Heartbreaker

I wrote an original, called “Heartbreaker.” This is a power pop /pop punk. Writing a song is hard for me because I’m not proficient at a lot of instruments, because I write on the bass. I asked a friend, Zach, if he’d help me. I had a lot of trouble with my gear and getting a signal. He recorded guitar like a champ.

We used GarageBand. I prefer using something I feel comfortable playing around due to time limitations. Time limitations are a big obstacle to this project. Over the course of the past few weeks, I have been mostly structuring out the beat, getting the timing sequenced, and figuring out how to optimize sound. This is an exciting project. It is a personal project.

What I have learned is that projects take planning, and execution, and planning again, and more execution. Some times you have an idea of what you want, but to execute the plan takes time or requires skills that I might not have. For instance, I realized at a certain point that I don’t lack the understanding, but I need time and patience. I also think failure is a good lesson. I failed to execute an aspect of the project therefore I have to delete my mistake and go back and fix it.

Heartbreaker is kinda an ode to all the pretty boys out there that need and crave the attention of girls, and the wariness that comes with dealing with them. These are the boys…and sometimes men that will flirt mercilessly. *Sigh* sometimes you can call them danger boys.

This project is an experiment of sorts to find out what it takes to promote yourself as a musician. You create something; you want it to get heard. I want to see if it gets heard or played. Do people really engage with free music or do they just ignore it like the rest of the self-promotion out there. Do my friends and family even care?  I don’t know…but hopefully I can learn something useful in the process.

“Don’t Peggy Olsen Me, Motherfuckers” —Neko Case

I was at SXSW with a badge this year, and it was quite an experience. Most panels that I attended had older, white men using a lot of buzz words. Yet one of the panels that stood out, was The Rise of the Female Entrepreneur in Music. It was inspiring to see so many accomplished women sharing their experiences so frankly.

As I learn about the music industry and business, I sometimes lack courage. Often, I try to fake it or some times I just straight up avoid situations because of this. I wanted to ask so many questions, but decided to ask confidence. These women were bad asses. So I asked, “How do you work on confidence?” Their response was that you have to build yourself up and basically work on it. This is all starting to be clear to me. I’m learning to advocate for myself. I have to believe in myself and keep trying. Sometimes I fail, and sometimes I don’t.

Katy Goodman of La Sera was featured in an article about learning to code and being an indie rock star. If you follow her on twitter, you probably know that she’s being doing projects over the past few years. Goodman also recently joined CASH Music. In my opinion, this is some totally fantastic news. She’s the kind of rock star that is very dynamic. I find it really inspiring that she took up coding and she’s also pursuing her music career.

I want to see stories of women pursuing coding, business, music, or anything to be heard. Their stories feed my own passion. I don’t want to be a *just* a women trying to break into the business side of music. Or just a brown girl. I don’t want to be marginalized. Here is a rallying cry that Neko Case tweeted out almost a year ago. It rings true.

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Creating a Sustainable Music Industry

We’ve outgrown the conversation about record labels and now we’re trying stuff out to see what sticks: Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp. The new trend emerging is subscriptions, which regularly crowdfund an artist, a musician, a content creator. It’s a good thing. Paying people for their work is a good thing, and certainly an improvement over pirating music.

At the same time, I don’t think this is the answer to the problems within the music industry. It’s a patch on an air mattress deflating every night when you really need a bed and a good night’s sleep. I don’t think it solves the fundamental problem: people don’t value purchasing music or paying to see bands.

The music industry is very segmented; it’s music, e-commerce, live concerts, merchandise, it’s parts of something but not the whole. Solving this problem is going to take more than analyzing one area and attempting to fix it. Well, how do we make music sustainable? You have to look at music like holistically to make it sustainable.

An artist like St. Vincent, is a great example. She’s genuinely talented. She makes amazingly well-crafted recordings of her music. She works with good teams of PR and marketing people, booking agents, and managers. She collaborates with people she admires. She has integrity and doesn’t even represent herself as a solo artist. She performs as St. Vincent with a backing band. What this indicates is that it takes teams of people to get things done.

This past September, I went to a Fest/Conference in Portland. This conference gave me an opportunity to interact with people I admire. It was strange because what I’ve done is small so far. What I found myself doing was approaching a CEO of the company I respected, telling him that I liked his speech, and babbling at him about the things that still need to get done. I wanted to get across to him was that his platform for supporting bands was excellent, but we need more. My message to him that it isn’t enough to sell music. At least, it was my point, but I was so nervous I don’t know if it got conveyed.

Bands are touring more to make up for the lack of music sales, and there is a lot of competition. We need to cross promote the shows, the music, the merch, and the bands in a way that cuts through the noise. I worked as a booking agent in Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S. and it’s a grassroots, bust your ass to get it done kinda of work. It’s thankless and it’s exhausting. Facebook and Twitter aren’t enough for marketing, posters only reach so far, print ads are really pricey for DIY places. And we need these DIY places…we need small venues. Artists need a place to start playing and developing their skills. We need an integrative solution to this problem and we need passionate people with skills,  DIY values, and the startup mentality to do it. The music industry is not a single organization. It’s different parts moving along the same pathway, so there is not a simple solution. I am hopeful that we’re moving in the right direction.

Priests (DC) | Kosé | Toast | Ex-Girlfriends

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Last year, The Treaty Oak Collective booked Priests with Ex-Girlfriends at Mango’s. Easily one of my favorite shows. It was fucking stellar. High energy, fun, and infectious.

Really stoked to find out Priests are returning again to Walter’s with a dope line-up that includes Kosé, Toast, and Ex-Girlfriends. I love these bands to say the least. They’re making some of my favorite music coming out of Houston right now.

Kosé make every show the best party ever. Get wet. Get naked. It’s a good time.

You can call Toast the best new band… but they’re gonna surpass being “new” quickly.  Get hooked; crave song after song, but there will never be enough.

Thursday is just pre-gaming for the weekend. Don’t miss.

Priests | Kosé | Toast | Ex-Girlfriends

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walter’s Downtown
1120 Naylor
Houston, TX 77002

$6 / All Ages

 

 

 

 

The Bedroom

The Bedroom

This blue, unblanketed bed
bemuses my intrigue of Daniel.
Illuminated walls enclose this space
where sleeps escapes me.

He snores.
Exhaling exhaustion
after a night of drunken indulgence.
And this is his haven; for me, foreign territory.

Moonbeam spies intrude through the window
catching glimpses into his life.
Clothes strewn on the floor,
plastic constellations glow on the walls,
a stringless guitar sits in the corner.

A picture of a girl smiles from his dresser.
Odd feelings overwhelm me
sleeping next to a stranger
living with curious objects.