Songwriters Hall Of Fame Announces 2019 Nominees

The late American singer and songwriter, PF Sloan has finally been been recognised for the Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2019.

Sloan was one of the most prolific and influential geniuses to emerge from the golden age of the 1960s – one of the “Pioneers of Folk Rock.” Between 1965 and 1967, one hundred and fifty of his songs were recorded by major acts, of which, forty-five made the charts. Nobody has come close to that number of hits in such a short period of time.

From his little studio at Dunhill, P.F. Sloan was a veritable “hit machine” for major acts such as The Mamas and Papas (it was Sloan’s infectious guitar lick on California Dreamin’), The Turtles, Jan and Dean (that was Sloan on falsetto for most Jan and Dean’s hits), The Searchers, Herman’s Hermits, The Grassroots, Betty Everett, The Fifth Dimension, Ann Margaret, Johnny Rivers (Sloan wrote the iconic Secret Agent Man) and hundreds more.

When Sloan was 12, he encountered Elvis Presley at Wallach’s Music City in Hollywood. The King gave him a quick lesson, teaching him “Love Me Tender.” At only 13 he signed with the all-Black label, Aladdin Records. At 16, he was writing hit songs for anyone who came through the door. Sloan was authentic and there wouldn’t have been anything called the “Sunset Strip Sound” without him.

Sloan was one of the first to ever hear and give the Beatles their opportunity in America and Brian Epstein never forgot Sloan for his support. Sloan received a package from Andrew Loog Oldham, the producer of a new band called The Rolling Stones, who wrote to Sloan,  saying Epstein had suggested that he listened to their demo.

Sloan was called the Prince of Protest and the music business considered him dangerous because of his controversial folk songs. Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and David Blue were great allies of P.F. Sloan.

 

 

 

Eulogy To P.F. Sloan: Eve of Destruction

18 September was the birthday of the late P.F. Sloan, the iconic American singer, songwriter and as I remember Sloan, his friend and co-author of memoirs, Whats Exactly The Matter With Me, Steve Feinberg, shared these thoughts with me about Sloan’s life and epic song, Eve Of Destruction.

I share these words with Steve’s permission:

“P.F. Sloan was a renegade outlaw. A genius prodigy, Pound for pound, P.F. Sloan was the most mysterious and elusive figures in the history of rock and roll–and one of the most powerful and influential songwriters to emerge from the inspired mid-sixties.

Without P.F. Sloan there wouldn’t have been the sound of the Mamas and Papas. That’s Phil who wrote and played the infectious opening hook on California Dreamin’. Phil and his partner Steve Barri were the original Grass Roots, with a hit song before there was a real group. He wrote pop songs for everyone–from Ann-Margret to Herman’s Hermits–from Jan and Dean to the Turtles. Everyone who knows anything about music from the sixties has heard Sloan songs.

And then P.F. Sloan dared to write Eve Of Destruction. P.F. Sloan was fearless. He wrote songs like Eugene O’Neill wrote plays–with passion and honesty. He gave us everything he had.

Before Eve, folk music was relegated to the rarified confines of coffee houses and beat clubs, not frequented by the majority of kids in America, whose main access to music was a.m. radio. However, these kids were full of quiet angst about the war, poverty, nuclear annihilation and racial strife. These kids were sleeping tigers waiting to be unleashed upon the world with something to say—waiting for the green light—waiting for their fuses to be lit. Eve Of Destruction lit the fuse of a generation and inspired them to stand up and be heard. Eve Of Destruction was a song that became their sword—they used that sword, righteously. This song inspired the 26th Amendment of the Constitution, lowering the voting age to eighteen.

I have received letters from former teens throughout the world—they all remember where they were when they heard Eve—how their lives changed. It is a song that awoke those tigers and became one of the seminal events in an extraordinary decade. When JerryLewis introduced Eve Of Destruction on September 20, 1965, on the Hullabaloo television show, the earth rumbled. For me, it was the line, “This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’”. It shot through me. That song was my Bar Mitzvah. Eve was my passage into manhood.

Before Eve Of Destruction, life was Hondas, cars, madras shirts, monster movies , barbecues and dances on Saturday nights—we were giving more thought to buying beer for a party under the boardwalk than dying in Vietnam. Marijuana had yet to waft into the mainstream youth culture from the coolness of jazz and the hippie underground. America was on a precipice. We had suppressed all of the anxiety of the world and thought it was secure in its place—let the grownups worry about it. It wasn’t secure. Eve Of Destruction blew our hair back and blew our minds. It stopped us in our tracks, and caused us to think—a lot of us, for the first time.

