Words & Music

by monicadockery

Archive for the tag “lyrics”

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?

Into the Deep…….

Hellooooooo!  I have been very focused on getting the Day4Women album and event organized, but I am still trying to find time for making music!  So, this week, instead of doing a real…polished…recording, I decided to go Lo-fi and record a rough sketch for a song I’ve been working on.  I’ve had it written for a while, but have been trying to figure out arrangement/music.  I wrote this one day when I was sitting at my favorite beach – Crystal Cove – and I was starring at the waves coming over the shore.  I thought, “wow, I wonder what stories the ocean must have hidden inside of it…so much history in there.”  And, this week’s song is the result of that moment at the beach.  Here is  the rough cut of “Into the Deep”, hope you enjoy it!

Here are the lyrics:

What are the secrets buried in your deep?
stories of men great and small, you, a blanket over all
covering the fools of old
who lived and died searching for gold
they lived and died for gold
so crash over the shore
and pull it into your….deep

Even if we dig the treasures you keep
we are too deaf and much too blind to see
the lessons still won’t stay stuck
to our collective memory
so crash over the shore
pull it into your
crash over the shore
and pull it into your..

Into the deep – wash away
into the deep – wash away
into the deep – wash away
into the deep, into the deep

One day when it is time
I will be yours and you will be mine
and I will take my place in your deep
inside the history that in you sleeps
I’ll be the history that in you sleeps

New Song and Feature Friday: Rick O’Shea

Hellooooo! So, I woke up this morning with a smile on my face….want to know why? Well, this morning I saw that one of the hip-hop collaborations that I had been working on was finished and up on “the cloud” (my little nickname for SoundCloud). This song is one that I posted before as part of a contest entry. It was only an excerpt of a full song. Ever since I posted it I had thought about turning it into a full song. This week’s Featured Artist, Rick O’Shea, then came along and had the same idea (more on him in just a minute). So, he put his verse down on it and extended the song and…..magic. I really love it and I hope you’ll take some time to give it a listen. Here are the links:

There it is:). I’m very excited because we have a few more songs we’re doing together, each with their own personality.

So, let me tell you a little about Rick O’Shea. He is currently living in Ireland, but spent some of his life on the rough streets in New York. From what I know, he’s been through some tough times in his life, but he’s come out of them like a true fighter. You can hear the touches of his past in his verses…his lyrics. But, you also get the message that he’s not going to quit….he’s on a mission. As far as his flow and tone, he has a very unique sound. His Irish background adds a little extra flavor to it all.

Rick has a pretty steady following on SoundCloud, so it is clear that what he’s talking about in his songs resonates with many people. There are some songs about dancing in the club and girls, feel good tracks. But then there is the more serious side to his music. There is a track on there that he did with other SoundClouders by the names of Hype, Dash the Baptist called “Yesterday”. It is a dark song about him growing up, his father, being a disappointment and him trying to cope. He dealt with thoughts of suicide due to the turmoil he was feeling. But that was “yesterday” and he made it, he’s still here….and I’m glad he is.

One thing I really respect about Rick is that he does a lot of freestyles (check out his track called “Family Affair” for a good example). If you don’t know what that is, that is when someone doesn’t write down anything before going and recording over a track. Whatever they can come up with at the time, off the top of the dome….that is what gets put down. This is verrrrrrrry difficult to do. You have to be on your game, quick-witted, and focused. You also have to be real. You cannot fake it when you are freestylin’. If it isn’t really in you, a real part of who you are, then it’s not going to just flow out of you like that. So, when rappers freestyle, that is when you really get to see who they are….the real them.

Another thing that I appreciate about Rick is his consideration of the people he’s working with on a collaboration. He really made sure to check in with me and get my input. There was some concern he had over his lyrics being too hard. He knows my music and it is all very light and flowery and so he was concerned about cussing (which is something he does from time to time in his songs). I told him that he had to just be him. He shouldn’t really have to change who he is naturally for my sake. No, I don’t use curse words in my songs, but that’s because it isn’t me. I’ve lived a nice, comfy, spoiled life. So, no, you’re not going to hear much of that from me. But, he’s lived a different life in a completely different part of the world, so why would I or anyone else expect him to tell his story in the same way that I would. His language, his content will be dramatically different. And you know what…..I love that. I love that two very different people from two very different lives and two very different parts of the world, can come together through music. We can put our stories side-by-side and the contrast brings both stories to life.

Thanks Rick…for sharing your life, your talents with me. Looking forward to sharing our other collaborations soon!

