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Casting “Anti-Agency”, New Hope for the Industry?

23 Apr

A post from my music blog – follow!

Music. Good Energy. Love.

As a singer (or actor or dancer), you get bombarded with all of these expectations from the the industry, from society, from really everyone that isn’t your mom and dad. I’ve never been a fan of this. People who know me and are following me on this musical journey know that developing an “image” has been harder for me than any other thing in this process. The fact that I have market myself with photoshoots and Ashley Xtina stickers, is a whole lot more stressful for me than writing good songs, putting out great music and performing on stage. Because in the end that’s what I am, singer, a songwriter, not a brand, right? Right? (Hahahaha)

I know nothing about fashion, or make-up or even how to dye my hair really. But I do know what I like, what I don’t like, what I can afford and what I wish…

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Ashley Xtina Music – Metropolitan Room New Talent Industry Showcase

21 Jan

Ashley Xtina Music - Metropolitan Room New Talent Industry Showcase

Reflecting On My Music Career in 2013 – Things to Remember in 2014

31 Dec

Here’s to a great new year and my new blog dedicated to the progress of my music career! Follow and share – http://www.ashleyxtinamusic.wordpress.com 🙂

Music. Good Energy. Love.

2013 was a year of ups and downs for me in my personal life and music career. Relationships ended, new relationships started – but most of all I was inspired to move on because I learned to believe in myself and believe in my music.

I’ve worked hard and now I am working even harder for the exciting things I have headed my way in 2014. The EP “Stability” is in the works, getting a band together (possibly), I’m setting up gigs in and out of New York and have several meetings with some very powerful people lined up. I have been lucky, I have been blessed but most of all I’ve never doubted myself.

I did however start to overthink the business side of things, and I think that might be a common issue among up and coming artists. We try so hard to make it, to get noticed…

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Support the Arts – Help a Songwriter out :)

17 Nov

Hi everyone! Aside from a blogger I’m also a songwriter – I just launched an Indiegogo to help fund my first EP ever. Please find it in your hearts to share this with anyone you know that can help! xoxo

Donate HERE

My name is Ashley and I am a 21-year-old songwriter from New York City. I’ve started this Indiegogo campaign to raise money for my first EP titled “Stability”. This EP is a collection of 4 songs that I’ve been working on for the past few years and I am finally ready to share them with the world!

Songwriting has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old. Opening up about my feelings has never been easy for me so songwriting has always been so cathartic for me when life just doesn’t make sense anymore. As a young woman in my twenties, these feelings of being lost and not knowing what I’m doing or what I’m supposed to be doing with my life come quite frequently but there is one thing I know for sure and that is that my writing can help people.

I am not looking for fame, or to make millions off of  tours and little Ashley Barbie dolls – I just want to be able to properly record my songs so that I can share them with the rest of the world.Hopefully with the money I get from this campaign, I can do exactly that.

What I Need & What You Get

I understand that $2,500 is a lot of money, but there are a lot of things that go into producing an EP. The money that is donated to this project will go to covering rehearsal space, studio recording time, paying the band and the producer, transportation costs, post-production and marketing. As with anycreative project, there is a lot more that can come up, all the more reason for me to need your help.

If I don’t reach my goal, the recording process probably will not happen for another year or so until I can come up with the money myself. I have already waited long enough to get this project going, please don’t let those songs sit in my journal another year!

You can donate by clicking HERE.

Marriage Isn’t For You

4 Nov

Reading the title, I didn’t think I would hop on the bandwagon and repost this but it’s something that has crossed my mind a lot and I’m glad finally someone was able to successfully put my thoughts into words.

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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Miley, You’re a Good Girl #twerk

11 Sep

 “How dare she try to use sex to sell pop music….”

Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMA’s this year was a little shocking, to say the least, and yes I admit that I was one of those people slut shaming her for a week, saying that she was trying too hard, etc. Miley Cyrus, V Magazine, May 2013

And you know, the fact that she may be trying too hard (and the fact that it was all a publicity stunt which I still think is genius), is not her fault. Jon LaJoie, a comedian, explains it all in his song “Miley, You’re a Good Girl”.

