50 things I’m grateful for.

Let’s change the tune of this blog, if only for a day; lets be grateful! These are fifty things that I am grateful for, and I wish to inspire you to do the same. And these are in no particular order, please note.

  1. Being able-bodied.
  2. The day I was FINALLY diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome. It explained so many things-my flat voice, special interests, lack of eye contact, some clumsiness, etc.
  3. Having a home.
  4. Having learning support.
  5. That I’m still blogging after all these years.
  6. My planner. Because it keeps me organised and feeling less anxious!
  7. Being able to learn in a country that supports my rights as a female.
  8. My family.
  9. That an editor liked my pitch to be a teen columnist, and allowed me to write as a Columnist.
  10. That this is specific legislation in place to stop gender and disability discrimination.
  11. To even have a blog.
  12. To have faith.
  13. CATS!!
  14. To have met Brian May.
  15. To have interviewed Anastacia.
  16. ‘Left Outside Alone’.
  17. That we have a stable political system. Sort of.
  18. And that I am allowed to read.
  19. That I was taught to read and write.
  20. That my vision problems were picked up quickly.
  21. Glasses! Because I can finally see.
  22. Curly hair. It’s what makes me, me.
  23. The right to vote.
  24. The feeling I get when I see a brand email.
  25. The sound of the church bells where I live.
  26. Smell of cut grass.
  27. Summer.
  28. That I may or may not be starting on the NTCJ course soon… (Watch this space!)
  29. Anything rose gold. So pleasing to the eye!
  30. Twitter. I love Twitter.
  31. The Bell Jar.
  32. The Diary Of Anne Frank.
  33. To have been able to explore Brighton.
  34. That I have enough food.
  35. Poetry.
  36. Red nail varnish.
  37. Fifties-style dresses.
  38. Twitter blog chats!
  39. That I have now reached the age of eighteen. Finally!
  40. To understand the workings of our political system.
  41. My typewriter.
  42. All blog comments.
  43. Print media.
  44. The feel of silk.
  45. Amy Macdonald and the ‘This is the life’ album.
  46. Spike Milligan’s verses.
  47. CATS! (Oh wait, I already wrote that….)
  48. Anything APPLE.
  49. The smell of wonderstruck.
  50. You commenting on this post.

What are you grateful for?

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

A 4 App Album Review.

Good morning-

It has been a while since we had a proper album review, isn’t it?

Well, my dear readers, I wanted to tell you about A 4 App, the first Anastacia app-which was the first thing that I ever downloaded from the Apple Store. Track listing for this is as follows:

  • Resurrection.
  • Overdue Goodbye.
  • Rearview.
  • In Your Eyes.
  • Dark White Girl.
  • The Saddest Part.
  • Who’s Gonna Stop The Rain
  • Pendulum
  • Time
  • Underground Army

For the sake of this review, I would just like to say that, owing to preview on her Facebook page, I was a little bit pessimistic about this album. Parts of the previews seemed a little bit flat at times, and not at all alike to what I remember of her in concert. But I eat my words, because this album is utterly fabulous-and something to be otherwise described as ‘Ear candy’.

Although at times I felt that there could be less talking-on the opener, there’s almost a minute of it, prior to the song-this could have been remedied by a recorded, succinct explanation of the whole A 4 App project. (Because it linked up via her app, etc.) But it captures the in-concert vibe well, in that there is the audience. And they seem to be enjoying a pretty good concert-clapping, stamping their feet, and calling for their hero. That is what a concert is about-the people who turn up, intent on enjoying some pretty good songs.

My favourite tracks are Resurrection (because this makes me feel powerful, and that I can stand tall), Overdue Goodbye (probably the politest ‘F you’ song), Rearview, The Saddest Part, and Underground Army (because this latterly reminds me that we are not alone in this world.) This is a great album-and I had forgotten just how brilliant of a singer Anastacia is, if I’m honest. Her voice is huge, and pretty all at one-just listen to the ‘meeeeee’ note on Who’s Gonna Stop The Rain. If you are a fan, this is a staple to add to your collection.

