An Unfashionably Late 2015 AND 2016 Overview

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Hello 2017!! So this entry was originally titled “A Fashionably Late 2015 Yearly Overview <3”. Yes, 2015 not a typo. It was in my notes section all brainstormed up, with that exact title, ready pretty much a year ago. I came upon it the other day and did a double take, like holy wackadoodles. Of course my first impulse was to scrap it completely. But then a major lesson I learned the end of 2016 (and am still learning now!) was to try delivering more without everything having to be perfect. Perfectionism has always infiltrated my life ever since I can remember, and it really is a nuisance since I can’t count the number of times I haven’t finished or even started something because of it. How unfortunate that is. And honestly, just because I don’t think something is “perfect” enough doesn’t mean someone else won’t like and possibly benefit from it. Also, needing everything to be perfect can be a mask for thinking you’re not good enough. I’m slowly starting to see that I am in fact good enough, so perfectionism be gone. Forever! 2016_student_flowers

As I’ve done for many years now, I keep a list area at the beginning of all of my journals to record all I’ve done that I’m proud or happy about, or events and things that have happened to me. I write them in as they happen. It always makes me feel so grateful when I see it all summed up in the end in a neat little list so I can see all that I’ve encountered. It can also be intriguing to see the way my life has unfolded in the manner it has, and in the specific timing it has.

So the list below is a shortened summary of 2015 and 2106.

  • Amazing trip to California where I visited one of my favorite authors Francesca Lia Block, mineral pools, and Joshua Tree
  • Was featured on Francesca Lia Block’s website as the It Girl of the week
  • Received letters from Romania after I wrote a blog on letter-writing
  • Walked in my beloved NYC for 13+ miles in one day, my next goal is 14!
  • Amazing holiday & spring concerts at the private school where I teach choral groups
  • Finished writing my song “Shine
  • Finished writing my newest song
  • Performed both at The Bitter End
  • Continue to study with my amazing teacher Tina Shafer
  • Discovered my whistle voice during one of my lessons with her
  • Was introduced to my great producer Kevin Bents, by Tina
  • Recorded “Shine”, “Little Angel”, “Wedding Song” with Kevin
  • Released a lyric video for “Little Angel
  • Started recording my newest song
  • Recording constantly makes me so happy and brings me life
  • Most of my “Child in Me” album got on Pandora
  • Got my beloved golden Macbook I’ve been waiting for forever
  • Tons of fun times with my favorite 3 nephews in the whole world, who ARE my world
  • Got to spend time with one of my best friends Mary, and also Gala Darling
  • Had a couple shows featuring all of my private vocal and piano students – I also sang my songs in front of them all for the first time
  • Attended 2 Mets games where my sister’s school chorus sang the national anthem
  • Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Vermont
  • Saw so many inspiring NYC singer/songwriter shows including: The Bitter End Songwriter’s Circle (so many of these!), Rachael Sage (her dad Stuart Weitzman was there!), Kevin Bents, Jenny Bruce, The 25th Anniversary show for The Songwriter’s Circle
  • My nephew Jaron’s angel voice being featured in an All County concert (reminded me of when I was in All County!)
  • Went to Santa Fe, NM
  • Went to Mystic, CT to hang with my sisters and my adored nephews
  • Watched Broadway musicals “Kinky Boots” and The Carole King musical
  • Finished my very fat black journal – it took 2 years! – and started a new one
  • Got a few music licensing contract offers, but didn’t sign any

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And what I learned from all of this:

  • Stopped being such a perfectionist (though it’s still a work in progress)
  • Got more comfortable performing again, through Bitter End shows and student shows
  • Stopped hiding as much when I do something I’m proud of, but have been standing taller in my shoes so that they can get bigger and bigger
  • Started waking up from my long sleep and starting to let my true personality and potential shine again
  • Learned I can write good songs even without lightening inspiration, but through hard work, too
  • Know music is where my heart is
  • Understood 2015 was about shining and not being afraid of being my best self, 2016 was about reconnecting to my love of music, and I know 2017 will be about taking action and working very hard

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So there’s my 2015 and 2016 summary. I’m grateful for all that’s happened and and look forward to the coming year, though I’m honestly a little wary of what it many bring. First, I know there’s lots of work ahead of me personally, and second, what’s with what’s happening in politics? What we can do is continue standing for what we believe in and keep doing what we can. And hard work never hurt anyone, did it, how else do we get on further towards our dreams? Let’s do this together, and cheers to 2017!!

