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The wonderful world of Twitter is to thank for my latest blog post! A little over three weeks ago now, I was going through my normal morning routine by surfing through my three favorite websites (the NY Times Homepage, Gmail and Twitter) when I came across the actor Ed Burns’ latest post about a winner for a song for his new movie “Newlyweds.” That is where I quickly clicked on @mrpatmccormack and found the man who won the contest; which then lead me to his website and contacting him personally. At first I had to congratulate him on his winning and of course than thank him for us little people who try very hard to follow our dreams. He entered a contest and won a once in a lifetime dream! After a few emails back and fourth I asked him if he’d let me interview him for the CUNY blog and he said yes!

I asked Patrick to tell us a little bit about himself before we started the questions …. I’m a singer, songwriter and film composer originally from New England.  Last spring, I recorded and independently released my debut EP, “Fresh Paint.”  I pride myself as a self-sufficient recording artist, performing guitar, drums, piano, vocals and all other instrumentation.  I’ve spent the past 3 years living in Chicago, playing in my band, T & The Wonder, while writing and recording my original songs.  In addition to singing and songwriting, I spend equal time composing and producing instrumental music for independent films.

·     If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?

Sentimental | Folk | Pop

·     What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Growing up in the 1990’s was a very inspiring time for popular music. When I heard stuff like Beck, Beastie Boys, or Cake all over the radio, it just seemed so relatable.  Even if it got me nowhere, making music is such a versatile form of expression. I felt like such an underachiever by NOT having a band, even when I was 10. As far as actually pursuing music, I saved up for a four track cassette recorder.  The first batch of simple folk songs I made on cassette really kickstarted my obsession with layering instruments and vocals.  That’s also when I realized you can make a record completely by yourself.  With enough practice, and commitment, I learned bass, guitar and drums; the brick foundation of every rock song.

·     I saw through Ed Burn’s personal Twitter Account that you’ve recently entered a contest sponsored by him through Twitter; can you tell us about that experience? How has it changed your career?

It was a huge surprise to me.  My friend Giancarlo even had to talk me into entering the contest.  Burns chose “Ovenbird” from my “Fresh Paint” EP.  This could not have been any easy choice for him, I think there were about 100 song submissions from some very serious musicians. Luckily, they had a pair of tickets to the premiere for me, so I flew into New York about 36 hours after finding out I had won. Very surreal.  The film was amazing, so just being attached to it was such a thrill.  Edward Burns was extremely encouraging when we spoke in person.  Getting complimented by such a legendary filmmaker,I couldn’t even mentally process it. A large part of my career focus is composing music for film.  Right now I’m scoring a few short films and other instrumental projects. Getting the credit of an Edward Burns film is a huge boost for my future in cinematic music.

·      What are your up-to-date performance plans? New Releases? Tours? News?

Sometime in the next week I will be releasing the “Mile Away” single, along with some other material.  This is a prelude to a new album, which has no official release date yet.  I’m at my home studio just about every day, working out the details of my new songs.  Should be around mid summer, so look for that. Currently, the “Fresh Paint” EP is ‘name your price’ on bandcamp.com, in other words, FREE.  I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in independent music to download and listen.  Each track is original, and every instrument was performed by me, including all vocals.  I’m very proud of this EP and I can’t wait to share my next one.

I’d like to personally thank Patrick for lending me his time to answer these questions for his blog post! If you’d like to find out more about his work,  check out his website or follow him on Twitter @mrpatmccormack 

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.

With all that is going on in the world I thought that this post would be more fun and thought provoking than serious. If there is anything anyone ever needs to know about me is that I am extremely organized. I don’t like to show it, so you probably won’t notice it off the bat unless you are around me 24 hours a day. But the thing I do have and is usually carried with me all places; is my blue planner, my life. Ever since I can remember probably since I was aware of this “gift” at age 12 or so I’ve had a planner or something similar.

Lately I have been running around like a chicken without a head dealing with family issues, so having my planner at my fingertips literally has been somewhat of a calming feature for me. But the good thing about it as well as the bad thing about it is that I haven’t been able to schedule in something that is fun. The last couple of years, ever since I graduated high school (I graduated in 2008) this time of the year is always jam packed with things going on. I was fortunate last weekend to be able to be able to schedule in to spend some time alone with a very dear cousin of mine and we had been talking about everything but movies seemed to come up, well more of the lack there of movies I have seen. I am not a big movie person; just lately in my “older” years I have been watching some of the newer movies when they first come out but I have NOT (note not) seen the “classics” such as Star Wars, Forrest Gump as well as the ever well-known Princess Bride.

So being the “Organize Queen” that I am, I have come up with a list also known as the “PIOL” (said like pile) meaning PUT IT ON the LIST. The list is up to about 130 plus movies; so if you think there is a movie I haven’t seen yet, please give me some suggestions. More importantly coming up with time in my busy schedule that I can add some fun to it. With that being said I challenge you to do the same. Reevaluate your schedule or maybe even make a schedule. Are you lacking something that is fun for you? Maybe something as simple as getting a craft to do with a loved one or taking a walk (in between the rain drops in this Northeastern weather!) But more importantly are you taking time for yourself. Although you may not think that doing something fun or adding something to your already busy schedule is not possible, I challenge you to try. We all have that mentality we have to get everything done when it has to get done within a certain time frame, but I guarantee that we don’t have to- we just have to take time for ourselves that is fun. Technology seems to always overwhelm us all, including me even though I love technology sometimes I would love to throw my cellphone or my computer across the room and say leave me alone. So this upcoming week, take time out of your schedule to make a better schedule, add some fun and even sit down and watch a movie!

