Wrapped in a Warm Blanket Episode 13 The First Time Hearing with Bart Hubbard

WRAPPED IN A WARM BLANKET

Angelina Jordan Podcast

EPISODE 13 The First Time Hearing with Bart Hubbard

What is it about Angelina Jordan that makes us hear the lyrics in her covers like it’s the first time we hear them, even though we’ve heard the original a thousand times before?

What is it about Angelina Jordan that makes us feel like it’s the first time we listen to her sing, even though we’ve heard her a million times before?

It’s really fascinating because everything that’s happening is right in front of our eyes. And yet we do not have an explanation for what we are witnessing. How she is able to produce ‘The First Time’ over and over again? That is the Enigma.

Alan: Hello, Bart. Nice to see you.

Bart: Hi, Alan.

Alan: Shall it just be the two of us, or shall we invite a third person along?

Bart: Oh, I guess we’ll allow somebody else on. Sure, I’m up for it.

Pontus: Are you talking about me?

Bart: Oh, Pontus. Oh, I didn’t realize that.

Pontus: Okay. You’re such funny… Funny guys, you two.

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Pontus: The Hollywood blockbuster movies, they have stars in them. If you compare it to a British movie with actors that you’ve never seen before, you sort of forget that these are actors. They are portrayed like actual living human beings, compared to the American mass produced blockbuster movie with the same actors used over and over again.

Alan: I’ve heard American directors say that when they work with British actors, they never need any direction.

Bart: I think that that’s a very valid kind of way of thinking about the way Angelina would approach her music, being kind of like the British character actor versus kind of the way that a lot of performers, when they do their songs, it’s more of an American kind of star approach, yeah. Where they’re kind of showing off, you know? And so it’s very clear that they’re kind of following an unsurprising path, you know, it’s hard to be surprised by an American blockbuster movie. You kind of know what you’re going to get, before you even watch it.

Pontus: I have quite a few examples of people saying that they hear the lyrics for the first time when Angelina sings the song, So they’ve heard the original artists perform their own song, but still they feel more connected with the storyline in the song when Angelina is covering it than the original artist. I think that sort of speaks in a way to her ability to be a great storyteller. And I’m not sure what kind of components goes into being a great storyteller.

Alan: It’s really fascinating because everything that’s happening is right in front of our eyes. And we do not have an explanation for what we are witnessing. She is communicating to us in a completely open way. And yet we can not say why or how it’s different.

Bart: I actually think Angelina is more than capable of being an incredible performer in a way that an American star would be. It’s just that she chooses to honor the truth and honesty of the song and that she’s not going to eclipse it. She’s not going to be out of character. There are American character actors that are very fine actors, just like the British counterparts. What I would say is it’s more like a character actor whose in character. In other words, I think Angelina is very much in character, whatever she’s singing.
And she taps into that in every way. If you look at when she’s singing I Put a Spell on You. She was performing there. The whole mannerisms that she did, it was very well constructed. I thought the whole thing was presented very much like a video.

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Pontus: The way that Angelina is capturing her audience whenever she sings, is quite unique, I think. I have a few examples of reactors telling that they hear the lyrics for the first time. And this is like huge songs like Billy Jean, for instance.
I’m one of those people that didn’t sort of listen to the lyric when Michael sang it, but when Angelina sings it she brings the story forward in a way. And I’m not sure if that’s her plan or if it’s just inherent in the way she sings, that the way she sings is bringing the story forward.

Bart: When you’re singing a song you have so many choices to make. And the choices that Angelina makes are what really astounded me. It seems like she’s truer to the original intent. it’s almost like the person who created the lyrics and the music, discovered it and there’s Angelina, rediscovering it and seeing it even more clearly. It’s hard to talk about because as humans, we’re the ones that are coming up with the music and lyrics, but it’s almost like there’s an ideal form of them and it’s Angelina discovering them for us all. When I hear her making her choices It seems like she’s true to the meaning of it.
With Michael Jackson. I kind of understood the lyrics, but frankly, Michael was such a different personality, even then it was kind of hard to take it seriously. It was more like he’s a pop star and maybe that’s being unfair to him because I think he was a brilliant artist too, but I just didn’t get the lyrics.
But with Angelina, that’s when I really listened to the lyrics, and I loved her interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody. It seemed so real to me when she was talking about those very powerful words. I think of it as aids, actually. I think I’ve heard that remark that, it could have been a very personalized story, you know?
Another formative song I had heard of Angelina’s was bang, bang. And when she’s six or seven or whatever it was, and she singing that song and it’s like, the lyrics are like a little kid. I shot him dead bang, bang. You know, that’s the kind of thing I did when I was six or seven, but she’s singing it with the sophistication and wisdom and soul of an adult. And she’s doing a much better than Nancy Sinatra. And I liked Nancy Sinatra’s version, but I loved hers. I’m like, I can’t believe a little child is doing this.

