Life has been a whirlwind of…well… horsepuckey, honestly, for the last 6 months or so, but I am back on top, in a great new apartment, and occupied only with projects that bring me fulfillment and/or cash. I’m a little overwhelmed with how to update, so I will fall back on my ADD-addled mind’s best friend, the bullet point. Continue reading →
I released the Tentative Armor album and book under a Creative Commons license because I really love the idea of people taking my work apart and putting it back together as they see fit. With that in mind, I decided to try something new. With help from Tenlegs Arts and Media Network I am releasing all of the stems for each track on the album and inviting people to create their own remixes. The final result will be professionally mastered and released for free under a Creative Commons license through my online shop.
If you’d like to participate, create a Tenlegs account (if you don’t have one already) and then stop by the Tentative Armor Project Page. There you’ll be able to listen to the album and decide which track you’d like to remix. Once I add you as a collaborator to the project, you’ll have access to download everything you’ll need from the various pages within the project. I’d love to have the finished remixes no later than February 15th. Continue reading →
There isn’t any other artist who inspires me in the same way that Yoko Ono does. She creates work in so many different mediums and does so fearlessly, in a way that seems to be free from reaction to how people respond to her work.
I was so thrilled to get to hear her talk about her work Tuesday night at The Paley Center for Media here in NYC. My good friend luke kurtis had an extra ticket so he invited me along. He and I actually met in the 90’s through a Yoko Ono fan group we were both members of. The talk was moderated by Rolling Stone‘s Anthony DeCurtis and the two chatted casually about Yoko’s full body of work.
It’s interesting for me seeing her now. I’ve heard her speak before, but this is the first time since I have begun producing my own work. Where before she inspired the question, “how can I start making work?” now I ask, “how can I start making more geniuine work?”
I was thinking last night about my song “Invocation.” How would Yoko handle that vocal improvisation section in the middle?
I have been telling myself I never want to perform that song again. Even when I recorded that part in the studio I felt self-concious. Embarassed. What are people thinking of this? For me this track has a built in conflict. That “hootin’ and hollerin'” section in the middle is. I mean, it just is. It’s part of the song that just showed up with the rest of it. How do I get to a place of performing it as it is supposed to be without getting nervous, or uncomfortable, or…..apologetic about what I am doing? WWYD?
Hearing Yoko talk about her work, and just experiencing her energy in that setting makes me want to reach deeper into letting go of my fear and apology about the type of work I want to create. I feel inspired to move into the direction of the world I want to see, rather than move against the parts of the world I dislike. Indeed, Yoko reminds me that it’s all possible. It is, right?
In summary: Yoko inspires. She’s one of the few on the short list of celebrities I’d love to sit and chat with over tea. Someone set this up for me, wouldja?
I had a blast at the Tentative Armor Album and Book Release show last Tuesday at Dixon Place. It was amazing. The process of producing the album and book and then coordinating everything for the show was too much. I don’t know if I have ever felt so overwhelmed. I kept joking with people that I was dealing with it by taking lots of naps. But I wasn’t joking, really. I thought maybe I was depressed, but really. It was just so much. So many naps. So much panic.
Anyway, I made it. I finished writing the piece I used to open the show with my string players the morning of the show. I also got everything running on my laptop that morning as well. I cut it all so close, but by the time the show was about to start I just dove in and had fun. Thank you all for being there, and thanks to the bevy of people who helped out throughout this whole process.
I especially want to thank luke kurtis. It was his idea to make the Tentative Armor book (buy it in my online shop, Amazon or iTunes) which inspired me to go ahead with the album. I couldn’t imagine what an album based on my show would be like, considering the various types of music in the show. Having an accompanying book, really pulled the whole idea together. luke’s video installation for the release show brought a particular magic to the show, I don’t think I could have achieved otherwise.
A kickstarter update: I will have download codes for you all soon, those who are entitled to a download of the iBook that is. I am currently waiting for the t-shirts, truth be told, I just ordered them today. I apologized for that delay before, and here it is again. I went over my budget for the project, so this last bit had to wait until I had the cash on hand. I hope you all understand. I hope to send out everyones rewards (books, CDs and t-shirts) in the next couple of weeks.
So, there we go. It’s all made, this first biggest project ever made…by me. It’s so nice to have this under my belt. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible.
Things are really moving along with the release of the Tentative Armor album and book, this is such overwhelming fun! Last week I was totally zombie-fied with everything that needed to happen, but now that things are in action and out of my hands, I am excited!
Thanks to luke kurtis‘ diligence, I already have a big box of Tentative Armor books. I uploaded all the mastered tracks to CDBaby, Bandcamp and OasisCD to get all of the digital distribution and physical CD production underway. The mastering took much longer than expected so I am going to be getting the CDs the day before the release. Unfortunately, that means that I’ll have to send books and CDs to Kickstarter backers after the release, but you’ve all got the download now, so hopefully that will tide you over. 🙂 I have learned so much about this process, the places where I should have allowed more time, the places where I should have planned on spending more money in order to have awesome-er people working on this.
