Monday, December 20, 2010

Spiritual revelations and other things

OK, I've had my mind on a couple of things that were giving me troubles, not knowing how to deal with them. But I have to say before I get into that, that an author friend of mine said to use the blog as a way to discuss and/or promote one's career, and not get into anything too personal. But that doesn't work for me. I lay my soul on the line and bare it for all to see. I've learned a lot in my travels through life, and maybe my insights can help others, maybe not. But I have to express myself and this is one avenue to do that.

My two concerns I've had recently are on how to deal with anger toward an ex-friend who continuously plays the role of the victim, and my feelings of sadness that my music, both singing, songwriting, and now my vocal book, have not received the love/support/success that they deserve. But today I had a revelation about both. The sermon in my church yesterday was about finding the Christ within. Here it is Christmas week - and I was trying to understand exactly how to apply that to my own life. And I got it - when I went to the gym to work out (which is where I usually get spiritual insight for some reason), I knew what it meant and how to apply it to the two dilemma's : "Be the Blessing, Be the Gift". That is what I "heard" in my soul. When I work out, I usually do affirmations and visualizations, and it gives me an opportunity to walk away from my daily concerns and "let go". Thus, I often get "answers" to whatever questions are going on. Today was a big one for me. Let me explain..

In regards to the victim-friend, I found myself being very angry, because no matter what I do for her, she turns it around to play the role of the victim. And no matter how much pain she has caused me, she still turns it around to play the victim. I tend to have this scenario in my life repeatedly, because I am a strong person. And I will probably continue to encounter "victims" because strong people give them an opportunity to continue in their victim behavior, rather than stepping up to the plate and accepting responsibility for themselves. It's so much easier to accuse and blame someone else for their situation, than to actually do something about it. And it's easy to point the finger at a strong person.

But I realized if I react to this person with anger, then I am feeding into the belief that someone else has the power to make me feel a certain way, or that someone else must change their attitude and actions to please me or make me feel better or differently. But that is not the case. People change and evolve at their own pace. My being angry is not going to improve the situation or help the person to see their own strengths and weaknesses. So I saw the gift was to "Be the Gift". In other words, I must help this person to see her own strength, and to focus on her own ability to change her life. If she chooses to do so or not do so is really none of my concern. All I can do is be the strength, and to show love. That doesn't mean I pity her or buy into her crap - it just means I offer the gift and let it go. What she does with it is her choice.

And then I realized how to apply that to my music career - "Be the Blessing, Be the Gift". It's not about who accepts my musical gifts into their life, it's about me sharing that gift, letting it go into the real world. Just as there will always be people who can't accept good in their lives for whatever reason or continuously play the victim, there will always be people in the real world who will put down another artist, who will criticize them, who will say "who do they think they are for promoting themselves, for getting those gigs; they're not that good", etc. There will always be those people who will put others down so they don't have to look at their own weaknesses or insecurities. It's easier to condemn others than step up to the plate and accept responsibility for one's life. See the common thread here?

So I realized it's not about who accepts my music or how it gets to the people who want to hear it, it's about sharing it regardless. And when the negative people of the world condemn and criticize, some artists will just give up. But I have to realize that I just have to keep sharing my gift because it is a blessing to someone, somewhere, and it will find its way if I continue to express myself. So don't give up! Share the gift you were given.

We are all given gifts to share, mine just happens to be music. I know it is meant to find an outlet, so I will continue to write and sing and perform and express. That is what I came here to do and will continue doing it. It is a Blessing and a God-given right!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's been ages

I think it's been about 3 months since my last blog - so much has happened! I got married and now may be going through yet another major life change. My new husband may be taking a job out-of-state. We don't know yet, but the possibility of leaving Nashville has me freaking out more than just a little. I wouldn't mind moving back to California, but there's really nowhere else that appeals to me because of the lack of music business in other cities, except for NYC, and I can't see moving there now. My emotions have been all over the place with the uncertainty of what's going to happen and when and where. I've been analyzing my time here in Nashville and what I've accomplished musically. This city has been great for me spiritually and emotionally - I've made tons of wonderful friends. Musically it has been frustrating. The good thing is that I feel I've got a more clear vision of who I am as a musician - I moved here from LA hoping to get into country songwriting (which I still do) and I was singing Blues and Classic R&B. Now I am writing and singing Smooth Jazz and Adult Contemporary, and that works for me both as a songwriter and singer. Nashville has such a small Jazz scene, that I think a bigger city would work for me in that regards. But it's scary to think of starting over, finding new musicians (I work with excellent musicians here), finding new venues, and more importantly, new friends. I've been on a roller coaster emotionally, but know that wherever we are guided is the right and best choice for us both. I am ready for whatever Spirit has in mind for us and know that my time in Nashville has been a huge learning experience for me. It's been more like school than anything else - I now think I'm ready to graduate and get out into the real world.

We'll see what happens! I'll keep you posted...


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

still excited

Yes, I'm working on my vocal exercise CD and I'm very excited about it! I don't know if it will sell, but I'm having fun in the process. I've already recorded the tracks and vocals, which was very hard work! I have to go tweek a few things here and there, but for the most part the recording is done. Now I'm working on the book text. I didn't realize I had so much knowledge about singing inside of me! After all these years I've accumulated a lot of knowledge! Who knows, maybe this will end up like so many of my projects -finished but not selling. All of my CD's have sat in boxes for years...I had high hopes for all of them too! But this feels right! And I know that when I'm excited about something, I continue to put the energy into it - not just in the creation of it, but in the marketing of it and following through on getting it out into the world. I think I always dropped the ball on my other projects because I didn't know what to do once it was released. But suddenly I feel I have SO many ideas on how to promote it - I never knew I was a marketing guru! I still have so much to do and time is always limited because I am still teaching daily, so I have to work around my schedule. But every day I look forward to getting up and working on it. I haven't given up on my songwriting, I'm just taking a little break to work on this. And I'm using this as an example to see if I can get it going, and then apply the same techniques to my songwriting. I just need to get the songs out into the world. It's not that they're not worthy of success, or that I'm not worthy of success, or any of that less-than thinking. It's just that no one knows who I am or what my songs sound like - they're just not out in the world for people to hear and listen to. So I have to market them just as I'm learning to market my vocal CD. Same principles. So this project is leading me to my higher goal of being a successful singer/songwriter. One thing at a time - patience and persistence!!

Friday, August 27, 2010


It's been forever since my last Blog. I've been soooo busy! But it's been a good kind of busy. I'm recording and writing my Vocal Exercise Book! We recorded for three hours a few days ago - singing high C's for three hours is exhausting!

I'm finally starting to "get-it" - everything that has to do with marketing. I think marketing is a musician's best friend and worst enemy, because without it we don't have fans, and most musicians are completely clueless to how to market themselves. I used to post ads on Craigslist for my voice lessons, and got a few replies, not much though. I thought I was doing all I could, and was so extremely frustrated at how little response I was getting. I was also on several paid internet sites for music lessons. But someone, out-of-the-blue, approached me to help me (for trade I might add), who is a marketing guru. She is very smart and has so many ideas I'd never even considered. So we're doing a trade - I give her voice lessons and she helps me with marketing. I got a video camera so I can start posting video tips - in exchange I will build my email list. She says I just need some software to do this. I'm also using Skype for lessons. And now I'm recording and writing the vocal exercise book - there's not too many on the market, so I'm hoping it will be successful! I feel I've tried my hand at many different projects - I get excited at first, then I get discouraged and give up. Nothing has seemed to stick up to this point. But I feel different about this. I see doors opening up and people offering their help. Another person just yesterday offered to help me with the graphic design and packaging for the book (another trade!). So I'm excited! And as long as I'm excited I know I will keep moving forward. It just feels right. Once I get the vocal book published, then I want to start applying these same marketing techniques to my songwriting career. There's just got to be a way to get noticed. I think it's not that my work is not worthy, it's that it's just not known I have to figure a way to get my songs into people's hands. But for now I've got my hands full with my vocal book, my upcoming wedding, and my house finally getting ready! Lots going on!! One thing at a time....but it's all good!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

behind schedule

I've really been lagging on my songwriting...I've been busy with wedding plans! There's so much to do, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so I'm going for it. But I did meet with my co-writer last night and we tossed a few ideas around. But then we talked - I told him I noticed the difference between people who achieve their goals and those who don't. Whether is achieving a wanted relationship or career goal I saw the same characteristics - those who achieved what they wanted reached outside of their comfort zone and put their energy outwards. It's so easy to stay inside one's little bubble of safety, and then wonder why nothing ever happens. It takes risk to achieve success. And it also takes giving. I see people who reach out to others and give - what you give comes back two-fold (I hear)..I envisioned a bubble with a smile on it and two arms reaching out of the bubble. I realized I am not reaching out of my comfort zone when it comes to my songwriting. I'm actually putting very little energy into it lately for obvious reasons. But I'm at least getting some clarity. I know I must do the following:
Visualize what I want
Understand why I want it, not how I'm going to get it or why I haven't achieved it
Put energy into it by
songwriting regularly,
pitching regularly,
meeting new music business professionals, which may mean going outside my comfort zone and approaching them and speaking up
performing my original music in my band (outside the zone if we're unrehearsed)
paying money (going outside my comfort zone) to subscribe to online pitching services
be SEEN - that means marketing, on FaceBook, promoting this blog (which scares me to death since I expose lots of personal information), Myspace, etc.

