Sunday, November 28, 2010

Music gone missing

Last night, musing about approaches I could take with a new song, I sang an old one in my head. I wanted to make sure the new one didn't resemble the old one too closely.

All was well until I hit the end of the verse. I couldn't think the melody right. It sounded like part of the new song in my head, as if its melody had hijacked the old one. Repeated attempts yielded the same results.

Only later, when I'd not only stopped trying to remember but honestly forgot I'd forgotten, did the real melody float back to me.

* * *

This afternoon I read a short poem by Jannie Funster about finding her lucky hat. I found this amusing because, a few years ago, I wrote a whole song that was inspired by the real-life experience of losing a favorite hat and then finding it again. Apparently I'm not the only person who feels the deep emotional impact of such an event.

At any rate, I found I couldn't remember the words past the first line. No problem. All of my lyrics are stored and backed up. But then, after recovering the lyrics, I realized I couldn't recall the middle part of the instrumental break. That's a bigger problem. I never recorded the song or wrote the piano part down.

I won't panic. As happened last night, music tends to find its way back to you as long as you don't force it. Still, there's a lesson here. With 63 songs and counting, I really need to start recording all of our stuff.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Siren song

One nice thing about visiting the parental homestead is that I've had a little more time to practice. They own a Steinway grand, inherited from my grandparents, and that serves my purposes very nicely.

Just one thing makes practicing feel awkward: the vocal warmups.

It's hard to explain without a sound sample, which I don't have and would prefer not to provide. What you're supposed to do is sing the vowel "E." You start as low as you can and go up—not singing a scale, but hitting every pitch there is in between the usual notes. You go as high as you can without tripping over your register break (the pitch between your chest voice and head voice), then go back down the same way. It sounds kind of like an ambulance siren going by.


This is an excellent warmup. This is also not something I want other people, like, say, my parents, to hear.

So far I've been doing them just after my morning shower. The hair dryer drowns me out. I hope.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Junk unmolested so far

Greetings from Highland Park, Illinois. I spent most of yesterday on a plane and am happy to report that nobody tried to see me nekkid or grope me. Tucson International isn't on the TSA's list of airports to get the scanners. Midway Airport in Chicago doesn't have them yet.

In celebration, I leave you with this (hat tip @New Research Findings Two):

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hi ...

I'm sorry. I suck. Life has been sort of chaotic lately and it's interfered with my ability to update this little blog. The problem isn't that I haven't had time to write. The problem is that the non-music elements of my existence have been crowding out the music parts, leaving me little to write about.

At times like these I envy those artists who have dedicated themselves to their art full-time. How much easier would it be if I didn't have the distraction of an unrelated day job? Why haven't I taken that plunge?

Oh yeah. I like to eat.

Seriously, in this economy I can't complain that I've got a paying job. I certainly can't complain that I have a paying job I like.

But I am going to make it my goal to do something worth writing about. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No sibling rivalry for sister stations

Lately I've been hearing an odd promo for the local top-40 station. Nothing special, just someone saying that if you want to listen to today's new music, you should try 93.7 KRQ.

The odd part is that the promo appears on 92.9 "The Mountain."

Tonight I finally looked it up. Turns out they're sister stations, both owned by Clear Channel. So they're not actually competitors.

Still. Weird. Even deep into this age of deregulation and consolidation, you'd think Clear Channel would at least pretend they're not on the verge of becoming a total monopoly.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Notice me, dammit

Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel, has a new song out. Well, newish. New to me because I'm oblivious to pop culture. (Hat tip @Robyn S.)

My first reaction: Awww, cute. Not really my favorite genre of music, but she does a good job selling it.

My second reaction: Geez, I wish my dad were a famous musician guy so I could get instant exposure for my music. Must be nice.

Then I stumbled on Alexa Ray Joel's blog and read this:
I’ve decided to NEVER google myself again- EVER!! Those bloggers are just way too hostile and cruel on there- OUCH!!!! I can’t help but wonder: “why do they feel so much hatred towards me?”, “why do they want to believe I’m just some trust-fund baby with no voice or talent of my own?”, “why do they feel the need to call me ‘homely’” and constantly compare me to my mother’s looks, when I have a completely different look and vibe than her?. I hope one day they realize that I do NOT use my parent’s connections AT ALL, and that I got the ‘Prell-Gig’ completely on my own, and I’m making this record on my own terms without “Daddy’s Help”. And that I am a real and genuine girl who wouldn’t want to hurt a fly, I just want to spread kindness, authenticity, and good music…. hey, and I have feelings too!!
I have no problem believing that ARJ didn't ask either of her famous parents to make calls and open doors for her. On the other hand, having the name Alexa Ray Joel probably helped her get noticed. She might not have risen to the top of a pile containing thousands of submissions if she'd used the name Edith Hinkleman.

That's not a criticism, mind you. It doesn't mean she's less deserving than others trying to make it in her genre. She's obviously got talent. She's just not necessarily more deserving than others with talent. And as someone in a band that's fighting for recognition—any recognition—it's hard not to feel a little envious.

Which leads to an interesting question. Would you rather languish in obscurity with little hope of breaking out? Or would you rather everybody assume that you only achieved fame because you have famous parents?