Gig Review: A Great Big World

It could be argued that my music tastes are not exactly…sophisticated. In the past year I’ve seen 5 Seconds of Summer play four times, and One Direction twice. I spent a lot of money to see Miley Cyrus a few years ago, and cried when she played 7 Things. I also cried when I saw Big Time Rush at SlimeFest. Chances are, if it’s aimed at twelve to fifteen year olds, I will be there in a heartbeat. Target audiences? Who needs them!

Last night I went to my first concert that was not aimed at tweens, and I was a little apprehensive. I mean, what do you listen to when you take the hysterical twelve year olds out of the equation?!

The band in question was A Great Big World, of Say Something fame. I had come across one of their songs on tumblr accidentally, and instantly bought their debut album because it was so perfect. Aside from Say Something, their style is probably best described as super enthusiastic pop. The kind of music you just have to smile while listening to.

Despite having their album on repeat for months, I knew little of the actual band. Until I asked my friend Michelle at the concert, I wasn’t even sure which country they were from (which is a big deal for me, the girl who spent the entirety of year nine looking at The Jonas Brothers’ house on google earth). It turns out they’re two twenty-something guys from New York City, Chad Vaccarino and Ian Axel, but they also brought along a pretty kick-ass backing band.

From the moment they started playing The Circle of Life to introduce themselves onto stage, the only word I could think of to describe both the band and their performance was fun. They were bouncing around and genuinely so excited to be there. Chad, especially, has the best smile I have ever seen. He smiles with his entire face, and it was near impossible to not feel immensely happy while looking at him.

A lot of concerts these days are so utterly commercialised, and it’s like the artists are merely reading a script (“Hey *insert city*! You guys are the best crowd we’ve ever had, we’re so excited to be here!), but last night Chad and Ian were positively radiating enthusiasm. Even when playing their two sadder songs, Say Something and I Don’t Want To Love Somebody Else, the absolute joy of their performance was evident.

I’ve been trying to find a youtube video to capture the perfection of seeing them live, but everything I’m finding is coming up short. They were just so happy to be playing for us, and we were so happy to have them there. When you add Chad’s pink trumpet and enthusiastic triangle playing and Ian’s bouncing keyboard skills to the equation, you’re left with something that can’t quite be replicated unless you were actually there, in that moment.

Living in the moment was actually one of the big themes of the concert, with their songs This Is The New Year and Cheer Up! being all about finding happiness and fresh starts in every situation. This Is The New Year is definitely one of my favourite songs by them, and you may know it from Glee (although, you also may not, as everyone with any sense stopped watching that show many years ago). It’s a reminder that new years are not limited to January 1st, and that you can take any moment to make a change. 

My absolute favourite song by them, however, is Rockstar. I was so excited when they opened the show with it, and a teensy bit disappointed that the nature of concerts is that you can’t play the same song twice.

 It’s a big deal for me to say this, because I have seen almost all of my favourite bands in concert, but I think A Great Big World last night was the best live show I’ve ever seen. It was so down to earth, so positive, so catchy, so fun. I started the show with a smile on my face, and it didn’t leave until I went to sleep last night. If all you know of A Great Big World is Say Something, do yourself a favour and look up the rest of their music. They’re playing Brisbane tonight, Melbourne tomorrow, and Auckland on Tuesday, so it’s not too late to catch them on this tour. Otherwise, you can cross your fingers with me hoping it won’t be too long until they’re back in Australia again. 

frangipani princess xoxo


Watch: Project:Library

Youtubers are no longer content to sit and make vlogs, they’re increasingly creating high quality short films and web series. Take for instance Charlie McDonnell’s Tea Chronicles, or the new offering from a group of British Youtubers, Project:Library.

Project: Library was created by TimH and Mike Cannon, and written by the creators, as well as Benjamin Cook (of Becoming Youtube fame) and Jack Howard.

Tag lined “An action movie. With books!”, the series follows the story of a library on the brink of closure who discover that a book was borrowed in 1989 and never returned. They calculate the fee due at one million pounds, enough to save the library, and set out to get that fee no matter the consequences.

Each episode is short enough to keep your attention, so well made you forget you’re watching a youtube show, and full of familiar faces from the British Youtubing community. There’s not more you could ask for, really.

The first episode premiered today, with one episode set to be released each week.

Check it out!

frangipani princess xoxo

Becoming Youtube And The Dark Side Of Fandom

I am a huge fangirl. I cry daily when I think about boy bands. I read fan-fiction more than I read books. I follow the Jonas Brother’s cousins on twitter. But there is a line to my fangirling, and along with that line comes a distaste for the absolute insane behaviour of many fangirls (and boys). The fact of the matter is, many fans take things too far. Groping celebrities (or even touching celebrities without their permission), asking personal questions, invading their privacy, shipping them (and telling them about your ships), linking them to fanfic…the list of uncomfortable fan behaviour goes on and on and on.

