The creative addict

I just finished reading the Freddie Mercury biography and I was blown away by the life style of the blessed Queen front man. “I want it all” was such an auto bio song from the star. He really wanted it all; the music, the rock star life, the drugs, the sex (with both men and women contrary to popular belief), the alcohol, even the food even though he apparently didn’t eat much which you could kinda tell. But he had to have his particular food. Restaurant visits usually entailed him ordering mashed potatoes and kaviar, a small portion, but he just had to go out every night and eat at a restaurant with 30 odd people who he treated to what they wanted. A generous, good hearted man seems to be the consensus, celebrating others as much as himself. And while I could look at most of the stories and go “oh yeah, that’s not quite me” (raised by the youth of 60’s and 70’s with other priorities) I could still relate. The need for the highs.

At the end of his life, due to the illness, he couldn’t party the same way any more. He couldn’t go out and have sex every night, not go to restaurants because of his low energy and not drink because with his medicines and weaknesses, it just wasn’t possible. But Queen did the most musically those last few years. Because that was the last high. The last thing you can really keep doing no matter what (it’s hard to explain, but you can). And it really is a high. You could say in those last few years maybe he realized what was important but I still think that it was partly that, partly his last highs.

Because that’s why many of us musicians keep writing. It is a high of sorts. It is a great high beating alcohol, drugs, sugar, anything. It really is. That part isn’t a myth. Even if we read about the stars treating it as an office job I’m not gonna disappoint you, it is our ultimate rush. Having a writing streak the last couple of days, I can’t stop playing. Playing the songs I realize are good ones over and over again. I just throw my head back and keep playing and playing and diving further into the songs. It is the addict in me getting my fix.

It’s pretty universal, and with few exceptions, creative people are sensitive souls, prone to depression, addictions and a life that is not good and burns the candle in both ends. While I was in therapy and talking about it, even the therapist had a hard time wrapping his head around that part of my life. He was a musician himself even attending very prestigious music programmes, but I don’t think he was creative in that way. Because when it made him feel “aaah, no”, he stopped. And he said: If you don’t feel well, maybe you shouldn’t. And I almost put my hands over my chest going: Don’t take this away man, don’t you dare!! (Again, I’m not disappointing you in how we think, right? ;D)

Because, and here’s the point all you creative people need to understand when in self doubt, it is the good part of us. It is the best part of us. And the second point you need to stick with; We are born this way. We are born sensitive, addicts, looking for our fix and validation and in the end, because of this, born to create. You can get rid of the depression (I did), you can get rid of the self doubt (well almost) and you can get rid of the over analyzing for the most part to be a well functioning human being but you must never get rid of the creative part. Because it is not creating the depression, sadness or addictions, it’s just the good part that comes with the sensitivity. Wife Saga had a mentor that said this very thing and it has stuck with me. It is the blessing that comes with it, not the quality that creates the curse. Take away in my case the music and you’re left with depression, being prone to addiction and nowhere to put all this. That’s why I’m not afraid to feel better, I’m not afraid of trying to live a life burning the candle slowly. Because the music is the awesome part of me that I must never doubt or want to take away, that’s what I replace the alcohol and drugs with. That and coffee and chocolate 😉

That’s why I keep writing. I need those highs. That’s also why I drink bucket loads of coffee and live entirely on sugar when in the studio. Because it’s either that or being an alcoholic (I’ve been close enough) or sniffing just to make it to normal. Elton John allowed, very bravely, his psychiatrist to reveal it all about him in a documentary. “He was into the drugs because he is a born addict. If it wasn’t drugs it would have been men, food, just about anything. I think it’s music and performing now, though”. If I stop making music, you might see a Freddie wanting it all. All my money would go to going out, having sex, drinking, smoking, doing drugs. Freddie said his greatest regret in life was all the music still in him. I don’t ever want to say that. That’s why you see me drinking maybe once a month. That’s why my t-shirt says “Tattooes, booze and Rock n’ Roll” instead of the usual combo sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. That’s why I’m sober when I perform. Well, that and the fact that I don’t hold my booze very well. One of my exes was a musician with russian blood and he could drink just about anyone under the table and still perform, while I fall of my piano stool after one glass of wine. I could of course practice my “ölsinne” as we say in Sweden, and perform brilliantly drunk. But I wanna keep doing music while they’re wheeling me on stage in my wheelchair, so why would I? I could be Lemmy and need Jack for breakfast, but then I wouldn’t be quite consious enough to get my music high. And it’s so much better.

