Resources for Indie Songwriters
The information age! What a difference it is, starting out as an indie musician (as I feel I am doing, once again) and being an indie musician in the '90s / '00s. Back when I started playing gigs, we collected names and street addresses for our mailing lists, and mailed out postcards (with stamps!) every month to our fans. The way people got "free" music back then was by riding the subway -- and hearing the buskers play on the platforms.
Lately I've been appreciating the number of resources that are now available to indie artists. It can be overwhelming, so I thought I'd share a few of the rabbit holes I've been running down lately. If you have others you think I should know about, email me and I'll check them out.
WEBSITES / COACHING / SERVICES
A new (record) (project) thing
I want to give you a brief update about something from my last post regarding my new singer-songwriter/Americana/indie-folk album project: After talking with a few different producers here in Los Angeles, about a week ago, I toured a new recording studio nearby (down the street from the studio where I've worked for 10 years!) and had a long meeting with a producer who (fingers crossed! knock on wood!) seems like the right fit for working with the creative vision I have for this collection of new songs.
You might ask where Darby is in this project. After all, he's had a long career in music as a staff songwriter for a major label (Sony) and as a film/TV composer for production music libraries, and has worked with artists to produce songs and albums in a variety of genres. And he's my husband, with a small recording studio right in the house. In fact, without announcing it to anyone publicly, we've written together over the years, mostly for film and TV, and a few of our co-writes have been licensed. And we're currently working on a kirtan music project called The Bliss Drops. That record, or rather, the first finished track of that record, sounds fantastic. I'm quite happy with it. But the slow-going of that project is, partially, what has led us to realize that if I want to really get this songwriter album of mine done, I'll need to outsource away from our family. Between my day job, all the freelance work we both do, and family responsibilities, (not to mention peaceful downtime to nurture our relationship), we'd get nothing done. But, Darby is here being an incredible cheerleader as I venture forth on this journey. His feedback on my songs-in-progress keeps me honing them till they're the best I can make them, and his advice along the recording path is invaluable. And certainly his musicianship will be on the tracks - maybe as bass, maybe keys, maybe both.
Meanwhile, the music industry has radically changed since my twenties when I was performing and recording regularly. It's for the better, I believe, but I have a lot of catching up to do.
Thought I'd share some of the resources I've been appreciating lately. They're in my next blog post here.
Do you remember September?
"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot
Maybe September has always had a sacredness to it, between my childhood's sticky celebration of the Jewish holidays that practically tumble over each other from week to week in the fall, and the opening of the new academic year that still, now that I am adjunct faculty at Antioch University, rules my calendar. My psyche was, perhaps, already anticipating, when Darby and I kissed for the first time in September nine years ago, the deep journey of love and growth that has many times made me wonder at why we look upward to find sanctity when it is so often shining back at us, holy and pure, through the eyes of someone who loves us. No wonder Darby and I chose a date in September, six years after that kiss, and three years ago today, for our wedding. Darby, and I, and the kidlets - my stepdaughters who are two of my greatest teachers - stood in our backyard under a crystal chandelier hung from a branch of the mulberry, our dear friend Jeff officiated, and a small group of family and friends gathered around to witness our vows.
I'm not sure that I have always believed that I deserved a love like Darby's, but I know that all my life I have hoped that I would be one of the lucky ones to receive such a gift.
What's happening in the first photo below is this:
Right about 5 pm, three years ago today, it was my turn to repeat the officiant as he read, line by line, the vows that Darby and I had written. It was a Saturday, and I'd taken two days off of work at the record label, and put aside for a few days my work for graduate school, where I was also the editor of the program's literary and art journal. I wasn't thinking of any of that, of course.
I wasn't thinking about the cheese table, which friends had laden with flowers and fruit that afternoon. I wasn't thinking about the sitar, or the harmonium, or the friends who had walked us down the aisle from our bedroom to the tree with a sweet rendering of Buddy Holly's Everyday, or the caterer standing by with portobello mushrooms and lasagna, or the cake I'd made that was in the kitchen melting. I wasn't thinking about the malformed signature that I'd just affixed to our beautiful hand-drawn and hand-calligraphied ketubah. I wasn't, for the moment, concerned about family dynamics, or overhead airplanes.
I was just here, standing beside my loving stepdaughters, with my hair in some unexpected 'do that the stylist had chosen that morning and wearing a friend's borrowed shoes, with more people in our backyard than I thought possible, about to officially wed the love of my life who looked terribly dashing in his fine linen three-piece suit.
But an editor is an editor, I suppose. Just a moment before the photographer's shutter snapped, the officiant read a line that was ever-so-slightly not quite what we'd put on paper so many weeks before. Not consciously, I simply turned the phrase back around when I recited it to my almost-spouse. My mind was, I guess, trained to it. I'd been close-reading, proofreading, and editing for two years straight. The officiant looked back at his notes, laughed aloud about his error, and shared with everyone my editorial correction. The shift in attention, the jovial reaction of my almost-spouse, and the reference to my quotidian that felt so outside of the reverent moment caught me by complete surprise. I was so present, and this moment of laughter was authentically joyful. The shutter snapped. The photographer pinned the moment down forever. And we were married.
The best thing I never decided to do was fall in love with Darby. It happened of its own accord - if you know Darby, you can surely understand how. Who knew we'd be even better married?
Happy anniversary to us!