Summer / Fall - 2009
It has been even longer than the previous 'since my last journal entry' where I said, 'it has been too long.' So many adjustments and changes and discovering 'what's next?'. Here's what's been going on.
The big deal and most consuming thing I have been involved in is an e-book I have co written with my singing colleague and business partner, Elin Carlson. It is called 'Session Singing In Hollywood' and it is the definitive guidebook on how to be successful as a recording session singer in the entertainment and music industries. We are very proud of it and are exuberantly focused on getting it into every singer's hand who wants to do this for a living. It took months to write and almost as many to build web sites and formulate a marketing strategy. Please visit our blog and leave a comment:http://sessionsinginghollywood.wordpress.com
As well, if you or anyone you know is interested in learning the tools of this trade and buying the book, have them go here:http://www.sessionsinginghollywood.com
It will be rewarding for any aspiring singer, even if they are not specifically looking to do session work. It's chock full of nuggets and gems and has practical information that will translate into any vocal career in music.
The industry continues to morph into whatever that next thing is and it is not something that is easily discernible. We seem to be on the end of the tail the dog is wagging- the dog being the economy. In other words, when the economy first tanked we did not see a huge change. Granted, we had been seeing changes in the months and year before in that work had slowed. But our dramatic slowing did not come until the Spring of 2009. Then the combination of SAG strike threat, the previous writer's strike all coupled with the global downturn really hit home. And this is when one REALLY sees the value of residuals. Every 12 weeks a new batch of checks rolls in and I thank God for them this year in particular.
The most recent films have been 'The Simpsons', 'Ice Age 3', 'Night at The Museum-The Smithsonian' and 'The Tooth Fairy' which is not yet released. TV shows have been very slow this year with only 2 days of work on 'Family Guy'.
One of the big highlights of the year was working with Berry Gordy again. He has a new artist that he is grooming and needed my piano and vocal skills for a couple of showcases. There was talk of a lot more but those have yet to materialize. With the death of Michael Jackson, he put everything on hold. I am hoping that our collaboration will resume this Fall but time will tell. Things shift quickly and projects evolve slowly in Hollywood.
My writing continues to grow and expand as I learn how to be viable in the year 2009. It's a different world than in the 90s when my writing reached it's apex for that era. Now there are a whole host of alternate sensibilities and although a song may be good, its presentation must be sonically current. My Moog bass and rich harmonies are not as in vogue these days so I am learning to adjust my tracks and even sing vocals differently. It is a challenge, but no bigger than any I have had to deal with. Lesson after lesson.
I intend to be more on top of updates. IF not, holler at me!!
October - 2008
April - 2008
It has been entirely too long since my last journal entry. I have been so involved in the ‘Great Transition’ I have not taken the time to do much of anything but working on that. Let’s catch up.
My last entry of 2006 was written in a place of pure possibility from a place of total life energy. I needed to be in that strong place because the succeeding 20 months was to be a time of huge challenge and growth.
My consistent efforts paid off and at the end of 2006 I finally leased a studio. The place was not my first choice and came after many months of searching, but it was a place outside of my home for me to go to work. And go to work I did! I started the writing engine up and started collaborations as well as contacting major people at Warner Brothers, Disney, EMI and Bug /Windswept Music, the 6th largest publishing company in America. I was received warmly with was quite encouraged. But then I began the process of actually trying to get songs placed in the films, TV shows and with artists. That’s when the “well it’s good but not quite what we are looking for” began. And during those ‘close but no cigar’ times is when I really needed to stay strong - the times of what looks like no results. Rejection runs rampant!
At the same time 2007 started well with session work including having the honor of contracting vocals for “Hairspray”, but from mid summer through the 2nd half of the year there was a drastic reduction in work calls. Not just for me, but basically everyone I knew. Following all that came the writers strike which was like a knock out punch. And it’s during these times I daily thank God for residuals and royalties!!
Sometimes no amount of preparation can keep certain events from happening. Life proceeds on an undetermined path and the best one can do is keep faith, prepare as well as possible, and make the best decisions with the knowledge gained while still moving forward. I continue to do that despite the unforeseen seeming setbacks. All of this is contributing to the whole and moving me toward the results I desire.
I am now pursuing all the avenues to get my songs written, produced heard and placed besides just the major labels and TV & Film companies,. Sometimes things seem on top of the world and going well; other times it feels like after all these years, I am starting over. At all times I choose to know that my journey is my journey and that the difficulties are no different than what everyone must go through for a successful life.