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On Performing, Empresses, and a State of Discomfort Leading Me Towards My Dreams

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I’ve read somewhere that being uncomfortable is a good thing, and it’s what you may often feel if you are pursuing your dreams. I think that I would take this feeling any day if it meant I was on my right path, even though I don’t particularly like being uncomfortable… But I get bored easily, so it may break up the monotony of daily life, even though it may be enticingly COMFORTABLE 😉

Last month, I had the opportunity to perform at The Bitter End. I’ve actually performed here before – at the NY Singer Songwriters Sessions – but that was years ago. And to be honest, I was pretty jittery about the whole thing! My stomach had little butterflies fluttering around in it in the days leading to the show. And yes, I’ve performed tons of times before, and sometimes for very large audiences. But if you are a performer and you haven’t performed for a bit of time, it’s almost as if you have to get reacquainted with being on stage again. Plus singing your own songs, for me, is another type of performing. It’s a little more exposing, more raw. And of course, singing at a well know venue and it being in NYC, plus not having a band with you, that adds another level of pressure!

A week before the gig I went to my voice lesson with my amazing teacher Tina. I was having trouble with the song I’d perform, my newest called “Shine”. First off, I wrote it in a range that would be challenging for me vocally, because I wanted to try to expand my musicianship. Second, I was doing it from memory and playing the piano has always made me more nervous than singing. So it was throwing me off a bit. I also am aware that a lot of my fears stem from my mind, rather than reality. Maybe a confidence issue. When Tina heard me she suggested I practice just the piano part, twice as slow. Just keep playing it over and over. So I went home, and did exactly that. Yes, it was a bit tedious, but I wanted to do everything I possibly could, to do my best.

On the day of the gig I was feeling nervous of course so I pulled out my journal and just wrote everything in me out. My form of a calming meditation. It helped, as journaling always helps. I realized the gig was not about me, but about sharing my music to whoever is listening. It was about getting my message out there, in the lyrics I wrote. It was about me just offering whatever I could, which that day happened to be in the form of a song.

On a normal day I usually pull a daily Tarot card, which may give me an idea for what the day may bring for me or a hint as to what I should be focusing on. And oftentimes it is frighteningly accurate. But today, no way. I wasn’t going to risk anything jading my day, in case I pulled an icky card like the 3 of Swords (a pic of a heart with 3 swords stabbed into it)! So I went onto reading the blogs I read daily. Somehow I was lead to reading an interview on an author of a Tarot book I really like. In the interview, the reader was prompted to pull out his/her deck of cards and ask it, “What is true about me that I did not know?” So I did.

I flipped over the 2 cards I’d selected, and they were The World and The Empress! And my eyes teared a bit because it was just what I needed to see, on the day I was feeling a little scared. And it made me feel like I was being told that I am the world, after all I’m a part of it and am always trying to contribute to it in the best way that I can, and that I am the empress, who is the epitome of femininity and creativity. I know the reason I got emotional was because I fail to see this in me, most of the time. And I’m so very hard on myself. Maybe I pulled those cards because maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t see the beauty in me. So I was lovingly told what I am.

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This inspired me to go out there and to sing my song, and try to be my best self in spite of my fear. Music is a spiritual thing for me. It teaches me lessons, and it helps me to grow.

So I did go up there and did the best I could. My voice was a bit shaky and I didn’t do as well as I could have, but I offered what I could. And for that I was proud. And I was lucky. I got to be my best self while I was singing. And also, I’m happy because I know that the next time I won’t be as nervous, and I’ll get back into the performing groove again. I know I’ll get there because I’ve been there before, I used to be a natural performer. And PS – the piano part I played really well, so playing it over slowly over and over just like Tina told me to do, really paid off. And after the show she told me, “You made your teacher proud” ;D

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My song “Shine”, is what I’m singing in the video below. It is the original slower version. The upbeat pro version is still being recorded in the studio. I hope you like it <3