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Friday, October 31, 2014

Music is Alive and Well in Sydney

Hi there,

It's very popular to bemoan the state of the music industry in this city - venues closing down, illegal downloading eating up artist profits etc. Not to say those things aren't true... but I witnessed something recently that made me feel very positive about music in Sydney town.

Twelve fabulous local independent artists joined me two weeks ago, on the video shoot for my upcoming single 'The New Bohemians'. The song is about having a fierce independent artistic spirit and all the people that I asked to feature in the clip have been important in my musical journey (now you know I really mean it when I use the word 'journey' because I cringe at its rampant overuse  - but I really think it fits here!).

As far as I know, noone that turned up for the shoot has made millions from their music, but each one has a passion for it that flares up into lots of different artistic projects. In the video I use the imagery of flowers to represent the blooming of creativity and the colour that music brings to the world - and this was very much in evidence behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. Every artist has their 'something' and on this day everyone had their somethings on proud display. I also witnessed a lot of cross pollination of ideas between different artists that hadn't met before and the enthusiasm in the air was palpable.

You can't put a price on the way you can lose yourself a song, the way music can let you wallow, holler, scream, shout and be transported to a magical place. It can't be all about the cold hards. It may be difficult to make money from our art and even trickier sometimes to find a place to stage it, but it exists and in some sunny corners of this town, it is absolutely in full bloom.

Check out the pictures from behind the scenes of the shoot:

See you next time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Learn the f@#!$%^n song!

Hi there,

Recently a friend reminded me of an incident at a gig we had done together some years ago. When I say 'reminded' I say 'rubbed a bit more salt in the already open wound'! OK, that may be a little melodramatic, but this particular happening is not likely to slip out of my memory banks anytime soon. I was singing at The Basement, one of my favourite venues - mainly because I feel part of a rich heritage of music when I play there, and the audience are invariably real music lovers...Anyway, it was a tribute show, and as well as doing a few lead songs, I was singing backing vocals for a bunch of other artists, including some that were quite high profile. One particularly 'well-loved' (but not by me, now!) artist had decided, on stage, that he would do a different arrangement of the song than the one we had all tirelessly rehearsed. Well, the rest of us had tirelessly rehearsed but this particular singer is infamous for not learning his material. 

Now, regardless of who is in the right, I believe that a band and backing singers should always follow the frontperson - someone has to lead the charge after all and it's hard to argue with the guy singing the melody into the microphone. So the other bv singer and I did our parts while watching him intently to see where he was going. We did our darndest to follow him as he meandered through his unique version of this particular tune but the band
were struggling and so were we. At one stage he got so badly befuddled even he didn't know where to go next, and decided someone needed to be blamed. Publicly. On stage. In front of everyone. At the Basement! Yeah you guessed it, the poor backing singers copped it. In the middle of the song, he flicked his hands in our eager faces, yelling 'f7^&*#@n backing singers, get it right!!'. You could hear the audience take a collective breath in and I stood there mortified. Do I keep singing and smile as if it were a joke? Leave the stage in a huff? In reality I just stood there with an open mouth and the colour draining out of my face until I could collect myself for the next song. That was years ago but I still feel the pain.

Recently another tribute show was staged at a bigger, even more presitigious venue. The band were top notch and really learnt their stuff. The singers were again, 'well-loved' and didn't bother turning up to the rehearsals. Talent can get you so far and most of the gig went relatively well but there was a train wreck or two - just learn your f@#!$%^n songs! It's our job and it's fun. Don't get caught with your pants down.

See you next time - I've got to go - got some songs to learn!