It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.
In fact, it was April of LAST year when I did so last.
And honestly, not to much has changed.
Rather than the fact that I’m about to get married; in MY life, and my MUSIC life, nothing differs.
I’ve done a lot of writing for my next album, and just worked worked worked.
In light of the tragedy in Connecticut and my dear friends Jaime and Alisa, losing their son London, I just thought it was time to talk about life. The celebration of living, and the celebration of death.
Right now I sit at my dinner table, and its filled with gifts for Christmas, wedding papers, and a list full of Honey Do’s and LIFE it self, is simply good. I’m blessed to be alive, blessed to be giving gifts, and blessed to have family and friends.
Maybe its the fact that my rehearsal last night got me excited to play music again, ( I’ve only played TWO shows this year), or maybe it is just the Christmas spirit. But LIFE, is good.
SO many things happen daily to millions of people, but we find a away to move on, to keep on living, and I think THAT is a blessing. The absolute resiliency of Alisa Turner, or the family members of those school children prove that.
So I don’t know. There is some sort of dark twisted good side to all the bad that happens. And each and every time, we find something new to hold on to.
Every moment, every hour, every day, things happen, and not always for good. I also believe they don’t always have meaning, or growth, or you don’t always learn something from them, they just happen. You don’t get better, you don’t always find a happy side to it. Sometimes it stays with you, and never leaves your gut. I have hand fulls of things that just stick with me, that I’ll never forgive or let go, but what I think the happy side IS, is that RESILIENCY.
That human burn to get back up, and try and find something in the life. Us as human beings find a way to keep on LIVING. To make beautiful good out of something that is purely bad. THAT is the blessing, THAT is the good in the heart of the bad. Some call it GOD, some call it HEART, some call it nothing at all.
There is a reason there is that phrase, ” That’s life, that’s what all the people say”, or that other phrase from Forest Gump,” SHIT HAPPENS”. That’s because it does, to everyone at one point in everyones life. Death is the one thing we cannot escape.
I may not have a solid point here, but I just say, keep LIVING, keep DREAMING, that is what makes us truly human, truly resilient.
What would happen if the world really DID end this month. Are you living, or have you already given up? Are you thankful for the good AND the bad?
Do me a favor, celebrate life this month. Celebrate for London. Celebrate for those children in Connecticut. Celebrate because it’s what makes us resilient, its what makes us keep on living.
Because life is simply…….a gift…… don’t waste it, don’t waste it at all.
USUALLY I TELL YOU TO DOWNLOAD A SONG. TODAY I WANT YOU TO WATCH THIS VIDEO:
My friend Alisa Turner doing what she does best, being resilient:
When I sat down to record my first EP “This is Our Land” almost over 1 1/2 ago I had it set in my mind that by this time I would have some sort of full length album out and would be on the cusp of touring full time.
Boy was I wrong. ;)
Fast forward to today. Full time job. Full time girlfriend. Struggling to find a place in the music scene.
I know I know. Debbie Downer no doubt, but let me remind you, UNADULTERATED.
Following the release of my first EP, I some how landed in some kind of rut. The result of super high expectations for my self all which came slaming to the ground harder than a pissed of THOR hammer could.
I severed some relationships, began some new ones and found myself a tad bit lost, or what I called myself, MELANCHOLY.
Right around Christmas time, I began talking with friend Jay Snider about recording some really cheap acoustic songs to trade fans for emails. After a couple of weeks of intense (not really) negotiations, Jay and I decided to work together and to begin recording them. Sometime early in the process I stopped Jay and told him I want this to be more than just a few songs for emails, but to make this into something worth while…. a piece of art.
We decided to do a brand new EP,(budget restricting). Now considering my low budget, and artsy mind set, we wanted to do something different, something that would show another side of my music that most people didn’t know about me or see me as.
The result was the Melancholy Sessions. It became a stripped down, slighty different version of songs not yet recorded.
Now I know alot of singer/bands do that AFTER an album, but we said the hell with it. I’m 24, and shoot I might not get to that album, so let’s do it NOW.
What started as out as a few quick songs, turned into something that gave ME hope through the process and slowly brought myself out of my Melancholyness.
Facts: There are no drums. There are only four songs. I actually cut one song out from the EP. Lots of hand claps. Lots of guitar solos.
This is EP has many reasons and intentions: First of all it’s to stay current, and wet your musical appetite. It’s served myself a great deal of emotional relief. But mostly its for you.
This EP isn’t for the radio. It’s for your ipod. It’s for your car. It’s for when you have a tough day. It’s for when you’re on a long drive.
There are few times when you get to make ART as a musician with always having to stay poppy, or current, or relevant or any of those things.
This is my attempt at just that. You may hate it. You may love it.
During the recording process Jay told me to stop being so hard on my self. He related this project to a painter painting saying they don’t paint then never show anyone. Art, is just that, ART.
I hope this find your ears well.
Below you’ll find the cover artwork done by great friend James Caronna. I’ll be releasing THE MELANCHOLY SESSIONS a week from today, April 13th, first on Noise Trade, then on my bandcamp page and iTunes. I’m currently planning a small melancholy tour hopefully with a few familiar acts.
