Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Thousand Different Ways

ALBUM DESIGN -- Cindilu2 is one of many graphic artists who have created
possible CD covers for Clay Aiken's much anticipated sophomore album.

Acronyms Rule!

A Thousand Different Ways

We live in a world of acronyms and codes -- governmental, zip, area, airport, HTML, Morse, organiztional, professional, military, recreational, you name it. The list is literally boundless and would probably read like a foreign language to our ancestors.

As a music teacher, I have been a member of several organizations -- MTNA, TMTA, NAMTA, MENC, NCMENC, ASTA -- with well-known acronyms. NAMTA and ASTA are pronouced as words, while the others are known by their initials.

Occasionally, a student approaches learning to read music as if he or she is cracking some obscure, cryptic code. Actually, notation is very logical and quite simple: there is a seven-letter musical alphabet of ABCDEFG; notes move up and down a staff of five lines and four spaces in alphabetical order; adjacent notes use neighboring letters; each clef has a guideline note that identifies a specific location -- G for the treble clef, F for the bass, C for the alto and tenor clefs. Simple, yet Greek to many.

Native American Code Talkers

During World War II, Native American code talkers, bilingual Navajo language speakers, were specially recruited to serve in standard communications units of the US Marines in the Pacific Theater. Code talkers transmitted secret tactical messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their story has been preserved in the movie, "Windtalkers."

According to Wikopedia's article on Acronyms and Initialisms, the widespread use of accepted abbreviations and codes -- NATO, FBI, SAT, JPEG, for example -- is a relatively new linguistic phenomenon in the English language.

When you add chat, instant and text messaging codes, the list really does become limitless -- AIUI (As I understand it), AYPI? (And your point is?), BWTHDIK (But what the heck do I know?), BRB (be right back), ROFL (rolling on floor laughing), ROFLOL (rolling on floor laughing out loud), etc. See how many you know in this Internet Acronyms Dictionary.

Just for grins, I typed in ATDW in an Internet Acronym Finder. Lo and behold, there is no match -- yet! Currently, this site has 2,995,000 definitions in its database. CA fans converse in code amongst ourselves and with our favorite singer.

True fans have no problem deciphering the acronyms from Clay's huge musical repertoire (BOTW, TITN, DLTSGDOM, etc.) or in reference to his tours (NAT, JBT, JNT04, JNT05).

NANA Contest at the OFC

Of course, the most recent usage of acronyms at the OFC (another one -- Official Fan Club!) began when Clay announced the NANA (New Album Name Acronym) Contest on July 4. In a series of blogs at this site, OMC (Our Man Clay) maintained a running commentary on NANA's progress.

Reminders from Day 1: And don't try your sneaking, snooping around, and going through your "channels" to find out the album title. Only about 4 people know. I haven't even told my mother. So your normal "contacts" will steer you wrong!!!

Then he kept tabs on acronyms submitted and gave the statistical odds for a fan even guessing correctly -- 456,976 variations in the beginning.

He also provided further hints -- Does NOT spell a known word, first letter is a vowel, last three letters are not vowels -- and brought the possible options to less than 46,305.

There was encouragement for his industrious fans in several progress reports: A few people now have gotten at least two letters in the right spaces, using what I imagine to be the "lotto strategy" on 7/5, followed by Four folks have all but one letter correct and in the correct place on 7/6.

We Have a Winner!

Finally, on 7/11 came the announcement: We have a winner! I'm warming up my dialing fingers to make a call very soon! And warming up my creative juices for a "follow up" contest!

On 7/14, Santeyamor enjoyed a 20-minute phone conversation with Clay, just one of the many rewards her correct acronym won. Clay blogged that his winner is to be applauded for her work with the elderly and low income families in her city. I think OMC is the unofficial president of this lucky lady's fan club.

On July 17, both Clay and Jaymes Foster, the CD's executive producer, put the icing on my birthday cake by announcing the name of the sophomore album -- A Thousand Different Ways. The beautiful clickable graphic above was designed by Amazing_CA.

After discussing their journey, the process, the album's two distinctly different musical paths, the great respect she has for Clay's talent, Jaymes (Clayandr) shared this information with fans:


I have been very fortunate in my career to work with or along side of some of the greatest singers on the planet – Celine, Barbra, Andrea Bocelli. And I believe (as you already know) Clay is right up there next to those amazing singers. You all expressed to me that you wanted me to be sure that his vocal shined through on his CD as if you were listening to him live. I think we accomplished that.

And, I think he made great choices of songs on his album to showcase that. As much as I know it will frustrate you, unfortunately, I can’t tell you what those are at this point….you’ll have to find out for yourself when you get the album. (Or, since I know you want to know as much as you can, I’ll try to give you more information here when I am allowed to.) But, I believe you will hear him singing in ways that you have never heard or even dreamed of. His musical talent, instincts and abilities have astounded me.

While you will have to wait a little longer for the record label to firm up the final release date, I can tell you now that Clay and I are sure that you will love this album in "A Thousand Different Ways!"

PHOTO INTERMISSION: Today's clickable interlude features graphics by Amazing_CA (1, 5); Pixieglitter (2); Claystruck (3); and Aspiegirl (4). Photo credits include Twicetreasured (2) and Invisible926 (4).

Same Wave Length as Macca

Interestingly, Clay Aiken's NANA contest parallels that of pop music icon, Sir Paul McCartney. This is an excerpt from The Express on (er um!) July 17 and should sound very familiar:

Beatles Code Riddle for Fans

Beatles producer Sir George Martin is challenging fans to crack the "code" in a new Fab Four album produced for a Las Vegas show.

Sir George and his son Giles, who say only they and Sir Paul McCartney know the answers, have hidden more than 130 Beatles songs within their 90-minute soundtrack to Love - the new Beatles/Cirque Du Soleil production. Every sound in the show is taken from a Beatles recording, both famous and obscure, with some excerpts played backwards.

A prize will be offered to anyone who cracks the code when the CD soundtrack is released in October. Sir George, 80, told the Sunday Express: "I really don't think anyone will ever get it."

There have been other messages from Clay that could be considered codes of sorts -- the suggestion we ponder a specific Bible verse to "stand tall in the face of adversity," a simple "thank you" in the midst of overwhelming support during some rough times, and the Valentine's Day blog that ended with this postscript that just may have been a veiled description of the upcoming CD:

Come to think of it, most of my favorite songs of ALL time are LOVE SONGS! .... hmmm ..... now there's an idea!

I can't wait to start compiling new song and tour acronyms from Clay's sophomore CD. Meanwhile, many of us are still trying to decode "quite soon."


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Vox Vixen said...

Great Blog.

Clay does seem inordinately fond codes. He was too cute with his NANA contest.


Vox Vixen said...

Great Blog.

Clay does seem inordinately fond codes. He was too cute with his NANA contest.