At a songwriter’s convention last year, my friend Marc Shaiman (writer of “Hairspray” and successful film composer) brought this point home so solidly. Even after all the success he has had, he says the hardest thing to deal with is “people not calling back”. We’re talking about a hit show and film writer! My millionaire mentor has stated this as well. That “people don’t call back and it is very frustrating.” Friends, this gives me insight and extra ammunition as I move forward in my journey!
So, check out the newer songs in the Media section. More coming soon.
End of Summer - 2006
I am currently sitting here in Central Idaho at Redfish Lodge over looking the stunningly beautiful Redfish Lake, which reflects the dramatic and jagged Sawtooth Mountains in the far distance. Instantly I am reminded what life really must have at it’s core- nature and beauty. How easily and quickly I forget that living in Los Angeles. The continuing and relenting drive to achieve, as well as to constantly create more work does not let up. These moments of ‘realignment’ are so extremely necessary. I am thrilled that my friends and support team demanded that I take this time to change my environment.
It’s bee a vibrant and exhausting year. Besides the good amount of film and television work, I am also doing upgrades to the house. Added to that I had a long overdue operation on my knee to repair a meniscus tear. Had I known it would be so simple, relatively pain free and relieving I would have done it years ago. It was 2001 that I damaged my knee just as I was leaving to go on a vacation. I actually had to end that vacation a week early, because of the swelling and pain. When I returned to Los Angeles it was so swollen they could not operate so I did physical therapy for a few months. When that ended, I felt stable so kept putting off the operation despite intermittent flare-ups. But in February there was flare-up more severe than most and that was the pivotal point. SO on April 3 I had the surgery. Literally 3 days later was without crutches, and the following week back at aerobics (yes, the doctor approved it). Arthroscopic surgery is incredibly amazing! That recurring and debilitating problem is now past history.
Now, The Future. The next part of my journey is going to be yet another significant change. For the last 3 years, I realized that I have not been a happy and satisfied producer of music. In reviewing the cause for this I became aware that my reason for coming to LA was not at all in alignment with what I am doing. I came to Los Angeles to make a living creating music. Over the last 12 years or so I have been reproducing the music of others. I find my maximum joy and sense of purpose in creation and performance, not duplication. This discovery was 2 1⁄2 years in the making and soon as I realized it I set about to change it.
I am in the process of renting a practice/writing/recording studio to get back to what it is I a meant to do- create new music for the planet. This will be my focus for the next 10 years or so, and I am really looking forward to what comes forth. The challenges have already begun so I know it’s the right thing to be doing. Great dreams have great challenges and I eagerly embrace both.
Check out the new film and TV stuff and watch for new music over the next few months. As I write new material I will upload it so even if you don’t hear from me, check back regularly.
I also had a great end of the year explosion of work with the 2005 version of the Honda commercial, as well as numerous sessions for Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”.
This was my year of TV cartoon shows with vocals on Family Guy and The Simpsons where I had a little solo. Films started with “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and ended with “King Kong”.
A strong effort in 2006 will be to get back into my writing and get some things placed on CD and/or into films or TV. There is something driving in my soul that says this is the time. I have written sporadically since leaving Motown Records and yet have not lost the desire to do so. Currently I am looking for an office/studio outside of my home to really get more focused in this regard. Working at home is just too scattered.
Recording sessions have started already and opportunities are abundant. Smart thinking and consistent effort is what is required now to make this year the best ever!! May yours be equally as exciting.
The most specific thing at this point is the Singers Committee of the Screen Actors Guild under my chairmanship, will be honoring composer Randy Newman on October 19th. We procured an industry grant for $25,000 and with a lot of planning and diligence will be presenting a program for the Industry Community.
It’s a big deal for us with evening dress, wine and catered appetizers. I am excited about it as is the entire committee.
We were also able to rescue a movie from London where a lot of our work has been out sourced over the past few years. Yes, it happens in our arena as well. This was another feather in our cap, as this should stimulate a change in what we refer to as runaway production.
As I am writing this in my dry, air-conditioned home I am SO aware of the devastation and annihilation of life and basic needs in the Gulf coast. This is something we do not imagine easily in America in the 21st century, and is far beyond the comprehension of most of us. Please give as you can and pray as you believe that life will return to normal for those disenfranchised. This could be the loss of an entire city as we know it; sort of an Atlantis of 2005. I am stunned by what I see and hear on TV and know it is just the slightest tip of the real impact.