Learning scales is tough.
Well, I take that back. They aren’t actually tough. They just simply take alot of time, effort, and concentration.
And blogging is kind of the same way. You start with some scatter brained ideas, thoughts, and stories, then you kind of, one note at a time, let your feelings, beliefs and ideas unfold. Just like a scale.
It just takes some concentration.
On occasion, this whole music thing feels like a scale. Everyday it gets better, but then you have a completely horrible practice session.
Sometimes I have complete moments of discouragement. Other times, I feel like I am 5 seconds away of doing this for reals. I have this hunch, well more than a hunch because I studied music with hundreds of people 5 days a week for 5 years, that I’m not the only one that feels that way. It’s the process.
I go through these up and down thoughts in my head every week. Am I wasting my time doing this, should I really buy this water because I need to save money, am I tweeting enough, am I tweeting too much, did I spend time with this person, or that person.
Almost over analyzing my entire life, every moment. Now, there IS an absolute part of concentration on the music/business of this effort, but sometimes I think to myself, do I really need to do this do further my career? Is a simple, I only do this if it is going to help me, that way to think?
But at what time did I become that guy? The second I graduated college?
Last night I was at the gym, pumpin some sweet iron, when my work out partner and I noticed a guy jumping over boxes as if this guy was training for the Olympics. Every repetition he would add another box, and with every leap, I found my self wishing he would eat it.
During these sequence of events my friend said, ” Why is he doing this, it’s not like he is in the NFL or anything”
It took me a minute to respond. But after thinking about it I said this, ” Well, why not” ” You and I practice guitar like we are going to be Axl freakin Rose, so why can’t he workout like he is going to play in it” “Even if it is to only be in better shape to play soccer twice a week at a park”
On the ride home I thought about that conversation for a while. And although our discussion had ended, I was still searching for some sort of deeper meaning.
My conclusion is this:
I play music. I always have, always will. And most of my life, I have treated my career as if I have never been to good to play, sing, and/or work somewhere.
When did I/you/anyone begin to think that they can’t simply do something for pure enjoyment?
When did we become to good to go to an open mic on a Tuesday night?
This might sound weird, and mostly likely extremely Vain or Egotistical, but sometimes I wonder how it feels to never really have this feeling of I can only do this for a certain reason. Almost a unadulterated freedom. I think to my self it must be nice to only do things for fun, and not ever be inwardly stressed about anything. (not that anyone ever remotely feels like that)
When I first started playing officially in Houston, I played at this bar a couple times a month. It was nothing but a scream-fest of covers for 3 hours straight. By the end of it the only thing I had left, was certainly not my voice, but a few hundred dollars divided up a thousand different ways.
But sometime between then and now I became TOO GOOD for it. I’m not talking about the right place to play to help your career. I’m not talking about the logical progression of more important shows at more important venues appropriate to the fan base. I’ll assume you get that.
But when did you, and I say you because I want to try and open up your thought process real quick; when did YOU stop playing at a friends wedding. At a valentines dance for your parents work, etc etc.
I can’t tell you how many friends’ weddings I turned down the invitation to sing at. (Seriously, those things eat at my soul.)
I’m asking that not because I think anyone in particular has and/or is doing that. I don’t even feel I do 10% of that. But I think its nice to have a reminder sometimes, that this whole thing doesn’t have to be so serious. It doesn’t always have to be about money, fame, or a career. You are allowed to do it for fun. That’s kind of the reason I wrote the song Vain, because all the songwriting I heard was being taken way to seriously, and I myself needed something to help lighten the musical atmosphere in the room.
But again, back to the NFL. If I was to compare it to something, I could compare it to just that. A game, (in our case, JUST MUSIC), that people started doing for fun, but end up sometimes, being way to serious about and absolutely take the fun out of it.
Listen, I have a blast on stage. Friday night at Walters, was absolutely the best performance I have ever had with my band. As I look back at it, I realize that playing that venue was one of those rare compromises, or should I say blends of needing to play at another new venue in front of new people and playing with friends for just plain old fun.
When its that blend of work and fun, there’s nothing that compares to it. Nothing.
I went out with some friends a couple weeks ago. During one of our conversations we began to talk about our show at Mangos, which was a blast. As I joked about how interesting our line up was going to be, a friend told me, “Hey man, live it, if you are gonna write it(blog it), then live it” And although we were all joking at that time, he was completely right.
If I am going to write it and speak from the heart, then my demeanor and the way I approach it all has to go hand in hand. I’m going to do that now with. I hope you will too.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG:Raul Midon-State of Mind
WHAT IS THIS PICTURE:
This is the one of the streets at the Via Colori Street Painting Festival I was lucky enough to play at last week. I love getting involved in things like this. I wish I had more time to enjoy things like this. But most of all, these are people who are doing this for fun.
Here are a few of my favorites from the festival shot with my half broken iphone 3g:
Let me ask you a question.
And before I ask it, let me tell you…I already know the answer.
Do you think you are a trusting person?
Now I bet half would say…. yes. The other half, obviously, no.
But let me smack you with a little bit of, what I like to call Unadulterated Reality.
YOU ALL ARE TRUSTING PEOPLE.
