Posts Tagged ‘songwriting’

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Island Memories Continued

July 21, 2013

Here a few more entries from my trip last summer:

Friday, June 15, 2012

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The after shower sun dips in and out of the low-lying clouds. I wait at Uncle Nic’s Naturopathic office while he sees his patients. His friend AnaBela will be by soon to scoop me up and take me down to the centro comercial while he works today. She was nice enough to pick me up to meet up with him and his partner for lunch. It’s amazing how so at home I feel here. I still stumble a bit with the language but think I’m still doing better than most. The time here is really helping me recharge my battery. It’s only been two days but I’ve already immersed my way of thinking (for the most part) to the way it is here on the island. Home seems so far away and far back in time. I was able to hop online this morning to check e-mails and nothing major has happened. I’m already thinking I could get used to doing this every summer. Hmmm.

Just like back home, everyone is complaining about the economic crisis but all the bars and restaurants are still pretty full. People are reshuffling where they are putting their money, perhaps. Just wish they’d shuffle it into buying some Cd’s my way. Being here makes me wonder what life would be like to just move in another direction. What would I do? Would I get bored? Would I – or how would I re-invent myself? Hm. No one knows.

For now I’m enjoying the lazy schedule and am forcing myself to re-acquaint with the Portuguese printed word. (I’m trying to get through their version of Vogue magazine.) Perhaps it will give me some song inspiration? Inspiration. The illusive drug of my existence. So seldom. So fleeting.

NG

Monday, June 18, 2012

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Uncle Nic’s garden

These last few days have been tremendous. Uncle Nic has been taking me all over the island. I’ve been reacquainting myself with the memories of my childhood when I spent a few summers here. So much has changed but so much is still the same. I spent the evening at my grandmother’s house, (she is no longer with us) and it was a little emotional because the last time I was here, she was still alive. I was amazed to see how much of our family history Uncle Nic knows, remembers and has preserved. I was even lucky enough to have him give me a few of our family relics: my great-grandmother’s favourite bowls, I think originally made of porcelain? Not quite sure but you can see its age in the relenting crevices of its surface. Wonderful and amazing. Sometimes it makes me sad that I don’t have anyone to pass it on to but I’m hoping that a few of my cousins may want to pass on our history to their kids one day.

Aah. The weather has been lovely, as far as I’m concerned. There have been really no beach jaunts and even though most of the days so far, have been grey, I’ve been quite content with the peek-a-boo game the sun has been playing. It’s still reasonably warm with a beautiful breeze – just perfect. As we speak, I am sitting on the grass with Less, the German Shepherd, and Blacky (not sure of his name still- he’s the black lab – should really try to find out) by my side. The birds continue to sing and chant and I feel better than I have in ages. This is just what I needed.

Forty-eight hours from now, I will be on a plane back to the real world. But I’m not going to think about it! So, for now I’m going to lie back and read the book that I brought and for the next two days I am going to continue enjoying the in-between-patient lunches with Uncle Nic and the endless hours of story-telling at the day’s end. Add a splash of his fun friends and all the funny shenanigans they crack with each other and it will cap off the funnest most restful vacation ever.

NG

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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“Blacky”

It’s late morning. Suitcase packed. Dressed and ready to go to the airport in a few hours. I just came in from enjoying a coffee while standing by the frog pond. With the reptiles conversing with song and birds chattering about, it’s tough to have to say good-bye for now. It’s been spitting rain all morning and even though it makes clothes end everything damp, I enjoyed being enchanted by mother nature. Less and Blacky are by my side and as I think how everything is perfect in the world, the sun peeks out and smiles down on me.

A beautiful end to a perfect week. And even with very little sleep I feel refreshed. Most nights were spent telling stories of the “old” days and funny anecdotes from Uncle Nic’s previous life experiences. But although refreshed, I find myself wishing I could stay just a few more days but real life is waiting for me on the other side of the ocean.

