Words & Music

by monicadockery

Archive for the category “Musings”

Wine on White

Hellloooooo!

Unknown

So, I released my album, SoulMade on October 15th.  After giving birth, I went through a mini-bout of postpartum depression.  You know, you pour your heart and soul into something, you nurture and care for it as it develops.  Then, you bring it into this world where you know no one will love and care for it like you did when it was in your womb.  It is no longer “safe” but open to criticism, to indifference, to abuse.  Then, there’s also the fact that you don’t feel it moving inside you anymore….an emptiness, separation.  But, after a few days (maybe weeks), you snap out of it and realize just what a feat and what a joy it was to bring this thing to life.  And, you begin to celebrate each accomplishment, each baby step taken, and the bonding takes place.  Soon, you realize you enjoy it so much that you want to have another.  That is where I am now…

I’m working on another :)….only it will be a short, (couple of songs) EP.  One of the songs I wrote recently is called “Wine on White” and has a jazzy vibe to it.  I don’t plan on rushing things this time as I will be continuing to promote SoulMade and do live gigs.  Speaking of which, I have my very FIRST EVER gig in LA this month.  November 19th @ TheWitZend.  I’m excited and looking forward to sharing the stage with about 6 other acts that night.  Should be a fun time.  If you’re in the area, you’re invited!!!  Here’s a link to the venue that has all the details.  Wish me luck!  Peace to you all 🙂

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Album Update #3 – 3 Reasons Why Recording Sucks….until

Photo on 8-7-13 at 9.31 AM #3

Hellooo!  A picture of me getting ready to do a full day of recording….I had just woken up (one perk of recording from home…you can do it in your pjs….or well…you know)

Time for a little update on the progress of my FIRST EVER, self-produced album :).  Ok, so I have officially gone into the phase that involves full-day recording sessions and the thing that I realized is…..recording sucks.  I have recorded before, many times – for other people’s projects and for singles of my own and that has always gone pretty well.  But, recording vocals, background vocals, guitar, AND percussion instruments for 21 songs (19, 2 bonus) is INSANE!!!!  I clearly had NO IDEA what I was getting into when I first started this project.  Holy crap.  So, here’s the top 3 gripes I have about recording:

1)  You can’t just wing it.  If you knew me, you would know how much I despise planning.  However, with recording, I have found you HAVE TO plan.  Sure, you can improvise and such while you experiment with the styling and embellishments here and there….but, you have to plot out your moments and nail them while keeping tempo, proper pitch, maintaining the ability to emote, making sure you’re not too far or too close to the mic, delivering the lyric flawlessly, and so on and so forth (phew!).  Easier said than done indeed.

2)  It is UNNATURAL.  In “real life”, when you sing or play the guitar, we don’t stand in an isolation tank with padded walls with headphones on our head.  Usually, you have somebody to look at and interact with while your singing or  it is you, sitting at the beach, with the wind in your face, strumming your guitar.  Not so in “the booth” (mine is a makeshift one that doubles as my closet).  So, yeah, feels weird.  But, eventually, you do get used to it and sometimes to the point where  it gets weird to sing in front of people again :).

3.) It stands between me and my FINISHED album!!!!  Yes, this one is the one.  This is the main reason why recording sucks.  It is the necessary evil.  You cannot have an album to share with folks unless you do it.  And, damn, don’t we love our immediate gratification?!  To have conceived a project, to have poured out your soul in the writing of lyrics, to have found the melody that you were looking for on your guitar, etc., but have to WAIT to share it until all the recording mumbo jumbo is done?!  That sucks.  I don’t like to wait.

BUT….this I know….

It will certainly be worth the wait.  When it is all packaged up and sent out and I can finally share it with you lovely peeps, I will have made my peace with recording and will have a huge smile on my face :).  Can’t WAIT to share these soul songs with you!  Let me end with a quick rundown on the stats for the overall recording progress.

