Motown at The Bitter End

So many artists came together to rock Motown songs Thursday night at The Bitter End! The Leave a Lasting Mark event raised over $1900 for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and was sponsored by Noble Steed Music and Funkadelic Studios.

The ladies of the night really made this event special for me. With so many beautiful and talented female musicians there was definitely some strong girl power in the air! Performing covers of Motown’s girl groups, like the Marvelettes and the Supremes, you gotta bring the GP!

Here are some shots from the practice the night before the show. I want to introduce you to some of these lovely ladies and their music!

 

From left to right

Amy Rivard Singer/Songwriter, she has performed on Broadway and in over 30 countries with shows like Celtic Woman, Riverdance and The Roy Orbison Story.

– Ebonee Reigne New York based singer and model with a voice that dazzled everyone at the show!

– Jenn Summers Singer-songwriter with the indie record label Noble Steed Music, she brings a feel good beach vibe with her upbeat songs and has a cd release show coming up 6/18 at Rockwood Music Hall.

Jenni Alpert Pop songstress with haunting, powerful, and sultry voice. She has independently performed in over 14 countries and her music has been featured on many major Network Television shows.

– Kate Steinberg She is a composer, performer, songwriter, session singer, music supervisor, vocal and piano instructor, musical theater enthusiast, and multi-instrumentalist based out of New York.

– and who is that last weirdo all the way on the right?? hehe 🙂

 

 

Now above we have Jonatha Brooke here on the right. She has been writing songs, making records and touring since her early days in Boston with her band The Story on Elektra Records. She currently has three musicals in development: Quadroon, with legendary jazz pianist Joe Sample; Hopper, and Death and Venice, both with playwright Anton Dudley.

And on the left is Michele Zayla, an amazing vocalist who has performed with Pink Floyd cover band The Machine. Her vocals will mesmerize you, whatever ‘it’ is, she’s got it!

I didn’t get photos of them, but Wendy LaManque is another talented vocalist who nailed her Supremes cover. And Annie Halo rocked the bass! She is also a sound engineer based in New York.

(PS: to all the guys, you rocked too!)

Now how could I not have an awesome night in the presence of all this talent?! I’m looking forward to the upcoming Leave a Lasting Mark events. There will be a Motown encore in Central Park on July 10th and back to The Bitter End on August 11th!

Oh and last but not least, there is video of each song on Leave a Lasting Mark you tube channel!

Here we (the rungs) are with our ‘Please Mr Postman’ cover!

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Lyrics: Play a character

With Halloween just around the corner, it is a fun time to think about characters!

Sometimes lyrics can reflect our deepest most personal thoughts and experiences. While I love to draw from my own memories to construct a song, it is equally rewarding, and sometimes even more fun, to put myself in the mind of someone else! Whether a dear friend, an acquaintance, a certain stereotype, or a made up character, playing a role can make for a great song!

Actors go to great lengths to get into a character. Tom Cruise apparently dressed up as a Fed Ex delivery man to sneak through a crowd without getting noticed, just as an assassin would, in preparation for his role villain role in Collateral.  Actors might completely change their lifestyles and take on new hobbies for a short period of time while preparing for a difficult role.

For songwriting though, I say sitting quietly and thinking about the character you want to represent is more than enough. Perhaps with a glass of alcohol or some nice warm tea. Decide what and who your story is about.

Who: Depending on if they are strong or frail or troubled or content, etc, completely changes the perception of the experience. Think of someone, anyone, and channel the little nuances that make them so unique. Do they have a short temper? Unreasonable expectations? Unyielding patience?

What: Sit quietly and try to imagine something that you might not have exactly experienced before; a place, certain gains or losses, heartbreaks, historical events like the great depression or the infamous potato famine, a struggle with sexuality, a good day, a bad day, whatever you want to dive into.

Explore yourself! Then let the music and lyrics evolve 🙂

Right now I am imagining being on a beautiful island in Thailand, the song is very sunny!

koh samet

Making Time for Music

Hello Blog! I am sorry to have left you unattended for so long!

Since my last post, we’ve recorded two songs that we’ve been slowly but surely taking our time on.  I didn’t expect us to take this much time, but I’m afraid I’ve spread myself so thin over too many other projects. Most of these are extra assignments at work, home improvements, a few family gatherings, and then those little ongoing obligatory chores.

And now, here I am. Almost an entire month later, with a couple of incomplete songs and a neglected blog! Which brings me to the point of this post.

I often meet musicians and artists who struggle to make time for their craft. (guilty here!) Months can turn into years that go by as creative endeavors sit on the side, waiting for attention. As the ideas keep collecting in our heads, our desire to see them develop into  visible or audible form grows. It grows!

I’ve found that making time for music and art is easy if you define to yourself what it is that you really want to achieve. I must remember to ask myself, ‘Okay, what projects do you want to see through?!?!’

Then, before signing up for everything from here to the moon, and saying yes to every invitation and favor that is asked, I must remember to ask myself ‘Do you really have time for this? What does your creative idea, the one that is burning a hole in your brain and crying for attention, have to say about this?!?!’

Here is what my little idea guy has been like for the past month:

finally“Seriously? What about me? I’m not asking for much here. You’ve gotta at least give me something.”

“Ten minutes a day? You can’t spare at least ten minutes a day? C’mon.”

“If you had to feed and walk me, like a real pet, I’d be dead dude. Lets get going on this.”

Soooooo, It’s time to give that patient little guy ( or girl 🙂 ) some love!

Writing Lryics: Accept the ideas that hit you!

Since diving into music making I’ve also become a bigger music fan. This could be indicated by the correlation between the decrease of netflix movies and increase of musician/producer interviews watched on my computer. (trying to keep my math skills fresh here!)

I enjoy watching interviews of my favorite artists explaining their creative processes behind songs and albums and I wanted to write a ‘Top 5 List’ type of blog entry to summarize the key writing methods I’ve observed or practiced.

The thing is, my list of 5 kind of ended up at something around 20! Can you really sum up such a dynamic and creative process in only 5 key points? I concluded that each lyric writing technique deserved to be its own entry 🙂 So here is the first tip:

Accept the ideas that hit you!

My husband will sometimes jump out of bed when we’re falling asleep, grab his guitar and the i-touch I got him for Christmas, and fumble around the room in the dark exclaiming “I’ve gotta record this idea before I forget it!” I used to laugh at him when this happened, but now that I’m working on music, I find myself doing the same thing…

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, explores this phenomenon in her 2009 TED talk, ‘Your Elusive Creative Genius.’ Is it some kind of genius that strikes us with noteworthy ideas when we are least expecting them? Well not exactly genius the way we define it today, but more like an ancient version of the word. Gilbert explains how the ancient Romans identified a genius as a divine spirit that mysteriously provided artists with rich content and inspiration. Instead of the artist embodying the genius, something that Gilbert believes puts unnecessary pressure on artists today, the Romans envisioned a separation of the artist and the mysterious creative spirit.

For anyone interested in watching Gilbert’s talk, here is a link:

Now I had watched this talk for the first time about a year ago, and one thing I took from it was to be prepared.  Be prepared for your ideas to hit you at anytime! Be it pen and paper, or cool trendy smart phone, grab them and record them when they strike! Capture them before they vanish back into the mysterious world they came from, whether its a genius spirit or the intricacies of your subconscious 🙂