Me Singing “All Of Me” by John Legend

Woohoooooo its Friday!!! I felt like singing for you today, Have a great Weekend xx

Me Singing Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors

Me Singing Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors

I was just messing with this new iPad app for recording called “Voice Record” and recorded a short acoustic rendition of my favourite song at the moment, Justin Timberlakes – Mirrors. You can download it for free by clicking HERE x

My First Youtube Mash-Up

So I made my first mash-up! I combined four different songs, Alex Clare – Too Close, Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child, DJ Luck and MC Neat – A Little Bit Of Luck and DJ Fresh – Louder.

I watched Pitch Perfect and got inspired haha I was thinking I do that remix thing all the time with songs but in my head…maybe I should do it out loud so I did! Let me know what you think and don’t forget to hit SHARE if you like it x

Read All About It Youtube Cover

I recorded a cover of Read All About It Part III on my Youtube channel so if you like it please share it. I was so excited when I woke up this morning to find that people had shared it, felt like christmas haha. When I first started making videos 4 years ago I was easily getting 100 hits a day sometimes even 1000s but gone are those days. YouTube is now a very competitive place and without your shares my videos will get lost amongst the masses so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for CARING enough to SHARE. You have no idea how happy it made me to see I was back to over 100 a day and that is because of YOU! Of course I appreciate every view and even if 10 of you see it I am happy but when theres more hits it attracts people from the industry also it makes my audience bigger so more people know about me. If more people know about me I can do more shows because theres more demand. Last year it resulted in me getting offered a record deal in New York, if you keep sharing who knows what 2013 may have in store!!

Love to you all xxx

My New York Guide

So I thought I’d share some of the places I’d recommend going to if your planning a trip to New York…

If you wanna shop, head to 5th Avenue to fulfil all your shopping needs, I went to the huge Guess, Sephora, Forever 21, Michael Kors…they have EVERYTHING! For trainers Footlocker’s the same prices as everywhere else but they have a bigger selection or if you wanna make your own Nike’s head to Niketown on 6th and 57th. 5th Avenue’s got a few cute boutiques as does Soho and Chinatown, they also have some pretty cool vintage shops, ones called Cheap Jack’s on 5th. Unfortunately I can’t pull the vintage stuff off and it creeps me out cause someone might have died in it but I always look just cause its fascinating! So 5th has all the latest fashion hot off the catwalk but if you head to the outlets they have some amazing stuff too. I went to the New Jersey Garden Mall which I would recommend, I picked up a pair of $400 boots from Saks for $80 which made me verrrrrry happy 🙂 Thats like £60 and they’re real suede with a Fur trim…how can you go wrong? Opposite ground zero is a shop called 21st century, full of designer stuff at great prices, you’ve gotta go there. I didn’t know what it was and it says on the big iron doors “America’s best kept secret” so I curiously wandered in only to find the beautiful smell of leather bags and shoes greet me.

Lets move on to food…before I went to the US I was on this diet where I was only eating freshly prepared food, even all my sauces were freshly made so when I got to NY I had to leave that diet behind because fresh food is pretty hard to come by if you’re on the go! They have sooo many Deli’s but the sandwiches are douzed in all kinds of sauces and cheese which is like saucey cheese its not even real cheese. We went to some of the big chains like Houlihans and Hard Rock where everything just tasted processed and junky so I wasn’t impressed.

If you wanna enjoy some real good food go to the little independent restaurants. Lime Jungle was a great mexican restaurant on 9th Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchen region, it was yummy and they had a sauce bar where they have like all different salsa’s and dips that they make there. Hell’s Kitchen had a lot of choice of restaurants that all looked good. Another place we went to was called Spur Tree in Delancey, it was what they call Soul food with a twist. Jamaican food with a Japanese twist, it was delicious and the place had a really cool vibe, the DJ was spinning old school RnB so it couldn’t get much better. we were taken there by some friends we met so I guess if the locals hang out there its gotta be good. On our last night we went to a seafood/sushi buffet at IchiUmi, highly priced for a buffet at $38 but they literally had a selection of about 100 different fish and sushi and also a huge variety of oysters and crabs so it was definately worth it. I tried my 1st oyster…I will not be doing that again hahaha my bro videod the whole thing so i’ll upload it at some point its pretty funny…
The pizza in New York was great in most places, its the most common food with at least 2 on each block, we had a great pizza downstairs in the Rocafella centre. If you pass an Outback Steak House the fillet steak sandwich was amazing…like the best sandwich I’ve ever had. New York has food for everyone so if you only eat Halal or Kosher or Vegetarian food you’ll still be spoilt for choice!