Alan: But for me, the real question is why and how does she have a monopoly? Why are there not more people who can bring us in the same direction and conversation? Especially now that she is out there and people and other singers and other producers see what she’s done, why can’t this be duplicated? Why can she present the lyrics and the feelings in a certain way and still no one else can come close to what she’s doing?

Bart: I think it’s partly because she didn’t know the limitations. When you’re that young, you just keep going. For other people, they get very content. Can you imagine an older singer? And they learn something and everybody’s going, ‘Wow, that’s really wonderful. That’s really good’. And they think, ‘Oh yeah, I guess I can stop now. That’s really brilliant’. And I think with her, she just started at such an early age that it’s like, it was just natural for her. I think for her, it’s such a part of her. It’s like Bach in music, or Shakespeare. When Shakespeare came up with 10,000 new words or phrases in English, he just kept going. I honestly think she never stopped. She just kept going. And that’s why I have ultimate confidence in her. Her understanding is so much better than anybody else’s. That’s what I think it is. She has a better understanding of Whitney Houston, than Whitney Houston does. And that’s hard to believe because Whitney Houston is wonderful. And you can pick any artist. I think actually Amy Winehouse has that same kind of understanding, but she got it at a much later age.
I have so much hope for Angelina. what she’s already done, the body of work. She could rest now and quit and she would still be the greatest.

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Alan: Most six year old girls they have in their consciousness, ‘I want to be a mommy when I grow up and this is who I am and how I am’, but Angelina, ‘I want to be a singer when I grow up and this is who I am and how I am’ and is so deeply embedded in her consciousness the way it is with a little girl. So all of her psychic energy is going in one direction.

Bart: I’m shaking my head in total agreement, Alan. That is an extremely great point. And I think another really major part of why Angelina’s the way she is and why she’s so much better than everyone else. It’s a very intentional thing that her family has done. I think most geniuses are encouraged and nurtured in a way that’s special. Even Albert Einstein, who I think is the epitome of someone who just is kind of innately brilliant. And, somehow just thinks fundamentally different, his brain’s fundamentally different. And I think, you know, obviously he was gifted at birth, you know, with what he was born with, but he also was nurtured quite a lot by his family. He had an uncle who was one of the first electrical pioneers in Germany. He learned a lot about science from his uncle and just like Angelina with her grandmother.
Most people that are very innovative and make major steps for mankind in terms of their creativity and that the manifestations of that, have been led that way. They’ve been nurtured very carefully.
In Angelina’s case, because music is so fundamental to us, I think it’s such an early age she imbibed that. It’s kind of like when you learn a foreign language at a very early age, you can maintain native fluency throughout your life but if you don’t, there’s an opportunity lost. Like if you start learning a language for most people after the age of eight or so, then it becomes very hard to become native level.
But if you learn earlier, and it depends on the person, some people are gifted with that throughout their lives, but most people, they have a much greater capacity for doing that when they’re very young. And I think with Angelina, she had that. So that’s just my answer, but I agree a hundred percent with you.

Alan: If you had a time machine and you went back 500 years, you could make a real contribution to Western civilization on many different levels. Either philosophically or invention wise or scientifically. Maybe in her own way Angelina Jordan represents a future type of person from 500 years in the future of how the species can evolve, but she has come back in time. I don’t mean literally, but I mean in terms of evolutionary wise and she has made a contribution about the nature of human potential, of how our species can evolve.

