Friday, August 12, 2011

Say it like it is!

Like so many, I am a huge fan of Janell at the wildly popular blog Isabella and Max Rooms.  I’ve had the great privilege of working with her throughout the summer on an article for the Holiday issue of her fabulous new online magazine House of Fifty (click here to see the current Fall issue).  Not only are her designs inspirational, but her personal philosophy on life and how to live it is as well.  Last Saturday, she shared a little something spotted on a friend’s Facebook page:

Oh, how I needed to see this!  It went zing, straight to my soul.  Women have such a tendency to compare aspects of our lives against another’s, and the outcome is usually a wash of self-doubt or jealousy…never pretty and certainly never productive.  Only when we celebrate each other’s unique strengths, gifts and blessings will we be able to do the same for ourselves.

This beautiful little sign was truly the perfect pick-me-up and a gently reminder to seek more joy.  I love signs, sayings and verses that prompt me to think more clearly throughout the day.  When scattered throughout the house or on beloved items, they act like a sigh…soothing my spirit or re-energizing my thoughts.

This week, I combed through my Etsy favorites for artists offering similar reminders.  I like to think of them as nuggets of wisdom wrapped in a chic little package and delivered with a wink.
"Wishes Machine" from her Pep Art Collection, $26-36.00

"Three Vintage Posters" 13x19, $79.00

"Choose Joy" from her Pep Art Collection, $25-35.00

"You Are Loved" Wooden Bangle Bracelet with Stamped Text, $28.00

"Be Glad for This is the Moment" Tiny Text Bowl, $22.00

"Make Haste" Leather Luggage Tag, $12.95
(As a Jane Austen fan, this tag makes my heart race!  I love it!)

"To a Life Full of Love" Leather Luggage Tag, $12.95

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Glimpse Inside the Recording Process!


There are so many things that feed my soul. Spending time with my family, perching somewhere to read a good book, laughing with friends, tackling a new challenge, quietly meditating on God and especially - since my earliest memories - singing and performing.

As soon as words formed in my mouth and my little legs discovered movement, I found innumerable ways to perform. Too often my younger sister was subjected to join me and together we created all sorts of funny shows and routines to share. Since I couldn't sit still, Mom enrolled me in a classical ballet class at the age of 5 at the Charlotte Ballet Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina (where I lived from age three to eleven), to which I clung like a starfish in a rocky pool. I couldn't get enough. I distinctly remember the tingling feeling that rose up in my body when music floated from the fingers of our class accompanist at the piano and the dance teacher gently delivered instructions for our barre routine. I'm quite certain it was at that time I developed a crush on music. As I grew, I also had the opportunity to participate in small musical productions and learn more about theater. More often than not I was dancing in the productions, but in the fifth grade I began to sing. Beautifully ironic as it is, my first solo was in a school musical entitled Readin' Writin' & Rockin' singing "The Forgetful Blues"...which I will never forget as long as I live. My first longtime voice teacher happened to be in the audience and shortly thereafter I began private lessons. She introduced me to a new world, one that would become my forever passion. And throughout my life, I've always found it easier to express what I really feel through song.

I find intense joy in the process of singing and in sharing stories, emotions and, quite simply, humanity with an audience. I'm so often in front of a live audience when I perform that I'm most familiar with how to communicate a song through visual interpretation, such as using facial expressions or a subtle twist of my body to emote a particular phrase. I love live performance for that very reason, but I also strongly believe that to grow as a person and an artist, I must push to discover new avenues through which to communicate the message of a song. An artist must commit to the continual exploration of connection with an audience because the audience is continually seeking new inspiration.

Cue challenge...

Over the summer, I've had the great pleasure and privilege of working with producer Tim Ellis and engineer Bob Stark at Kung Fu Bakery Recording Studio on a new solo project. Tim wrote a new arrangement of a poignant tune by Ryan Tedder of the band One Republic and assembled an immensely talented group of musicians to play. I was blown away by the process and enjoyed it more that I can truly express. Tim and Bob helped me uncover new ways to channel my emotions vocally...ways that I had once taken for granted during live performance. I learned so much about the nuances of recording and I'm so very grateful for their guidance.

As I see it, the song is a window into life spent searching for "the one"...the one who will love you as you are. In "All I Ever Needed" I also found a glimpse into the resolve of finding unconditional love after a long search. I'm delighted to share it with you and I genuinely hope you find inspiration in it.