Posts Tagged ‘music’

I was discussing my endless search for the perfect self-promotion outlet for music with two friends, female musicians my age.  Both told me all you really need to get a song out to an audience is a video on YouTube.  Now, I have many music videos  on YouTube and I have to be honest – it’s just not that easy. I recognize that  part of the problem is on my end.  There may be a lack of quality – the sound, the performance, the video production, possibly even the music itself.  Also, I don’t have a camera-ready face, even less so now that I’m in my 50’s.  Finally, I don’t understand YouTube’s analytics which could help me hone my channel to find a specific audience.  Still, I see a lot of DIY music videos that seem to have grown in popularity organically, so I keep wondering what is the magic formula to get listeners and likes.

In the past few years I’ve done mostly performance videos which have been hit or miss.  Last month I wanted to share produced music, so I did a static picture paired with a track; those did slightly better than I expected, that is there have been views and a couple of likes.  Then earlier this week I found myself trying to promote a new song that jumps out of my current singer/songwriter genre and moves into instrumental synthwave.  How was I going to promote that?

My first thought was to go back to an old hobby of mine, creating machinima in Second Life. ( from Wikipedia: Machinima is the use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production. . .  often, video games are used to generate the computer animation).  I made my first machinima with the Sims2 back in 2006.  I never really mastered the art, but it’s always been attention grabbing, especially for people who have never seen it before.

Making good machinima is a detail-oriented, labor intensive process.  Usually when I’m halfway through the project I  declare  “F -it, I want this finished not perfect!”  at which point it all falls to hell.   Machinima is definitely not the way to go, I thought.   But then the eternal optimist in me decided maybe this time will be different . . .

I reached the “F – it, I want this finished not perfect!” stage faster than ever before.  In no time I was swimming in barely usable footage and no clear vision of a finished product.  I considered my situation: here I was spending valuable time creating a video that would most likely look amateurish and not really bring in viewers when I could be working on more music.  Fifteen years ago I loved the idea of being a one-stop shop of self-promotion, but these days I would much rather spend my time on just music. I’ve seen other musicians at my level produce simple, but effective music and lyric videos. There had to be something I was missing out on.

Because the song is an instrumental I thought a cool visualization might be the answer, something that would allow the viewer to be immersed in the sound.  I did a search for “ free music visualizations.”

Enter Renderforest.com

“Renderforest offers you the best online branding tools to create high-quality videos, logos, mockups and websites with minimal time and effort.”

Renderforest sounded perfect. I checked out it’s “Create Video” pages and it offered a lot of choices for music visualizations – some allowed you to upload a photo to be used as a backdrop and others simply involved typing in the title and artist name and the visuals were created for you.  Visuals could be as simple as an animated boom box that gingerly bounced along to the beat of your song, or as involved as footage panning along a sepia colored hallway with the camera shaking in time to the music.  The best part was you could add your music and render a free, low-res, water-marked preview.

Screenshot_2020-07-02 Music Visualizer for Creating Professional Videos Renderforest

Some Renderforest Themes for music videos

And that’s when I fell down the rabbit-hole. . .

I spent hours trying out all the different visualizations, rendering free previews and going back and tweaking my choices.  When I finally decided on something I liked,  I looked at the pricing.  Here’s where they get sneaky.  Obviously Renderforest’s main clientele are businesses; they’re a branding platform that offers logo creation, website builds and promo videos beyond just music.  Kudos to them for even offering the, as they succinctly put it, amateur package.

Up front the amateur package is listed at $9.99 a month, very reasonable for creating a couple of music visualization videos. As it turns out that’s the price if you pay for a whole year in advance.  However, I also had the option to pay for just a single month use at $39.99.   A month’s use sounded about right.  Fifteen years ago $39.99 would have made this service a hard no, but right now it’s not that big of a deal so I signed up.

So here’s what the $39.99 got me: “10 GB storage, 7 hd720 videos per month,  Up to 5 –minute, videos,  30+ commercial music tracks,  No watermarks on HD videos.”    I can also access their logo, mock-up and website building services, but I’m not interested in those, so I can offer no further info there.

