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Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been  a big fan of pop music. As I grew older, I retained a certain nostalgia for 80’s and 90’s bands like U2, who seem to have made it through the generations and even have echoes in the music my teenage daughter Sophie now enjoys, such as the songs of David Guetta (particularly the new hit single, Without You). Granted, I lean more towards Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua than towards the contemporary club music and hip hop hits my daughter prefers. Since she’s become a teenager a little over a year ago and began monopolizing the radio, however, I’ve grown used to today’s pop music, including songs by Lil Wayne, the New Boyz, Pitbull and–of course!–Lady Gaga.

Although I may not listen to most of their music on my own, my teenage daughter and I found unexpected common ground in singers like David Guetta, Maroon 5 and–especially–Adele. As I began to listen regularly to her radio station, two songs struck me as contemporary but also somehow different, out of the norm: Stereo Love and Mr. Saxobeat. Once I looked them up on the Internet, I found out that both were sung by fellow Romanians: Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina (Stereo Love) and Alexandra Stan (Mr. Saxobeat). I thought to myself, not without a note of national pride: Those Romanians did it again! The truth is that Romanians have always been wonderful at adapatation. To my mind, the best kind of adaptation is when you manage to simultaneously fit in with whatever’s popular at the time and, somehow, still stand out as unique, by retaining a certain Eastern European flavor.

Perhaps this trace of uniqueness explains part of the  international success of hit songs like Stereo Love and Mr. Saxobeat, which isn’t easy to come by, since the competition is tough and so many millions of singers want to become international pop sensations. Of course, the huge success of some Romanian songs is attributable not only to the talent of the singers, but also to the video production capacities and international market connections of MediaPro Pictures, Romania’s largest TV and music video production company, which is part of CME (Central European Media Enterprises).

Once I found out from my publisher, Editura Curtea Veche, that  my first novel, Velvet Totalitarianism, will be launched in Romanian translation (under the title Intre Doua Lumi) in September of 2011, I began exploring the possibility of collaborating with talented Romanian composers and musicians for a music video/book trailer of my novel. Via LinkedIn, I met the Romanian singer, composer, director and producer Andy “Soundland” Platon, who ended up doing a wonderful music video based on my novel, called Velvet Love:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KURICuT8TcA

Andy Platon is a Romanian pop music prodigy.  I say “pop music” only because that’s what he excells at best. But Andy has enormous range both in terms of the scope of his talents–as a composer, music video director and producer and singer–and in the versatility of his musical abilities, from classical music to pop music and everything in between. Andy made his debut while still only a teenager in 2009 with the song Lost Without You, which became a finalist in the competition Battle of Songs. This show  was featured not only in Romania, but also in France, Russia and Turkey. Lost Without You was also nominated for the Shockwave NME Music Awards 2010. More recently, he’s known for his collaborations with Troy Lynch – The BeatBoyz (T.I.Gucci Mane, 112), Loredana Groza and  Marius Nedelcu  featuring  Alexandra UngureanuIrina PopaXoniaAnthony Icuagu (ex. Insane), Ianna Novac (ex. ASIA, Ladies).

His new single and music video,  Velvet Love,  performed by the talented singer Marcel Lovin, captures with feeling and sensibility some of the most poignant scenes of my novel Velvet Totalitarianism, including the complex dynamics between the main characters, Radu and Ioana, as they struggle with the tension between their love for each other and harassment by the Secret Police. As an art critic I found the video to be very artistic–almost photographic in feel–showing clearly Andy’s eye for capturing each scene in a single image, as well as the talent of his Director of Photography, Anthony Icuagu.

The main actors–Ioana Picos as Ioana and Mihai Marin as Radu–did a wonderful job playing the romantic couple in the novel, whose risky love for each other may be saved by their parental love for their son, Lucian, played by Alia Anastasiei. Given Andy Platon’s versatility, range and many talents–as well as the excellent actors, singers and producers he collaborates with–I expect that soon his songs will be heard on the radio all over the world; maybe even here, in Michigan, U.S.A, on my daughter’s favorite radio station, 98.7 Kiss F.M.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

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