taxi

Silly/Serious turns Serious

Well… I made it to 15 weeks of my songwriting challenge of 2 songs a week and then could be neither silly nor serious anymore. Also, during that time I put more silly songs onto Soundcloud than serious ones and there is a good reason for that.

Mid songwriting challenge I started sending my serious ones (well the ones that weren’t ridiculously jolly) over to Paul Otten to produce and co -write unaware that it would turn into anything. I met Paul at a Taxi Road Rally a couple of years back and we became facebook friends along with a whole bunch of other really supportive Taxi people. Musicians need this kind of support group to keep going… and cosmopolitans 😉

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Myself with the 2 Pauls – Paul Otten is on the right, the other is Paul Cufflin, another very talented singer/songwriter.

Paul had produced a commercial song called Colour It for me previously and I really liked what he did. But when I sent him my serious songs it turned out that we shared a common love of an indie/folk/rock sound and our voices sounded really good together.

After sending the first song to my publisher they LOVED it but wanted a rewrite of the lyrics and so I entered into my first collaboration for many years. I wasn’t a fan of songwriting collaboration (I know,I know… collaboration is essential to songwriting… blah blah blah) so I was a little cautious. But it was really cool. The beauty of it is that if you get stuck you can ask the other person, but egos must be left at the door. You can’t fall in love with an idea/line/melody if the other person isn’t into it. The power of veto. It works in my marriage and seems to work in collaboration. And Paul is very easy to work with. We put our first song up on soundcloud which you can still listen to here.

So we tried another song which, again, everyone at my publishers office were gushing over so we figured we were onto something. Watching my 15 year old teenage daughter break out into a weird dance every time I played it in the car was also a reassuring sign 🙂

Six songs later and we are going to be releasing an EP under the project name of Big Little Lions. The name came about because he is really tall and I am… well… a little on the short side!

If you want to know more info as I get it you can either sign up to my email list by sending me an email at helen@helenaustin.com or by following me on twitter and Facebook.

Highlights of 2011

2011 started with a broken collarbone and a new album and is ending with new exciting album on the horizon. There were many highlights throughout the year… here are a few.

Voices Three

It always gives me enormous pleasure to play music with quality people at a great venue while raising money for a very worthy cause. For me it’s the best win/win situation, so starting the year with that was very satisfying.

One Tree Hill

Having a new song placed on One Tree Hill was so exciting. I think it is the highest profile TV show I have been played on so far and I am very grateful to Crucial Music Publishing for getting me that placement.

Vancouver Island Music Awards

This was probably the biggest highlight for me. Not only did I get the award for Female Songwriter (which meant more than you can imagine), but I also took home the Artist of the Year which blew my mind!!! And even better, I had my family there to celebrate with me.

Vancouver Island Musicfest

This is always a highlight for me. Not only do I get to talk a lot of rubbish with the very funny Todd Butler, but I also get to introduce some really amazing musicians onto the main stage. Looking forward to it again next year!

Conferences

I love all the conferences I go to. I always get something out of each one but The OCFF stands out because I got to be a music licensing mentor and found that I really like imparting the knowledge I have, and the Taxi Road Rally, where I got to be on the Member success panel which was an honour.

Exclusive

I had a big decision to make this year. For a while my main publisher, pigFactory has been wanting to sign me exclusively but I was hesitant as it was a big step. Finally in November I decided to take the leap of faith and am now exclusively represented by them. It has certainly uncomplicated my musical life and they are wonderful!

New album

Through my new arrangement with my publisher, we are moving in a new direction and I will be recording a new album in the new year. In the past I have produced most of my music. This new album will have a fabulously cool producer working on it with me and I am so excited to get to work!

So those are my highlights on 2011. I still can’t believe that I get to do what I do. When I arrived in Canada I thought it would be cool to play some local venues. I never imagined any of this and I will always be grateful to everyone that helps to make it happen.

I hope 2012 will be a wonderful year for everyone 🙂