Earlier this week I watched Becoming Youtube: Youtube vs. The World. 

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Gig Review: BriBry

By Steph Marinkovic

Irish singer/songwriter and vlogger, Brian O’Reilly, who goes by BriBryontour on the ‘Tube has been on tour (hence the name) in Australia for the past week. I’ve been quite a fan of BriBry for a few years now though I’ve never really listened to his music, opting instead to focus on his vlogs. But when he announced his Australian tour this year, I thought I’d support him and see his show.


Continue reading

Frangi Chats To…Alex Day!

Note: I’m having trouble with the formatting of this post, but I’ll try and fix it tonight. Sorry for the annoyance guys!

This interview has literally been a year in the making. But fear not, because it is finally here.


For those of you who don’t know, Alex Day is an extremely talented British Youtuber. You may have seen his hilarious series, “Alex Reads Twilight”, or maybe heard one of his brilliant songs (Forever Yours went to number four in the 2011 UK Christmas Chart). Maybe you just know him as Charlie McDonnell’s best friend. If you’re reading this and you don’t know of him, I order you to race over to his youtube channel, Nerimon, as soon as you can, and fall in love with him yourself.

I have loved Alex for over three years. When I was on exchange in 2010, his Alex Reads Twilight videos were the main way I coped with my crushing homesickness and managed to stay the full six months. From that time, I vowed that one day I would speak to him for my blog.

It turns out we’re both hopeless communicators (or maybe just have a lot of things on our plates. He’s busy making videos and music, and I’ve been trying to finish high school and survive University), because it has taken twelve months from the first email I sent, to the moment of this interview finally appearing on my blog. I suspect some of you thought it would never happen. But after many emails (and much fangirling on my behalf every time one appeared in my inbox – I promise I at least pretend to be professional), and Alex being lovely enough to answer every question I sent his way, here is the much awaited for interview with Alex Day.


On Vlogging

What made you begin making youtube videos?
I just thought it’d be fun 🙂 That’s the best reason to do anything, I think.

 Is your ultimate goal music or vlogging, and why?
Definitely music. I see vlogging as something I really enjoy and I’m really proud of my videos but I never expected to be a filmmaker professionally, it’s just one part of what I do, and I’d be much prouder to be remembered for my music because I put so much more work and heart into those. Making music makes me happier than anything else I do.

Something you are best known for is your “Alex Reads Twilight” videos. What made you begin these, and did you expect the response you received?
I really didn’t! I just bought the book cos I thought it would make for a fun idea for a video, but when I sat down to read the first chapter I thought ‘there’s way too much gold in here for just one video’ and so I split them up chapter by chapter. It wasn’t intended to be such a big thing.

(Reader Question) You’ve been a youtuber for many years now, and work very hard. Do you have an opinion on “newer” youtubers such as Jack and Finn who have large numbers of subscribers with very little effort?
I think you’re underestimating Jack and Finn, who take their YouTubing far more seriously than I do. For me, making videos is just a thing I did in my spare time and it got out of control! Either way, Jack and Finn are hugely attractive so I of course hate them. 🙂

On Solo Music

What is your favourite song that you have released, and why?
In terms of the release and everything it achieved it has to be Forever Yours but I actually think Good Morning Sunshine is the song I’m proudest of, from those I’ve released so far 🙂 I love the sound and style of it and it means a lot to me personally.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Bruno Mars, because I think he writes really great songs.