Knowing I could create just 7 videos  (doled out in  the form of credits – you spend one credit for each HD720 video you export; if you want a better resolution that will cost you an additional $19.99 per video), I got a little obsessed and really went to town creating free previews.  Somewhere around my third hour the website’s preview rendering time slowed way down.  It took close to 45 minutes to render my final preview, whereas the other previews rendered in 10 to 15 minutes.  I honestly couldn’t tell if this was on their end or my end.  It did feel a little bit like “Okay, amateur, you’ve used up all the renders in the renderforest.  Now go away!”

Finally, I exported a high def video for my song, “Everything’s on Fire.”  I uploaded it to YouTube (an option available directly from the Renderforest platform that did not work for me) and then posted a link on my Facebook music page.

Now, the reach and engagement on my Facebook page has gone way down in the last couple of months and I’m not sure why –but my video sat there with zero engagement for 24 hours.  It also had no views on YouTube.  This was a bad response even for me.  I usually get a few hits in the first 24 hours. It felt like the thumbnail was just not that enticing.

In the meantime, I still had 6 more credits.

A quick side story: That time I started a band with my 12 year old and his cat

About a month ago my son expressed an interest in starting a musical project with me.  He even had the name: Songs to Make You Think About Words.  Of course he told me all of this at bedtime; be it the time he was offered a vape in the school bathroom or the creepy ghost video he just watched on YouTube, he tells me the most interesting things at bedtime to delay me in saying goodnight.  It used to bug me, but he’s turning 13 in a month so these bedtimes are limited edition items and I let him talk. Anyway – he wanted to start a band and if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s starting bands.

As it turns out, he showed up in my studio a couple of days later ready to work on music.  He even brought his cat, Frisk, and she was easily persuaded to paw at the keyboard and lay down some bass lines and solos.

We got four songs out of these sessions, with varying degrees of collaboration, before my son and his cat lost interest.  Personally I think the music is fun and different and I’m proud of what we accomplished especially since Frisk was something of a diva to work with, but you didn’t hear that from me.

Anyway – I had 6 credits left at Renderforest and I went ahead and made videos for the Songs to Make You Think About Words tracks.  Then I had two credits left at Renderforest and four videos in need of a YouTube channel. Naturally I went ahead and created a whole new YouTube channel for a band that doesn’t exist.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the remaining two Renderforest credits before I close out my account.

Back to the point of this blog entry

Ultimately I felt my Renderforest visualization music video did not perform.  It received just a couple of views and that’s certainly not getting my music out there.

I went back to plan A and finished the Second Life machinima,  linked it on my Facebook page and received just a handful of few views, but views with actual engagement.  I did use the Renderforest visualization video as an opening and closing backdrop for the video and it added atmosphere.

I may use Renderforest again in the future if I were to present an entire album’s worth of music with a link to a point of sale AND if there was a an additional means of bringing the audience to the music.  It could be a worthwhile tool if you already have an audience and just need a quick and easy visual representation for YouTube or a similar outlet.  Still, I think original artists will always need to put their best efforts out to the world and I’m not sure if Renderforest will ever be that – especially since it’s a cookie-cutter solution .

This brings us to the “Look at My Videos!” portion of this blog entry:

Up first we have my machinima video created using Second Life Firestorm Viewer, OBS, Renderforest visualization and Adobe Premiere.

(I am just as surprised as you may be that my Second Life avatar visits strippers in this video, but that’s just Second Life for you. . .)

Next we have the straight Renderforest visualization.

 

Here’s a fun Renderforest visualization which I’ve inter cut with footage of our cat, Frisk.

And finally, here are the remaining three songs from Songs to Make You Think About Words set to Renderforest visualizations.

 

Please leave any feedback or recommendations for other video creation tools in the comments. Thanks!

Newish music I worked on with producer Nahuel Bronzini.  This is a demo for a song I wrote featuring myself on vocals and keys and Nahuel on bass, keys and drum programming.  This will probably never be a finished track, but I think the demo captures the spirit of the song pretty well.

For the record, the song is not about a real divorce, it’s about the end of a band/musical partnership.  If you’ve ever been in a band and then you broke up, maybe you can relate.