I am so boring, in this aspect. But do contemplate that I’d probably be burnt out within a month if I paid less attention to my art. You can then see just about how much I do indulge in it all. How high I get and how much I “shoot up”. I do want it all, I want my lovely music high now and always.

Bloody Mary from my debut album with the same name describes it perfectly; These words are stepping out on my own, these twelve steps on my own.
Hello, my name is Maria, and I’m an artist.

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Teaser for the video

I knew going into it that someone doing regularly the things I portray in it would have super muscles, so it’d have to be me me with at least some kind of super muscle. I had a workout routine for about five weeks of 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week. 40-60 min walk, 40-60 minutes on the bike and 40-60 concentrating on muscle. I monitored what I was doing thouroughly, took pictures and for once got up on the scale to see what happened there.

Because I was eating quite a lot more, albeit boring foods and proteines, especially the last week, the weight gain was about 3-4 kgs (8-10 Ibs). The video itself was quite physically taxing to film, so I’m glad I’d gained the strength just considering that. Anyway, I took a lot of before and afters, so you can see the result below. I did gain the weight I just claimed I did, this just goes to show that muscles can be extremely hard, heavy and compact.

I would like to add that I in no way prefer one body to the other, the left one is just as beatiful as the right one, but it is a teaser to illustrate the work behind the video and how awesome it will be without giving you a peek of the video itself 😉Image

To Swedish Music arrangers/ Till svenska musikarrangörer

I’m doing this one in Swedish since, honestly, for a country with such great music export, this problem is very widespread. I know it’s not everywhere, and there are some pretty awesome arrangers out there, but the number of times I’ve been through this, playing here, is astounding.

Det hÀr gÀller alltsÄ inte alla arrangörer. Jag har varit med om riktigt bra stÀllen som uppenbarligen uppskattar musik och förstÄr vÄrt samarbete, men det jag hÀr öppet uppmanar musikarrangörer till kommer att förvÄna er som inte Àr insatta i musikvÀrlden, dÄ det kan tyckas sjÀlvklart, men musiker och artister kommer att förstÄ precis vad jag menar. Jag Àr mycket vÀl medveten om att det finns en slapp attityd till vÀrdet av livemusik i fler lÀnder Àn Sverige, men vi borde som sagt veta bÀttre, med vÄr musikexport och vÄrt kunnande.

HÀr Àr hur som haver ett ganska enkelt önskemÄl, frÄn en hÀngiven artist och musiker till alla spelstÀllen dÀrute;

 FörstÄ att det Àr ett samarbete, vi ger underhÄllning och gott rykte, ni ger oss jobb och promotion
Vi Àlskar förmodligen Ert stÀlle. Det Àr dÀrför vi eller vÄrt bokningsbolag uttryckt en önskan om att spela hos er. Det betyder inte att det Àr ett privilegium för oss att spela hos just er. Vi jobbar med er, inte för er. Vi har vÀldigt generöst och med egen glÀdje och eget initiativ erbjudit en tjÀnst som vi alltsom oftast Àr vÀldigt duktiga pÄ, för att bidra till eran underhÄllning. Det Àr fantastiskt att fÄ jobba med nÄgot man Àlskar, men det Àr fortfarande i allra högsta grad ett jobb, och en tjÀnst vi utför.

Jag och mina musiker kom en gĂ„ng till ett spelstĂ€lle, som inte bara hade struntat i att göra iordning en scen till oss, sĂ„ vi fick flytta tunga Black Jack-bord och liknande sjĂ€lva, de föreslog dessutom att vi skulle spela pĂ„ en liten upphöjning dĂ€r min tĂ„ fick plats bekvĂ€mt men inte mycket mer. DĂ€r skulle vi alltsĂ„ klĂ€mma in trummor, bas, piano plus oss sjĂ€lva och hela vĂ„r ljud och ljus-anlĂ€ggning. Nej. Bara nej. KĂ€ra spelstĂ€llen, ge oss plats. Ni kĂ€nner till ert stĂ€lle mer Ă€n vi, ni har personal som dagligen flyttar runt möbler och liknande Ă€ndĂ„ för olika arrangemang, sĂ„ gör det Ă€ven hĂ€r. Vi sjĂ€lva kommer som minst med alla vĂ„ra tunga instrument och liknande och riggar upp (efter vĂ„ra egna lĂ„nga förberedelser), som mest med ljudanlĂ€ggningar och ljus pĂ„ nĂ€stan 300 kg. Vi lyfter för er Ă€ndĂ„, jag lovar…