What was the creation process like for your album?
It was quite disconnected; I kept going into the studio throughout 2011 and 2012 making songs as and when I wanted to, not really focusing on an end product but on making the best song I could each time until I eventually had enough that it felt right to collate them together. The first thing you do (or at least I do) when discovering a new artist is check what their recent good songs were, which usually means finding their most recent album on Spotify and listening to it, so I wanted to have that there to get everything in one place.
How did you come up with the title for your album? 
It’s from a book by Friedrich Nietzsche called Beyond Good And Evil. I first heard it in 2006 and thought “that would be a good album title” – when I released my first album in 2009 the plan was to call it Epigrams And Interludes until another title grabbed me that I felt was more relevant. The same thing happened with the second album. Finally I knew I had to get it out of my system and make it, and it so happened that it fit thematically on this one as well so I was happy 🙂
Your song “Bread”, is very creative. What is the inspiration behind it? 
Thanks! Credit for the lyrics must go to the writer, Charlie McDonnell, who originally released the song in 2010. I released my second album the same time he released his and the original plan was to each cover one song, to release them both on iTunes and effectively help promote each other while having some fun. Charlie was all set to record my song Georgia and I picked Bread, which I did with my good friend Tom Milsom producing (he produced my first two albums and a few of the songs on Epigrams), but Charlie sadly never did his cover and I was left with a song I had no place for until now.
What’s your favourite song on the album? 
Ooh, I don’t know! Production-wise, I’m proudest of Oh No! I’m In Love :(, which is also the only song I’ve ever been aware of that has an emoticon in the title, but my favourite song over all is probably Good Morning Sunshine or I’ve Got What It Takes. It’s hard, though. I obviously like them all 🙂
You’ve said the video for “I’ve Got What It Takes” was the hardest you’ve created to date. What was the creation process like? 
Oh, god, yeah it was. The video was being edited – this isn’t an exaggeration – an hour before it was supposed to go live at midnight. It got to 11:55 and the video went live, being uploaded from the UK by my cameraman while I was in America and people started watching it before I had even seen the finished result! So it was very stressful but we’re both super proud of it.
Do you have plans for your next single release? 
I haven’t got plans for my next single release because I haven’t written any songs yet that I think are good enough. For now I’m happy for Epigrams to sit and bookend that phase of my life before I move on to new things.
You got some pretty cool covers when you released Stupid Stupid, including one from Stephen Fry. How’d you get everyone involved? 
With Stephen I actually just emailed him and asked. I said “can you please spend just a few minutes reading these lyrics aloud and send them back?” and he said “obviously not because I’m in Twelfth Night at the moment and have literally no time”, although obviously he was nicer than that because he is Stephen Fry and the nicest man in the world. Anyway a week later I get an email from him with an audio attachment – he had a spare 15 minutes and remembered I’d asked and did it! What a lovely man. And as a special bonus, his email signature said “sent from my fryPhone”. ❤
When you released “Stupid Stupid” you also held Stupidfest, is this something you hope to do again with future releases? 
No, it was just a one off special thing I wanted to do to be silly. I would like to do a tour though. I’m trying to figure that out at the moment.

On Fans

Have you had any crazy encounters with fans?
Someone gave me an apple with a condom packet sellotaped to it and their phone number written on. My first thought: “why the apple?”

Do you think that fans sometimes go “too far” in regards to celebrities (whether that be “youtube celebrities” or “mainstream celebrities”) and their actions?
Not intentionally, no. People are always speculating on who I’m dating, and occasionally people turn up at my window peering in at me and taking photos while I’m eating a sandwich, but it’s not meant maliciously. So while I’d say certain things cross a line, I think it’s just up to people to define what their personal boundaries are so people know what to expect and to make sure not to cross those boundaries.


On Australia

What do you think of Australia and your Australian fans?
I love Australia! I really wanna go back cos people are always asking – I never realised how many people know me over there. Actually another of my short-term goals is to get major support on Triple J with whatever my next single release is, so maybe that’ll give me a reason 🙂

Your music has been playing on the radio here in Australia, any chance of you making a visit? 
REALLY? That’s awesome!! I didn’t know that 😀 I actually if I do get to do this big tour I think I should definitely stop off there because everyone always tells me I have a big reach there, which is great ❤

On Chameleon Circuit

How did you first come up with the idea for Chameleon Circuit? 
It was easy, really – all of my friends were in wizard rock bands (playing songs about Harry Potter), and I knew if I got into that I’d just be another person writing songs about Harry Potter, and I liked Doctor Who more anyway, and since nobody else was doing that we got to be the first! And that was way more exciting 😀 It also happened that I’d written a song around the Doctor Who theme tune and Charlie had written a song about his favourite Who episode ‘Blink’ and between us we thought ‘that’s two songs – we should start a band!’
What has been the highlight of being in Chameleon Circuit? 
Playing on stage at VidCon in 2011. That was the most rockstar I think I’ll ever feel or look. It was awesome. And I got to play bass which always makes me feel sexy.
What’s your favourite Chameleon Circuit song? 
I think The Doctor Is Dying has a really awesome epic feel to it but I’m also very personally proud of Teenage Rebel because of how little it references Who. It’s the epitome to me of what fandom music should be; good music in its own right, not overtly referencey. On Chameleon Circuit’s second album we tried to reference the show as little as possible but write songs that would stand up on their own (the one exception being Charlie’s song Big Bang 2).
Can we expect any more Chameleon Circuit albums in the future? Maybe for the 50th Anniversary? 
We’ve talked about it, but none of us are really enjoying Doctor Who that much at the moment. I had some ideas with my producer, though, that excited me so I’m sure it’ll happen at some point.

On Sopio: 

Do you have any plans to release new Sopio decks in the near future? 
We do! Deck 4 had a ‘twisted carnival’ theme (I like to refer to it as Sopio Nights) so for Deck 5 we’re doing Sopio In Space. It has a metallic silver border and loads of space jokes. It’ll be out in the summer I think – July or August time.
On LifeScouts: 
How is LifeScouts going? 
That’s a question with really two different answers; the first is “it’s going great! We’re releasing a hundred badges this year and we send out loads of orders every day and people seem to really love it!” – the second is the one my accountant will give which is “Alex has put over thirty thousand pounds into this and we haven’t even made it back yet OH GOD THIS IS SUCH A MASSIVE FAILURE”. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.
How many LifeScouts badges have you sold? 
About 5,500 🙂
On Career: 

What has been the highlight of your career to date?
The release of Forever Yours, hearing my song on the radio on Christmas Day after a week of everyone supporting me and buying the song for each other, it was such a great time 🙂

If you could achieve anything in the next year, what would it be?
I’d love to sell a million copies of my music by the end of next year, that’d be a nice achievement.