 

It’s a rock and roll divorce

You can have your microphone back of course

I want to thank you for the good times

The early load-ins and the long drives

It’s a rock and roll farewell

It is with love that I say – See you in hell

I heard you singing that’s where you’ll go

We can put on a reunion show

There’s a dive bar on the corner of a daydream

And we are ripping it up, making the scene

Playing it loud, fast and mean

Like I never could

There’s a venue on the edge of space and time

And we are knocking it out just I, IV, V

That’s all you need if you’ve got the drive

And you’re good

It’s a rock and roll good-bye

They say rock and roll will never die

But bands break up all the time

So I will catch you on the flip-side

Of this rock and roll separation

There can be no reconciliation

Music is a magical force

But even magic runs its course

There’s a dive bar on the corner of a daydream

And we are ripping it up, making the scene

Playing it loud, fast and mean

Like I never could

There’s a venue on the edge of space and time

And we are knocking it out just I, IV, V

That’s all you need if you’ve got the drive

And you’re good

It’s a rock and roll the end

I will always be your friend

I want to thank you for the good times

But I think that microphone might be mine

I think that microphone is going to stay mine

There’s a dive bar on the corner of a daydream

And we are ripping it up, making the scene

Playing it loud, fast and mean

Like I never could

There’s a venue on the edge of space and time

And we are knocking it out just I, IV, V

That’s all you need if you’ve got the drive

And you’re good

And weren’t we good?

Weren’t we good?

And weren’t we good?

 

PS.  I do plan to give back the microphone

 

 

 

I was in college when I came up with these first few lines :

The people who don’t do that kind of thing had a war with the people who do

The battle line was drawn with a question – I would not do that would you?

I wouldn’t finish the song for another 30 years, but when I did I decided I wanted it to make a statement. I wanted to write a protest song.

The initial inspiration for my song, “the people who don’t do that kind of thing”, was the moral majority, a big voice in American culture in the 1980’s.  Spearheaded by Jerry Falwell,  the moral majority worked to forward conservative agendas such as curtailing the rights of women, the  LGBTQ community and minorities.  Being a young adult at the time, I was mostly incensed by their actions to censor music and lyrics.

Revisiting the ideas behind the moral majority, which was disbanded in the late 80’s,  I recognized the landscape of 2020 is much different.   The oppressive society the moral majority had been championing no longer had such a sharp focus.   The idea of of sunny, white, Christian suburbia where everyone looked and acted the same had faded.  Social media had given people a platform to express their individuality and beliefs and by doing so helped them connect with others who identified with or supported them.  The world seemed a more open and accepting place.

I wrote my song anyway.  I didn’t want the lyrics to be specific (because ambiguity feels safer) but the song is about being pro-choice.  Not only do I believe in a woman’s right to have control over her body,  but I have exercised that right and I have no regrets.  I feel it’s the only way women can have autonomy and equality.   Reproductive rights should  be protected and not dictated by a governing body.   Sadly, this is an ideology that needs constant protection. The finished chorus of the song sums up my feelings:

I have my reasons

I’m not trying to hide

I’m not trying to force anyone to my side

I respect your beliefs but let’s keep the peace

And live our own lives

Who are you to tell me what to do

When I live with what I decide

So I wrote my song, now called “Reasons”,  and I felt pretty happy with it, so much so that I decided to make a lyric video.  This was late April/early  May,  still in the time of shelter in place; I had plenty of time on my hands.  I decided the concept for my lyric video would be protests and I downloaded pictures from pro-life and pro-choice rallies and photoshopped them to show my song lyrics on the protesters’ signs.  When it came time for the chorus I decided I should be the one holding the sign, so I drove around town with blank poster board and had my son take pictures.

I began working on my video in hopes it would reach an audience that would find it empowering.

Around this time people began protesting the shelter in place orders.  That same line “Who are you to tell me what to do when I live with what I decide” took on a different meaning in this climate.    While it seemed highly unlikely my song would garner a huge audience, I did not want an audience that could misconstrue my words. A lyric video of people holding signs could be seen as commentary on the current situation.  I decided to wait out these protests before I released my video.

protest1

Then on May 26, 2020, George Floyd was senselessly murdered by the police and within a day new protests began.  Starting in Minneapolis and spreading worldwide, they are still happening as of this writing.  What started as the tragic death of one man has become a complex movement that is requiring America to examine issues that have been ever- present but unresolved in our country for a  long time – systemic racism, police brutality, social inequality.  These protests, I believe, will be history defining.

protest 2

Again, the image of someone carrying a sign was redefined by current events. With this, I abandoned the  idea of releasing my song and lyric video, at least for the time being The context of protesting belongs to another movement at this time.

