Please DON’T hire me: My public break up with lazy venues.

It comes in waves, this discussion of money and art on my twitter/facebook/email stream.  Over here someone says “F*ck you, scurvy pirates! Pay me!”someone else says “Art has no worth” and over in that other place someone says “Art is slowly dying out”.

Honestly I don’t really care if people listen to my music for free, but you know what DOES put a bee in my bonnet- getting underpaid by venues.  A lot of places have this default mode of expecting musicians to be both entertainers and promoters and it’s not fair to the performers, it’s not fair the venues that do pay, and it’s not fair to you guys-the people that come out to shows.  So here are my 6 reasons I’m just DONE with this kind of scheme. 

1) My goal with shows is to build my audience– I am not building my audience if I am BRINGING my audience.  If I wanted to play in front of people I’m already in front of I would just do online shows on Concert Window and save my self the hassle of leaving my house and socializing (also, wearing pants).

2) It’s not even that great of a plan for the bar- Sure, placing pressure on bands to bring in lots of people might bring in some extra people who will buy two drinks, stay for music, and probably never come back.  There will always low spots after you’ve run through the five Seattle bands that actually have consistent draw. All the rest of the time you’re going to get touring bands and those of us who average about 20-40 people if we’re playing on a prime night and the weather doesn’t suck. It makes way more sense to build up a reputation doing whatever you, bar, are good at and use music to influence it.  If you have amazing cocktails pair those drinks with the kind of performers that seduce and entice. If you want to demonstrate you’re on the cutting edge bring in the best un-heard of bands consistently and build a dedicated regular base of early adapters.  For the sake of all that is holy take responsibility for your own damn income, I’m already running my own business over here….which leads to my third point

3) Music is my business. Just because someone peruses in a clothing store there is no   demand that they BUY.  I get that.  I’m not angry that not everyone wants my music, or can afford to pay for it. If a place doesn’t want to pay an artist they have the option of not hiring me.  However-if I have been brought in to entertain and I did my job and people stayed and drank and had a good time and said they wanted to come again then I deserve to be paid.  I don’t have crazy exorbitant fees.  $150 for up to three hours of entertainment or 15% of the alcohol sales, whichever is more.

Sometimes I will even do a “sale” of a sort if I

A) like the venue/promoter/am doing a favor for a friend.

B) If I know I will be able to achieve my goal of getting in front of new people who will like my music and I will be able to sell some things to make up for not getting paid (I’m playing in Vortex Music and Movies on the 28th earlier in the day because they always have amazing people coming through and I always end up with way more people on my fan list)

C) It just sounds like fun and I want to be involved. ( An excellent example of C- my friend Kendra is launching her book Kindling on the evening of the 28th which is  about a belly-dancing motorcycle gang of witches who fight evil with dance and sheer awesomeness. Fuck yeah I’m going to play that show. I would PAY to play that show if I could…which is point number 4)

4) Not paying me means I can’t pay a bunch of people and that just pisses me off. Album art, audio production, poster printing, promotion, keeping the website up, music video acting, directing, and producing, my band-mates.  It’s actually irresponsible for me to play for free because I’m in turn forcing all these other people to help me out for free and I HATE being that person.  The alternative is that I have to do all those things myself which effects the quality of what I can turn out.  I owe it to the people who HAVE committed to my music to give them the very best of what I’m capable of.

5)I’m not an idiot, I know how the bar makes money and it’s not from ticket sales (and I hate it when a bar gets stingy about the guest list)

 I know and you know that the bar makes it’s money from drink sales. Period.  If I am selling people tickets there needs to be for a reason – not some slap-dash thrown together line up of varying degrees of quality.  My friend TBASA does an awesome job at making events it’s easy to sell tickets for- they are monster line ups with great performers crossing a variety of genera and I and many of my friends leave with new favorite artists every time (I’m performing for one of these events on Valentines day at Georgetown music for art attack and it’s free, you lucky duckies)