On Advice

If you could tell your seventeen-year-old self anything, what would it be?
Get a hair cut. When I started vlogging I used to get comments all the time from people saying ‘sort your hair out, get a hair cut’ and I never cared, I just left it all long and matty and tangled. I was a state. Sort it out.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“You should go for the Christmas number 1” 🙂 My friend Jonathan gave me the idea.

Do you have any of your own advice to share?
Just to go for things. People spend so much time wondering about stuff. I think an opportunity analysed will end up just being missed.

If Alex does come to Australia, I’ll definitely try and do an in-person interview. Meeting him is definitely on my bucket list!

frangipani princess xoxo

Watch: Shane Koyczan

I love words.

I love the way they meld together to create beautiful sentences and powerful messages.

I also love Poetry. While Sylvia Plath is a noted exception, my general rule is that I Do Not Like Poetry We Studied At School. I do, however, adore contemporary poetry, such as that by Katrina Vandenberg and Derrick C. Brown (if you the names are familiar, Katrina Vandenberg is quoted at the beginning of Paper Towns by John Green, and Derrick C. Brown’s poem “Instead Of Killing Yourself” is viral on tumblr).

I was browsing tumblr a  days ago and I saw this post (forgive me, screencapping gifs never works out well – actual post here):

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 5.10.49 PMI thought to myself “wow, that’s pretty accurate to my life” and so when I saw there was a source given for the quote, I clicked on it.

It led me to this video.

It was love at first listen. It’s called “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan, and it’s so beautiful I’m planning to get a line tattooed (“We are graduating members from the class of We Made It” if you were wondering).

I searched Shane on Tumblr, and discovered many more of his amazing spoken word poems.

While they’re all amazing, my favourites are “The Crickets Have Arthritis” (I dare you not to cry)

and “Instructions For A Bad Day”

Even if you hate poetry, I urge you to watch these videos. I promise they will impact you in the most profound way. And if (as I predict) you fall in love with him, be sure to look up some more of his poetry. Some are hilarious, some are serious, but all will leave you speechless at their beauty.

frangipani princess xoxo

Planet Jedward

I seem to have a particular liking for teen or early twenty something guy singers who are a little bit different. By different, I mean completely crazy, in a boy band, or both. Knowing this, it probably comes as no surprise that after watching Eurovision on the weekend I came away with an obsession for Jedward. You don’t know who Jedward are? This is Jedward. 

Jedward are nineteen year old twin brothers John and Edward Grimes, who rose to ‘fame’ on X-Factor UK in 2009. I say ‘fame’ because well, they couldn’t actually sing that well and became more known for their crazy outfits and absolute hilarity. Here’s their audition:

The Irish brothers made it to the top six before being voted out, much to the annoyance of Simon Cowell  who believed they shouldn’t have made it past the auditions.
They have risen to fame again after winning the Irish public vote to represent their nation at Eurovision. Here’s what they performed:

They are just so freaking brilliant. They ended up coming eighth in the contest, which is a pretty awesome achievement.
I love them because they’re just so crazy and random and never let haters get them down. They sing Katy Perry songs in bubble-baths and dance to Single Ladies in red skin-tight jump suits. It is impossible not to watch one of their videos, or read one of their tweets, or see a picture of them and not smile. They don’t take themselves seriously, which is a brilliant trait to have, and one more people in the entertainment industry should try and gain.
Here’s one more clip of them:

They just make me so happy 🙂

Are you on planet Jedward?

frangipani princess xoxo

Interview With Julia Albain – Part Three:

And finally, here is the conclusion to my interview with Team Starkid’s talented Julia Albain. In this final part, we chat about her favourites, Harry Potter, her inspirations, and her advice for life. (I assume this part also has horrible gaps before the ‘read more’ and such, which I’m not awesome enough to fix, so please ignore. I so apologise):

What was your favourite song in A Very Potter Musical?