Because he wrote successful pop songs, Sloan wasn’t allowed to hammer down on new, strong iron. He was torn apart by the the folk establishment and crucified by the music business. (Bob Dylan respected Sloan. Dylan once said the if you wanted to know what was happening on the street, Eve Of Destruction will tell you that). Pete Seeger refused to be on the same bill with Phil and John Lennon thought the song was rubbish—though, in my opinion, Lennon was more influenced by P.F. Sloan than he would ever have admitted.

A writer of pop songs couldn’t possibly have anything to say. They were wrong. Sloan didn’t care. P.F. Sloan was all about the music–all about the song. And he was all about telling the truth in a song. P.F. Sloan paid the price. Phil took Eve to #1, delivered the message around the world and was then torn apart by those who did not want the message heard. The debt has been paid. Music needs an enlightenment of truth.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!

Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!

Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,

But when your return, it’s the same old place,

The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,

You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,

Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,

And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend, 

You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

P.F Sloan died in 2015. He spent the last three years of his life touring and playing for his loyal, adoring fans. His memoirs, What’s Exactly The Matter With Me? was published by Jawbone Press in London, in 2014.

 

 

 

Serendipity PR Sponsors GFA Enfield Under 12’s Tigers

When you run your own business, there’s really nothing like having the joy, the passion and the freedom – the freedom to choose who your clients are, how to define your brands, how you want to work and do business, and what you want to support.

I believe it’s always good as a business to be philanthropic when you can and put back into our communities.

So, sponsoring my son’s football team for his local football club, GFA (Grassroots Football Academy and Football Club) Enfield this year was a no brainer. It gives me a great sense of joy and pride, not just as a mum, but as an entrepreneur; a woman in business. There’s such a good feeling of being able to support a local sports project, which brings children together.

GFA Enfield is set up by two FA qualified coaches, gives children the access to football in their own environment irrespective of their age, gender, physical condition or background. It helps them to build their social skills, understand about working as a team, builds their confidence – all while playing football.

On Sunday 9 September, my son’s team, the GFA Under 12’s Tigers got their new kit and won their first match, 6:2. The team played with flair, heart and determination; and of course with a little bit of serendipity magic!

Woman At Work: #Backtoschoolweek

 

In June this year I was delighted to be approached by the Indian women’s magazine, Woman At Work for an interview about my background and career. It’s a magazine for the working woman, where in India, women constitute to more than 30% of its workforce. Working women here, have made their presence felt across sectors and professions. Woman At Work magazine is a first-of-its-kind professional magazine and with a digital platform for talented women at work in India, which launched in 2015.

The magazine aspires to go beyond the conventional domains of home and family management, instead showcasing the different aspects of an everyday career woman. Perhaps quite understandably and to be expected, within a year of its launch, the magazine reached more than 300,000 readers across India; showing how ready people were and are for – Woman At Work.

The questions asked were really thought-provoking and made me take stock of my diversity and cultural heritage. It was a great personal exercise for me to do – a chance to reflect and actually be proud of myself of how far I had come and all what I had done. Sometimes we can be really focused on providing others with encouragement and support that we can forget to do the same for ourselves. Or perhaps, we are moving from one task or challenge to another without a chance to stop and take stock, to realise how far we’ve come and to congratulate ourselves for what we’ve done.

So, it was a lovely surprise to see the magazine, which arrived through my letter box last week, during #backtoschoolweek

A great start to my new term!

 

Status Row And The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

 

It is always good news when you can reveal a new client, but it is even better when you can announce a new client, who is making a difference and is big on purpose…and I am delighted that Serendipity PR is working with three female rowers, Caroline, Jess and Susan, who together are Status Row.

Status Row is participating, as the only trio female rowing team in this year’s well-known Talisker Whisky ​Atlantic Challenge, the premier event in ocean racing and the world’s toughest challenge – 30 crews from around the world competing to cross 3000 miles of ocean, powered only by their own strength and determination.

If that wasn’t a mission enough?!, Status Row also want to break the world record both for men and women, and plan to row across the Atlantic in 50 days! The current male record is 51 days and for women it is 60 days.

​Status Row are rowing for the highly-respected charity the​ Marine Conservation Society and want to raise awareness about the plastic pollution affecting our seas, oceans and marine life. Status Row have always been committed to the issues surrounding sustainability and the environment. They really want to make a difference to the planet.

