since it's december now...

just in time for halloween...

The Murder Room Sessions brings my love of storytelling and live music performance together. It is a celebration of the beauty found in a moment of vulnerability between two people, and the dynamic story that is told between an artist and their audience. It is a reminder that great things happen when we let go of control, and leave ourselves open to an experience. In these sessions, no one but the musician knew the song, and no one but I knew the location. The performer and the listener had never met. We did only one take. The moments you see are completely unplanned, unpredictable, and undirected.”

Filmmaker Joanna Gaskell

daydreaming on the day job  

Many music fans are also musicians. This post today is for you.

My musings about having a day job today on the car ride home had me thinking about what we consider sacred, and what we do not. If I could give any piece of advice to an aspiring musician (I mean, I am one myself, but if you would still like some advice anyway, here it is), I would say to seek out a day job that you:

1) do not take home

2) is different enough from your craft that you can learn how to compartmentalize the tasks into something much different 

3) introduces new perspectives and people into your life 

Truthfully, my day job is a bit tough these days. I am a high school teacher, so, of course, I take my job home. Every year, as many teachers know, it's a real challenge to keep the work/life balance. At the beginning of the teaching season, we are determined to make it work, but, almost as if on cue, by late October, we are really starting to feel like we are living and breathing teaching. This year, I hope to keep the sacred parts of my life, well, sacred. I'll be honest with you - when I am not songwriting, I turn into a pretty depressed person. The second, and I mean the second a new idea sparks in my brain, I am as elated as I have ever been. And the cycle repeats itself. Over and over. And I wouldn't have it any other way. So, how do we keep these parts of our lives sacred? I believe, just like keeping a healthy relationship with a friend or significant other, we have to devote the time and attention to it. I have felt the guilt of staying at home and "attempting" to write many times, but that guilt is beginning to wear off as I have began thinking of it as not a gift to myself, but a gift to the craft of writing. I have to show up for it to happen, and showing up takes energy, time, and effort. I have to honour it. I have to prioritize it. 

A friend of mine got me thinking about the idea of compartmentalization. I think that all the challenges we deal with in life can feel extremely overwhelming - especially if you are an artist type who is an emotional sponge, and also one who takes everything very seriously. Truly, our writing can never really separate from the rest of our lives, more often that not, it's an emotional release, a reflection, a "take" on what we're currently going through. However, I am learning to think of writing as its own entity, teaching as its own entity, and, I mean, it's only been 4 days, but I think it's beginning to work. 

How do you cope with your artist/work/life balance?

 

"Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired 
And you can have anyone that you have ever desired 
All you gotta tell me now is why, why, why, why? 

Welcome to the working week 
Oh, I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you 
Welcome to the working week 
You gotta do it till you're through it, so you better get to it" 

- Elvis Costello, "Welcome to the Working Week" 

Hey Ocean!'s 10 year anniversary of "It's Easier To Be Somebody Else"  

So tonight I will be heading to the Railway Club for Hey Ocean!'s performance of their album, "It's Easier To Be Somebody Else". This is a particularly special occasion for me - like many others, this album was the soundtrack to my life during a very formative time. I first saw Hey Ocean perform at Vancouver's now-defunct Richard's on Richards. It was a good-size venue - not too big, not too small - to see some of Vancouver's best and brightest. Hey Ocean was no exception - everyone was obsessed with their brand of funky-chill introspective pop. 

I love how certain albums always remind you of a certain time in your life. Back in 2009, I was living in France with a homestay family for a few months on exchange, and I was going for an early morning run in the town of Montpellier. I was making my usual rounds around town - relishing in the fact that I was starting to recognize certain shop owners opening their bakeries, news stands, etc, and that they were beginning to recognize me. I've always enjoyed the kind of traveling where you find yourself fully immersed in a new culture, and you really start to live it. Of course, I was blaring "It's Easier To Be Somebody Else" in my headphones and merrily going about my run until I ran into a man who was lying prone on the ground. The juxtaposition of the joyful music and the sad scene is something that is engrained in my memory. I called out to the man, asking him if he was okay. He was crying. Sobbing. Uncontrollably. Trying to talk through tears, he told me that his partner had left him, and that he found out, a year into this relationship, that his partner had hidden the fact that he was HIV-positive from him. He was absolutely devastated. I didn't know what to do or what to say... but I had the instinct to hold him. So I did just that - held him. He sobbed in my arms for a few minutes, and all I could muster was, "I'm sorry". I was still pretty young and it was such a strange, intimate experience to have. But this strange experience really stuck with me. I am glad I stopped and asked - not because I really did anything to "save" him, nor because I'm some kind of saint, but because I think it felt like a real...human thing to do. You know? I don't know where that man is now, but I sincerely hope he is doing alright. For a moment, like so many of us do... I think he just needed to be heard and held. 

I am fully aware this doesn't really tie into Hey Ocean! at all, but, like I said, these were formative years, and this experience is one I'll remember forever - my heart that day, just a little more open than it was before. 

 

"There is a way 
Another way to go and I'll take it 
A secret way 
Some people know about but know one ever sees 

You will find it if your heart is open 
And I'm hoping it will lead you straight to me" - Hey Ocean, Alleyways 

Welcome to my new website! 

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new website. So I just released my new single, The Only Way Out Is Through, and I want to thank everyone who has given it a spin - it means the world to me. You can find many more future updates here! 

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