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!