Think about it. Everyday, you trust hundreds of people to do things to, for, and with you.
When you get in your car, you trust everyone around you has a drivers license, AND insurance….right?
How about when you eat Whataburger at 1am after a night out. You trust that the people inside are cooking it correctly…right? You also trust the fact that they aren’t pulling some kind of Dane Cook, from the movie “Waiting”, stuff on your food. I even try and give a little extra trust to these guys and assume they remembered no tomatoes and cheese on my Whatachicken. (50% of the time they prove me wrong though)
I had a tough week last week when I went home to be with my family while my dad had surgery. And as I was listening to our 2nd surgeon talk to my dad, I realized we were putting a HELLA lot of trust in this doctor that I had only met literally 10 minutes ago. Even in that thought, I was trusting that this guy stayed in and studied in college rather than doin keg stands on Dead Day.
Think you’re still a trusting person?
That very realization makes me kinda feel LESS trustful.
What about when you go to the police. Don’t you hear that on movies alot….”Trust IN the SYSTEM.”
Not being in a “BAND” has alot of pros and cons. On one hand, I have this great opportunity to connect with people on a much more intimate level. On the other, I end up having to do *cough* pay *cough* for things by myself. And honestly, getting stuck in the “singer songwriter” “solo act” category can be alienating sometimes. BUT….it comes with the territory.
So naturally I’ve needed help from friends.
FRIENDS….. is a weird word in the music business world.
Because everyone WANTS to be FRIENDS. That’s how you get somewhere in this place.
I know I’m not supposed to say stuff like this cause it isn’t “positive” but its true.
Everyone wants/needs to know everyone just in case someone gets famous.
Just in case you need help.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to be part of the community, and I want to be friends with guys……but are we REALLY friends?
Becoming friends takes alot of time. AND even more so alot of work sometimes esp. when you are busy.
I don’t even get to hang out with the guys that play with me, which absolutely sucks, YET these guys are two of my closest friends.
There is something substantial when you create music with someone.
It goes beyond lunches and handshakes. And even though I only spend MAYBE 4 hours a month with them, we have a bond. You could even say a trust.
That’s exactly why it’s easy for us musicians to WANT to network. There is some sort of bond that comes and goes between us just from the very fact that we are all trying to “make it.”
We all enjoy doing the same things, listening to the same music, reading the same books, etc etc. We all have so much in common.
That’s why when my dear friend Maura passed away, the ENTIRE school of music was up in arms and the ENTIRE choir was in her living room giving her a musical extravaganza. It was because of that musical connection that we felt soo connected to her.
That’s why we all feel connected to each other… it’s THROUGH the music.
That’s why we play shows WITH each other. Other wise the audience would just feel disconnected from everything. There IS a living, breathing feeling that occurs.
Now I’ll reiterate this. There is a big MUSIC side to this music business world that remains very unseen to the people listening from their seats and car radios. One that is filled with half truths and a lot of “smiling”
It’s also saddens me that a lot of people in this town don’t want to embrace that sort of thing.
We recently tried to book for this show we have coming up *cough* MANGOS *cough*. One of the bands we were trying to book with us decided to blow us off. Stopped returning out emails, DMs, facbooks…everything. And I KNOW some of the guys.
They’re lucky I don’t call them out publicly.
Anyways……that’s the music business part.
My point is, I was luckily enough to rely on friends to play the show with me.
Understand that YES I needed to play with them to try and pick up their fan base, and YES I needed them to bring people in the door. But I honestly could care less if it meant I could have another moment like I shared in that room with the SHSU choir that day.
I don’t care if they turn into U freakin 2 and have millions of fans. If you have nothing tangible, non of those TRUE moments with other people, it all means nothing.
That’s why I like the challenge of being a solo act. I like the idea of trying to win over a predominately Christian music scene.
That’s why I asked Jeffery to produce my EP and that’s why I have Justin Romack working with me now. Trust.
Sometimes it gets broken, sometimes it doesn’t.
I’ll say this and I will end it.
If you are a musician, artist, singer….whatever. Have the respect for the other person and tell them you aren’t interested. It’s the right thing to do. Don’t smile to their face, and secretly not have the guts to be honest with um. It hurts um.
Don’t be afraid to play with people of not the same genre, it’ll be ok. I know there is a way to book shows, and a way to set up the flow and target audience of a show. It’s very business like, I get it. I’ve seen it. I’ve been on both sides. Trust that your career isn’t in jeopardy. Trust in it.
I know what your saying. I sound like I’m just angry because people “don’t want to play with me” or whatever. If that’s you, you are missing the point.
Don’t forget about the intangibles of playing with others. I’ve played with 2, and I’ve also sang with 500. It doesn’t matter. If you are too blind to see the opportunity, once again, you might miss something grand.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG: Prince-Starfish and Coffee
WHAT IS THIS PICTURE:
When Maura became sick. Some people in the music building decided to make cranes. Something about an old Asian belief. Before we knew it, everyone was making them before, during, and after class. After while, they filled her room with them. Somewhere around 1200 of them. ALL hand made. To read more about the story, I recommend her mothers blog. I’m sure she won’t mind. She loves sharing Maura’s life.
