Maruja Retana in the video for her song Right Through Me

Maruja Retana music video has 1+ million views!

This is a throwback to a few years ago when my first single 'Right through me' was released! It was shot it in a studio called 'Ernstige Zaken' ('serious business' ;)) in Amsterdam, by video company Pixelheaven. They did a wonderful job! I wanted it to be something fun and real, to really show my personality, and I think they pulled it off. What do you think? p.s. My video hit over 1 million views! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0k12j2OhdI

Making of a music video: The Team

Fashion: Sepehr Maghsoudi

The video had a few fun cameos... I was thrilled that fashion designer Sepehr Maghsoudi was in it, not only a very talented man but also a great person! :) All the beautiful dresses you see in 'Right through me' are designed by him.

Costar: Marius Hordijk

And, because I wanted to give the Organice Your Life team a little wink, I asked Marius to be in the video with me! I'm very happy he did!

Multitasker: Joey Holthaus

Lastly, I was so glad that my good friend Joey Holthaus was with me all day! He did a fantastic job multitasking, because not only did he take awesome behind the scenes pics, he also gave me various pep talks and thoroughly checked if my cleavage still looked right throughout the day haha :D Thanks Joey!

It was very nice to work together with a nice group of people including friends.

Most watched video

I heard that 'Right through me' was one day even the most watched music video on YouTube in the Netherlands, and nr. 6 worldwide, unbelievable! I have worked very hard for this first milestone, hopefully the first of many. I hope you all will like it!

If you like my music, here are a few more songs I have made since Right Through me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_dsZodhMDY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfWLtjtXYIo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nTQZ5UMcUM

You can also follow me at Vocal Psychology, THE place where I teach people how to sing their heart out!

xoxo Maruja 

First published by Maruja Retana on September 30rd 2011, updated in 2019


How to schedule your week

How to schedule your week (or: a spoonful of 'sugar')

Do you ever feel... No, not like a plastic bag. Do you ever feel like your days are superhectic and busy, but then when you lay in bed at night, you can't help but wonder: 'Uhm...what have I actually done today?' You start thinking about all the goals you have in life. I'm talking ALL the goals: write a book, write a grammy winning album, learn to play drums and guitar, go to Japan and eat Jiro's sushi, meet Oprah, build a school in a Third World country, and of course fold the laundry and get groceries for this week. Brain: “K, let's do all that tomorrow.” Result: insomnia.

This was ME, not long ago. I felt incredibly busy and unproductive at the same time. My to do list was getting longer and longer, and yet somehow I wasn't really focusing on what I wanted to focus on.

Until the magical New Year's Eve. Every year on New Year's Eve I write down my goals for the next year and this time something was really gonna CHANGE. I was going to make a schedule. But wait...I've made schedules before and was never able to really stick to them. How was I going to do it right this time and not get distracted by a million things? The answer was obvious: alliteration.

 Weekly Schedule

The first thing I came up with was 'Money Masterplan Monday'. It started as a joke in my head, but after a few minutes I was writing down ideas feverishly! Now, I promise I am an adult, but...I admit some part of me never really grew up. I still like fairytales and stuffed animals, and I'm not ashamed to say it! So whenever childish little me doesn't like something, it helps if I turn it into a game. I stopped eating sugar, but Mary Poppins would say: a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down :)

OYL-Agenda-Banner

So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

My Personal Schedule

Monday

Money Masterplan Monday

Send invoices, pay bills, organize administration, budget planning, visualize what I'll do with my first million... etc.

&

Music Mashup Monday

Check out new music and make playlists of references, and cover options, work on live show, create mashups and mixes to post online.

Maruja Retana

Tuesday

Technical Tuesday

Finish editing jobs, learn a new trick, try out new settings, develop mixing skills

AND:

New Skill Tuesday

now: DJ-ing
later: guitar

 

Wednesday

Errand Wednesday

Groceries, meetings, doing annoying things like cleaning.

&

Writing Camp Wednesday

Plan sessions or write 2 songs to practice speed, write article for OYL, columns and copy for promotion.

Thursday

Telephone Thursday

Call people

&

Topline Thursday

A "topline" is the vocal melody and the lyrics of a song.
Arrange, organize and finish toplines, create pitch plan, reach out to labels

 

Friday

Film Friday

Film a cover, an acoustic version of an original song or a new episode for my 'Maruja Says' youtube channel.

&

Finish Friday

Tie up loose ends and finish everything I couldn't get done this week

Friends Friday

Hang out with my friends!