  • All guitar tracking for the 21 songs is finished and most of the additional instrumentation/percussion is complete!! (well, I hope)
  • 5 songs are completely finished  and I love them!
  • Cover art has been chosen……to be revealed soon :0 …dun dun dun
  • Title?  TBD  (it’s between two finalists)
  • I have one of my special friends/guest artists that will be joining me –  Ben Z –  (there will be others as well), who just sent me his contribution to one of the songs on the album and I am so happy with it!!  It is the perfect finishing touch.  But – honestly, he never disappoints….don’t take my word for it, though, you can check out his talents here at his page
  • Date of Release?  To be announced soon (depending on a few things)

Ok, that is all for now.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for checking in with me as I continue on this new journey!

DaVinci was a “G”…

Hellooo!

eur-vitruvian_man

Wow, just spent the day at a DaVinci exhibit nearby.  Amaziiiiiiiing.  I have learned and read about DaVinci before but when you see all the models of the stuff he thought up in front of you, it is ridiculous.  They found 6, 000 plus pages of his notebooks FULL of creations, and those were just the ones that were found.  What is more remarkable than the number of ideas is the quality of them.  Every one came out of a desire to find a solution to a problem.  A contribution of something meaningful, that could add to the quality of life for ordinary folks and that could change the way the world works at large.  Pretty astonishing.  And…inspiring.  I think about how long he lived – 67 years – not long.  That means he used every minute of it usefully.  What might we accomplish if we all were to devote our energies to creating solutions to problems?  Could you imagine how the world would be different?  How much further along we would be?  For providing inspiration not only for myself but for millions throughout history since his time, I pronounce DaVinci a true “G”.  I leave you with two quotes from the man himself:

“While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die”

“He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.”

Inspire? Create? Solve?  Let’s.

How Much Should We Charge for our Art? …and 10 quotes about Art

Helloooo!  I thought I’d start this post off with that lil’ gem:).  As I continue to sort out the process of putting together my album, the meaning and value of art has continuously been creeping into my mind.  As such, I decided to look up what others have said about art in the past.  Here are 10 of the ones that I came across that I liked the best:

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
Albert Einstein

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Thomas Merton

Every artist was first an amateur. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.
George Bernard Shaw

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
Henry Ward Beecher

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.
Pablo Picasso

An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it.
Paul Valery

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
Walt Whitman

Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line.
Joseph Conrad
Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it.

Duke Ellington

Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before.
Gloria Steinem

Controversy is part of the nature of art and creativity.
Yoko Ono
I don’t need the money, dear. I work for art.
Maria Callas

That last quote by Maria Callas brought to mind a question.  Should we charge for art?  Does asking someone to give you some arbitrary amount of money for your heart and soul’s expression make sense?  Is there another transaction that can be made between creator and consumer that would be more meaningful?  These are the questions on my mind as I continue down this road of creating a “thing” that I’d like others to see, touch, hear, connect to.  To me, my creations are the story that results from my soul’s interpretation of the points where it connects with the world and the people in it.  What price do you charge for something like that? $9.99?

Today it Happened….

RainDrops_22

Today it happened.  Today I saw his face and it made me smile.  Today, I put a perfectly ripe strawberry to my lips and let them feel each tiny bump before taking a bite with full commitment.  Today, I went for a run even though it was cloudy and the forecast said it would rain, because I wanted to meet it when it arrived.  As I ran, the rain seemed to wash away the world around me, leaving me only with the sound of my feet upon the wet pavement and the pounding of a racing heart within my chest.  Today it happened.  Today I woke up ready to be here.  Happy to be here.  And now, I’m going to bed wishing that today would stay today because tomorrow I won’t be here.  Tomorrow I won’t see his face.  Tomorrow I will have no recollection of what a strawberry even is let alone what it feels like.  Tomorrow the rain will still fall down on me, only I will not feel it’s touch.  Tomorrow there will be no sound, no pound.  But, that’s tomorrow — not Today.