The thrill of discovery is something people enjoy, it gives them a REASON to come.   Come and see me play with two other random people who the booker just picked without screening and who may or may not know more than three chords and will likely cause  traumatic college era coffee house flashbacks is essentially trying to sell people regret. Seeing as I am not some kind of crossroads demon, selling regret is not my forte.  At the very least give me some drink special I can use as leverage.”Yes, the person who put together this show is an audio-masochist, but after you pay for this abuse you get 2$ whiskey shots to help you forget. ”

I love music. I love musicians.  Some musicians are not good (yet, maybe never) I’m not saying it’s my place to judge, I’m saying it’s the venues place to judge. I’m going to show up and make friends and play a good set no-matter what but if my friends/fans/casual acquaintances listen to a line up and I’m the only person they want to see they are going to wait for an internet show or one of the free three hour shows I play someplace fancy and that, my friend, is not my fault and no amount of promotion would make it better.

I love music so much I make it for a living and even say “let’s try someplace else” if there is cover for a venue and I don’t know who is playing …unless of course it’s someplace that has a reputation for always having good music which takes us back to point number two.

Tickets or cover need to serve a purpose other than the bar being a cheapskate and not wanting to commit to paying me or the sound guy.  If I have people on my guest-list (and keep in mind, the most people I have EVER had on a guest list was three: the folks that gave me a ride and a guy that was taping the show for me) don’t give me the freaking side eye, especially since I’m solo 90% of the time and thus don’t even have a band getting in for free. Three people on the guest list means three people drinking and having a good time at your establishment and possibly telling their friends and that is exactly why I let them in.  You’re bloody welcome.

6) And Finally- Do not complain to me about how tight the budget is in an effort not to pay the entertainment. It’s insulting.

I don’t do many things I can’t afford.  I don’t buy organic. I don’t take the cat to the vet as often as I should.  I don’t own a car.  I don’t have a gym membership.  I don’t eat out. These are all things I do not do because I have no budget for them. Guess why I don’t have a budget for any of those things: If you guessed because I have to write a blog post about why I deserve to be paid as a musician you are CORRECT! DING DING DING DING! 

I don’t go into the gym and say “Hey, I don’t have a budget for this but can I have a membership anyway, and I’ll just ask the people already in your gym for 5$ a piece and I will pay you from that.” Nope, that only works with the arts.

If you can’t afford music don’t use it as a money making scheme. Don’t act like you’re some saint for having music in your bar- you’re bringing in new people, you’re getting promoted every time someone says they are playing and every time someone at a show posts videos or photos or social media mentions about it… AND people are buying booze.  In the case of most of my fan base, more then a few drinks per show, and the nice stuff too, not the tall boy PBR cans.  You, cheep ass venue, have music for business purposes and you should pay for it just like you do every freaking other thing….or did all those huge plasma screen tvs scattered about the bar get donated by the NFL?

You know what’s amazing- I find I bring far MORE of my people out to the shows where turn out doesn’t matter.  Believe it or not I am not the center of people’s universe!

I am not the only reason people decide they want to come out and see me.  Other factors include but are not limited to: they want to check out new places they’ve heard of before especially if the reviews are good.  People want to go somewhere where they can meet other people like themselves, or feel like they are part of a community.  People want to go somewhere the over-all experience is going to be high quality.  People want to have a sense of adventure without feeling at risk or taken advantage of. These are the reasons people come to my shows, I do my part by bringing the music, but it’s only part. 

Basically, I deserve better. Any musician who has put in the time, energy, and intense self flagellation involved in being “professional” deserves better. Most importantly, the people who have invested in me on any level deserve better.  SO, to the shit venues with crap pyramid schemes- it’s over. I’d say don’t call, but let’s face it you never really did anyway. 

