Interviews with Music Fans (Part 1 of 3)

Jenney and Johnny at Granada Theater (Dallas)

Interviews with Music Fans

Interviews with Music Fans

I don’t think any of us can imagine our life without music.  For most people it’s a constant part of the day.  Music helps pull us through hard times, makes us realize that other have been through the same things we have, brings back our happiest memories and shows us there is incredible beauty here on this world. You’re here because you either create or listen to music. Without music fans and supporters, none of this would be possible.  If no one went to the Beatles early shows they’d be shipbuilders and plant workers in Liverpool still.  Without true supporters attending shows, buying music, sharing music with their friends then we’d be living in a world with no music and no on wants that.

These are some the strongest music supporters I know from all over the world.  They have, collectively, stayed up to watch live streams of local music shows in Dallas that ended at Midnight while living in Germany (do the Math on that!), showed up at rehearsals, set up house shows and done PR for bands, given up their couches or extra bedrooms to traveling bands, traveled from Vancouver to Austin, TX annually to support musicians they like, ran the merchandise table at shows etc.  Without passionate people like  this, it would not be possible to make a living as an independent musician.  I have so many interviews that I’m breaking this into 2 parts 3 parts! (these are so great but just 3 make for a good post.  It will be nice to spread these out)

Lona (Dallas, TX)

Interviews with music fans

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Lona: I grew up north of Philadelphia and was exposed to many types of music.  The music I initially gravitated toward was Motown, R&B, and Jazz, and of course, Rock ‘n Roll. Most of my high school friends were primarily into Rock ‘n Roll, and my parents didn’t listen to much music in our home on a regular basis. Philly has always had many GREAT musicians and plenty of great places to go listen.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Lona: No, but when I was growing up, I always wanted to play the piano. I do own a Native American drum and some rattles, but only play them for ceremonial purposes.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Lona: Gosh, that is easier for me to think in weekly terms.  A slow week for me would be one, but it is usually more like 2-5 a week.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Lona: Live music doesn’t always give me the ‘hit’ I’m seeking, even if the performance is on the highest level, but when it does, for me it can be one of the highest forms of meditation.  It seems to ‘hit’ at that moment when everyone is riding the same wave of energy.  It can literally take me on a natural HIGH that is addicting.  Even if I don’t reach it, I always remember how it feels and continually seek it and want MORE.  Many things can get in the way of my not reaching the ultimate high.  It can be as easy as my inability to tune in and forget the day’s annoyances, or failing to remain in the moment.  It can be that the band members don’t quite reach that place of combined energy and aren’t in sync.  It can simply be the distractions from other people chattering in the room, or the imbalance of sound.  For me it is such an honor and a THRILL to witness the MAGIC that sometimes happens during live musical performances, that is even more special than recorded music because of the ENERGY WAVE that can happen.  Having said that, even when I’m unable to reach my musical “high” it usually makes me feel a lot better than when I walked in the room.  I also listen to recorded music all the time, as well, and cannot imagine my life without it.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Lona: YES, and sometimes even MORE SO.
Our Scattered Words: What do you hear in the instrumental music that draws you in?
Lona: I hear the individual instruments and even the silence between the notes.  Of all the instruments, my ear seems to be most drawn to and resonate most with the piano, but I hear them ALL and appreciate them ALL.  I also appreciate the difference one without the other can make.  Case in point, I was listening to these awesome players one evening.  Nothing seemed to be missing until the bass player showed up late and joined in.  WOW!  I didn’t realize it was even missing until he started playing.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Lona: Not the same, but still can be AMAZING and in my case, needed daily.  Depending on the recording, and listening environment, it can get close to the same as live.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Lona: Of course.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Lona: Yes, and it is always amazing to me just how appreciative and friendly most musicians truly are when all I do is show up to receive the magic of their gifts.  It supports a personal belief that I have that the biggest gift you can give someone is to focus on their highest gifts, for what we focus on expands.  It is amazing how much that helps raise people’s consciousness and costs nothing and takes very little effort.  One of the highest compliments I receive fairly often is, “We always seem to play better when you are in the room.”

