This past week was the three year anniversary of my moving to Nashville, TN and leaving Charlotte, NC. That transition was a period of tumultuous change for me. I was headed into a new geographic space and leaving a previous home behind. Since I am all too sentimental, this was very difficult for me.
[caption id="attachment_1236" align="aligncenter" width="170" caption="3 years ago with long hair!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1238" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="And now with my buzz cut!"][/caption]
Needless to say, I've built a modest existence here Nashville, and so I thought I'd do a quick run-down of what I've accomplished since moving here.
--I've had the chance to spend lots and lots of time with my family. I guess I'm making up for the 8 years I lived away and on my own. With my Mom and her husband, sisters, brother-in-law, 3 cool nephews, and one darling niece, there is NEVER a dull, monotonous moment. We've all shared numerous delicious meals and much laughter. It's all good.
--I've met and befriended several incredibly talented artists and musicians in this town. There's no shortage of folks who play music around here. They are everywhere, and I'm proud to count quite a few of them as friends of mine.
--I recorded my first full-length album of music. This was no easy task as it required skills and resources that I had never tapped into before. Seriously, it was a GARGANTUAN undertaking--lining up all kinds of musicians, laying down different tracks and multiple vocals, recording in a real studio off of music row, arranging the music, mastering, cd artwork and photograhy, etc., etc . . . . This list was endless. (I was fortunate to have found a very competent and kind producer to help me build this thing.) Then, I had to switch gears when it was done in order to sell and promote it--booking and promoting a CD Release Show (which went well by the way), delivering the music to multiple online vendors and record stores, creating promo material and photos, etc., etc. . . . . I'm still promoting the album now almost seven months later, and I'm thankful to have an actual album to sell at my shows.
--I've been blessed to do shows and perform at several venues here in Music City . . .
3rd and Lindsley
Edgehill Studios Cafe
It's been a fun ride, and I've enjoyed performing more and more every time.
--I made the transition from just performing solo to actually playing with a full band. Last August, I enlisted a drummer and bassist for the first time ever to play shows with me. This was nerve-wracking because when you play solo you can do whatever the heck you want with the music. I've always been prone to making last minute changes, switching up the music even as I am playing it, and going off in little piano tangents when I've felt inclined. Performing with other musicians transforms the music into a shared space. This meant that I couldn't just change a chorus or the tempo whenever. I had to clue them all in to what I was doing-- a relatively new thing for me. Otherwise, I actually prefer playing in a band now than playing solo. It creates multiple new options for the music, and more often then not, me and my band mates get in a zone in which we ride on the same wavelength on stage. It feels almost euphoric when you are connected with another musician in this way--deeply moving to the rhythm, rising and falling to the highs and lows of the song. It's magically transcendent and just plain fun when this happens.
--I've become far more computer and internet savvy. Promoting music across multiple formats (myspace, facebook, virb, iLike, twitter, amazon, cdbaby, itunes, etc.) will do this to an Asian. In this three years, I now have a full-fledged official website and this blog that you are reading right now in addition to everything else. All of this takes time and a great deal of thought to implement and follow through on.
Well, this is all that I can think of in a nutshell. All in all, I feel that I have grown exponentially since moving here. There have been experiences that have changed me for the better.
Next year, I think I'll look back again. I have some huge and formidable challenges ahead of me in the next 12 months, and I'm gathering all of my resources and all that I've learned in order to stare them down competently.
It's going to be quite a story to tell at the end of it all.
Happy Sunday everyone!
I forgot you hadn't lived here a LOT longer than myself, or Tony. I enjoyed reading about your transition....I'm very sentimental, and it was a big transition for me when I moved as well!
love you gordo! 3
So, this has been one heck of a year for me. In a nutshell, here are a few highlights: 1. Finished work on my debut album "Seahorses". This included getting all the recording finished, designing the album cover/insert/artwork, securing all the rights, mixing and mastering the songs, sending it all to the manufacturing company, paying for it all, and squealing with high-pitched glee as they all arrived safely at my doorstep. I feel tired just having written this. [caption id="attachment_309" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My Debut Album (Isn't it lovely?)"][/caption] 2. Performed several shows with my band. This marked the end of my solo era. (I will mainly perform with other musicians from now on. It's just too fun.) The first half of the year was spent working on the album and preparing for the second half. Here are the events and venues where I played my music in the summer and fall of 2008: The Amnesty International Benefit Concert (Charlotte, NC) The Rutledge (Nashville, TN) Cafe Coco (Nashville, TN) Loudhouse Coffee (Greenbrier, TN) 3rd and Lindsley (CD Release! Nashville, TN) Revive Coffeehouse (Nashville, TN) Charlotte Business Guild Holiday Celebration (Charlotte, NC) Pura Vida's Gypsy Lounge (Charlotte, NC) [caption id="attachment_388" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Performing at "Seahorses" CD Release Show."][/caption] 3. After 10 years of carrying me safely EVERYWHERE, I said farewell to my little Toyota truck Delilah. She is with a new driver now somewhere here in Nashville. I miss her . . . . [caption id="attachment_180" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="So cute and pretty . . ."][/caption] 4. I finally got a new car with all the fixin's, gizmos, and gadgets. His name is Balthazar. He's a black Toyota Corolla. As it happens, he's very camera shy, but you can see him peeking through in this photo . . . 5. The phenomenon that is Oreo and Buttercup happened. They are on a mission to travel around the world, and I am here to document all of the insanity along the way. Here is the first of many pictures I've posted . . . [caption id="attachment_70" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Oreao and Buttercup stuck in the Grass AGAIN"][/caption] All of this is just off the top of my head. 2009 has a lot more in store including a ton of shows in various places, a whole lot of promotion for the album, and all kinds of new stuff!!!!!!! For starters, Oreo and Buttercup take on Seattle and Atlanta!!! More on this later. So long 2008!! You have been very kind and gracious to me! Welcome 2009!! Bring it on! -g
I started playing gigs when I was 16 years old in coffee shops and small venues. It was easy to pack out the place with friends and peers from school, looking for something to do. The music I wrote was raw then, lyrics coming from places of deep hurt and life experience. Performing was being heard. Performing was telling me story.
But the music industry isn't necessarily the friendliest toward introverts and highly sensitive people, especially when you're both, like me. I tried my hand at self-promotion, recording a professional demo, and winning a residency at a local pub for a few months. I was starting to get some name recognition in town until an ex-fan threatened to kill me in a guitar shop. Then, I shut it all down. I wasn't even famous and someone wanted me six feet under.
One thing that always discouraged me was how easy the musician lifestyle seemed to be for some of my peers. For example, Nick Jenkins is this amazing percussionist who conducts the most beautiful experiments with his music, including silent discos. That guy can play anywhere and anytime he wants. His name is said with a certain amount of awe in the Holy City. Same goes for sultry lass Lindsay Holler who writes some gut-wrenching and heartbreaking ballads, in charge of an affair called Holy City Cold Heart Revival. But after some reflection, I realized that folks like these have something in common.
Everything is for the music.
Today, the musicians who make it are the ones who leave it all behind for their craft. Jobs are for buying instruments, equipment, and sustenance. School is for furthering your abilities. Relationships are muses and come second to the music. At least, that's what I'm seeing. I'm finally realizing that music was never it for me. It was a hobby, a way to vent, a form of therapy. I didn't make it because I wasn't willing to go all in. At least, not yet.