Ett flertal gÄnger har arrangörer varit under all kritik dÄliga pÄ att svara i telefon. Jag skulle till och med, efter SMS, facebook och ett flertal försök att ringa dom, Àven med hÀnsyn till att de Àr upptagna mÀnniskor, sÀga att de undviker oss. Vi Àr inte farliga. Vi vill bara stÀlla frÄgor för att Äterigen, ge er en sÄ bra förestÀllning som möjligt. Ofta Àr det inga komplicerade förfrÄgningar, som ni kan se i SMS och mail efter att vi försökt ringa er. HÀr Àr ju inte ens mitt klagomÄl att vi fÄr dra hela lasset. VÄrat jobb försvÄras avsevÀrt och sÀtter krokben för oss nÀr vi inte kan fÄ enkla svar pÄ enkla frÄgor. FrÄgorna handlar vÀldigt sÀllan om att ni egentligen behöver utföra mer arbete. Ni behöver bara svara pÄ en frÄga om ert stÀlle som ni ÀndÄ borde veta svaret pÄ i sömnen. Jag ber om ursÀkt, men om jag mÄste anvÀnda adjektiv till den hÀr vanan sÄ Àr det oproffsigt och barnsligt.

Ta ansvar nĂ€r ni stĂ€ller till det, arrangörer. Vi kommer tillbaka till oproffsigt och barnsligt. En arrangör tog en spelning pĂ„ samma dag som vi skulle spela pĂ„ hans stĂ€lle. Metoden för att undvika oss sĂ„ han kunde Ă„ka pĂ„ sin spelning och slippa fixa nĂ„got var att vĂ€gra svara pĂ„ telefonsamtal, tills min trummis hade legat pĂ„ honom och ringt honom en hel dag. DĂ„ svarade han till slut och började skĂ€lla ut oss för att vi “inte hade bekrĂ€ftat nĂ„gonting sĂ„ jag blir chockad av att ni ska spela”. Ingen av oss hade ringt och pratat med honom, han svarar alltid, han ringer alltid tillbaka, pĂ„stod han. Att jag ringde sagda nr 4 ggr utan att fĂ„ svar, och att min trummis var tvungen att hĂ„lla pĂ„ hela veckan, var tydligen pĂ„hitt. Även mina tidigare konversationer med honom dĂ€r jag stĂ€llt frĂ„gor om ljudet och lokalen “inför vĂ„r spelning” som pĂ„gĂ„tt i sĂ€kert 2 mĂ„nader var dĂ„ pĂ„hittade. Ni vet… den obekrĂ€ftade spelningen som var en sĂ„n överraskning. IstĂ€llet för att alltsĂ„ be om ursĂ€kt och försöka omboka antingen för oss eller sig sjĂ€lv valde den hĂ€r arrangören ett vĂ€ldigt fegt sĂ€tt att fly pĂ„. En annan arrangör hade lovat oss ett PA (ljud) tills dagen innan spelningen, dĂ„ det visade sig att nĂ„gon annan ville lĂ„na det sĂ„ vi fick ordna PA, ljus och slĂ€pvagn pĂ„ en dag sjĂ€lva. I en sĂ„dan situation tycker man att det finns flera sĂ€tt att gĂ„ tillvĂ€ga. Antingen ordnar man snabbt ett nytt PA Ă„t bandet man gjort en överenskommelse med, eller sĂ„ Ă€r det sĂ„ enkelt som att man inte lĂ„nar ut eller tar med PA:t nĂ„gon annanstans bara för att en kompis ber om det. Igen, professionalism. Har man lovat nĂ„gon PA i tvĂ„ veckor Ă€r det inte acceptabelt att lĂ„na ut det till nĂ„gon annan dagen innan, Ă€ven om det Ă€r en kompis. Som musiker Ă€r vi vana vid att ordna PA, till och med att ratta det sjĂ€lva, men vi ska alltid ha reda pĂ„ det i tid. Mer begĂ€r vi inte. Det hĂ€r Ă€r ett vĂ€ldigt enkelt samarbete som arrangörer har visat sig vara bedrövligt dĂ„liga pĂ„ ett flertal ggr.