I'm sure there's a million other things I can do, but I have to put energy into it and reach outside my little bubble. Then I must feel the joy of it and let go....I think that's a big one. I've been letting go a lot lately of the desperation I've felt for so long. Now I'm trying to revel in the joy of daily life - so happy with my mate and the love I have in my life. Yes, I still want success, but I'm not needing success as I once did. I still want to perform at a major festival in Europe, have a #1 hit single, have major label artists record my songs, and earn a bunch of money doing it. But for now, I'm just trying to have balance and joy daily. I will start to make more effort though with my songwriting because I want to see it move forward, but that means I must move forward....and so I will!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

way behind schedule

I took a week off to go on vacation and got engaged! Woohoo! But now I'm feeling completely swamped because we decided to get married before winter rather than wait 9 months until the weather's nice again in April. So I have a ton of things to do, which means I'm not writing! But I'm OK with it. I want to revel in this moment - this only happens once in a lifetime (for most people), and I want to cherish it and enjoy every moment. I've struggled with being a songwriter and my career for so long, for years and years - it has caused me much pleasure and much pain. I love it, but I don't want my career to be the only thing in my life that matters, I want to see the whole picture, where everything is in balance. And I think when I'm more balanced and more happy with my day-to-day life, I am able to write more efficiently because I'm not stressed, I'm not putting huge pressure on myself to create or perform. I can just BE. And in the long-run, life is about the MOMENT, joy is in the NOW. I think I've always said to myself "If I could be successful as a songwriter, or write daily, or be appreciated on a big-scale for what I contribute to life, THEN I'll be happy". But that puts pressure on myself and keeps happiness at arm's length. I want to enjoy life now, regardless if I'm a hit songwriter or not. I'm not justifying, I'm stating the truth - happiness is in the now. So I am happy now! I will try to make some time in between wedding planning to work on music. It is important for my soul to express its creativity. But creativity manifests in many forms - such as flower designs, invitations, etc. Today I will be happy - in the now!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm at the beach for a week-long vacation with my honey and I'm so happy. We're having so much fun just doing nothing, reading books, napping on the sand, walking around - just being together. It's great being in love! But it makes me wonder about the importance I put on my music and songwriting career. When I'm home, it seems to be all I think about and how I "need" it to fulfill my life. As soon as I'm away from it, the pressure is off. Of course, I know it's still in the back of my mind, vacations are temporary things that you allow yourself to let go for a week or so. I still want the success - it's an inner thing, a fulfillment of my soul. But when we're children, we're happy, even before we've accomplished a single thing or written a song or whatever. Happiness is just a state of being. And being on vacation at the beach with my love is a state of being. All that stuff, that weight, is lifted. Isn't that why adults get so miserable in their lives, from the weight of existence? Too many responsibilities and unfulfilled desires and pressure. Isn't our natural state, without all the other stuff, happy? And isn't all that other stuff all made up? It's all in our mind, right? It's my mind telling me "I need this, I have to do that, I must live up to so-and-so, I feel guilty for not taking care of that person's needs", etc. The mind can be enemy or friend. So vacations are great for getting back to basics, for remembering our natural state of joy. Of enjoying the simple things in life: an ocean breeze, a good book, a nice meal eaten leisurely. What will happen when I get home? Will I immediately go back to worry and what's wrong and why has success alluded me? All that mental battering....I'll just try to remember the simple things of what really matters....

And yes, I still want my songs heard on radio world-wide, and a large festival gig, and a #1 song on the Billboard charts....but for now, I'm happy without those things...

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We're leaving today for a week at the beach. I've had a cleansing so to speak - went through hell and now I'm moving on. The house is still not finished and still has a long way to go, but that's OK, it'll be better when we get back. It's funny because we went on our dream vacation to Italy in April, and I thought it was symbolic being Easter and all - I thought I'd be reborn so to speak and have a new beginning when we returned. And I guess that's what God had in mind too! I definitely have a new beginning and new outlook on things, just had to get squeezed through a small tight opening into the other side. It's funny, I use the analogy of a bellows, the old-fashioned thing you use to fan a fire, in my voice lessons. I explain that a singer must apply a lot of pressure through a narrow opening and have it focused and strong and supported. The note must be able to travel across the room and reach its destination, as if it had a propeller on the back-side of it, moving it forward. And so it is with life. In order to get to where I want to be, I have to use energy and focus that energy. Sometimes it seems difficult and it gets tiring, but with enough practice, it eventually gets easier. I like the quote "when you're going through hell, keep on going"....
I'm bringing my guitar with me - going to practice. When I get back I'm getting together with a pianist friend to go over all my new songs to see which ones are really working. And then I have a gig a few days after that, with all new musicians (yikes!). I'm like the bellows - even pressure, steady as she goes, following through, getting to the other side, reaching my destination...

And I want a song published and a gig at a major festival!

Friday, July 16, 2010

seeing things differently

I think I've had a breakthrough - I was really feeling quite depressed and couldn't seem to pull myself out of it. That made me feel even worse, like something was wrong with me that maybe I was powerless over my emotions. So I decided to write it all down, all the things that were bothering me and all the issues I've been dealing with over the last two and a half months. Most people don't realize how the flood really has dragged on with so many of us for so long. A lot of people are losing their homes because they can't afford to rebuild. I was one of the lucky ones...
Anyway, I wrote it all down - it was a lot! There were many major issues that were clouding my head - so much has happened since May. And then when I finished writing out all the negative, I countered each issue with what was positive about it, how I'd learned, what to focus on instead of the pain or irritation. I did all this at 3:00 a.m. last night (I'm tired now though..)
I have a total of six typed pages - that's a lot of stuff!
So I'm ready to move on and start fresh. We're going on a week-long getaway to the beach, which will be great. And then when we get back my house will hopefully be finished. And school will be starting soon so hopefully my student roster will grow. So there's things to look forward to.
But I was thinking, through all the mess I've been through, the one thing I had to keep focusing on was my songwriting. I thought, if I hadn't been writing, I may have forgotten who I am and what I'm here to do. I could have gotten lost in the muck. It was like the little glimmer of light through all the darkness. So I'm grateful for music - it saved me! I have a whole new approach and outlook on life now. It's time to move on and start fresh. So I am..

I am keeping up with my list of things I want to accomplish:

I want to be offered a major gig as a singer/songwriter - either a European Jazz festival, a large club, opening for a major name artist, etc.
I want a major label artist to record one of my songs and release it as a single.
I want my songs placed in a major motion picture or TV show.
I want my songs to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.

And of course, I want to be paid handsomely for all of the above so that I am truly living an abundant life.

I'm just saying...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

following through

I realize why I'm having so many "issues" - first the flood, then my car problems, then seeing that my house was destroyed from previous water damage and termites, then finding out that the city knew about previous flooding but didn't inform me so I could have bought flood insurance. I feel like I'm constantly fighting - rather, standing up for myself and my rights, and what I believe to be right and fair. I just can't be silent anymore! I have kept repeating the affirmation "I deserve the best", thinking that would apply to my career and finances, that if I just kept repeating that I'd get a song cut or something. Well, I guess it will eventually, but I think when I affirm something, the Universe moves in to make it if I truly believe I deserve the best, the universe gives me the opportunity to prove it. So I keep having to say "no, this isn't good enough, I deserve better". That applies to my relationships, my business transactions, how I'm treated, etc. I am continually writing letters to people lately saying that "this is not OK" and "I expect more". I just don't want to come across as complaining or's more about standing up for myself and what I deserve. I thought about Muhammed Ali who continually stated "I am the greatest", and then he'd have to fight to prove it - he'd get knocked down, and would be worn out, but would still have to get up and fight again - he had to stay strong no matter how tired or hurt he was. He kept affirming his belief in himself and it paid off. He was determined to come out on top. I think I'm doing that too - I'm just not willing to accept second-best (or less) anymore. I want the best and I'm going to keep stating that truth and following through. I can't say I deserve the best and then accept something less-than best or worse. I can't accept people taking advantage of me, selling me shoddy product, or thinking they can pull the wool over my eyes or hide the truth from me. I'm calling them on it! I hate being confrontational - maybe that's why this is so hard for me - I never spoke up before. And sometimes it takes something dramatic to move us into the place of "I'm not going to take it anymore"! And that's what's happened to me with the flood - it pushed me into a new, more outspoken place in my life. If I want the best in my career and finances, then I have to accept the best in my day-to-day life and prove to myself and the universe that I mean business. So, although it has been incredibly painful, stressful, and taking a huge amount of my creative energy (which sucks), I have to do it, I have to follow through on what I believe to be right and just and live "I deserve the best".

Oh, and here's what I want:

I want to be offered a major gig as a singer/songwriter - either a European Jazz festival, a large club, opening for a major name artist, etc.
I want a major label artist to record one of my songs and release it as a single.
I want my songs placed in a major motion picture or TV show.
I want my songs to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
And of course, I want to be paid handsomely for all of the above so that I am truly living an abundant life.

Following through stating my truth like Muhammed Ali...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I had a very prolific day yesterday - wrote lyrics to my new song and they just flowed. That was good! I wrote 2 verses and the chorus, so almost done. Then my co-writer and I finished the song we've been working on. I had to get back to my Source, my muse, the thing that keeps me ticking. It seems I just can't get out from under the "problems" or "challenges" lately - now my car is acting up and the house thing is never-ending. So I have to write, otherwise I'd go crazy! It's the thing at the center of my being, the who-I-am, that I have to get in touch with. Regular everyday life can be demanding and stressful at times, as it has been for me these last few months, so I have to remember who I am and what I'm here to do...I am a creative being living in a creative world.

