Who’s that on the front page of reverbnation.com??? WOW! It’s me!!! You can help me to thank reverbnation by downloading my new tune The Sound of a Breaking Heart…for free! Just have a listen and then click the download button on the widget below. There’s plenty of other great content on my reverbnation page and lots of free downloads so have a look. And if you’re an artist who hasn’t yet signed up, I’m now giving you a virtual spanking! Thwack! Thanks peeps. x
Hi there all! This’ll be a long one as I’ve got a lot to say. 😀 Hopefully you’re itchin’ fer an update so you won’t be snoozing by the end. If not, treat each part like a chapter…bookmark my RSS feed and come back every day!
House Concerts and the Like
I know that I’ve been a bad person and haven’t been blogging of late. Truthfully, I find it hard to be on the web much when I’m on the road. I just don’t have the constitution for it, and am likely to be more concerned with when/where I might find something I can eat. (I’m endlessly concerned about food when we’re touring) I have tried to keep you all updated via facebook and twitter…and if you’re following Steve, then none of this matters because you’ll have known our every move for sure as he lives his entire life on the web….well, almost.
So having a tour that was almost exclusively house concerts this year was a blast. There’s nothing like getting to play to groups of under 40 each night, the connection you can achieve with your audience is astounding. There’s a real conversational banter that opens up between you and your audience and it makes me realise how much I always hated playing club dates…and why I was always happier playing places like the Yellow Door and Ginglik. Aside from that, getting to stay somewhere cool each night, rather than some overpriced rat trap with someone else’s hair on the sheets was amazing. Aside from that, people letting me use their kitchens….personal tours of new cities….and just an all round feeling of welcoming into new/old groups of friends was stunning.
Thanks to everyone! Here’s some great pics from the shows!
There are way more photos to post and lots more here if you’re interested. Continue reading “January Post Tour Update (House Concerts, NAMM, Fecking Airlines, and the Continuing Sonicbids Saga)”
Hi lovelies. So everyone knows that I’m crazy about looping. I think it’s the most fun one can have outside of hog rasslin’ and whittlin’. So I thought I’d post a couple of the latest vids in case you haven’t seen them. Why? Because I like sharing. Why else? Cause I’m in desperate need of your approval. But seriously, we’re gearing up to do a nice little tutorial video on looping and using the Looperlative, which is the most amazing looper in the universe. Designed and built by one of the coolest and nicest people in the known universe as well. Do you know what that means? It means that looping has never been nicer, or more amazing.
So enjoy the videos and as always, speaking for frogs and rutabagas everywhere, I’m Lobelia. Good day.
This is a new song called The Sound of a Breaking Heart. I started the looping out on mute….which is a dangerous thing..cause not only you can’t hear what it’s going to sound like…I can’t either!!! Also, a nice example of what happens when you get an extra beat in the loop live. You just go with it and point upwards. 😉
This is a song called In, which I wrote for bass and voice when I was 19. I’d never done it live as it needed to have tonnes of harmonies and what not to work on stage. And only a short 249 years later Voila! Modern technology!
[I started this a couple of weeks ago…and since then Steve has written a couple of blogs with his take on the same issues….Is he stealing from me?? I don’t know. But after watching Hedwig last night I think I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on him. ;)]
The musicians life is a hard one. Not only because most people regard creative fields as a hobby rather than a real life job, but also because of our willingness to do everything speculatively in hope that something will eventually come of it. Steve told me once that “we’re our own worst enemies because we love what we do” and that is so true. Now I can hear someone out there now saying…”stop complaining….you may not get paid much but at least you love your job!” Yes, and the age-old saying that you can’t live on love alone certainly applies here.
For many of us, there is no school that can teach what we do. Our work is a mixture of years of real world study, fleeting emotions, tragedy, and hope. Every note we write a piece of history saved from the ashes of charred memories. Every song a blanket woven from future hopes and past disappointments. Yet we are seen as children, refusing to grow up and get a career.
This is never so apparent as when you are managing your own career. You’re expected to have a middle-man of sorts in order to be taken seriously. If you don’t have a label, a manager, a publicist, and a booking agent…then you are obviously an amateur. I get so frustrated constantly explaining to people that I have no desire to be famous. I want to write, I want to perform, I want to connect. I also want to be paid fairly to do these things…but I don’t need a private plane and millions to be happy. I’m happy with train fare and a few thousand extra in the bank.