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Lona: The same things I try to do … let the cares of the day go, get in the groove of the moment and do what they can to get in on the wave of their fellow musicians.  For them, it seems they need to trust in themselves and their learned abilities and trust and allow the magic to happen.  To take that one step further, if they can focus a little on how great the other players are, it lifts them up, as well.  The same thing holds true when they are thinking they suck, for they will often not disappoint.  People feel it whether words are spoken or not.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Lona: That they can learn to appreciate music they aren’t naturally drawn to, and that exposure is the key.  After enough exposure to all, they will realize which ones they are drawn to and resonate with.  People forget that music can literally transform one’s mood and it is GOOD FOR THEIR SOUL. It can be like a tuning fork for the entire body.  So it is essentially good for the mind, body and spirit.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Lona: To quote Wendell Sneed who would always conclude every weekly DMA “Jazz in the Atrium” performance with “We hope we have helped you find your groove, but If you haven’t … tough!”  LOL … So I say, FIND YOUR GROOVE and GROOVE OFTEN!

Dieter (Bremen, Germany)

Interviews with music fans

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Dieter: Music was always part of my life, when looking back on any periods or events of my history they are always connected to the music I was listening to at that time. After I retired seven years ago occupying with music became a passion, the matter of my day.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Dieter: I would love to do that and I tried it when I was younger but I don’t have the musical skills, even the mouth organ that was the gift of a friend refused to produce pleasant melodies.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Dieter: At least five or six nowadays, depending on the number of interesting artists playing in my city. In addition, I watch the live webcast from a venue in London, The Bedford, two or three times the week.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Dieter: A tough question, because music effects me in so many ways, at first it’s the background of everything I do, you won’t catch a moment without music in this house. There is a music genre for every kind of mood, jazz, folk, rock, pop, classic, whatever I feel, there is a rhythm for that emotion, to express or to overcome the feeling.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Dieter: It is mainly the instrumental music that affects me. Rhythm and melody catch my attention, thus, the instruments and as also a voice as an musical instrument influence me at first, the lyrics always come on second place when judging a song. Mostly, it’s a piano chord, a guitar riff, a sax solo or the beauty of a voice that makes me love a song.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Dieter: Listening to recorded music and experiencing a live gig are two very different things to me. The atmosphere of a concert, how the musicians connect to the audience are effecting me a lot. In general, I’m easier impressed by music played live, really live, not recorded live.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Dieter: Certainly, how can I forget singing “Smoke on the Water” on my 18th birthday! The songs of CCR are firmly connected to the hours after high school, Five Hand Reel’s live performance of “Wee Wee German Lairdie” with my time as a bartender, Tina’s “Nutbush City Limits” with my days in the Navy, Werner Lämmerhirt’s “Angie” with the one big love…

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Dieter: The musicians I support live far away from here, we are exchanging friendly words on Facebook but never became closer friends.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Dieter: Hehehe, at least know the name of the city you’re playing in! Well, I don’t know and just have some word for the audience: The key to experience a nice live gig is to pay attention, respect the artist and don’t talk during the performance.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Dieter: Music is a basis for connecting people, I learned to know much more interesting people through sharing musical interests than any other aspect of life… and that without having any musical skills myself.

I close with the words of my favorite author Nick Hornby: “And mostly all I have to say about these songs is that I love them, and want to sing along to them, and force other people to listen to them, and get cross when these other people don’t like them as much as I do.”

Carolyn (Philadelphia, PA)
Interviews with music fans

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Carolyn: I think I’ve just grown up being exposed to different music.  I remember whenever I’d ride with my parents there was always different music in the car; Paul Simon, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett…just many different genres.  If I stayed with my grandparents, I remember my grandma playing the piano or her organ everyday and singing.  Music has just always been around in some form.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Carolyn: Does the recorder count?  There are several phases I’ve gone through in life where I’ve wanted to learn an instrument, but have never been able to sit down and focus on learning it properly. I almost learned the flute, piano and guitar, but I only really ever learned to play the recorder in like 3rd grade because I had to.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Carolyn: Too many to count! I go to a minimum of 2 a month, so you can do the math!