Not Alone.
What was your favourite song in A Very Potter Sequel?
No Way.
And what was your favourite song in Starship?
A tie between Kick It Up A Notch and The Way I Do

If you had a choice would you go to Hogwarts or Pigfarts?
What was your favourite book and movie in the Harry Potter series?
My favourite book was number six. I’m gonna be honest and say I haven’t seen all the movies because I stopped really enjoying them after like number three or four. I just like the books better so it’s hard for me to watch the movies. So yeah, I don’t really have a preference on the movies.
If you were at Hogwarts, which house would be you in?
Well, everyone says Gryffindor, everyone wants to be Gryffindor. And I think I would be a Gryffindor. I think I can confidently say I would be a Gryffindor.
Is there a particular Harry Potter character you feel you can relate to the most?
You know, I think I’m a strange combination of Hermione and Ron, which sounds like a crazy combination but like Hermione cos she gets like so wrapped up in wanting to do right and work hard, but I’m also just like kind of clumsy and like get myself in trouble and say the wrong things and say too much sometimes and that reminds me of Ron so I think I’m like this weird combination of them.
What is your favourite scene from a Starkid production?
You know, I thought the whole Voldemort tap dancing thing was kind of brilliant but the favourite scene I’ve ever done was just that short little “Hermione Can’t Draw” scene in the sequel, cos it just…I don’t know what it was. We just cracked up every time. It never got old to us and we would always just walk off stage crying with laughter. So that’s just one of those fun memories we have.
What’s your all time favourite musical?
Funny Girl. The musical Funny Girl. I used to watch that when I was sick when I was little and that was like “I’m gonna be an actress”. That was the one that did it for me.

If you lived in an ideal world where whatever you wanted to happen, happened, where would you see yourself in five years time?
In five years I would say I would like to…there’s a lot. There’s a lot I could see happening in five years. I’m interested and I’m intrigued by the idea of us doing a television show and working in television in general really would intrigue me. So I think I would like to have that be a part of my life at some point, whether it’s all of us together, or whether it’s just me on my own. I would really like to have written a lot more and to get better at it, cos there’s for sure things that I would have sure changed or done differently with this book that now I’ve learned from. And then I certainly think I would have liked to have garnered more of a reputation and a building resume and career as a director. And that’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently and I’m gonna try to start working towards and having certain projects developed because I really do enjoy directing and it’s something that I think I would like to build a career on.

Your book is filled with inspirational quotes and you also like, regularly tweet them. Do you have one particular favourite quote that you just really, really love?
Yes. There’s this quote by Mary Oliver and it says “What is it that you plan to do with this one wild and precious life?”. And I love that because it’s just like…it’s just a reminder that what we have is a gift and a great opportunity to create something incredible. And sometimes we get so caught up in like the mundanity of our day by day that we forget to say that we have this opportunity to sculpt something miraculous that’s going to be left behind in our name, and that’s what we should all be striving for.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Wow, that’s a tricky one. I collect these things from different people and the lives they’ve built. I admire a lot of what Tina Fey has done because she’s gotten to do a lot of different stuff and she’s built this very variety based career. I have a lot of admiration for Steve Martin cos he’s a brilliant writer in addition to being an actor. So yeah, I’d say those are two people in the industry that really inspire me, and then there’s this one writer, he’s dead now, but he’s a Lebanese poet named Khalil Jebran and his book “The Prophet” is probably my all time favourite book and his writing just…it just inspires me, it enthuses me with this idea of what life is and how it should be lived. So that I would say.
One last question, what advice would you give to teen girls about to enter the real world, or just about life in general?

Oh man, that’s a great question cos this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and it’s something that I feel almost like I hopefully will be able to have like a side career mentoring and working in this way, cos I’m just…I’m encountering these…I can remember coming out of high school into college and college into the real world and I’m still learning, I’m still young obviously, but there’s a lot of girls that I meet and talk to and they have just been made to believe that things that they dream aren’t possible so they stop dreaming and it just breaks my heart because it’s like the minute people stop dreaming, that’s where society starts to fall apart. And it gets cracks and holes and people begin to get unhappy and it’s just crazy that if you have this strong desire or calling on your part, that you wouldn’t at least try to go after it. Because you’re never going to, it’s never going to be a mistake to try. It will never, ever, ever be a mistake to try. And I just think that you don’t have to know how it will work out, but you just have to know what you want. And that’s how I’ve come to live my days. And trust me, I’ve got some dreams that are insane, that I go ‘I don’t know how this is going to work out’, but I also, when I was in New York I had a dream of living with all of my best friends and just getting to do the work that we loved, and a year later that came to be in ways that I couldn’t have ever planned for or anticipated. But I knew what I wanted and I just had to believe that that was going to work out. So I just think that for anyone else in that phase of life, you’ve got to commit to dreaming and finding and really looking at what you want out of your life, and find a little piece of yourself that believes that you can have and do the things you love and want. Because really like, the things that you want, want you and that’s where you’re going to make the most impact and actually help the most other people.  

Thank you so much, Julia. 
You’re so welcome! I think that we should probably try and like come to Australia, because we have such a big base there, and why not? How cool?!  We will keep that in mind and put it on the back burner. So we should try and put that in the five year plan! My five year goal is that some point we will try and come to Australia. 

