Wake Me Up When It’s Over

After way too much “exposure” to “The Bob” as my writer friend Pat Bertram calls this current situation, I’ve decided to take a break from social media (for me, that means Twitter and LinkedIn) for the rest of the month. Or longer. Okay, then, just wake me up when it’s over – lol!

I’ll be writing, producing music, and blogging. I’ll be far happier and productive. I just can’t stand the many layers of stupidity and politics everywhere I turn.

“Miss You” by the Rolling Stones has been playing in the jukebox in my head for several days now. Maybe because I do “miss you,” meaning I miss the world doing so many interesting things, I can’t even begin to know about them all. Because it’s obvious too many are doing nothing. Hiding under their bed. Counting meaningless numbers. All to prove something I don’t need proven in order to live my best life. It’s serving somebody else. Not me.

Listening to and creating music, reading and writing stories, and visiting places – that’s what home is to me, that’s what family is to me. And I miss them all.

Or maybe this song is apropros today.

Adding Music to Las Vegas Strip Video

Las Vegas seems to be getting busier (certainly the traffic is picking up), and there’s some conversation about opening in mid- to late-May. So maybe there are people out there working on preparations. It’s hard to say, but I certainly hope so. Let’s learn to live with this, taking precautions but taking steps toward opening up.

Anyway, I chose to upload some video I’d taken of the Las Vegas Strip before Covid-19, and I added some Screamie Birds music to it as an experiment (the music is added sporadically throughout). It was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to making more music to video.

Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon, the Book, the Poem, the Tour, and Now the Song (#FAWM)

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.

So, naturally, I turned that into a song for FAWM 2020. Check it out. I hope you like it – the song, poem, the tour, and the book. 🙂

FAWM 2020 (#FAWM) Playlist

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.

#1 EDM Artist in Las Vegas on Reverbnation

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!

Book in One Hand, Transistor Radio in the Other

This is how I’ve been describing myself since I first started writing and publishing on my web site. The funny thing is, later in life I met my father and discovered this whole musical family of mine. In fact, several family members are friends with Metal Christian group Stryper and Michael’s mother told me that the first time she saw my grandfather, he had Uncle Steven in one hand, and a transistor radio in the other. Talk about coming full circle.

Anyway, I found this 50th birthday video with his parents, and I can see why they would be friends with my grandparents and family. Each discovery helps me piece together my identity and the connection I have with my musical family, taking it all in, looking for the path to my future.

Blogmas, Day 30: End-of-Year Ableton Live Progress (#blogmas)

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.

Blogmas, Day 26: Starving Artist vs Thriving Artist (#blogmas)

Blogmas was so much fun, I, like many of you, have decided to extend it for a little bit longer. And as I grapple with plans for 2020 (as many of you), I’ve been doing a lot of mad reading.

My current read is Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins, and I’ve made some interesting discoveries as he makes many points about the “starving artist” vs the “thriving artist.”

Like maybe I don’t have to choose and shouldn’t choose between going all in with music or writing. I should be pursuing both. I can’t seem to help myself anyway, so I may as well give myself permission. The real challenge, I think, is getting up-to-speed on the music so that I can juggle both.

Here are a couple of insightful quotes I found:

Your art is never beholden to a single form. You can always change and evolve, and the best artists do this regularly. They understand that in order to thrive, you have to master more than one skill.

Starving Artists believe that to make a living you must make money off your art. But Thriving Artists don’t just live off their art. Like good investors, they keep diverse portfolios, relying on multiple income streams to make a living. Rarely do they go all in on any single area of work. The challenge, then, is knowing what investments to make and when.

Good advice, I think. The thing is, I can’t really stand over either one and demand it pay off. I do the work, put it out there, and then the return on my investment comes as a surprise when I least expect it. My job as an artist is to suit up and show up.

 

YouTube Copyright Claims by Unethical Groups

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.

 

#EDM PLAYLIST (#FAWM #50/90)

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):