Peace comes at a Price

Mulling…mulling….then, more mulling.  That little thought in your head.  What could I have done differently?  It swims around inside your mind, making waves that crash loudly and overpower all the other things floating around loosely in there.  It will not stop.  No.  It will not stop until…..you pay the price.  What is the price?  It is different for everyone and for every situation.  For some, it is a simple “I’m sorry”.  For some, it is public shame.  For others, it is emotional or physical pain or a myriad of other things.  Whatever it is….there is a price to pay for peace to come, for the waves to settle.

So pay the price, and when you do, commit it to memory.  Remember what it cost you in order to make the tempestuous upheaval ravaging the corners of your mind cease.  Then…and only then….will the price you paid be worth it.  For, then, it will not have only bought you peace, but also…..wisdom.

Some more Vlog entries……A BIG thank you to you!

Hellooo! So, these are two recent vlogs.  They are basically what I put in my last written blog, but as a fellow blogger said, “some people prefer to hear it straight from you.”  Thus….

 

A BIIIIIG thank you to the 20,000+ followers on Soundcloud and Facebook!

 

An announcement….

3 Vlogs for the price of one:)….cold, rain, coffee, chai, love, and music….

hair

Helloooooo!  So, a few days ago, I woke up and was bored because it was hella cold outside and I didn’t want to get out of bed!  Instead, I decided to make some freestyle, impromptu vlog entries.  I wanted to experiment with stream of consciousness and just start saying whatever came to mind.  I recorded three and here they are.  WARNING: What you are about to see may be disturbing…..mainly because of my “I literally just woke up” hair and face:P!!!….and in case you may be wondering, no, I was not high when I made these he he.

Me, bitching….

Forgive her for she knows not what she says….

Yo…check out my freestyle….word.

The Choice…

Photo on 1-12-13 at 12.49 AM

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?

In my past life……

Hellooooooo!  So, the other night while I was in an “altered state of mind”, I had a moment.  In that moment, I had a very clear, distinct sense of a connection to another life, another time.  (I promise I’m not crazy:)!).  I have always felt, even when I was a little kid growing up, that I was “old”.  Like I was supposed to be 50 instead of 5.  I couldn’t really understand that feeling then and I can’t really explain it now.  It was/is just a feeling.  And, the other night….I had a flash of another life.  I saw me as a jazz singer from the 30s and 40s.  Ha ha!  I hope I haven’t lost you yet:).  But, seriously, I caught a glimpse of me being in another time, singing my little heart out on a stage.  This would be fitting as I have always loved jazz…it has always connected to somewhere deep down in my soul, and also, I have always had an enormous amount of admiration for Ella Fitzgerald….hands down, my all-time favorite singer EVER.  So, it could be that I just happened to have a day-dream and it was about things I am connected to or it could be something else.  Whatever the case, it was an interesting moment and it led to something even more interesting.

Ella-Fitzgerald

What happened after this little “flash” was  I started to sing and sing, just off the top of my head.  All kinds of lyrics just flowing out and all in this very 30s/40s vibe….very stream of consciousness type-stuff happening.  In the end, I had three complete new songs written in about 12 minutes.  I know this because I decided to turn on my voice recorder and record myself until I stopped and 12.34 minutes later, I did.  I didn’t even know what I was saying or if it sounded “right”, I just kept going until I didn’t anymore.  Then, the next day, I went back over the recording and found not only did I write 3 new songs that I love, but they were in a voice I have never heard come out of me.  It sounded like me, but it was much more relaxed, free, and smooth.  I was….and am still….trippin’ over this.  I hesitated to even share this, but it was just so bananas, I had to.  Anyway, all that to say….looks like I’ve got some new songs that are going to be coming here soon.  In addition to those, there is a new one I just did with this amaaaaaaaazing beat-designer/producer named Jaze Baqti from France (here’s a link to his music).  It is all about love and hope for the future, AND…..it’s JAZZ-inspired:)!  Hope it speaks to you….and hope I didn’t scare you away with my little story:).  Keep a lookout for those time travel-inspired songs too:)!

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