Pancakes and Congas
Good Morning Kitty,
I’m so sorry I neglected you yesterday. I had to wake up very early and head out to Malibu to meet with a new friend in the music biz. The outfit and coffee consumption were more important at the time then my daily dose of blog. I hope you coped.
Have some coffee:
It was a very FULL day. I woke up this morning still feeling exhausted from it. My head is swimming and my heart is working overtime. I’m feeling that it may become time for a little escape to the desert or woods or water soon. I just need to clear my head and get back to basics and feel the earth beneath my feet. The great thing about this realization is that many outstanding options are all around me. I’m thinking trees though...big ones. Like sequoias. I need to look up at something that has been on this earth for a LONG time, something that towers over me, something that makes me feel small and yet protected. I have plans for the weekend and stuff going on in the beginning of next week - but maybe wednesday I will go find me some tree power.
So the drive out to Malibu was beautiful. I love the PCH and the PCH loves me. You get on it - you feel the Ocean to your left (or right, whichever way you’re driving) and you just feel at peace. It’s such a historic and beautiful drive. I turned into the ‘Malibu Canyon’ area, which is even cooler. It is right behind Pepperdine. Loads of deserty, light orange and green mountains, windy roads, barely any cars, and BEAUTIFUL houses. I was driving out to see a friend of my friend’s who has been successfully producing and playing and arranging in the music business for a long time. He is a name if you googled, it would empress you. But I’m not going to do that. Just know that his body of work is rock solid - and I already blogged earlier this week about how he is involved with Playing for Change!! That amazingly inspiring international music project that is rocking everyone’s socks off.
Well, we met at 11:30 and I wasn’t out of there until 5. It was a long day of talking and vibing and listening and listening and listening. Music sharing and story sharing and advice giving. We listened to each track on my record one by one in his amazing studio - The Casio Tapes has never sounded better, by the way- talking about what was strong and what needed work. In his opinion - the tracks that stand alone and that I should continue on with - playing live, etc. are "Break My Heart" and "Oh-la-la". I've known these were my best songs for awhile - and it was nice to sit with a top producer and agree. It made me trust my judgement just a little bit more. He also played me a bunch of songs that his label and production team were working on. It was an interesting experience for me...
I learned something.
Music is so personal. The chords and lyrics and tones and instruments and rhythms and combinations of all the sounds that can really move a person are very different and specific to everyone. It has to align with the vibration and specific life experience of the listener. So that being said. How do you create 'commercial', 'radio'-type music? What sort of vibration are you tapping into? It has to be a more basic one - a more universal one - one that everyone can vibe with and hold onto. Alot of the music that my new friend creates is commercial and makes you want to move your body - it is catchy and simple lyrically and fun and most likely could be a hit on any day with thousands of teens or clubbers. It appeals to the basic instincts of humanity - the need to dance or screw or lash out. This makes it popular and digestible and commercial and successful. But what this music isn't - is personal and heartbreakingly specific and meaningful and sometimes hard to relate to and sometimes sooooo deeply moving that you cannot listen to it without crying. A commercial track - atleast in this music era is most often not the kind of music that sticks with you, that sticks to your bones, that changes your life or becomes the soundtrack to your journey. The songs that are TRULY hits - are the ones that weren't trying to be commercial - but the chord that they hit with humanity wasn't shallow - it was DEEP. It was soooooo deep that everyone who would listen would be moved.
So, what I'm trying to say is that I want to make music that sticks to bones. I guess I'm learning what I like. It's true - I can write a catchy, bubblegum lyric - and I can have a lot of fun with that. And maybe I will do some of that! But my goal is to grab people's hearts somehow and squeeze them so hard with my songs that they hurt - or experience so much joy that they start laughing. The kind of music that someone might hate - and another person might love so much they never get sick of popping the CD in. That is the kind of artist I want to be.
My friend and I listened to some amazing tracks just like that by the blind singer in the Playing for Change band, Granpa Moses. Grandpa Moses is alive today because he was saved - found during Katrina waste up in water in his home, singing Amazing Grace over and over. His song literally saved him. And to hear him sing and play harmonica is a heart/soul experience. Hell yes. Check out this video. I don't think I need to tell you which one Granpa Moses is. I heard some tracks from his CD that is not out yet - and it is going to really be something!!! Commercial? No, not really. I think that's a good thing.
My favorite part of my meeting was when my friend brought his congas out. He just started playing. I tensed up a little bit but then took a breath and decided to vibe with it. We sang a little bit to the rhythm together. Feeling what it would be like to write a song together. At one point, I grabbed a drum as well and we played together - talking with drums - getting to know eachother through rhythm. I am by no means a drummer, but I had to learn how to trust my inner mojo and just go with it. We laughed and made some pretty good music actually! He was like, wouldn't it be a great first date with someone if you just didn't talk and played congas together and then maybe ate pancakes. I thought yes! Pancakes and Congas. He said maybe that should be the title of my next album. Who knows! haha. But I do know that i now have a new friend in the music biz who has my back and digs my rhythm. That is a good thing.
Here is your song and quote for the day:
(an old commercial hit that actually digs at my heart! If you notice, he is singing about being broken hearted. Yes. )
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Ottis Redding
"Arrange whatever pieces come your way." - Virginia Woolf