I’ve been thinkin.
Actually, I don’t think I have ever stopped thinking. I’ve always been more of a thinking man than a speaking man. The last to comment on something and/or even regret not speaking up when I should.
How many times have you replayed an argument in your head or even out loud?
Heck I do that all the time, from YEARS AGO. Situations I would have handled differently, or things I would have took the courage to correct.
Like I said, I’ve been thinkin.
I have a friend. Shoot several of them, that are trying to make it. And by make IT I mean, become famous.
People love stories. LOVE UM. EVER turn on CNN, they happen man, all the time. And my thought, or blog today is that I’ve been thinking of just that, stories. Not my own, but others.
My thought today is about the social networking phenom TWITTER, not facebook, but twitter.
I know alot of people, mainly those guys aforementioned, that are in love with twitter, nay I say involved with it, even more have relations with it.
Me personally, I’m on it ALL the time. In fact I’m very lucky I haven’t killed anyone yet driving around telling my twitter-verse that I just listened to the latest Justin Bieber song (that didn’t really happen). But you get the point.
What has caught my attention lately are not the musicians on it, not the celebrities on it, not even the 25 Dallas Cowboy blogs I follow, but the stories/ lives of the people that lovingly follow ME.
What is the point of twitter??
Let me give you a definition:
Twitter is a website, owned and operated by Twitter Inc., which offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their friends list. Users may subscribe to other author tweets—this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers.
OH. Thanks Wikipedia.
I think the point of it and blogging in general is just a sense of awareness of the world around you. And that world, or the PEOPLE that make up that world, create millions of unique, unimaginable stories every minute.
I’ve literally heard this phrase a dozen times, ” I follow you but you don’t follow me” or ” You haven’t followed me yet”
I know guys who won’t follow people because that don’t follow them back. I’ve struggled with that a lot this past year, trying to decide if I should follow this guy because it makes sense in the music business sense even though I KNOW them, WORKED with them, PLAYED with them, and even TALKED with them.
Time and time again, I end up following them. And why? Because regardless if they care about my music, me, or my world, I enjoy their story. I also love to know what my peers are doing AND think its a responsible way of keeping an awareness of the music industry. But anyways…..
I have a few friends that follow ten people but wish they had 5000 followers.
Ever notice that there are tons of people that have tons of followers, but they them selves follow tons of people? It’s because people love to feel like people care for them too. Why else would they follow back.
Well shoot, I know that feeling too. Why should I follow you if you don’t care about what I am doing with my life? I know there is the mad business like approach to try and get people to follow your business. I get that. Heck, here’s what my twitter looks right now:
Here is one of my points: I don’t see how there can be a disconnect between the people you follow and the people that follow you. I want to know what you are doing. I want to know that you are sad the Cowboys lost or that you know someone who is in the hospital dying. Trust me, I’ve been there.
It helps me.
It helps me create, knowing that not only can you relate to my music. But my music can relate to you.
Does that make sense?
In other words. How can I create this music hoping it will touch lives, hearts and minds without knowing who it is I am hoping to reach?
I want to know that you had a bad day, that you broke up with your girlfriend.
Make your life a diary, I want to understand you.
Think of it in a business way musicians: If you are sad, and you turn on some Amos Lee, why didn’t you turn on some Tim Qualls instead? In that moment, Amos Lee had a better connection to you that I did. Right?
Now don’t get me wrong. I know there is an absolute business way of utilizing TWITTER, and all those other social networking sites. And I also know that every use and reason for usage is entirely unique to the situation. I just think there is a very REAL, and unspoken place that is entirely unseen and/or used.
Heres the Big Picture:
Do I think you should follow everyone that follows you:NO
Do I think you should obsess over if someone follows you (even thought I have):NO
Do I think you should try and follow as many people as possible so they will follow you back: NO
I’m not saying any of those things. I know there ends up being people that just like your music, or use this thing casually. I know it.
Just use it wisely. There is so much going on right under our noses. You can learn so much from the people that feel connected to you.
My point is not to belittle the way you use these networking sites. I just don’t want you to forget about the people you are trying to connect with. Don’t forget about them for a moment, you might miss the opportunity to learn something. Something spectacular.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG: Robin Thicke - A Beautiful World
WHAT IS THIS PICTURE:photo: AP / Bullit Marquez
Taken from Wn.com aka World New Dot Com. There are stories everyday everywhere, not only in America. I hope you are open to learning about things in other countries as well. Here is a link to it: WORLDNEWS
I believe in you.
Everyone wants to hear those words right?
Whether your a baseball player, teacher, doctor, or like me, a musician.
But what the hell does that mean anyways?
Does it mean they believe in your ability?
Do they mean they believe in your voice?
Do they mean they believe in your potential?
I’ve heard it plenty of times. From friends, business partners, loved ones.
The one I personally have heard more recently is this:
“I believe in the potential for your music”
At least that’s what I understood from their mouth.
I’m not sure what is the truth, the belief in the goal, or the belief in the person. Or is their even a difference?
