A little personal intro from your truly
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I really enjoyed watching the Oscars on Sunday night. In fact, I usually enjoy watching the Academy Awards more than I like watching the Grammys, which may seem odd since I’m a musician and not a filmmaker or actress. But my preference for the Oscars comes from more than just the pretty dresses, or lack of twerking. My overall impression of the Academy Awards is that it truly exists to celebrate the art of filmmaking from start to finish. The Oscars make a point to highlight each and every step it took to bring the film to its final manifestation, and to give recognition to all the artists and creative spirits who participated along the way. The screenwriter, director, sound mixer, sound engineer, costumer, make-up sand hair stylists and so many other critical contributors are given the opportunity to be publicly honored and celebrated for all the work they did behind the scenes. By the time the awards ceremony gets to its pinnacle prize for best picture, the audience and viewers have a greater appreciation for just how much work went into the production of each movie and the level of expertise required.
The Grammy’s take a very different approach. Now, there is certainly no shortage of Grammy categories. However, all the nominations and awards go to the artist. Whether it is best album, record, song of the year, country performance, R&B Solo performance or any one among the plethora of Grammy awards, the artist is the one who goes on stage to collect the award and all the glory and recognition that accompanies it. With the exception of those who are steeped in the industry and know what producers or writers or engineers worked on certain songs, the only person the general public associates with any album or song is the artist.
This is disconcerting not only because it means that those who poured their time and talents into any musical project (often just as much as the artist did) do not get the public recognition and honor they deserve, but because I feel it contributes to an attitude that is plaguing the music industry.
People don’t buy music. We hear and read about it all the time. Record companies are scrambling to find alternative way to recoup the tens of thousands of dollars they spend making an album, because the record sales alone may not cover the expense. Now, there are a multitude of reasons why consumers feel entitled to be able to access their favorite songs for free (or nearly free). Certainly, technology file sharing, and all things like that are a factor. But Many people, even those who are avid music fans, have no idea how a single song is recorded. I’ve had to explain to my own family how involved and labor intensive it was to record even my 4-song EP! Many people who are music consumers do not have an appropriate appreciation for how many people it actually takes to make a record worth listening to. And the awards show, that is supposedly intended to celebrate the art of making music and all that goes into process, is not helping to cultivate said appreciation. No wonder it’s so easy on someone’s conscience to torrent a song for free when they feel like the only person missing out on the sale is a celebrity artist who is getting plenty of moolah from his or her H&M ad campaign.
I don’t expect the Grammy’s to change because of my one blog post. However, watching the Oscars got me thinking that maybe we, the music makers, need to be the first to showcase all that goes into the recording and releasing of our beloved songs, and to honor those that have worked tirelessly by our side in the name of creating beautiful, musical art.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the Oscars, or Grammy’s or your theories on why music consumers don’t always purchase their songs or albums. I would also love to hear ideas about how we can best celebrate the talented people who work behind the scenes of any record production!
Go to the “Store” page to get Kate’s brand new debut EP now! You can also download the single “Cherry Tree” for free by signing up for the mailing list to the right.
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Thank you so much for your continued love and support
I love doing jobs that engage creative parts of my brain. I love writing music, lyrics, performing singing, and I even like practicing creativity in the business aspects of my music career. The only problem is, I don’t always FEEL creative. In fact, sometime I don’t feel like doing much besides curling up on the couch and watching the most recent episode of New Girl (any other fans out there?). I have a feeling some, if not most,of you have experienced this.
But yesterday I had a breakthrough! I had spent the day traveling around NYC talking with groups of teens about healthy decision making. It was cold and rainy, I was tired and had a pounding headache. I was scheduled to record vocals that night, and I was not feeling particularly motivated – even to do the thing I love most! I had to be at the studio by 6:30, which meant between 4:15 and 6:00 I had to do 30 minutes of cardio exercise (because that helps open up your lungs and improves vocal performance), shower, and do vocal warm-ups, so there wasn’t time for me to veg out and recharge before recording. I’m sure this sob story is not unfamiliar to anyone.
