Words & Music

by monicadockery

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

The Choice…

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There are many choices music-makers must make.  Which guitar to buy, which software, which gigs to take and which ones to drop, and so on and so forth.  There is another choice music-makers must make that you may or may not be familiar with.  It is this:  do I make music for me OR for them?  In other words, where should my loyalties lie — to my own heart or to the tastes of others.  It may seem an easy pick for some, but given a closer look…it may not be as black and white as you think.  Let me explain.

If someone chooses the former – their own heart – and they make music without ANY regard for the listener, what could be the result?  Well, for certain, they would be making music that they truly love and that comes from a pure place.  They would be happy, right?  But…what if the music that they truly love is great to them and a core group of fans, but does not crossover to the masses?  As it is for most people who are creators (generally), that person’s joy would be tempered by the fact that they weren’t able to share their creations with as many people as possible.  Music is a message, something one wants to say, if no one hears the message…well.  In addition to not having a means with which to disseminate your soul’s message to the world, you may also not have the means to pay your bills (or have much clout as far as status goes).  An unfortunate downside of capitalism is, if you don’t have an audience, you don’t have money.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all got paid just because we created something?  But c’est la vie, that is not the world we live in.

Which brings me to the other side of the – coin; choosing to make music for others.  For the very reasons listed above, many many many have chosen to compromise or – forsake altogether – their true, deep, heart songs for a much more accessible version.  The story lines get vague, universal, and – at times – shallow… enough for everyone to be able to stand in the water.  This translates to more listeners and more financial and status-related rewards.  May even get you the I-Ching of music awards – a Grammy.  However, with what you gain in funds and social rank, you may lose in conscience.  You know you are making music that has been toned down or has been gently painted over by someone else.  You wish you were free to just “do your thing” and not care what any other person has to say about it.  But, if you did that, that would bring you right back to where we first started.  Vicious cycle.  Complex choice.

Told ya – not so easy.  I bet you can think of people you know who have made either choice and I bet that if you sat down with them and had a conversation, this stuff would eventually show up. Now some may say there are plenty of people who did not have to make the choice between the two.  That they were able to make PURE music AND have widespread acceptance and success.  One may bring up Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Bjork.  True, these clearly made music that was true to themselves and they had HUGE audiences and financial gain.  Well….kinda.  They did have producers who added a little of this and took a little of that out, right?  Is that not a compromise of sorts (though minimal).  Furthermore, these cases are rare and specific to timing and favorable conditions.

So….hmmm.  What do we do?  What choice do we make if in either choice we are bound to betray ourselves?  Can we look down on people like _______ (fill in the blank) or others who’ve gone to great lengths to make music that appeals to the masses but may not be 100% true to who they really are?  It is a tough choice, even more so for those who come from “da streets” and are just trying to survive and get out or from a broken home and are just trying to find people that love you.  You may be wondering what I chose.  Well….I have made absolutely 0 dollars off of any song I ever made.  Let’s leave it at that;).  How about you?  Agree/Disagree?  What choice did you make?

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A Poet and a Princess….

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Helloooooo!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful week thus far!  I can’t complain, sun has been shining, music flowing, and I got to celebrate both my birthday and the birthday of my HERO, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I will never be able to fully explain my deep admiration for Dr. King. Since I was a little girl, I remember being so moved by his words.  As the years have passed, his words and his belief in nonviolence and the power of love over hate have become central parts of my being.  They permeate the life I live and also the music I make.  So, as I contemplated on how to best honor him here on this blog, I came across a poem written by a friend of mine (and a fellow Soundcloud Hero from Rockford, IL).  His name is Christopher D. Sims aka UniverSouLove.

He shared the poem below with me and I loved it so much, I thought I’d share it with you.  Here it is:

In the 21st century, Martin’s Dream

seems so far flung. So not far from

former Slave’s who were murdered,

hung.

In the 21st century, Martin’s Dream

Finds Brown vs. Board of Education

A failure to nations of young people

who see that progress is

achievable.

In the 21st century, Martin’s Dream

discovers archaic drug laws, the

criminal justice system’s flaws,

politcian’s locked in the jaws of

the corporation.

Martin’s Dream in the 21st century

sees so, so, so much poverty. His

Poor People’s Campaign is much

needed, as American company’s

are the greediest. We are failing,

denying, the neediest.

In the 21st Century, Martin’s Dream

is not a reality. Mathematically, African-

Americans make up only 13% of America.

However, for some reason, we are

still licking our wounds from opposition,

failure.

Where will be in another 50 years?

If King’s Dream were alive today

It would be shedding tears.

Copyright Christopher D. Sims

January 21st, 2012

Dedicated to the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chris is a kindred spirit and I appreciated his words so much as they do raise questions and touch on the fact that the “Dream” may be lost.  Before Dr. King was murdered, one of his main focuses was poverty.  It only takes one short walk around the block in any city in America to see that there is much more work that needs to be done in regards to the problem of poverty.  How is it that so much time has passed, yet so little has been accomplished in this area?  I agree with Chris, I believe Dr. King would be “shedding tears”.

Coming across Chris’ poem, it made me think of one that I wrote about a year ago.  I thought it would be a good parallel to his.  It is called the “American Dream”:

There is no rest for the weary
day turns into night
night turns into day

we are zombies, us all
walking through the streets with our breath sagging, our knuckles raw
from pounding against the steel of your vault
dark circles like swirls of smoke around our eyes
you’ve got us looking like raccoons
in a world run by buffoons
no prospects
no respect
so do we reject
the dream you’ve been selling?

dream
I wish I could
my eyes try and try
but my mind knows
if I rest I die
cause that’s the way you made the game
and so I spend each day the same
watching my blacks turn grays
until I forge a new path out of the haze

and when I do
I will see what you didn’t want me to see
that I don’t need you… NO!…
you are the one who needs me
so there it is–now it is clear
why you spin the way you do,
why you got our hands stuck like glue
to the metal of the machine
but I wash my hands clean of the dream you are selling

instead I will blaze my own trail
one where you have not set me up to fail
and I will be the first
if I don’t lose my thirst
if I don’t let my eyes win
if I don’t let the doubt in
if I don’t hear you say
I cannot go that way
if I keep my mind clear
Then will MY dream be here
and, then, I will laugh at the sleep i lost
and how much of my life it cost
trying so hard to break into you
because I never even needed to

So, I know that I have been sharing more Music than Words on here for the most part, so I thought I’d switch things up a bit this time.  Hope something in either poem spoke to you and caused you to think, reflect.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit.  Until next time!

Settle Your Mind….vlog

Hellooooo! So, I decided that since I did not do ONE SINGLE vlog last year even though I had it as one of my goals to do vlogs, I’d make up for it to myself and do one.  Here is a new song I’ve been working with.  It’s a rough cut, still very much a work in progress, but wanted your thoughts.  Here it is:

Also, I wrote a Feature Friday blog post on Man on the Moon, Arvid Lizell a while back.  I looooove his sound.  Something so pure about it.  And speaking of “pure”, he has a younger brother who has formed a new group called “PURE” and they are a wonderfully talented group.  Check out this videos from them.  The first one is a collaboration with Arvid. Young, fun, pure.  Enjoy and show them some love by leaving a comment or following at https://soundcloud.com/arvid-lizell or https://soundcloud.com/musicbypure.

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