There are a couple of blogs I’ve been writing. Three are music video blogs (GM Presents covers, my covers, and originals), one is a happenings/news blog, and the other is a big of an experience/story blog.
Loved singing this song. Gets pretty intense at the end. Hope you like.
I’m so proud of this video. So many people worked so hard to get it down. A huge thank you to Ryan Daniel McKinney, Matthew Espanshade, Eric Vasquez, See Wah Lee, Mica Graphics, Anthony Soler, and Greg Trax. Without these people, it would not have happened.
A song about friends…..awwww. I do like it. Had some fun writing a melody to the rap. I am not a rapper. Couldn’t bring myself to do it. Enjoy!
Hello, hello…tough one.
I get this question quite a bit. “Should I get training in music?” Answer…….Yes, yes, yes. Music is a kind of a funny profession when it comes to contemporary music. With classical music, lots of training is what is expected. Most professional musicians in classical have masters and doctorates in their instrument. Pop music and jazz because are a bit different. There are two schools of thought. The old school thought is that if you have training you aren’t a “natural” musician. The new school of thought is that if you want to make music your profession, you better have skills. When I first starting co-writing in Nashville, it was mostly with old white men. Most of them never studied music, they just kind of picked up a guitar and started writing when they were young, maybe took some guitar lessons. They became professional musicians when frankly there weren’t school for music and music wasn’t seen as a real profession. But those times are no longer. Now, there are hundreds of schools that teach contemporary music and audio production.
Through the years I’ve been told by people in the music industry (a&r, publishers, other songwriters) that the smarter you are the worse you are at writing songs. Also that the more trained you are, the less emotionally you communicating music. Also that the more trained you are, the less you can connect with your audience. The more trained you are the more calculated your music will be. The more trained you are the worse of a musician you are according to people who learn by ear. Bullshit. In every other profession, education and training is valued. Personally, I think these comments come from a lack of knowledge or fear. Either it’s worthless for them because they didn’t have it and found success anyway or they are embarrassed because it’s hard and they never learned. I often meet singers who have a lot of natural talent, but they don’t have as much control as they want. I ask if they’ve taken voice lessons. “No,” They say. “I don’t want to lose my own style.” That is fear as well. Lessons won’t ruin your style. It will however make your current style more in your control and probably better. It will make you work to get rid of bad habits and challenge you to be more flexible. On this to remember is that you can always go back to the way you sounded or sang before. The hard part is going forward.
I am trained. I went to music school. I studied classical voice, jazz voice, and never formally studied pop. For the record, I don’t think you have to go to music school to be trained or pay thousands of dollars for training/lessons. Training is anything from lessons from you mom, being in choirs, studying music carefully while listening on you ipod and trying to figure it out by playing sections over and over again, learning a song by ear, learning from YouTube videos, and just spending years figuring out your instrument. There’s a book by Malcolm Gladwell called the “Outliers.” It’s about success and his theory is that if you spend 10,000 hours doing anything you’ll be come an expert at it. That’s about 2 hours a every day for 14 years. Most professional musicians have at least spent that much time by the time they are 3o.
That said, I love playing by ear as well and there is just as much value to that as learning to read music. Let me say, you don’t have to be able to read music to be a musician, but I would never want someone to be scared of learning more. Or, think it’s worthless. Once you start learning about how it’s put together, it’s literally amazing. You will appreciate music on a whole new level.
Training not only helps you master your instrument, but all makes you really hire-able. I’ve been hired for all sorts of gigs (pop, jazz, blues, classical, opera, musical theater) because I am able to be versatile. If you are someone who can make a living using one instrument in one style, more power to you. But most career musicians are not only masters of their instrument, but also have other skills. Recording, arranging, a 2nd instrument, teaching all are ways to make extra money and make yourself as valuable as possible. Example: I have a friend who play keys. She’s a great piano player, but she gets the gig over other pianists because she can sing backup.
Okay. So how do you get training? If you are lucky enough to have a supporting parent or spouse, there are hundreds of teachers out there. Internet searches will start you in the right direction. Lessons can be expensive but where there’s a will there’s a way. Trading skills is a great way to get music lessons. Most musicians love the barter system. The Internet is great for learning….just go with your gut on whether you think the teacher knows what they are talking about (especially with the voice).
So bottom line: Get as much training as you can and experiment with your instrument as much as possible. Don’t give up!!!!