Check Rick out at www.soundcloud.com/rick-oshea-1

Feature Friday: Man on the Moon (Arvid Lizell)

This is Arvid from Sweden. I do not know him……but I do know he is a beautiful soul. How do I know this you ask? Well, if you listen to 30 seconds of his music, you will hear it hidden in there. From the very beginning of listening to his “Falling through the Sky”, you get this happy, light and lifted feeling. The bouncy beat starts off with sounds that give you a feeling of being a child on the playground, maybe swinging on a swing and feeling the wind on your face. There are touches of Cold Play and Owl City in the music and in his voice, but still there is something very much his own in there. My favorite part of the song starts at about the 2.40 mark where he begins “I’m shaking, my head is aching….it’s all breaking, all the mistakes I’m making, will you catch me as I’m falling through the sky.” Such a smart and effortless flow to it, lovely.


Then, there’s “Drive On”. I could imagine myself just getting into a car, driving very slowly, at a snail’s pace. He sings, “you think you’re alone, but that’s where you are wrong” and then I can feel a little push in the song, starting to move now. Then he continues, “street lights, all blur together from the teardrops in your eyes”. I picture someone driving late at night trying to run away from something. Finally, the gear shifts into third at about 2.18 and he’s saying “drive on….travel on for what your worth.” Now, the person isn’t driving away but driving towards something….a better life maybe. What I love about this song (and all his songs, really), is his use of space. He leaves nice, quiet pockets in there where people can just feel what they are feeling and process. I like that. That is actually something I could do more of in my songs….using space wisely and not trying to fill up every bit of it.

The last songs on there are “Death is not the End” and “Little Darling” (which is the one in the video above). These, I think, express two things that have touched me personally. I have had a lot of death around me in the last two years and, at times, when death is so close it does feel like you are “scatter[ing] out your dreams like broken glass”. And then, you think, there has to be something. There just has to be. I can’t just lose this person….they can’t just be gone, they have to be continuing on in some way. Also with death, you think of life and how precious it is – how important it is to see the big picture and be thankful. So on days when I’m complaining about the small stuff and I’ve “miss[ed] the bus”, I try to remember that I’ve “never seen the dark side of the world” and that whatever small thing I’m dealing with…..it ain’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. There are people suffering, fearing for their lives every time they walk outside their door…people who don’t even have a door. So, yeah, it really isn’t all that bad even though it may feel like it is.

Thank you, Arvid. In a world of messages about “ho’s” (sp?) and “shaking your ass”, it is good to come across substance. Something you can chew on and feel good about consuming. Wish you the best…may your music feed the masses. The end.

***Please show your love, support, check out this guy’s music, follow him, comment…..check him out at www.soundcloud.com/arvidlizell

Whispers in my Dreams

Hellooo! It’s been a bit longer than I wanted it to be since my last post. Today is the 4th of July, so let me first wish all my fellow Americans a Happy 4th to you all. I spent the day with my son at Disneyland and then came home to watch the fireworks around the city from our loft. We’re high enough up that we could see them all going at the same time, which was pretty great. Hope you all spent the holiday well too…what did you do?

As for this week’s song, it’s actually coming a little late. I finished working on it with a guy from Manchester in the UK, who goes by the title “The Subversive” (see his page at http://soundcloud.com/the-subversive) last week. He considers himself to be more of a producer than a singer and has just gotten back into music after a several years of being away from it–something we have in common. He had sent me a link to the YouTube video that he put together for the song. He used it as a sort of soundtrack to the movie “Lovely Bones”. He liked the visual images from that movie and felt the track went well with them. I have never actually seen the movie itself, but was able to get a good enough idea of what it might have been about from watching the scenes he chose for his video. So, I used the idea I had from the scenes and the mood of the track to write the lyrics.

I usually try to see what the person who made the track had in mind when they made it when doing collaborations for two reasons. 1) It was their track, so I think a writer should respect the original intent of the person who created it. 2) It is good to get another’s perspective. They might see something or hear something in the track that you don’t or they might help give you a place to start…a jumping off point, if you will.

Apart from this week’s songs, I’m working on a few more at the moment (I guess that’s a given by now right?:)). Two collaborations and both are hip hop/ rap songs where I’m doing a “hook” (short chorus) and the “breakdown” (where the song kind of climaxes). It may seem out of character for those who don’t know me, but for those who do, they know I looooove hip hop. It has changed a lot, been watered down in places, but there are still some real poets out there! So, be on the lookout for those. Ok, enough ….here’s this week’s song. It is called “Whispers in my Dreams” (the title was The Subversive’s title for his video on YouTube and I thought it fit, so we kept it).
Here’s the link…

Here’s the lyrics:
First we crash, then we fly
Live, then die
When it’s time, then it’s time
Some may say a prayer, hold on tight
Others make a point to live their life
Smile, and sigh
Because we only have a little while
So make your dreams into something real
Something you can feel

