I’m listening to some recorded acappella “skeletons” of my songs through my headphones right now and honestly… they ain’t sounding too bad.
Today, I decided to record an extremely rough version of a song I wrote recently. The quality of the sound is shitty, but, for the very first time… I didn’t cringe upon hearing my vocals—yes, vocals, not just keys—played back to me.
My day always starts best when I confide in the piano directly after waking up. It’s almost as if I’m given the temporary ability to capture the essence of my dreams before I forget them.
I cannot always articulate the content and perspectives of my mind into intelligent written word; so, instead, I attempt to convey these things through melodies, harmonies, and rhythms. My greatest hope is that when the time is right, the collective response will be that of social change… movement.
About two months ago, I had the privilege of laying down some keys for a brilliantly talented producer and friend of mine, who will be releasing his solo album very soon. Earlier today, he sent me a demo of the track we did together.
I cannot stop listening to it.
As always, I’m my biggest critic, but I’m actually quite proud of this collaboration. Simply put, it just sounds… raw. No doubt, the end result of his entire project will be nothing short of incredible. As for me, personally: this is definitely a much-needed kick/push in the right direction.
Speeding headfirst into a frenzied binge of songwriting. I don’t expect to come out of this musically-consumed hibernation for a few days.
Personally, the focus on my music has never been so much about musicianship and composition as it’s been on conveying a message and communicating with the listener. The goal has always been to move my audience: to instill in them the emotions, thoughts, and convictions I experienced as I was piecing the song to life. Sometimes, it’s the only way I feel I can speak; sometimes, it’s my only choice.
As some of you know, I’ve pretty much dedicated myself full-time to the Occupy LA movement. I first arrived at City Hall on October 15th, left for three days, came back, stayed for 14 days, left for a week, came back again, and was there 16 days, up until today. I will be returning after this Thanksgiving weekend. Confusing, I know. My life has been an utter and complete blur (an amazing blur, I might add), with time holding no relevance whatsoever.
Anyhow, as much as I’d like to get into all the little details of my full experience, including all the interesting things that are currently formulating there, I’m exhausted, sick, and my mental energy is about 80% depleted. I would like to make a few points, however:
- The single greatest moment of my time spent occupying, was being present for the Bank of America Protest. Being surrounded by 200 or more police in full riot gear was exhilarating, frightening, and surreal, all at the same time. The amount of peace demonstrated by all the protesters was invigorating. Everyone was so calm and unified. For the first time in my life, I actually felt proud to be American.
- Since I’ve been in the middle of it all, I haven’t got a chance to really review the outside media coverage of everything, so I’m not sure what everyone’s opinion is about the way Occupy LA handles things. Well, here’s mine: the only bone I have to pick with the movement, is the amount of bad seeds among the rest of us that keep fucking it up for everyone. The overall tension in the atmosphere is downright unbearable sometimes, and it’s caused by the same people, every time—idiots, who aren’t there for the right reasons to begin with, getting in fights over the most ridiculous things. Some people just don’t realize how foolish they make the movement as a whole look to the public with their words and actions. If we don’t stand together, we will surely fall apart. Unity is key.
- According to both inside and outside sources (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/24/us-protest-westcoast-idUSTRE7AM2XD20111124), the city is planning to give us a 72-hour notice of eviction this upcoming Monday. We all know what this means; there could very well be a potential raid and riot sometime next week. I’ve already devised a plan with a few friends of mine to ensure that we, as well as our personal items, are kept safe. That being said, I know in my heart that I will stand in solidarity with the rest of my Occupy LA family, in the event of a raid. In other words, I’m willing to go down with the ship. I will stand my ground, just as those at other Occupy locations have done in recent weeks. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not afraid of what could happen. I am… but the presence of fear inside of me is how I know I’m doing the right thing.
- On a light, and somewhat unrelated note: a little over a month ago, I met a fantastic boy. He has both accompanied me in my activism-related journeys, and managed to aid in keeping me safe. We are polar opposites in most aspects of our lives, but its only allowed me to learn new things and think about various topics from perspectives I wasn’t accustomed to using, prior to meeting him. Though we have many differences, the energy between us is surprisingly very complimentary. As with my attitude towards everything in my life… we shall see.