I have realized that good protest songs are inclusive, specific and start from the outside and move inward, that is they begin with world events and journey to the individual’s feelings, not the other way around.   I need to  keep this in mind for next time.

If you’re interested, here is my partially finished lyric video. It’s unlisted on YouTube so only viewable here with my explanation.  The complete track is linked below.

Finally – here are some protest songs to move and inspire you, whatever your cause.  Feel free to share protest songs that speak to you in the comments.

My  shelter in place breakdown has become an existential crisis.  I’ve been creative and producing and releasing and it’s like screaming into the void.  If I make art and no one is there to receive it, is it art?  Actually, if I make art and there are people there to receive it, the question will resound even greater – is it art?

So, it is in this state of mind that I bring you my latest concept, inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

The 9 Levels of Artistic Success (as conceived by someone who never made it past level 3)

(ps. The art I’m referring to refers to a number of disciplines including music, visual arts, writing, etc. so don’t feel excluded.  We can all fail together.)

9 levels of artistic success

Level 1  – Polite encouragement from friends and family: Your initial attempts aren’t groundbreaking or breathtaking, but you might get better . . .  so friends and family may encourage you with delicately fashioned compliments like: “Wow, you’re so creative!”  and  “I like this one better than your last one.”

Level 2 – Absolute silence and avoidance from everyone:  You haven’t gotten better and you haven’t stopped.  Hopefully you’ll figure it out soon but until then friends and family will give polite acknowledgement only under pressure and total strangers will put you on ignore.

Level 3 – Light derision from fellow artists of similar talent or position:  They’ve gone through levels one and two as well and who do you think you are?  Maybe you keep bumping into each other on the same bill or have mutual friends, but they want you to know they admire your tenacity but they’d be lying if they said they’re into what you do.

Level 4 – Casual encouragement from lower level achievers with slightly more success than you and nothing to lose by encouraging you:   They’re not much further up the ladder than you, but it’s a big step – like going from elementary school to middle school.  Maybe they’re genuinely like what you’re doing or maybe it’s a sympathy nod – but they make an effort of encouragement and it means something.

Level 5 – Emphatic praise from people with less success than you hoping to receive similar encouragement from the lower level achievers:  It’s called networking.

Level 6 – Acknowledgement from higher level achievers based on the emphatic praise from the people with less success: They’ve heard of you, they think . . . they’re pretty sure they’ve heard of you.  Cool.

Level 7 – Positive interest from a general audience (not artists) based on the acknowledgement from a higher level achiever:  If those really cool people have heard of you, you must be worthwhile! (Things can go terribly wrong here.  You actually have to have a little something going on at this point otherwise, return to Level 3 and regroup).

Level 8 – Acclaim based on the positive interest from the general audience:  Cool people have heard of you, regular people have heard of you – it may take a little while for people to like what you do, but it’s supposed to be good and people will look for the good in something that is supposed to be good.

Level 9  -Wide spread derision as a backlash to acclaim:  Who the hell do you think you are?  Why are people even giving you any attention?  Lots of people can do what you do and do it better.  Congratulations – you suck!

So there you have it, my take on artistic success in 9 levels.  Am I on to something? Let me know.

And check out my latest Soundcloud track : Undivided Attention   Don’t let me languish at level 2!

At first I thought  with all this free time on my hands getting an entry together for this year’s Tiny Desk Contest would be easy, a welcome distraction. But I was wrong  and you may understand why better than I did.  I hadn’t come to terms with  the exhaustion of the sameness of each day, or the underlying anxiety of the situation which feels like a grounding hum I can’t stop or tune out.  It wears a person out after a while.  And I do feel worn out – and also shut out.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

During the first couple of weeks of Shelter in Place I turned to Facebook to feel more connected.   It did help for a while, but in time my news feed seemed to consist of a lot of  “big idea” posts – personal philosophies, positive affirmations, and  memes – the same memes over and over again.  I began to think about how weird it is we’ve all gotten used to broadcasting to an online audience.  I started to wonder if the people who post frequently are lonely – if this is their way of reaching out? Or maybe they just like to be “liked”.