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It’s not you, it’s the music

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I want to tell you a love story. It will probably sound familiar.
Once upon a time a young girl fell head over heals in love with music. Every song seemed to be about her, shows were a place for her to connect with  people who would understand her. What she listened helped defined her. She was Emo. Punk. A rocker, or maybe a “hippie” if she listened to something socially conscious.  With her feelings all raw and on the surface, music was an outlet and a safe haven.
As the girl grew new things began to tie into her identity: She found a job, or she made a career,  She fell in love with a real person, then maybe fell out of love and wasn’t sure if she even believed in love anymore, then beat the odds and opened her heart again. She may have even started a family.  Her emotions mellowed while simultaneously growing more complex as more and more life challenged her to find some balance between contradictory points.  She was encouraged to take on more responsibility, to edit her desires into more mature and muted tones and the party anthems and “done me wrong” ballads the radio is so fond of just couldn’t keep up.
I see this girl at so many shows, in so many faces, head cocked to one side waiting for permission to let the great wave of her heart finally break. No judgement. No advice. Just space to feel.
You are just as passionate, as powerful, as raw and perfect of a creature as you ever were. No amount of time diminishes the need of the human soul to be seen, heard, and understood. You never outgrow the emotional haven of a good song that allows your delicate self to unfurl in it’s embrace.  These are the songs that I aspire to write.
in 2015 I’m committing myself to this relationship. I’m waking up earlier, sticking to office hours, taking daily baby steps so that I can give you more, so that I can offer you the best I have.  That’s what love is from this side of the stage: I am devoted and dependent upon you all.  Will you help me make something beautiful this year?
-Abi

Part 6: Showcase your scars

The first few years into the “real world” I would  play pretend almost constantly. I wish it was the fun kind involving riding unicorns instead of metro, but really it looked more like this:

Pretend I’m not worried about the student loan collectors as my boss tells me my raise isn’t as high as I thought it would be this year. Pretend that I’m really listening when my mind is 2,000 miles away. Pretend I really have it all together when it feels like everything is dissolving around me. At some point or the other we all paste on smiles, play a part, pretend that we are the people to keep up with and clamp everything else down behind a carefully considered and cultivated persona (until things inevitably blow up beyond the point we can hide them or someone gives us permission to be as messy as we really are.)

I love writing songs about messes, the way people’s faces relax when they realize you will receive them with compassion instead of judgement, the resonance of knowing you are not alone.  Just as I hope my stage performance can help get me out of my own limitations and insecurities, I hope that it lets me amplify the very human and vulnerable chaos of existing as a person.

The big pop stars and rock stars of the world mostly sand away their jagged edges a little at a time with professional PR and organized separation designed to keep us putting them up on a pedestal. I once chatted with a record label guy who discouraged getting too close and personal to my fan base, lest my magic wear off when people saw I was just a human person up there.

Maybe he was right, it would be a lot easier to have that magnetic energy that draws people in if I weren’t so insistent on people seeing I am just like them, but if people keep thinking I’m somehow special then they will miss the point: they, too, are capable of being the one on that stage, or wherever their secret heart compass is pointing them to.

Happiness is not predestined or lucky, it is birthed from human determination and messiness. It’s pursuit will leave you scarred and tattooed, forever marked.  There is a toll to pay to get off the road less traveled: your mask.  Never again will you be comfortable pretending that you are anything other than what you are and it may horrify people to terrified of the chaos lurking just under their surface. For others  the uneven tissue is a language of commonality; a secret handshake to a hidden society you didn’t even know could exists.

And so I am concluding, at least in part (there will still probably be interviews) my little exploration of stage persona.  Maybe I left you with some things to ponder with my own wanderings.  I’m not sure if I’ve left with something conclusive so much as I’ve untangled my thoughts and laid them out for you.  Here is what I’m thinking about as I put myself together for the stage: I part bigger than life, one part emotional sacrifice in the hopes that your own flames and passions burn a little brighter for the night.

With much love until the next time,

Abi

Week 5: (just a little late) Getting over that “But What Will Other People Think?” thing

Being a musician is weird. On the one hand, being self expressive is liberating for me and, hopefully, other people who have been beige-d down.  On the other, the moment you step on a stage you invite criticism.  People both want you and do not want you to step out of normal.  This is where being independent saves me, in a lot of ways, because there is no manager telling me to broaden my appeal, no pressure to create hits. I can basically just focus on the people who get it and toss the hate mail…..if I were that bad ass that is.