Sedan kommer vi till det kĂ€nsliga; betalningen. SjĂ€lvklart ska vi alltid ha betalt för att vi underhĂ„ller, och dessutom ordentligt. Är entrĂ©n vĂ„rat gage? SĂ€nk inte avgiften. SlĂ€pp inte in mĂ€nniskor gratis i en hel timme. Var inte fega. Som all annan underhĂ„llning betalar vi ibland för nĂ„got mindre bra, ibland för nĂ„got bra, men i det stora hela vinner ni pĂ„ det. Ni fĂ„r ett gott rykte, bra band som drar folk kan ni bjuda in igen, ett mindre bra band kan fortfarande ha vĂ€nner ni vill ska komma tillbaka (ryktet). Och vissa kvĂ€llar kommer bara inte folk, det borde ni veta. I de flesta fall Ă€r det faktiskt proffs och vana underhĂ„llare som kommer till er. I vĂ„rat fall har arrangörer Ă€ndrat gage-sĂ€ttet samma kvĂ€ll, vilket jag egentligen skulle sĂ€ga Ă€r det som verkligen Ă€r oacceptabelt. Artister och band Ă€r vana vid att fĂ„ betalt pĂ„ olika sĂ€tt, och anpassar oss dĂ€refter, sĂ„ att fĂ„ reda pĂ„ att vi hade behövt ta till fler Ă„tgĂ€rder samma kvĂ€ll som vi stĂ„r dĂ€r och inte kan göra nĂ„got Ă€r inte uppskattat.

Det hÀr Àr bara en brÄkdel av det jag varit med om, och jag undrar om omvÀrlden Àr medveten om hur mycket vi faktiskt fÄr hantera, utöver timmar av rep och det vi Àr beredda pÄ, som Àrligt talat i sig Àr ett hundgöra (planerandet, bÀrandet, rattandet, alternativa sÀtt att fÄ en inkomst av kvÀllen, osv osv). Det hÀr Àr vÀl pÄ ett sÀtt ett avslöjande samtidigt som det Àr en öppen vÀdjan. Vi vill göra ett bra jobb, vi vill inte ha mycket tillbaka, och Àn sÄ lÀnge Àr det mÄnga svenska arrangörer som inte ens kan erbjuda det lilla vi förvÀntar oss. Och det Àr inte okej. Vi har ett samarbete. Det Àr lika mycket en ynnest för er att ha oss dÀr som det Àr för oss att spela hos er. Det Àr meningen att vi ska arbeta tillsammans för att ge besökare en sÄ fantastisk kvÀll som möjligt, annars förlorar vi helt Àrligt bÄda tvÄ pÄ det. Det krÀvs en vÀldigt liten anstrÀngning tillsammans med skickliga underhÄllare, vilket som sagt de flesta av oss Àr, för att skapa en magisk kvÀll och det tror jag Àrligt att vi bÄda vill ha. SÄ arbeta med oss.

Kommunicera, tala i klartext, bete er helt enkelt som de proffs ni arbetar med. Var inte rÀdda för att hjÀlpa oss göra ett fantastiskt jobb.

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Live pÄ West Pride GBG 2011, som faktiskt skötte sig alldeles utmÀrkt.

The Show must Go on

The Show must Go on

There is one cover I’ve performed that really hits home for me, gives me certain flashbacks. It’s no secret that I’ve battled depression back and forth in my life, and at about 22, there was a down period where I would hardly get out of bed. I got a gig at a Moulin Rouge themed party, and so naturally, I thought about one of my fav pieces from there. Queen’s The Show must Go on. It was easy to perform, it felt close to my heart, and I’d continue to perform it. And it was so apt. I’d lie in bed shaking during the days and weeks, then perform at gigs and while I might have been shyer at the time, I don’t think anyone saw someone who lay in bed all day screaming, crying, refusing to open the blinds, hating herself. Because The Show Must Go On. Even at my worst, I could still perform. It’s good to know I don’t have to be nervous about that 😉 I was even in this big production in a consert house, lying on the couch with a sickly shiver inbetween the takes and rehearsals. But as soon as I was on… bam…

Somehow, when I had the big break and turnaround at about 26, the song fell out of my repertoir. My psyche was getting better. Life was worth living, and performing wasn’t a struggle, it was wonderful. So I guess it just naturally disappeared.