Our Scattered Words: How does music affect you at an emotional level?
Carolyn: There are some albums that I have that can just be my soundtrack to whenever I’m feeling down.  Some lyrics that just hit you right where you didn’t see coming, stick with you and make you feel that someone else is feeling what you’re feeling and telling you it’s going to be ok.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Carolyn: For the most part, no.  Sometimes I do like to have a good Vivaldi session though.  I think for the most part I just like to hear the whole package.  I can appreciate instrumental music for what it’s worth, but I feel it doesn’t hold my attention as long as something with lyrics.  Lyrics give me something to follow, memorize and think about.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Carolyn: I think they both have their own appealing elements.  I always find it interesting to see how an artist is going to carry over a recorded version of a song into a live performance.  Sometime they decide to strip it down instead or change elements, so you there’s that sense of surprise in a live performance I think in comparison to recorded songs.  Someone can add as many effects and edits to a recorded version to make it stand out and play on repeat, but pulling something off live in an effective way I think is a huge part of a someone’s career to be memorable.  The way I see it..recorded music is what you can have in the presence, but seeing something live is what you’re really going to take with you.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Carolyn: Absolutely!  There are always those songs that seem to come on at the time you need them and that moment just sticks with you.   “Amazing Grace” is always one I associate with my grandfather’s funeral, so that one has a sad memory for me despite being an uplifting song.  “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day was the first song that came on the radio after my last day of summer camp when I was younger, after going to the same place since I was little it was a good way to cap things off and one of those moments I vividly remember.  There are also those songs from movies or TV that stand in your memory too.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Carolyn: After knowing a handful of them for a few years now it’s hard to not become friends.  You all can easily connect on a level because of working with music.  You build trust and friendships and can bounce ideas and advice off each other.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Carolyn: Interaction is key.  Obviously everyone is there to hear your music (unless they’re the rude people who are just there to talk) but there should be that level of “getting to know you” during the performance too.  Getting people involved and feeling like they’re let in on the show I think is something that helps to draw people in more.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Carolyn: I think the first thing that comes to mind is the level of respect at a show.  It takes a lot for someone to get up on a stage and pour their hearts out to a crowd of people.  It always baffles me when people pay to come into a show and then all they do is spend their time talking over the people around them having a conversation with people or texting on their phone while someone is performing.  Just think of how you would feel the other way around…

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Carolyn: It just is!  For some people like me, music is the only thing that gets me through the day.  It’s therapy, something that can get you through hard times, highlight good times, connect people, it’s something universal.

Thank for for supporting music, creating music, reading about music how ever it is that you’re involved! Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks also for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words.

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Courtney Jones Video Premiere & SXSW

 

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SXSW week is here.  Personally, my favorite festival.  I’ll head down on Friday, after catching Toby Goodshank open for Macauley Culkin’s new Velvet Underground cover band “Pizza Underground” that changes all of the lyrics to be about Pizza… here on Wednesday night.

But first…
I’m honored that Courtney Jones asked me to premiere her new video, “City Lights”. Many of you have already viewed it at Our Scattered Dreams.  It’s too large a file for this WordPress site, but please stop by and view it.

I started this blog less than a year ago and have interviewed so many great musicians, and hope to share many more interviews with you.  If you’re attending SXSW please check out these musicians that have been interviewed here.

Andrew Belle
Jessie Frye
Golden Youth
Kaela Sinclair
Small Houses
Torres

Also watch for upcoming interviews with other SXSW performers like; Elizabeth and the Catapult, Holly Conlan and The 1975.

Kendra Morris Interview Part II

Kendra Morris Interview

Kendra Morris Interview

Kendra Morris Interview, Part 2

If you have not read it yet, please start with Part 1 of the interview with Kendra Morris

