Words & Music

by monicadockery

Archive for the tag “songwriter”

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!

Little Angelina….and Updates

Helloooooo! I have been a little preoccupied lately. Many collaborations in the works and I’m still working on some of my solo songs at the same time. There is also the possibility of me collaborating with a few rappers from various parts of the world on a song for an album that they are going to be putting out soon. It is going to be used as a tool to motivate, educate, and encourage youth. I am really excited about this as it something I have always been supportive of. I will be sure to post updates on that project on here and on my Facebook page once the ball gets rolling. And…next Friday’s featured artists is going to be one of the rappers involved in that project…..so be sure to check in!

This week, I just wanted to share my newest song. It is called Little Angelina and is a collaboration with a guy named Masoud Tehran who is from Iran. He sent me a track and I loved it (I’m hoping he will be ok with me using it for a female collaboration album with other SoundCloud female users that I am going to be working on with my fellow SC Heroes….details to follow). I immediately began seeing images of a little ballerina in a jewelry box. I imagined that the little ballerina was real and began coming up with her story. So, the song begins with her as a little girl — innocent, full of dreams. Then, the rest of the song is about what happens to her and her dreams as she gets older. I don’t want to go too much into detail, but I will say that I think this might be one of my favorite songs yet. There is something about the track….that little, gentle twinkle sound ( I think it is a glock) in the back that moved me so much. It reminded me of someone I knew, someone I used to take care of a long time ago. She had so much talent, so much potential. I don’t know where she is now, but I hope that wherever she is, she is happy, healthy, and has found her way back to her dreams.

Here is the new song (and below that are the lyrics):

Little Angelina

tiny footsteps down the hall

pink clouds, moonbeams on the wall

little Angelina, perfect ballerina

now you dance in shadows

with men cold and shallow

little angelina

broken ballerina

she didn’t really mean for it to be this way

but she didn’t know how to ease the pain

she didn’t really mean for it to be this way

but now she is dancing in the rain

little Angelina, perfect ballerina

you think she has left you

but she could never let you

push her so far away

that you couldn’t find her today

oh Angelina, oh Angelina

you can find your way

it doesn’t really have to be this way

there’s a way to ease the pain

it doesn’t really have to be this way, no

you don’t have to keep dancin’ in the rain

little Angelina

you’re a ballerina

little Angelina

Remake of an old song “Little Pigeon”….compare

Helloooo! My son has been at summer camp this week, so I tried to make the most of my “time off” and get in as many recordings as I could. Today, I re-did a song I posted back in January called Little Pigeon (this is the old one, the new one is down below) You may or may not remember it. It is one of my favorites because I remember feeling like I could fly after I wrote it and it has come in handy on those days when I felt a bit low. Other reasons why I chose to re-do the song:

I didn’t do a good recording the first time, it was very rough and my vocals just weren’t there

I thought it might sound better in a lower key

I knew I didn’t do the idea I had in my head for the song justice first time around

I got some tips from from fellow soundclouders (particularly Rick O’Shea) on recording and splitting channels and panning and all that and so I wanted to test those out

So, I would love to hear what you think of the changes….did lowering the key and using the recording tips help? I like it much better, but I am always interested in how other people hear it. Anything that I might still need to improve on?

I want to grow, get better…..not just in music, but in life. So, sometimes that means revisiting the past and seeing what we could have done differently and then doing it. In another year, who knows, maybe my idea for this song or others will evolve even more. I think the minute we stop wanting to get better, that is when we have also stopped living. Onward and upward, as they say:)

btw, this track was done on my own, not a collaboration….I’ve been doing a lot of that and I love it, but I want to keep up with the solo stuff too, so there will be more to come.

Here’s the link to the new version:

My New FaceBook Page….and preview of Featured Artist Friday

Helloooooo! The summer is almost here and I can feel it “coming in the air tonight.” I love the summer!!!! I love the sun, so when it starts to warm up, it feels just perfect for me. Anyway – to the announcement. I finally decided to get an artist/musician/band page on FaceBook. I didn’t really want to before because I don’t quite see myself as a “band” or a “musician”, really I am just a girl who likes to write songs and likes to share them. But, there have been some people who have wanted to contact me on Facebook and rather than give access to my personal account, I thought it would be a good idea to have a page. So, if you are on Facebook and would like to get updates on there on songs and posts, feel free to “like” my page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Monica-Dockery/376943485684998. I don’t really have much up on there yet as I just opened it today, but I’ll add stuff periodically, so stay tuned:)!

On another note, today I just finished sending the vocal track I did for another SoundClouder! He is a producer/beat-maker/rapper from Canada. I am so excited about it! There are not many lyrics – but the lyrics I did write, I think, fit the song’s vibe. I didn’t want too many words to take over the track – I think I did that on the last collab. I did, so I wanted to showcase the track a little more on this one. I am hoping he will have it up soon and I can share it! I am thinking this weekend for sure.