Take me for instance, and be honest. Do you believe in me, or my music? Which is it? I wake up every morning wondering the same damn thing. Did the people I surrounded my self with 6 months ago believe in me or the music? Do the guys who play drums, guitar, bass for me believe in me as a person or think the music is great?
I love the fact that people love me. Love my personality. My parents love me and the person I have come to be, and that’s a great thing. But I could care less about that. I almost would much rather be a Terrel Owens, and if you don’t know his story you should read a book of his, where everyone hates him but with out a doubt, he is a beast on the football field and is one of the greatest to ever play his position.
Take John Mayer, or Bob Schneider. Apparently, from what TMZ tells me ;), both of them are dicks, but are completely amazing and well respected when it comes to their music.
When John Mayer’s song Gravity comes on, I could care less that he said the “N” word during an interview. His music speaks for himself, and even is a blocker between the two. Yet, he is the same person.
And here is an even further step. I’m sure all of you music peeps can agree with me:
I am my music
The songs I wrote back then was what I was dealing with, or how I felt, or felt I needed to say or be said.
You are your profession. A doctor is who you should be.
Ever see an episode of a show where someone says, ” Is anyone a doctor?”
The person doesn’t go, ” Nope, I’m not off the clock”
It is who they are.
And so, if they say to me, I believe in the potential of your music, does that mean they believe that you aren’t ready yet? Does that mean they think you still have alot of growing to do as a person?
In other words, my music 5 years ago was the person I was. If I’m still playing it today, does that represent me well now?
My boss quotes his boss all the time and says,
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”
In other words, you have to grow.
Do I become my music, or does my music become me?
Last years American Idol was a great show. Lee D-whatever won it. Now it is my personal belief, and dare I say professional vocal teacher opinion, (since I have the degree) that he sucked aside from a good vocal once or twice. But did the voting audience fall in love with his voice, or him. I’m going to say they fell in love with his potential. The potential they saw him quickly grow into. Sooo because America loves a good underdog, he won American Idol and has a horrid version of U2’s “It’s a beautiful day” playing in Buckle 4 times a week.
That’s what America is about right?
Livin the dream.
That’s why this new generation created facebook, blogs, TWITTER. They want to know you. And if they know you and understand you, they will understand your music. Right? or Wrong?
And so this blog was more about asking questions than giving answers, because honestly I don’t know the right ones for either.
Be who you are. Be the best you can. Take the opportunity to grow as much as possible.
Life sure the hell isn’t black or white.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG: Mumford & Sons- Little Lion Man
WHAT IS THIS PICTURE:
My old friend Colin de los Santos opening up for as at Emos in Austin last week. It was his first full band show after the release of his first LP “Songland” Such a great guy that knows his was around an old guitar.
Even more so, exhausted.
And what a better day to be tired on:shirtless, History channel on my tv, Tostitos on my right, giant pile of laundry to my left, and most of all, its raining outside.
This is one of those rare days in Houston that I love, and is why I included the photo above, taken by GREAT friend James Caronna, on my EP. You can choose to be two things, tired, or not. How often do you make the choice to go the extra mile or make an excuse to go to sleep. I say sleep is over rated.
So many times in my life I have chosen to go to sleep rather than stay up another hour and study, practice, converse with others, cuddle with my girlfriend. I wasted those moments, moments to learn and grow as a person.
And so, once again in my life, I’m tired.
The last month or so of my life has been some of the most fruitful, productive time ever.
I’ve worked almost a month straight 50+ hours-6 days a week, had 3 fantastic shows, rehearsals ever week, attended the HPMAs, won Best New Act in Houston, interviewed with the U of H paper, bought an electric guitar and celebrated my friends/girlfriends birthdays, including my own.
And all the same, that isn’t a complaint, it’s more of a gloat.
I’m living to the best I can, and its fun. I wanted to share a few experiences from the past couple of months to express perspective.
I was excited in the months prior to August 26th because I had been accepted to play at my Alma Mater SHSU for their first official music festival. I’ve always wanted to be part of one and here was my chance. A chance to be looked at as an actual “artist” as opposed to being just a guy playing some songs he wrote. In addition, playing the festival as well, were professionally signed artist, that are extremely popular. So naturally I got to exaggerate a little and say I was playing with Lifehouse, Jack Ingram, Story of the year, Charlie Boy, and countless other well respected Texas Bands. In reality, ( and you could even call it unadulterated reality) I was playing on the side stage outside of the festival, in/around/ or in the vicinity of the bands.
I say that not to belittle my opportunity, but to just keep it real and down to earth. In fact, when we arrived at the show, we were told that we were playing on the side stage to the side stage, uncovered from mother nature. Which then resulted in us, the only Alumnus to SHSU, to be rained out and cut from our set.
Luckily they gave me a little love, and let me play a couple songs on the mainstage.
Even though my band was not allowed to play, we still got to meet fantastic people, of which you can see here. (Hope she doesn’t mind) We also got to make the most out of the opportunity with frustration and complete gratitude. One for the books for sure.
Sometime in June I was made aware about the HPMAs. Going in I knew it was a long shot to even make an impression on the Houston Music scene, and I also knew getting nominated had nothing to do about talent and more to do with popularity, which now-a-days is hard to tell the difference. I know some look down on it and say its for amateurs, yet, what else did I have to do? What other opportunities were at my door step? You can only take what your given, and this opportunity was given to me. And so by August, and a giant twitter/facebook campaign I was nominated and I dare say crowned Best new Act in Houston of 2010.
