So far, this year has been a whirlwind of emotions. I will save the social commentary and political discussion for a later post and keep this one fairly light. As promised, I released my full video cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” on YouTube, yesterday. (below)
Planning this UK tour has been exciting but overwhelming. The nature of this industry leaves much room for flaky people and shady circumstances, so you have to sift your way through it to find the magic. By the grace of God, I have found an amazing keys player to accompany me on the stage for the show on the 28th in Chelmsford. I’ve booked Airbnb’s up until the last two days of the trip, so I will be taking tons of pictures to share in different areas surrounding London. I can’t wait to share some Texas soul and meet some new faces.
I have two sponsors that I will be teaming up with for the tour: Pinup Girl Clothing, who will be dressing me for my performances, and Adventure Journals via Beth Paramore’s Etsy shop, who have provided me with the physical journal I will be tracking my entire journey in! (Links below)
I have recently teamed up with a company here in the L.A. area to make sure we recap the performances for my friends and family here in the states. I was approached to provide freelance consulting to their company and have since been asked to come on the team and offer my services to indie artists through their platform. I am excited to build with them and proud of the work they have done. The Underground PR is a company started by indie artists, for indie artists. So many artists have everything in place except one or two missing pieces to their personal musical journey. Their goal, and mine in helping, is to help provide those missing links for other artists chasing dreams.
Our relationship blossomed out of genuine friendship and the realization that we each possessed a fraction of knowledge the other didn’t to make it work. The founder, Justina Johnson of LATO Music, became an instant friend when we crossed paths. Like minded creatives have a way of finding each other. I was volunteering at a Sofar Sounds show and she was performing. She jumped right in and helped me move equipment and lay down rugs when the other volunteer wasn’t actually so “volunteery” that evening. We started sharing our stories with each other about why we came to L.A., the bands we missed back home, and our goals for the future here. The common theme we found was both wanting to find a sense of community here.
Most of the time, to have something good, you have to build it rather than wait for it to happen.
So as the universe would have it, Justina got fired from her job, her sister quit, and I’m just working random side jobs to survive. It was and is the best possible scenario for building something from the ground up. We have found we have the same work ethic, which pretty much means from the time our eyes open until we can’t keep them open any longer. When someone is determined and has nothing to lose, the sky is the limit. Hell, when you know what you want, another planet is the limit…or no limit is the limit.
I’ve also been blessed this past month to be asked to join a writing team for a producer I respect and hope to learn a great deal from. I put in close to twenty hours in two days at his studio as a part of a writing camp. The first song came very easily to me and my collaborator, melodically, lyrically, all them shits. We wrote a bangin dancehall track that I’m excited to have been a part of. Then came the inspirational ballad assignment. And you’d think the chance to powerhouse a ballad would be straight up my ally…but you would be wrong.
I have a niche area where my magic fully exists in: dark, angry songs for dark, angry people. Even my versions of happy were dark. Which is great for me as an artist because I know who I am, also great for any artist that needs a break up song or something to do with struggle written for them. It is why I love blues, I truly feel that shit. Its where my writing naturally goes. I also equally love jazz, and my vocals have an undeniable inclination to travel there. But in 48 hours I was told to:
“Stop putting the jazzy decorations into my vocals because it isn’t commercial or what people want.”
“Completely scratch that entire song you just wrote and start over…lyrics, vocal, everything.”
Old me would have been pissed. Old me would have reacted. Old me would have ran my mouth, walked out of there, and destroyed any opportunity I had been blessed with. But it is amazing how much better life gets with age and maturity. Our reactions are everything. So when I was told that I needed to start over on the song I had just spent four and a half hours writing and working out vocally how I wanted it, at midnight, I did. And coming up with a new melody when one has been embedded in your brain for hours can be difficult. So about 2:30am I hit a wall. I was tired, I hadn’t had a meal since breakfast, and I recognized that I needed to call it. I was honest and shared that I needed to go home, get some sleep, and come back the next day with a new song ready to track out. And I did. I am beyond proud of the finished product because we have a beautiful, completed song. There are even still recognizable traces of my angry- struggle- truth in there. Lol.
While I was sitting in the next room waiting to track said song while another artist tracked theirs, I asked for something else to write to, as to not waste valuable time and creative flow. While sitting and waiting, this pop song just pours out of me. Trust me, I was as surprised as you because pop is not me. The thing is, I’ve learned to go with it. Shifting hats between who I am as an artist, and who I am as a songwriter are a fine balance. Ultimately, it is what’s best for the song. At the end of the day, do you have something that feels authentic but relatable to the masses? There is no room for ego in a collaborative setting. Someone will always have something to add and I am grateful to learn from them. I’m working on only standing firm on the parts of the song or idea that I know are detrimental to making or breaking it. The theme for this year will continue to be growth. I am not in competition. I like to chill and make cool shit. I’ve heard it more times than I can count, “The only person I am in competition with is the person I was yesterday.”
I can’t wait to see where and who I will be tomorrow.