OSW: Both of your parents were musicians, so you had music around all of the time.  Your first recording goes way back doesn’t it?
Kendra Morris: Oh yeah.  Both my parents are musicians.  I remember, as a kid, my idea of fun always involved music.  Whether I had a fake band, or whether my friend, Jacqueline and I  would always think of these groups, and we would perform for each other out in my front yard and  put on shows.  With the recording, I wasn’t interested in having a lot of friends and being part of the Girl Scouts or anything like that.  I was always interested in creating things and making things. I remember getting a karaoke machine for Christmas.  I think I used it for karaoke maybe once.  I got the whole box of cassette tapes, and instead, I would take blank tapes, and I would just sing on them.  I’d take it into my closet and I would make songs. I started realizing that I could bounce my vocals and make all these other vocal parts.  I would sit in my closet and make songs with backup harmonies, and that is how I started learning.  Little did I know at 8 or 9 years old, that what I was doing was something that people in big studios in New York City were doing. That was how I just started hearing melodies.  My mom sings, and we would just always have harmonizing contests with each other.  We’d sit in the car and try to harmonize to everything.  I’ve saved everything from over the years; all my recordings.  I’ve tried everything.  I’ve been in all kinds of bands.  When I think back, I have been journaling since I was about 12 years old also, and I have just piles of journals from over the years, and music was always just, asides from teenage girl drama, the focus.  I’ve always been involved with making music somehow.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Kendra Morris: I guess what I’m most proud of is that I’ve kept going,  I went to a performing arts high school, and everybody started out with the same dream.  Everybody was like, “I want to be on Broadway,” or “I want to be a singer,” but as you get older, what you want changes.  Some people are like, “Actually, I want to start a family,” or “I don’t think maybe acting is what I’m cut out for, but I think I’m better for this,” and that’s fine.  Everybody has their own paths, and everybody gets to where they’re going. But, singing has been what I’ve always wanted as far back as I can remember, since I was performing for stuffed animals.  I think what I’m really proud of is that over all these years, I have stuck with it.  It feels good to stick with something.  There have been setbacks, and some days are better than others, but to create and to make music that is what makes me the happiest.  When I’m making something…. when I’m making something out of nothing.  Just to have kept going and now it has been 10 years, and I’m still at it. It’s also nice that now starting to see the fruits of hard labor.  I’m definitely one of those advocates of “The world is your oyster. If you want something bad enough, if you really want something, you can do anything.”  That’s how the Eiffel Tower was built.  That’s how the pyramids were built.  When you think of this whole planet, everything on it, is because of someone’s crazy idea and making it happen.  I’ve been just really excited seeing things come together.  I’ve had my days where I am kind of bummed out; I can be hard on myself, but then it’s kind of taking a step back from the big picture and saying, “I’m putting myself out there, and people are responding to it”, and it’s affecting other people day to day.”  That is the beauty of music.

OSW: It really is. The thing that I don’t think any of of us realize going in is how much time the non-musical stuff ends up taking so you can make music.
Kendra Morris: Oh yes.  Lately, I’ve been just crazy busy.  My days will fill up so fast, not just with the creative side of things.  I sell a lot my posters on my website, and I print those then go to the post office, or there are days I spend hours just answering emails.  There is so much that goes into it, especially when you’re doing everything on your own.  There are the Lady Gaga’s of the world.  She has huge teams of people working for her.  She is still doing tons of work.  But at the level she is at, she has to have teams of people, as well.  There are a lot of artists who don’t have teams of people, but you have to keep the ball rolling.  It doesn’t matter the amount of people who hear your music.  For me, every single person is just as important.  If one person sends me an email, I have to find time to write them back.  They’re the ones that keep me in music. I think it is so important to be in touch with your fan base.  It’s a nonstop thing.

OSW: How did the tour with Dennis Coffey come about?
Kendra Morris: That was so cool.  Randomly, the guy who was managing Dennis had heard of me.  He’s an avid Wax Poetics magazine reader and just had heard of me through them.  He’d seen me in some ads and went and looked up some of my stuff.  When I first signed with them, they put on a 45 of me; Syl Johnson was on one side; I was on the other. He called Wax Poetics and said “We’re doing this showcase at South By Southwest and Dennis needs a singer on some of these songs. I joined Dennis Coffey on stage for that, and it went over really well.  Then he asked, “We’re doing a tour over the summer in the Midwest “ I said Yes! Are you crazy?! Absolutely, I want to do this!”

OSW: Do any books or movies influence your writing?
Kendra Morris: A lot of both.  I watch a lot of movies.  My nighttime is my down time where I try to give myself time to do something like that, and I read a lot.  I get so many influences from between what I’m reading, what I’m collecting.  I collect oddity-sort of things; taxidermy.  I flea market a lot.  That is pretty much my weekend therapy.  I’ll get up early, go to a flea market in NY and just walk around.  Sometimes I’ll buy stuff; sometimes I won’t.  I love looking at these old things that somebody else used to love.  Sometimes, I’ll look through all the old family photos, sometimes, it’s just the design of a piece of furniture. I get really inspired by the past.  All the stuff on the cover of “Banshee” is stuff from my apartment, and we just took it.