Though he claims it to only be comedy, he brings up such a good point in the chorus:

“We want topless women in our music videos

We want pop stars acting like they’re in a porno

We want it and we always get what we ask for

But when Miley does it we say “Oh my God No!!”

And the last two lines of the second verse:

“And we’ll be cool with videos with women prancing around naked

And it won’t be sexist as long as the song’s a number 1 hit”

So I guess what I’m saying is although I don’t particularly like Miley’s constant twerking or her need to stick her tongue out every five seconds while wearing barely any clothing, I can’t say that she’s an awful person for doing it.

Thoughts?

Plan B Age Restrictions Being Lifted/Why I’m Infuriated #2

11 Jun

“The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after contraceptive pill for all women and girls, a move fraught with political repercussions for President Obama.

The government’s decision means that any woman or girl will soon be able to walk into a drugstore and buy the pill, Plan B One-Step, without a prescription.” see full article here. 

I literally just wrote a piece about this. I was really hoping there would be another outcome.

Ever since Teva’s Plan B was approved for sale as a prescription in 1999, there has been controversy regarding to whom it should be sold. On April 5, 2013, a ruling was made by Judge Edward Korman to make the most common morning after pill available to women and girls of all ages without a prescription. Currently, you must be 17 years old and show proof age at the pharmacy window to buy Plan B. This ruling gives the FDA 30 days to lift the age restrictions on the pill and its generic form, while controversy continues between Judge Korman and people like Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.

In February of 2011, Teva filed a petition to make Plan B One-step, a one-pill version of Plan B, available over-the-counter without age or access restrictions. In December, the FDA rejected Teva’s decision because of a statement made by Secretary Sebelius. In her statement, she claims that there was no testing done on 11-year-old girls. Being that 10% of girls in that age range have reached menstruation, there is a possibility they could use Plan B. Thus far, there has been no testing on that age group, therefore they shouldn’t allow it to go over-the counter.

Regardless of what has happened in past years, this ruling still stands. Judge Korman claims that “her decision was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable,” in regards to Secretary Sebelius.

Recently, the FDA has done rigorous research on what could happen if the pill were taken in a way it wasn’t supposed to be and have found it safe. But now there are other issues aside ones having to do with science. Parents are concerned, values are being questioned. The real question is, what we should be more concerned about?

From a moral standpoint, I agree that up until a certain age, parents and doctors should have a say in who gets to take these pills especially if there has been no research on what the side effects could be on a preteen taking Plan B. If any girl or woman is taking Plan B, chances are there was an “accident” and while accidents do happen, not all teens are perfectly stable or mature enough to make the right decisions when they’re in this kind of situation.

 

“Overall, it shows a lack of caution, if you ask me,” Landa told FoxNews.com. “Of course the prevention of unwanted pregnancy is a good thing.  The problem is it encourages women to be more cavalier and not use more reliable birth control we’d like them to be using, including barrier methods that protect against sexually transmitted diseases.” [FoxNews]

 

It is true that most consumers of Plan B only take it once or twice in the course of a year, but who is to say that if becomes easier to access they won’t rely on it more?

 

“Fear of pregnancy is a deterrent to sexual activity,” Dr. Davenport, recent president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists said. “When you introduce something like this, it changes people’s behaviors, and they have more risky sex. Teens will be counting on this morning-after pill to bail them out, and they’ll have more casual encounters.” [NY Times]

Girls who are uneducated may abuse the freedom they have if they are able to  buy the pill with no questions being asked.  Plan B should not be used as a normal form of regular birth control. Not only is Plan B not intended for that purpose but there are many well-documented side effects to overusing Plan B including significant weight gain, depression, ovarian cyst enlargement, gall bladder disease and high blood pressure.

