You may recall that I’d just finished a publicity tour for my psychological suspense novel, Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon at the end of 2019 before starting FAWM on February 1st. Well, during the tour, I’d written a poem about the book here.
FAWM 2020, my third FAWM (February Album Writing Month), is over and I survived – lol! From various EDM subgenres to Rock to Blues to Disco, I managed to create 16 songs, including 1 collab, and a poem that was completely rewritten by the time it made it to the finals with some music.
Here’s a playlist of my 10 favorite songs for FAWM 2020.
Wow! The thing I thought would never happen happened! Screamie Birds is now the #1 EDM artist in Las Vegas on Reverbnation.
I’ve bounced around between #2 and #10, but mostly keeping steady at #2. Last week I went from #2 to #3. But now, for the first time I’m the #1 EDM artist in Las Vegas on Reverbnation. I thought it would never happen! So stoked! Time to create some music!
Many of you blogging this blogmas have mentioned the books you’ve enjoyed reading over the holidays. And in the past, that might have been me, too, especially if you mean fiction. But this year I’ve been cramming learning Ableton Live, taking tutorials and reading non fiction books. Gearing up for FAWM (“February Album Writing Month”), I guess
Logic Pro X is my DAW of choice but as an EDM producer, I wanted to learn Ableton Live. It seems so suited to the music genre. But it’s been quite a struggle in some ways, in others it’s been a breeze. I think that’s because each DAW specializes in different areas. I can sit down and start creating a song right away in Logic Pro, in Ableton, it seems the simplest things are the most difficult. But when it comes to mastering more of the advanced features in music production, Ableton seems to do it much more easily.
And while I’ve been madly applying myself to music tutorials for Ableton, I stumbled upon some really cool ones for Logic Pro, too, and have learned some interesting things I’m quite excited about. What to do, what to do? Ableton Live or Logic Pro? Well, I suppose I really don’t have to choose because I imagine it’s good for a producer to know more than one DAW. The real choice is which one do I use in the moment? lol!
There are a lot of tutorials out there, but it can be challenging following along. Sometimes they use third party plug-ins that you don’t have or their techniques zip past you so fast, you can’t possibly keep up. I’ve probably tried dozens just on one site. Anyway, here’s a sample song I managed to figure out in Ableton Live (via Groove3) from programming drums and synths to mixing and adding special effects such as EQ, reverb, and automation.
War of Art by Steven Pressfield was one of the books circling the Writing Community back when I first started writing. For some reason, I recently dug it out (on Kindle) and reread it. And then I downloaded the follow-up book Do the Work. I highly recommend it if you have any desire at all about pursuing art as a profession instead of a hobby or anything in-between.
I’ve been juggling writing and music, unsure about how to pursue which one. Is one my profession and the other hobby or both professions or both hobbies? What do I really want to accomplish with either?
One reason I did the December book tour for Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon and #Blogmas featuring all of my books, was to see if I could get my writing career back moving in the forward direction it had been moving before social media and the new algorithm, before the saturation of other books and writers, before fantasy and vampires and erotica took over the world (or whatever it was that halted that forward momentum), to see how serious readers and the Universe are about me as a writer. But, perhaps, the real reason for the turn was to turn me toward my real calling, which just might be music.
I’ve tried to pursue both, but I really think you need to choose one or the other if you’re going to pursue any as a profession. Besides the tours, as a good-bye salute, I’ve also made sure all of my books are available in paperback as well as Kindle. Some had only been available in digital form. I guess I’m wrapping things up to prepare the way to move on.
Of course, if the world clamors for my books on Amazon, breathing new life into my writing career, okay, then I’ll get that message to keep providing new books. Otherwise, I’m going to assume music is my future calling and 2020 is the time to go all in.
It’s that time of year when we start looking back over the year to see how we did in whatever we’d hoped to pursue or accomplish at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve the year before.
So, as I start to look back on 2018, I realize there were many firsts for me musically. And while February may have brought my second FAWM, July through September enticed me to try my first 50/90 (write 50 songs in 90 days challenge). During that time, I even took on the challenge of trying out Ableton Live 10 (Standard Version). I’m now upgrading to Suite with so much more to learn yet.
All of that was so much fun, making friends and sharing music with other musicians, I couldn’t resist participating in my first Rocktober (Rock cover songs done your way) in October. Now I’m counting down to the next FAWM, looking forward to meeting up with some of my new friends, to see what they’re doing musically, and to see how far I hope to come by February.
Listening to some of the songs I wrote/produced this year, one of my favorites is Pop the Clutch:
I’ve really had it with YouTube allowing bogus copyright claims on music producer’s content. For one thing, Apple Loops are royalty free and can be used anywhere. Nobody can claim copyright on them. But it keeps happening – to me and to other music producers. The latest instance was when I recently uploaded a book trailer video for Déjà vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon.
I used my own vocals and piano and drum programming but backed it with some piano Apple Loops. I got a copyright claim notice from somebody named Hexacorp. I couldn’t find anything about them on YouTube itself, so I searched the internet. From what I can tell, they seem to do this a lot – claim copyright on free Apple loops. Totally unethical. And should be illegal. What have they done? Uploaded every free Apple loop and claimed copyright? I can’t imagine but I don’t know how else this is happening.
What’s even more ridiculous is because they now have to identify which section is the copyrighted material, the part they identified was looped throughout so why just single that section? It’s beyond belief what YouTube allows, and I’m so tired of filing these disputes to get the copyright claim lifted, when it’s all bogus!
It’s not like I’m trying to build a channel and monetize it. I just need a place to host my videos so I can share them with others. So what’s my recourse? I could just not use loops or I can edit them to change them up in hopes that my music won’t receive a copyright claim. But better yet, I’m thinking of upgrading my WordPress account so that I can use the video hosting feature. Yes, it’ll cost me a few extra bucks a month, but I’d rather retain control over my content – not allow some crook to claim it in hopes of making money off of me.
In the meantime, I wait to get a response from the so-called “owners” of the copyright claim. They have 30 days to respond. I’m here to fight it out, if necessary, before I delete my YouTube account and host my own videos. Another lesson in regaining control over your content – don’t trust social media sites where you have no real ownership.
My daily challenge is – where do I spend my time? Work on my latest wip or write/produce new music? After 50/90, a 3-month challenge to write 50 songs (I wrote 40), followed by Rocktober where you cover rock songs, putting your own spin on it, I’m pretty sure I’m going to devote the rest of this this year to writing/rewriting my 2 wips (my nod to NanoWriMo this year), followed by a blog tour for the paperback edition of my novel Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon. I’m also creating music for the book trailer for the blog tour of DV and I also want to create a track list for my wip.
Other than these 2 projects, I’m thinking that other music will have to wait until next year. But I can’t wait to get back to it when I see my charting position on Reverbnation:
During FAWM and 50/90, it became clear, without a doubt, that my music focus is EDM. The community has now come to expect this sound from me. So I created a playlist for the top songs I wrote and produced during the 2019 50/90 and FAWM challenges (scroll to see entire list):
Rocktober follows 50/90 (write 50 songs in 90 days), but instead of writing new songs, you do your own spin on a rock cover song. This is my first Rocktober, and, so far, I’ve done 4 songs in my electronic dance, beat-driven style:
- Drive My Car (Beatles)
- I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James and the Shondells/Tiffany)
- Paperback Writer (Beatles)
- Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)
Rhiannon seems to be the favorite. Which one is yours?
To be first to hear what’s next, follow me on SoundCloud.