Meat Packing district and Delancey are good for bars and clubs and I really enjoyed the East Village, people are really friendly there and its a really lively area not to mention its where Carrie lives in SATC 🙂

Must-see’s are the top of the Empire State, we went just before sunset so we got some great views of day night and sunset and its amazing how it looks like a different city in each light. We booked a tour package and we went uptown, downtown, brooklyn the night tour and the boat cruise and you get tickets for a few things included. You need a minimum of three days to do those tours and even thats not enough if you wanna get off and see things, 10 days was not nearly enough in NY, although we saw everything from outside we never got to explore the museums and a lot of uptown. We went to a great comedy show in the Comedy Club, you can get tickets from guys on the street in Times Square for cheap, make sure they have badges on and they will try and charge you face value which is $20 each however you can half this and get 2 tickets for $20 for an almost 3 hour show!! well worth it!
I absolutely loved Times Square, we went there every day coz it just doesn’t get boring 🙂 theres always things happening and you can just get a coffee and sit in the middle of it gawping because its so vibrant and exciting haha. The outlet in New York costs $50 by bus to get to and its expensive inside there however you can get a return to the New Jersey Garden Mall for $15 and it has some real bargains and amazing stuff. Well thats everything I can remember for now, I can’t wait to go back there and explore the uptown area where they have all the jazz bars and the Apollo where so many legends have played.

Till next time,

Zohra x

Diary Extract – New York Performance Day 20/10/11

Hey!

So I woke up with this calmness lingering in the air which was soooooo scary for some reason. I didn’t like that my butterflies had fluttered away and everything was in place! I had no idea what I should be doing so me and my brother decided to go shopping and get some lunch. When we left the hotel I suddenly remembered I had lots of little things to get so it became a mad rush and it was raining hard so it was just horrible walking around.

We got back to the hotel at about 4pm leaving me 3 hours to get ready. I plugged in my hairdryer and straighteners into my converter and flicked the switch…nothing! No little flashing red light, no heat, no nothing….THEY WEREN’T WORKING!! So my phone charger, laptop and camera charger works here but the most important things don’t. Cue the butterflies, the butterflies were having a party in my stomach and I was running around trying to find a way, calling people, front desk ANYONE but it just wern’t happening. My hair is not my friend, it never does what I want it to even with my tools so what was I gonna do now? I just put some product in it and backcombed it so the wildness looked like it was supposed to be there….o gawdddd. All the press were gonna be there, CNN, Music channels..everyone important and I realised I will probably be known as “the girl with the bad hair”. All the fears suddenly surfaced, the negative thoughts just spiralled and I was asking myself whether people would just talk over me when I sang, whether I would fall because everyone kept telling me I shouldnt wear the 7 inch Kurt Geigers because of the safety hazard they pose, whether when I spoke to the audience they would react, whether they would boo me offstage, whether they would understand my English accent and I would get sent home like Cheryl Cole haha.

We walked into the venue and the press were taking pics of all these people on the red carpet, this woman stood there and the press went wild so I asked someone who she is and she was the owner of Calvin Klein apparantly…silly me..I thought that would be Calvin Klein lol. The bar was rammed, people were taking advantage of the open bar and I relaxed a little knowing that would probably work to my advantage because I imagined a sit down event where people were quiet and poised and that was scary to think I’d be singing and these people would just be deadly silent watching me. I was gonna finish the show after Pras and Wyclef, someone came up to me and said, “I heard Wyclefs opening for you” LOLLLLLLL he was supposed to hahahaa which I find hilarious but apparantly he had better things to do because he never showed up which was really disappointing but hey ho. So Pras showed his film and did a speech, his father passed away in the morning and he still came to support Haiti which I thought was really amazing. Then I was introduced by Ines Ferre from CNN and she explained that I’d come from London just for this event and everyone started cheering and were really welcoming. So I sang Who You Are by Jessie J and they all listened and swayed and I got them to sing the chorus with me. There’s a really long instrumental break so I spoke to them in that time asked if they were enjoying themselves and they went wild and reminded them why we’re here and that if we all contribute we can make Haiti a brighter place and they seemed really engaged which was great. Afterwards many people came up to me and said they really enjoyed it and I was SOOOOOOOOOO happy 🙂 I’m really glad I came here and I hope I get more amazing opportunities like this one. I had my moment on the red carpet, it was blinding and I was scared to step onto it coz they are all just standing in a line waiting but once I was there it was really fun haha I gave them a few twirls, I felt quite at home hahaha.

Thank You ALL for your support, messages and luck 🙂 I really appreciate it!!!!!

I’m off now, byeeeee xxx

My X Factor Audition

xfac

While everyone’s hyping about the X-factor I thought I’d share my experiences of it with you. I get a lot of comments on my Youtube video’s asking why I haven’t gone on X-factor and they think that I’m the next winner (thanks :). I have been on it, here’s my story…

Audition 1 was at the 02 Arena, there were about 20,000 people there and we queued from 6am till 5pm. It was the longest day of my life, first you queue outside till 12 although they tell you it will be till 10 and if you arrive after 9 you won’t be seen. The production staff begin telling you what to do and say so they can get the footage they need. You know at the beginning of the show they have thousands queuing and doing the X sign with their arms, screaming…that’s all acting and we were all told when to do it and to do it over and over till it was loud enough and enthusiastic enough. The production staff handed out signs to people saying “We love Simon” and “I’ve got the X Factor” it was unbelievable! Then we entered the Arena and it started again, they began filming us all telling us what to scream, to do Mexican waves and in that time we were not allowed to leave our seats even to go to the toilet. This lasted at least an hour and people began moaning after a while, we were told that if we don’t want to participate we shouldn’t be here and one guy was made an example of and told to leave. I felt like I was in a circus and I told my cousin who came with me that we should go because I wasn’t enjoying it and we’d already been there 8 hours. We agreed to give it another hour and shortly after the auditioning began.