Bart: I couldn’t agree with you more. Or it’s like Shakespeare. I mean, people read Shakespeare today, right? And it’s, it is just the same meaning as it was, then. It’s like he was 500 years ahead. Of course people appreciated him then, but people appreciate him as deeply now or more so.
What I would also say though, Pontus and I love your point of storytelling. I think though, it’s ‘Storytelling Plus’, I think it’s story enactment or story performing. I think Angelina, because so much of what she does is through her music and not just the lyrics. As Alan was saying, It’s hard to know why we’re so touched. And I think it, if it were just the words we could say, well, those words are very powerful. They’re very well thought out and everything, but I think it’s also how she shapes each note and emphasizes it, as you’ve pointed out. And I think that’s more about performing than just story… I guess it’s everything, maybe I’m just being picky about it. But I think I like story enactment or story performing, because I think there’s an element of performance there that’s going on. And it’s totally honest. It’s not, she’s not adding her special Angelina sauce, you know, that people come to like, you know, putting an extra, pretty notes like Whitney might. You know, or show the kind of the angst and emotion that Adele has, that I think is part of their performances.

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Pontus: Lars von Trier together with a few other Scandinavian directors, he founded a set of rules, how they would do a couple of movies, with no lighting other than the natural lighting, no added sound. Of course, no special effects, anything like that, so that they sort of concentrated to the story. The storyline was the hero of these films.
And I think that may be something that Angelina’s also using that kind of approach to her covers because they’re very stripped down. She’s often only accompanied by the piano, or a guitar. And that is one of the clues to why her storytelling gets so sharp and penetrating, because there’s nothing else.

Alan: That’s one of the paradoxes of her and her performances, because on one hand, it’s stripped down. But on the other hand, she has these runs and melismas is, and all of these little elaborations. So it’s stripped down and elaborated at the same time.

Pontus: Yeah, exactly. One of the judges on America’s got Talent, Howie Mendell, he said, I think this was on the performance of Yellow Brick Road, he said , ‘One word comes to mind and that is hypnotic. When I listen to you, everything else doesn’t matter. It’s all about you and your singing.’

Alan: There are three very simple words, which are appropriate now, The First Time. So it’s like the first time you fall in love or the first time of the first day you go to school or the first time you hear a story. And with Angelina Jordan, when we hear her singing, each time we hear the song, it is like for the first time. So it hits us fresh and it had that strong impact. How she is able to produce the first time over and over again, that is the paradox, that is the Enigma.

Bart: I think you’re really onto something, when you pointed out how Angelina doesn’t do anything to distract us. In other words, it’s her way of singing and the lyrics that are front and center. And even when she’s doing a video where she’s, you know, in a shopping cart, it’s still 99% focused on her voice and the words. And she delivers them with real sincerity.
I read recently a book about comic strips and writing them. And if the point of a comic is to have an idea, then the less the characters are filled in and look like humans, the more that they’re kind of amorphous, like the less distraction there are, the more the message matters and the more impact it has. The more details there are, you get lost in the visual, looking at the details and you miss the message. And I think Angelina with her artistry recognizes that intuitively. And I think now that she’s a performer in the sense of, now a young woman and with these videos, which is the way that you do things these days. She’s taking that same approach.

Pontus: With works of art, there are so many different interpretations of what’s happening and it’s all personalized. You can have your vision of what the meaning is and Alan can have his vision and I can have my vision of what it means to me. And that, that is sort of a sign, for me anyway, of a great work of art.
Angelina’s has sort of been doing this for quite some time now – hidden messages in her performances. I know that she is very particular what she’s wearing when she does her different covers. So she sort of mimics the message in the song with what she’s wearing. And I find that very intriguing.

Alan: That’s a really good point that you made about the nature of art, because for me, the way I understand art, it works on two levels. One, it’s the Integrity and the uplifted emotion that the artist has, that is one criteria. And in that area, Angelina has a wonderfully pure vision of what love can mean for the universe.
And then, there is how is that communicated? How accurate, and that is where the art comes in. How do you communicate a purity of love? First, it’s the vision and then it’s the communication. And, together those two for me, communicate art.

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Pontus: I don’t think one could ever underestimate the influence of her grandmother in this whole experience that we’re now witnessing. I mean, her grandmother herself was a poet, right? From a very young age. I think, you know, a lot more about that, Alan than I do.

