As I was born by the Baltic Sea, (and this is way before I found out that I am a Cancerian), I had always been intrigued by her beauty. As if she’s a rose made of sequins one minute and then a shape-shifting platform of liquid frequencies the next…
I have often found that maturity is among the greatest of virtues, for it is the juvenile who often sit and wonder why they are disliked.
I told this to a friend in late 2016. He later told me it changed his outlook on life quite a bit. Beforehand, he had been involved in some… less than savory activities, trying his hardest to hold onto his own childishness, as though it would somehow protect him from the real world. He told me that he thought about what I said, and thought enough to realize that he wanted to change.
I try my hardest to live by that. However, this has not been the only obstacle I’ve been faced with in my short life.
As a singer-songwriter for me, each song is a mini-adventure in self-expression. Typically spanning just a few days from inception to release into the world. That is the reality of it, so my approach is to honor that, and especially resist the temptation to contrive into something artificially grand, or to morph into some sort of a product aimed at securing commercial return.
Recently, I was playing a show at a wonderful spot in Nashville, TN called Douglas Corner. It was a Wednesday night, and just before I was about to go on stage, a buddy texted me saying, “What are you doing Friday night? Do you want to go to the Ryman with me?” If you aren’t familiar with the Ryman, it’s a beautiful venue located in downtown Nashville, just off Broadway. It’s called The Mother Church of Country Music, many legends have played there & continue to play there, and the Grand Ole Opry was born out of that room. It’s truly legendary. Needless to say, if someone asks you to go to the Ryman with them, you say yes, regardless of who’s playing. So of course, I immediately responded to his text with “Hell ya! Of course, I want to go to the Ryman! Who’s playing?”
With the passing of legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin and the 60th birthday of Madonna occurring within days of each other this week I started to think about the enduring legacy of certain women in the music biz and how they got to where they are today. I also started to think about the mentors that have helped me on my journey. Here are seven female performers who have influenced my work and the stage of life I was in when they found me and first sang their song to me.
If you’re an artist like me you probably struggle with feelings of doubt, irrelevance and despair on a regular basis. I often go through spells of “what am I doing?”, “why haven’t I made it yet?” to: “I’m not good enough,” “no one cares about what I’m making so why bother?” etc etc. The voices of doom are assholes and I’m gradually learning how to deal with them and not let them sabotage the good thing I’ve got going. In fact I’ve come up with a few tips as to how to stay cool when these voices start their onslaught.
If there is one thing as a musician and composer that I hate, it’s being asked the question, “So what kinds of music do you like/listen to?” Not only is it an unfair and biased leading question. But when folks like myself answer, “Oh, I like everything,” usually that is met with a smile and nod combo or total silence. Nobody seems to know how to react to the fact that … dear lord … he probably likes classical and jazz too. And yes, this is a very true fact. I’ll even throw in new age for the hell of it! Here, I’m going to talk about another aspect of these different listening habits, though. More in the vein of how many genres and artists have and continue to influence me up to this very stage in my composing career.
Will a football hooligan ruin your day on the River Cam? It’s unlikely today.
At secondary school in Cambridge, I was friends with an extremely strong boy. Let’s call him Alan.
Once, all the boys in our year were involved in a rough version of rugby. You had to get the ball from one side of the playground to the other and could use any means necessary to get the ball off your opponent. Most of us didn’t want to hold onto the ball too long for obvious reasons. But Alan went the whole length of the playground, jaw clenched, taking a torrent of kicks and punches like a badge of honor. He was a warrior who did not register physical pain. For that episode, we all got lined up and told off by the headmaster.