Sing, dance
Make it good, here’s your chance
Time will pass
If you can, make it last
Let your heart be free, open up
Don’t let fear keep you from love
Give it all
And don’t think about how you might fall
Cause our time on Earth is over soon
It’s over much too soon

Laugh, cry, smile, sigh
Love, fly, live your life

THESE DREAMS – new song, collaboration w/Beatz275

Helloooooo!  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  I just wanted to do a quick post on the new song I just finished with a guy from the UK who goes by the name of Beatz 275.  He was absolutely great to work with.  We had a lot of issues to work out, a lot of going back and forth, mostly because of the fact that we are working in different time zones and trying to communicate solely over e-mail.  Throughout all the going back and forth, though, he was so kind and so enthusiastic and so it turned out to be another great collaborating experience.

As for the content, the lyrics are very basic and repetitive – again.  That is on purpose.  I think having it be repetitive adds to the idea of the song — our dreams that keep “haunting us” — they keep coming back.  The track, though, is very complex.  So, I think putting the two together worked out nicely and helped to bring balance.  But, that’s just my opinion, – what do you think?  Give it a listen and if you have the time, leave a comment on his page www.soundcloud.com/beatz275 or my own www.soundcloud.com/monicadockery  — be it good or bad, both help us to improve and hear our music through another’s ears.  Here it is — THESE DREAMS….



Another SoundCloud Collaboration, feat. RekOps

As I mentioned earlier, I have been getting involved in some collaboration projects with a few people on SoundCloud lately.  The latest one is with this guy….

He goes by the moniker RekOps and is a rapper/producer/beat-maker from Canada.  I found his tracks on SoundCloud and loved the chill – almost eerie vibe of one in particular called “Ducking Ambient”.  He had mentioned that he was looking to do some collabs with female and male vocalist, so I sent him a temp track for that song and he wrote back saying he was interested.  I am so glad we were able to do this, I think it turned out great.  I cannot make tracks like the one he made (at least I haven’t tried to) so it is awesome to be able to hear someone else’s sound and connect to it and be able to get a feeling from it enough to write some lyrics down.

The song is very basic – minimalistic in terms of the lyrics – but I really wanted to pull back on the lyrics and let the track shine.  We’ve both gotten some good feedback on the track since posting it so that is nice.  It is always good to get that, but really….I just like it so much myself.  I think that is what matters for everything we do.  Is it something we enjoy, something we can stand by and be proud of?  We want people to like it – yes…. but, it has to come from a genuine place.  When you are doing something you don’t really feel yourself – people will sense it and that is a disservice to both yourself and them.  At least, that is what I think, merely an opinion.  Anyway, here is the link to the song.  If you like it, it would be great if you could leave a comment for RekOps to give him feedback on our collaboration effort.  His soundcloud link is http://www.soundcloud.com/RekOps.  He also has a link to his facebook on there and several other crazy tracks to listen to.  Hope you all have a great week!




Late at night I lie awake here

And think of all the things I’ve done

All my skin and bones will be laid bare

When my secrets cannot hide from the sun

All those times I lied to you,

They’ll never be undone

All the tears I’ll cry for you but

This web won’t be unspun

Oooh, it’s done   oooh it’s done

I wish I could go back in time…..

Oooh, it’s done…

Oooh, we’re done…

Earth Day 2012 and Midnight Musings.

Part I – Earth Day

Today was Earth Day! …in case you forgot. We never really “celebrated” this day before because it made more sense to just be conscious of how our decisions leave their mark on our planet and to appreciate/respect it on a daily basis. But, this year, my son was old enough to understand things a little bit more and he was excited about going to experience the local Earth Day fairs around here. So, out and about we went. We spent the first half of the day at Newport Bay (near Newport Beach, CA) at the fair and did art with recycled materials and learned about the animals and plants in the surrounding wetlands and how to protect their habitats. We did a mini-hike around the wetlands and then headed to Crystal Cove beach nearby. My son really wanted to do a beach clean-up and I’m glad he suggested it. I had always thought about it before, but never did until today. Though we made only a small contribution, and it felt like there was just way too much trash around to ever be able to REALLY clean up the beach, I am glad we did it for two reasons. 1) Doing something to help is usually better than doing nothing. 2) My son felt proud and important and I know that he will remember that feeling and that it was connected to doing something good.