- In conclusion, for anyone following my musical career: yes, it is still in tact, and exciting and important connections/developments have been made recently. I don’t want to reveal too much just yet, but I’m extremely optimistic about this upcoming year! I’m taking great leaps, and while at moments, what that means for the future scares the shit out of me, I’m fully allowing my heart to lead me this time. The time has finally come to expose and showcase my talent. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, so much to experience—and I’m ready. Discipline and passion will be my driving factors throughout this new journey.
And there you have it. Here’s my big update—one I’m positive next to no one will read. C’est la vie. I’m happy to be home with my family and friends. I missed everyone so much. Oh, and I missed you too, Tumblr… I really, really did.
A shitload of repressed lyrics poured out of me last night, and I intend to match them with some chords and melodies.
Fuck ya later, Tumblr.
There’s three types of itches I get several times a year:
- The itch to travel.
- The itch to do something huge—to contribute to the world in some shape or form.
- The itch to finally release my music. This is interchangeable with the itch to change my hairstyle.
Well, I’m currently experiencing a combination of all three itches at the moment, with itch #2 being the strongest ingredient of the batch.
I’m a restless, fickle, free-spirited creature. I loathe staying in one place for too long: literally, but mostly metaphorically. I thrive on change, almost more so than social interaction or intimacy. My wanderlust inspires this intense need to travel, but my leaking bank account is being quite the big cock block, so that’s going to have to wait. The driven artist in me craves to let my material be heard, but I know it’s not time yet; when the quality is as close to perfection as I can get it to be, it’ll happen (soon, guys—I promise). But with all the craziness brewing around in the world right now, the rebel-minded, activist in me absolutely has to be a part of it… and now.
I’ve been so dissatisfied with life lately—not as a whole, but in certain areas of it. It’s not my lack of a booming love life, good job, or car, for that matter. It’s the fact that I don’t feel like I’m truly contributing to anything. The humanitarian in me is so passionate about current events, but more importantly, people. It disappoints me how superficial I’ve let my life become. I’m educated and aware, but what am I really doing to help? What am I really doing to change anything?
I think if I can make #3 and #2 happen together, #1 can come eventually, if that makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s time to really get down to business with my music. No more fucking around, wasting time. I composed the most beautiful piece with a good friend of mine the other night, something I’m confident could be included as a score for a film. I need to do more of that, and most importantly, I need to figure out a way to professionally record what I have finished already.
I’ve always firmly believed that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’ve got the will…. I just need to work on the way. Productivity is probably the scratch to all these itches.
- I’M THE MASTER OF WRITTEN WORD!
fifteen minutes later
- BURN EVERYTHING I AM A HORRIBLE BARNACLE ON THE BOAT OF ART
- GOD I’M SO BRILLIANT.
fifteen minutes later
- BRILLIANT AT DESTROYING EVERYTHING THAT THE WRITTEN WORD HAS COME TO MEAN.
This applies to songwriters as well. Me, every time. I’ve trashed so many lyrics that were probably future hit songs.
I think for the first time in my musical “career”, my biggest strength is songwriting. I’ve always excelled in musicianship, dedicating a lot of time to the technical properties of music. However, I’ve been writing some quality material lately, and it’s only going to get better from here.
Why can’t I just quit everything and play the piano for the rest of my life? Nothing would make me more happy.
It’s time to let my music see the light of day. I’ve been saying this forever, but I think I’m finally ready to release it. A wise acquaintance whom I met under the circumstances of one of my wild excursions once told me, “Do with your life what you excelled at as a child.” The answer has never been more obvious to me.
First step: Believe I can do it. Second step: Finish writing my old songs, piece together fragments of new ones.
Third step: Start recording.
Fourth step: Release material.
Fifth step: Start PERFORMING.
Sixth step: Change lives.
Those first two steps were the hardest. Almost there.