Kendra Morris Banshee

OSW: The same things go in the collages you make?
Kendra Morris: With the collages I do, I collect old nature books, old encyclopedias and old magazines.  My whole book shelves are full of these books.  There is a guy on my street who sells all sorts of weird stuff…… sometimes it’s junk; sometimes it’s treasure, but I check it every day.  He’ll put things aside for me that he knows I’ll like.  I am really influenced by art.  I do these collages, and I feel like those influence my writing, too. Making a collage, you’re creating this world out of something else.  In the same way, you’re doing that with a song sometimes, too.  You’re taking all these pieces of instruments to create a song or whatever is influencing your lyrics, just all your day to day influences.  Sometimes, when I do a collage, I can go back and I can write better.  The cool thing about creating something is always trying to be outside of the box, finding a different way to do something.  There are a million-and-one ways to look at one thing; it’s all perspective.  My best friend and I, our summer project, we did a Stop Motion video to an unreleased song of mine (“Winding) that I had always wanted to release.  I said, “Let’s do something,” so we decided to do Stop Motion with collages.  All summer, that’s what we worked on, a Stop Motion music video.  We actually just finished it last week, but it took us about 70-something hours to do.  It is so much; writing a song; it is completely different, but so much alike.  You’re trying to find things that fit the pieces together.

OSW: You’re trying to find a different way to tell that story
Kendra Morris: Yeah. Doing Stop Motion, we did not storyboard it.  We did it one scene at a time.  Every day we worked on a different scene, and we did a lot of stream of consciousness.  The key to it… we felt like we were MacGyver, because we’d start the day out, and you have to find a way to go from one scene into the next scene.  With Stop Motion, it has to be constant moving.  Something always has to be going.  So each day it was figuring out how to go from the scene from the day before into the new scene. Then when you finish up, leave it in place so the next time you work, you can go from there.  We would give ourselves challenges.  We couldn’t ever do the same transition twice, and we couldn’t  do the same thing for the second time the chorus goes around.  We didn’t let ourselves use double footage.  I think with Art, whether it’s making music or making a painting, it’s all kind of coming from the same place.

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any session what would it be?
Kendra Morris: Oooh, there’s so many. I would sit in on ‘ Pet Sounds’
OSW: yeah that one comes up a lot.
Kendra Morris: I started reading a book about the making of Pet Sounds, and it was pretty crazy.  Hearing how he was working alongside Phil Spector or in the same studio. I’m also curious about the Wall of Sound andwould love to sit in on some Phil Spector sessions as well.  I’d love to sit in on Jimi Hendrix, ‘Electric Ladyland’  It was so good. … or an R Kelly Session,  or Les Baxter when he did ‘The Dunwich Horror soundtrack’.

OSW: What is your favorite lyric?
Kendra Morris:
Wanda Jackson  ‘Whirlpool’. Great lyrics throughout the entire song!!!!!!

“You got me falling down and down. You got me me spinning round and round. Loving good and loving true.. In a whirlpool. The waters deep and dark around as I go falling down and down. I reach out and what i touch. Your lovin’ hands I need so much. Whirl, whirl pool. Crazy, crazy over you. In a whirlpool I’m loving you.”

When people ask me what sort of music is influencing me, it changes.  I’ve been buying a lot of records lately, and I’ll listen to a record to death.  I finally got a record player, and there are a couple really good record stores by my apartment.  I’ll take a break from working on stuff, and I’ll walk to the record store and pick out something that sticks out to me. Then I’ll listen to that record over and over and over again.  Lately, I got Temptations, ‘Psychedelic Shack’.  That album is so good, and Dennis Coffey is all over it.  You hear it all over.  It’s kind of trippy, because that record is so good, and I think, “Man I got to sing with that guy.”  It’s a cool feeling.

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Kendra Morris: To keep going if you really want it.  You’ll never know what could have happened if you quit, so keep at it.Also to accept your setbacks as your building muscle.  You need those….. whether you want to call them failures or setbacks.  I call them little tests.  You have to have those.  I talked with a friend the other night.  She’s going through a rough time with her music.  She is so crazy talented.  Her music is amazing and she’s just going through an itch right now, and I said, “Just keep going.  You are building your story right now, and in 50 years this will be a blip.  You’ll be glad that you had these things, and you can’t just stop at the blip.”