Maruja Retana Lonneke Engel Joey Holthaus

Saturday

Social Media Saturday

Plan posts for the week, shamelessly stalk people on Facebook and waste some time on Tumblr and Pinterest

&

Celebration Saturday

Do something fun :)

Maruja Retana

Sunday

Sweetie Sunday

Hang out with my sweetheart and have a major cheat day (Nutellaaaaa)

So yeah...my schedule is not really a schedule, and that is exactly why it works for me. It is more a tool to focus on certain themes each day. The reason why I think it is so perfect is because I have a tendency to react instead of act. It helps me to not go straight to Facebook when I turn on my laptop, because that is what I do only on Social Media Saturday (unless I have something specific to post). It helps me to be more reliable and tell people: 'I'll finish this song on Wednesday', because that is when I write.

I highly recommend this system to all my fellow chaotic workaholics out there. Now, of course you can change it up as you like, e.g. my good friend Emily swears by her newly created 'Maintenance Monday' to keep her focused. Hope it helps you too, happy scheduling!

xoxo Maruja

Images copyright Organice Your Life®/Maruja Retana/Gijs Spierings

First published on Organice Your Life on January 22nd 2015

 


Beau Young: Peace be with you.

A conversation with Beau Young

The name Beau Young conjures up a gorgeous image which inspires me! It's one of my favourite Aussie surfer, poised on the nose of his 9.4 surfboard, five toes over, left leg bent behind him from the knee with foot raised behind him, arms outstretched - 'crucifix five.'

How is it that I was the spoiled model who, just this morning, managed to catch a wave and speak a few words with someone that cool. In 2004 Beau Young won the world longboarding championships for his strong yet finesse surfing.

These days, Beau is pretty much a singer and songwriter full time, and - as I found out – the most passionate of animal lovers!

To refresh my memory, I played Beau's first CD 'Waves of Change' on the drive to meet him. I wanted to get a feel for his style, his emphasis on life through the words of the songs. His voice is 'Bob Dylan-ish', it's raspy tones likeable with his unpredictable emphasis, you can sure sure hear 'soul'. I played my favourite song on the disc, 'Peace Be With You' twice. It's catchy, it's kind of surfy, it's fun... 'As the last wave of summer, rolls on, along... don't waste a second, coz when it's gone it's gone... Let your future, break on down the line... Peace be with you, in your time...'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_cjkNjawbQ

Of course I brought chocolate. I found out his favourite flavour (Beau loves white chocolate!) the day previously, and made a natural variation which I'll share the recipe for in another post soon. Chilled bottles of freshly made almond milk went down well before the surf, and we enjoyed blueberries, organic apples and my cinnamon tahini cream.

We chatted like old friends. Beau's dogs name is D-Dawgitty. He is a Yogi. He has a spot right between the ears, and loves my chocolate. Beau is so crazy mad about animals, and
lately he's written over 80 kids songs with different animalistic impersonations! I was intrigued.

So apparently lots had happened since 'Waves of Change'! As well as working on a few mainstream music albums, Beau now has a music dimension just devoted to children. His band is called ANIMALS ROCK. He played me a few new songs he'd been working on from his Iphone as well as surprising me with a gift of two childrens CD's, 'Farm Animals', and 'Wild Animalz'... he sure can impersonate some wild noises with that voice! He dresses up in animal suits too. Wow, nothing could have prepared me for this. This guy is seriously amazing.

I began by asking him what it was about kids & animals that motivated him, a world champion longboard surfer to reach out to them?
Kids are our future and they are so so intelligent from such a young age these days. Instilling a love of the natural world, our environment and our fantastic, remarkable extended family - that is the animal kingdom - on the youngest of generation gives me more pleasure than I could have ever imagined!

I wondered how Beau envisaged his work for the future? What it was that he dreamed of, and what, he would change if he could, today?
“There are so many things I would change today if I had the chance. For a start I would be playing music to millions of kids and instilling the importance of love and understanding and all the proceeds would go to great causes. Today if I had my way (the government already knows this is possible) I would have only air and water powered cars, wind and solar would be the only method of obtaining energy and everyone on any income could have there needs met. People with too much would be encouraged to give to those in need. This is a very broad question but for a start there would not be one more hole put in our earth via the coal seam gas fracking process. One more hole they would say and I would scream “No fracking way my friends.”

Beau had a few words to say on the phrase 'Organice Your Life, World' ~ His mind runs so expressively...
“To me to OYW sounds like a universal understanding that together we are one. No segregation due to skin colour, race, religion or monetary income. Everyone together. The world as we know it has a very small voice and the voice should not only sit with the few. They say charity starts at home and with the family. Well this world is our home and and we are all in this together. The one thing we truly need is to look inside ourselves and from there our environment, how fortunate we are and deep down understand that it may begin at how but I swear this planet feels like it has less than 6 degree's of separation and you know what everyone I happen to talk to these days ultimately feel the same way. So just when you thought this world was spinning faster and crazier than ever, it turns out - we're all grounded and believing in the same positive vibe.” As he spoke I could hear the lyrics from 'Peace Be With You' playing in my head, 'Doin' it ain't so difficult, couse we'll all be honding hands... Doin' it ain't so difficult, but we only got this one chance...'

