#AmReading Plus “Does Natural Talent Matter in #Music?”

First off, let me say I’m now on book 6 (The Woman in the Bedroom) of the Alexandra Mallory Psychological Suspense Series by Cathryn Grant. I have mixed feelings about the series. For one thing, the heroine is a serial killer, which is a bit of a turnoff for me. But I am drawn to her because I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 23 years and it really takes me back there. As fun as it was in my younger days, I’m so glad to be gone now.

Cathryn really nails much of the Silicon Valley/Bay Area culture, although misses it in subtler ways, maybe because she didn’t live it in the early days like I did. And I’m pretty sure most people there are not serial killers – lol! But now that the character has left the Bay Area, my fascination with the series may have ended… or not. This series is addicting.

Now I’m pursuing music madly in preparation for 50/90, practicing the keys. My first instrument was an electronic keyboard that I got for my 7th birthday. So I guess I’ve been an electronic musician since then. I tried the violin, guitar, and piano but my favorite was the electric keyboard. Decades passed but my love for electronic musicianship has returned, stronger than ever. And with the tools available now, it’s simply incredible.

But with that comes a lot of things to learn, to try and master. It can feel overwhelming as we wonder if we’ll ever get any of it right. I think we often hold back, fearing that we’re not good enough. But it is so important to get your music out there. That’s how you grow. And so I thought I’d post this encouraging video from Studio Live asking the question, “Does Natural Talent Matter in Music?”

When I Met My Father

When I met my father, I had to reorder everything I thought I knew about myself. About him. About her.

I sat in the back seat of his car, directly behind him as I listened to the timbre of his voice, not the rich baritone I’d become accustomed to growing up with the man I thought was my father, which was just one thing I could barely wrap my head around.

I stared at the back of his curly white hair, noticed the blond, freckled forearms, so unlike the brown skinned other dad, who I could never look like. Or be like.

As the weekend progressed, I saw more and more of myself, not just physically, but in our interests, the jam on our chin at breakfast, and the way we respond to the world, the impulsiveness, the quick but short-lived temper. But mostly the music. The music blasting from his headphones as he sat alone in his recliner, totally immersed in the sounds flooding his ears. Mostly jazz and RnB with an occasional pop song by Bobby Darin.

This week we inch forward to the overwhelming praise and worship of mothers, whose job is very hard, no doubt about that, but, still, things are not always as they should be. Far from it. So, I’ll pay tribute to the romantic, larger than life man who was and is my father who never stopped loving my mother. Who said, “I’ll always have San Francisco.” I believe she still loved him at the end, too, if it is possible for her to love at all.

So here I sit at 5 am, missing my dad, and thinking about these 2 favorite Bobby Darin songs.

Beyond the Sea Live version with a drummer solo

DJs on the Rocks (#DJs #Rock #Music)

Had to share the music I discovered on MixCloud. As a music lover of all genres, I have to say rock will always hold a special place in my heart. It may be just the theme I need for this upcoming road trip.

Check out this mix:

Fernando Cabral Sacadura from DJs on the Rocks, Portugal:

2021 Accomplishments, 2022 Goals

I couldn’t let this year pass by without acknowledging what I’ve accomplished artistically in 2021.

The top 3 accomplishments of 2021 are:

  1. FAWM (February Album Writing Month) in February – write 14 songs during the month of February. I believe this is the first year I met that goal
  2. 50/90 (write 50 songs in 90 days – I wrote 60) – meeting that goal was also a first for me – my top 12 (plus a bonus track) were uploaded as an album on Bandcamp.
  3. NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) – I managed to use all 12 of my membership feedback credits, which is another first for me

The top 3 goals for 2022:

Upgrading my Reverbnation account to Pro for 2022. As for the rest, I haven’t really locked this down yet. Under consideration:

  1. FAWM
  2. 50/90
  3. NSAI
  4. Ableton Push
  5. Fiction

As vague as usual when it comes to writing vs music. Some things I will just have to let unfold.

Wishing you all the best in 2022!