Whether it gets done this weekend or not, I will be posting again. I am going to be featuring another artist on here tomorrow. It is not a soundclouder this time, although a soundclouder is the one who put me onto her. She had an album out a while back, but has since kind of fallen of the map. How this happened? I have no idea because she is crazy talented. As soon as I saw the first YouTube video of her, I was in. Tune in tomorrow to check her out (I usually post later in the evening due to the fact that I am running around a little four-year-old all day)! Till then…

Two in One – New Song and Charity Spotlight

PART I – New Song

I was going to do two separate posts this week, but decided to put both the new song and the spotlight on the charity of my choice all in one instead. Recently, I have been in contact with another “soundclouder” from Britain (honest, young, really talented at what he does) who makes tracks and I found one of his tracks to be especially appealing to me. I liked it so much I decide to write a song for it and sent it to him. I was going to do the vocal track and send it to him and he was going to do the layering with his musical track, but so far progress on it has not been made. So, I’m a little bummed that it may be a failed first attempt at collaborating. To be fair, I wrote a song that strayed from his original intent for the track. I know he intended it to be more of a love song with a dubstep feel to it. I heard something else entirely in the track. I think it is so interesting how two people can get two different pictures in their mind from the same piece of music. Anyway, we shall see if the collab goes through or not but I thought I would post the vocal track at least. This song follows a poetic form more strictly than some other songs I’ve written because it is a song about the plight of a poet in a corporately-driven society. Here is the vocal-only track.

No Place for the Poet

PART II – ABC YOUTH

Since I live in Cali, I thought my first Charity Spotlight should be something close to home. ABC Youth is based out in San Diego, CA. It is a program that was started in 1957 by “boxing legend Archie Moore and carried on by his son Billy.” The goal of the program is to use boxing to teach life lessons and character to young boys and girls who may need help with social skill development and self-identity. They offer educational tutoring to students in their after school program (led by someone with a Master’s in Education) as well as boxing classes that focus on the building of self-defense skills and self-esteem. Lastly, they have a summer program aimed at exposing kids to new things like art, chess, community service projects, fieldtrips, and also address areas of need in writing, reading, and math.

All three of these programs are offered FREE of cost to ANYONE who is between 7 and 17 and who has a form filled out by their parent/guardian. There are some limits as to how many kids can be accommodated per session due to the fact that the program is entirely funded by donors. There are ways you can support this program that is making a difference in the lives of kids. You can become a donor or there are also some volunteer opportunities. You can get more information about,both, becoming a donor or volunteering as well as more detailed information about the programs by visiting their website at www.abcyouthfoundation.org.

New Song and Soundcloud


(not actually my old house…just a pic:) )

Hello there! I took a week off, but have continued messing around with songs. I don’t believe I have done a true R&B type song here yet and I thought it would be good to do one since it happens to be one of the genres I grew up with as a kid. It is something I first wrote as a poem when we left our first home and all the emotions that I was feeling at the time (sometimes a poem turns into a song and sometimes a song — music — turns into a poem). It was the same mix of emotions I felt when I left home for college for the first time, when I left Hong Kong behind, on my wedding day. Saying goodbye to the past and hello to what lies ahead.

I decided this week I’d start sharing my songs through SoundCloud. I absolutely love it! Thank you to Raphael BlueWolf for putting me onto it. I’ve found such great music from some pretty cool people and have been able to share mine. I do not have all of my songs up on there, but there are a select few. You can find them all at www.soundcloud.com/monicadockery. Part of the reason I decided to start using it is because it is supposed to be better for sharing music, so please let me know if it accomplishes this task (any problems listening to the track or takes too long, etc.). I’d appreciate that very much. Hope you are all having a wonderful week! I’m planning on doing another “Feature Friday” this week, so stay tuned. Here is this week’s song called Nothing Lasts Forever

p/s —- Here are the lyrics ( I decided to start putting the lyrics in my posts to make it easier for you to find them, but the lyrics to other songs previously posted — most of them– are still at the “The Songs” tab at the top of this page.)

Nothing Lasts Forever

So many memories here we first made our home
Where he took his first steps
Tiny little footprints painted on the front porch steps
The lessons learned, the music of our lives filled
Our small and cozy space
And I know we’ll never hear the same music in another place

Forever forever nothing lasts
Forever forever nothing lasts

But it was time, as time always comes for change
We could try to delay, we could try to escape
But, it’d find us all the same
So instead of hiding from, we chose to run towards
The dwelling of our fate
And take the risks that come our way
Possibilities of a brand new day

Forever forever nothing lasts
Forever forever nothing lasts

Empty boxes, empty boxes all around
Stretched across, stretched across on the ground
We’ll fill them up with new dreams
Until they bust at the seams
Yes, the best has yet to come
And so we say goodbye with one last look
And one last cry
We knew this chapter of our lives
Could not go on

Forever forever nothing lasts
Forever forever nothing lasts

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

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