Either way, I now make it a point to reach out to people individually – ask how they are doing and let them know I’m still here for them.  I’ve been lucky to have a good friend who texts me on a regular basis just to check in.   It’s always good to hear from her and  knowing she’s still thinking about me  lifts my spirits. I want to pass that good will on.   And that’s where this song came from – my desire to connect on a more personal level with some of my online friends.

So here is the 2020 NPR Tiny Desk Contest entry I pulled together yesterday, two days before the deadline.  The song is called “Undivided Attention”.  Thanks for listening!

Undivided Attention

Tell me something real
Something only you would say
Don’t need to be clever or wise
Don’t let ego get in the way

You have so much to share
And you’re reaching out again
I’m never sure if you’re looking for
An audience or a friend

And what I have to give
Is something very small and something very big
Don’t need to sell me on your higher intentions
Just speak to me
Speak to me
Speak just to me
You have my undivided attention

I know what it’s like
When you’re longing to be heard
You shout your lofty aspirations to the world
And time swallows every word

So come down from your tower
And speak to me direct
One on one we’ll find common ground
Maybe we can reconnect

And what I have to give
Is something very small and something very big
Don’t need to sell me on your higher intentions
Just speak to me
Speak to me
Speak just to me
You have my undivided attention

copyright 2020 Paula Boyd Sutor

 

You can be a patron of the arts! Doesn’t that sound sophisticated?

During this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders (which I heartily endorse) musicians are losing out on income because bars and clubs have closed down. Bandcamp is trying to help out by waiving their revenue fee tomorrow – Friday, March 20th. That means 100% of the money you pay for the music goes to the artist. You can read all about it here:https://daily.bandcamp.com/fea…/bandcamp-covid-19-fundraiser

Now is a great time to discover new music and support artists who may be struggling financially. Here’s some recommendations to get you started. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Karina Denike
https://karinadenike.bandcamp.com/

About: Karina Denike is a S.F. songstress, chanteuse, arranger and songwriter who sings her way across many genres of music. Her original tunes are a haunting combo of 30’s seaside shanties, 60’s girl group harmony and noir soundtracks. You may also know her voice from her other groups: Dance Hall Crashers, The Cottontails, Mr. Lonesome & The Bluebelles, Ralph Carney’s serious jass Project and many more.

My take: You will fall in love with Karina’s voice the first time you hear it. “Golden Kimonos” is my favorite track off her album, Under Glass.

0006454630_10

Lily Taylor
https://lilytaylor.bandcamp.com/

My take: I discovered Lily Taylor through her work with Karina Denike. Her music is beautiful and experimental and showcases her lush vocals.

Deborah Crooks
https://deborahcrooks.bandcamp.com/

About: California-based songwriter Deborah Crooks’ music draws on folk, rock, and the Blues. Her diverse, ever-evolving artistic path has included studying writing and poetics at The Naropa Institute, voice in India, co-founding the band Bay Station, and gigging throughout the Western US.

My take: Poignant Americana, reminiscent of Lucinda Williams

Eki Shola
https://ekishola.bandcamp.com/

About: A talented vocalist and pianist, Eki Shola’s music transcends genre, as she seamlessly draws from jazz, electronica, and world to create her own sonic landscape. Her music has been described as “…sound art to be used to trigger thought and encourage love and beauty through rhythm and unique composition.”
Her personal story was featured in a PBS TV special, “The New Normal: Visions of Healing”

My take: Beautiful, genre-defying music that blends jazz and electronica.

0005074860_10

Little Spiral
https://littlespiral.bandcamp.com/

About: a.k.a. Suzanne Yada, is a piano-pop singer-songwriter who writes at the intersection of technology and heart. She mixes her indie pop, classical, blues and electronic influences with her background in poetry, media and the internet to create clever little piano pop songs for the digital age. Fans of Tori Amos, Mary Lambert, Fiona Apple & Regina Spektor will feel right at home.

My take: Thought provoking lyrics and mad piano skills.

Eu4ic
https://eu4ic.bandcamp.com/

About: In the 2010’s, a post-religion woman muses over our day and age to deep, hypnotic soundscapes, beats and big basslines.