Here's my statement to the universe again of what I want:

I want to be offered a major gig as a singer/songwriter - either a European Jazz festival, a large club, opening for a major name artist, etc.
I want a major label artist to record one of my songs and release it as a single.
I want my songs placed in a major motion picture or TV show.
I want my songs to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
And of course, I want to be paid handsomely for all of the above so that I am truly living an abundant life.

I will continue with my 30 day affirmations of this....not letting up! I deserve success, I deserve an abundant life earning my living doing what I love and expressing myself with who I am. I have to believe life is meant to be a joyful expression and that God/Source is supporting me in this endeavor, that Life is on my side working with me rather than against me.

Today lots of work I have to do on the house, not what I want to do but I must. But at least in the back of my mind I remember who I am...

Monday, July 12, 2010

new learning

Well, I discussed the European festival/marketing thing with my boyfriend. He's a successful and smart businessman, so I trust him for his advice. He thinks it's a waste of time and money, to send 300 items, which I have to get made up and spend money on, pay for shipping, and pay 50 euro to the festival people and I'm not even playing the fest. So he thinks it is only helping the festival people to look good to have goodie bags for their guests, but not beneficial to the artists who aren't playing it. I'm bummed because I get excited, that there's a break in the clouds that have seemed to hang over my career. He says I should invest that money here, either in town or in the U.S. to promote myself. So now I'm not sure what to do...

At church yesterday, the minister was speaking of creativity, and I have to remind myself again that I have access to creativity, which is Spiritual knowledge of course, in all things, not just in songwriting. I have access to the answers or direction to take in my career. I have to do the footwork, put one foot in front of the other, and not be dead-set on it being a certain way. It might lead me in a new, more satisfying direction. I keep thinking - am I meant to be a successful singer/songwriter? Maybe I'd be more happy as a business owner - I've always wanted to open a rehearsal studio or start my own music school, or even open a small restaurant. Not sure which direction I'm supposed to go. I'm just going to keep focusing on what I THINK I want and be open to other suggestions and directions from Spirit. I would like to have a hit song and write daily without having to worry about how I'm going to earn my living, and hustling, and all that. I know it's difficult to have a long-lasting career in the music business. But I'd like to have success even if I move on to something else later. I've put my whole life into this and I'd like to see it materialize. I can't give up now. But I'm willing to listen to my guidance and be open to other possibilities. I'm going to restate my wants:

I want to be offered a major gig as a singer/songwriter - either a European Jazz festival, a large club, opening for a major name artist, etc.
I want a major label artist to record one of my songs and release it as a single.
I want my songs placed in a major motion picture or TV show.
I want my songs to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
And of course, I want to be paid handsomely for all of the above so that I am truly living an abundant life.

Remember I said it takes 30 days for a new idea to take shape, at least mentally? So I'm still working on the 30 day thing....

Saturday, July 10, 2010


OK, I'm just reminding myself and the universe of what I want:
I want to be offered a major gig as a singer/songwriter - either a European Jazz festival, a large club, opening for a major name artist, etc.
I want a major label artist to record one of my songs and release it as a single.
I want my songs placed in a major motion picture or TV show.
I want my songs to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
And of course, I want to be paid handsomely for all of the above so that I am truly living an abundant life.

Funny, because I got an email from a European promoter who is putting on a big Jazz festival. They said that if I could send 300 goodie-bag items, like pens, flyers, key-chains, etc., that they'd include it in the bag, which would be given to the first 300 concert-goers. Some of those people could be promoters, venue owners, etc. So I've got to think of something I could send and send it to Europe fast! Maybe my inner creative marketer is working? I know creativity works in all areas, not just music. I used to paint pottery, and I would wake up with all kinds of visual ideas of designs. It's not that I'm a born painter by any means, it's just, that's where I was putting my creative energy. So that energy, I am convinced, can be used in business, marketing, etc. It's all the same source/Source, right? God/Creativity/Source - it's all the same thing in my mind. Why wouldn't God/Source work for me in promotion as it does in music?
I've spent my whole life feeling like I don't know what to do or how to do it when it comes to marketing and promotion. I've written songs, done gigs, but never felt like I had any success because I didn't know where to turn or what path to follow. I never could even see a path - in the music business, there's no clear-cut way to go as in other professions. If you want to be a school teacher, there are clear things that you need to do. But in music, it's shooting in the dark, or at least it has been for me up to this point. I don't know how many hours I've spent working on my computer, rather than hang out with friends, etc. I keep pushing, but at some point it started feeling like an uphill battle. So I let the boulder I'd been pushing slide down the hill. But now I have to move forward again, but this time with a different approach: balance. I will do the footwork and ask for divine inspiration and guidance. Yes, I believe God works through me, not to me...So I'm asking - God, how do I do this? How do I get my music out in the world? And I'm waiting for answers, patiently, knowingly, doing my work, then letting go....

Thursday, July 8, 2010


They say that old habits take a minimum of 30 days to change. And "they" say that what we think about is what we manifest in our lives. If I continually think fearful things, eventually the thing I fear will appear. And so it is with "good" things or the things I want. If I keep focusing on the good, then I will draw it to myself. And that also means getting out of the way, clearing the path for the good to come in, getting rid of the road blocks. THAT is the hard part in my opinion, because sometimes I don't know what those road blocks are, I just know something is blocking my good, and I have to keep digging until I find out what it is.

This is one of the things I tell my voice students (and I plan on writing a book correlating the similarities of a spiritual life and voice technique): it's very simple - open up wide and sing. Don't obstruct the path - relax your tongue, your jaw, your throat - allow room for the note to just come out. And it just needs even breath pressure to release it. It doesn't need to be forced - it wants to come out on its own - give it the space and a gentle but even nudge of breath. And so it is in life, eh? Get the obstructions out of the way and keep nudging/moving forward, keep the energy flowing....It all sounds so simple, even in singing it sounds simple. Of course, there's more depth to it than that, a million nuances. But on the surface, there's just two things - open the path and keep the flow moving...

So I am making a statement of what I want and will keep doing so for 30 days. I want this to be engrained in the heavens so there is no doubt as to what I want and that I am willing to work for it, dig through obstructions, face the truth, face myself, look at my weaknesses and fears, etc. I am willing do to whatever it takes to reach my goal - I am setting a clear intention.
Here it is, just five things:

I want to be offered a major gig as a singer/songwriter - either a European Jazz festival, a large club, opening for a major name artist, etc.
I want a major label artist to record one of my songs and release it as a single.
I want my songs placed in a major motion picture or TV show.
I want my songs to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
And of course, I want to be paid handsomely for all of the above so that I am truly living an abundant life.

There, I said it, it is done!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

strengths and weaknesses

I sat in with a master musician last night - I was scared! I wanted to stay home in my comfort zone, but I pushed myself outside the box and went because I was invited to do so. It's easy to say "I'm good at this or that", and then only do that. That's what I'd like to do, but I decided sometimes I have to stretch myself. I sang a couple of tunes, did OK. It probably wasn't my best performance. I realized on the way home what I really want to do musically, which is a combination of jazz, blues, and R&B. That's actually what my music is already. So last night was not my forte because it wasn't that perfect little niche. But I'm sure there was some benefit in getting out, getting heard, meeting new people, jamming with a super-talented guy, stepping up to the plate, taking a risk, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, accepting where I'm at, etc. I actually feel the most confident as a songwriter because it is something unique and special and there are no rules, and it can't be compared to others, as singing can. With American Idol and all that, you see there are a million great singers in the world, some of them still in their pre-teens...but how many great songwriters are there? I truly want to be a great songwriter, with an impressive resume of great tunes that have rocked people's worlds. Yes, I want my music to make an impact on the world. I realize I'm a good singer, but probably will never be considered one of the world's best. And that's OK. I have my songs, and with my voice, I think I'm great! That keeps me writing - the uniqueness of creativity, my personal stamp on the world, the thing that makes me stand out from the rest...
Today working on my new song - I've written a great verse, got a new chorus but not sure if it's working yet. I have to let it stew a little, then come back to it and see how it's working. That's my job today, to stir the stew.....

Monday, July 5, 2010

back at it

I've taken like a week off from writing and from blogging - this house thing has been a pain! I'm not upset, just frustrated that it's taking so much time out of my life. BUT, I was thinking how symbolic it is that my house was destroyed in the flood, and when we start to tear the walls out, we see that the house was rotted - so it was a good thing that it was flooded, because otherwise the house could have collapsed! And when I uncovered so many things in my personal life, I saw there was a lot of "rot" there as well. So I am now rebuilding, both my house, and my life...putting new wood and foundation, replacing the old. I feel it's time for a new beginning, something to look forward to. Sometimes you have to have challenges to face and see what's been lurking in the dark, so that they can be faced and replaced. So I'm grateful, but I'm also ready to get back to my life and my music!
Today I started on a new song and sent old lyrics to my international co-writer who is looking for lyrics to place with his songs. While reading my old lyrics, songs I've already finished but don't even remember, I realized what a great story-teller I am. I really like to write story-type songs - they are unique and can have a fresh approach to an old theme. So I will write more of those. I started working on new music today. Feels good to sit down at the piano and just plug away. Really just need a couple of hours a day to feed my soul. So, I promise to get back in my routine, and to blog several times per week - it helps me to release. Funny how easy it is to share my soul with the world and show my vulnerabilities and struggles. I'm not sitting in the pain though - I am moving on, looking to how bright things are ahead!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I was trying to write lyrics to a new song of mine. The music is uptempo, danceable, and very marketable. I was stuck though, writing the same old cliche lines and non-descript stuff. So I googled a famous pop-writer's songs to see what the stuff being written for Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, etc. was all about. This writer has a slew of top hits, recorded by some of the biggest names in the industry, so I surprised to see the lyrics as cliche lines and non-descript stuff! I think a lot of that type of contemporary music is the production, the groove, etc, not the foundation of good writing. Maybe I should have taken up production and programming in my earlier days...hmmm...
So back to my song, I just can't write fluff, even if that's what the market is doing. I think it's OK for some lyrics to be light-hearted love songs. I've got no problem with that. But there's got to be a way to say that in a unique way, or at least descriptive. In Nashville, we call that adding "furniture". But that takes a lot of creativity and ingenuity to say something differently that's been said a million times before. How do you describe "I love you"?
So then I read the lyrics of one of my favorite writers, Corinne Bailey Ray, and her stuff is great! Not only is the music fabulous, but the lyrics are fresh and interesting and thought-provoking and all that stuff..So I decided to push myself to write something like that. You know we all learn from others, so I don't have a problem with studying other writers and using their works as examples to grow on...
My new song, so far, is interesting, has a little story behind the love theme, and has plenty of "furniture" - descriptives to show the scene, rather than just telling it. So I'm happy so far. The only thing is- my title that I had chosen is not going to work anymore. I have two verses finished but no hook line...I'm gonna have to spend some contemplative time on that to find something that fits with this story and has hook-appeal. But at least it's coming along.
I'm trying to find time to write, at least a few times a week, to keep the engine churning. Otherwise, my soul gets weary...gotta write!