But I made a choice: I pushed through. I drank some water, took a Tylenol for my headache and made myself go to the gym. Those of you who are exercise guru’s will not be surprised at this, but about 10 minutes into my treadmill-jog, I actually felt BETTER! By the time I got done running and stretching I felt downright energized and empowered. I was going to conquer that recording session!
This is actually not a post about exercising. But the experience at the gym reminded me that sometimes doing the very thing I am dreading is the thing that will get me out of my slump. Making myself go to the gym, or clean the apartment, or finish that song that keeps stumping me may actually be the key to pushing past that defeated, headache feeling. I’m not saying never rest (I love a good afternoon siesta!) but sometimes that extra push will actually get you over the hump and into a place where inspiration comes more freely and naturally.
I know I’m probably not the first one to experience this, so I would love to hear your story about how you got past a creative-block!
I recently took a short flight to Nashville from Philly. Well, actually series of short flights from Philly, to Chicago, to Nashville. Who decided Chicago was a logical, on-the-way stop to Nashville, I don’t know. I always pack books and journals to occupy myself while flying, but most of the time I just end up gazing out the window looking at the clouds. This time, while staring out that little (yet sturdy) piece of plexiglass, I realized something that applied pretty directly to me life.
When you look out an airplane window, you are forced to be very present. I mean, you can still day dream while you look at the clouds, which is what I do, but it is precisely the looking that makes you be present. The way the plane and windows are set up, the only thing you can see is where you currently are. You can’t look behind you to see the city you just left, you certainly can’t look in front of you towards where you’re going. You get one viewing option and it’s where you are at that moment.
I have a tendency of being anywhere but the present. I sometimes dwell in the past, nostalgically wanting to return to the source of some previous happiness. Or wishing something had happened differently and I get hung up on what I should have said or done. I also tend to get stuck in the future, wondering where I am ultimately headed with my life, or paralyzing myself due to my indecisiveness about what I should be doing later that night…
Needless to say, all these things pull me away from being present, and ultimately enjoying where I am at that moment. If i’m stuck stuck on what did happen, or stressed about what might happen, I totally miss what is currently happening. So I appreciate moments that force me to be present, like riding in an airplane and staring out the window. These moments help me to practice the art of noticing beautiful things right in front of me.
This really stuck with me. I had been awaiting spring for what seemed like forever! The temperature never seemed to be rising above 52 degrees, it was frequently rainy and windy and simply not the time of flowers and warmth I had been anticipating after this long winter. This particular spring day, however, was starting to show some promise. And that’s when I realized, promise is exactly what spring is all about.
The months of March, April, and May can be confusing months. The weather is unpredictable, you never know what to wear, its cold in the morning and sometimes warm in the afternoon. It starts to get warm enough for flowers to come out of hiding, and there’s a sudden frost. But embedded in these months is the promise of warmer weather and sunshine, and a promise of release from the bitterness and confinement of winter.
Everything seems to be speaking of the tension between what is already occuring, and what has not yet happened. I is probably still a bit cold out, but the sun is just starting to make it’s rays felt. The trees and forming buds, which will soon burst into full green leaves. The blossoms and flowers are offering their first colors to a setting made bland by winter. People too, come out of hiding and commune in parks together and venture to leave the heavy coats at home. For all who take the time to notice these sometimes subtle and slow changes, there is a rush of hope. Hope in being able to enjoy fresh air and freedom from gloves and scarves. Hope in the beauty of nature that increases by the day. And hope in the energy, happiness and fun that accompany summer and warmer weather.
That’s that why quote hit me so much. I could easily stay in winter mode, ducking my head through the wind and complaining about what has not yet happened. But as I experience such excitement in the little glimpses of the changing seasons, I want to bring springtime to my relationships. I want our conversations and interactions to be filled with hope and joyful anticipation. To those people who feel as though they are in an unending winter, I want to bring the promise of good things to come. This April, I’m determined to cultivate my optimism and joy, so that I can be an active participant in the hope of Spring.