A million thanks to Julia for taking time to chat to me. I really, really appreciate it. 
A final reminder that Julia’s brilliant book ‘A Glamourously Unglamorous Life’ can be purchased here
Julia can be seen in Team Starkid productions ‘A Very Potter Musical’ and ‘A Very Potter Sequel’ as Crabbe, and in ‘Starship’ as Specs. All shows can be found on their youtube page.

frangipani princess xoxo

Interview With Julia Albain – Part Two:

As promised, here is part two of my interview with Team Starkid’s very lovely Julia Albain. In this part we chat Team Starkid, fans, and more on her career: (again, I’m hopeless and don’t know how to fix the ugly gaps. Sorry!)

Have you ever thought about what would have happened if you hadn’t shown up that day to help paint the sets for A Very Potter Musical?

Yeah, I think about that all the time, cos it’s literally changed the whole trajectory of my life. But I’ve also found that I take time in my life just to really look at what I want and what my like, clear vision is for my life. And when you lay that out, when you journal that out, when you whatever. When you take the time to actually ask yourself what you want your life to look like and get intentional about that…usually you end up at the right place at the right time. So it’s not…it’s like there are all these tiny little miracles but it never feels…it doesn’t really surprise me that that happened, you know what I mean? And it doesn’t surprise me that it was hinged on the decision of showing up or not showing up, cos that’s the other thing I’ve found. That usually, you’re whole life, it’s based on whether or not you just show up. And being at the right place at the right time. And so if you’re willing to always show up, and know exactly what you want, you usually just find yourself exactly where you’re meant to be.

You were friends with all the Starkids before the play though, weren’t you?
Yeah. Our program was really small so yeah, it was just like a big family.
What exactly did you study at university?
I received my BFA in Acting, so that’s my official degree.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Oh gosh. The highlight of my career. That’s tricky cos most of my career thusfar has happened in school, you know what I mean? I’ve only done two shows now post-grad and written a book. So those are the only three artistic things I’ve done post-grad. I would say The Sequel was a pretty special time and then in school directing The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot was a major highlight cos it was just such an incredible project that really amplified that love of directing for me and we were all really, really proud of what we had created. So actually I would say that is my absolute favourite project I’ve ever done.

In your book, you say you never expected the reaction that came to A Very Potter Musical. Do you consider yourself to be like a celebrity now that it has kind of exploded everywhere?
No. No, no, no, no. Which I know…it’s interesting when I meet people who want to treat us like that and you know, so it’s like funny for me when we go to these places and people want our autographs and it’s so awesome and special and I obviously am thankful for it cos that like gives me the audience for the book ad everything. But, uh, no. I’m not a celebrity. I walk down the street and no one knows who I am, and that’s totally fine with me. And yeah, our lives are pretty normal. We’re all pretty normal twenty somethings, we’re all still a little broke, we all have bills to pay,  and it’s very, very normal actually. It’s much more normal than I think people realize. But we’re extraordinarily lucky at the same time that we have this, and we get to do this, and we get to do this together.
You guys are quite big over here now. You have quite a big fan base, especially since Darren has been on Glee. And when magazines do a feature on him, they’ll include a little mention of you guys, and suddenly most of the kids at school have seen your shows and are quoting them everywhere.
I’ve read that! We have these pockets, like obviously the United States is a big one, and then there’s the UK and then Australia. For whatever reason, there’s like a big pocket of our fans and followers down in Australia. And I always think that’s so cool, like, of all the places in the world, Australia couldn’t be further away but it’s awesome.
What’s the most memorable fan encounter you’ve had?
Well, when I was in New York a couple of weeks ago for the screenings for Starship, I had the first person bring me my book to sign. And that…I almost cried, cos that’s kind of a moment where you’re like, oh my gosh.  A year ago I’d been in New York having like, a rough time, and a year later I’d turned that rough time into a book that now someone was asking me to sign. So that was like this very full circle and very cool encounter and I made sure I told the girls “You have no idea…this is kind of like a big moment for me.” So that was pretty special.
At the other end of the spectrum, what’s the weirdest or creepiest fan encounter you’ve experienced or witnessed with Team Starkid?
Ah, you know, there are people who just get over zealous in the sense that…I think that when it comes down to it, it’s just when people look at us as celebrities rather than just people who they would like to admire our work. Like we rely on, and we love our fans, we really do. It’s incredible what the fans have enabled us to do. But I know that like when we were in Orlando last year for Infinitus, we were walking around the park one day and we were just walking. We were just hanging out, you know, me and my friends in Disneyworld. And out of nowhere this girl just came barreling and just grabbed Joe Walker. Just grabbed him so hard, like almost knocked him over and just wouldn’t let go. And I was just like Oh My Gosh. Like those are moments that I, you know, never, in all my years of college you never could have told me that that was something I would encounter. Or like, one time, and I don’t think this is weird, but it was just a funny moment where a girl came to a show, and she handed me something and was like “Will you sign this for me please?” and I was like “Sure” and it was a headshot of Darren. And I was just like, it was a goofy thing because you never could have told me in college that someday someone would be asking me to autograph Darren’s headshot, you know what I mean? It’s just kind of goofy. Stuff like that. And when people get really excited and maybe a little too touchy-feely. It’s like, you know. We’re just people.
How did the process of creating Starship differ from that of creating A Very Potter Musical and Sequel?
Well, for A Very Potter Musical and Sequel they…well, first of all, for A Very Potter Musical, I came in four days before the show went up so I wasn’t there for the whole process. So I was literally there for those four days before opening night. That was a very fast paced thing though, you know, again they were just pulling it together at the last minute. And then for the Sequel it was this time last year. At this time last year we were in Ann Arbor and basically everyone flew in. People were in LA and New York and had settled in various cities and we all flew into Ann Arbor for ten days and we just did a boot camp. From 11am to 11pm every day we rehearsed and ten days later we performed the show. And it’s crazy, but it’s also kind of exhilarating when you do it that way. With Starship, it was a process that went on for months. Like we started rehearsals right after the New Year in January and then the show went up mid-February so we were in rehearsal for almost six weeks. And then the show ran for twelve nights, which isn’t very long in theatre terms, but for us was very long because we’d only ever done three night productions and this was twelve. So it just felt like we were doing Starship for two solid months. And then we, as the company, had been in pre-production from October when we first moved here. We’d been doing all the planning and organizing, so that show to me felt like it was a four month process. Whereas A Very Potter Sequel lasted ten days and I was back in New York before I knew it.