So as a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with 20+ years of experience, why is it that people still expect me to do my job for free? I’m not talking about recorded music here, I’m talking about playing shows and festivals that are patronised by thousands of people.
While I don’t think that anyone has a right to a living just because they are a talented musician…I also don’t think that people have the right to deprive me of a living just because we’ve created a culture that feels that we shouldn’t have to pay for music. The inequity that exists in the world of music is part of the problem here; the whole rock-star dream. Much like the American dream….it’ll just cause you to live aspirationally rather than practically and that can be a dangerous pitfall.
The problem comes when I voice this to others. Unless this person is a seasoned musician…these words will cause me to lose credibility. How can I say that I have no desire for fame and fortune? Isn’t that the reason that one becomes a musician in the first place? To avoid studying medicine, or the law? To avoid being part of the establishment?
Deciding to be a musician is not a quest of avoidance…but a labour of love. There are quite a few assumptions that we need to get over…
1. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone knew who you were?
No, this would suck. How would you ever live a normal life? Imagine having video chat open ALL THE TIME. Think you have lots of people in your life now who like to tell you how to live? Imagine having hundreds of thousands of those, even millions. Nice.
2. It’d be cool to be treated like a rock star all the time.
Again, your record label is happy to spend YOUR MONEY treating you like a rock star and other people will be willing to do the same because they think fame is some magical dust that will rub off on them. Once you’re out of money and hit songs it’s back to being NORMAL. Additionally, being treated like a star doesn’t make you a better musician…as a matter of fact I’d imagine it has the opposite effect.
3. Doing a huge tour across the world is fun.
No, it’s really not. Ask anyone who has done it. Grass roots tours with people you like are much more fun because you’re hanging with friends and leaving more time for exploration and doing it on your own terms. You don’t need to answer to anyone and your schedule is your own.
I don’t have answers for all the problems that exist in our lives as musicians. I do know that I’m beyond happy that I am able to do what I love for a living…but, until we change our thinking about what it means to be a musician I can’t see our lives getting any easier. But I suppose as Al Bernstein once said…“Easy doesn’t do it.”
How important is self esteem to your audience? I’ve been pondering this question quite a lot since last Tuesday…when a couple of producers who were interested in perhaps featuring me and my music in a TV series that they’re shooting in different cities around the world came to the show. I was very nervous of course, and to add a little more pressure I had planned a mostly looping set including a total a Capella improv piece. Due to nervousness, I did what I normally do…which is to make self-deprecating jokes.
At the end of the show, it seems that both producers really liked the music, but one in particular didn’t like my stage presence at all. The self-deprecation was annoying to him and he felt that it just wasn’t what he needed for the show. (this is what I gathered after chatting with the other producer/filmmaker that stayed) To be fair, there is a difference in how I perform to a room full of mates (which this show certainly was, and how I perform on a large stage to hundreds (or thousands) of people whom I don’t know.
There’s certainly a lesson to be learned here. Music is the one thing in my life that I am confident about. So why do I feel the need to apologise for myself on stage if I make a mistake? Am I spending precious time internally focused when I should be spending time connecting with my audience? I do know one thing for sure; when I open up and talk about myself and explain what my songs mean to me, I sell a lot more CDs and people stay to chat after the show. If I can’t show the audience that I believe that I’m worth the six squids they just spent to see me, or the time they took to travel to the venue…do you think they’re going to think I am worth it?
The audience has no idea how long I’ve been writing songs, or busting my ass to make a living in this business and probably most of them don’t really care. They came out to be entertained…to a PERFORMANCE, and me being apologetic about dropping a D chord on the 2nd verse of Morgantown and Montreal isn’t nearly as interesting to them as me telling the story of what the song is about. About the last night I spent with my friend before he was in a horrible car accident, and the guilt associated with moving on with your life and having to leave people you love behind. How life moves on after you do and people who were once your whole world get hurt….people are born, people die, and you can’t stop any of it. A lot more interesting eh?
The truth is, I’m always going to be a little awkward on stage; I’m awkward in person. I’ve spent enough time in my life trying to force myself into roles that don’t fit…trying to be things I’m not. I’m not going to change everything I do based on the opinion of someone I don’t know who has seen me perform one time. But I can learn from the experience and keep in it mind in the future. The whole reason I perform is to share little snippets of my life. I’ve created little snow globes out of experiences and I shake ’em all up once in a while for you to see. The next time I do this, I’ll try and tell you more stories about the snow, I promise.