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!