Cool Comments on my FAWM Songs

I experienced my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month) this year and going in, I thought it would be like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – you post your words but nobody sees them). But for FAWM, the whole point is to write an album and get comments, collab, and connect with other musicians.

This has turned out to be so cool! Some people are still hanging around and posting more comments so I peek in now and then to see what some are saying about my music and to discover other people’s music.

The interesting thing to me is that the two songs I thought were just too far out there have been getting compared to David Bowie (and Laurie Anderson) so I guess I’m not too strange after all. 🙂

Take a listen for yourself – strictly work tapes:

Wise Woman (Wisest Woman I Would Ever Know)

I Missed the Train

Ode to John Madison

During FAWM, I wrote these poetic lyrics here.

And then before the month’s end I came up with a demo. It was inspired during Race Week in Daytona with its roots in rum runners with a tribute to those who came before me: musicians, car racing, and rum runners.

I Survived FAWM

February is over and I managed to reach the FAWM goal of writing 14 songs in 28 days. Woo hoo! I wasn’t sure I wasn’t going to make it. I pushed myself so hard I exhausted myself and had such pain in my neck for a few days, I could barely move.

Four years ago I enrolled in my first songwriting class with Berklee College of Music just to see what my agent meant when she said, “Your writing has a poetic, almost lyrical rhythm to it.” Was I a songwriter? I wasn’t sure I could write one song, let alone 14 in 28 days. So, that’s quite a personal accomplishment for me.

In celebration, I finally joined TAXI.com and was inspired by these words of fellow “passenger” Sherry Marcus Milano:

If you could wave a magic wand, what wisdom would you impart upon all musicians who have dreamed of a career in the music industry, but deep, down inside, thought it was an impossible goal?

I’ll share the wisdom my Dad passed to me: “The dream the burns within you could not be there if the fulfillment of that dream were not built in with it.” We all come with a purpose, and it usually sits in the center of that dream. When there’s something you love to do that brings you pleasure and satisfaction, something you can do almost effortlessly but you always want to learn more and get better at doing, and it’s something you do without thinking about getting paid for it, PAY ATTENTION. If it brings thoughts like “If I didn’t need to make money, this is what I’d do all day,” that’s your purpose, your calling, your place! Find ways to get paid to do it in some form, even if it requires study, training, or having side jobs while you build. The voice that says it’s impossible is just fear, something I call False Evidence Appearing Real. The voice of the heart only knows love, so love yourself enough to go after what calls to you, and you’ll be surprised how doors will open. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in this life is the one you have with yourself.

Now I just need to figure out if I’ll be ready to attend the Road Rally in Los Angeles this November or wait a year and go to SoCal for my birthday instead. Which would be the better gift?

John Madison (#poem)

No planes, no trains, just automobiles
A giant collage of a Ferris wheel
Round and round goes the track
Whirring dervishes give no slack

Rum runners scurry in the night
Grandpa’s Ford hides the blight
Carving instruments in the day
Passing down music to those without say

Sleepless twilight trumpets my head
Clock ticking and nights I now dread
Cats howling in time like a drum
Dancing on pillows their paws do strum

Callings have consequences, not all are good
Great grandpa makes music in hands with wood
Would he smile or be surprised
To know that I, a descendant of John Madison, am now alive?

Electronic Publishing to Electronic Music

We’re just about halfway through FAWM (February Album Writing Month – similar to NaNoWriMo for novelists), and I’m getting clarity on where I’d like to move forward in music and it comes as no surprise really. EDM. Electronic Dance Music or maybe just Electronic Music.

It’s a natural fit. I started my career in electronic publishing in San Francisco back in the day when that was the new shiny thing. I totally loved it. And it took me to Silicon Valley. Writing about technology. That led to writing novels. And now it seems I’ve come full circle with Electronic Music.

I earned a certificate in “Modern Musicianship,” including music production, which is so cool because I use my technology expertise and blend it with my love/gifts in music.

To kick this off, I’ve enrolled in a Synthesizer class and I can’t wait to get started!

One comment I got for one the songs I was experimenting with Synth I posted on FAWM:

It’s cool to see this type of songwriting with this production. I like how experimental the synths sound.

My first song, Everybody Lies, isn’t quite EDM but it shows signs of moving onto that path. So now I know what kind of music to work on for my first album.

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)
Songwriting Challenge: No Chorus

Lyrics, copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

I searched for an old friend the other day
I met him in California in the sixth grade
I never expected to find him that way
When I saw the obituary of my old Kentucky Flame

I remember the day this Kentucky boy met this California girl
You never forget the first to call you on the phone or carry your books home from school
We listened to Elvis records on my record player in the garage
He said he loved me and chased me around my front yard

He played guitar and I wrote songs
He said he’d never seen the ocean but he’d seen it all along
Seems like yesterday we played those innocent kissing games
How could the light go out for my old Kentucky Flame?

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta) (#FAWM)

My first complete song I posted on FAWM (February Album Writing Month – similar to NaNoWriMo for writers in November), inspired by the opening of the new Edison bar and lounge at Disney Springs.

First the lyrics followed by a work tape on SoundCloud:

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta)
Copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

Verse 1

I was starting my winter vacation
Flying to my destination
Then somewhere over Bermuda
Halfway to Antigua and Barbuda
Over that famous Triangle
To a disco in San Francisco

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 2

I was starting to get my groove on
A mustache was tickling my abdomen
Then somewhere after the Hustle
Travolta turns into Kurt Russell
I’m bumping on the floor with Goldie
A waiter is passing out Stolis

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 3

The disco ball is spinning on the dance floor
Heading from the front door to the back door
A red Camaro is waiting
Driver is someone I’m dating
Road 24 with Aunt Ola
I think my name is Lola

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing like Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

#FAWM and Poems by Maya Angelou

As I sip my morning coffee from my chair in the den overlooking our front porch, I select from a stack of books and open “Poems” by Maya Angelou. Her poetry resonates with me, even though I’m not Black, maybe because we’re both women, but mostly because we’re both artists. I can only aspire to write such fine poetry as she.

When I wrote the 50 poems in 50 days, I was coping with sleepless nights in the in-between place, writing on my iPhone from my bed. No editing, no thinking, just capturing feelings as they swirled through my mind.

But they’re not really poems either – they’re somewhere between poems and lyrics – they’re pre-lyrics, I guess you could say. And from them I can cull material for my songs.

I’m about to embark on FAWM (“February Album Writing Month,” similar to NaNoWriMo, starting February 1st so I’ll be writing something to meet the “14 songs in 28 days” goals and not analyzing whether it’s a lyric or a poem.

Lyrics vs. Poems

When I submitted my first song for professional feedback, my mentor said the writing was very good but added that it was more poem than lyric. He gave me some suggestions on how to transition it into a song. I took his advice and Does Everybody Lie? became Everybody Lies.

So when I was writing “poems” during the wee hours of the morning trying to cope with our temporary housing, I noticed that they sometimes seemed more lyric than poem. I turned to my Berklee professor Pat Pattison for his words on the difference between a poem and a lyric. Here’s what he had to say on a Writer’s Digest article.

The middle-of-the-night poem/lyric writing was a valuable exercise because I began to think more like a poet/songwriter. I also think I may have now transitioned from novelist to songwriter – that’s certainly where my heart is. I’m also practicing the keys, working on my music production craft, thinking that perhaps 2018 is the year I go “all in” when it comes to music.