Now let me tell you, it wasn’t a Grammy. In fact, when I got on stage to accept the award, no one in the room knew who I was. The people thought I was accepting FOR Tim Qualls, not AS him.
Talk about complete, irony, and humility all at the same time. At least I didn’t get Kanye’d.
The best thing about this experience was that we have finally began to have some recognition in Houston as artists, AND my band was nominated for their crafts. BIG personal victories for my friends, and my heart.
It sure didn’t get me a record deal, but it made me feel accepted in the community, and it was another encouraging moment in my life.
Since I arrived in town, I’ve been trying to earn the respect of the musical community, and for the first time, after the release of my EP, and a year of shows, I finally played in front of the majority of my peers. I can’t explain how humbled I was, that the guys that I look up to soo much, took the time out of their life, to humor me and my music. I can honestly say it was a nerve racking experience and one that I still am nervous about doing again in the future.
Also, our opener Clay Melton was forced out at the last second and our friends Mason Lankford and The Folk Family Revival stepped in to save the day. Such a great guy. You should google him. ;)
All in all it was a testament to the strong communal bond that is growing in Houston. Something I have been searching for for some time now.
I heard recently that your music shouldn’t be where you are, but where you are going. And this my friends is it. I want to be better. I need to be better. It’s way to late already, and I have wasted soo much time already not doing enough to be the best musician, best boyfriend, best son, best brother, best worker. This is a sign of my re-dedication to my craft. Without the people close to me, and Esp. Katie cause she bought this damn thing for me, I couldn’t be here and could not do the things I do. This is my chance to become an artist, experiment, and finally MAKE MUSIC.
I’m gonna get to my next record, and besides raising an un-godly amount of money, I’m gonna do my best to make the time till then not wasted.
I hope in what ever you do, whether its folding clothes, or taking care of people, that you do it with all you got.
WHAT IS THIS PICTURE:
Our new rehearsal space downtown in a giant warehouse. There has been some changes recently when it comes to the business side of my music and I’m looking forward to doing alot of creating here. Away from the world, away from the little boxes made out of ticky tacky.
Our next show is with Smithfield, whom we are sharing the space with. Maybe you can come out and see me try and play that dang guitar.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG: Sinister Kid-The Black Keys
“To know who you are, you gotta know where you came from”
I’ve been doing alot of soul searching this past year. Trying to figure out what is different about my life, that people can latch onto and want to follow.
For the first time in my music career, I started to actually think about the music I was writing and not just come up with a catchy tune. I recently filled out a branding survey about my self. It was something so in depth that for the first time in my life I was at a loss for words, and I had to think about things in my life I didn’t REALLY want to open up to. For the first time in my life, I realized, DAMN, I guess I do have alot to talk about.
And heres my first point. WE ALL HAVE ALOT TO SAY.
Have you every wondered how cool it would be to be related to a king or queen? Or, have you ever thought about who the hell came over here from Europe or Asia or Africa or wherever the hell it is. I have, and that has lead me to many late nights on wikipedia and on http://www.ancestry.com/.
My immediate goal for the future is to record my first LP. (For those of you who don’t know what LP means I’ll repeat in English) My immediate goal for the future is to record my first full length Album ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LP_record ). But for that album, I want fresh music, that has a balance of catchy pop tunes, yet irresistibly emotional realness and depth. And searching for that balance I found my self, (and am still finding my self) not searching forward, but looking back to my past.
How can I grow musically if I don’t grow as a person?
and how can I grow as a person if I don’t know what kind of person I am. Or more importantly, where I came from.
The first picture you saw was a picture of my mother and father signing their legal papers of marriage at their wedding in Amsterdam. My dad (Johnie Lee) had just got done telling my mother ( Gladys) “I’ve got you now!”
Now I’ve always had this slight insecurity that my last name, Qualls, of Welsch decent, previously Quails, or Quarles, didn’t sound like a cool, or even good enough last name for a singer-songwriter type person. Shoot I have even felt that way about my first name. YET, I have continued to keep it knowing it would be foolish to do anything but. True story, I know a guy who changed his last name because of the same thing:TRAGIC. But recently I have grown into believing in my last name and the blood that lives through it.
My dad is Welsh, coming from mid-American Qualls families, who worked in oil, and did everything a regular good ole American family would do. Our last name comes from a bunch of people who worked near a quarry. Throw in a little bit of Indian, and there you have it.
My Mom, half Chinese, and Indo( A 50/50 mix of Indonesian and Dutch) was born in Indonesia and due to increasingly bad relations between the Indonesians and Dutch fled to Holland with her family where she was raised for the remainder of her teens. My Oma Lily, is full blooded chinese but was adopted as a baby, being raised Indo.
