Sometimes I wish there were two me’s. One to handle all the managerial/administration stuff and then the other me would only work on the music. In this DIY world of music promotion I find that it can’t all be done by one person. Especially, when I don’t yet have the luxury to live off of my music so I have to work 9 hour days. However my job pays the bills and doesn’t define me as a musician and artist (those 4 walls do not contain me). I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this album. I’ve done a lot of critical listening to see what works, what needs more work, what should be scrapped. Going over in my head what parts of songs should stay, be extended or runs too long. All the critical finishing touches before I move to the mastering stage. Also, working on creating some new songs in the interim.
These songs are for a genre I first fell in love with during my youth (ah, my youth) and this style of music has never left my heart. New Age music. Not New Age music in the sense of whales, light rain and a Native American flute in the distance (though I love that stuff, especially when the wife and I…umm…nvm!). More like Enigma, Enya, Deep Forest, Adiemus and some amazing piano stuff like George Winston. That very first Pure Moods album was just the most amazing thing I have ever heard up until then. It was the 90’s, and it opened my ears to a whole new aural experience.
That was 20 years ago, and I am 20 years older and 20 years wiser. I’ve learned that sometimes life gets in the way of dreams and sometimes those dreams take a hiatus. As a creative person I’ve explored my creativity outside of music via video editing, special effects, radio hosting, and even attempting graphic design for a short stint… and poetry. In the end, I choose music, just as music chose me when I was 5 and hit two notes on my grandmothers piano that actually made sense. Music has always been my heart.
I remember in 1993, 17 year old me started taking myself seriously and recorded my very first song. I used a Yamaha PSR 500 and a Yamaha SY22, up all night at my friend Kevin’s house (and I had school the next day). I was so proud, it was the realizing of a dream that maybe one day I could compose and record just like my newly discovered music idol…Yanni. Yes Yanni. Got a problem with that? Anyways, I recorded some songs here and there using those two keyboards and a 4 track cassette recorder over the years that only friends and family heard. A few years later, I think it was 1999, I had an idea… my first “real” legit album.
My friend Larry introduced me to mp3.com which at the time was a haven for unsigned artists (not the mp3.com it is now). I was on a recording streak. My album got picked up by a Japanese publication and next thing I knew I was best new artist, with 9,000,000 downloads in the Mood Music genre (my artist name at the time was ‘LoneSaint’. I guess you could say I was really big in Japan before Japan was big in Japan. What brings me back to that is I just really loved making music. Over the years, that still hasn’t changed. As I approach 39, I long for things that no longer exist. PLlces I’ve been to that have since been torn down, faces of people who changed as people or moved or passed. I look to the familiar and instead find memories. But my love for making music is still the same, and I really need that.
With my upcoming album I want to do everything right, down to the last note, last word, last fold in the CD liner notes (yes there will be CDs as well as digital). I want to give it my absolute best shot ever. Because in many ways, this is the return to my youth (the return to innocence…ok I just had to make an Enigma reference). This is the embrace of that passion, and I want to be a contender. I want to see my name right up there on New Age websites with Enya, Yanni, Delerium, Adiemus and…Michele McLaughlin.
A bit about Michele McLaughlin…I have been fortunate to have some very amazing musicians follow me on twitter and I tend to try to learn from them as much as I can about promotion, what they do to get their music heard. I’ve learned that simply uploading an album to the internet and hoping somehow that people suddenly know of it, just doesn’t work. For some reason, Michele followed me on twitter at just the right time. Her name sounded familiar, as if I might have heard her on Soundscapes Music Choice at some point. Anyways she followed at just the right time because that very day I was questioning whether I should pursue the album, because I thought that I’d probably be the only one to care (as if loving what I do musically wasn’t enough of a reason…pfft). What intrigued me about Michele though was that she reminded me that this dream of mine is not only achieved by the ridiculously famous who were in the right place at the right time 20 years ago when this music movement took off. She’s around my age (maybe less), she has a kid, she makes the time, she lives the dream and her new album ‘Undercurrent’ debuted at number 3 on the Billboard New Age Charts. NUMBER 3!
Young Michele was like young me, with a keyboard and a cassette deck making songs for friends and family.
Suddenly, I realized that I don’t need the brand recognition of Yanni or one of the heavy hitters of the genre. The dream is still obtainable–even for folks who never had a PBS special–so long as you are consistent, talented, and care enough to do what you can to get your music heard by as many people as possible even without the power of a major record label. Michele following me has probably been the best thing that happened to me on Twitter (right next to when Hans Zimmer followed me during my orchestral/filmscore phase) just because it made me see that you don’t need to chase the dream, you make the dream. (Oh yeah, just a few days ago she won Best New Female Artist and Best Instrumental Song at the IMC Awards!)
Odd, when I sat here determined to do a post I had no idea what I was going to write. Look at this! I got to get to bed!
Until next time….