Friday, June 18, 2010


The truth is, if I'm broke, then I have a heavy burden weighing on my shoulders and I feel guilty about sitting around the house writing music. I feel I need to get out there and do WORK, to earn my keep, to contribute to the world and take care of myself. So many emotions wrapped up with money and value and worth! I've been trying to put my art first and not worry about the rest, but I just have to work harder at marketing myself and creating income, so that I can write comfortably without worry. Worry is the biggest hindrance to creativity..
And I have to be more structured - find time to write daily, but still apply myself in a business way. No more talking on the phone to my friends or going to lunches. It's time to get serious!! I have to treat every day as the typical business person does - get up and get to work. No surfing the web or emailing people on FaceBook. I have to have a plan and stick to it. Music IS a business and I have to treat it as such. I lost my steam because I got so can just whip you down. And I've been down on the ground with my face in the mud SO many times - I just wonder why I keep going at this? I just don't feel like there's anything else I want to do or have the patience or tolerance for. Nobody wants to work for someone else, but working for yourself is hard work! I have to be a one-woman show - do the writing, the singing, the organizing of the gigs, the marketing, the chart-writing, the day-to-day business, the bookkeeping, etc. It just never ends and there's no clear-cut path to success. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of another and don't give up!! I think I'd given up internally at least, just felt so discouraged. But that will get me nowhere. And if I'm going to do this, then I have to DO IT! So I'm working hard at creating something for myself - not waiting for anyone to do it for me. It's my life and I have to create what I want for it. And the music business is a business like any other business - it requires skill, dedication, drive, and work! So off to work I go....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

getting serious

OK, I'm sick of struggling - my car cost my $1300 yesterday to get the air conditioner fixed. I only paid $6500 for the car and was hoping it would be a good my boyfriend and I had a long talk last night. If I want to be successful I've just got to work harder, be more structured, and actually treat this career as a job. No more going out to lunch with my friends, spending money on clothes, talking on the phone for hours each day. I'm really sinking financially lately and have to tighten up in every regard. I have to be ready to work each day at a reasonable hour and cross things off of my list. I know I've said that there's no clear-cut path in this business. I don't know that the work I do will bring any returns. I could spend the next 10 years of my life struggling no matter how hard I work. And it's hard, because I've already spent 20 years of my life struggling in this business. Why do I keep trying? I've been thrown off that horse so many times, I can't even count them. I feel like I'm on all fours pulling myself with my hands. That's the life of a songwriter. Glamorous huh? Not really. I just keep batting around in the dark, like it's a pinata and at some point I've got to hit it and get the candy inside. It's just that someone keeps yanking it up, so I just keep swinging. I can't give it up now - I've got nothing else. I just don't want another day's not the jobs I hate, it's usually the bosses. Sick of people standing over me telling me what to do. I want to be my own boss, but that will require a LOT of effort. To be self-employed requires diligence, and I must get better at marketing. That's always a musicians greatest fear is to market - I hate it. I don't want to call people up and sell myself. I always feel like I'm begging. I guess that's the wrong approach to take. Gonna have to pull myself up by my bootstraps and walk on...

Monday, June 14, 2010


I've finally decided to give in to my fate - to write full time! What have I been waiting for? I have trimmed down my expenses so I can live off of my teaching income so I don't need to freak out or hustle non-stop anymore. It's so engrained in my brain that I must work, contribute, struggle, hustle, get up and get going, etc. And then I worry, worry, worry about money. But I just decided - enough of that! I am meant to write, and write I must. So everyday will be a writing day, not because there's a TV show audition or whatever, but because it's what I'm meant to do. I'm changing my focus from finding work, to enjoying my life. What a concept! It seems so simple that I should pursue what I love first and foremost, but "responsibilities" have always been at the forefront of my mind. I finally, for the first time in my life, don't have to worry about responsibilities...thank God! When I walk around with that burden on my shoulders, no wonder I can't write. So now I get up with a joyful attitude that today will be a day I create something wonderful - that can be my work!
I enjoyed spending time with an old friend on Saturday - she is a singer/songwriter as well, so I presented her with one of my musical compositions to see if she'd be interested in writing lyrics to it. That would give me more freedom to write music. I can then pick and choose which songs I want to write lyrics to. Probably the ones for myself as an artist and the more emotional ones..the songs that are commercial I'll probably co-write..
And I decided to start a R&B writers critique session, if I can get enough writers to commit to it. So I'm going to immerse myself in this thing, keep my focus on my joy, let go of all the worry and struggle, and BE the thing I want in my life - which is a full time songwriter. Wow, the joy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Yesterday I spent about 4 hours working on music. Between writing new music and practicing piano, I finally got some real time to spend with my craft. Wow, I feel empowered now! Funny how I avoid the thing I love the most. It's not that I'm trying to avoid it, but life gets in the way...I also see that my emotions take a toll when I don't spend time in my core Self...writing gets me back in touch with who I am, my purpose in life, what I came here to do, my unique talent and gift to share. It helps me to feel vitalized, special, connected to Source/God (yes, it's that big). I really need to try to treat my music and writing like a job: I get up and do my morning thing, then go to work! I have the freedom currently to do that, which is a huge blessing! But I tend to sit here and think because I'm not working a "day job", that I'm not doing enough, that I'm not worthy or valid - so much of our identity in this country is based on money and how much we earn, not how much we contribute as being good people or bringing joy or beauty through art into the world. I'm still stuck on that...gotta re-wire my brain to think differently.
Today I also have the opportunity to work on music, so I'm going to get to it asap! I decided to get together with one of my pianists and record all of my new songs on mini-disc, just so I can hear what's really working and what's not. It's so easy to think something's great, and then when I hear it with the band or spend hundreds of dollars recording it, it just doesn't sound so good. So I'm going to make a small investment (hiring him), and record all the songs with piano BEFORE I go into the studio with a band. My computer program I use (Band in a Box) is great for writing purposes, but doesn't always give me the big picture. So once again, I've got to get charts and mp3's ready to mail to him, but that's OK. That was on my to-do list anyway is to get all of my songs charted and recorded so they are available and organized.

Anyway, still kind of going through a slump, wondering when my music will ever take off in the way I want it to...when will it be commercially recognized and purchased and broadcast in a big way? Still feeling left out in the cold in terms of success in my field, and that hurts. I'm going to allow myself to feel hurt and grieve the loss of what I want so badly in my life, but I've got to keep moving forward and not get stuck in the pain of it. Feel it and move on...
So onward I go!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Yes, I have to make songwriting a priority each day. It's what I love, what I want to accomplish, who I want to be. So why do I have to get everything else done before I can write? If there's dishes in the sink, I do the dishes before I can write. I have to have a clear space in my head before I can concentrate and get into the "zone".
Lately, I've come up with a lot of projects to work on which have been distracting me - for instance, I created a web page with a dozen or so of my top songs, so that I can email the link to whomever might be looking for songs in one easy click. It's laid out very professionally, and all the songs are on a table on one screen. It took me about 4 hours to do. I emailed it to a TV/film guy in LA and he wrote back "I'll keep you on file". A 10 second reply for my 4 hours of work...but it's good I have it. But projects like that take time, and are part of my songwriting journey. They are a necessity actually, songwriting alone is not going to get my songs out in the world.
There's so many hats a songwriter must wear, and being successful in business and marketing is, unfortunately, one of them. I've never been good at marketing, as so few creative people are. But I have to improve my business skills if I want to be successful in this field. I talked to my boyfriend, who runs a successful business, and interviewed him about business skills. I learned a lot from him. And I also have a motto: What would Dolly do? hehe...Dolly Parton is my mentor (she just doesn't know it yet). I aspire to be as creative and successful in business as Dolly, plus have her winning personality and charitable giving. So I'm trying to think like a successful person in every aspect.
Here's the hats a songwriter must wear (in my opinion):
- creativity - duh...that's a given
- technical know-how in the craft of writing (there's got to be a balance between creativity and technical know-how)
- music skills - best to play an instrument (I'm sorry, I just don't how you can call yourself a songwriter if you don't have any music skills - go take guitar lessons or something already!)
- personable - how else you gonna get your foot in the door? You can't be too shy
- confidence - you've got to believe in yourself
- business know-how - that's just the bottom line, you gotta know how to succeed in business
- good leadership skills - you've got to direct the band, the recording engineer all while keeping a smile on your face. You want to be respected right? You can't be bossy or unsure of yourself either.
- recording knowledge - you gotta go in the studio with an idea of the arrangement of the song, or you're literally putting your life in someone else's hands. I used to let the engineer or demo guy arrange and produce the song, and then I'd have to pay him and the musicians whether I liked the outcome or not. That gets expensive! And then you may have to do the song a second time to get it the way you want it.
- emotionally/spiritually balanced - don't be a diva or drama queen or flaky or any of the qualities associated with creative personalities. Learn to behave yourself in a balanced and professional way - get up, get going, show up on time, treat people with respect, learn to be a giving person, be clean and professional in your appearance, be courteous of others...
There's much more, but I'll write more later. Gotta get going. Trying to schedule my time wisely today so I can write later on!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

cool gig!