I hope I can get my songwriting juices going again I was hoping this trip would re-juice the creative flow. But even though I spent a few days on my own tinkering on Uncle Nic’s guitar, I felt nothing come to me.  I’m still not sure if I should be worried because it’s going to be almost a year since the last full song. I’ve written, “Red Light”. We’re now in the midst of mastering the recording of it.

Well, maybe once I get back to North American soil and have the chance to look back and ponder on this week in utopia, something will jump at me and give me the jolt of the inspiration I need. Guess only time will tell.

NG

Friday, June 22, 2012  –  The Return

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It’s funny how once you return to your real life, it almost feels like your time away didn’t really happen. Did I really experience all those wonderful trips and interactions? Or was it a dream? A figment of my imagination? I remember watching the city grow near as the plane continued its descent back into the city I had left behind only eight days earlier. Everything seems too flat, straight, boring. I’m a hopeless romantic and endless dreamer. Always have been. Because of that I get easily caught up in the romanticism of what’s out there. But I know once I get used to there, I will only wonder what’s back here. Human nature, I guess.

I am glad to reconnect with my amazing family of friends but I must admit, I was fighting pretty hard to hold back tears as I said good-bye to Uncle Nic. I actually think he might have been as well because he kept this hard smile on his face, always, like he was forcing himself not to get emotional. So sweet.

Once back here, I’d hope that I’d get a rush of songwriting ideas but … nothing. I’m going to try not to worry about it. We’ve gotten our EP mastered finally. Now we are onto working on the album art, which is exciting because we are slowly getting ourselves organized to do a photo shoot with some really cool ideas. We’re going for a very artistic approach. So we’ve got stuff on the go. It should keep us going until Fall when I’m hoping to have a final product to have available at shows. Perhaps in the interim of all this final “touch up” work, the creative juices will flow again and we can work towards our next recording.

Hmm…. the universe always seems to have a plan for me.

NG

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Day 327 – Words! Finally!

March 11, 2011

So I finally have had a few bits of words come into my brain yesterday. Could this be the beginning of a new cycle of inspiration? Maybe! Looking forward to seeing what follows!

Nowhere Girl

Untitled

Here lies a story to be told

Listen closely and watch as it unfolds

Round and round the buzzer goes

Inside, Outside, no one knows

To the left or to the right

Touching down the midnight flight

Give me rhyme or give me reason

change of heart just like the season

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Day 323 – Falling Off The Wagon

March 7, 2011

I seem to be doing that a lot these days. Falling of the writing wagon, that is. I don’t know why I can’t seem to get into it. I literally wrote not one lick throughout all of February and even now I still got nothing! This is quite the dry spell. It must be the weather. It feels like it’s been the longest winter ever. Just two days ago it snowed again! We’re in March for Pete’s sake! Kind of depressing……..

The good thing is that I’ve been out to see my friends The Targets play and they always get me re-excited about music. They’re so full of punch onstage. Just amazing.

But! Here I am, looking at a blank page and nothing is coming to me. The creative gods are too busy to bestow anything worthy upon me. I got nothing coming down the pipe line. I probably would make a horrible studio writer. I don’t think I could write songs on demand. You hear stories of people locking themselves up in a studio for a week and pumping out a whole album worth of songs and they’re golden. Although, I’m generally good at working under pressure, I don’t think I could do that. Then again, if I didn’t have the everyday distraction of trying to pay rent at the end of every month, I’d probably be able to allot the time to lock myself up for a week and just focus on writing. Who knows!

All I know is something’s got to give – soon! Well, there is something to look forward to. And that is another gig at the end of the month opening up for The Targets. Am pretty excited about playing with them. They are the real deal. Hopefully, they won’t think we are too amateur for them. But even if they did, they are too much of gentlemen to say so. Love them for it. Classy blokes, you know?

Well, I’m off to bed. Perhaps the next hit will come to me in my dreams.

…………You never know.

Nighty Night.