Sometime while my mom was still young, (not that your old mom), relations between the Indonesians and Dutch became bad. If you were dutch or mixed you most likely ended up fleeing back to Holland for safety. My family, being raised both the nationalities, was left with no choice but to do the same thing. What you see above is the last picture taken before my mother, far left, and her siblings left my Oma Lily. It would take my Oma, or grand mother to you Americans, years to save up money to move to Holland by her self. (My mothers parents divorced while living in Indonesia, and my Opa remarried prior to moving to Holland. )
I don’t mean for this to be a family history lesson. But these things have molded who I am.
My dad, being a Vietnam Vet, traveled the world, eventually being married twice before my mother. My mom, tired of living in a small home in Amsterdam with A BUNCH of kids, moved out, eventually meeting my father in Germany. After both moved back to Holland, they were married.
To shorten the story. They eventually moved to the US. Producing both my brother Andrew and I. (I’m sure this will be an entire other blog of its self)
HERES THE POINT, And I am purposely cutting this short even though I could literally go on for a whole book. I am who I am, because of what my family has gone through. My Dad being so well traveled, learning so much, and my mother coming from such an amazing story and history, has filled me with such a great passion for life. My brother having Downs Syndrome, has shaped the way I have come to view life, which I will state is far different than others.
To produce passionate, meaningful music I am have to take, shape, and learn from my families experiences.
“How can we, as musicians, even think for a minute that this thing is about us”
Its about the past.
I hope this will encourage you to take some time to figure out who you are. To figure out where on earth you came from, or even WHO you came from. I owe my everything to my family.
I’ll take note from a Gavin Degraw song, http://www.gavindegraw.com/, actually, his first song.
The first lyrics is , “I don’t wanna be anything other than a prison guards son”.
I think Gavin knew who he was talking about. He had figured it out.
Take an hour or so. Ask you parents questions. Annoy them till they tell you stories. You’ll find out things you’ve always wanted to know.
You might even find out some things about yourself.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG: Gavin Degraw- “I don’t wanna be” from his Stripped album.
I wanted to write more about my family history. But I didn’t want this to be a novel. So I’ll just give you a slide show.
If you want to learn more about the Indonesian/Dutch Culture email my mom, Gladys Qualls on facebook. Sorry Dad, no photos of your side, cause I don’t have any!
Investigate and find out these things fast before they are lost. It’s more important than you know.
I played my first show at Fitzgeralds Friday night. According to the door lady, 24 people walked through the door. And before you dub me the new Kanye West, let me put that into perspective. That is 10 bucks a person. That equals 240 Dollars. Now, Half that. Then take that half, $120, and split it three ways. And before you have it I earned 40 bucks that night. That is what I love to call a incher, or what Matt Nathanson, who by the way is a phenomenal lyricist, calls a “Little Victory”. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I live for the grind of it. Its just some how, worth it.
There are two floors to Fitzgeralds: The Top floor that the bigger bands play at, or should I say bands that get more people through the door at, and the bottom floor where newer bands, or should I say bands that can’t get anyone through the door, play.
And as I walked through Fitzgeralds Friday night, I couldn’t help but notice there were 12 different bands playing in one building, and yet, the place was never packed at one time.
WHATS WRONG WITH THIS TOWN?
Did the Astros just win the World Series or something?
SOOO much talent, but no one to see it. I almost feel like the music scene around here is a hidden gem or something. But the word “gem” makes it sound beautiful. I’d more call it a hidden “coal”.
YET, I came HERE to do music. I’ve heard, “Why not Austin”
I’d say one part, Austin is over saturated, and two parts I have a beautiful women who loves me. But the BIG reason is: I believe in the city. Everytime a person makes it from the place, everyone goes crazy for them, and hangs on to their every move.I think it’s because the want something to hold on to. They need a reason to come out. They need an infectious attitude around the city. In the past many guys have done their own thing never really supporting anyone but their selves.
I was on Twitter the other day, probably ignoring the road or in line at Starbucks and I read a Re-tweet that read something about how we should support each other always, and that its not a competition at all.
I think its a road we all should travel together. We should all relish every persons small success. Now don’t get me wrong, we all have to look out for their own career and business, but what hurt does a simple re-tweet do, or facebook invite or more even attending a show of that person.
I know what your thinking, Tim is only saying this because he wants people to reach out to him. HELL YES I do. But I’ve lost count of the many times I have turned a cold shoulder to someone who needed a little help. I’ve thought it would hurt my chances, or make me look bad. I’ve looked in the mirror lately and seen alot of both happening TO ME, and FROM ME.
There a revolutionary thing that started in Nashville a while back by a bunch of Music Lovers/Players called Ten out of Tenn.
It was a bunch of people like me that said, F-this. Lets get together make music, play shows together, go to each other shows, and support them as if they were part of the band. Each person found success in that, and then, even more people joined and its grown since then.
WOW. It wasn’t a Record Executive who did it. It wasn’t a producer. It wasn’t some publicist or manager.
It was people who believed in other people.
I can’t do this alone. No way in HELL I can. But that’s why I have my friends. They get it.
It sure didn’t hurt that those Ten were all amazing at what they did. But hey, How can you grow musically if you can’t grow as a person.