I rate this 10/15.

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For more Anastacia related content, try clicking these links: Resurrection Show Review , Ultimate Collection Release , Meeting Anatstacia  , Anastacia Interview, and A 4 App Release. Click here to follow Anastacia on Pledge Music, and to find out about future projects.

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

My iTunes wishlist

For my eighteenth birthday earlier this year, I was lucky enough to receive a MacBook Air and an iPhone 6s. And I’m a convert to iTUNES, the in-house Apple Music service,where you can download your tunes. But I didn’t realise that you could create your own Wishlist-whilst you wait to have enough money for your next instalment. * Here’s the Wishlist I’m currently curating:

A Kind Of Magic-Deluxe.

This is my favourite Queen album-and I love Gimme The Prize, for the sheer amount of pomp and prestige that Freddie has, in being the Highlander. This album is Queen at their peak, to me; and I wish that I could have seen them performing then. (I was born eight years after Mercury died; go on, work out how old I am!)

No Secrets.

Carly Simon, You’re So Vain? Check!

Not That Kind.

This is Anastacia’s album-well, her debut. And although it can seem a little bit overproduced at times, I love the raw vibe it offers, particularly on tracks such as Made For Lovin’ You and Yo Trippin’. To be more like this woman will always be my goal.

Anastacia.

The album released after Anastacia first survived Breast Cancer. And it’s my favourite of hers! I LOVE Left Outside Alone, as well as the filler I Do. This album makes me want to be a better person.

Jagged Little Pill.

Because I was played this one when I was tiny, and I wish to rediscover it.

Live In Concert.

Yeah, Dire Straits. I love to hear singers in concert-it’s what I wish to do, and is rather fitting, considering I wish to be a music journalist-but I sampled this one, and the energy on each track seems enormous.

Happiness?

The rather feisty Queen drummer put his lyrics to music to this, which has gems such as Dear Mr Murdoch. (I love the drums on the sample I heard!)

The Best of Norman Wisdom.

I recall watching his films as a child-and interviewing his son was one of my first covers-but anyway, Wisdom’s voice has an elegant charm that has been lost in today’s era. His self-deprecating character of Pitkin comes across on the recording at times. (I already bought ‘Don’t Laugh At Me.)

Messenger Of The Gods.

All the solo singles-some unreleased-by Freddie Mercury. (Got to be some good times ahead!)

On Air.

This is a compilation of Queen and various performances on Radio, hence how the album gets its name. I downloaded Modern Times Rock ‘N’ Roll and Stone Cold Crazy, but I would love to hear the rest.

Hello Big Man.

Another Carly Simon album…

Spy.

This is another Carly Simon album; and I LOVE one of the songs, which is called Vengeance. I also really love the video-in that Carly wears an orange dress, seemingly so free, dancing to the melody of the song. (And when I needed it, this was the persona that I pretended to be.)

Coming Around Again.

You could probably call this section ‘Simon heavy’. This is one of my favourite albums of hers-because it seems so mature, in her recording history. And one of the songs, ‘All I Want Is You’, is what I would like to see played at my wedding, if ever I do marry 🙂

Spoiled Girl.

If only for its single, ‘Tired Of Being Blonde’.

Boys In The Trees.

With a gem such as ‘You Belong To me’-the very jazz-esque duet-what’s not to love?

Live At Knebworth.

This is a Genesis EP that I’m not really familiar with, but as I’ve already stated before, I do like to hear an artist live. And the same goes for Genesis.

We Can’t Dance.

One of my favourite Genesis albums, this has songs such as No Son Of Mine, Dreaming While You Sleep, Jesus He Knows Me, and I Can’t Dance. And I would love to be able to (legally) take it with me, wherever I go.

Stripped.

I remember being very small, and this being one of the very first albums that I can recall-maybe at about the age of six or seven. Christina is on top form for this album-and I love how she switches genre, from pop to rock, seemingly gospel, etc.

Back To Basics.

