Long title. Big album. 30 years in the making, you could
It began with the grandiose, evocative and purposeful melodies
of the pentacostal Baptist movement and moved through the raw,
smoke-filled, beer-smelling couches, gay/lesbian festivals and
bars, hometown pubs and city cafes of 1990s New Zealand. The
visceral power of melody combined with a strong back-beat and the
evocative twang of the electric guitar.
I began a parallel career in music teaching and delved into
writing musicals and music for children's theater (I've composed
for Tim Bray Productions for 10 years now). I developed an appetite
for non-traditional music-making listening to bands like STOMP
.Through an album collaboration with Steve Garden I was introduced
to contemporary New Zealand music. The works of David Downes and
John Psathas exuded an exciting energy and melding of sound texture
A degree in Sonic Arts Composition at Victoria University
brought about a massive shift in my approach to sound as a
compositional tool and allowed me to explore creative process more
deeply. For a time it even led me to question the validity of
songwriting. But life back out of the academic institution and a
break-up put paid to that, and began a year of grief and emptying
out on a number of levels.
This new album gathers not just my own personal heartbreaks but
the various creative methodologies I've used and appreciated over
time. Through images and symbols of conveyor belts, Russian dolls,
turnstiles, and creatures of the deep, I've allowed myself to move
through the world of metaphor. I stuck pictures up on my wall and I
mined them. The pictures became collages, and the collages gave way
to songs. The songs gave me the sense that the deepest parts of me
had been heard.
I am very grateful to have received funding from Creative New
Zealand for half of the project, and I am now asking for your help
to complete the mastering and production of the album along with a
simple video. If 234 people gave $30.00 I'd be all set. But of
course, feel free to give less, or more, or just pass on this link.
I'm grateful for any and all support.
A huge bouquet of gratitude to Tommy Morum-Kelly
(firstname.lastname@example.org) for his stupendous work on the video. He
has totally captured the essence of the song in conveying the heart
of this project to you.
I want very much to share this collection of songs with others,
especially those who have experienced loss. It's easily the most
personally true, heartfelt, and complete body of work I have ever
produced. This album is a reminder for me, and I hope, a gift to
all who want to listen.
Thank you for your support.
The Halfway Point....
2 DAYS AGO
So I'm halfway through this ride called The Boosted Fundraiser Campaign.
The 'campaign' has become a bit of a marker for the passing of time and things that can happen in people's lives.
Last year was my year of grief and of emptying out. Honestly - that's what it was. I managed to work - but aside from that I felt cut off from the world - nothing made sense - not the News, not Facebook not anything.
There was nothing I could hang my hat on - I felt aloof from the rest of the world. I was disconnected from myself.
I have often felt like a person operating in isolation from the world somehow. I value my own company but also maybe used that as a way to protect from the world. Community is a nice idea but it can be dangerous. It can hurt you. And the hurts of others can be too hard to bear.
Last year I felt alone. Alone from others. Alone from myself. Somehow I allowed the hurt to really take me down. I had enough support and I grabbed the light when I could.
Through all of that I started to make a collage on my bedroom wall.
Grief turned into utter meaningless and emptiness. The collage turned into songs.
Since that time I have slowly become a part of the world - not pushing it away - but inviting in the hurts of others because I met my own and I gave it the space it needed.
So days when one is trying to finish an album are sometimes ordinary, sometimes ordinary with subtle difference, and sometimes blaring like a fog horn.
My dog loves to roll in horse shit. I hate this. The dung of horses should be buried in the snad. Those horse owners should get down off their high horses with a spade and dig a hole and bury that dung before my dog gets to it.
The other day I managed to find the big pile of dung first. I covered it with sand and put a stick in it as a marker so I could beat him to it on the way back.
That day, instead, he rolled in a half decayed stingray and a dead puffer fish.
I spoke to a woman in a primary school playground whose job for the day was to follow a young boy around because he is diabetic and his levels can drop very quickly. He wears a helmet so she can identify him and seems to feel like royalty.
Loved ones of loved ones are being diagnosed with illnesses. Another loved one has gone to suicide.
My 1% friend from the start of the campagin was given a free ticket "to the fricking ROLLING STONES!"
I went to a cafe the other day and two women had t-shirts on that said 'Believe'.
Life is strange, vibrant, grotesque, comedic. And in the middle of it all, I found myself through these songs.
This collage won't mean anything to you, but for me each part had a story. You all have your stories that come to you in odd little coincidences. Notice them and they will give you your own type of song.
A Day in the Life....
1 WEEK AGO
So it's rather an odd thing. I have launched this 'campaign' and the result of it is I feel like I'm sitting in a time bubble. Everything is accentuated for 30 days.
This is Day 4 and a Thursday - my busiest of teaching days, and yet, always in the back of my mind is the thought - I have this 'thing' I'm doing. I have 26 days to do this thing. I really need to be doing something.
So I send out messages and I will blog, and I set up radio interviews, but even despite all that, the world goes on without me. I find an email to say another person has given a koha. Someone has, through the marvels of modern technology, caught my video through the ether and watched it. The song and the images have travelled down the neuropathways of their brain into some place of resonance and they have clicked some buttons to show their love. An old friend, a relative, a young boy's pocketmoney, a family I teach. It's incredible really - this all happens while I navigate the recesses of my own brain.
My awareness about how I spend my time is heightened as well as the noticing and collating of interesting aspects of my day.
Today, for example, I took my dog for a break walk between students and spotted a Little Pony sitting on the front edge of the school. You know A LITTLE PONY. One of THE Little Ponies! And it was the colour that has been grabbing my attention for some time now.
The school had an emergency lockdown drill. Weird times we live in - practicing crawling behind desks. But schools need to do these things. And they do to make life as safe as possible for all who go.
I also had a student tell me that my album title was waaaaaaay long. His suggestion for an alternative is way cool and, if the content of the album wasn't so damn serious I might consider it. The new working title:
When things that hurt heal....Bam. Done.
I'm also entering a time where the practicalities of life start to elude me a little. There are a few more dishes than usual. My office in a car is looking like one. I now have to wear the really good shoes I bought for a wedding out because my usual skater shoes have holes and I'm starting to tire of having wet socks.
But this is all because I'm still trying to decide which drum sound to have in bar 54 of that song. And I'm doing this thing.
And - unlike any other time I have 'made my art' I'm trying to stay connected to people. Because having seen myself for who I am - the loneliness, the meaningless, the grief of 2017, I know for real how important people are to have and to hold.
Thank you to the people who have held me thus far. I hope that I and these songs hold you.
1 WEEK AGO
Well - I'm 24 hours in on this crazy adventure called Boosted.
Life lesson #1 - people are generous, people are kind, people LOVE seeing you do things!
I launched the page Monday evening and awoke to find I already had ONE Donor - all the way from Berlin, Germany - my beloved family/friend Hinemoana Baker had tipped me onto 1% of my target and now all I can think is "Hinemoana, this may be the only time you can lay claim to being the 1%"
Life lesson #2 - life continues to happen - all around us. While I am burying myself in decisions over song mixes, cover art and deadlines - people are taking people to hospitals for check ups, people are losing loved ones and grieving. All of these things and more are happening all of the time.
The songs on this album came from a year where I went through intense feelings of loss and emptiness. People everywhere are trying to make sense of loss. Yet even as I write this post another donation arrives and I am moved again with gratitude and wonder. People get up again and reach out in spite of whatever is going on in their lives.
Today I saw the most amazing rainbow - I rushed to photograph it but it remained. I went into my house for an hour - came out and it was still there.
Thank you all - you beautiful human beings.