I’m pretty sensitive and despite my grumpy old lady mentality when I’ve been socially drained (UHG I HATE PEOPLE GET THEM OFF MY LAWN, I’M GOING TO HIDE IN MY CHICKEN LEG HUT) I mostly want people to like me.  I make music because I want to create movement, I want to soften people’s hearts and visions, and I want to make room for magic (which is ultimately the belief that despite evidence to the contrary the world can change in positive ways.  Magic is the opposite of accepting the way things are) . That doesn’t mean I don’t care if I’m singing to three people or three hundred. I care. I care deeply. I’m still going to put on a great show for those three people, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to cry in my beer afterwards.

When people want to be liked they tend to go more towards the center: dumb themselves down, dress like those other people, be as inoffensive as possible.  This is an excellent way to be boring. People won’t hate you, true, if they notice you at all they will probably accept you, maybe like the non-threatening-ness of you, but will they even know who you are under all that pressure not to rock any boats?

I’m going the opposite route, and that means giving people enough of a sense of who I am that they can decide to like or not like me. A lot of them will probably decide not to like me. That means I have to harden up that little part of me that is always hungry to be loved.   I already have anxious nights wondering how anyone could like me, I mean, I’m so FLAWED.  I’m loud, often speak without thinking, need attention to feel comfortable, often stomp right over feelings without meaning to, and occasionally do really really stupid things.  I’m sure some ex-boyfriend somewhere kept a picture of questionable content sent when I wanted some re-assurance that they thought I was pretty.  I’m sure I’ve said some shit things that will get aired out if I even garner any kind of attention as evidence to my un-likableness.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this blog, accept that these are the thoughts I keep slamming into and I guess I want to bring them into the light.  Also, if I’m feeling them someone else probably knows exactly what I’m talking about and might benefit from knowing their not alone…

Have you struggled to be the capital letter version of who you are? Any tips on getting over the fear of being hated?

Sex and the Serious Musician

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I have always considered myself to be a poet (which I KNOW sounds kind of snobby and elitist but roll with me here for a second) in that I’ve always had a unique relationships with words and life.  Cadence, rhythm, the FEEL of words always excited me.  Normal people do not get lost in the thesaurus for hours intrigued by new ways to say old things….I do. I am also a voracious live-er. I want every experience-good, bad, ugly, beautiful, intense, menial….all of it. So, basically what I’m saying is I’m something of a sensualist, it’s ingrained in who I am.

Here is the thing about being a woman in a male industry: people tend to assume that how you present yourself has something to do with the men around you-if you dress sexily then it is all about getting attention for your music via sexuality which somehow cheapens the art. The more androgynous-ly you dress, the more serious a musician you are assumed to be because you are not attempting to draw that male gaze. Of course this is a generalization, there are plenty of women musicians out there who are piece by piece ripping this stereotype to shreds and ultimately I would love to be in their numbers, but the precedent still exists and considering how I want to approach it is part of this whole stage persona creation process.

I’m not saying I want to prance around in a G string: that’s not really how my sexuality presents it’s self (though I do enjoy a good burlesque show and totally ogle all the pretty lingerie). I’m also not particularly butch: I like long hair, fake eye-lashes, and being curvy. I suppose Adele get’s taken pretty seriously, but she’s a diva in the original sense of the word . For whatever reason it feels like you can have a great voice and that’s FINE but pick up your own guitar, especially an acoustic guitar and out come the eye-rolls.  I have literally had someone say “Oh, a girl with a guitar. What do you think this is: the 90s? “.  While grunge is certainly a major influence, as was Lilith fair, the combination of Girl + Guitar shouldn’t be limited to one decade and reviled as out-dated forever afterwards. It certainly isn’t for my guy friends. No one ever says “Oh, dude with guitar? What do you think this is THE 70’s?” No. There is always a sense that the dude is a “real” musician (unless you’re at an open mic)

So back to this persona – thing. I want to be sexy with a guitar and be listened to for the merits of my music…I just don’t know how to do it yet. If you want to follow along as I experiment with different ideas, though, check out my pinterest board http://www.pinterest.com/girlseeksbliss/elemental-romantic/ where I’m playing around with different ideas and let me know what you think.