Another Christina album, but I love how this is ‘themed’-in that there’s a forties/fifties/sixties feel, in terms of the recording, lyrics, and album artwork. It has a far more mature vibe than Stripped, and makes me happy-especially on songs such as Makes Me Wanna Pray.

Thank You.

Megan Trainor and ‘NO’? Count me in!

What’s on your Wishlist?

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*As I’m new to this service, I have spent a lot of money, and prefer to do so in instalments, rather than a lump sum. Because I just do not have enough money to buy all the songs I’d love to own…

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

The Lebister Award.

Whew! good morning. You’ll probably think that today’s post is really self centred, pretentious, but Blog Awards are a great way for Bloggers to connect, hence why I’m writing this for today. I was nominated by Daniella, whose blog you can read by clicking here.  For this post, you have to:

  • Post eleven personal facts
  • Answer the 11 set questions
  • Nominate 11 bloggers with a further 11 questions, whilst tagging them.

Sounds easy, right? Here goes-and my eleven facts are:

1.I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in January 2015. Although that seems a long time ago, it really is not, in taking into consideration how long it took me to get diagnosed. (Because, well, to be blunt, it’s really obvious. I was the ‘different one’, the ‘freak’ who was picked on at various times. How horrible.) But I see it as ‘my job’ to raise awareness-because why should anyone be picked on?

2.The last book I read was called The Spy, based on the life of Mata Hari.

3.My hero is Jacqueline Kennedy, because she was a well educated woman, and restored the White House, spoke several languages, and was a book editor for the last twenty years of her life. *I’m always asked about her style-but I like her substance.

4.I LOVE Rock music-Queen, Genesis, Dire Straits…

5.You’ll probably find me in a library, enamoured with a dozen or more books, looking for something to read. (Or maybe with my cat, also reading.)

6.The first record I bought was A Night At The Opera (Queen) in a shop, and Resurrection (Anastacia) online. Quite the contradiction!

7.Of all the people that I wish to interview, Brian May, Queen guitarist and all around really cool person, tops the top of my list. (RT this, and @ him, okay? Ha ha!) I did meet him once, and he seems like somebody who could tell you a good story or two.

8.Funnily enough, my first cohesive memory is of listening to Queen-You’re My Best Friend. (who said I was a fan girl?!!)

9.I love to talk about politics, having taken it as one of my three A levels. Whilst I know that it can be polarising-just look at Brexit!-I think that we have a duty to hold those in power to account, and to be well informed.

10.Feminist? Yes.

11. In spite of the fact that I juggle being a full time student, a blogger, and a columnist-meaning that I have to be VERY organised-I am a very messy person.

And now for the set questions from Daniella to answer! (Still with me?)

  • Why did you start blogging? I saw an article in Shout Magazine, which was a place I could take refugee in, being a lonely pre-teen. (Not a lot has changed.) It looked really cool-and a way to write-so, with the permission of my parents, I jumped in1
  • Who inspires you, not just in the blogging world but in life? Oh lummy, that’s a tough one. Jacqueline Kennedy is my hero, but I am also inspired by Anastacia (I created my own version of one of her outfits recently), Brian May for being just a really cool person, Caitlin Moran for the way she writes, Jodi Picoult for the way she writes and tackles issues, and Lesley Ann Jones, the lovely and supremely cool rock journalist and author.
  • What social media app do you find you use the most for your blogging? WordPress to write posts from, Twitter to post.
  • One thing you are most scared of in life? Dying? (Yeah, about that…) I do believe that there is a God-because there just must be more to life than this-but I don’t want to have wasted the time I have on Earth. Oh and the Tube. Too many people-it’s an ASD thing.
  • Do you prefer a night in with friends or a night out on the town? Depends on the mood I’m in. I prefer town because I can go down to Brighton, and get lost for hours. Everything exciting seems to happen there! But I love to host Netflix evenings.
  • What topics do you blog about most and why? Too many to count! Lifestyle encompasses a lot-so books and autism, I guess. I love books-and you can never be lonely with a book-and Autism, well to raise awareness. 
  • Do you find the blogging community supportive? Largely yes. I won’t elaborate as to the ‘no’.
  • If you were an animal, what would it be and why? Always a cat-I love cats!-and my nickname is the crazy cat lady. Apt, no?
  • What is your favourite genre of music? Rock.
  • What’s the bravest thing you’ve done in the past week or so? Probably talking to a lecturer with eye contact, and I managed not to feel anxious at all. (Eye contact is a hallmark for those on the spectrum.) I also can find it hard to interpret what they mean. And yes-I’m being neutral in case they are reading this. But they are such a good teacher-it’s just me being me 🙂 This is something that I find happens frequently, in that I cannot maintain eye contact, but it is something I am overcoming. 
  • Do you prefer savoury or sweet treats? SWEET!