P.S. Don’t forget to send me some suggestions, I can guarantee you I haven’t seen it! Think about this: Does FUN fit into your schedule?

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.

Have you heard your cellphone ring in the last couple of days? Do you have a “house phone”? Do you even use ringtones for calls anymore? I know I cannot answer yes to any of these questions. With the rise of smartphones over the last few years there has been a decline in actual telephone usage, not that we didn’t see that coming. But why have we become so dependent on them and so quickly as well? Having had a smart phone in one form or another for over four years now I don’t know if I could ever go back to a “normal” phone ever again, nor do I think those types of phones that we once knew will ever be back on the rise again. The new smartphones are great with all the helpful apps – whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry or another type of device. But with the gain of all this new technology in our phones, have we lost the actual point of a phone to begin with- talking to people?

I have to admit, I am a lover of the Blackberry Messenger feature and texting people who are all over the world and country – but even my own mother would rather text me before she’d call me up. And we live in the same house! Don’t get me wrong I do occasionally get a phone call here or there but I feel as though we as a society have moved away from hearing someone’s voice. Even with the rise in emailing over the last few years I have been wondering if we will remember what people actually sound like versus just what we think they do. Personally I have always been one to be attached to my phone or computer as if it were the last day on earth, but this past week for one of my classes we had to keep a media diary for one day of how much time we spent using different products. Whether it was our cellphones, computers, checking emails, or talking on the phone. I was more than surprised by the results that I received by the end of the day. I spend about 10 hours combined on all of my devices – though not continuously. I cannot speak for anyone but myself but I think I need to do something that doesn’t involve technology. For starters I have been keeping up with actually reading books in print and not from a device and yesterday I decided that I was going to try a new recipe a friend have given me.

Do you think you spend too much time consumed by technology? What about actually calling someone up today? In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, surprise someone you love with a phone call and let them  hear your voice!

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.


As a new year or chapter approaches in someone’s life, that person always comes up with a list of what they would like to accomplish and wish for. At least that is what I do. Being a college student, I always come up with a customized list at the start of each semester as well as at the start of a new year. For most people change can be hard to deal with but sometimes it is necessary.  I just transferred into CUNY’s School of Professional Studies for the Spring 2011 semester, so it’s been a little tough getting adjusted to a new school. I am a Communication and Culture major, which is perfect for me! I am glad that I was able to find a program that was tailored to just what I wanted to do with my life- being with people and embracing the world around me. I have always wanted to be in the event planning business, whether for large scaled parties or small ones. In the past few years when I started college, I realized that I still want to do that, but I want to plan events and work with and for non-for-profit organizations. Although the change of a new life is coming slowly but surely I have come up with a new set of goals for this new chapter of my life. It was a rather difficult but needed change to go from being super-involved in my previous college, to attending SPS where I do my schooling from wherever I may be at that present moment.  Therefore as part of my a fresh start I have come up with a few new goals .  These are easy goals that you can tailor to your life as well.

1)          Get involved as much as I can. Blogging is one of the first things I have done to get involved! Next step is visiting one of the CUNY libraries to do work and have the ability to meet other students.

2)         Look for an internship or a job in a field related to my field of concentration. I have looked for jobs in the areas where I would like to work, that is,  getting involved with a non-profit organization.

3)         Do one fun thing a week! Whether it’s going to get coffee with a friend or taking my camera and exploring a museum or the city, getting out of the house to do something and inexpensive. Check the CUNY website under Cultural Passport to check out cool places around NYC and some free ones as well. Be sure to check the dates and times of museums. FYI some are closed on Tuesdays!

4)       Volunteer! I love to volunteer and get involved helping others. It’s my turn to find something that I love to do.  Whether it’s once a month or once a week I am going to find some project to become involved in doing some type of service work.

5)         Keep a Diary! Life is too short and lately I have been trying to write in a diary, notebook or on my computer about the highlights of my week, day or some event that has occurred, that I think is important to write about. If not every night I aim to journal at least three times a week. It is also good to write things down on paper, you never know when you might want to recall what you have done.

Coming to live back home is a big adjustment.   Instead of getting into a rut and not wanting to do my schoolwork, I have turned to writing even a couple of sentences a day or a week to keeping me busy. I am excited to be a part of SPS and have had such a good transition so far.  I can thank my advisor very much for helping with the transition and getting me in contact with the right people. I did not realize what a smooth process it was to transfer into CUNY and I cannot be more excited to start classes. I have never taken an Astronomy class and now I have the chance!  This journey of life is too short and it is time to have fun. I encourage each and every one of you no matter what school you attend or where you live, to set a list of goals for yourself whether it is school or life related. Even if it is a goal for the end of the week to get that coffee or even at the end of the month; rewarding yourself in ways make life meaningful.

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.