Heres my point, and this could be over your head, or you might read this and think I’m a shmuck. Music was meant to enrich lives. To make people forget about their days, and the things that hurt their hearts. People love music and love LIVE music so much because people want something to grasp a hold of. They see us, putting our souls on the line, being the most absolute kind of vulnerability there is, as an extension of them. I really hate to think that we as Musicians, are too big headed to extend a helping hand to others in need.
I think that is where the Houston music community will begin. With US. It can’t be anyone else.
You in, or Out?
This is what community looks like. 5 guys, supporting others music, having fun, letting others enjoy the fun your having.
My open mic I ran at The Stardust Room.
DOWNLOAD THIS SONG: Matt Nathanson- Little Victories
OK. Real quick, before you have a chance to look it up. Why do we have the 4th of July. I mean the real reason. I’m gonna take a guess that half the people don’t know this answer. I’d even dare to bet that another part only knows because of that Will Smith movie, “Independence Day”. Which was a fantastic movie by the way. ;) I could tell you also coincidently, that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to be elected as president, died on this day also in 1826, the 50th Anniversary of the signing. Weird Huh. But, I can can only make assumptions about other people and their knowledge of American History. To be relevent I have to tell you from my perspective, it would be unfair to assume anything about anyone is this day and age. Then again, this is my blog, so maybe pissing people off and calling people out are a good thing. ;)
Those things don’t mater anymore. They are nice to know, and are fun facts but what does matter is what this FREEDOM of ours has turned into. Our American world is way more complex that it once was. I wish politics could be so black and white, but its not. It’s more like a complex spectrum of colors that varies with every slight movement we take.
There are millions of Americans in the US. Everyone, whether they say so or not, has an opinion about what has happened and what should happen in the future.
Ever hear about Special interests? I hear it everytime I turn CNN on. It means people who need funding for special projects. It’s the people who want to save the trees, the people who need funding for mentally handicapped, people who want to raise money for research for CANCER:AIDS:STDS:ABORTIONS. Its people who want the government to GRANT them money to help DARFUR, HAITI, INDONESIA, NASHVILLE, etc.
You get the point. I could list for days. There is a pie, and everyone deserves a piece of it. Everyone doesn’t get one though. YET, when the government makes the pie bigger for us, everyone calls the government idiots, stupid, unworthy of office. So your telling me inorder to make the pie smaller and more managable we have to tell CANCER research to suck it? What about the animals, they can all just go off and die somewhere right? Tell that to the dog lovers out there. See how complicated it is?
My dad is one of those special interests. He asks for money from the government to give to Veterans around West Texas. http://www.styveteran.org/ These guys have no jobs. Can’t get a job. I know one guy, saw him yesterday; veteran, wife, 3 year old boy, and can’t literally put food on the table. How special interest can you get? This man put his life on the line, but no one will give him a job. Hmm. Ok budget cutters, do we tell his 3 year old you will have to starve, or borrow money from China so he can eat? I saw borrow money, because to live of American dream, we have to do it. Are you willing to say enough is enough?
You think the oil game is that easy? Oil is more important than water to this country, and every human being is what, 70% water? We get mad at the government for pursuing oil and make HARD decisions. But will you sell you car tomorrow, ride your bike, and start growing your own food? I won’t. I’m paying 350 a month for a car right now, and theres no way I won’t drive it all the way to Starbucks to get a grande Vanilla Latte.
Is Fourth of July really about FIREWORKS? Don’t get me wrong I LOVE FIREWORKS, and I am going too blow some crap up tonight, but don’t forget about what it took for you to be able to blow up those firworks. And what it takes for you to continue to blow stuff up once or twice a year. It quite literally takes BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS.
This my BIG POINT, and then I will leave you with a song to live with until I write again. We take everything for granted. Water, medicine, food, Oil, money. In order for us to have our indulgent, luxurious lives, HARD choices have to be made. Hard choices have been made, and will continue to grow more complex/HARDER. Are you willing to make enormous sacrifices to change our American world? My opinion is no you won’t. That would be too hard. I once read a blog of Jason Mraz’s http://freshnessfactorfivethousand.blogspot.com/ and he told me I should start reusing my own toilet paper? NO THANKS JASON. Thats something I am not willing to do. But thats my point. If we had 5 million Jason Mraz minded Americans we could have this taken care of. But we don’t. And he still tours in a gigantic tour bus guzzling up gas. It’s too complex to get mad at. But until we stop pointing fingers and take a look at why the government does the things it does, nothing will fix itself. Until we take care of your neighbor, wipe our butts with dirty toilet paper, and read books instead of TV, nothing CAN change. WE, as Americans are selfish. But, we earned this way of life right? On July 4th right?
-I’m quoting from my moms facebook-
John Gebhardt’s wife, Mindy, said that this little girl’s entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head…but they failed to kill her. Shewas cared for in John’s hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holdingDOWNLOAD THIS SONG: God Bless the U.S.A. - Lee Greenwood
her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing. He is a real Star of the war, and represents what America is trying to do. This, my friends, is worth sharing. Go for it!! You’ll never see things like this in the news. Please keep this going. Nothing will happen if you don’t, but the American public needs to see pictureslike this and needs to realize that what we’re doing over there is making a difference. Even if itis just one little girl at a time..
James Gates U. S. Navy