How I Spent My Year 2015

Last year I wrote:

2014 was a pretty miserable year for me. I'm sure one would ever expect it. What people tend to forget is social media is just a giant online highlight reel. There’s a whole 'lotta life that happens in between posts, and for me, it was pretty shitty.

My mantra for 2015 was, "Little acts of courage." Thanks to my therapist and everyone he introduced me to, all of the crap that was weighing on my mind in 2014 slowly eased away. I can't quite say that 2015 was a good year for me, but I can say that it was definitely a better one.

For the thirteenth straight year, without fail, here is my annual survey of how I spent my year 2015.

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How I Spent My Year 2014

Four years ago, I was picking up pieces of myself off the ground. Three years after that, I focused on rebooting my career. This past year, I focused on my new puppy and myself.

2014 was a pretty miserable year for me. I'm sure one would ever expect it. What people tend to forget is social media is just a giant online highlight reel. There’s a whole 'lotta life that happens in between posts, and for me, it was pretty shitty.

For the twelfth straight year, without fail, here is my annual survey of how I spent my year 2014.

Us The Duo No Matter Where You Are Book of Life

Carissa & Michael in Book of Life →

Yahoo! Music:

Husband-and-wife musical team Us The Duo has a unique history in that they hold the distinction of being the first artists signed to a major label from Vine. The pair's series of 6-second musical covers and arrangements won them millions of fans, as well as a deal with Republic Records.

Now, here's yet another unique item for their resumes: Their single “No Matter Where You Are” is now being featured in the animated film The Book of Life, which opens in theaters October 17. The song is special to the pair as it was originally written as vows to their own wedding!

Carissa & Michael Alvarado Billboard Magazine

Carissa & Michael to Tour with Oprah →

Billboard.com:

After Oprah Winfrey saw Fox's upcoming animated feature The Book of Life, she became so enthralled by the end-credits song that she had the act booked for the U.S. tour of her "The Life You Want Weekend."

Us the Duo, the first musical act to become established via Vine, will be the featured musical act during the Oprah tour, which starts Friday in Atlanta and wraps Nov. 14-15 in San Jose, Calif. [...]

"Oprah fell in love with the movie and she heard about us, the song 'No Matter Where You Are' and our story," says Michael Alvarado, who shares the stage with his wife Carissa. "The team was really excited to pitch her the idea of bringing us on the tour and it became another beautiful marriage of missions colliding." [...]

"Once we met the team and they heard our story, they were taken aback by how much our story was like the story in the movie -- follow your passion, follow your heart," Carissa said. "It's a dream come true to have a song in a move, so surreal to see it all happening."

Congrats, guys!

Carissa & Michael Sign with Major Label →

Their unique technique also helped boost re-Vines: filming only half their faces to focus on harmonies over looks (nevermind that they're an impossibly adorable couple.) Though it's become their trade mark, Carissa insists it was born out of necessity. "I wasn't wearing makeup one night, and Michael wanted to film a video and I was like, 'No I'm tired and I'm in my pajamas,'" she recalls. "We'd had a Vine account, but we never really too active on it. We tried to post funny Vines, but we're not comedians, so it didn't go over too well. But the six-second cover thing seemed to really take off and people seemed to like it." x

By mid-December, a take on The Neighbourhood's "Sweater Weather"

Carissa & Michael on Business Insider →

Business Insider:

YouTube has always been filled with covers of songs. In fact, there are a few household celebrity names we know today who got their start on YouTube (like Justin Bieber).

Then there's Vine, which only allows you to cap a measly 7 seconds of footage before it goes into a looping stream. It may not seem like the most obvious platform for budding musicians to showcase their work.

But it worked for the Alvarados, who go by UsTheDuo on Vine.

Michael and Carrisa Alvarado have amassed over 1.5 million followers on Vine, where they post 7-second clips of a cappella versions of songs we all know.