The Eleven Bloggers I wish to tag:

Kimberly Jessica

Country Katie Uk

This Stuff Is Golden

Lisa Kallas

A Beautiful Caos

Freya Creech

Youralmostalice

Envy Fisher

Grace Brown

Blogger Badger (Emily)

Faz

And anyone else who wishes to do so!

My questions for you:

  1. How do you keep organised, in terms of a planner?
  2. Ice cream-yay or nay?
  3. Manicure or pedicure?
  4. Apple or Samsung?
  5. First album you bought?
  6. What motivated you and why to start blogging?
  7. Dream job as a child?
  8. Would you call yourself a feminist?
  9. Who is your role model?
  10. And hero?
  11. Pineapple on pizza-yes or no?

Until tomorrow,

Lydia

XO

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Photo Diary: Day out to Brighton! 

Owing due to personal circumstance-being told I had “nothing to wear” to a party-I went down to Brighton not too long ago with a few realitives, in order to ‘remedy’ the situation. Whilst I was there, I took a lot of photos, enough for a Photo Diary Post-which I’m going to share with you now. 


(This won’t necessarily be in chronological order, due to varying quality of my photos, and the sequence of editing.)

I was fortunate enough to have lunch at Ed’s Easy Diner. This is a lovely American style diner that stays truely authentic to its USP; it has mirrored walls, graphics of the classical waitress, an all-American menu, and a lovely jukebox system. And the food is lovely! 


Although not full size, and sitting at your table, for every song choice you put twenty pence in at the top, and select the corresponding letter/number combination. Instead of playing at your table-imagine how noisy that would be!-it plays on the overhead speakers. (Fifties classics on the selection menu vary from Jailhouse Rock and Rock Around The Clock, to Hello Mary Lou and Johnny B Goode. Lovely!

I also tried a Cherry Flavour Pepsi Max; not being a big fan of fizzy drinks, I was pleasantly surprised-although this was a little bit too flat. (Too much ice!)

As a meat eater, I was pleasantly surprised at the range of meat; sometimes going round restaurants, I feel like the meat doesn’t vary a lot, and is often heavily greasy. (May not be suitable for vegetarians!)

The waiter was also lovely-very smiley with an easygoing manner. What more could anyone possibly want in a Diner?!

(Although next time I visit, I’m determined to try the desserts. But then again, Rees’ Cheesecake is not something that I can get on board with…) Give me a slice of chocolate cake and Icecream with caramel sauce any day! And there was also a possible side of sweet potato fries-I didn’t have them this time, but these are on ‘The List’ to try.

If you look carefully, you’ll be able to guess what I had to eat-although we shared a side of fries. 

Brighton is a lovely place, one of my favorite places there is; I love how there’s just a place for everyone-there isn’t a conventional standard to be followed, really.

Apart from it being utterly freezing-we had snow, people, snow!-I was happy to explore, despite being very cold at points. (Having left a spare jumper in the car, at points I was kicking myself.)

Anyway…

I can also report back that Waterstones has finally completed its general work and repairs; it now has a white exterior, marketed as a book cafe. The Romanovs was the book dominating the window display at the time; must read it soon!

