In 2010, I commissioned a poem from Jacqueline Suskin at her Poem Store. The prompt was Sagittarius.
I still love this poem. It reminds me of my last full year in Los Angeles, the year I decided to move to Berlin, and I think it perfectly captures that moment. What a time that was – so turbulent and uncertain!
Please check out Jacqueline’s work. It’s fantastic!
Here you have a new song called “Living in the Spotlight”. A demo with no distinct purpose except to satisfy a need to write. It was recorded in my kitchen, between March and April, with my wife and sleeping children in the next room. I hope you like it.
Here I am in my kitchen, doing vocals on a new song called ‘Living in the Spotlight’. When you record vocals, you put your lyrics under the microscope and every syllable gets meticulously examined. Phrases that look good on the page don’t necessarily sound great. My focus, at the moment, is on simple lyrics and strong melodies. ‘Living in the Spotlight’ still needs more work, but it’s this intense editing process that I enjoy the most.
Today I’m sharing a demo from 2007 called ‘The Dry Spell’. I performed this tune a couple of times with a ‘supergroup’ I formed in L.A. called AAnchors AAweigh. The song never made it past the demo stage and unfortunately the band never recorded an album.
I love the poetic nature of this song and the roughness of the demo, which was an early foray into recording with GarageBand. Maybe I’ll record it properly one day, but in the meantime, it’s been fun to revisit the tune and remember those wild, restless days. Give it a listen and read the lyrics on my Soundcloud profile.
I did more writing this weekend and it quickly grew apparent that a MIDI keyboard and Logic plugins are not for me. I threw the MIDI keyboard into the bassinet and broke out my KORG Minilogue XD. When I started to play around with it, the melodies started to flow, so I kept layering parts into a workable guide track. This felt like progress.
I was writing lyrics in Notes all last week. This is the best way to write for me, because I’m able to tweak while doing other things, like making dinner or rocking the baby, which is when the best ideas come. Here are some lyrics that are currently in contention.
Finally, last night, I got out a Shure SM58 and tried to do some singing. This was about 10pm. My voice is far too loud to sing in the kitchen with a sleeping baby and toddler and a long-suffering wife reading in the next room. My solution was to do some spoken word over the track I had built. I’m finding the result interesting today. Let’s see where that leads.
If you’re the kind of person that likes demos and works in progress, I’ve uploaded a basic track to my Soundcloud page and will be posting there as the songs start to pile up and my confidence grows. Let me know what you think.
I was a bit bummed about all of this (see last photo), but I guess the sleep helped, because I woke up with renewed confidence. Next Friday I’ll use a MIDI keyboard and Logic plugins to get ideas down faster.
Last night I was invited to do some writing with Damian Press at Neon Nursery, his studio in Charlottenburg. It’s an amazing space with great gear and Damian is a dream to work with. Check out the photos below to get a feel for the space. The session finished at 1am, and when I got home, I fell asleep instantly, happy to have used my songwriting muscles again.