OSW:  If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Kendra Morris: I wouldn’t mind picking Leonard Cohen’s brain a little bit.  I love his songs.  His lyrics are so great.  They’re like poetry.  I just saw him at Radio City back in March.  I didn’t become a really big fan of his until probably then.
OSW: Yeah, he was one that  I didn’t get for a while.  But when I did he became one of my favorite writers.
Kendra Morris: I was familiar with him, but just hearing him there, it was like, “Wow! What have I been missing out on?”  I really appreciate him.  I would also love to  sit down with Buddy Holly.  I think he was such an incredible songwriter. His songs are just so classic and simple, and I love that about them.  I am always blown away by someone who can do that.
OSW: Yeah, an old Nashville writer Harlan Howard said, “All you need is 3 chords and the Truth.”
Kendra Morris: Yeah, some of the hardest and the best songs are the most simple.  Some of the songs even that I’ve written that I’ve been happiest with, they were the hardest to write, and the ones that people are attracted to the most because it just simply says something.  It’s easy to find a vague way to describe something; that’s always  a lot easier, but to find a way to just put something out there and just clearly say something using the perfect words to say. It’s why we do this.

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Thanks again to Kendra Morris.  I really enjoyed our phone interview.  Please check out Part I of the interview if you’re reading this first. Please check out Kendra on the web also;

Kendra Morris on the Web
Website
Facebook
Twitter @kendramorris
Instagram @kendramorris

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Kendra Morris, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future. PLEASE go check out Kendra’s playlists there!  This time we have 4 videos of Kendra and 4 videos of songs she likes.

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

On Chasing Your Dreams (via Levi Weaver)

max canyon

Back in June I interviewed Levi Weaver, a singer/songwriter from Nashville and friend.  I always enjoy his blog posts, but this one really hit home.

My son (pictured above in an old photo) , just recently finished shooting his 2nd movie, but really first true movie since he hired a crew, professional actors and rented a RED camera to shoot the film.

I’ve been putting off releasing my own album to do this blog. I’m still writing and recording music every week for work, But, none of my songs has been completed and put out there yet for this new project.  That’s been in thoughts a lot recently and this has also been, for other reasons, a really tough week.

So, this was a really good read and reminder for me.  Hope you enjoy and share this. Click through to read after the preview

Here’s the start of his post, follow the link for the full article

 A list of necessary accoutrements, should you wish to chase your dreams:

1. Something Impossible.
Even if it is only impossible to you. This is the first step. This is the dream. Without a dream to chase, nothing else here is relevant.

2. The Will to Learn Everything About it.
This means late nights. Or early mornings. Or both. (Usually both.) It means putting to use the study skills that you learned in school. In retrospect, I was right in High School when I said “I’m not going to use any of this” (with the exception of spelling, grammar, and some basic math skills). But teachers never told me that I was right: I wouldn’t use the tedium. But I would use the ability to learn. It’s hard to get fired up about a calculus exam. It’s incredibly easy to get fired up about your impossible dream. If they’d only told me this, I would have been their favorite student.

Use your time in school to learn how to learn, so that when your dream appears, you are equipped with the proper tools with which to study your prey.


http://leviweaver.com/2013/09/19/on-chasing-your-dreams/

Christine Hoberg “All That Hate” Video

Christine Hoberg asked us to host the first video single from her upcoming album “World Within’. We’re glad to share “All That Hate” with you.

Here’s some more on the album and video;

New York composer and vocal artist Christine Hoberg will
return with her fourth LP, World Within, in the Fall of 2013.
The follow-up to her 2011 Moonlight Never Shined So Bright,
this new album was recorded in Christine’s Brooklyn home
with an analog forefront.
“This album is about my fascination with worlds that exist
within each other. I have very vivid dreams. We rest ourselves
and awake in another world for hours each day. We spin on
a tiny globe and can see the stars and forget that we are
looking through a darkening atmosphere at suns that are
much greater than ours. They have their own tiny planets and,
odds are, other lives awake on those tiny spinning planets. A
world within a world. We are all held together inside of other
worlds. Awake and asleep and awakening again without end
into other worlds again.