By day, Caroline, Jess and Susan are London office workers, who came together as rock climbers. They are now being trained by Olympic rower, Guin Batten. They have their boat and will ​set sail this December and are looking for sponsorship, to raise as much money for the Marine Conservation Society and have got off on to a good start and been supported by businesses and individual supporters; which ​includes business woman Deborah Meaden, who is also on the BBC TV show Dragon’s Den.

Right now, it is estimated 12.7 million tons of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truck load of rubbish a minute. Sadly, and disturbingly, this plastic is turning up in every corner of our planet – from beaches, to uninhabited Pacific islands. It is even found trapped in Arctic ice.

Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Big pieces of plastic are choking and entangling turtles and seabirds and tiny pieces are clogging the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales.

Plastic is now entering every level of the ocean food chain and even ending our plates, which why what Status Row is doing is so important and there is a big Return on Investment for companies who sponsor them, as your logo will be on the boat and will be seen by a global viewing audience, giving a brand international reach and brand association as the official broadcast partner is The National Geographic.

Crucially, it will also mean that your company will also be part of this great sustainability awareness campaign to rescue our oceans and marine life; and is also why Serendipity PR has also decided to be a sponsor.

Like everyone, we have all watched Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet and this is a topic high on the news agenda and in the public consciousness. Let’s act together and get behind Status Row. For sponsorship opportunities drop me a line at sangeeta@serendipitypr.co.uk

 

#WorldEnvironmentDay2018

If you did not know already, today is World Environment Day – to raise awareness about protecting the environment, United Nations (UN) has designated June 5 as World Environment Day. Each World Environment Day is organised around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern.

The theme for the World Environment Day 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Every World Environment Day has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. This year it is India.

We’re all guilty of using too much disposable plastic – and despite the EU’s plans to end all non-recyclable plastic by 2030, change can’t happen soon enough. So with the theme #BeatPlasticPollution – here’s four simple things we can all do to help clean up the planet:

 

  1. Invest In  A Canvas Bag
    Every year the world uses 500 billion plastic bags with each one taking an average of 100 years to decompose and that’s only if it’s exposed to sunlight and air, which landfill rubbish often isn’t. That means that plastic bag you are using will probably outlive us all. Instead carry a canvas bag.
  2. Say No To Straws
    Straws are the fifth most common item of rubbish – taking up to 500 years to break down! Only a fraction of plastic straws that we use for our drinks are recycled and the majority end up in landfill, in rivers and the sea, where they seriously damage marine life. The EU has proposed a total ban on plastic straws and cutlery, and many restaurants and bars have already switched to biodegradable options in a bid to help the environment.
  3. Use A Reusable Cup
    Only one in 400 coffee cups are recycled in the UK and many can’t be reprocessed due to their inner plastic coating, designed to stop the liquid making the cardboard soggy. Now coffee shops are rewarding customers for bringing in their own reusable cups. Starbucks offer customers with reusable cups 25p off their beverage, they also sell reusable cups for £1, and will soon begin to charge 5p more for takeaway paper cups; Pret and Costa give 50p off any hot drink; while Caffé Nero gives double loyalty stamps; and independent shops have their own discount schemes.
  4. Drink Tap Water
    Globally, we buy 1m plastic bottles every minute and each year 17m barrels of oil are used to produce them. Instead, invest in a reusable water-bottle.

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Jedimenta44

 

 

The Royal Wedding: When Harry Weds Meghan

I write this on the eve of the Royal Wedding, when Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle. I have read a lot of the media coverage and social media leading up to this wedding and while I think that many people here in the UK may not be too bothered about the wedding – where they have a take it or leave it attitude. I for one, will be celebrating…not just toasting the happy couple, but this moment in history. Those who know me well, know that I am no Royalist, though I do have a soft spot for our Queen.

The royal family is one of the main symbols of whiteness, empire, bloodlines and colonial times. The Queen heads the Commonwealth, a post-colonial club of countries that were once under British rule…the British Empire embraced the belief that it had a duty to educate backward civilizations in Christianity, Western modernity and capitalism. Therefore, Markle’s place at the heart of the British establishment appears especially meaningful because she will become a member of the royal family who is mixed race and embracing her heritage.

As a British Born Asian woman married to a white man, where we now have a wonderful son of mixed heritage, tomorrow’s wedding is a big moment for me. Throughout my teenage years there were hardly any female role models who were women of colour. They were not there in the teen magazines that I read, they were not in the movies I watched, they were not there in the TV soaps or dramas…but yes, they were there in music.

All the fairy tales that I read as child, the princesses were white, beautiful with long fair hair…a little girl like me of colour never seemed to marry the prince…but tomorrow she does.  I only think if you are not white, will you understand this sentiment and feel it. This wedding represents modern Britain and is a beautiful thing because it shapes my son’s future of acceptance and integration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiaaaaaah!!