Those of you who didn’t back the Kickstarter, you can pre-order the iBook here, and pre-order the book, cd and album download on my Bandcamp page. Note that pre-ordering the download will give you an immediate download of the track, “When It Will Bloom.”
I have a couple of new pieces I am working on for the release show at Dixon Place (tickets here!), which I am pretty excited about. A couple of new stories and maaaaaaybe another piano and string piece if I can get it all together in time.
So, yeah. It is all exciting and sort of unreal that I am suddenly creating all of this stuff and that all of you are cheering me on. Thank you!
I am so excited about the upcoming release of my next single “Invocation.” It’s the first track from my forthcoming album, Tentative Armor and features a video by luke kurtis.
So many different things went into making this track: experimentation with chopping up breakbeats, channeling ancient spirits through my voice, arranging acoustic strings, and even a nod to 80’s R&B giants Midnight Star. What’s not to love?
The single will be released at all digital music shops on Tuesday, Aug 26, with a special free alternate version of the track included for free exclusively from Bandcamp.
As always, thank you for supporting my work! I am really looking forward to sharing this with you!
I’m excited to announce that my new single, “Invocation,” will be released on August 26th! It’s the first track from my forthcoming album, Tentative Armor. The best description I can come up with for the track is that it is somewhere between Laurie Anderson and Dead Can Dance. I think it is pretty unique and I am really excited to share it. luke kurtis has created a breathtaking video to accompany the track which will be released the same day.
Looking forward, the album itself will be released on October 14th with a release concert and party at Dixon Place here in NYC. I’m looking forward to sharing all of this material with you all!
One of my very favorite ongoing projects is my role as pianist and choir director for the Obie Award-winning The Secret City. I always struggle to describe what exactly it is and my friends who attend invariably say, “well, that wasn’t what you described!” To which I reply, “Well, then, how would you describe it?” Then they say, “oh, yeah. I guess I don’t know.” Then I just stand there looking smug, but not really.
Anyway, here’s how the Secret City’s website describes it:
The Secret City is an on-going performance gathering for people who believe in the arts. Part ceremony, part salon, part tent revival, each gathering has a different theme and features an ever-changing roster of artists and performers sharing work relating to the theme.
Each event has a visual art component, food offering, live music, guest performances, storytelling, community interaction, silent meditation, The Secret City Singers, special outfits and JOY, which is central to the mission of The Secret City.
This past weekend, we took The Secret City to Woodstock, NY for the first time. I had a hell of a time getting out of the city with my keyboard, choir-mistress Raquel Cion and cellist Leah Coloff. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that the plan of renting a car for the three of us and our music gear gave way to three bus tickets and my departure sans keyboard. Artistic Director Chris Wells worked on finding us a keyboard to use for the service while the three of us left the driving to Trailways.
We finally arrived and commenced to rehearsing the choir and band in preparation for the show. A community member, Mina, brought us a small keyboard that worked just fine to get us through our rehearsal and our local band musicians Brian Macaluso (drums) and Mark Lerner (bass) brought us a keyboard and amp, respectively. We were totally good to go.
After rehearsal, we all headed over to Chris and his boyfriend Bobby Lucy‘s house at the Byrdcliffe Artist Colony for food and fellowship. There was a mini city of tents set up in the front yard and the grill was going. I had such a great time chatting with the various artists who make up the roster of performers and volunteers for The Secret City. My travel induced frustration melted away over grilled corn on the cob and lively chit chat out in the woods. Just lovely.
The service the next day was exceptional. The Woodstock community showed up in droves and a surprising number of Secret City supporters drove up from New York City to attend as well. After the service, I had lunch with music director Jeremy Bass, Annie Engman and friends and then caught a ride back to Brooklyn with Annie’s mom.
Though I love to perform and love being around people, I am also a very indoorsy introvert. As such, I tend to avoid events such as this that require exposure to the elements and conversation with people from whom there is no escape. Alright, that might be a touch of an exaggeration.. Still, I am so happy I had this opportunity to kick myself out of my shell for a couple of days and to connect with some fantastic people. Not to mention the pleasure of helping to bring this organization I am so in love with to a new town.
The next NYC Secret City service will be on September 28th at Dixon Place (another NYC institution I adore), you should make a point to be there. You’re in LA, you say? No problem, there are services there, too. Go. And while you are waiting for the next service, maybe take a peek at the Secret City’s fundraising drive and throw in a dollar or two.
p.s. I took a few more photos of the weekend which you can check out in this flickr album.