OK. I don’t like advertising accolades. One, because it feels like bragging, and two, because I don’t want to jinx it. Success always seems to come with a catch in my eyes, it seems to be able to slip through your fingers quicker than it can arrive in your hands. Alas, I gotta tell you about this one. I need your help.
So my amazing Mother, God bless her, applied one of my songs in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (actually she’s applied QUITE a few songs over the last couple years and they’ve all done really well). The song I need your help with is called “Look to the Water”. I wrote it during my time as a top 20 performer in the Peak Performance Project in 2011. It was Vancouver’s 125th birthday if I recall, and the task was to write a song inspired by the city- sort of an ode to Vancouver. “Look to the Water” is what I ended up with. We recorded it up in Rockridge canyon along with my fellow bandmates Sydney Beagle, Cameron Catalano and Colin Easthope. Shaun Verreault (of the band Wide Mouth Mason) was a guest speaker that year on the trip, and he ended up putting some pretty tasty guitar licks on there as well. It was recorded with Nimbus and Dane Deviller. Honestly was a pretty stressful scene seeing as how I had a brutal cold during the whole recording process. However, luck changes, folks…
So the song won the grand prize for the R&B category, and I ended up getting about six grand worth of gear. Pretty incredible. But HERE is where I need your help. I need to make it past this next round, all determined by votes. Its just me vs this one other guy in my category. If I win this next stage I’m THEN in the running to win the MEGA grand prize of $20,000. Ummmmm excuse me?? Who’s broke? Who’s life could get MADE with this money? THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE…. So here’s all you need to do. Go to jlsc.com. Scroll down to the box where it says VOTE. Click on the R&B category and then click on my name! Easy Peasy. You can vote once a day until the 29th of April, and you can use as many different email addresses as you like.
It is such a huge honour to even have made it this far…. I know its that same cliche Oscar response like, “It’s an honour to even get nominated”. But you know what? It is. I truly didnt even expect this kind of reaction from this song!! If you could all take a brief moment to help my cause and my artsy little heart, I’d be forever grateful. Thank you!!
Again, that’s jlsc.com
So Valentines Day came and went. Good riddance. The only time I can remember somewhat appreciating it was in elementary school. Of course we were supposed to buy Valentine cards for the ENTIRE class, and we did. There was always that hope however, that my head-over-tiny-heels crush of the moment would have somehow slipped a romantic signal of reciprocated feelings into their Ninja Turtle-gram. If I remember correctly, there never was… but the HOPE was enough to keep us amped on the holiday wasn’t it? Back in grade two we weren’t OVERLY concerned with the forced consumerism, the creepy guilt-tripping, or the absurdity of the “show your love once a year” holiday. Let’s love. Let’s love everyone. Let’s love ourselves. Let’s show it all the time. Everyday. Let’s do our very best.
Speaking of loving ourSELVES, I’m back in Bikrams yoga after an almost three year hiatus. Loving myself has never been so very, very sweaty.
Is it me or does 2013 have WAY more of a futuristic ring to it than any of its predecessors? I think its the presence of the teen in there that really throws me for a loop. It almost seems like the off-the-cuff year you’d just make up outta nowhere in the early 90′s with your friends ie) “this lineup is so long you guys! We’re gonna be here until like 2013!”. That year you say in jest but never actually consider it as a serious candidate for how you’ll date your journal entries.
New year, new date, new day… Same eyes, same nose, same fingers and toes, same smile, same spirit. A new year is an ideal lamp post on which we can hang our revived commitments and pledges. (more…)
Painted on the crown molding of my hotel room was a quote by some anonymous person that said “If you get tired from walking around San Francisco you can always lean against it”. I thought that was pretty fitting given the place is like one big city-sized roller coaster and walking around it constantly means you’re probably always a little exhausted and/or probably have an ass that’s carved out of wood.
The visit only lasted for three short days since I was there for a wedding, but three days were all I needed to fall in love with San Francisco. It was like a really good romantic movie where the people fall in love with eachother SO fast and it’s kind of unrealistic but you GET IT because either one or both of them is just so damn charming and beautiful. (more…)
What is it about Autumn? Yeah, yeah, all the seasons have their charm- Winter’s cozy, Spring’s got the blossoms and rebirth, Summer’s well, SUMMER… But there’s that hard-to-pinpoint electricity in the air this time of year and I dig it. When we were kids it was all about back to school, so you figure that’s part of it. Then you grow up (more or less) and you realize that it’s not just the school thing… Autumn is crispness and colour and magic no matter how old you get.
This time last year I was up to my eyeballs in the ever-incredible Peak Performance Project. All the showcases are underway now at the Red Room in Vancouver, the bands are givin’ it everything they’ve got onstage before the quicksand sink into paperwork. Until the day of my showcase last October, I had never experienced a “tension headache” before. I did every possible thing I could to remedy it. It stayed with me all day, right up until they called my name to go on stage. Once I was up there in the lights it vanished like a shot.
