You’re so right when you say music is not a job…

First we have the fragments coming up in our brains. The creative loose pieces of the puzzle. That makes us inventors.

Then we have the putting together the pieces to form a structure. That makes us construction workers, mathematicians, if you will.

Then we make the idea a reality through recordings or jams or rehearsals. That makes us developers.

Then we put together the product, and to do this, we put down hours and hours and hours. That makes us production workers and product perfectors.

We work on the performance, imagining where we can take it, what will swing and what wont when we perform. Making us not only performers but psychiatrists.

With the effect some music has on people, one might even call us therapists, making our audience cry when they need to, dance when they need to and laugh when they need to.

With the conversations I’ve had with my audience before and after shows, how easily they open up, I don’t just feel like drunk therapist, I feel like a friend.

Then we try to market. Making us market experts (whether it means we can market successfully or not, we still get to know the market).

Then we handle phone calls, paper work, deals, projects, making us secretary, boss, assistant and creative director all in one.

Then we listen, analyze, progress. Like any good business woman or man.

We tend to our spiritual babies, like any good parent.

We socialize, mingle, research, ask around, succeed, fail, fall flat on our faces then take ourselves to the next level. Well that… that just makes us human.

A musician. A singer. An artist. An arranger. A producer. Head of mix or mixing assistant. Listener. Voice. Weight lifter and technician. And anything inbetween everything.

You’re damn right when you say music is not a job. It’s about one thousand of ’em and counting.

Swordfighter 😉

Working with a great person

When you think me and Elisa, you’re not thinking “likely to cross paths, what a pairing”, do you? Not just because of the “national celebrity vs not national celebrity” factor but because of the genres. But we have!

I do try to steer away from the name dropping and let my music speak for itself, I have these feelings about riding on someone else’s name, I never want to. But seeing Elisa Lindström on Körslaget just inspired me to do this post. Simply because of the person she is.

What you see on Körslaget is this bubbly, happy person commited to the music and the people doing it. And I’m here to tell you that’s exactly how she is. People of all ages inspire me, and honestly, yes, she’s a lot younger than me and she’s one of them. So I watch Körslaget and anything she’s on.

In September 2010, I was trying to get this all female album together, you know… my debut album Bloody Mary… And I had the short, sort of even a filler song, “Ragedi Ann” going (it turned out to be more than a filler). And I needed trumpet. I looked high and low, on the music program in Skara and all around. Coming up short. Jeez, there has to be a female doing the trumpet brilliantly? I asked Katarina Hamilton, an artist not afraid of talking (which I was at the time), “can you find me someone? Please?” And she searched her contacts and said: “There’s this girl in Töreboda who knows what she’s doing according to one of my contacts. You really want her. Here’s the number”. And all I heard was honestly “girl brilliant at the trumpet”. Super shy, I dialed the number and she was up for it. We arranged for me to come and get her, and super nervous as I was (I was working away my social phobia bit by bit at the time) I started talking jibberish as soon as I saw her (about the GPS and how weird it was). And she just reached out her hand and said “hi, nice to meet you” and calmed me down.

We had our little chats on the way back and forth from Töreboda, and I’m not gonna drop my “conversations with the celeb”, but we could get into serious conversations and music conversations easily, with a breezy mood even if I was again, super nervous about meeting this new person. And we got to the home studio, and me handling the recording equipment, I sat just below her big trumpet out of necessity getting the trumpet in my ear and we just laughed about it. Maddox, my beloved degu god rest his soul, messed up a lot of the takes and we laughed about that too. Never once did she make me feel odd. She even played me her dansband (Swedish music genre, hard to translate) demos for Dansbandskampen (which they went on to win big time later that year, no surprise there). And I just wen’t: “Oh, wow, not a dansband-person but this is lovely, I’d listen to this regardless!” and she just smiled and said: “That’s the general opinion, I’ve heard it from several people, so nice to hear!” and it was just so honest. And we talked about my music and how it wasn’t her genre, but it’s exciting to try new things and she did love playing the trumpet. And I just loved that. Loving your instrument and loving your thing and new experiences.

She was just a lovely, happy, smiley person to work with without it being shallow. And she was very generous about her music contacts, offering to hook me up if I ever needed it. A person she’s just met! I find that fantastic. I haven’t taken her up on it yet, because I haven’t really figured out when and where I should do it given my music is “albums, tours and live shows” if I reach Tori Amos (my genre) type of fame, and no red carpet, but if I do, I will!