Are there any more Starkid shows that are being planned?
Yeah, we’re constantly developing new shows cos we want to be able to be doing more content. Lauren and I have a show that we have been brainstorming and working on and there’s other ideas floating around. We definitely want to be able to be getting out more content and so hopefully there’ll be another show done by the end of the year.
Continued thanks to Julia for being so lovely and agreeing to chat with me. It means a lot.
Part three, the final part of the interview, in which we chat more about Team Starkid and also about inspirations, will be up soon. 
Remember you can buy Julia’s fabulous book ‘A Glamourously Unglamorous Life’ here.
Watch Julia in Starkid productions ‘A Very Potter Musical’ and ‘A Very Potter Sequel’ as Crabbe, and in ‘Starship’ as Specs. All shows are able to be found on their youtube channel.

frangipani princess xoxo

Interview With Julia Albain – Part One:

Last year when I was in France, I found Julia Albain’s blog. Julia, of Team Starkid fame, had been writing her blog whilst living in New York, and there were sections on homesickness and the true, hard reality of living in a new place that I found I could really relate to at the time. Fast forward a few months, and after moving to Chicago with the rest of the Starkid graduates, she had turned her story into a book titled “A Glamourously Unglamorous Life” (available here), which I downloaded and read in one sitting. Full of musings on her career and life in general, with inspirational quotes placed at handy intervals, you finish reading and are left motivated. 
I decided to email Julia to see if she would be willing to answer a few questions for me, and she was lovely enough to agree to a skype interview (my very first. Gulp.). So, on Saturday morning I anxiously waited by my computer for the call to come in, so that I could chat with the actress behind Crabbe in A Very Potter Musical and Sequel, and Specs in Team Starkid’s newest show Starship. Here’s what happened next.

The interview is super long, so I’ll be posting it in three parts. This part is all about her book, New York and her career path. (note: I am hopeless at tech-y things and cannot for the life of me work out how to get rid of the giant gap between this sentence and the ‘read more’. It looks horrible, I know, and I do apologise!)