Jessie Frye

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Jessie Frye Songwriting Interview

Jessie Frye

Current City:  Denton, TX
Most Recent Release: Fireworks Child (our new record Obsidian is due out in the fall)

BIO:
“Jessie Frye has become something of a local institution since the release of her debut EP, The Delve, back in 2009. On the strength and reputation of that first collection of songs, she was invited to perform at SXSW that same year and began a round of extended touring with some local musicians whom she knew and had brought together to form a permanent band…….

The way in which the music effortlessly interweaves with her voice without overpowering or drowning out her intimate vocal complexities is a testament to the intuitive interplay between all members of the band. A compelling example of how synth-pop can expand and develop past its bloated mainstream inclinations, “White Heat” is equal parts inclusive campfire storytelling and rafter-reaching pomp

– Joshua Pickard, Beats Per Minute

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Jessie Frye: It definitely varies. A melody will pop into my head randomly, or I will thump out a cool chord progression on the piano. Then it just goes from there. It’s kind of like connecting the dots.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Jessie Frye: Our new full length album “Obsidian” (Click HERE to hear the single “White Heat” from the upcoming album and here’s a preview of the cover)

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OSW: What makes ‘Obsidian’ different than your last release?
Jessie Frye: ‘Obsidian’ is our first full-length album. I am playing with a completely new set of musicians, too. I am proud of Obsidian because I challenged myself as a vocalist while writing these songs. I love writing dark pop music and I feel that this is the first time I feel fully confident.

OSW: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Jessie Frye: I am a lyric snob, I have to admit. So sometimes I spend more time on the lyrics than the actual song. It depends on the song, really. Some songs have placeholder words until I hunt the right ones down. Some lyrics just pop out and feel right from the start. I have a lot of journals that I can go back into and pick out lyrics from, so that is a good source of material for me.

OSW: Where does your inspiration for songs come from?
Jessie Frye: From a lot of literature that I read. I also am very inspired by scenes in movies that I am moved by and dreams that I have. I love writing really abstract lyrics about situations or emotions. People would never know the meaning of some of my lyrics unless I sat down and picked it apart from them. That is fun for me.

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Jessie Frye: Practice a lot. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on a skill that you want to be really good at and then venture into other areas. Stay determined. No one can make it happen but you.

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Jessie Frye: Robert Smith from The Cure. Coolest guy ever.

Jessie Frye on the Web
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Youtube
NEW Single- “White Heat”

To see Jessie Frye’s upcoming shows go HERE

All interviews and Bonus Materials will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

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Caleb Hawley

Caleb Hawley

Caleb Hawley (photo by Don Razniewski)

Caleb Hawley

Minneapolis to Berklee College to Harlem.  That’s the path Caleb Hawley has taken and you hear all of that in Caleb Hawley’s music.  Prince, Dylan, Jazz, Soul. A voice that earned him a spot on American Idol.  I heard about Caleb through mutual friends for a few years and listened some.  This morning was the first time I listened all the way through his full album, ‘Caleb Hawley’. (can’t wait for all of you to have the chance to hear this!!) He sounds natural and genuine in the updated, soul sound material. I’ve heard other contemporary singers record material like this because they love it, but never really find that authentic place that truly connects a singer and band to the truth of that music. They end up sounding like a mediocre lounge band or an album that belongs on an infomercial.  But, that’s not the case with Caleb.  He truly connects, sings and writes this material very genuinely. I really enjoyed listening through this morning

Caleb Hawley
Current City or Home Town: Harlem, NY originally from Minneapolis, MN
Record Label: Independent, baby!
Most recent release: ‘We All Got Problems’ – 2010

Brief Intro/Bio
Independent Harlem based soul singer & songwriter who grew up in the ‘burbs of Minneapolis surrounded by the sounds of Prince & Bob Dylan. Influenced hugely by the two, taking thought provoking lyrics & funky grooves & blends them together as well as possible.