My show Friday night was awesome! It was a small crowd, but that's usually what it is for this particular setting. I was the most excited about getting to perform my songs in a scaled-down way with just piano, and getting to sing 3 new songs. If the songs sound good with just piano, then I feel good, that the songs are good. Plain and simple. And they sounded great! It always gets me excited to hear them this way and gives me confidence as a writer. I heard Sade's new songs from her new album, and yes, they are cool, but would they work with just piano? I don't think so...interesting production, lots of drums, but not sure they work as complete songs on their own. But that's just my opinion.
And the 3 new songs went over great! Actually everyone came up to me after the show and expressed that those songs were their favorite songs! I had been nervous about performing them - one of them I had never played for anyone, much less perform on stage. I usually take my songs to the songwriting workshop to get feedback, but hadn't done that with this one particular song. And when I write them, I program the songs into a program called Band In A Box, which adds tracks with a groove, but they always sound cheesy and computerized. And when I add my vocals with my limited engineering skills, the demos always sound pretty bad. So I'm never sure how they will turn out either in a real recording or live. But this time, I took a risk and it paid off big! My song "Who I Am" seemed to be everybody's favorite, and it was the one I was most unsure of. Isn't that interesting that what I fear the most is the thing that becomes the greatest gift...? And now I have more confidence in my writing skills, that I'm getting better and better..that feels great! And it feels great to know I have a list of great songs, not just a couple. It takes years to create a list of songs that are good - for every great one, I have to write 3 or 4 OK songs. So I have to keep writing..
I'm still looking for my outlet, the pillow for my songs to rest upon...where is my audience? Where are the artists looking for songs like mine to record? I'm trusting it's out there somewhere, and I can't worry about it. I just have to do what I do, which is create. Eventually, my ship will come in - or I'll have to swim out to it!

Friday, June 4, 2010

show tonight

Well it figures that I wouldn't be able to sleep well last night -up at 5:30 this morning. But that's OK. I took some aspirin (with caffeine) and had some coffee, so I'm raring to go! Gonna go work out, mow the lawn, and then I'm sure I'll be tired and can take a little nap. I'm always pretty particular on show days about rest, what I eat and drink, etc. I'm always trying to be in "good voice" when I perform and can be a bit diva-ish about it. It is how I earn my living after all! So I have to be careful about my instrument. Just like guitarists shine and polish their guitars, I shine and polish my voice.
Yesterday I bought a beginning guitar and beginning violin book - I'm going to see if I could teach both those instruments. I played violin for 9 years as a child all the way through high school. I know that was a LONG time ago, but maybe I'll still remember the basics, enough to teach a beginner. Is it like a bicycle? I hope so...Trying to let go of the "need" and desperation for my songwriting career and earn more money as a teacher. They say as long as there's desperation, then I'm keeping my good from me. The more I need something, the more I push it away. Just like a desperate lover rarely gets loved....desperation and need can be such a huge turn-off. I guess that applies to everything..
There's so many reasons I want success as a songwriter and performing singer/ is just one of the things and not even at the top of the list. OK, here's my list - since I'm opening my soul to the world might as well fill you all in. As a songwriter I'm opening my soul anyway so I guess this is nothing new. Here's why I want to be successful:
1) I want to see my music, my contribution to life, to reach its destination - the listening and enjoying public. I want to see it hit it's mark, to actually get out of my studio and into the real world, into the hands and hearts of others. It's a sense of evolvement, expansion, just like the universe continues to expand and plants grow outward (purple haze and all that), I believe we all want to reach our mark in life, find our place and why we're here. Big stuff!
2) I want to make a difference in the world, to see joy and musical fulfillment in my listeners, that my music has the power to add something valuable to their lives, even if it's only 3 minutes, that those 3 minutes are rewarding and touch them in some special way. (that's big huh?)
3) I want to reciprocate my value - I want to receive what I have given so freely - to earn income, respect for my art, acknowledgement of my talent, to be valued in lots of different ways. I AM ready to receive!
4) I want to experience life in a more fulfilling way -I want to travel and perform on different stages and work with different artists and songwriters and musicians and meet new people. LIVE!
5) I want to create with different artists and songwriters and musicians, writing new music daily, pushing myself to express, explore, and enrich my own and other musicians through the art of writing.
6) I want to mentor others and how can I do that if I'm not successful? People always say you can be what you want where you already are (deep spiritual concepts), but not everyone buys into that. Sometimes I must actually have the goods, the real physical proof for people to believe in me. I know it shouldn't be that way, but it is. So I want the physical success, the hit songs, the major label artists, the grammies, so I can BE what I'm preaching and then help others with their own success. I have to be the example first.
7) I want money! Yes, I want a life that is more free -to buy what I want, to travel when I want, to share what I've got, to give and receive!
8) I want the accomplishment and achievement, to add notches on my belt, so that the older I get, the more I fill my own basket of good. I'd like a long resume, something that if it was read out loud, would be impressive all I've accomplished.

OK, that's the short list - I'm sure more reasons will come. I read recently in a spiritual book that we should never ask the how's and when's, but only state what I want and I'm doing that now for the world to see! I'd love to see your list...!

Wish me luck on my show tonight - I'm excited!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

wrote last night

So I had changed the chorus to the song that my co-writer liked (the verse only). I had struggled with it because the chord changes were stuck in my head. I did do a new melody to the old chords. I wasn't completely happy with it and had little time to work on it - go figure since I'm not working much lately. But anyway, I had only one idea to show him and decided we could work on it together. Usually he lets me do all the music, which I like, but this time I asked for his input and we worked on improving the melody. To be honest, I'm still not sure I like the melody. Doesn't quite sound like a hit song to me. It works and sounds good, but do I want to walk around singing it? I'm not sure. I purchased Carrie Underwood's "So Small" yesterday - now that's a hit song melody, really soars. I've got to improve on the new song so I actually like it and want to sing it around the house. That's my measure for a good melody - do I want to sing it? Can I actually enjoy the song? I was teaching a voice student of mine about improvisation and was giving her different techniques but told her that ultimately it has to sound good. It's all fine and dandy if it "works" or if it's "clever", but is it good? The melody must stand out - it is the most important part of the song - I'm convinced of that 100%. How many songs do you remember from high school, but never got the lyrics right, or never even knew them for that matter? And do you know the chords? Doesn't matter as much as the melody. The melody is the speech of the song, how the song is communicated. The chords are just the boat the melody is carried in, and the lyrics are the color of the boat. But the melody is the goods in the boat. So I've got to re-work that darn melody and make it good!
Tomorrow is my acoustic showcase - performing 9 original songs, 3 of which are brand new. They sounded really good with the pianist the other night, so I'm excited to get to perform them. It's always scary performing a new song for the first time, not knowing how the audience will react. But I'm taking a risk and doing it anyway! My attitude is: what have I got to lose? It's my self-expression and no one has power over that. It's me expressing me, either they will love it or hate it, but it's still me and I have to express who I am.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

finding time

I worked yesterday on a new chorus idea for the song I'm supposed to have for my co-writer tonight. Boy, I really procrastinated this time...I'm usually not one to wait till the last minute but I did. So I was frantically trying to come up with melodies in only one hour. And I just can't write efficiently under pressure. I did come up with a new melody, but it was still to the old chords - I think those are stuck in my head. So hard to change things when they're engrained in my brain. I have a few hours today to work on it again and I will try my best to get all of my chores and duties out of the way so I can focus focus focus! I want to present him with 3 new chorus options, so I'm going to have to really work hard to get something going in just a couple of hours. You know - the phone always rings or something....songwriting comes first today!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

must write today

My co-writer called yesterday and said he was available to write if I wanted to, but I hadn't written the new chorus to the song we're doing yet, so I had to decline. It was Memorial Day anyway and spent time at home, but I must work on it today! I want to present at least 3 ideas to him so he can choose what he likes the best. It's an exercise for me to try to write in specific ways, for instance: if I'm writing a country song, I'll probably not add a lot of jazz chords, but keep it simpler. Not that all country songs are simple (just listen to "More Love" by Wynonna - wow), but I know my co-writer is not crazy about what he calls "weird" chords...haha..
But that's OK, I'm trying to not only write songs for myself, but for other people as well. So sometimes I have to be flexible and try to compromise on what I like with what someone else likes. It's not all about me! (Just like in real life - eh?) It's about pleasing the massive ear of the public ultimately. I'm not writing with my co-writer for my own personal artistic satisfaction - we're writing because we want a hit in the mainstream country market. And that's OK. I do lots of different styles and do my Jazz/R&B stuff a lot, so it's OK for me to write something simple. I've got no problem with that as long as I balance out my musicality. Let's face it, guys who write film scores have to write to the plot of the film, so the music has to be in line with the theme of what's going on. So they can't write a polka to a love scene, even if polka is their favorite kind of music. I'm trying to write to actually earn money, so sometimes I have to put my own needs aside and write for whom the money comes from. If I'm only writing for "art for art's sake", then I'm going to be very hungry.
I know it's important to stay one step ahead of what's going on in the commercial market, and that's tough to figure out, but since I write R&B, my country music always has a tinge of R&B/Soul, which is a good thing. I think that's unique and has a place in the market. That's not trying to be something I'm not, that's being who I am in a different environment. Acclimating myself to where I am - being me in a different color of skin like a lizard. Today I will wear the red skin, thank you very much!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