The last time I was back in Delhi was a year ago and each time I arrive back in the city, I notice how much it has changed. It’s a place that is continuously growing with new buildings, new suburbs and new brands. It’s a hub of activity and while I was there, numerous international conferences and events were taking place.

Delhi is a place that I used to know and a place that I love. It has something called the Delhi vibe, wrapped up in its own special smell of heat and dust…and so, it was here that I found on 27 April, where I stayed till 2 May. As I was fortunate to be invited to speak at two different events – the first was at the India CSR conference on CSR and Leadership, and the other was the Women’s Economic Forum (WEF) where I spoke about the power of networking, PR and social media.

At both events I was honoured to receive two different awards, but both awards acknowledging my work, for which I am very grateful.

The first accolade was the India CSR Author’s award and I have been writing on this topic globally for more than seven years…working on this topic since the 90’s. The WEF award was for an ‘Exceptional Woman of Excellence’ in my field.

Delhi is alive, vibrant and there are huge opportunities right now for doing business, collaboration, networking and creating new ideas.

On this trip to Delhi, I also took my client, LID Publishing who publishes business books, as they are keen to explore the Indian market. It was important for them to experience India, see how it operates and breathes, and of course for me to make them a few strong introductions.

And I too was making connections for my next business venture, which is an Indian British Trade Expo taking place here in London in November, which is being supported by the House of Lords. I am proud to say that Serendipity PR is one of the media sponsors for this event.

I shall leave you with this last thought – India is set to become the third largest economy in the world.

 

 

We Are The City

 

Every now and again wonderful opportunities come our way and about a few weeks ago, I was approached by the very talented Ashish Bhardwaj, who is based in New Delhi and writes for the platform ‘We Are The City’ – a news platform that supports what the it calls the ‘female pipeline’. Ashish asked if he could do a Q&A with me, and of course I said yes! I was thrilled to be on an Indian news platform that supports women; it was a huge honour.

Ashish one of those rare people who works tirelessly to connect with and interview Indian women across India and abroad; he is proud to actively be involved in empowering Indian women.

Here is the piece that was recently published, that has been well received. I hope you enjoy reading it and finding out more about me, the person behind Serendipity PR & Media and here is the piece that I am very proud of…

 

 

 

 

100 FSB Women for IWD

Yesterday, 8 March 2018 marked International Women’s Day (IWD), a global celebration of women’s social, political and cultural achievements, while still pushing for progress for future generations. In the last year, we’ve seen women from all walks of life stand up and start the conversation on issues that women still face, from gender equality, to fair pay and sexual assaults. This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, a call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity.

Thanks to two recent big social media campaigns – #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the call for change this year has not gone unnoticed.

I am a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and am also on its Diversity Taskforce, and this year the FSB created a very strong and inspiring digital campaign to raise the visibility of role models for women entrepreneurs. It’s called 100 FSB Women. These women come from all sectors and each has a special story to tell and valuable advice to impart to other women.

2018 is the 100-year anniversary of when the first women got the right to vote, following the suffragettes’ campaigning, and the FSB felt it was fitting to feature 100 women FSB members and share their wealth of advice and inspiration with women all over the world.

I am very proud to be alongside these women and be part of this 100 and for my business tip to be featured by Business Leader.

The UK currently has 5.7 million small businesses and self-employed, but it is estimated that could be boosted by a further 1.2 million new enterprises led by women. This untapped business potential of women can be tackled, in part, by increasing the visibility of role models for women entrepreneurs, according to a recent FSB report.

Sadly and perhaps unfairly, research shows that women are less likely than their male counterparts to know a person in business and, as a result, have fewer opportunities to benefit from exposure to others with business experience and are less likely to see people like themselves succeeding.

Entrepreneurship was once considered a man’s domain but this is changing throughout the world – Nigeria now outranks the US and the UK in terms of percentage of entrepreneurs among women with a rate of 41% for the African country against 10% and 5.7% for the two developed countries respectively.

Yet women in Nigeria and other developing economies have shown to be 20% less likely than men to have a bank account and 17% less likely to have borrowed formally. Factors such as legal restrictions on women to open bank accounts without a male relative’s authorization are a challenge for women in the region.

While IWD is now over till next year, our work to press for progress continues – today, tomorrow, the day after that and the day after that… and the last verse of the poem, The Woods Are Lovely Dark And Deep by Robert Foster springs to mind…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.