(As you can see, I have a one track mind; books and food, books and food, books and food. Maybe Netflix ought to be added into the mix?!)


What’s not to love about a cat-themed beanie?!

I believe that I found this in H&M, although I may be wrong about that. It didn’t see, to be on their website, although you can find a different cat hat by clicking here.

This was a shirt that I felt particularly inspired by. Warning: a little bit of a rant coming up.

I really dislike the way that some clothes are marketed for my age range, in comparison to male counterparts; female clothing puts forward the perception of only being concerned with being a socialite, whilst male clothing is more to do with being brainy. 

Why?!?

There was one I saw online that particularly irritated me; being “allergic to algebra” is apparently a good thing in female clothing. I really disagree! 

Anyway, for once I spotted a shirt, retailing quite cheaply, and in correlation to my views. Finally!

(Sorry for the rant.)

I’ve also possibly found a replacement for my Starbucks-not that I drink it regularly-and that is probably far healthier.

Smooth is obviously a Smoothie drink franchise, that makes the smoothie up as you wait, in correlating to its menu. You can also choose your size-Kids, Small, or Regular.  (For this photo, I went for Regular-I was thirsty, after all!)

(Just as an aside: I don’t generally go around, taking photos of my food. To me, food is food; gotta eat or drink it that moment! I don’t mean this as an offensive thing to anyone who does-I just don’t want to be stereotyped as a millennial. Maybe I should do a post about that?)

But yes: eat, drink and be merry.

Hmmm….


Continuing with the cat theme…

Funnily enough, I found a bow tie for cats. (Yes, really, you read that correctly.) I was t sure what to think, to be honest. To me, putting human clothes on animals seems really cruel-the same as putting them in prams, bags, etc. But who am I to judge? 

Additionally, I also began to notice that some clothing has begun to pay far more attention to internet phases and language. Just take a look at this shirt on the left…

(‘Salty’ is essentially being sassy, I guess, although I’m not really explaining it well, for those of you who don’t know..)

In targeting collections, I guess that this could be a good idea; it’s relevant to the buying demographic, which is why we buy X, Y, or Z, right?

But then again, I do feel that it can be a little bit patronising, in making up their own abbreviations. Online one particular brand had marked one such product as being O.C.D-Obsessive Cat Disorder. 

Yep.

You read that correctly.

Basically; I’m on board if it’s fitting with actual slang, and is not used to stigmise a serious condition.

Plus, unicorns!

Generally speaking, whenever I think of an English high street, I see rain, and people dressed either in head-to-toe black, grey, maybe even brown. That’s quite a negative image, isn’t it? It just suggests boredom, trudging on, not caring.

One such marketing too, I would like to see is more of a ‘Unicorn’ vibe; putting back glitzy hues into our clothing. (Because unicorns are cool, right?)

Ironically enough, the shirt, pictured to the right, is what suggested the whole above commentary. And it’s grey!

Not that there is anything wrong with grey, it’s just running in contradiction to the point I was trying to make.

(This’ll probably be something in my next “Goals for….’ post.)

A few things I saw in Topshop!


Gotta keep teachers on their toes!

There was also a lot of stationary that made me feel very envious-for example, a kit basically making complimentary notes about somebody. What a good idea..

But then again, this epistle stack.

I’m not sure what to think.

What should I think?

And what do you think?

I’d love to know.

That way I can come to my own opinion.

Please help.

I am really not sure.

Moving on…to the final photo.

I feel in love with this leather jacket; it’s one of those garements that just seems to tick all the boxes needed. (And it’s a birthday present-I can’t wait!)

Have you visited Brighton?

Lydia

XO 

“I’m a freak of nature, better beware, danger!”; Freak Of Nature Album Review. 

You know that feeling when listening to music, that on hearing a specific song, you’re immediately transported somewhere? -could be a place, time, specific memory or event, a feeling. So, to add to my blogger routine, I’m going to be posts, reviewing CD’s from a few years ago. And along the way, I may share a few bits of what I remember..