My take: Shimmering beats, lovely vocals and introspective lyrics.

Raven State
https://ravenstate.bandcamp.com/

About: Raven State is a guitar-driven rock band from the San Francisco Bay Area with the spirit of The Stooges and patience of Pink Floyd. At times haunting and atmospheric, pop hooks combined with soulful harmonies keep the dark, hopeless melodies from destroying the future in the hearts of mankind. Their self-titled debut EP is available now. Enjoy.

My take: The Pink Floyd influence is strong in this band!

Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday seemed like the perfect time for this song although I no longer observe the tradition. Fun fact: where I’m from (Pennsylvania Dutch country) it’s called Fastnacht Day.

The song is about saying good bye to something that was fun but probably not good for you, and convincing yourself you’re fine with that.

I got extra fancy for the video by breaking out the glitter eye make up and let me tell you – that stuff is not easily removed! I will be dazzling my co-workers for the rest of the week despite all my best efforts

As always, thanks for watching!

 

 

Good Time

I don’t think about you that much anymore

I just don’t think about you that much anymore

Though we had such good times

Everybody likes good times

I know you always hoped it might be something more

But I am certain there is nothing to explore

Though we had such good times

Everybody likes good times

Every day is a parade

And every night is a celebration

But when the party’s over tell me

Where is our foundation?

There’ll be good times

There’ll be bad times

You don’t get to pick or choose

If you can’t hold me through the sad times

Baby, we’re gonna lose

So I don’t think about you that much anymore

I just don’t think about you – no

Though we had such good times

Everybody likes good times

We had such good times

Everybody likes good times

We had such good times

But they were just good times

And now they’re through

I’m over you

 

copyright Paula Sutor 2018

worldview changing

I came across this short article on HuffPost last night: Finneas Reveals Hidden Sounds In ‘Bad Guy’ And Our Worldview Is Changed and I could not resist writing a response.

The gist of the article is that Billie Eillish’s brother, Finneas, who produced her Grammy award winning album, revealed he subtly incorporated sound recordings of every day occurrences/items into the music. Examples given in the article include the sound of dental equipment and a crosswalk warning signal.

My first thought was – what has journalism come to? This is an article summarizing a TV interview that’s been given a sensationalized headline (Worldview changing?!?! Really?!?) just to entice people to click on it. (And I did!) But then the author declared Finneas’ method of using these every day recordings as genius and I thought: “Damn! I must be a genius too!”

Now, it’s true I never swept the Grammys so I guess I’m not quite on the same level as Finneas and his sister, but I have been using recordings of everyday items in my music for a long time and I’m pretty sure I’m not the first or last musician/producer to do that. In fact a quick web search will turn up many articles like this one giving details on unlikely sounds that have been used in pop songs in recent years.

I want to make it clear I’m not dissing Billie Eillish and her brother at all. I really liked “Bury a Friend” and “Bad Guy” the first 100 or so times I heard them and I also appreciate that she has achieved this level of success by bringing a whole new style to the table and not showing off her body. No, I just think the framing of the article was ridiculous and I’m using that ridiculousness as a jumping off point to make it about me – because I’m pretty sure that’s how the internet works these days.

So without further ado, here are three times I was a “genius” and used everyday recordings in my music.

“So Bad” – a copy machine

I found volunteering at my son’s school highly creative work and here’s proof: around 0:08, there’s two claps followed  by a sound like a phased drum; that’s the copy machine at my son’s elementary school recorded while making copies for the book fair.

“Body”  – a washing machine

The song begins with a drum roll and rhythm beneath the drum roll that continues throughout the song.  That rhythm is the sound of the washing machine at my friend Gina’s house.   Lucky for me, Gina does a lot of laundry even when she has house guests – had she not I probably would not have been inspired to write this song about David Bowie’s passing.

“Fan Fic” – a breast pump

 

Ah – my old Roland SP-555 sampler!  I loved that thing and I sold it thinking I was trading up to a better piece of equipment and I wasn’t.  I miss it so much!