Internal Glass Ceilings, the Comfort of Invisibility, and the stigma of Largeness

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I figured I would start my little exploration into Persona the same way I started creating my own “sound” in music, by imitating people that I admire, and since I happened to have that Stevie Nicks costume already…

I had a show at this nice little pup called the Robin Hood in Union Washington. It’s part of a vacation cottage rental facility and one of my absolute favorite places to play. I felt uncomfortable walking in and eating dressed in full performer regalia, so I left the pleather pants, lace shirt, sky high heels, and top hat in the car to be changed into later.  I had also picked up some stage props, namely electronic candles to line the stage, a nice bowl for tips, and a stand for a sign with my name and CD info on it which I arranged 30 minutes before my set to pique people’s information.  When I showed up on the stage, decked out and TALL (VERY TALL) the room went silent, I did my sound check and everyone’s attention was on me (WOOO HOOO!) and then I sort of apologized.  I felt weird. Instead of running with their full focus I gave them permission to ignore me.

Usually hitting glass ceilings isn’t as obvious or as public as this, but it is a constant struggle especially when doing what I need to as a business woman runs counter to what I feel comfortable doing as a life- long “nice girl”.  My ego doesn’t usually scream YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH at me, it usually says things like “You don’t want to bother them. They won’t like you if you are too persistent. What if people think you are only in this for money if you tell them your CD is for sale!? People won’t love you if you’re greedy.  What if you run that poor little bar out of business because you ask them to pay you!?! ”  

I was raised to put other people before myself, a philosophy I witnessed  my parents genuinely live by: They gave rides and time and energy and so much love to people as religious leaders should, but they were often burnt out, under-valued, and at times even bitter as a result. Since my teens there has always been this rift between what I was raised to believe”a good person” was and the first hand  knowledge that if I don’t treat myself the way I desire to be treated, no one will.

The nice girl voice subconsciously puts bad links in important emails, discourages any kind of assertive follow up, and promotes procrastination that keeps me from really breaking out of a lock step of mediocrity because too much success is selfish.  Nice girl voice also tells me that doing music is selfish, that I’m a drain on my friends and society, that I should just get a real job and get over it already and let the special people who deserve to make music make music but just accept that I am not nor will I ever be special. “Nice girl voice” is really the push of the status-quo, it’s the archetypal villagers gearing up to burn the odd, the strange, and the unexplained. Nice girl voice is nice like Puritans were nice.

Playing with my persona on stage isn’t just about creating a more meaningful performance experience, it’s also about addressing my own internal block-aids. Being big, bold, loud, spooky, sexy, or whatever else I end up as gives me a chance to face full on the voice in my head that is telling me to shut up and stay small.  I don’t know what the next costume will be, but I think the more uncomfortable it makes me, the better.

You can come and see this process in person tonight and Tomorrow at Stories for Bad Children at the Richard Hugo House (in Seattle) at 8:00.  Tickets are HERE. $10 at the door tonight if you dress in costume. I’ve also got a show November 15th at The Den Coffee House in Bothell and November 16th at the Skylark in West Seattle.

6 weeks of Persona Exploration….starting NOW!

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Stevie Nicks Abi

It all started with the discovery of a blonde wig and a top hat in my neighborhood Goodwill. I had  been looking for costuming pieces for my upcoming appearance as part of Stories For Bad Children Halloween weekend, but from the moment I spotted that blonde wig I knew I had a greater mission: to put together an utterly fabulous  costume for myself!

Normally I am SO EXCITED about the infinite dress up possibilities that by the time the actual day comes around I have failed to do ANY of the cool ideas I had thought up…which is how I ended up dressed as a hipster dude last Halloween.

Hipster Dude Abi

The moment I got home I pranced around the house, posing and posturing for the camera despite my lover-dear’s tendency to make me look 20 pounds heavier than I am in every shot.  Dressing up like Stevie Nicks made me feel powerful, and sexy, and mysterious and righteously BAD ASS, which is a stark contrast to how I feel when I take the stage as myself.