didn't write

Yes, it's true...I slacked. I only had an hour's worth of work yesterday and didn't find time to write. That's pitiful! I had lots of errands to run, important stuff...not like I was sitting around watching TV. Plus I practiced for my upcoming show next week. As a matter of fact, on that show I'm performing only original songs, some of which no one has ever heard before! I'm a little nervous, because one of the songs hasn't not been critiqued by my workshop group, and it's a slow, sad song, which I don't usually do at this particular performance (which is at my church). But I'm taking a risk - didn't I say risk was involved in success! So I'm going for it...let's face it, you can't please everyone. And thank God - if everyone liked exactly the same thing, life would be a pretty boring place. There is an outlet for everyone, I'm convinced of that. I only have 6 days before the show and haven't confirmed even one rehearsal yet, so it's going to be a last minute deal. But I trust in the piano player, so once again, taking a risk...
And yes, I believe there's an outlet for everyone's talent - I don't think we are put on this planet to suffer or struggle or be unfulfilled. I have to believe that or I'm sunk. I have to trust in the abundance of life and the growth and expansion of the universe, which includes my own creative outlet. Somewhere, somehow, I will find my place. There's a Jude Cole song in which he says he keeps looking for his "place in line". I like that - everybody wants to feel that they belong, and have something worthy to contribute to life. And to make a mark on the universe, to leave one's unique stamp to be enjoyed or remembered for eternity, now that's big! I'd love to have that, but for now I'd be happy with earning some money from songwriting! I'll keep plugging away...

Friday, May 28, 2010

trying to get it together

I am feeling so stuck and frustrated - yes, I'm writing. But just feel kind of "what's the use" lately. I know writing usually brings me joy, but I also want to have an outlet for my music. A friend of mine, who is a painter and graphic artist, once told me that she thought it was egotistical for me to want my music heard by the masses. She thought having talent alone was enough and that I should be satisfied with just being creative and not need my music to be heard. I think that's ridiculous! God did not give us talent to paint or sing or write or whatever to have it stashed away in some closet. My friend had lots of paintings but had never had a show of her work. What good is a painting in a closet? We are all here to express in some unique way. And I do believe it needs to be reciprocated. If doctors went to medical school and got their degrees but never went out to heal people, what good would that be? Isn't that the same thing? Isn't it OK to say "I'm good at this" and want to use that talent, whatever it is, to change the world in some degree? Whether it's a song, or a cure for cancer, or a joke, or a way of doing business more efficiently, aren't we all here to progress life inch by inch? And songs have great power to heal and bring joy and insight and pure pleasure -songs have great weight, in my opinion, in the grand scheme of things. Why get out of bed every morning if I'm just going to tuck away who I am and my self-expression in some closet somewhere. Prisoners and bad children are locked in closets! (hehee...just a little joke!)
I know I am meant to express, to write, to create, to sing, to show my inner thoughts to the world through words and music, and I'm OK with that. I'm not afraid of expressing myself and being vulnerable to criticism or whatever else. It's about risk-taking. Are you willing to take a risk and expose your soul? I will keep looking for the outlet for my art - I know I have an audience somewhere. God did not put me on this earth to struggle but to thrive! And thrive I will...God give me strength today and move me in the right direction so that I may use Your gifts to benefit myself and others. Thank You...

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yesterday was a good writing day - wrote lyrics to a song I worked on during the flood. It was difficult because it is personal and emotional. Hard to define and describe the feelings without revealing too much information. I don't want to lay it all out on the line on this one and name names, so to speak, I just want to talk about the emotional aspect of it. So there's no "furniture" as they say here in Nashville, just pure emotions. I'm still working on it, but at least I've got a rough draft. I think the music is beautiful. I think the lyrics are working, but I need to let someone else hear it to get their feedback.
And I went to my co-writer's house last night and we did a revision of our song from last week. He'd taken it to the critique session and we re-wrote lyrics to the lines that were unclear or confusing to the group. I truly enjoy co-writing, we always have fun and laugh! Writing alone can be, well, lonely! It's necessary for me to do, to get inside my head and really listen to what's being said in there (I know that sounds crazy, but you songwriters understand - right?).
But too much time alone can make me climb the walls. I always joke that solitary confinement is either for prisoners as punishment, or spiritual men as a way of finding God. So I guess it's either or both, depending on my mood or how creative I am. If I'm creative, it's heaven. If I can't write, then it's a hair-pulling experience.
OK, so then after we re-wrote the lyrics, I played him 3 of my song ideas I'd written for the TV show. He liked parts of each of them..I'd written some of them as exercises for myself. One song has a key-change for the chorus, another song I wrote two chords per bar as an exercise. I try to force myself to push myself out of my comfort zone. So I do exercises like that - but ultimately the song must sound good -right? Of course...
So I'm going to keep the verse to one of the songs which he liked, and write a new chorus. He thought he was going to hurt my feelings by telling me he didn't like the chorus and that he felt the energy drop on it. But I'm taking it as another opportunity to push myself, to take critique and use it to create something better. I will work on it today. I always felt that a song was "sacred", that once it was written it was like the Holy Scrolls - that it couldn't be altered. Whatever! Yes, it can be altered and improved. Especially if the initial song was written as an exercise, then I just have more exercise to big deal! So I'm excited about writing more music today. Lyrics are very time consuming for me, and I don't usually write music on the days I write lyrics. So the music wheels get squeaky. Today I will oil them up. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

back in business

So I had a disappointing few weeks, with a major disappointment not getting on the songwriting TV show. But life must go on. So I'm back to writing. I have 6 songs with no lyrics, since I was trying to write as many musical ideas as possible. So I've got a lot of work to do. Lyrics can be intimidating for me - sometimes they flow, sometimes I struggle for days. Especially if the song is of a personal, emotional nature -sometimes it's hard for me to pin down my feelings in a way that is clearly understood by the listener. So many songs on the radio are NOT clearly understood, so I guess it's not imperative that the listener know what the heck is going on, but I like to try my best so that other people can relate to what I'm feeling. Isn't that what we're supposed to do as creative people is move other people's emotions, get them to think and feel? Or is it art for art's sake - just write for the pure pleasure of writing, regardless if anyone else "gets it"? I think it should be both - write for the pleasure and expression of my soul, and try to stretch into someone else's emotional boundaries a bit and get them to feel it too, if possible. Does that make sense? As if we all have a little bubble of emotion surrounding us, and those bubbles can collide or cross or become inter-twined with each other. So that for a split second, or 3 and 1/2 minutes to be precise, we can feel exactly the same way and understand each other. So music can bring our souls together by way of understanding each other. We can express through each other's joy and pain. How many times have I heard someone say they sent a song to someone to express what they wanted to say? Someone I know got divorced and sent Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" to his ex. I've sent songs to ex-boyfriends that said what I could not. So the songwriter can be the spokesperson for the soul, and not just the writer's soul, but humanity's soul. Wow, that's big. Makes me want to keep writing! Can't give up - never give up! I guess being a songwriter is a pretty lofty aspiration after all...

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Call back

Well, I had my audition for "Hit Makers" yesterday -stood in the 90 degree heat for 6 hours. When I went in the the audition room, they asked for my name and age and the name of the song. They also asked if I always sing to tracks, and I said no, that I write on piano but like to sing to tracks. I knew they wanted people who can perform live with piano or guitar, so that might have been one of the reasons I didn't get a callback. My voice didn't sound great, kind of raspy, probably because I was so extremely hot and hadn't drank much water, trying to avoid going to the bathroom because there was a long line. But anyway, I thought I did a good job auditioning despite the vocal issues. They only asked for a chorus and cut me off right after the chorus ended, so probably sang for 20 seconds, very short. I thought for sure I'd get a callback, I really believe in myself as a songwriter and I'm completely available to travel for 6 weeks to do the show. When I didn't get the call by 9 p.m. when they said they'd call, I got very depressed. Music and songwriting is such a hard, long road. It gets completely discouraging. It's not like I cared so much about this particular event, a TV show, it's just that when you work and work and struggle and try to stay positive, and do all the inner-work of working through my own "stuff", that it gets very discouraging to never get even a little bite of success. Years and years of nothing...To never get approval or even the slightest hope of something better is almost unbearable at times. I'm sure I'll pick myself up and start again, but I feel really low today, starting to wonder if it will ever happen for me. I wonder if my age had something to do with not getting called back, which is also very discouraging to think that I'm over the hill and won't have a shot at my dream - ever....I know I'm being negative, but it's what I feel right now.
What a hard three weeks it's been - first my house destroyed in the flood, then my family turning their backs on me in my time of need, now this. I guess that's three - so hopefully that's the end of the heart-break. I'll try to write something more uplifting next time, but today, reality has set in. I have a gig tonight - first one in 6 months, so hopefully that will make me feel better. It's hard to perform when my heart is hurting, but the show must go on!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I wrote with my co-writer yesterday after two weeks off. We finished our song! It flowed so effortlessly and was fun! The song is very cute, catchy, and uplifting. We're both happy with it and have decided to keep writing together regularly. We have made a commitment and we're sticking to it.
I like writing with someone else - I tend to write about different topics than I would on my own. My own lyrics tend to be of a personal nature, what I'm going through at the time. But when I write with someone else the lyrics are more fictional and story-based, with more visual references. So I like that.
If I don't make the call-backs to the TV show, I'm going to present my musical ideas I wrote to my co-writer so the songs can be finished. I'd write only music if I had the choice, but I know I have things to say and that I should express them through my songs. Music just comes more naturally to me.
Anyway, slowly recovering, working through the debris of the flood and my life. Starting to rebuild...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

