Words & Music

by monicadockery

Album Journey – Update #2

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Hellooooo!

It’s time for another album update:). As mentioned in my last post, I’ll be doing a series of mini-updates on the process and progress of my first EVER full length, self-produced album. Here we go:

Title?: Nope, still don’t have it. I keep going back and forth between two basic ideas. I think I have to wait on this just a bit more.

Number of Songs: Still 21 songs, although I believe I’ll be cutting one or two of those if I can’t figure out the best way to present them. I wouldn’t be happy putting them out the way they are right now.

Phase: I’m happy to say that I am on Phase 2 now:). I have finished the experimentation and temp tracks on the last 7 of the 21 songs in regards to instrumentation and arrangement and such. Phew! Now, I begin the process of doing the REAL semi-final recordings and tracking of instruments for each song.

Challenges: The biggest challenge I see right now is getting the recordings down tight and mixing. I’m NOT a professional producer…so really, this is trial and error for me. I want the tracks to sound the best they possibly can, but I’m limited in my ability. However, I made a vow to myself. The vow was that this project was to reflect exactly where I am in terms of my level of ability and my style evolutionary phase and that is in all aspects (singing ability, guitar playing/musicianship, recording, production, etc.). So, although I may be limiting the quality of production, I am only doing so by the limits of my actual current level of skill.

Other challenges? Finding the time and quiet to record. I am using my own makeshift home studio and I have a young son who is always wanting to go on adventures. How can I say no to that face? So when I’m trying to record a background vocal and he says, “Mom, can we go to the park?” I have ask myself what matters most. For me, it will always be him over my music. Always. So, I have to get creative and find times and spaces to record around life – as all artists do.

What’s Next?: Apart from finishing the tracking and recording, I am hoping to invite a few of my friends and fellow artists to do a few features on some of the songs and as part of the interludes and such. I have met sooooo many wonderfullly talented folks and many of them I am happy to call my friends now. So, I am planning on inviting a few of them to do mini-cameos and show their special talents (e.g. a few bars of a rap, some spoken word, etc.). I want to give them an opportunity to share their talents, so I’m looking forward to that VERY much! They always surprise and delight, I promise!

Overall Progress: If I had to give a percentage, I’d say we are at the 40% mark. Not where I want to be, but moving forward and that is key. I would like to do a few, nicely done, videos for some of the songs as well , but that is much much later into the project.

That is all for now. Keep checkin in with me and thank you for taking this journey with me! I would love love love your support in sharing and listening to the album when all is said and done, so please keep checking in on the progress:).

Btw, tomorrow is the 4th of July! Happy 4th to all of you who will be celebrating. I’ll be with family and friends at my most favorite place to be…….THE BEACH:) Hope you enjoy as well!

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Album Journey – Mini Update 1

Hellooo!

Photo on 5-14-13 at 10.43 PM

You may or may not have read my post on starting my first – completely self-produced – album a while back. I’m so very very excited! I will be doing a series of mini-updates on here for the rest of the journey. Here’s a quick run down on the status of the album as of 2:20 AM on June 19, 2013:):

Title ? — Nope, not yet….but, I have a list of several potentials that all play around the same idea

Genre: who knows??? I guess when the album comes out, any bloggers that review it will be able to tell me.

Number of Songs: Well, as of today….21 songs!!! (19, 2 bonus). I am currently struggling to decide on whether to keep or cut. I probably won’t decide until much much later in the game. So, currently, I’m working on them as though I’ll be using them all.

Recording Phase: Right now, I’m laying down temporary tracks so that I can experiment with tempos, instrumentation, vocal arrangements and so on.

Overall Progress: Much to do, but I’m on my way. I have the temp tracks and basic arrangement down for 14 of the 21 songs already:).

What’s Next?: I want to finish up getting the basic ideas/sounds down for the remaining 7 tracks. Then, begin doing the actual tracking of instruments and REAL vocal recordings.

Wish me luck! I’ll be back with another update in the near future. Have a great week!

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?

Free FreeStyle Vocals (once a week)!

Helloooo!  Last week I started a new “experiment”.  I decided that I wanted to start recording some freestyle vocals to donate to the Soundcloud music community.  My hope is that they will be able to use some or all of the tracks to add to their music or other sound projects.  The process basically is this:  Press “Record” on my Soundcloud app recorder on my phone and start singing whatever comes to mind.  Then, post/share it.  That’s it.  So, since there is not really any editing or filtering (apart from the occasional edit to cut out a part that got interrupted – by my son usually), it is very raw and a bit crazy.  But, I thought it would be fun and it is interesting to see what flows out of me when I’m just going with the flow.  So, here is a link to the set I’ve started.  Feel free to join in the fun and use these vocals and tweak them any way you wish to make a new creation.  Thanks!  Until next time:).

 

Multilingual, Multinational Collaboration Project! (17 languages so far!)