Generally if you went to one of my live performances you would probably walk away with a perception of a very earnest girl who tells occasionally meandering stories and is sort of charming in a self deprecating sort of way on stage….if you were paying attention.  I try to be honest, authentic, exactly as I am on stage which means that every performance is something of an identity crisis.

At the crux of it all is a defining question : who do I make the music for? If the music is for me than it doesn’t matter if no one listens. It’s ok to just go on stage with a big smile and pray that people love me because ultimately the music is made because I love making it.  Some people become very popular doing this very thing.

However, I want to let my music be a gateway to an in-between place, an invitation into a semi-dreamy state where for the 40 minutes or two hours that I am playing worries about work, or if you’re going to screw up your kids, or ebola fade away and the volume of the voice of your true self gets turned way up. I want people to leave determined to get out of autopilot mode and start taking big gulps of the glorious life they are in the middle of.  I can not do this with my current lil-ol-me act. It’s time to wield the archetypal.

So for the next 6 weeks or so I’m going to let you in on the process. What it feels like. What succeeds and what doesn’t. I’m also going to be doing some interviews with friends of mine throughout the Seattle performance scene who have masterfully navigated the rough seas of persona creation.  My ziibra subscribers at all levels will be getting some behind the scenes video blogs as well.  Until then, I leave you with some things to ponder. Let me know what you think in the comments.

What personas do you don throughout your day? Mom? Boss? Leader?

Do they feel constricting or like a natural extension of your personality?

How comfortable are you with being the center of attention? Does it feel natural, or uncomfortable? Do you feel guilty for seeking it out?

The Ghosts of Old Songs Made New

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Picture by Kathryn Garcia via Facebook.

Picture by Kathryn Garcia via Facebook.

I just finished uploading November’s song for my Monthly Ziibra subscribers; an older take of a song I sing called “The Promise of Spring” with some nice distorted guitar and lots of reverb (sexy echos for those of you not up on recording speak 😉  )\

I have to say, I love playing around with these old mixes and sharing them. There is a lot of raw emotion and energy captured in a song during the demo-ing stage. The Promise of Spring, for example, was written shortly after my one of my Birthdays when I was feeling particularly frustrated.

I’ve always been something of a “good girl”. I was the kind of kid that thrived on positive attention, craved it as a form of validation.  A part of me wanted, hell, still wants to climb the ladder, make a regular pay check , have a maxed out retirement fund, and get my gold star having my life together even though I know that gold stars do not happen in adult hood.

The Promise of Spring is about making a mess of things and seeing the potential in it. It’s about relationships that go atomic, careers that stall out, money that always seems to be out of reach, dreams that rip us to pieces. It’s a song about holding on to the belief that good things are yet to come even when it seems like you’ve been stuck for so long you can’t remember what joy even feels like. The promise is that winter does not last forever. Spring will EVENTUALLY show up and bring new life and wild flowers and bird song along with it.

I hope that whatever season you may be in personally, whether you are in a time of rebirth and creativity or you are in a time of chaos and letting things go, that you will take a moment to truly be preset, and be proud of yourself for having the courage to Live with a capital L.  Sometimes life sucks, but bull shit makes excellent fertilizer.

If your interested in what this ziibra thing I’m talking about is, it’s a subscription service that allows you to play a more integral roll in funding my creative process while receiving regular content and “behind the scenes” access to me.  You can check it out at ziibra.com/abi-grace

Hustling is a LIE. A LIE!!!!!!

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Want to know why I hate the word “hustle” with a passion?

Because it pretty much never works for me, but I always feel I should do it.

See every time I try to do a major, serious, I’m going to call all the people/write all the blogs/ play all the shows/ make my life miserable with how much I’m working because it alleviates the guilt of doing something I enjoy and am good at instead of slaving away at the normal 9-5 that little voice in my head I inherited from my Father tells me I shouldn’t have expectations beyond (even though my REAL Father is incredibly supportive) (*pant**pant**eye-twitch**pant*) NOTHING HAPPENS.

