Folk meets trip-hop. The beauty of collaboration!!!!
I wanted to write a little about my musical experience last night. It is rad! Back in December, Jared and I got the chance to play a gig at a benefit for a theater company in downtown LA. It was sort of creepy and awesome, in this run down, old, beautiful hotel - much like "The Shining" - ghosts and all. There was a beautiful DJ there with her boyfriend and they were doing sound and stuff. We played the gig (they did a great job at sound with the piss poor system we had). Then we sort of went on our way, but not before making a connection with them. I heard a funky track playing and started to move to it and the guy, Gabriel, said it was his own original music. I thought that was awesome! I gave him a copy of "The Casio Tapes" and my card and left the rest up to chance. Went home. Went to bed.
A couple of weeks ago, Gabe called. He had been listening to my music, reading the blog, etc, and was interested in having me sing on a few of his tracks for an electronic project he is working on for a label in FL. I have never listed to electronic music. I am about as close to that spectrum as Liza Minnelli is Death metal. But I thought, YES. Opportunity is opportunity. Singing is singing. You never know what the blessing of each situation is, so you might as well say yes and go find out!
I'm so glad I did.
I'm officially a part of a musical project I could never have imagined, The Gramercy Project (Go friend them on Myspace!!!). The description of the music is even out of my understanding: down-tempo, nu-jazz, trip-hop? haha. And it's freaking awesome! I went over to Gabe's pad in Hollywood and we talked music for awhile before his other friend Balage came over to start recording. I learned so much. I mean this is a genre I've never experienced. I've never been to one of these clubs, I've never sat in a room and bopped my head to it, I've never been driving down the freeway jamming out to it. I'm in new territory. And we had a ball! Gabriel comes from a fabulous club background. For years he toured as some sort of fabulous, costumed club dancer with a full on production. He dressed like a lizard and blew people's minds with black lights and fog machines and amazing moves. I don't even understand what I just wrote, let alone the awesomeness of what he did. He is also a musical/computer/electro genius with a crazy amount of equipment and a contagious level of enthusiasm. Balage is from Hungry and has a very stoic, confident humble way of being awesome. He maneuvered the recording like a pro and I can tell his knowledge of the business and his talent as a guitar player n such are way out of my league. But there I was. A folk singer with a theater background about to drop some sick beats on the electronic down-tempo world.
I decided to not be nervous and just let it flow. If I looked dumb, who cared. I was amongst new friends who were excited about the music and all that mattered is that something trippy and beautiful came out. Anything at all. I trusted that at least a few lines would be inspired. They played the track - which was sort of samba nu-wave. I guess that's what they called it. I started oohing and ahhing and eventually found a phrase that fit the mood. We basically experimented and wrote a song. And it was cool. Now - Gabe and Balage are off mixing the shit out of it and turning it into this cool trip hop masterpiece! I love this. It felt so freeing to just sing whatever came to mind. I felt like I could use a little of my jazz and gospel influence in there. I've been so focused lately on writing songs and telling stories and fitting into the niche I have carved out for myself in this musical world - that it was absolutely awesome to just play on the mic and experiment with a totally new genre - with musicians who understand and listen to music in a unique way. This is not a traditional rock, country, folk, acoustic - real instrument - sort of thing. It exists on another level. And I have to say as a sort of 'real instrument' snob, I loved it. I have a new respect for what electronic musicians do and I'm so excited to learn more and be a part of good music making in a brand new way!
So yes. Hell yes. The music we make will go out into the electro world. Which means re-mixes and djs and possible commercial placements and stuff like that. I don't really understand the process, but I'm excited to see what happens. So, look out for The Gramercy Project, ya'll!
And also, this has been another lesson to me in saying 'YES.' So far, I cannot site an experience in music where saying yes was a bad thing. Sharing my voice with people and experiencing music with as many folks as I can is proving to be a huge blessing in my life. I'm excited to see where it goes. And even if it doesn't go far, my soul has already been enriched and I've already learned so much.
COLLABORATION IS THE BOMB.