Thanks so much for agreeing to do this!
Of course! I can’t believe it’s tomorrow morning! It’s like I’m talking to the future! This is quite an experience!
First of all, what inspired you to turn your story into a book?
I was leaving New York, and I was just like kind of getting nostalgic and reviewing the blog that I had kept while I was there which was just something I really did for me and I saw you know, what a journey I’d been on really and I thought, ‘hmmm maybe I could turn this into a book’. And then I just kind of started working on it and it really just came together very organically and I don’t think I was ever super serious about publishing it. And then one day I just thought that that would be a great challenge to take on, that that would be something I had never thought I could do so I might as well try it and that was kind of how that happened. But it was really this thing that I wrote throughout my time in New York just for myself and then I looked back on it and saw that the book was there, you know what I mean? It had basically written itself.
How long did it take you to come up with the finished product and what was the process involved?
Like I said, I journaled basically for my year in New York and when I was leaving in August, it was when I decided I should probably turn it into a book, so from August to March really was when I was working on it, so what? Eight months?
So not overly long, as far as some books go.
No, no. It was very short.
In your book, you talk of having a bit of a career crisis. When you were in highschool were you sure you wanted to be an actress?
Yes. At the time, in high school, when I was leaving high school going into college, I was 100% sure that I wanted to be an actress. Throughout college I discovered a love for directing and I didn’t lose my love for acting, but I just discovered this new found love for directing, and then writing came as a kind of a way for me to be creative any time I wanted. You know, as an actor, a director, you kind of have to wait for opportunities or create the opportunities yourself but it’s not an instantaneous thing. Writing was something that at any moment, any day, I could sit down and just appease my thoughts and just my need to create. And that was kind of how that formulated. And then it became a crisis because I didn’t know which one I wanted to do most.
Was there one moment in your life that made you believe acting was for you?
You know, from the time I was little, I like did all that. My parents say they like knew from when I was six years old cos I wanted to go to Dance Class and I was like doing all that stuff.
In your book, you said you began to describe yourself as a Storyteller. Do you still feel this describes you?
Yeah. I realized that I didn’t have to pick one.  I didn’t want to have to pick acting. I didn’t want to have to pick directing. I didn’t want to have to pick writing. I found, and it’s a journey I’m still going on but I’m discovering that I need all three in my life, so instead of trying to be burdened under some label I said ‘what do all these things do’ and it’s all just telling stories. And I think for me it’s just understanding that different stories demand to be told in a different way, there’s some stories that I can only tell by acting them, and there’s some stories that I can only tell by directing or by writing them. And it’s all just like finding the things within myself that like, my voice, my little internal voice is meant to say and I think that when you tune into those, the right projects come along that facilitate you to tell the stories in the way they’re meant to be told.
How did you get into directing?
I ran a theatre company in my home town during the summers between college and that was actually my first taste of directing. And I think it was just kind of like something….I probably just fell into it. Like I was the only one willing to direct the show that summer for the company so I did that and it kind of sparked an interest. And when I went back to college I would always take directing classes as an actor just to get in more acting time but then I would also be receiving all the directing kind of teachings and stuff. And they have this organization called Basement Arts which is where the Potter shows and stuff were produced and you know it allowed the opportunity for anyone basically to propose a project and I found this play that I was in love with and I, my senior year proposed that just ‘cos I wanted to tackle it and that show really solidified that I loved directing, that it was really such a powerful thing for me.
If you could pick just one, what would your highlight of living in New York be?
My highlight of living in New York was certainly the musical community that I sort of stumbled backwards into. But I just unintentionally met a lot of musicians and spent a lot of time around musicians there and I loved it. I loved it. I loved those people and I loved kind of the atmosphere and the like, community that they created. And I met, you know, some incredible musicians that are just up and coming. Like I’ve got this friend Rachel who I think in the next couple of years is going to be world known but I like knew her before and it’s just kind of like this cool thing that happened and it was so accidental, and I’m not a musician but I found that that is actually a community that I really like, get drawn towards, and I don’t know what the reason for that is but I’m always really drawn towards musicians and the musical community.
At the other end of the spectrum, you mentioned a lot of hard times in your book, but what was the hardest for you living in New York?
The hardest part is being there and not knowing what it exactly is that you want to be doing. And I think that was what kind of made being in New York tough, cos I was on a journey trying to figure out what I wanted my life to look like, and I still am obviously. But especially being there, there’s so much going on that you can just get so overwhelmed and lost in it and there’s also this, there’s this kind of, you don’t have it figured out, and you won’t, you know, in your twenties. I don’t think you’ll ever have it all figured out. But in New York it’s so big and so scary you just go ‘I could get lost here and I could get trapped’ and I saw myself…I was so afraid that that would be the rest of my life. That I would find myself ten years from then nannying still. You know what I mean. And having just been so overwhelmed by the fear of the city that I never like pushed forward and did what I wanted to do with my life.
You worked a few jobs while living in New York, is this still the case in Chicago or do you work full time for Starkid?
Here in Chicago I do work full time for Starkid and then I also do some private teachings and coachings and obviously I’ve gotten more invested in my writing a little bit and trying to like monetize that, but I’m happy to say I don’t have to nanny any more. Not that I don’t love kids, but it is nice to, for at least now, to be scraping my livelihood together from the things that I really love, so that’s a cool thing.
Yeah, that would be cool. You mention in your book that a lot of actors have to work lots of jobs to like, pay the rent, so be able to make a living out of what you love would be great.
Yeah. What’s funny about now is that when I was working the nannying job it was at least more stable, and now it feels like more of a hustle, like you have to really work to bring in the opportunities to like make money off of your art, but it’s worth it.

So many thanks to Julia who was lovely enough to chat with me. It means so much. 
Parts two and three will be posted soon. You can expect more about Starkid, and some wonderful advice on life.
Reminder that her book can be purchased here.
Julia can be found in Team Starkid’s shows over at their youtube page

frangipani princess xoxo