writing again

Yesterday I woke up with a beautiful melody in my head, so I went straight to my studio and recorded it into my mini-disc. Then later I added the chords - really pretty music. It fit my mood - the flood, new rain, and all the hurt I've gone through this past week. It's great being able to filter that energy into writing music...eases the soul!
Later yesterday I wrote a few lyrical ideas - I'd like to try to finish some of the songs I've written lately by adding lyrics to them. Lyrics take me significantly longer to write than the music, sometimes days. I've co-written with other people before, which makes it easier, but if the song is one of a personal nature, it makes no sense to co-write with someone else. I have to write what I feel in my heart and soul, even if it takes days for me to get it right. And I'd love every song to be a commercial hit of course, but some songs may not be that - they may not make sense to everyone out there because it is my experience. Seems there are a lot of alternative rock songs I completely don't understand - I guess understandable lyrics apply to certain genres but not others. Remember "wrapped up like a deuce"? I never knew what the lyrics were to that song until about 20 years later. Country music of course must be very clearly stated. I'll do the best I can, but I'm not going to spend weeks on writing lyrics to a song when I'd rather write more music. Besides, it is art isn't it...? And isn't art about expressing one's soul, not necessarily on making money or identifying with everyone else, it's about expressing who I am. It's my gift to share, regardless if anyone identifies with it or not.
Hard to find the time to do both daily - maybe someday when I don't have to work at all..
I'm off today, so I will try to work on my lyrics again today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

getting back to business

I'm still reeling from all the drama of last week. Have a couple of loose ends to deal with. I had major discussions with several people in my life which brought me closer to them. AND I got what I wanted to convey out into the world: I deserve better than this! I've lost some people from my life too - some people I just had to cut loose when I saw their true colors. Oh well, better to find out now...It hurts, but I have to move on.
So now I am moving on with my music. Today I have nothing scheduled except music. Yeah! I'm back in business! I woke up with several song ideas, which I will work on today. I also have a "coffee house" performance (small acoustic showcase) coming up in 3 weeks - which I haven't even started organizing yet!! I have no ideas which songs I will do or which musicians will play on it. I don't really have money to hire people right now, but I want it to sound good! So not sure what to do about that..
I also have lots of little things to do before my jam gig next week - send out an email to my fans, check the keys to all my cover songs, send out a photo to the club. But I've got time so I'm going to set a schedule for myself today so I can get it all done. First priority is writing.
Seems I always put writing at the end of the list - It's hard for me to write with things hanging over my head. But I've taken a whole week off, or more, so I've got to put it first. And all the song ideas I've written for the audition I need to put some lyrics to. One song in particular is really good and catchy and I want to perform it at my coffee house show, so I've got to get it together! Lots to do today!
I still feel pained from so much heart-ache last week, but I know music can heal my soul. So I have to get back to that which feeds me...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

still dealing with the aftermath

Yes, it's true - I'm still an emotional mess. I've cried everyday for the last week and a half. Feeling terrible about all the emotional drama that's been going on, and there's still more to come. I'm cleaning house - for the first time in my life I'm saying "I deserve better than this!" - and meaning it and sticking to it. I feel stronger than I've ever felt, but I also feel in a lot of pain. It's hard to clear away people from your life if you love them, but sometimes it must be done in order to make room for healthier people who know how to show love and respect. If I can't get love and respect from the people closest to me, how am I going to get it from business associates, fans, record companies, co-writers, etc? I have to apply that principle to all aspects of my life, especially to those closest to me. It sets an example in my heart and says "this is the standard to live by". What I accept is what I deserve - if I allow myself to take the crumbs off the bottom of the barrel, then I part of me is stating that that's all I deserve. It sometimes takes something great or tragic, like a great flood, to reveal those things to a person. They revealed it to me because I saw the true colors of those closest to me. I received much love from so many people, and no love from others. It was a painful lesson to learn. But I know where I stand with myself, who I am, and what I am willing to accept. That is my great lesson. Let's hope it filters down into other areas of my life, especially my career - that I deserve the best and that I deserve to earn great income from who I am, because I am proud of who I am and how I express myself....
Wow, I got really deep huh? Maybe tomorrow I'll write about songwriting for a change...
BTW, I did practice my tunes for the audition, sang my blues cover tunes for the gig coming up, and practiced piano for 30 minutes today. And yesterday I wrote a B section to my latest song. So I did do some career work!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

following up - more drama!

Wow, when you go through a major disaster and crisis, you certainly find out who your friends are! I've gone through so much drama and emotional pain the last week - but most of it as a result of the lack of support from certain people. Losing your house is one thing, but finding out that you can't depend on the people you thought you could depend on is quite another. And because of all the emotional drama I've been going through, I still am not writing. I have been practicing my song ideas, trying to be prepared for the audition. And I'm taking charge of my band, taking the lead in organizing the rehearsal and sending out the materials in advance so the band can be ready. I learned to never give someone else the power in my career or my songs..I have to know how to direct a band, write charts, be a good business person and band leader, in addition to being prepared as a vocalist. So many things on the plate of a musician, especially a band leader. Musicians, unfortunately, can be very flaky, so I can't trust them to follow through - I have to do it.
So even if I'm not particularly creative these last few days, I am working on music in other ways. And I actually believe working through "issues", releases blocks to my success and/or creativity somewhere down the road. Let's see if releasing certain people and old behaviors and patterns affects my career..let's see if I get that hit for finally telling myself I deserve the best life has to offer in every aspect!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

flood update2

Well, it's been a long hard week to say the least. My house is basically totaled and everything, I mean everything, will have to be replaced: walls, floors, HVAC, ductwork, cabinets, appliances. But the good news is FEMA has already been to my house and said I'd receive a check within the week! So I'm feeling optimistic that I can get on the road to recovery and stop focusing on what's wrong and start focusing on what good is coming my way!

And in terms of my songwriting, I actually woke up with a song idea this morning..a new melody. I can usually hear the whole song in my head, the melody and chords. I went upstairs at 5:00 a.m. and put the melody down on my mini-disc, so I'll be working on that later today after some much needed rest.

I'm feeling very good about my songwriting now that I've been writing regularly. I took a week off to deal with the flood, but in the back of my mind through all this, is the feeling of optimism, knowing I have a special and unique talent that I am WORKING. It's one thing to have the talent and quite another to actually put it to use! I have to do my part...
And the audition for Hitmakers is rescheduled (thank God), so that gives me more time to prepare. I picked out the 4 song ideas I actually like and printed up the charts. Then I brought out my Casio and figured out which grooves worked for each song and what piano tones. Now I have to practice! Playing and singing my songs is not something I do often, so I need work at this...If I'm going to "sell" my songs to potential artists, then I have to represent them how they're supposed to sound. I can't put all my energies into writing only to mis-represent them for lack of my playing abilities...I've got to get it together! So there is still much work to do. I'm not going to let anything, not even a major disaster deter me from my dream!

OK, hopefully starting Monday I can get back to regular writing, or at least half-regular writing. Still much to do at my house, but I want to get my routine back in order so I can keep moving forward. I see life as a series of baby-steps. There will be some set-backs, but I believe even the set-backs eventually move us forward. I know something good will come from this flood - it will make room for positive change in the right direction. So I will keep focusing on that - on the positive and trusting in the higher good..

OK, that's all for now. Gonna rest out in the sunshine, then go do some work!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

freaking out

My life has been turned upside down by this flood. Haven't written any music in 5 days - so much for my 30 day plan! But that's OK I guess. I've written about 5 songs in the last couple of weeks, and will review those today. I'm freaking though because the Hitmakers audition is this Sunday! And I watched the video on their website of the LA auditions and they make the contestants who make call-backs write a song in 30 minutes!! I am not a fast writer - sometimes lyrics take me 3 days or more...I like the music and lyrics to stew a bit. So if I were to make call-backs, will I be ready? Can I use the song ideas I've written recently as the music and just write the lyrics? Is that cheating? Will I have to have the chord progressions memorized? I don't memorize songs quickly either! So I'm stressing I have a gig in 2 1/2 weeks and can't get the musicians to respond to my emails. Why are musicians so flaky? Don't they realize music is a business and needs to be handled professionally? I feel my blood boil when I email or call someone and they don't return my call...just flaky and immature!
Well, I am determined to organized my 5 song ideas today - to print out the charts and review the melodies just in case!!
Gotta work...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

flood update

Wow, sometimes life just happens...
Spent all of yesterday cleaning up my house with a crew of wonderful friends. Tough physical labor pulling up wet carpet and floorboars, knocking out wall, sopping up mud in every corner and crevice. I feel truly blessed though to have such wonderful people in my life.
In the midst of this, I just received an email from my co-writer in Germany that the publisher asked him about the publishing availability on the song he and I had written together. We had pitched it to a major European pop star. This could be good!! Maybe something good will happen through all this destruction...I'm so tired today. I really need to practice today and sing for my audition for the TV show, but I want to go help another flood victim. I HAVE to help!
So not writing music today, too much on my mind anyway and I can never write when I'm overwhelmed with life. Which is why I have to have balance in my life on a regular (normal) basis. This flood is not "normal", so exceptions have to be made.
I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 3, 2010

new challenge

My house was flooded in the extensive rain I definately didn't feel like writing. But I'm still going to go to the Hitmakers audition next Sunday - Hell or High Water! I'm not going to let something like a huge natural disaster stop me from fulfilling my dream! My house is destroyed, but it can be replaced and fixed. My life and expression of myself must continue to grow and expand. I have to trust that something positive will come from this situation...pray!

