Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to entertain people. Playing piano and Fender Rhodes for school choirs was a fun deviation from group singing (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and it helped to validate that what I enjoyed was working for the music directors. They gave me feedback, but mostly let me do my thing. Pretty cool.
As a professional musician, I get questions from fans about what my first instrument was and about the gear I use, especially keyboards I play. I thought I’d take a moment to share about that.
I've played and owned a bunch of different keyboards over the years. I started with piano at age 5. My mom had this turn-of-the-century Ivers and Pond upright piano just off the kitchen at home.
“THEY did it.” “THEY convinced the California voting public to vote against equal marriage rights with Proposition 8.” It’s so easy to get into a blame game against the hateful right-wing preachers, conservative news anchors and the like, seeing them as the enemy and source of all evil. Isn’t it? I’ve certainly had the perspective. But isn’t that hatred also?
I look at non-mainstream news sites periodically, such as happynews.com. @HNheadlines ... I find it to be a nice break from the mostly negative stories that the typical media shares. I suppose in a way, maybe the negativity boosts their ratings, but it's unlikely to boost my spirit!
Anyhoo, I ran across an article about this all-volunteer rescue service in Israel called United Hatzalah. The founder, Eli Beer, recently spoke at the annual TEDMED conference in Washington.
Beers asks, "How can we save 40,000 lives in under three minutes?" He answered the question this way, "The average response time of a traditional ambulance is 12 to 15 minutes -- we reduce it to less than three minutes. Our response is the fastest in the world. We call our approach a lifesaving flash mob. On motorcycles, traffic doesn't stop us. Nothing does."
Such a fabulous idea, program and community, willing to care for one another to that degree.
Being a DIY musician involves more than just writing or performing. There's the side most people don't see, the business behind the scenes. It's a necessary element for independent artists to include in their daily routines if they want to keep it all going. I'm taking some time to repaint the big picture for myself, to dig deeper, improve the way I spend my time on biz tasks, and improve my systems & automating more of the behind-the-scenes tasks--all driven by goals for where I see myself going.
I often hear people looking at he business aspect of things as being un-fun, a bore, a necessary evil, and unromantic. I'm choosing to look at it differently, and instead, I'm putting my whole creative self into it.
For those of you cheering me on, THANK YOU! Know that these improvements will mean I'll have more time to write and produce awesome new music for you, and in a sustainable way. Over the next few months you will notice some changes on my website, newsletter, social networks and more. I'm committed to my music and I'm stepping it up.
How about you? Do you have goals set to enable you to live the life of your dreams?
Hey there! I just returned from a week of rest and relaxation in the mountains. I took time to soak in natural hot springs, meditate, get a massage, read, and eat better. I also took a break from the computer, cell phone, meat and alcohol, and went deep with veggies. The meat vacation continues. :-) When I had the idea to take the time off, I kind of felt guilty about it. All these excuses came to mind--especially "there's too much work to do, I can't afford to take the time." I'm so glad I fought off those excuses!
As I relaxed and let go, I started to notice things like the color of the leaves on the trees, reflections of light on the water, the gentleness of the deer passing through camp. I saw the past and the future dissolve away, leaving only the present moment. It was awesome!
I'm back in the mode of planning and songwriting again, and feelin' fresh!
I've settled for a bit at a friend's place and getting back into my groove. I have a minimal setup with keyboard and computer so I can keep the music flowing. Good progress made on a new single, which I'll say more about soon. This was the first move for my cat, Buddy, and it took him a few days to relax in a new environment. He's doing well now, which makes it all better for me too. It's been fun to explore neighborhood coffee joints, restaurants and bars and experience a more gritty part of San Francisco.
Have you ever looked at moving as a positive experience? What have you liked about moving to a new place?
What a busy week! I made a decision to downsize and move out of my home in the historic Castro area of San Francisco. It's all connected to the life changes I've made to enable my music career. My property goes on the market tomorrow (Friday, March 15) and I've temporarily moved into a friend's place until the sale closes.
Inventorying. Sorting. Sidewalk selling. Donating. Packing. Moving. That's been my life and full-time job for the last week. Amazing the amount of THINGS I had collected. I think the more space you have, the more you fill it up. Right? It was all pretty exhausting and at times stressful, but with fairly good planning, professional help, and help from good friends, everything got done on schedule. Yay!
Living in the Castro, the "gayborhood," for the last 7 years, has been a lot of fun. Now, it's time to let go of more as I embrace change and get ready for touring. As the lyric from my song Change Coming goes, "I'm ready to switch it up."
My big SF concert on March 2 was a blast. The band rocked, the backing vocalists kept it smooth and silky, and the audience was warm and appreciative. Tom Politzer knocked it out of the park with some blistering sax solos. Here's a photo taken by Seiji Iwata. Thanks to all who came out!
I just read in Raw Story that music sales rose 0.3 percent to $16.5 billion in 2012, the first rise in the industry since 1999.
That's good news, considering the enormous struggle the music industry has had with online piracy. It's also a boon to independents like myself, who rely on music sales to make a living.
Now, I don't like to get all preachy about buying music legally, but I will say that when you buy your music legally, you are making a difference for the better. You are enabling an artist to continue making their art. And it feels good!
For those of you who buy my music legally, thank you!
This isn't really a musical post. But, it's something that's been on my mind that I've been wanting to share.
Here's the deal- Every time I consume a bag of Hershey's Reese's Pieces before I go to bed, I have the most strangest and vivid dreams. It's always some big, exciting (and non-sexual) adventure. Most of the time, the dream is not a scary one, though once this was not true.
Now, don't get the idea that I'm a junk food junky. It's actually pretty rare that I'll go for candy. Perhaps once every few weeks.
I SO wish I had written down what the dreams were about. I think I'll start keeping a notepad near my bed so I can do a better job of documentation. More to come on the subject.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I still can't believe I had the chance to work with vocalist Jeanie Tracy in the studio doing backing vocals on some of the tracks on my album Change Coming...