Welcome 2013! There are so many things to accomplish this year, so many dreams to runs towards. I hope you’ve had a great start to your year. For a while now I’ve been getting emails from people who are wanting to be singers or songwriters asking questions or seeking advice. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot. I’ve never been good about sharing my struggles mostly because I think no one wants to hear them. However, my hope and my reason for putting my struggles out in cyberspace is that if you are struggling with any of these issues, maybe you can find comfort in knowing that most everyone (especially artists) goes through them. And if you can avoid the mistakes and pitfalls I made, you can find your voice and own style even faster.
They HATE Me!
I’ve been performing and writing for ten years. When I first started my career as a singer/songwriter, obviously I wasn’t as good of a performer, singer, or songwriter. Unfortunately, I was extremely sensitive and wasn’t able to separate myself from feedback. Frankly, it’s only been in the last two years I’ve been able to do that. This feedback, sometimes unsolicited and sometimes solicited came from everyone who heard my songs. Sometimes it was from people in the business who could potentially give the “break” I so badly wanted. Sometimes these people who were amateur singers or songwriters themselves. Others were just friends or listeners. From the all this feedback, at least a third was negative (I’m separating negative from constructive comments from people who loved me and wanted me to succeed). I wasn’t able to see that most people dug what I was doing. I focused on those who had some issue with me or my music. Ten “you were fantastic” and one “I didn’t like it,” had me obsessing over what was wrong with me or my performance that didn’t reach them. I thought that if I was a great artist, everyone would like me. I would be playing in a coffee shop or at a music venue and people were loud or just didn’t care and be crushed. I spent the bulk of my years touring being miserable because of this.
WRONG. SO WRONG. Even the best artists have a raging anti-fan base of people who think they not very good or overrated. I’m not saying that some of the negative comments probably weren’t true. I have grown a ton since starting. The point is that I took each comment to heart and because I didn’t do a good job of filtering. I spent too many years miserable and lost. I could please no one and I sure wasn’t pleasing myself. The more I tried to write/be what I thought people wanted to hear/see, the more lost I became. So it was, my career wasn’t helped and it held me back. I could wrap this up very nicely and say, “I’ve learned how to trust myself and not give a damn what other people about me,” but I hate when people do that. The truth is it took me years and lots of crying & frustration until finally I reached the point of exhaustion. I couldn’t emotionally stay on that roller coaster anymore.
Hopefully you’ll read this and say to yourself, “I know this.” So this is what I’ve learned. Negative comments come from negative people who are in a negative place. Nowadays when hit with negativity, I always try to look at the person behind the comment. Usually I find an unhappy or jealous person. So that comment had NOTHING to do you or me. It has to do with them. Also, these days I’m careful about who I solicit comments and opinions from. There are people in my life who love me, want the best for my career, and that I trust whom I can ask when I’m struggling. Hopefully you have or are looking for those people as well. They are priceless. I also try my best to not give unsolicited advice. Who am I to say what someone should do with their career or their life? You know better what is best for you than I do. That is where the “Trust yourself,” comes in to play. It has taken me a long time to just trust myself and am still working. Hopefully you are farther along than I am.
Here are some gems from Youtube:
“you try way to hard. makes it sound terrible”
“you totally ruined this song”
“this is awful! she slaughtered it!”One of my favorites: “She looks like she’s about to vomit”
They LOVE Me!
Woo-hoo!!! Haha. Don’t get too excited. I do generally think you should absorb the positive, and ignore the negative. That used to sound totally delusional to me, but now it makes total sense. At least people who are giving you positive feedback are usually coming from a positive place and good energy. But listening too much to the positive has its own drawbacks. It still leaves out a very important part of growth…trusting yourself and your own opinion. Also, it’s hard to grow when you only hear how great you are. If you are like me, I am always trying to improve. When I seek advice, the last thing I want to hear is how great EVERYTHING is. Constructive critiques from those I trust and honest reflections from my own gut have been instrumental in improving my craft and advancing my career. When I’m doubting myself or feeling down, I do go and read positive comments on my videos and emails of people inspired to follow their dreams. It makes me feel better The goal is to grow, stay positive and stay motivated. I do whatever I need to do to stay in that place.
Unlike the negative, I think positive comments are welcome without being solicited. Give them & receive them freely. Just keep in mind that whether positive or negative, it is one person’s opinion. Try not to get too attached to any one opinion. People have their own agenda, sometimes it’s good for you, sometimes it’s not. Yours own should be the most valued. I hope it is.
Took a few liberties in the instrumental breaks. I don’t usually go that high in cover, but it seemed like it would work considering the title of the song.