Part II – Midnight Musings

I would like to do more beach/park clean-ups from now on. Besides the fact that we are taking the time to care for the places we like to visit, it also is just a good opportunity to be OUT…out in the world that I love so much. I can’t tell you how many times nature has brought inspiration to me in one way or another. I just love things that are beautiful. They move me in a way that is indescribable and where can we find more perfect and imperfect beauty than in the world that surrounds us? I see a gray sky, a yellow poppy, I hear the ocean, I feel the sand under my feet….and I am ALIVE! I’m here. I’m here and what will I do with my time? What will I say? What can I share? Why am I here? All of these things run through my head and as I sit and think about it all….words&music come. So many many songs on the brain lately.

There are three that I’ve been working on recently and they are all WORLDS APART! The first is acoustic. I have the rhythm down – the timing (well, almost), but there are a few holes in the lyrics that I am trying to patch up. The second is another acoustic song. I wrote it over a year ago, but couldn’t get the music for it because I didn’t know how to play the guitar yet. I’m so glad that I can finally do it now and that I can do it on my own. I have been working on the right chords and getting the timing down. I really like how it sounds so far, I just need a little bit more practice with it before I record it. I think this will be the one I share this week coming…maybe. It is called “Think Too Much”. The last is…well…I guess you can say it is a departure of sorts. I wanted to try writing something from the perspective of an alter ego. Kind of like Beyonce’s “Sasha Fierce” or Cee-lo’s “Gnarles Barkley” characters. Sometimes you get a song that comes from another place…outside of your normal self. Even the music is different from most of what I do (although the song “Over” is along the same lines in some ways). Most of my songs come out of my fondness for minimalism. But, this newest song “Look, Look” is overdone…but it is overdone on purpose. And the lyrics seem to be about something very superficial, but the point of the song is not.

So there you have it…my teasers for what’s coming. I’m hoping to make up my mind on which one to put down first and to get a quiet enough house to record it soon!!! Until then…feel free to review some of the previous posts or to share your stuff with me:).

Dreamin’ A Way

A few years ago, I had the privilege of taking care of a group of special young ladies. Many of them had to deal with some pretty tough circumstances at a very young age….things most of us have never had to deal with. I was always amazed by them. How resilient they were. How hopeful they were for the future. How they were able to cope. Many of them had great dreams, great imaginations…a by-product, I think, of what had happened in their life.

It was clear that the touch of tragedy left its mark on them, but at the core, there were remnants of their unaltered selves. Rarely, would they let anyone see that self, though. That part of them was kept deep within….far away from danger. But, at times, you could catch a glimpse and I couldn’t help but hope that with time, with healing, they would be able to let that true self back up to the surface for good. Wherever they are now, I hope they are well, that they are pursuing the dreams they had and so graciously shared with me. They touched my life and taught me so much about the best and worst parts of our humanity. They taught me to try to see people from the inside out. For that, I am truly grateful to them. Thanks girls. This song was written with them in mind. The audio might be low, so the words are down below.

Also, thank you to Blair at http://gomofo.wordpress.com/ for posting my site on his own…check him out, he’s a REAL guitarist… I ‘preciate it mister:).

Dreamin’ A Way

Broken glass on the window pane
She sits and stares at her shoes
Memories of fists and pain
Stick to her mind
Just like glue
And she can’t tell you how
Or even why
All that she knows is now
Is the last time
The window’s not the only broken thing
But still she tells her shoes its time to go
She’s got herself a plan to kill the pain
That’s taking way too much of her soul

She’s dreamin’, dreamin’ her way
Dreamin’ a way away

Violent clouds filled with fear hate
Billow over in bloom
Words that sear as the lightening strikes
Trying to cause her wound
And she can’t tell you how
Or even what
All that she knows is she
Can’t let them touch
The center of her heart…won’t feel the gloom
Hard as they try she just won’t let them in
She’s got herself a ticket to the moon
Where they can’t take her soul away again

She’s dreamin’, dreamin’ her way
She’s dreamin’ her way away

Away, away

Away, away, away, she’s goin’ away
She’s building a rocket in her mind
Away, away, away, she’s goin’ away
She makes it to the moon just in time

But, she’s still dreamin’, dreamin’ a way
dreamin’ her way away, away, away


I wrote this song this past Monday when the rain was coming down outside.  The cool, moist air tiptoed through my open window, brushed against my cheek, and gave me a gentle kiss good morning.  It was one of those days when you just want to stay in bed all bundled up –eyes closed, mind clear –and just listen to the calm, the stillness brought on by the rain.  A beautiful morning.  On days like that, inevitably, songs begin to creep up from my toes, along my body, and peaceably make their way into the corners of my mind and…I write.  As I was laying there in my bed, I remembered an image of a man who had made his home underneath an overpass.  It stuck with me and this is where, I presume, this song came from.  It is called….Pigeon

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