 500 Days of Summer. She is also a pretty good artist!
posted by Quasimike (25 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great album, great videos, great music. One of my favourites right now. Thanks for posting this.
posted by showmethecalvino at 11:47 PM on June 2, 2011


I love it. Seconded, thanks for this!
posted by hanoixan at 11:54 PM on June 2, 2011


Awesome. This is the second music post of the day that makes me happy. Thank you!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:59 PM on June 2, 2011


She can't read music, for one thing.

Is this unusual in the music business? I would have assumed many current recording artists were similarly challenged.
posted by biffa at 12:23 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this unusual in the music business?

I don't know but I was stunned to learn in an interview that A.C. Newman -- a genius songwriter and composer, probably my favorite -- doesn't read music. How in the hell? Some people really are just born with it I guess.
posted by eugenen at 12:30 AM on June 3, 2011


biffa - I believe Paul McCartney can't read it either. I can (very slowly) and have fuck all musical talent, so it's definitely a learned skill rather than a talent.
posted by mippy at 1:14 AM on June 3, 2011


I suspect that the majority of guitar band musicians, unless they played an instrument in the high school band or were forced to take piano lessons as a child, can't read anything more complicated than chord charts. They learn chords and chord progressions, they learn certain scales, and that's about it in terms of formality.

Being able to read the squiggles on a staff and convert them in your head into exact instructions for playing an instrument has nothing to do with being able to convert the thoughts in your head into instructions for playing an instrument.

And reading squiggles on a staff certainly isn't a requirement for being a songwriter; people such as Irving Berlin and Paul McCartney never learned to read music. If you have ten favorite songwriters (in a popular vein, not classical), probably seven or eight of couldn't read music.
posted by pracowity at 1:23 AM on June 3, 2011


I'd venture to guess that most popular musicians can't read music.
posted by WhitenoisE at 1:24 AM on June 3, 2011


The uploader has not made this video available in your country.
Oh yeah, well, I didn't want to see it anyway. So there.



grumble grumble world wide web my ass.
posted by xqwzts at 2:45 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Being able to read the squiggles on a staff and convert them in your head into exact instructions for playing an instrument has nothing to do with being able to convert the thoughts in your head into instructions for playing an instrument.

As someone who studied classical piano for years (and even has a degree in piano performance) and who was whiz-bang at sight-reading and who can't compose a note of anything original sounding to save his life... this is entirely QFMFT.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"this video is not available" x 3.
posted by scruss at 3:57 AM on June 3, 2011


I'm having no trouble seeing the videos from Poland.

Maybe Ontarians are not allowed to view other Ontarians making it big in case they get jealous and break stuff. They're just protecting you from yourself, man. Ontari-ari-ari-o.
posted by pracowity at 4:12 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


She'd probably benefit from being able to read music, since her songs (pleasant enough) are kind of loose and dribbly ... more the sound of petering out than the start of a great career. These songs have nothing to do with the music of the 20s, 30s and 40s -- which is tight, focused, and melodically canny. This gal is more in the meandering school of Tom Jobim. But, wow, those videos are wonderful.
posted by Faze at 4:22 AM on June 3, 2011


I loved everything about these except the music. But I don't mean that in a bad way. It's awesome, I just don't happen to like that kind of music (or at least these two songs).
posted by DU at 4:37 AM on June 3, 2011


This is a wonderful post, but my inner music pedant forces me to note that "her" song "Here Comes Your Man" is a cover of the Pixies.
posted by namewithoutwords at 4:54 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this unusual in the music business? I would have assumed many current recording artists were similarly challenged.

Add Jimi Hendrix to your list of the challenged.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:02 AM on June 3, 2011


But, wow, those videos are wonderful.
and
I loved everything about these except the music.


No one listens to music anymore, dude, they watch videos. OK, maybe they listen to the soundtracks of videos when they're away from their screens, but that's usually only after they've been exposed to the soundtracks while watching the videos as intended, and then the videos have permanently shaped the way they hear the soundtracks.
posted by pracowity at 5:06 AM on June 3, 2011


I can't watch the videos from the MeFi viewer, but if I actually click on the links to Youtube, I can see them. UKer here, FWIW.
posted by Gordafarin at 5:24 AM on June 3, 2011


"Her song "Here Comes Your Man" was featured in the film 500 Days of Summer." More accurately, her cover version of The Pixies' Here Comes Your Man (which Frank Black wrote while in high school).
posted by senor biggles at 6:00 AM on June 3, 2011


More accurately, her cover version of The Pixies' Here Comes Your Man (which Frank Black wrote while in high school).

Yea, and while the video is cute and sweet about missed love or something, the song itself is about a hobo dying during an earthquake. So.....yea. I kind of hope on her part it was just her being ironic by making the video for the song sweet or not being able to get out of starring in the video and not a case of her totally missing the original intention of the lyrics or where the song comes from.
posted by kkokkodalk at 6:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


the song itself is about a hobo dying during an earthquake.

Not anymore. Now it's about a woman riding away from her man.
posted by pracowity at 6:29 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


She can't read music, for one thing.

Is this unusual in the music business? I would have assumed many current recording artists were similarly challenged.


I've heard none of the Beatles could read music. I'd take that sort of thing with a grain of salt though. Prince has said he can't read music, but he apparently can, he's just not as expert at it as a musician generally is. But it's not strictly necessary to read music to be a fine musician. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder seemed to do just fine without ever reading a note.
posted by orange swan at 7:07 AM on June 3, 2011


I know a metric crap ton of accomplished guitar players who can't read a lick of music.

I was in the studio once with a friends band who were being recorded by Elliot Eastman of the cars, Elliot asked the guitar player (who was a phenomenal player) to add a diminished 7th to a chord and my buddy had no idea what he meant until Elliot showed him on the guitar and he had an "oh where you move the middle finger" moment.

(note memory might not be technically correct)
posted by bitdamaged at 8:45 AM on June 3, 2011


My husband doesn't read music, but he's got a solid understanding of music theory- and he writes and records great music. I can read music, and my theory is pretty weak. I definitely don't have a knack for writing or performing. I guess what I'm saying is that the ability to read music definitely doesn't define the musician.

Reading music is for replicating complex patterns that someone else wrote, or for sharing your own music with someone who doesn't have access to a recording. Being surprised that a musician can't read music is like being surprised that someone who can't read words can talk.
posted by Secretariat at 12:45 PM on June 3, 2011


It's a shame she left out Kim Deal's backing vocals in HCYM. Every Pixies song ever would have been better if Frank had let Kim sing.

Cite.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 10:29 PM on June 3, 2011


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