Friday, April 30, 2010


I had a deep understanding today: I am still carrying on my old behavior and thought patterns that I thought I'd tackled. I guess God gives me multiple opportunities to prove that I'm serious! This may sound complex, but it's actually quite simple, as all spiritual truths are. I had a big epiphany a couple of weeks ago - I realized I'd had this attitude of the struggling musician for so long, it was just engrained in my brain. I teach voice and piano lessons and realized I was accepting students that I didn't want to teach because they were unreliable and flaky, but I thought I needed them because I was feeling desperate to work as a musician and not take a day-job. So I was putting up with all kinds of behavior: constant cancellations, no-shows, etc. and I'd always take the student back, because I thought it was better than no students. Finally I realized I was working from a place of desperation, and nothing good can ever come from being in this place. As long as I have "less-than" mentality or feel a desperate need for something, I'm actually keeping it from me. I started telling the students I wouldn't give them makeup lessons for lessons in which they hadn't given me adequate notice, and telling students who no-show'd that I would not teach them. I stood up for myself! It felt good. Then I realized I'd been doing the same behavior/thinking in other areas of my career. As musicians, I think we are all so desperate to experience success in our field, that we're willing to put up with all kinds of behavior totally unacceptable in other businesses, and/or we are willing to take whatever we can get, even the bottom of the bucket, just to legitimize our craft. I remember telling someone: if I could get at least one cut, ANY cut, even a cat litter commercial jingle, then I'd be happy because I'd at least be earning money from my songwriting. Now I see how limiting that is! How many times I've been treated like a dog in some sleazy club by the management because I'm in the band, or not paid what I was told I'd be paid, or my phone calls never returned after calling 5 or more times. It's just disrespectful, but we put up with it because it's "all we've got". Well I just can't buy that anymore if I want to have success! I've done that in my own bands too: I've taken the little money we were paid and paid the band members but not myself so I could have the best players, or taken gigs that didn't pay at all so I could at least have a regular gig. It's pitiful! If I'd have put half the work in another business as I've put in my music career, I'd be the CEO of a major corporation. Why do musicians not get treated as legitimate? BECAUSE WE LET THEM!!! Don't tell me you've never done any of the things I have done - we all have. You're either nothing until you're big time is the attitude. You're at the bottom until you're at the top - no middle ground, no raises, no climbing up the "corporate ladder"..But if we buy into that attitude, then we ARE nothing! I have to accept only the best, the best students, the best PAYING gigs, the best musicians who treat me with respect, the best clubs and management who treat me with respect, and I have to say a big resounding NO if I don't get what I deserve. They say you get exactly what you feel you deserve....So the poor musician mentality has got to go! If I want the best, I can't be willing to accept the second best, or worse. I have to put my foot down! I feel good now!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

got the song!

Well, after I quickly tried to come up with something this afternoon, I had to leave my house and go to work. But while I was driving home, I started singing the idea again, and by the time I got home, I had the entire song! I rushed in the house and recorded it before I forgot it. Just goes to show that if I push myself to write and come up with something, even if I'm not in the mood or inspired to do something, it is the catalyst for creativity to start flowing. It opens up the space! So I've proved to myself that I can write under pressure...woohoo!
OK, it's late - I'll start picking out the chords to fit the melody tomorrow. But I'm going to bed happy!

pressure to write

Okay, trying to stick to my write-everyday-for-30-days's hard! I should have paced myself better today, but I have to leave the house for work in 45 minutes and trying to come up with a song idea before I leave...It's hard for me to write under pressure! How would I survive if I wrote film scores and had a deadline...guess this is good practice!
I've got a couple cute ideas - gonna bounce them around some more.
I'm still tossing my Dance/Pop song around in my head trying to figure out if it's finished or not..I think it is. That means I've finished 4 songs musically since I started this about a week and a half ago..not bad!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

nothing new today

I listened to my Dance/Pop song again today and decided it was as good as it is going to get. I think it's good, but not sure if it's great. I guess sometimes things are what they are and I have to accept them as is...It may develop more once I add the words, but for now I will leave it. But I'm OK with that, I don't have to write the "perfect" song every day. Just the process of writing brings me joy enough..

I tried to come up with some other ideas but nothing stuck. So I analyzed a song from a major artist to try to understand what made it so great. The chords were complex, but only changed once a measure, so that's not too difficult. It always goes back to the melody for matter how thick the chords are or what the lyric is saying, in my opinion a great song must have a great melody.

I will practice piano today to try to improve my skills...another tool for a songwriter...

OK, gotta practice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

new tools

Today I'm working on a Dance/Pop song - trying to stretch and push myself to try different genres and grooves.
Here's some more tools I am using:
- writing 2 chords per measure rather than just one
- embellishing chords with extra notes to thicken them up, i.e. 9, and 13 chords, sus-chords, chords with different notes in the bass rather than the root.
- Changing the key for the chorus and then back again for the verses.

I've seen that sometimes I write something I don't really like, such as yesterday's verse, but then it inspired me to write a really cool chorus. So I chunked the verse and wrote another's kind of like life - trying to see the benefit in so-called "bad" things...sometimes they lead to the pot of gold!

Last night I did some co-writing with my friend Steve. We're working on a Motown song - it's really cool! Fun and upbeat with clever lyrics. Writing with someone else is also a good tool for me. Usually when I write lyrics I do stream-of-consciousness writing until something comes to me. But with another person, there's two ideas bouncing off each other. It's a lot of fun for me and things seem to flow quicker than when I'm on my own. However, it's important to find the right co-writer, a balance between "generator" and "editor". I had to go through a lot of writers to find one that I am compatible with as a friend and musical-partner.

I'm still working on my pop song as we speak...taking a little break. It's coming together but it needs to rest, like a stew that needs to seep a little to blend in the flavors. Usually if I keep at it daily, I'll get the results I'm after. I have to pace myself though...If I push too hard, I just get frustrated and get no musical ideas. It's like the Three Bears: not too much, not too little, but just right...I'll sleep on it tonight and see what I wake up with...

More later..

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Writing tools

I don't always write from inspiration- sometimes I have to use tools and push myself a bit to get inspired. If I sit and wait for inspiration, it may never come. I wish I just heard music in my head all the time like Mozart, but it's not the case with me (sometimes, but not always).
Today I am pushing myself to finish a song I'm not crazy about and don't really hear the commercial potential. Sometimes writing for writing's sake is important. It gets the wheels turning and sometimes other songs come as a result..

Here's some of the "tools" I use to get inspired:
- Write to different grooves and beats - write to a hip hop or reggae beat or something I've never written to before as a way of pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
- Write a melody with chords that never repeat in the verse. It's easy to get stuck in the 4 bar repeating phrase type of song...boring!
- Write a melody with chords that are exactly the same in the verse and the chorus, making sure the chorus melody has a strong melody and hook, despite the chord repetition.
- Write a melody that has a common note in all the chords of a 2 bar phrase - so I must find those chords. For instance, I'll sing a G over an combination of Eb, C or Cm, Bb6, Abmaj7, F2 - all contain G
- Sing a melody out of thin air, creating a great-singable melody before adding chords. It's easy to get stuck on the same,old, repetitive chords and forget about the importance of the melody line. I say, if you can sing it in the shower, it's a good melody. Too many songwriters write melodies that follow the chords, rather than the other way around. I always sing the melody first.
- Change key signatures or time signatures mid-stream - this can get tricky! But I respect songwriters that can do it well - the song "Reflection" from Mulan does it well - huge hit.
- Add richer chords than just 3-note chords to add richness and give more melodic choices when matching the chords. Yes, that may mean learning "jazz" chords and improving your skills as a musician, but isn't that what we're trying to do is improve our skills? Being a great musician can only help your songwriting. I've seen too many songwriters that can't even play an instrument...hmmm...
- Write a "sub" hook, a little melody that is the guitar/keyboard/BG hook in the in-between parts. I do a lot of BG doo-be-doo parts.

OK, enough for now, my song is developing (I'm writing the song, then writing this blog as we speak)....gotta write!

What I learned today

I know I have to fill myself from the inside out and not expect anyone else to take care of my emotions. Isn't that a great thing that songwriting does (or any passion in one's soul)? It helps me to take care of myself and fill myself with my own joy, which takes the pressure off of those around me...

I also have to remember that songwriting is a legitimate talent and skills, deserves recognition both financially and otherwise from the world. Just because I don't sit at a desk doesn't mean my talent isn't worthwhile. I think songwriters often walk around with a hurt-little-kid attitude in the world, that we don't deserve what others have, and I think that only breeds more unhappiness in our already frustrating career-choice. I have to be empowered and realize my talent has the ability to change lives for the better, just like medicine and doctors do. So songwriting is a powerful tool that deserves its place in the world.

I take the approach that a song develops in baby steps: I set my goal (to write a song), and work on it in small steps gradually and with patience. If I try to push it, it just goes away. If only I could apply this to all of my life (which I can of course). It just comes naturally with songwriting and I have to think about it in the rest of my life...little by little and no hurdle is too great!

More later after I spend some solid time writing today....