Any health tips from Beau Young?... Organice Your Life readers might like to know?...
“For me and how I like to feel, it's all about yoga, exercising once a day and eating well. I like to try and stay strong and positive in mind and body as much as possible. I think it tends to keep everything on an even keel. It ain't easy but just like love, there really is no other solution than the positive. Hiccups occur and things happen all the time, the bright side of life definitely is the way and I can breathe it all in through a slow Hatha yoga and meditation session at any time of the day; and just like surfing I can take that emotion and empowerment with me.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUYFj40k_Do

Beau dedicates monies from his work to charities for endangered animals, and for children who are deaf and hearing impaired. It seems if he can't touch them with his music, he'll touch them – with his heart.

First published in 2012, updated in 2019

 


Interview with Corey Stanford, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blazetrak.com

Corey Stanford, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blazetrak.com, tells us about his successful online-based platform, which links the general public to established industry experts and celebrity talent, his healthy and green lifestyle, and his favorite charities.

So tell us about your company.

Blazetrak is an online-based platform that provides video access to the world’s top professionals in the areas of music, fashion, tv/film, sports, business & lifestyle.  It is the first website that allows you to get directly in touch with established industry experts and celebrity talent – and be guaranteed a direct video response.  Blazetrak has a roster of 400+ professionals utilizing the platform including Big Boi, from the Grammy Award-winning duo Outkast, Edyta Sliwinska, formerly with “Dancing With the Stars”, Tyson Beckford, Ralph Lauren Supermodel, Mathew Knowles, World-Renowned Music Executive, Tara Conner, Miss USA Winner, and Darren Sharper, of the New Orleans Saints.

We, at Organice Your Life®, promote a healthy and organic lifestyle in all areas of our life.  What do you do to stay healthy?

I workout six days a week, which includes taking a Zumba class, completing a Kukuwa Dance Workout, a strength-based session at the Firm Studios, playing basketball, and swimming. In addition to working out, I eat a well balanced meal on a daily basis, with the exception of Friday’s. I generally splurge with pizza on a Friday.

Does living a healthy lifestyle carry over into your work? Do you let others around you know the benefits of eating organically and being green?

Living healthy is not only part of my work; it’s a part of my life.  My wife is a physician and a workout fanatic. She continuously encourages me and leads by example. I frequently hear stories of her patients who end up in the hospital due to a poor lifestyle choice. Many of the complications she faces with her patients could have easily been avoided if they lived a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes we run to medicine as the solution when ultimately, the solution may be as simple as changing your diet or being physically active.  Instead of just telling my colleagues, associates, and friends the benefits of eating organically, or being green, I demonstrate it.  I walk to the grocery store. I carry my green shopping bags. Sometimes, I even post my grocery list on Facebook and Twitter.

As a very busy executive, what are the major drawbacks that you see regarding living a healthy life?  How do you overcome these? 

The major drawback is definitely traveling. It’s very difficult to maintain your balanced nutritional plan, when the only food selections around you are fast food restaurants.  To overcome this challenge, I typically pack FiberOne Bars and apples in my suitcase. It’s pretty amazing how full you become eating those two items. I also generally purchase a grilled chicken sandwich from a fast food restaurant. I have to admit, at times, I do succumb to the combo meal. However, I pay for it with an intense workout afterwards.

What are your healthy living secrets?

My healthy living secret is to partner with someone to stay healthy. Without my wife, I would have a difficult time. It can be a spouse, companion, friend, colleague, or associate. Encourage each other to eat healthy. Plan workout dates or even report to each other what you have done, good and bad. It really helps.

Do you have a favorite charity? What kind of charity have you been involved with?  Tell us about your charity.

My favorite charity is Rosie O’Donnell’s, Rosie’s Theater Kids. Rosie’s Theater Kids is an arts education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts. Using professional teaching artists, Rosie's Theater Kids provides instruction in dance, music and drama and a professional theater experience for children who might otherwise not have the opportunity. Blazetrak has supported this organization through in-kind donations, including capturing some of their highlighted moments on video (http://vimeo.com/29853752). Blazetrak Co-Founder Nathaniel Casey sits on the Jr. Board of Rosie’s Theater Kids as well.