Skaraborg being small, your bound to meet people who have worked with the same person as you. And as I meet people who have worked with Elisa, I do chat and say “yeah, I had her on an album, and I’d love to have her on one again. I love trumpet and she’s brilliant. I was just so lucky to catch her when she wasn’t busy” and they say: “And that would be the only obstacle for her too. That she’s busy. Not that she’s ‘too famous’. She loves music and trumpet, she’d do it if she wasn’t busy”, and I’m like: “Yeah, it was only this one time, but that’s my impression too”.

You meet people who inspire you, young and old, and she’s one of them. I’m so honored to have her on my debut album! 😀


Back in the Idol cage

I felt an odd sense of freedom when programs like Idol and The Voice lost viewers, honestly going belly up. Because all these programs really just had people standing there singing other people’s songs and that’s all good, and that’s all 70’s but you know what? They really didn’t work for it. Not one bit. And the only pattern you could see is “The closer to Christina Aguilera you are, the better you can sing”, and honestly, that’s not music, man. That’s non-thinking idolism. And it’s an entirely different thing. It’s like you wash out all that’s good with music and just leave the shell of fame and entertainement. All good and well with the work that comes with it, the commitment, the musicality, but on it’s own? Pointless. Famous just for the sake of fame. Bring on the Kardashians.

What I mean with no one working is that they really didn’t have an input in the backtracks, they were neatly packaged for them, they didn’t have the original sheets of music and creating ideas of how their own performance would be, it was just someone elses song and someone elses way. They didn’t even have to have any kind of pre-knowledge of instruments or even the production process, no knowledge of music history and not even a concept of what music was beforehand. Just a friggin Aguilera voice and a will to stand on stage and have people applauding. Because the focus is on being an idol, not on the music. One of the programs is even called “Idol” in all it’s forms.

The result of this? I teach piano. A good and rewarding job which I love. But it hasn’t escaped me that the voice coach in the room next to me is about thrice as busy. And in some ways that’s just ridicolous. People want to sing but they don’t want to make music. They want to be idols but they don’t want to put in the research and really be artists. My main goal at 14 when I started was to make music. Yeah, sure, there was a star dream there but I still realized I had to play an instrument just to get the idea rolling and show it to people. And then, listening to the Doors and Tori Amos, I wanted the piano to be part of my music. I listened. I analyzed. I learned.

So yeah, when they announced, after a blessed hiatus, that “Idol is back, yaaay!” I threw up in my mouth a little. I had hoped in time we’d get more musicians out there, but it looks like it’s gonna be a while longer. Good for the voice coach, though! 😉

The first program ever, Great Britain, truthfully named Pop Idol. 2001, it was still new, and a bit cute
and exciting actually. I lived in the UK at the time and saw the birth of “mean judge” Simon Cowell.
Ant, Dec and finalists Will Young and Gareth Gates

Sweden 2013. This is what the Swedish jury evolved to. I’m sorry, and god help us all…

An awesome gig

Early friday morning I called for a tow for the car. It just wasn’t possible any other way and as I’ve never driven a car with a tow before, yes, I was super nervous. But my musicians were right there with me. And after driving a while, we even made fun of my angst. I made funny sounds and my company laughed. I do remember a distinct moment, when we went out to drummer Robin’s dad to get cables and lights. Backing up with a tow is hard for even the most experienced driver. So I just stood, a bit on edge, while my musicians pushed the tow into position so I didn’t have to back it out, and I was just like: “I love these guys. They’re doing this to perform my music as bloody well as they can”. And all the tension just went away and after that, I was right there and carrying and pushing with them. The tow grew on me like a good friend, I named him “Släpy” and was even a bit sad about handing him back 😉

The gig in itself? Oh, brilliant. I was asked for encores literally til my voice went, and we are so rehearsed and together that we could pick up all these songs we hadn’t rehearsed for this very gig anyway. The only complaints from the listeners was that I couldn’t drink. Well, booze is important for a musician, the music even more though. I didn’t mind. I drank beer sans alcohol and had the time of my life.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s gigs like these that make me remember why I’m out there playing! 😀