To have someone who is perfectly capable of writing her own iconic material, someone you’ve put on a pedestal your whole life, someone who’s blazed the trail for so many women, make a choice to record YOUR song is a songwriter’s dream.
Last week as I s-curved across Mulholland Drive, top down/wind in my face (in a Don Henley song), appreciating Los Angeles for all its curves and waves, knowing it’s where my village is, my zen, my professional community, I asked myself for the first time since I moved west if I could move back east. NY is better for my mind. LA is easier on my bones. What’s a girl to do?
Do you remember where you were the first time you heard “Your Song?” I do. I was sitting on my friend Hope’s bedroom floor when she put the needle to the vinyl. I was like…What was that? Where were you?
I don’t know for sure if Todd is God. Someone put forth the idea a long time ago and it stuck. But even if he’s a mere mortal, Something/Anything, the double album that brought me multiple eargasms when I was young and my heart was an open book, will be embedded in my psyche forever.
Sometimes you can’t beat a scratch vocal. There’s something about the first moment you step up to the mic and it’s so fresh and real. I’m never going to be more honest than when I’m not thinking about it. I feel it with my bones.
Bart Herbison, Executive Director of the NSAI, was instrumental (no pun intended), in getting a law passed which made it mandatory that all musical instruments be allowed onboard commercial aircraft. THANK YOU, BART. No more being forced to check your guitar only to find it in more than one piece at baggage claim. Things happen. Even in hard cases.
I was supposed to be writing this blog from the sky while on a plane to London. It was going to be about how excited I was to record 3 songs for my album with Phil Thornalley. I started packing a week ahead of time for the trip. But God says “Ha” at the most curious times.
The first booth I encounter is a dude demonstrating a new vocal auto-tuning technology. He explains to onlookers that the singer riffing into the mic, whose voice is being “auto-corrected,” might accidentally ‘discover’ a melody she didn’t even mean to sing. And ta-da! Hit song by accident. Imagine that! I want to raise my hand and ask, what about an idea? Doesn’t a song need an idea?
This Friday it’s destination Phoenix for me, for 2 performances of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter LIVE! The last decade in the music business has been a long strange trip (no pun intended) and my one-woman hour of humorous observations about HOW it's changed promises to be an entertaining evening for those who have shared the struggle as well as for those who are simply curious about a world they know nothing about. I’m looking forward to the drive.
Glory is spotty for most of us in this business and a little recognition now and then is mood elevating. After all, our peers are letting us know our contribution made a difference. Why else do we do what we do if not to move others with art? Acceptance feels good and the energy IN it gives us fuel to continue our journey. That matters.
In light of Spotify coming to the table and negotiating a more equitable distribution of income with the songwriting community, Michelle Lewis and I, after receiving personal invitations, decided we’d go to the awards show this year. She called a babysitter, I got eyelash extensions, and off we drove to the Ace Hotel for what turned out to be an interesting evening…
Something not so coincidental happened recently because, I believe, the Universe has been witnessing my Renaissance with music: Pandora asked me to be a curator — that’s a songwriter, producer, blogger, or music enthusiast with a desire to connect with their followers through well, music.
If music delivered to us by an invisible digital stream was here to stay (and don’t get me wrong, I love streaming—it’s versatile, convenient and an all-you-can-eat buffet), then laws had to change to bring digital royalty distribution into a digital age. But how?
I seem to fit in better now. Maybe Nashville has changed. Or maybe I’VE changed. Or maybe I used to try too hard to fit in. Now I’m comfortable just being myself. Maybe that’s the key to life in general.
I’ve narrowed a 7 hour audio book down to an hour’s worth of the best bits. I put a mic and an amp in the corner of my office and every night I've been firing up the purple lights and running through the script. I'm enjoying myself immensely. So are my cats. I'm not sure how to proceed next, but I'll figure it out. One foot in front of the other. Like everything. If you build it they will come.
Indeed, life, career, love have their ups and downs. Perhaps the lulls are necessary, albeit not as thrilling, as the excitement. I’ve always enjoyed unscheduled time to collect my endless thoughts. Examining is where we get material. We need to take time to replenish.
Looking out the window of my west bound plane, taking in what just happened, I’m filled with so many thoughts. Adam is worried. He suggests after all the excitement and euphoria I’m going to crash. Post GRAMMY Depression. I won’t. I’m pretty sure I’ll be high for a while.
It’s important that the professional songwriter, and our story, be represented in the small group of audio books nominated for a GRAMMY. After all, the GRAMMYs is an award platform that revolves around the music industry. And songwriters are at the heart of it. Without songs there'd be no music business.
In any profession there’s always a force that must be reckoned with. That someone makes us better simply by the virtue of us always having to catch up with them. For me, that someone was, still is, Diane Warren.
I'm stepping off the Long Island Railroad and the first thing I see is the roof of what used to be Freeport Bowl, where girls made out with boys in cars—“Midnight Oasis” on the radio. “Put your camel to bed.” How about THAT for a lyric?
One of the participants at SongStudio asked what it would take for her to get in a room with me. I explained that we all have to work with writers of our own level and one day, something will happen out of the blue…an A&R might give her a favorable recommendation or a hit writer might love a song she wrote and voila, she’ll get her session with a more experienced songsmith. And she'll be Writing Up!
Serial Songwriters (The Bruce Springseens as well as the Suzie Smiths) have creative common threads. They just manifest themselves slightly differently in different souls. I like reading about these threads because I recognize myself as part of a larger Tribe. It’s like a link to a religion I belong to. I’m confirmed.