Nowhere Girl

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Day 281 – The Strangest Bolt

January 24, 2011

The weirdest thing happened last night as I was falling into bed. Something made me pick up my guitar one last time before turning the lights out. So strange. I was about to really be in falling-asleep mode and then it was like something inside me told me to just tinker for five minutes before calling it a night.

Within two minutes I had a song pour out of me. It’s mostly on one chord, too! Lyrics just rushed in like they were afraid I wouldn’t remember them in another five minutes. So of course, when this happens, you do the only thing you can do. Grab a pen!

I’m kind of excited and can’t wait to show the guys at rehearsal. I can’t believe I’ve got another one so quickly! Inspiration is so funny. The best stuff hits you when you’re not even trying. Wasn’t it John Lennon who said “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”? So damn true! And songs come to you when you’re ready to turn out the lights!

However they come upon me, I am grateful.

Thankfully,

Nowhere Girl

P.S. Hope you like it!

Bring Me Back

V1: There she stood with the one-eyed man

Talking faster than she can

run baby

Baby run

V2: Break the doors, throw them wide open

Unveil a little more, show me what’s broken

Memories are one thing that never fail

They never fail

Chorus:

Bring me back Baby

Don’t let them attack

Heal me of these wounds where I don’t bleed

Bring me back, Baby

Set me free

V3: So here we are, standing side by side

Leaning on the bar, there’s nowhere to hide

Now we’ve gone way too far

Now you’ve gone, you’ve gone way too far

repeat Chorus

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Day 216 – Perception

November 20, 2010

It’s a funny thing the way two people can look at the exact same thing but see it completely different. I feel that I need to lose a few pounds to fit into my bra and my girlfriend will just tell me to buy a bigger bra. One woman may see a small penis, while another sees a large body attached to that penis. One guy will complain of a double chin so he’ll schedule surgery to have the fat sucked out of his neck while the other guy will just grow a goatee to mask it.

Perception really is everything. You can make or break your mood based on your view of things. That’s why I like my songwriting to be vague enough that one is not quite sure what I’m talking about yet familiar enough with what the song is saying that they can relate their own experiences, thoughts and emotions to it. Perception really is a writer’s dream come true.

In real life, however, the waters can get a little muddy. If only we could look at things from all angles, then perhaps we might not always find a way to be disappointed. That’s the funny thing that we humans tend to do – find something to give us a reason for unhappiness. We really are a funny lot.

Nowhere Girl

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Day 169 – The Contradiction of Cool

October 5, 2010

Can you think of a song that, when you initially heard it on the radio and thought, “How the heck did this get to air on the radio? It totally sucks!” And the next thing you know you’re humming it all the time? What initially sucked is suddenly cool. You keep hearing it over and over on the radio and see it spammed everywhere on the net. It must be hip.

Glasses were considered unattractive at one time and we even went so far as to invent small lenses that we insert into our eyes in order to avoid having to put on glasses. But now, the more noticeable the frames, the better! Glasses are cool.

The power of persuasion has strength beyond our comprehension. If one sees enough images of something then it is assumed that is what is deemed acceptable or celebrated. Just like hearing the same eight songs spewed over the air waves over and over again until even its initial detesters are singing its praises! So here’s the thing. What really is cool? How do you go about writing a cool or hip song? What is the formula? What is the sure-fire hit?

If you look at physical image, many would say that James Dean was a cool guy. Men like Johnny Depp and LL Cool J are also listed up there as cool dudes. What is it about them that’s cool? Well, they all have an air of carelessness. What do I mean by that? They don’t seem too concerned with much.

James Dean

Johnny Depp

Their expressions are always that of unphased calmness – some even, toughness or mean-ness. You don’t ever seem to see a cool guy smile. Smiling, I suppose, would involve showing an emotion and that would show vulnerability which is not cool. Their clothing is usually a little disheveled. It is important to display lack of interest in trying too hard to look good. Although, the funny thing is, today’s hipsters undoubtedly spend hours in the mirror going for that just right disheveled look. I find that kind of funny. Anyway! So. It seems rebels are cool. They are different. Being different is cool, yet, when we see something considered cool, the masses are right on top of imitating it.