The PPP is certainly still special to me this year, my beautiful bestie Georgia Murray is in the Top 20 along with her man on the beats Tony Day. They’ll have a full live band with them at the Red Room, and WHILE writing this post Georgia asked me to sing backup harmonies for her and I’m SO honoured. Now this ain’t no bubblegum pop artist, folks. First of all, her voice is flawless. I don’t mean flawless with the help of autotune or any of that BS you hear so much these days in the mainstream swill. This girl’s got PIPES. Her voice can range from soft and ethereal to a hard-hitting, burn-the-house-down type of power. Her songs have the same variety…Some of them on the sweet side, carefully placed and executed with steadiness and that sexy, breathy quality. Then turn the corner and SHIZAM she hits you with the big guns, all with that steel-cutting precision. Oh yeah- did I mention she’s also drop dead gorgeous? Y’can’t buy that kind o’ package, people. I’m tellin ya.
Thursday, October 11th. Red Room. Vancouver. Tickets. In. Your. Pocket. Make it happen.
Whoa. I started this entry a couple days after returning home from Shambhala, but I just had to stop. Trying to sum it up was overwhelming so I took a break. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be able to explain it ALL- it’s the type of experience that you need to witness for yourself in order to absorb it. That being said, I know everyone experienced those few days differently, everyone’s got their own stories….12,000 stories at LEAST. (more…)
“Well I just got into town about an hour ago, took a look around, see which way the wind blow”…. Jim Morrison wasn’t the only one.
L.A. is one of the must-stop destinations for musicians and non-musicians alike, and I had the recent pleasure of having an excursion there for a couple of weeks. I traveled down alone, something that always inspires me in itself. Being solitary seems to act as a wonderful connector to the world around me. My senses are heightened. I can look around, listen and observe at a greater expanse.
Even flying in you’re struck by the sprawling nature of it. The road system isn’t even a grid, it’s a woven freeway-mecca for the restless (trusting the restless are prepared to sit in traffic for quite a while). Admittedly I was totally intimidated at first… Everyone that lived there was so well versed in the freeway-speak and most of the time I felt they had to talk to me like I was 5 to get directions across. You need a car. No two ways about it. You can survive without one I suppose, but the majority of your day will be spent commuting. While I was there I was lucky enough to visit quite a few different areas: Silver Lake, Playa Del Rey, Culver City, Montecito Heights, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Venice. L.A. isn’t just one spot. It’s built out of MANY spots, all connected by the lovely freeway system like an intricate constellation.
On the first night of having my rented car I got lost. I was trying to get from Culver City back to Silver Lake- which shouldn’t be THAT difficult, should it? I was on track, feeling good, went to take my exit to the 110 and hey! The exit was blocked off by cones. DETOUR, the sign said. Detour? Where and how and what the hell am I doing here? Detour…. My car had no GPS (something that would have cost me an extra arm and leg at the rental place- it’s how they getcha) so I was trusting my iphone’s google map to keep me on point. At one in the morning it’s hard to drive and keep checking in with a little screen, trying to follow the blue dot of “you are here” in order to tell if and when you’ve strayed from the pathway home. I ended up on Martin Luther King Blvd. The streets were deserted. Every shred of common sense in my body was screaming, “Get the eff out of here, you stand out like a sore thumb, this is what NOT to do, don’t stop the car, you’ll get mugged or worse”. I was panicking but I knew that wouldn’t help me… My phone was on it’s last leg of batteries, I was on a race against time. I mustered everything I had to keep it together, when honestly I just wanted to cry with frustration. I actually said “Don’t you dare cry” out loud. Crazy lady lost and on the move! I knew I would eventually laugh about the situation- as long as I stayed alive, that is. What should have taken me about half an hour tops took me about two and a half. A million and a half wrong ways later, miraculously, I found my way back. I stopped and gave the Universe a great deal of thanks for that one. I was home, I was safe, I had survived my first “Lost in LA” experience.
Starting off the whole driving thing that way was a blessing in disguise. I never got THAT lost again for the remainder of the trip. Definite discourse was taken here and there, sure, but never as badly as that first night. I actually began to understand the freeway system a little more, or rather I got USED to it a little more. The permanent L.A. resident must spend a LOT of time getting lost at first (at least I HOPE they do, then I wouldnt feel so bad). The first time I got from A to B without a hitch was an immense feeling of accomplishment, it makes you feel on top of things. You just have to be alert or you’ll miss your exit.
More L.A. adventures to come…..
It happened. My newest blog was complete, I had read it through twice. Spellcheck, a few grammatical corrections, image ready to be inserted- I was in business. My finger clicked the wrong button. BOOM. About 700 words of carefully phrased text lost in the wind. Retracing my steps was futile, no amount of backtracking or denial of what had just happened was gonna get it back. LOST IN THE WIND. Just like that.