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Caleb Hawley: Usually I have two stacks. One stack is of musical ideas, the other is of lyrics. I think of them at separate times, because usually musical inspiration comes to me when I’m practicing and lyrical inspiration comes to me when I’m out and about, observing people and contemplating my life. Typically I take from each pile and try to mix and match the vibes and moods that fit each other best. Then I either extend or whittle the lyrics into a place that fits the musical idea best. I hardly ever write them both at the same time.

OSW: What are you most proud of?
Caleb Hawley: My most recent unreleased album. It’s the most “me” recording I’ve ever done and just hope I can find a good home for it in order to release it.

OSW: How does someone go from a degree in Jazz Composition to American Idol?
Caleb Hawley: I chose Jazz Comp while at Berklee because I was super interested in arranging. I’ve used the skills I developed there in my recordings as you will hear. I think my passion for jazz was a little higher at the time I attended school there, but the degree was still a great supplement for the music I’m making nowadays.

OSW: What did you learn from the American Idol experience?
Caleb Hawley: Hmm.. That reality TV isn’t reality? That’s probably the most rewarding knowledge I gained there. As a person who struggled with a need to strive and make it to the “top”, it’s nice to know that the “top” is mostly just a game and a facade played on others not in the biz. On a more positive note, I made a lot of great friends there and also learned how to push myself to really learn a song in less than 24 hours… and attempt dance moves with it : )

OSW: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Caleb Hawley: Definitely revise them over and over. The idea usually comes quick. I try my best to spill it out on the page as fast as possible and revise later, but that can be tough. When I get excited about a line it’s hard not to revise it in the moment. It’s a balance though, cause I wanna continue the thought at the same time before I forget it, but also make the revisions before I forget those as well.

OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Caleb Hawley:
“I found myself face down in the ditch
Booze in my hair
Blood on my lips
A picture of you, holding a picture of me
In the pocket of my blue jeans”

 – Ray Lamontagne “Jolene”

 To me this portrays is the best imagery I’ve ever heard. There are three scenes in one, which is pretty amazing to me.

OSW: Is rhyming still important?
Caleb Hawley: Yes and no, for lack of a better answer. Some people say perfect rhyme is the only rhyme. In musical theater that may be true, because you really need to hear the dictation as an audience as it goes by fast. On a record, people can always check the liner notes or lyric websites to find out exactly what you’re saying, so I think being abstract works a little better in that case. As long as it’s not cheesy and too predictable, I’ll always go with the rhyme. It’s the really predictable rhymes that I attempt to stay away from.OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Caleb Hawley: Make your songs dramatic. And if you’re gonna use an ideas that has been done a million times, like a love song, find your own original twist. Always depends on the style you’re writing in, but don’t be afraid to take some risks.

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Caleb Hawley: ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered” album. Not only is it my favorite Stevie record but it’s one of the few he used the funk bro’s on. I’d love to sit in the room with James Jamerson & Stevie Wonder at the same time. That would teach me more than a Berklee degree easily.
(OSW Note- from that album, this is one of my all-time favorite cover songs.  Stevie completely makes it his own and that distorted Clav sound kills me)

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Caleb Hawley: Eminem. I’d love to hear how much he actually revises his internal rhyming, or if it just comes that natural to him. I’d also be curious why if he is so graphic just to get a rise, or if it’s genuinely him. Either way, it’s still brilliant in my opinion.

Caleb Hawley on the Web
Website
CD Baby
Twitter
Facebook
YouTube (search)
Soundcloud

Also, this is important people, you can get a FREE Sampler by Caleb Hawley at Noisetrade for a limited time. Please check it out.

No bonus material page this time.  Completely my error.  I let the whole interview slip through without making sure I had 3 videos for his songwriting playlist.  But, I will share a couple videos of Caleb + you got the Stevie video above.

“Little Miss Sunshine” (Official Lyric Video)“Let a Little Love In” (Live in Studio)Important stuff

If you’re enjoying these interviews; please follow the blog and Facebook page. Also, share both of these with your music loving friends.  Let me know on the Facebook page if there is anyone you think I should interview and…..
even more importantly

BUY music by these musicians.

Please don’t just go stream the songs.  If you enjoy the interview and the musician, certainly use streaming to preview their tracks but then buy it if you like it.  They need sales of their music, merchandise and people at their shows to continue making the music you love. Buying directly from them at shows is always the best option, then buying from their website if possible.   This is really important stuff people.Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week.