Amidst the holiday clamor, deadlines and other seasonal unpleasantness, it’s nice to see that if you look really hard, you can see some actual karma happening. I have two instances of proof of this I’d like to share with you here.
First, Sign #1.
It’s difficult to stomach the way holiday television advertising hijacks every single christmas song, writes poorly imagined new lyrics and makes sure if you watch any television at all, you cannot escape it. Oh, and giant red bows on cars. You can’t escape that either. However, there was one holiday song hijacking that seemed… well… almost pleasant. No, it actually was pleasant.
This particular Hyundai commercial featured a young man and woman performing and singing Jingle Bells with split screens featuring the various instrumentation they were using, or at least pretending to be using, around a red Hyundai. The big difference between this commercial and others that make my holiday skin crawl, is that it seemed… genuine. Extremely rare in television advertising.
Every time I saw it, I said to myself, I must find out about this musical duo. Are they real? The music was incredibly well produced, but the two of them seemed somehow not “advertising slick.” I mean that as a compliment.
A Google search later and I had my answer. Pomplamoose.
Otherwise known as Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, this talented indie musical duo have made a bit of a career out of buying what is called a mechanical license for songs they like and re-recording them in their small quirky home studio. The license allows them to re-record songs for distribution in the USA for a small licensing fee. So unlike the Monkees, Pomplamoose actually were playing their own instruments in the Hyundai commercial!
While they’re recording the songs, they set up a video camera for each voice or instrument part and then Nataly edits them into rather fun music videos which they then distribute to their ever growing fan base on YouTube. All without a recording contract or creativity crushing control by a record company.
Now there are certainly a lot of people uploading their home made music to YouTube, but what makes Pomplamoose different, is that their music is actually good. I mean really good. But they definitely don’t take themselves too seriously. And Jack and Nataly look like they would be fun to hang out with.
They are crazy talented. Nataly’s voice and harmonies are as good as anything out there. And Jack, with his very odd collection of musical instruments has managed to create excellent mixes in their blanket insulated recording studio.
But here’s the good part. Not only did the advertising agency that produced the Hyundai spots discover this little musical duo and pay them a big bag of money to appear in the Jingle Bells commercial and then again with their take on Deck the Halls, Toyota’s ad agency did the same thing about nine months ago with Pomplamoose’s Mr. Sandman track.
The Toyota spot did not feature Pomplamoose on camera though and even though it was a nicely produced, slick, art deco spot, I think Hyundai one upped Toyota by actually featuring Pomplamoose on camera.
That’s three national car commercials and three giant bags of money this year alone for the original, unsigned, home studio-ed Pomplamoose! They deserve every penny. And it’s Sign #1 that sometimes the world works the way it should.
I’ve always said, if you work hard and make something you’re passionate about, someone with money will notice and perhaps pay you for it.
And if they’re really smart, they won’t try to turn you into something you’re not in the process.
And this story gets even better. Showing off their own impeccable karma, Pomplamoose have organized an online book drive (the link is a Pomplamoose video about the book drive and also talks about the making of the Hyundai spots – total creative control – amazing!) in exchange for free copies of their new christmas EP. This success seems not to be going to their heads.
They also write and record original songs which are quite good and can be purchased on iTunes. And you should. They totally deserve it.
Onto Sign #2 now.
I’m a letter writer. If I experience something, exceptionally good or bad, I usually write a letter.
There’s a restaurant near my studio that I order dinner from a lot. And one of their delivery guys is just extraordinary. In fact at one point I had to ask him he was the owner or manager of the restaurant or something because his attention to detail was so good- good at the level you normally only find with someone who has a stake in the business.
Nope, I’m just a driver.
So I wrote a letter and long story short, he told me he’s getting a raise.
Which, again, is the way it is supposed to work.
So during the crush of holiday madness this year, a time of year I am usually pulled in too many directions healthy for a human, I took great solace in the fact that the world does seem to be working the way it should.
At least some of the time.
We will return the blog to more photographic topics next time.