I could send out 20 emails a day to different venues and NOTHING HAPPENS. I could email every radio station EVER and NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN.  You know how we all have that one friend who has decided the time has come to marry and so they date like it’s their full time job and meet NO ONE?  Yeah, that’s what its like.

The inevitable response to “hustling” is depression.  It then takes me at least a week to crawl out of my despair pit and get back on the horse. A week in which my anxiety builds so I go back to this whole “hustle” thing only to burn out and return to the depression pit.  I’m done. NO MORE OF THIS HARD WORK FOR HARD WORKS SAKE!!!!

You know what works a lot better then hustling even though it goes against EVERYTHING society has taught you about productivity? Tiny little consciously considered baby steps. Also, Magic.

I am convinced success, like soul-mates, only comes when you aren’t desperately seeking it.

So here is what actually seems to work for me: Baby steps: checking my email every day. Reaching out to venues I know actually love me, asking people like you to share my music with their friends (abigrace.bandcamp.com, almost everything is free to download AND gift)  writing confessional blogs, and rehearsing my set list so I’m confident in my ability to put on a really good show.

Magic: This, I suppose, is the spiritual element. It consists of asking for help, and then surrendering the shiz I can’t actually control. Also, continuing to believe that I was made to make music on purpose and the powers that be are working on my behalf to help me unfold this, but I have to TRUST them.  It also means delving into my subconscious to uproot those generations old stories about what I am and am not capable of. Good-bye little voice calling me uppity. Adieu belief that success will some how make me evil!

So in conclusion: It’s ok to be a tortoise in a Hare’s world.  Work doesn’t have to be hard in order to be effective, it just needs to be consistent. And also misery does not guarantee anything, so you might as well enjoy you’re life, keep making some baby steps, and maybe just maybe find that you are already in the success current, it just didn’t look the way you thought it would.

What Heroes Do

Video games are a dangerous thing for me to play. Especially the kind with really really good plot lines and character development.   I am a story teller after all, which means that I want to consume the whole tale even if it means I have to hack and slash for HOURS to get back to the main story line.  The Dragon Age series is particularly addictive since the story changes based on the choices I make and who the character is.

The wonderful thing about video games is they let you feel what it’s like to be a hero in the simplest sort of sense. There is some un-surmountable challenge that you, as a character, must face.  Along the way you are changed and shaped by your experiences, but courageously you continue on.  Of courseit’s in a game, so there are no real risks: you die in a battle, but can just re-start from your last save.  You can go back and fix things in a way we can not do in real life.

Now before I continue I feel I should say I am going to talk about heroes, but I don’t think of heroes in the traditional sort of warrior sort of way.  Yes, people willing to sacrifice their life for the higher good are undoubtedly heroic,and people who have built monumental success from seemingly nothing are no doubt impressive, but the heroes that speak to me  are the people that hold on to their truth despite the resistance the world may give them, and then use that truth to light the way for others.

All Heroes descend: into enemy territory, into their internal wilderness, sometimes into madness, often into poverty.  They go into the metaphorical dark with nothing but a conviction that there is something beyond the shadows.  I was fascinated by the journey, which is what inspired Heroically Lost, Heroically Found.  With the Wolves in the Woods (which is still on it’s way, don’t worry) I’m taking a closer look at the monsters we every day common sort of heroes face: self doubt, anger, fear, fear, fear, and oh yes, more fear with a dozen different masks to keep us from honing in on that fact. Yet our fears are not unlike the wolves I named them for, they are not inherently evil, only the parts of us that have been honed to believe that survival demands certain behavior from us.  When you shine a little light, you discover that fear is no insurmountable monster after all.

Where does the light come from?  I think you have to figure that out for yourself.  For me, the light comes from my love for the music that I make, it comes from holding tight to the truth that there are songs inside me that need to be made and shared no matter what.

That’s what Sharp Teeth, my latest release, is all about, holding on tight to your light, utterly fearless.

What are your Wolves?  What truth burns strong enough inside you that it burns away your fear?

Much love until next time,

Abi Grace