One of my most surprising discoveries of 2013 is an artfully poppy pipe-organ record called Ceremony, by Swedish singer Anna von Hausswolff. Though she doesn't consider herself an accomplished pipe organist, von Hausswolff quickly learned the instrument's power, as well as some of its subtleties.
Sheila Bridges seemed to have it all. She became a superstar interior designer after graduating from Brown University and Parsons. Her clients ranged from entertainers to doctors, lawyers, even a former President. And her talents brought her magazine spreads, a store in upstate New York, and a television show. But after all those years of helping other people beautify their homes and offices, she had to learn to find beauty within herself.
Not that hair is the only thing we care about, but now we're going to hear from a singer whose signature blonde platinum coif is one of the things that makes her stand out. We're talking about singer-songwriter Emeli Sande. She had the best-selling album in Britain in 2012.
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 9:34 am
At 8 years old, I scrawled my first and last Symphonies — nos. 1, 2, and 3 — on ruled notebook paper. They were short duets for clarinet and trumpet for myself and my brother to play. Why did I call them symphonies? I can't remember, but I suspect that it was a desire to tie these efforts — and me, by extension — to a grand and venerable tradition.
Baths, a.k.a. Will Wiesenfeld, plays mysterious and textured electronic music. When Wiesenfeld came to the Tiny Desk, I expected contemplative tones and a laid-back performance; he does, after all, call his project Baths. But what sets him apart from the vast majority of like-minded performers is that his music doesn't get buried behind the buttons or lost in a hypnotic glaze.
Michael Gruber began his fiction career as a ghostwriter for a well-known American judge. A former federal civil servant, chef, environmentalist, and speechwriter, Gruber had a varied career before he took up writing his own novels, and it shows in his work, in the broad and capacious subject matter and cast of thousands.