Blazetrak has also recently become a premium sponsor and has partnered up with event producer Faisal Al-Juburi, who has assembled a consortium of not-for-profit organizations – including Friends In Deed; God’s Love We Deliver; Hispanic Federation; International AIDS Prevention Initiative; The NAMES Project Foundation; and Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie’s Theater Kids - to serve as beneficiaries of funds raised at a gala event to be held in New York City during the week of World AIDS Day. This event, centered around a staged reading of QUILT - A Musical Celebration, will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the AIDS crisis and the 25th anniversary of The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. A large scale viewing of portions of The Quilt is also planned to coincide with the reading, curated to reflect panels made by and/or for New York City artists in the fields of theatre, music, and fashion.

Lastly, we’re also working with Blazetrak Advisory Board Member, Candice Cook, who has connected us with several global organizations. She is assisting us with developing a solution to integrate our technology with the non-profit sector, to spread awareness and receive donations online via our platform.

 

 


Madonna supports people who are different!

What a night! What a performer Madonna is!

Madonna during her song "Human Nature". Picture: Joey Holthaus

Madonna's concert during her MDNA tour

Queen of Pop Madonna visited the Netherlands with her much talked about world tour called MDNA, and Organice Your Life® was there too! I was there with my husband Mark, and we were some of the lucky ones who won two Golden Triangle tickets.

Green Golden Triangle arm chain & stamp. Picture: Mark Siebelink
Me and my husband Mark, waiting in line @ Ziggodome, Amsterdam

We’ve bought some very expensive VIP Tickets months ago, and we could win Golden Triangle tickets standing in line, hours before the concert. I freaked out when I found out we won (thanks to Mark) cause you have the best spot at the Golden Triangle!

Golden Triangle spot (inside red circle)

My girl and founder of Organice Your Life® Lonneke Engel was visiting the Netherlands, and was invited by her long time friend & Madonna's manager Guy Oseary. She also had tickets for the Golden Triangle, so I was very pleased we could watch the concert together!!!! Guy’s and Lonneke’s friend and magician David Blaine was also there! It was so nice to meet David & Guy in person!

Madonna's manager Guy Oseary, Lonneke Engel & magician David Blaine. Picture: Joey Holthaus
Me and Lonneke inside Golden Triangle. Picture: Mark Siebelink
Mark & Brooke, Lonneke's American friend and her guest. Picture: Joey Holthaus

The whole show was a energetic rollercoaster! It all happened around us, and sometimes you didn’t know where to look! At one point some drummer boys (during the song "Give Me All Your Luvin") were flying above us in the sky. It felt so surreal!

Showtime! Picture: Joey Holthaus
Madonna and dancers from Golden Triangle. Picture: Joey Holthaus

Madonna's speech

One of the best moments of this show was her beautiful speech. Madonna explained what the song "Saggara Jo" was about. It's about smashing apples, and she talked about the deeper meaning of the song.

So Madonna loves apples too! We also do, here @ Organice Your Life®!

It’s so great how she talked about smashing prejudice, smashing discrimination, smashing judgement, and how she supported people who are different!

“Thank God for people who are different! That is what makes the world go round”

She doesn’t have to say this, she doesn’t have to talk about it, but she does. So that’s why I say: thank you, Madonna!!!

I’ve made this illustration, after this incredible evening:

Madonna Beautiful Killer MDNA tour. Illustration by Atelier Joey Holthaus

Beautiful Killer is one of her extra songs on her new MDNA album. This outfit is one of her looks during the concert. Check more of my illustrations @ Haus of Joey

Love,Joey


Workout playlist: 12 songs that make me push a little harder

Music is essential to my daily workout (ok, almost daily)! I picked some of my faves for you, these always get me running a little bit faster... What are your favorites workout songs?

Burn, baby, burn from MarujaRetana on 8tracks.


Music and the brain

If this is not proof that music is a powerful thing... [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ[/youtube]

Just like smells, sounds can bring back very distant memories and evoke deep emotions. For more stories and information on how music affects the brain, read one of my all time fav books: 'Musicophilia' by Oliver Sacks!


music and memories

Imagine a world without music...
Its so amazing to me how music can make me feel so many things.
It brings you back to all sorts of memories.
Right now Im listening to Neil Youngs song "dont let it bring you down" taking me back to my childhood hanging out in my family house in burgundy, France listening to my parents records from their youth..
Music can take you back to a place too.
Every time I listen to Radiohead's new cd I think of Los Angeles, driving around in the car with the windows open, the wind in my hair and the California sun on my face.

For my acting work before I have to do an emotional scene I put on music. I listen to one or two songs that brings me to that vulnerable place, a time I might've listened to that song when I was feeling down. Or a song that reminds me of a person I miss dearly or care for a lot.

Try and stop and think about what you feel when you listen to a certain song, pay attention to your senses. Does music make you warm, excited, happy, teary eyed, where does it take you back to...

Your own personal memory time machine you can access whenever you press play
:)