But as Queen launched their VEVO and became active, and I’ve got my usual “research, keep yourself updated, know your history”, and lets face it, Queen is music royalty, if not deity… well, I was reminded of the song again. I didn’t think more of it, went to London, felt this odd draw to Kensington where our hotel was, and Portobello Market in Notting Hill.

Got home and baught Innuendo cause I wanted to make a small recording of the song. Of course I looked up info on it. And kept researching, and looking things up and all of a sudden I found myself knowing about a lot more than Innuendo. Like Freddie’s last days, that he lived just around the corner from the hotel and had an art corner in Portobello market where he sold things (with drummer Roger Taylor). Some obsession phazes are just meant to be, aren’t they?  😉 Anyway, all the reading and researching paid off as it sort of conveyed; “skilled people, yes, godlike, sorta, but still they were people, they did what you do” and made me less afraid to be stupid/ballsy enough to make a recording of a Queen song. There are no Queen standards to it (only Queen can be Queen) and I know that, but it’s an absolute Maria version (only I can be me), and that’s sorta what matters. It’s been haunting my head, not theirs 😉

Ponies music video

So the project I’m working on is a music video for Ponies. Why I am bulking and bulging (yes, that too) up you will have to wait til the end result to see, but I had the absolute time of my life today!

Four girls from the theater line Katedral and me met up, I explained for I think half an hour, showing videos, and they picked it up just like that! (Damn, I’ve been watching and researching for months… 😉 )

We worked so hard I think my night night time will be like 9-10 p.m today. I didn’t need the last workout I did this morning, however of course we had bucket loads of coffee! We’re artsy people, right? And they were so tall! I mean, I’m not short but I just had a big look upwards 😉 you’ll get some surprises regarding that too, ofc.

Anyway, it just… Flowed. Daniel Ström and the girls did an awesome job, I just tagged along and made jokes, honestly.

All I can say is; when you see this you won’t believe they cuddled up to my pets just minutes before 😉

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Whoah, and some body image

I don’t think I’ve gone this long without an update before? Well, there are good reasons. They don’t tell you this when you chase the rock n roll dreams of signing boobs but there’s a lot of e-mailing, co-ordinating and just arranging before anything actually happens!

This has been one of those months. We have a gig coming up that I’ve hinted to, but also other projects.

I’ve got this one thing coming up that’s gonna be a surprise, but I can only tell you I’ve been working my butt off for it. It’s going down this weekend and I’ve been muscling and bulking up for it for about a month, gaining 3 kgs on an already curvy frame.

I know most of you get it, but there will come this occasional person who, bless his or her heart, doesn’t.

When I make a video or a project, I work out, but I don’t diet other than maybe skipping the odd bag of crisps. Because when I was a size 32-34 (6-8 british, 2-4 american) I was very unwell. I was either anorexic or depressed, and my vitals (blood pressure, vitamins, pulse, iron, you name it) were the understatement of bad. It’s now, at 38/40 (12-14, 8-10)that I have physical and mental health and a thumbs up from any medical professional and I’m not gonna screw that up.

I will, however, work within that frame I’ve got. I will eat healthier to get naked on a cover, I will lift weights and refresh my Krav Maga skills for this project I’m working on now. So I quickly got another cold in the midst of this 5-week workout/lifting? Take it easy and do it lightly as long as I’ve got no fever. The first point is to play a part. The second to try something new and see if I like it. The most important point is to not seriously risk my health cause I’ve got a good one.

Again, I know those of you who get it get it, and those of you who don’t don’t and will probably have a poor, less creative life for it, but I might reach some of you. I’m not interested in working within the patriarchal, constrictive frame. The frame that means getting in shape for a role/gig is always equal to getting thinner and more lean when you’re a woman. I’m interested in all the aspects, maybe I get thinner, maybe I get bigger, but I ‘m working my portrayal from my abilities. I’m fascinated with transforming, regardless of gender and predispodition. The things human beings can achieve and what you do creatively, FOR your creativity.

So I’ve got two days left. I know I researched and worked it as well as I can ( and will for the remaining two days) to give a realistic portrayal. Those of you who get it will get it, right?

And as usual, those of you who don’t; I wish you all the best no matter! 🙂