Hellooo!  This is a quick post.  I just wanted to briefly share about a project that I’m so happy and proud to be a part of.  A friend and fellow singer/songwriter named Ian Melvin wrote this beautiful song a while back called “If I know You”.  His original version was acoustic guitar.  Another singer did a cover with the piano and in Russian.  That sparked a worldwide collaboration!  Others were invited to cover the song in their own languages and post them on Soundcloud.  Now, there are 17 different versions from 17 different singers in 17 different parts of the world (and more translations are on their way!).  Here is a link where you can hear all of the ones posted so far:

 

Today, I added my version to the mix and that is in Spanish.  You can hear that version here:

 

I’m not an expert at translating, but I did try to keep to the original wording as much as possible.  Hope you take the time to listen to ALL the versions!  It is so beautiful to hear everyone singing the same song but in their own unique way:)

Have a wonderful Sunday all!

 

Which Story do YOU sell? (Spoken Word transcript)

This is one of my spoken word pieces……

Which story do you sell?

Are you the girl who is at all the parties, dressed to impress, with your hair and makeup all did – exuding fierce confidence? Then, when you go home, you cry because no one took your number?

Are you the guy who always talks about how much he loves his wife and kids, how “blessed” he is? Then, when your wife is gone you slide on down to 23rd and slip the 18 year-old on the corner a couple 20s?

Are you the woman who is proud of the sacrifices she had to make to become the first female CEO of that company? Then, late at night, at home – after a nice glass of your favorite red, you pull out that old pregnancy test that read “++” and let a tear fall for the one you sacrificed?

Are you the boy who grew up to be a man? But, really, you never became a man because you never had someone to show you how to?

Are you one of those people who just KNOWS that they have all the answers to life wrapped up in one book? Then, when the that-wasn’t-supposed-to-happen-to-me happens, you don’t have a clue what to do?

Are you that politician who touts about how he voted for marriage equality? Then, when he sees his neighbors Dan and Jonathan walking their beagle, Sadie, down the street, he makes sure to cross to the other side of the street so as not to actually have to have a conversation with those two “perverts”?

Are you that scientist who stands up in front of a crowd and says – with $100 certainty – that you know why that is the way it is? Then, when you come across a colleague’s research that proves how it wasn’t at all the way it was, you belittle and dismiss your colleague’s work, sticking – stubbornly- by the side of error and arrogance?

Are you the physician who takes a vow to keep people healthy? Then, you give them the pills that BIG PHARMA told you to give them – or else – knowing that instead of keeping people healthy, you are signing people’s execution warrant?

Are you a priest who has vowed to be the hands of God on this Earth? Then, when God isn’t looking, you take the opportunity to use those hands to all-at-once, inappropriately touch a young boy and – consequently, destroy, any chance of him ever coming close to touching faith again?

Are you the team that boldy brandishes it’s flashy trophies – showing off all of it’s overachievements? Then, when you find out the trophies are really only gold-PLATED and not REAL gold, you rush over to the guys sitting across the way to try and take THEIR trophies?

Are you the President who says he wants “Gitmo” closed because it gives America a bad name? Then, you go and sign off on near-daily drone attacks where innocent people get maimed or murdered on a regular basis?

Do you say brown, when you mean white?

Do you say dark, when it is light?

Do you say you love him/her, when you don’t?

Do you say you will, when you KNOW you won’t?

Do you sell a story, and pretend it is real?

Even if you did, would you tell me still?

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.

Poetic Remixes….. How Collaborating Makes You Dig Deeper

Hellooooo! Been M.I.A. for a bit.  I have been a little busy with family things, so I have not had the opportunity to sit down and share what has been going on.  At the beginning of the month, the Soundcloud Heroes group that I am a part of launched a new community collaboration project called the National Poetry Collaborations on Soundcloud this month.  We asked people to contribute one single line of their favorite poetry and offer it up to the rest of the SC community to be used to create a completely new remixed poem using various lines from different users.  In addition, musicians and producers could take those and add their own original compositions to the mix.  So far, we have had quite a few pieces contributed and they are waaay beyond what I had anticipated.

What I loooove so much about community collaborations is that it forces everyone involved to push past their own boundaries, try something new, and dig deeper.  Awesome!  Now, here are a few select poetry remixes (including my own) for you to check out.  It is not too late to join the project and submit some sounds of your own or to give your hand a try at a remix.  Here is the link with more details about how to join:  http://soundcloud.tumblr.com/post/46955630575/this-is-a-guest-post-by-soundcloud-hero-monica

Enjoy, share, and join!  (p/s – still putting my album together, trying to figure out how to add some new techniques and organic sounds into the mix at the moment)

Popicho’s remix:

Zefora’s remix:

My remix:

Free Tutorial on How to Grow a Heart

Hellooooo! Hope you had a happy Easter weekend.  Tonight, I just wanted to write.  So, I decided to write tutorial on….

How To Grow A Heart – In 10 Steps

images

1. Make sure to put it into plenty of difficult/ trying situations

2. Take it to see beautiful things.

3. Make sure to put it into plenty of difficult/ trying situations

4.  Get a hammer and break it into pieces.  NOTE: Wait for ? minutes for this to take effect.

5. Make sure to put it into plenty of difficult/ trying situations

6.  Let it out to walk around for some fresh air and exercise every day.

7. Feed it with “good karms” and keep it away from the “bad karms”.

8. Make sure to put it into plenty of difficult/ trying situations

9. Put it up against another heart and leave it there until it starts to feel the beat of the other.

And last but not least….

10. Make sure to put it into plenty of difficult/ trying situations

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