Alan: Yeah, she was a poet and she wrote poetry in Persian, and I also believe she wrote poetry in Japanese. And, I think she was writing poetry maybe when she was nine years old. It is a very evolved type of artist when they have more than one field. So she is a poet and she’s a painter. It’s like a polymath. Someone who is a genius in more than one field, that just highlights the nature of their genius as opposed to their specific field.

Bart: I think that the fact that her grandmother had those kind of abilities at a very early age, probably, I’ve just thought this for the first time, but I can’t help but think that she’s saying, ‘Boy, now I have an opportunity with my grandchild to really support her in a way that can help her, because I had similar gifts. I can push her in that direction’. Push is probably not the right word, but encourage her to develop those talents. And I think that’s what’s happened.
I’m a chess player, and one of my favorite players of all the time is the world’s best woman player Judith Polgar. Her dad was a mathematics professor and taught her chess, at a very early age. And I remember a tournament that I was watching where she had her Teddy bear. She was 12 years old and she was already a world-class player and she’s playing an adult male master who was just a terror, and you know just would chew up his opponents and spit them out. And there she is with her Teddy bear and she’s just crushing this guy. And I thought, how is this possible? Well, it’s possible because she started at a very early age and there were fundamentals that she learned and then she became an artist. And I think it was very intentional. And I think you gotta give a lot of credit to granny and to the whole family. Absolutely. That’s a major part of what’s going on, I think is that influence. Encouraging someone who has a gift is getting out of the way and letting them do it.
A child can intuitively understand the music and how the emotion in a voice can be communicated. But the actual lyrics that she’s talking about, like, going shoeless, those are deep concepts that have to be learned. Those are not something you can learn from birth. A lot of Angelina… She’s so full of substance in what she says and thinks. I think that she’s very positive in her outlook for herself, for her family, for her world.

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Alan: Kindness could and should be the simplest thing in the world. ‘I have too much food on my plate. Let me share it with you’. You don’t have to think twice about that. It’s so simple and understood by children usually, but when, and how does an adult lose sight of that? Maybe we need a child to reintroduce us to the simplicity of kindness and the importance of kindness and the universal aspect of kindness. It’s so simple, but it’s so real and it’s so important and necessary.

Bart: My mom had a diary and she wrote, ‘Bart just turned four and he learned the golden rule today and he just can’t get over it. He thinks it’s the most profound thing’. I think at four we have the capability of knowing basically everything that’s important. Knowing it and being able to express it in a way that it sounds profound and everything takes guidance.

5 Comments

  1. James Riley

    Bart is a fantastic guest. His insight and ability to communicate complex ideas simply is quite illuminating. As I ruminate on the topic of understanding AJ’s seeming superpowers Bart’s words ring very clear. Also, I second that AJ’s grandmother Mery’s influence cannot be overstated or overappreciated. Excellent episode.

  2. Chris Walker

    Guys, these episodes keep getting better and better. I like your analogy with movies. I’ve often thought that flashy pop stars are like Hollywood action films loaded with explosions and special effects. You enjoy the movie and maybe you are impressed by certain sequences, but then you go home and forget about it. While Angelina is like an intimate low-budget independent film with characters that have depth and learn and grow, and the movie stays with you long after it’s over.

  3. Kenta

    Wonder if Angelina has ever listen in on the podcast sometime ❤

  4. Anette Sundin

    Thank you so much for this! Love hearing your thoughts and couldn’t agree more.

  5. Rosie

    Loves these podcast episodes with my coffee, I alway look forward to positive perspective of Angelina Artistry and how she’s able to convey such emotion to us . Angelina put a lot of step in my day as it becomes easier for me to deal with all that we face . It’s like putting on an armor and nothing else matters. I needed that because of all the daily stress most of us face with our work, the covid, voting rights women rights the future of our country and and the well being of people we love. For me , when I hear Angelina sing, she’s saying to me let it go it’s all going to be fine no worries. I don’t get how this happens but it works for me. She a wonder in this world and I’ll take it with me . Thank you guys I appreciate another enlightening episode. Can’t wait til the next one, have a wonderful week. Hope I made sense in this, not very good conveying what I’m trying to say

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