Day 8 – 30 Day Challenge – Ryan Adams – Wonderwall

Today’s for my #30DayChallenge I’m singing Ryan Adams’ cover of Wonderwall, originally by Oasis.

30 Day Challenge – Ryan Adams – Wonderwall by Kevin Stanton

Personally, I think this is one of the best I’ve done so far. It’s a slow song and doesn’t really have a wide vocal range to it, so it demands a lot less from me than most of the other songs I’ve done.

As in all my recordings for the #30DayChallenge, this was done in one take.

The Next Big Thing Isn’t Going To Be Obvious

Did you know that Sergey Brin and Larry Page tried selling Google to Excite for $1 million in 1999? Excite turned them down.

From Entrepreneurs talk back: Straight-up feedback and advice for VCs and angels:

A first-time entrepreneur who has raised nearly $5 million for her start-up writes, “My biggest concern for the health of the start-up economy is the avoidance of any kind of original thinking by VC’s. It just isn’t rational to fund the fourth, fifth or seventeenth copycat business. I love what Floodgate’s Mike Maples and Ann Miuro-Ko say about their preference for funding non-conforming ideas because they usually turn out to be the biggest ones. They say if an company is a hot deal it is rarely a home run because it’s not original enough. The real ’10+ baggers’ are the investments no one would touch — the ones they had to defend the first few years.”

I believe that true entrepreneurs can believe in their idea to a fault, and it’s really hard to tell blind optimism from revolutionary insight. Still, the next Google isn’t going to be an un-original idea. It’s going to get laughed at a bunch of times before it finds its path to greatness.

Day 7 – 30 Day Challenge – Ray LaMontagne – Trouble

And here’s today’s song. Musically a really simple song, yet incredible due to the rhythm and Mr. LaMontagne’s incredible, soulful voice. Definitely pushing the limits of my vocal range on this one, and he also tries to cram a ridiculous amount of words into the last part of each verse!

30 Day Challenge – Ray LaMontagne – Trouble by Kevin Stanton

Day 6 – 30 Day Challenge – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová – Falling Slowly

Okay, so yes, I missed a day. It was a hellish Monday and I just ran out of time. So today I make up for it with two posts, doing two songs that I have never practiced or performed before. This’ll be interesting…

30 Day Challenge – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová – Falling Slowly by Kevin Stanton

Let me know what you think!

Day 4 – 30 Day Challenge – Jason Mraz – After An Afternoon

Long day, but finally got around to getting a song recorded before the day ended! A friend of mine suggested “Hey Delilah” by the Plain White T’s and I started learning it but the vocals are practically a tounge twister so I’ll have to practice that before I give it a go.

Instead, I recorded one of my all-time favorite Jason Mraz songs. Guitar-wise it’s pretty damn simple, but lyrically it’s a challenge because Mr. Mraz is a classically trained singer. He has been known to sing a little bit of opera during his live shows, if that gives any indication as to his abilities.

So here goes:

30 Day Challenge – Jason Mraz – After An Afternoon by Kevin Stanton

As always, hope this isn’t too terrible for people to listen to, and let me know what you think. And if you’re a singer and can tell me what I’m doing wrong, I’d appreciate it!

And if you’re wondering why on earth I’m posting un-edited, sloppy covers of otherwise great songs, read this.

Day 3 – 30 Day Challenge – Flight Of The Conchords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract

Woo! 10% complete with my 30 day challenge. Since it’s Friday, and been a helluva week, I opted to sing a silly song by FOTC. I really would love to do “Business Time”, but since this challenge is supposed to be about singing, I’ll have to save that for fun after I’m done.

I also switched things up a bit and recorded this one in the bathroom for some nice reverb – I think it makes the song more meaningful</sarcasm>.

30 Day Challenge – Flight Of The Conchords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract by Kevin Stanton

Hopefully you find this entertaining! 🙂

30 Days

A friend of mine sent me a TED Talk the other day, given by Matt Cutts of Google. In it, he challenges everyone to make small, sustainable changes in their life in order to push themselves to do things they’ve always wanted to do.

This got me thinking about one of my biggest passions: music. I begged my parents for a good portion of my childhood to let me play the drums. They never gave in…can’t imagine why :-). By senior year of high school, I had moved on to guitar. After having borrowed one from a friend for 3 months and teaching myself to play #41 by Dave Matthews Band, I finally convinced my Dad to buy me an acoustic guitar.

I’m obsessed. While backpacking across Europe, I couldn’t go any longer without playing guitar so I bought a child’s classical guitar at this music shop in Rome. The owner of the store made fun of me in italian and kept repeating “but this is child guitar, child guitar!”. I tried explaining that I had to carry it around with myself for another 3 weeks and a regular guitar would be too cumbersome but he clearly did not speak english.

Flash forward 12 years to today. I now own many guitars, and also bought a piano and have been teaching myself that as well. But in all my years, I’ve only performed in front of an audience on two occasions, and never by myself. Mostly because I’m not confident at all in my singing abilities, and also simply because I need more practice.

So! For the next 30 days, I’ve decided that every day, I will record myself playing and singing a song. Here are my self-imposed ground rules:

  • Only 1 take – no do-overs!
  • No editing/splicing/adding effects.
  • Post them online for the world to hear (not as bad as doing it live in front of people, but still scary!)

By the end of the 30 days, I hope to have improved my singing, gotten constructive criticism, and gained enough courage to play live in front of people.

Stay tuned for day 1’s results!

Finalist Investor Pitches At TechWeek Compete

Now that TechWeek Chicago, has come and gone, I wanted to share with everyone the presentations of the top five finalists of the midVenturesLAUNCH COMPETE competition. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, COMPETE is a competition between 35 startups, selected from a pool of applicants, for over $100,000 in cash and prizes. They were judged by an expert panel, including Sam Yagan, Co-founder of OkCupid.

The finalists were:

  • BabbaCo, an online store of great products for busy parents.
  • Chute, a cloud-drive service for backing up, syncing and sharing your photos.
  • Forecast, a new app that lets you and your friends share where you’re going to be!
  • gtrot, a social travel site for people to share travel plans and get advice from their friends on destinations.
  • Safety Book, a web-based home inventory tracker and safety recall monitor.

BabbaCo ended up winning COMPETE, congratulations to them, and to all of the finalists!