Freak Of Nature was not a record I was aware of at time; I would have been far too little, and at the non-verbal stages, to even recall it. But this is a record that I found eventually at secondary school; a shy girl, who wished for the brassy confidence of the artist herself.

The opening track I still adore to this day; the self titled Freak Of Nature. It apparently refers to a nickname that Anastacia had herself, once long ago. And who wouldn’t, with a voice likes hers?! I like how this redefines the word ‘freak’; lyrically, it become something empowering, positive, to be proud of. After all, her fans refer to themselves as her Fanily or her Freaks. 

Next up is Paid My Dues…gotta love an upbeat, positive anthem, right? This was one for me when the going gets tough; it even references Anastacia having gotten punched in the face in L.A. (Because violence is still ostensibly attractive. As you can see, it disgusts me.) It even has a little bit of a reggae vib; this isn’t exactly pop, rock, or mowtown. It’s unique.

Thirdly; Overdue Goodbye. I think this suffers a little bit from its melody, but an acapella version could be good. I love how Anastacia makes good use of her voice.

To me, this album is the embodiment of confidence, and to just be yourself, even if that version is a little bit crazy. 

What do you think? 

Lydia

XO

 

Interview: Philipa Hanna on Singing, Speed Of Light..

Back in May, I saw Anastacia in concert; but what also caught my eye was the support act, Philipa Hanna. The lady with a huge voice…I bought her album, and have played it too many times to count since. Here, I spoke to her about her career. Thank to Tom Price and Ian Griffiths also for your help!

Hello Philippa, and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Growing up, how did you become interested in music?

My dad was a singer and often dragged me up to sing on stage with him. I don’t remember a time where I didn’t feel somehow ‘called’ to do it. I started writing songs when I was about nine.

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Philipa Hanna. (Thanks to Rosie Hardy.)

What was the first record you bought?

This is quite embarrassing, but it was a Salt & Pepper album. My dad threatened to throw it on the fire when he heard it! Very edgy rap.

How does your faith influence your music?

My faith is the centre of my world and everything else flows out of it. If I’m struggling it’s my faith I lean on. If I’m celebrating it’s God I thank. Because my life before Jesus made no sense to me, so now I rely on him fully to face the world and every task in front of me.

“Phone, purse, laptop, Body spray, hairbrush, dry shampoo, concealer, lip gloss and lots of other random things. Usually a stray Unicorn someone has given me as a gift!”

-Philipa Hanna on her handbag essentials, Mademoiselle Interview. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVNKj0fbMiU

Your new album, Speed Of Light, is a complete stunner; how did you come to create it?

Thanks so much! I went out to America to pursue some industry opportunities and I wound up meeting Kyle the producer of the album. We connected and I LOVED his take on what I could sound like and the type of artist I could be. That’s the beauty of a great Producer, they actually become like a mentor. They pull out the best from you and edit some of the stuff that needs to go…

Was any specific event of inspiration?

I used my journey to America to inspire a lot of the songs. In so many ways the process wasn’t what I hoped for – lots of things didn’t happen that I thought would happen. But in other ways it was more than I could have asked. I think that’s true of our lives all the time. We face disappointment and its easy to get angry with God. But in hindsight we see that He had our best interests in mind.

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Philipa Hanna. (Thanks to Rosie Hardy.)

What did you think about supporting Anastacia?

She was fab! And the shows were amazing. We had a really great time and made lots of new fans!

For a day at the office, what could we find in your handbag?

Phone, purse, laptop, Body spray, hairbrush, dry shampoo, concealer, lip gloss and lots of other random things. Usually a stray Unicorn someone has given me as a gift!

“I went out to America to pursue some industry opportunities and I wound up meeting Kyle the producer of the album. We connected and I LOVED his take on what I could sound like and the type of artist I could be.”

-Philipa Hanna on her album, Speed Of Light, Mademoiselle Interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-pktzrl4uw

For aspiring singers, so you have any advice?

Invest into developing your skills, work hard and above all KNOW yourself, and BE yourself.