 

“This is not a magic bullet,” said Dr. Susan Wood, an associate professor of health policy at George Washington University. “It’s just one more tool in the toolbox — one more option that can help women have that second chance if they need it.” [NY Times]

 

With any medication, there are precautions to be taken, which is why even Sudafed is put behind the counter and you have to show ID to purchase it. So why should it be different for Plan B One-Step?  The FDA says in regards to regulating cigars, but perhaps it could be used just the same for this case. “Just like with cars, all cars are under the safety regulations of the transportation agency and the mercedes is not exempt from this. So neither should any product of tobacco because FDA regulations are there to PROTECT the public.”

 

Side effects and over-usage are the arguments against this ruling, and both points are valid in my opinion. The counterargument could be the following. It is important for every girl or woman to have easy access to emergency contraception in order to prevent more unexpected pregnancies. If we look at other countries that supply birth control for free due to universal healthcare, the UK, for example, there have not been any recent overdoses or side effects from Plan B at all.

Personally, I think the current procedure for teens under 17 to acquire any kind birth control, whether it be pills, the shot, and Plan B is too hard and a lot of the time requires money which most teens don’t have. If you think about how many steps they have to take, generally first telling their parents, going to a doctor, getting a prescription then going to a pharmacy, that might scare some girls away. And on top of that having to pay $50 or so for Plan B – whether it be locked up behind a counter or not, that is a lot of money that even I at 21 years old would feel questionable about spending.

I do believe that easy access to birth control is important, but I’m not trying to promote the over-usage of drugs either. I would say that the ruling should be changed so that the age restrictions are lifted HOWEVER I don’t believe that Plan B should be shelved. Teens ages 13-16 should have to speak with a pharmacist before being able to purchase the drug. It is easy to assume that if they are having sex they are responsible enough to read instructions or understand how Plan B (or any other form of contraception) works but that might not always be the case.

When it comes to sex, anything to do with it, I think there will always be some kind of controversy because the topic itself hits on science, religion, politics, among other things. However this is being handled without proper evaluation of the situation and while I do agree with part of the ruling, unless girls under 17 years of age are given clear instructions on how to use Plan and the side effects from a pharmacist, I do not believe the age restrictions should be lifted.

 

Mexico Barbie/ Why I’m Infuriated

10 Jun

If you haven’t already seen or heard of her, Mexico Barbie from Mattel’s Dolls of the World collection, has been sparking controversy among bloggers for the past few months. While ImageI’m late to hear of the news, it did not surprise me that there has been so many problems regarding the doll.

As you can see, Mexico Barbie is wearing what they called a traditional Mexican outfit, holding a Chihuahua and also comes with her very own passport.

Stereotype. Stereotype. Stereotype.

Being of Mexican descent, I’m not as angry as I think I am disappointed. Mattel could have really taken this opportunity to go beyond the bullshit ethnic tourism and teach young girls about what it is really like to be a Mexican woman.

Instead, they chose an old-fashioned, inaccurate outfit, the Taco Bell mascot, and clarification of documentation for this doll. Not to mention, the description of her on the Mattel website, makes me question the doll’s purpose even more.

“¡Hola! Welcome to Mexico! Inspired  by traditional mariachis and marimbas, Mexico Barbie® doll is ready for any fiesta!”

They  might as well have  put her on a donkey, wearing a sombrero,  stuck a bottle of tequila in her hand and called her Guadalupe.

Fuck you, Mattel.

Wasting My Youth

8 Apr

Sex and Sadness

There are a lot of things that my mother has been right about over the course of my teenage years. Now, a month short from turning 21 years old, I am beginning to question if this is one of them.

I would love to argue with her and tell her that she is wrong. Tell her that age is just a number and that he loves me. But honestly? I’m over that. I’m over telling her she’s wrong, even though I want her to be wrong so badly.

I am currently dating a man who is seventeen years older than me. He is divorced and has two lovely daughters, ages 13 and 9, whom I have come to care about very much, yes, I can even say I love them. We have been together for almost two years. In those two years, I have grown to love him, love him…

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We’re Publishing a Book!

30 Sep

(Hopefully) In 2013, a book will be published that will share the whole concept of GreenEyedJupiter. Wish us luck on our next adventure – we apologize if the posts aren’t as frequent as we are in the process of putting the book together. 

 

So excited!