“Don’t Judge the Past by the Present” and Other Advice for Writers

“Don’t judge the past by the present.” – The wisest thing my mother ever said.

Today there’s a lot of judging about the past in the media. As I mentioned in my previous post Writing for Today’s Reader, there is also a lot of rewriting of history in today’s movies, TV shows, and plays.

The thing is, if you haven’t lived it, you might not know the true meaning of it. So often I see this on “The Voice.” The younger singers, even if they’re not that young, weren’t around when the song was first around and so they don’t get the nuances or know how to fully emote. Their technical skills are incredible. But the song falls flat because they don’t know how to convey the emotional meaning of the song.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. And one of the books is Dawn Eden’s The Thrill of the Chaste. We’re both Catholic converts and I’ve enjoyed two of her other books (My Peace I Give You and Remembering God’s Mercy). In “Chaste,” she mentions the song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles. She says this:

“She’s not looking for affirmation so much as absolution. All her man has to do is say he loves her–then a night of sin is transformed into a thing of beauty.”

“If the Shirelles tune were to be written today, the singer would likely have to lower the bar down to “Will You Respect Me Tomorrow?”–if even that.

Dawn is a talented writer but how did she miss the meaning? Perhaps because she wasn’t around when the song was first around. All she knew were the facts of who wrote it, who recorded it, when it was released, etc. But having lived through that time, even though I was just a kid, I knew–we all knew--that the real meaning behind the question of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” was really “Will You Respect Me Tomorrow?”

I don’t know how old “John from Nashville” on Songfacts is, but he got it right when he said, “This song is a clever way of saying ‘Will you respect me in the morning if I go home with you tonight?’ ”

My advice to writers? Talk to people who actually lived it, if at all possible. Instead of quoting tweets, for example, dig deeper to find the real meaning and the work will stand out.

“Don’t Touch Me” (#50/90 #music #producer #songwriting #challenge #LogicPro)

Now that 50/90 is over for this year, I’m going through my tracks to pick out my favorites to bring back into the studio for further mixing/remixing, etc. This one I did in Logic Pro.

Don’t Touch Me
(Kathy Holmes @ Screamie Birds Studios)

Chorus

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Verse

I brush past you in the crowd
Give you a little bump
You bump back, give me a smile
Haven’t seen you in a while

Verse

Since the day you asked me out
And then never showed
Got a better offer I heard
Or that’s what I was told

Chorus

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Bridge

You ask me for my number
I don’t do that, don’t do that
You know you want it, want it
No I don’t, as a matter of fact
I just came here to dance

Chorus

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Taste of Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival and More of “The House That Built Me”

Interesting thing about that song “The House That Built Me” – it took, I think, 9 years before it became a hit. It was originally written for a male singer but none of the male artists in the Nashville scene were interested in recording it. It wasn’t until a woman (Miranda Lambert) recorded it (with one line change), that it became a hit.

I feel that song every time I visit my childhood home in Southern California, halfway (8 miles) from Disneyland and the beach. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the beach were huge influences on me (not to mention Hollywood not that far away). I used to fantasize about being discovered singing on my redwood picnic table in my backyard – like some big producer was going to be cruising down the alley behind my house, hear my voice, and say, “Stop the car! That girl is a star!” – lol!

Recently, we were at Knott’s Berry Farm’s “Taste of Boysenberry Festival” and I captured a few pics and vids on my iPhone. The best part was sitting by the stage where a DJ was playing so many songs from my “childhood playlist,” which was so awesome! I never forgot those years growing up in Southern California (Orange County).

We’re going to “A Touch of Disney” later this month, and I’m thankful to be able to get into both of these parks before they actually open because they won’t be open to non California residents, which so pains me because I grew up there and now am only 30 minutes from the California/Nevada border. Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the video (and, yes, those songs triggered copyrights claims but that’s okay. They’re important to the feel of the video and my channel isn’t monetized anyway so it doesn’t matter).

For some reason, I can’t embed it here but can link it to YouTube (maybe because it’s blocked in some countries due to the copyrighted songs).