Testing 1, 2...is this thing on?
If you haven't noticed, I don't blog very often. I am unapologetic about it. I prefer to write songs and let the music do the talking. Yet here I sit, writing a blog! I thought maybe it was a good time to reconnect since I have a new album coming out next month. I mean, do people even read blogs anymore? I don't. I don't listen to podcasts either. I never have. I know they're very popular, but I'd rather listen to music. Unfortunately, when I'm in songwriting mode the only music I can listen to is my own! I'm too easily influenced. I listened to a Billie Eilish record once this past summer in the midst of writing songs for my album. A month later I was recording a song I had just written when my daughter McKenna, who was in the next room on her computer, hollered "that sounds like a Billie Eilish song! You have to change it or you're gonna get sued!" Damnit. I was quite fond of the song just the way it was! But I knew she was right and I didn't want to get sued by Billie Eilish, so I changed the melody and other bits that I might have borrowed from her and made it my own. McKenna approves of the new rendition and thinks it’s even better now. So do I. But that's why I can't listen to other people's music when I'm in writing mode.
About this new album coming out on January 20th, 2023...
One of the best things in life is to enjoy your work. To do what you love. I worked many long hours/days/months writing and recording this record and loved every minute of it. I had to be careful though. There's always a risk of overcooking things when you're the artist and producer all rolled into one and have no time constraints. I think I might have cooked this batch of songs just right. We'll see. Five years from now if I listen back to this record I'm sure I’ll hear things that I could've/should've done differently. And that's why I don’t listen back to my records after they've been released!
I started writing songs for this record in November 2021. I even released two of them earlier this year that you might have heard (they have since been remixed and remastered for the record). I probably wrote and recorded 20 songs during a 10-month time period, 11 of which appear on this record. When I’m in writing mode, song ideas can come from just about anywhere. I like to believe they're all around us, floating in the universe. You just have to tune into them, like changing frequencies on a radio dial. Sometimes it's a melody that I’ll tune into, or a drum beat, or something I stumble upon while sitting around playing the guitar or piano. All it takes is a little spark to ignite those creative juices, and then I’m off and running! Music and a melody almost always come first for me. Lyrics come later. But there are no set rules.
My youngest daughter Myla (who just turned 7) is always singing and making up her own cute little songs. Some of them are actually pretty good! She's taking piano lessons now and progressing quite well. A few months ago she was singing a catchy little melody she made up and kept repeating the lyric "don't mind me," which I kinda liked, and so I stole it and wrote a song! Of course I changed it enough to make it my own, so I don't get sued when she grows up. The song didn't end up making the record, but I did end up using the song title as the name of the album. Thank you, Myla!
Every song has a life of its own. When I sit down to write a song I’m not thinking about making a record. I’m only thinking about that song and how I can make it better. By the end of August 2022 I felt like I had recorded a strong enough collection of songs for an album, and so began the mixing process. My typical day during this process went like this:
Wake up at 7AM and take my elderly dog and best friend Graham outside, have a cup of coffee and a light breakfast, go for an hourlong walk in the park while listening to the songs I’d chosen to be on the album and taking notes on my phone (I find this record to be good walking music), return home, pour a second cup of coffee and head downstairs to my studio where I'd spend the rest of the day making changes to each song based on the notes I'd taken while on my morning walk. This daily routine went on until December 8th - the 42nd anniversary of John Lennon's death. That was the day I came home from my morning walk with no notes. The record was finished! The following morning I uploaded the album to the distribution company I use, and a few days later I announced my new album and the January 20th release date on social media. And that’s kinda how it works…for me anyway.
Now, since I don't read blogs, I'm not exactly sure how long a blog is supposed to be and I don't want to bore you. I was planning to speak a little more about the songs on the record, but I don’t think I’ll do that. Not today anyway. I think it might be best if I allow you, the listener, the freedom to interpret them for yourself. Maybe you’ll get more out of it that way. Who am I to deny your imagination? Maybe I’ll change my mind, but for now you’ll have to wait until January 20th, or the iTunes presale on January 6th (which will include 6 instant downloads). In the meantime, thank you for reading my blog and thanks for listening to my music. I don't have the big machine of a record company anymore, nor do I have promoters or people trying to get my songs played on the radio. I don't tour and I don't really enjoy doing interviews anymore either. I simply enjoy making music - writing and recording songs, bringing them to life and releasing them into the great wide open. That's what makes me happy. It gives me a sense of purpose and adventure, and for that I am very grateful to each and every one of you who takes the time to listen to my music on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, or wherever else you stream or download your music. I hope you'll enjoy this new record as much as I've enjoyed writing and recording it. Happy Holidays!