Anyway – this song is at least ten years old and I had just come through a  year or so of occasionally pumping breast milk for my son.  The sound the pump made was unique and I started hearing voices in it – like singing voices, not like voices telling me to do things.  In this clip at the 30 second mark (after I finish pushing the “I play a sexy serial killer” button far too  many times) I hit the drums and a loop of the breast pump sound.  To me it sounds like voices singing “usha-may   usha-may  usha-may”.  Sadly this sound loop did not make it to the final recording of the song years later.

So there you have it, my favorite moments of “genius” from my songs.  If you have your own to add or know of other songs that use interesting sounds feel free to leave a reply!

 

 

Last week I logged in to Facebook and was instantly clobbered with some information that in all honesty means nothing to me. It has zero impact on my relationship with my husband, my relationship with my children, my job, my education, or my health; it has absolutely no bearing on anything important in my life. And yet it hit me. It hit me so hard that I bled out this song in 20 minutes.

I have to be honest, it’s been a long time since I just kind of zinged out a song at that speed. Part of the expedited songwriting process involved ignoring my inner critic who kept telling me it was derivative and melodramatic. Instead, I wanted to see if I could write with the same urgency I had when I was young . I also wanted to express the feelings you get when something you were certain you had gotten over swiftly proves you wrong.

Ultimately the song is a bit melodramatic and most likely comes from the place of a bruised ego – thus the strong emotions – but I’m grateful I was able to sit with my feelings and express them rather than keep them tamped down. I think we tend to do that as we get older and it feels much better to just get it out there. Is it an earth shattering work illuminating the human condition? Nah – not really, but it’s how I felt at the moment. I’m gonna go with that.

Also, I want to add that even though the vocal performance is not stellar (I have never liked my voice and life experience has shown me I’m not alone in that) I’m very grateful to be taking voice lessons again. This time I’m approaching my voice as an instrument, learning about it, putting in some work and practice. I can already hear and feel the benefits. The greatest benefit for me at the moment is not feeling pain and tension in my throat when I sing.

Even though I’m not sure how much of a future this song has in my repertoire, I’m still happy to have taken the time to write and perform it. And if you’ve ever had that moment when an old wound opens up unexpectedly and you recognize that it still hurts, this is for you.

Still Hurts

It was something not meant to be
Didn’t work out, at least not for me
And in the thick of it I tore myself apart
Thought I could make it mine with only my will
It pushed back hard, I’ve got the bruises still
And all the while I swore I was following my heart

And I’m better now
I don’t know how
Cause it chewed me up and spit me out
I landed hard but I made it through the worst
And I’m stronger now
I don’t know how
It politely ripped my insides out
I’m passed that all
Just now and then it still really hurts

If you work hard and you truly believe
There is nothing you can’t achieve
That’s what I heard, guess I heard it wrong
And it’s still there so big and so bright
I will never know what it’s really like
So I find my own path and move along

And I’m better now
I don’t know how
Cause it chewed me up and spit me out
I landed hard but I made it through the worst
And I’m stronger now
I don’t know how
It politely ripped my insides out
I’m passed that all
Just now and then it still really hurts

copyright 2020 P. Sutor

Young Gods and Fresh Horses

Posted: September 9, 2019 in music
Tags: , , ,

The_Sun_and_Moon_Arvakr_Alsvin_Svalin_Aldsvider_Hrimfaxi_Skinfaxi1

 

I offered myself up to the movie gods and I said give me a story to tell

I wasn’t blessed with the face of saint or the voice of an angel

And I am not here to ride in this rodeo, though I’ve tried, lord knows I’ve tried

There’s no going back, guess I’m moving on – give me

Young gods and fresh horses to ride

There’s a season to sow and there’s one to reap, but on a day off in between

You might take a step back and decide you need to know what it means

And you will search everywhere just to find yourself, but truth is truth don’t hide

I’m through with that trip, let’s get on with it – give me

Young gods and fresh horses to ride

Ain’t no reason to let it go just yet

Ain’t no reason to take it slow, you bet

You better make a move, you better do it soon

Each fading breath reminds you

The best of your days might be behind you

I offered myself up to the movie gods and I said give me a story to sell

The seeds of my youth did not produce all that well

And I have traveled on the tides of my shifting desires

thinking time was on my side

It’s too late to win, it’s too soon to quit – give me

Young gods and fresh horses to ride

© 2019 – Paula Sutor