Ideas

so many sites, so little time…

I want to get my music onto as many sites as possible. I started with a few – Sonicbids, Taxi, Reverbnation – but then more and more sites started appearing and I want to upload to all. So I did – well not all but as many as I could.

But now I get all these messages from really nice people who are listening to my music and I realize that I am not putting as much effort into updating some of the sites as I am into others.

What to do, what to do…. got it!

My first thought was to concentrate on a different site each day and rotate that way… but there are more than 7 sites… so let’s add up all the sites my music is on

Myspace
YouTube
Facebook
Reverbnation
The Sixty One
Uvumi (new one that I am loving!)
Jango
Last fm
Grooveshark
Whotune
Taxi
Sonicbids
Broadjam
IMRadio

That is 14 so far, but I’m sure I’ve missed some out. But 14 is a handy number… update 2 a day. I can do that.

Any input into how you keep track of all the sites that are out there would be very welcome.

The listeners are so very lovely and I want to make sure that they are getting the best of me!

But it’s already lunchtime and there are still songs to upload… time to eat!

Use the Force

In preparing to go on a family visit to the UK for 3 weeks, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to record my Songs of the Week, so I had a dilemma. Do I take three weeks off, which I really didn’t want to do, or do I write and record a bunch of songs before I left, which sent me looking for the wine! How was I going to write, record and upload 6 quality songs in 3 weeks (this was 3 weeks before I had to leave). Where was a I going to find the inspiration?

After calming down (maybe it was the wine) I told myself to relax and trust in the the fact that songs always come, usually when you’re not looking. So I gave myself permission to not meet the deadline and maybe miss a week or two. But once I gave myself that permission I knew that the songs would get done in time.

The force that drives me to write a song a week is the same force that tells me I will achieve something when I really want to.

So I am about to leave for the UK, I finished mixing the songs that I will taking with me to upload at the appropriate time and I feel good about having written a bunch of songs that I am proud of, even a Christmassy one!

Panic gets nothing done… it’s all about being calm and focussed and trusting in a process that you have done many times before.

Fun with Capo (app)

I had a new EP out and I wanted to do a video for the title track, All The Letters. My daughter suggested that I have printed cards with the alphabet on them which I thought was a neat idea but I wanted to have the effect of it looking like the film was speeded up while singing in time… hmm.

Then… my husband (a techy) told me about this computer gadget he had, called Capo, which can speed up and slow down songs without changing pitch ( it can also change pitch without changing the tempo). So I had him slow down the song to half time.

I videoed the song at this rate and then put it into imovie to speed it up to match the song…but… there is no 1/2 or 3/4 time on imovie like there is on Capo, just a gradient. What to do, what to do…

And then I had an ah ha moment. If I can speed it up so that the song is an octave higher then it will be double time… and it worked!

So I have my video on youtube and it looks kind of cool… well I like it! Check it out here.

Songs that write themselves.

In all my years of songwriting (which are many) and listening to other songwriters I have discovered a great song can write itself. Let me explain…

I have written a lot of songs and write more often as I get older. I would never presume to have written great songs but I have noticed that the songs that catch people’s attention or move them are the ones that I don’t really remember writing. It’s like they kind of wrote themselves. I am not in any way religious but I feel that my subconscious is doing the work for me. It’s like I finish a song and then think ‘how the heck did that happen’. I have a song for the Relay for Life, which gets a lot of attention and when people ask me about the lyrics, I really have no idea how they came to be. And I’m not a flake (or on drugs)… honest!

There is the songwriting school of thought that says that a great song takes many hours of writing, re-writing, altering and re-writing some more. But after watching an interview with Paul MacCartney talking about waking up one morning and having ‘Yesterday’ in his head and being convinced that it was an existing song, I came to conclusion that great songs happen while writing other songs. ‘Yesterday’ has got to be one of the greatest songs ever written.

So my goal of writing and recording a song a week (which I am now in week 18) has forced me to write lots. I try to be a few weeks ahead to allow for illness and vacation and have found that my best songs happen out of nowhere while trying to write other songs. I am not averse to hard work, in fact I love it, I just believe that if I write enough songs then a few of them will be good and maybe one day I will have a great one!

In conclusion, rather than spend a month writing and shaping one song, I would rather write twenty songs and get one good one because I learn from every one that I write, especially the bad ones!

How do you write songs?

Are you making new fans?

I spent this last weekend taking in all the great music at Vancouver Island Musicfest. It was cool to see how many bands, some very famous and others on their way up, handled their audiences and the backstage crew.

I had the privilege of being both an audience member and  also an MC for the Saturday mainstage (which was SO cool, by the way!)

Without fans, the bands that played would not be where they are. Without the crew they would not sound as good as they do. Obviously.

So when I am told that I can’t take a photo of a famous performer while they are on stage, from the side of the stage, I have to wonder, is this performer thinking about making new fans? I spent the festival taking photos and tweeting about the bands that I liked and had I been able to take a photo I would have tweeted something nice along with the #vimf and my followers would have thought ‘cool’ and maybe RTed.

But I didn’t tweet and more importantly, others tweeted negative things. No new fans made here.

Then the next band came on. I noticed that they had been hanging around the festival all weekend (not just shipped in and out of the stage covertly). They had made friends at the festival, they thanked the crew and volunteers numerous time while onstage and brought members from other bands on stage to play with them. They were not precious.

So I tweeted! And within 12 hours they were now following my tweets. So I will tweet some more and now they have a new fan (and probably thousands more, judging by the reaction to their show)… and it helps that as a band they were incredible!

The band is Enter the Haggis and now I am blogging about them too.

So the other performer may have been famous, once upon a time, but I don’t think any new fans were made this weekend.

Enter the Haggis… You Rock!

Pick a card… any card!

I was getting ready to go play a gig last night and was trying to put a set list together from my cue cards and I realised that I don’t really care what order I play my songs or which songs I sing.

So I had the idea that I would let the audience chose the cards for me.

It turned out to be a great idea because I didn’t know what I was playing next, so it kept it fresh and the audience seemed to enjoy being a part of the show.

I don’t really enjoy gigs where the audience listens quietly. I prefer a bit of heckling and interaction (a hangover from my comedy days I presume). So this was the perfect way to add spark and participation to my gig. It was a really fun show.

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

How do you grade yourself?

I have been spending some time on broadjam.com and finding out some interesting things about my own music.

Broadjam isn’t just a site to pitch music and enter contests, it is a site where peers can review each other’s music as well.

So I dug in a started reviewing some music (you have to review others to get your own music reviewed). You have to grade things like arrangement, vocals, lyrics from 1 – 5 and then substantiate your marks with positive and constructive comments.

When you start to pick apart other artist’s music it makes you look at your own music. One of the main constructive comments I have given is that a lot of the music needs more dynamic variety and, in giving this advice, I had to step back and look at my own music in the same way.

So I have started reviewing my own music in the same way. Not a comfortable thing to do but, I think, a necessity.