I cried. Straight up. I know it sounds childish, but I wept like a 5 year old in frustration for those words I’d never re-utter, at least not the same way, and certainly never as eloquently as I had crafted them originally. We’ve all been there in some form or another, and it’s certainly the nightmare-plight of every writer since the invention of computers. Before technology there were pens and paper- I guess the biggest threat to writers then were hungry dogs and hurricane winds. I would’ve even accepted some regurgitated paragraphs at that point. Who cares about a little saliva? As long as they were legible.
After my blubbering session, I pulled myself together. There was no other option. These moments prove to be incredible excercises for the Art of Letting Things Go. FACT: the words were gone and impossible to retrieve. Embracing that rather than resisting it was the Universe’s push n’ pull way of giving me a little cuddle, and then I had to laugh. C’est la vie.
Being a documenter and a songwriter for so many years, I’ve run into varying degrees of the 1,2,3-GONE effect. You’re working out an idea on paper, you’re on a roll, you’re hot on the trail of what you think at the time is the most profound, perfectly worded phrase you’ve ever recorded to date. It’s there in your brain, just about at your fingertips or captured in ink and POOF! It dissolves like salt in a glass of water. Next comes that empty space in the gut, and we mourn what we may never articulate in the same way again. It’s the unspeakable fizzling out of a firework-thought, and it happens more often than I care to remember.
Once the initial loss is grieved and accepted, there’s nothing left to do but throw up our hands and say “oh well”. Right? I mean we can’t get it back, and maybe that’s ok. Perhaps it’s just as perfect a thought or an idea having never manifested itself in print. I like to believe that it is still floating there in suspended glory, being absorbed by the collective, forever-illuminated in the boneyard of lost words. It makes you wonder what worlds of thought and expression have slipped through the cracks of peoples memories. There is something beautiful in the wondering…
That being said, while writing this I’ve pressed “save draft” about eight times. Live and learn.
Whoa. So apparently five weeks without a phone is like five years in media-time. I was off the grid there for a while. Gotta be honest- although it was frustrating to be unreachable, there was something very liberating about being free of the device that so many of us have become slaves to. Riding the bus became just that: riding the bus. Without the limitless possibilities available to me in the palm of my hand, I was free to actually be PRESENT. I could be aware of my surroundings again, look out the window, take in the immediate sensory experience without my eyes glued to a little screen. Yes, these little devices we’ve grown accustomed to are worlds in and of themselves, they open so many doors and give us access to almost anything, but they jar us out the moment. Without my own phone to distract me, I became hyper aware of just how many people are completely wrapped up in theirs every spare moment they get. Gone are the days of just sitting at the bus stop and waiting. Now we have the opportunity to distract ourselves from the present 24 hours a day.
Don’t get me wrong- I missed my phone, particularly the first couple of weeks. I resented missing it in the same fashion I never wanted a fancy phone with a data plan. Something felt “out of touch”, which, as I type it, seems insanely comical. Has being “in touch” really just become our presence on social media sites? Is it really just a digital this, a digital that, memes and statuses and cyber activity? It’s bonkers. While we rely on those things for our careers, our relationships, and our ability to share things on a global scale, I think the true disconnect has occurred in our inability to be satisfied with ourselves in the present. People have put too much of a premium on their digital lives. Attention spans are at an all time low. We live in a fast paced, instantly gratified plethora of digital mediums. Click goes the mouse, up goes an opinion, an image, a piece of information. It’s a blessing and a curse, and we should be aware of the latter. There’s nothing wrong with our androids, our iphones, our laptops, or our what-have-yous, but we should stop and remember what life was like before they came along. We should stop, look up, look around, and check in with the world around us as it is in its natural state- it is HERE and its present, yours for FREE, each and every minute.
Times they are a’changin. More like times have changed, and they’ve BEEN changin. When I graduated from highschool the whole technological, digitized social media thing was like the mysterious new kid in town. Everyone was talking about it, but no one knew what it was capable of yet. There was no Facebook (in fact not even Myspace was around yet), no Twitter, SoundCloud, no one knew what an “app” was, not even YouTube had been invented. Iphones were still just a scary lookin’ embryo in Steve Jobs’ brain. Hell, I didn’t even get a cellphone til I was 23 and then it was only because I had been badgered by my friends and family to join in on the fun. I was behind the times on that one, sure, but it wasn’t half as unheard of as it would be nowadays. Nowadays every person, their second grader and their dog has a cellphone.
One’s gotta roll with the digital punch to stay relevant. It’s a matter of adapting, and for a musician, a matter of life and death as far as getting “out there” is concerned. The world of possibilities is ever-present, constantly expanding and updating itself. Updating equals upgrading. It used to be that if you didn’t get pressed copies of your product to sell and/or distribute, no one ever heard it. Now all you need to do is click click click and its written with blood on a global database, accessible to everyone and anyone that knows how to work a computer. Damn have times changed. It’s a new reach-the- world attitude and it’s yours. For free.
With that said, check out a brand new track featuring myself, Trev Fox, and Mike Decline on the beat. Together, we’re The Say What Rights, and the track is GOLD SWORD CANE.