LL Cool J

The whole issue of Facebook is a great example. It’s the latest thing to be pumped out there. Even I, who resisted it as long as I could to join such a fad, have also succumbed to the everybody’s-on-it spell. But if everyone’s on it, how cool can it be? It’s not different or rebellious so what’s so hip about it?

Do you see the contradiction here? What the hell are we all chasing for acceptance? That’s what cool is, I guess. Be accepted. But are we chasing it by trying to be different or by trying to imitate what is different which in turn no longer makes it different?

Jennifer Aniston

The Jennifer Aniston hair cut was all the rage in the 90’s. It was kind of different. And then every girl across North America (just about) just had to get that haircut. Was it still cool, once everyone and their dog was sporting it? Interesting question.

So when it comes down to songwriting and hit songs. What’s truly a hit? There are many out there that claim to formulas based on hooks and catchy phrases and sing-a-long lines but wouldn’t the same success be achieved by buying your way onto the airwaves and having your song played over and over again, twenty times per day, every day for a year? Lord knows we’ve been brainwashed with enough Nickelback and Lady Gaga songs to convert any one of us to be their biggest fans. (Although, I must admit, I do like Lady Gaga’s songwriting.) My point is that what is cool and what is a hit song really is a crap shoot. It’s not about what is deemed cool by definition. It’s about what is deemed cool by continual exposure and eventual brainwashing. (Using that term lightly.)

So my final thought, or question is this. Do any of the rest of us pauper musicians, who don;t have the cash to buy our way onto the air waves really have a hope in hell to achieve any kind of acknowledgement through our work? Or should we continue to search for satisfaction through the simple joy of engaging in the art itself? As an artist, perhaps that’s real question one should ask themselves……………….

Ciao for now.

Nowhere Girl

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Day 142 – Patterns of Torture

September 8, 2010

It’s very rare that I find creative writing inspiration first thing in the morning but since I haven’t been able to sleep I thought I’d give it a shot. I get early morning inspiration for ridiculous things like getting up at 6am to go for a two-hour power walk because today’s the day I’m going to get back down to a size 5! I’ve found the motivation to get in my car at 7am and proceed to drive 8 hours (which turned into 10 due to torrential rains) to surprise my then-boyfriend for the weekend. So I can be inspired. But I can’t remember feeling compelled to pick up a pen at this hour.

The reason I couldn’t sleep is because I have a strong suspicion I have acquired a little friend who’s set up shop behind my stove. The little nibbling sounds are very familiar and I’m afraid to say it out loud but I think there’s a mouse back there! It’s kind of freaking me out and I’m really trying to ignore it. In my own mind, I figure if I pretend like I don’t hear anything, it will eventually just go away. I know, I know. I’m delusional. But it’s all I can do short of calling my brother, who lives an hour away from here, to come over and pull my stove out to check for sure.

I need my bro not because I can’t pull the stove myself but because I’m kind of chicken s@#t of what I might find behind there. It would either be him or my buddy Steven, who I like to call “the straightest gay guy I know”. He wouldn’t think twice about checking it out for me. His partner, on the other hand, would squeal like a girl if I even mentioned this to him. Hey, I’m not one to judge because I’d be scrambling onto the nearest chair but – at least I wouldn’t squeal.

Anyway, so here I am trying to distract myself with some creative songwriting genius. So let’s see what will come of Mr. Mouse’s visit.

Distracted

Nowhere Girl

Untitled

Take me back, Take me back

to the break of dawn

Strip it black, strip it black

break it till it’s gone

Tiny swirls of history repeating

It’s come unfurled, these open hearts bleeding

Lift the veil of the woman in black

Who stole the soul of the man just part of the pack

These patterns of love

These patterns of you

Over and above

No telling the truth

Patterns of fortune,

Patterns of torture

………Yeah, I know. Kind of sucks. I’ll try again later on.