There were little makeshift booths made with paper screens and they aren’t sound proof so you have to sing over the person in the booth next to you. The booth is less than 1 metre squared and you are in there with a random person who judges you while he/she is right in your face. It was weird, I didn’t like the fact that I had to stand so close to someone it was very uncomfortable but never the less adrenaline took over once my number was called. Rather then the standard handshake I greeted my judge with a hug shrieking how happy I was to finally have my turn to sing and I belted out If I Ain’t Got You. I got through, I know he was amused by my excitability I could tell. A girl who had queued with me all day had a fantastic voice, we practiced together and she had one of the most amazing voices I’ve heard, I immediately felt she would get through and be one of the final contestants. I could hear her singing while I was and she sounded amazing. I left the booth jumping up and down and I saw her sat outside crying, she didn’t get through. She told me she got really shy and stammered her words when he interviewed her but her singing was spot on and they said she wasn’t what they were looking for. She was distraught because she heard people getting through who couldn’t sing at all, I told her shes destined for better things and not to let one persons opinion influence her like that.

This got me thinking, she had a better voice then me but I proved myself to be a stronger character therefore this isn’t really a singing competition. I was a little disheartened and upset for that girl but in good spirits ‘cause I got through so I ran back to my cousin and we jumped around with my ticket into the next audition. I sat down waiting for another friend to finish and I looked around. I saw the judges crossing out tearful people’s numbers on their sticker when they didn’t make it and other people running out jumping around like I was. I thought to myself how many people have been upset today, some probably couldn’t sing but others were fantastic and I could imagine how disappointed they must feel. I thought of all the people who were excited like me and realised that the reality is that of this full stadium of people they will all be disappointed at some stage because there is only one winner and that winner might not be in this audition and that was shocking to think. This show makes 199,999 people sad and one person happy all for entertainment. Granted, it gives people a platform to be heard and the opportunity to perform to the nation which is any singers dream but ultimately everyone will lose except one.

Audition 2 was at the Emirates stadium, Jedward were in my group and this other really annoying guy who couldn’t sing at all and told me he was there to be on TV. We were told that anyone who accompanies us must wear exactly the same outfit as us (lucky Jedward), I took my dad and cousin and my dad wasn’t about to wear a purple dress so we just all wore purple and hoped it would be ok. Thankfully everyone else ignored that request as well, well not everyone you had a few clowns there and they were the ones being interviewed by the camera’s. So 6 hours later I got auditioned, this time in a room with three random judges. I had two women and a man, I felt it went well and was feeling confident. The two women immediately said it was great and handed a golden slip to the man. The man put his pen to the ticket and as he did that he asked me what my family do. I explained that both my parents are self employed and he said “so you’re from a successful background” I replied that my parents came to the UK with nothing and they both worked extremely hard to get to where they were and instilled the same moral’s in me, that I must work hard to be successful. The women smiled at me but the man said “you’re not what we’re looking for”. I tried to switch on the waterworks, It’s worked for so many on the show but I couldn’t cry so I asked him why? He said, “You haven’t got what it takes.” I shrugged, the women began whispering to the man, I know I’m biased but I’m sure they were trying to convince him to say yes. I stood there and waited for the final verdict “it’s a no”. I felt disappointed but I knew it wasn’t about the singing, I didn’t have the sob story they were after. I would have liked to at least get to the televised stages (that would be the one after this) part of me felt a little relieved because it’s not an easy process and it definitely isn’t fun, all the excitement and screaming is just acting. As I left the room I saw the annoying guy who wanted to be on TV, he came and told me he got through which annoyed me but I smiled and congratulated him while I was thinking “seriously would people rather watch you then hear me” LOL.

Don’t think that the judges are really shocked when those awful singers come out, they went through three auditions to be there and they were chosen. They choose well though, they are my highlights of the X factor haha. You know those people who are terrible singers but they really believe they are great and then start crying when the judges tell them they sound like a cat being strangled. You think “why are they shocked, they’re awful” its because they got through three auditions and the producers make them feel they are great. It’s sad how they play with people’s feelings.

I take my hat off to every contestant because it’s hard work and its very nerve wracking. I didn’t find it enjoyable; I felt it took the fun out of singing. I like singing to entertain not to be judged and it felt horrible. I knew I would never do it again, it was an interesting experience but not one I’d ever repeat.