Kevin Michael Connolly first came to prominence as a result of winning a silver medal at the X Games, an impressive achievement in and of itself, but one which was deemed decidedly more media-worthy as a result of Connolly having been born without legs. Using his X Games winnings to fund a trip across 15 countries in 2007, Connolly took photos along the way, publishing the results on a website called The Rolling Exhibition, and he subsequently wrote a memoir entitled “Double Take,” which has been optioned for a possible film. Now, as if the writing-photography combo isn’t enough in and of itself to keep most people busy, the guy’s gonna be hosting his own series on Travel Channel called – wait for it – “Armed & Ready.” Somehow, Connolly found the time in his schedule to chat with Bullz-Eye about what viewers can expect from his show, also filling us in as best he could about the status of the movie adaptation of his book, the wealth of limb-related puns in his repertoire, and how the words “all over the map” in no way come close to clarifying the depth of his tastes in music.
Kevin Michael Connolly: I know! Exactly! It’s, like, one step away from exchanging bodily fluids! [Hesitates.] Okay, maybe not that close. But it’s in the ballpark. Six degrees from…
BE: Yeah, we can probably just agree that we’re very close.
KMC: Got it. [Laughs.]
BE: Thanks to the Travel Channel, I’ve been able to check out the advance screeners of the first two episodes of “Armed and Ready.”
KMC: Oh, cool!
BE: I would say the same. So you’re a guy who’s gone from winning a medal in the X Games to being recognized for your photography to writing a book to now hosting a show for Travel Channel. That’d be a pretty amazing road to travel for anybody, let alone somebody who’s had to tackle these things from, shall we say, a different vantage point.
KMC: And to do it all by the time I’m 27! [Laughs.] It’s pretty crazy, man.
Last night at Manhattan’s posh Hotel on Rivington penthouse suite, HP and blogger Arjan Writes presented a special preview of “Halcyon,” the new album by British pop sensation Ellie Goulding. Best known in the United States for her monster hit, “Lights,” Goulding has gone on to great success stateside, appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as a special guest appearance at the White House last December, where she sang Christmas carols onstage with Barack Obama. For all of her enormous success in the last few years, though, Goulding is a very humble, down-to-earth and endearing personality.
The evening began with a bit of background on Goulding, who grew up in the small town of Hereford and got heavily into music early on. “My mum was cool with music,” she says. “She would buy every new thing that was out. We really had no money, but whatever we did have, she’d spend it on CDs and tapes.” Idolizing singers like Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Beyonce and Stevie Nicks, Goulding says she quit college because “something was pushing me into music.” Elaborating on what that something is, she also says, “Having people come together for the same cause is really important. The fact that I can do that with shows is really awesome.”
Delving into “Halcyon,” we heard samples of a few tracks, including the clearly Bjork-influenced “My Blood,” which shares thematic water imagery with other songs on the album. Goulding says, “I have a fascination with the ocean, being lost at sea. I kind of want to be a mermaid.” The title track, “Halcyon,” addresses another theme of the album in its plaintive chorus: “When it’s just us, you show me what it feels like to be lonely, you show me what it feels like to be lost.” “I write songs out of being alone,” Goulding says. “I’m around people all the time, but there’s a theme of loneliness on this album.”
That is not to say the album is relentlessly downbeat or somber, however, as Goulding is quick to point out that “I like making things that give people hope, I suppose, in the least cheesy way possible.” Ellie Goulding’s career certainly seems to show a lot of hope, with unreleased collaborations with the likes of Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia possibly on the way “in the next couple of years,” proving her mantra that anything could happen.