Dance More!

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/ICv95LWc3mM

I took the time to re-edit and remix this project and this is the latest version.

Though I was born in Ashland, Kentucky, I grew up in South Florida where music and dancing is a large part of the culture, salsa dancing in particular and finding a club whose live band has a horn section is a common thing.  Hence my love of horns, Latin rhythms and dancing.

As a songwriter I address a variety of topics, but sometimes I like to keep it light, fun and simple.  Life is beautiful so dance more!

 

Civil Twilight

This is my first go at producing for another songwriter.  I met Carey Seward at the Fox and Goose in Sacramento.  Carey’s from Alaska and I was immediately struck with the quality of her songwriting and the uniqueness of her material.  She was only here for a short while so we chose to record two songs, Civil Twilight and So You’ve Been Told.

Civil Twilight was a term I’d never heard before.  It’s “is the brightest phase of twilight, when the sun is less than 6° below the horizon.”  It’s legal to drive without your headlights on in civil twilight.

Lyrics:

Winter sure was long and dark I felt the freeze in every part
fire burned down to the weakest little ember.
You can see right through me caving in and I wonder
what happened to all my friends
I’ve been down that hole since last November.

But I can hear the river ice a breaking
smash me up and carry me away
Icy water naked freezing shaking
with empty hands and debts I just can’t pay

Well the sun has turned it up to civil twilight
the dark ain’t gone, just waiting in the hall
so let summer burn it off, no I really don’t want to talk.
we can leave the lights off til the fall.

Verse2
Biking to the riverside the sun so bright nowhere to hide
we both are plump and pale and scared of other
supposed to have something to say but my mind is blank I’m not okay
I need meat and fire and beer and all my brothers.

For the orchestration I wanted to create a simple warm sound which I obtained with two alternating cello lines, one plucked and lower and the other a more legato line on top.  I wanted crisp clean cymbal sounds, a water dropping type of effect and a simple vocal harmony to reflect the awakening of spring and the fragility and tenderness of this piece.  I kept the bass sweet and simple as well.

Producing for another artist was a wonderful experience and gives me some options for what to do with myself further down the road.

Thanks Carey!
1914582_1223866201212_4881193_n

Carey on Soundcloud

Carey on Bandcamp

Carey on Itunes

Free

This is my latest song baby. She was born the first weekend in May and came back from Mastering a week ago. She is definitely one of my more inspired pieces. What does that mean? It means that everything came quickly and easily from the words to the sounds to the recording. I played around awhile with the mix using different vocal effects and ended up happy with a clean version, just a touch of reverb.

The lyrics of this song haunt me. I got up Saturday morning and watched the Bruce Jenner/Diane Sawyer interview and the idea that we all just want to be “free” really stuck with me. I think the darker imagery stems from realizing that Bruce had been struggling with this issue for so many years. For me “Free” represents the deep unabating desire we have to reach self actualization and fulfillment. That’s really the American Dream is it not?

Blurred Lines in the Music Business (Mimicry and Risk Aversion)

Embed from Getty Images

Marvin Gaye’s family won the lawsuit to the tune of 7.5 million dollars.  So now Thicke and Williams have to pony up the loot. I’m a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and producer who strives for originality.  Now nothing in songwriting is purely original.  Most of us stick to the Western scale system and use I, IV, V as the root of our music.   Different formula’s for different styles but the fundamental platform in which we write a song has been an established paradigm for years.  So then what’s the problem? The business wants Mimicry! Repetition and for you to make it sound familiar!  One need only look to Glam Metal to see the obvious….lol.

IuAmz 

Making music is a huge business where ridiculous profits are possible (not probable for most).  Promoting the new and unique is akin to risk taking and like any big business, they’re risk averse.  They want to continue to reap profits from a proven method.  It’s understandable.  Fear of losing one’s paycheck is enough to incentivize them to want to err on the side of caution, so everything soon starts to sound the same.  Follow the rules, sound like someone popular, get to the hook fast, have production that sounds like the pro-sounds that the major houses put out.  One of the best examples of this is the Nashville sound, which has pretty much ruined country music.  The commercially produced music coming out of Nashville is sounding like pre-packaged meals, looks great on the outside, but inside it’s bland.  As long as the standard operating paradigm for the music business continues to be “do what has been done before,” we’ll continue to see judgements such as this.

We love songwriting for the framework, it’s like you’re given free range to roam within a certain set of rules and boundaries.  But there’s nothing new in the universe, so being creative is a challenge.  As a voice student, I was taught to never try to sound like anyone else, but to discover and cultivate my own sound.  The same approach applies to my songwriting craft.  I sonically isolate myself from popular music or even any music at all when I’m creating and let the words drive the melody.  Even with all safeguards, it’s still possible to end up with something that may sound a bit like something else.

To intentionally create music that sounds like something else flies in the face of true artistry, but we can’t help but wonder if the jury had really been peers of Thicke and Williams (meaning a jury of fellow songwriters) would the outcome have been the same?  I can easily distinguish the cowbell rhythm differences, and other major differences, but could the jury?

I use a submission service to place my music and I’d like to give you a little taste of my last rejection from Warner as it demonstrates this paradigm: “Hi Kally, First I want to say you are a true artist/writer.  I admire when an artist is not afraid to do something new.  The problem is, we work with straight middle America pop and RnB.  I wouldn’t know where to begin to place your project so for that reason, I have to pass.  If in the future I receive an opportunity that fits your style of music I’ll reach out to you.”  I’ll take the rejection over watering down my artistic integrity any day.

I’d be willing to bet that many artists get worn down over time and eventually bend to what the business wants, which is guaranteed profits.  It would be all to easy to sacrifice that integrity for the idea of “success” which is something every composer/producer must face.

Embed from Getty Images