Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Shows This Week!!

Hey kids! So as you can see by the title of this post, I have two shows this week!! I'm a little sick at the moment, but I'm trying not to let my scratchy throat get in the way of my optimism. They say a positive attitude is everything.

 My first show this week is on Thursday at the Student Center of Purchase College. The event is called "Women Out Loud," and it's put on every semester by the Alternative Clinic (the women's health clinic on campus) to celebrate all the vibrant women out there. Without giving too much away, the focus is on a woman's pride in her mind, body, and sexuality, which is often a taboo in most societies . Whatever the case, I dig it, and I think it's freaking great - I'm always delighted to support events like this.

Now onto my second show! This Saturday night at 9:30, I'll be playing at Gallery 151 in Manhattan (350 Bowery on the lower east side). This place has a really interesting history, and although I've never been there, I can tell that it has a cool vibe. Founded in 2007, this hip Soho building is actually covered in graffiti, which the renovation developers discovered when they tore down the sheet rock on the inside walls. After realizing what kind of cool artwork was underneath, the main building developer decided to display it proudly as a testament to NYC art. Kinda cool, right?

So to sum it all up, I'm really excited to perform this week! Both of the shows I'm playing represent causes that I'm really passionate about (art and womanhood), and I'm thrilled to lend my voice to them.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ray Charles: Piano Love

Believe it or not, a piano is just like a human being. In any healthy relationship with you have with another person, you always have to find a balance between being firm and knowing when to back down. I'm finding more and more that playing piano is very similar. All of the great piano players that I've heard have this balance between firmness and flexibility down to an art.

The other thing I've noticed about people who play piano very well is that they don't just play with their fingers. They play with their entire bodies. No, I don't mean that they play the piano with their elbows, their heads, or any other odd combination of body parts. What I mean is they don't just sit there like they're having a tea party. They move with the piano, flow with it, and put physical energy into the notes they play.

The best example I can give you is Ray Charles, one of my own personal idols. Ray is a great example because event though he couldn't see, DAMN could he feel. Check out this video and you will understand exactly what I mean. 

The sound quality on this particular video isn't great, but the visual really represents the idea that I'm referring to. Ray Charles was someone who had a deep connection with the piano as if it were a person. When you watch this video, you can see how he really moves with the music, feels the subtleties, and puts his entire body and soul into what he is playing. I get chills just watching this, and I can only hope that one day I will develop these skills to such a degree . I think the most important thing to observe here is that Ray looks completely relaxed, as if he's jamming out in his living room rather than playing in front of millions of people. It's like he's not thinking at all. Food for thought: Maybe the key to being a good musician is to stop thinking so hard?!

"Master your instrument, master the music, and then forget all that bullshit and just play." -Charlie Parker

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HUSH, LITTLE BABY - Song Stories

Let me just start off by saying that my recital last week was a blast! Not only were there were tons of people there, but the energy from all of the people that came was just wonderful. So if you were in the audience, I tip my hat to you. It was truly a pleasure performing for you.

Let's talk about one of the songs. The first song that I performed in my set, called "Hush, Little Baby" is a song that I hold very dear to me. Sure, it's on my EP (click here to preview on Itunes) which already makes it pretty important, but it's so much more than that. Since I wrote "Hush Little Baby" I barely ever perform a set without it.

Why is that, you ask?

I guess you could say that "Hush Little Baby" is almost like my anthem. Every singer-songwriter has that one song that stands out a little more than than others, and for me, this one is IT. I think the reason why is that it really captures the conflicted emotion that every single one of us experiences. Have a listen, and try to focus on the words.


 If you still aren't quite sure what this song is about, join the club. I wasn't even completely sure when I started writing it - all I knew was that I was experiencing a mess of emotion and anxiety that I didn't know how to handle. If you've ever experienced anxiety, you know that there are sometimes so many things swarming around in your head at such a high speed that it's hard to distinguish one thought from another. After a while, your thoughts start to blur together into one complex blob of tension that weighs down your mind, and sets its heavy little butt on your shoulders. This song works the same way. If you can picture it, the piano riff that repeats over and over again is almost like someone constantly poking at you, waiting to see when will break down and smack their hand away. In other words, everyone cracks - it's human nature.

So where does God come into all of this? All you really need to know is that He (or She, or it, or whoever/whatever you think is up there, if anything) represents the hope that all of us want to feel at some point in our lives. I'll stay away from talking about my religious beliefs, but I think we can all agree that everyone just wants something to believe in. That something doesn't have to be religious at all - it just has to be something that gives you hope. Whether you have hope in another person, your plans for the future, or your dog, everyone is a little hopeful about something. That's why it hurts so much when these forces in your life let you down. Knowing that nothing always goes your way is one of the most is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking parts of being alive.

For me, "Hush, Little Baby" represents the inner conversations that go on whenever I am too overwhelmed to take in what is around me. I'm sure you've noticed that the voices in my head are pretty patronizing, and some of your own inner conversations probably have that in common. No one really wants to break down, and we will do everything we can to talk ourselves out of it.

Here's to a hopeful week,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Here's the photo I used for my poster. You like?
This week is a crazy and exciting week for me.  As a Studio Composition (songwriting) student, I am required to have a junior recital, as a testament to the work I’ve been doing for the past three years. Well, guess what? My junior recital is this Thursday!!

So what does that mean?

1)  I’m finally doing a show at school that my mom can actually come to (i.e. one that will not involve drunk college kids)
2)  I can jazz it up with a fancy reception and Italian food!

The great thing is that I am more excited than nervous. I usually just get really anxious and stressed out during the week of an important show, but not this time. While I’m sure the nerves will kick in on Thursday, right now I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I can dress up (what girl doesn’t love that) and play a 10-song set with my band.

Speaking of the band: damn, is this gonna sound sweet!! Drums, bass, guitar, piano (obviously) and five amazing backup vocalists. Not to mention that I just decided over the weekend to add cello to one particular song. I’ll be playing what I believe to be the best songs I’ve written over the past three years, meaning that I will settle for nothing less than an awesome show.

If you’re in the area and you’d like to come to my recital, it’s on Thursday evening at 7:30, in Room 0081 of the Purchase College Music Building. Also playing will be amazing singer-songwriter Dana Mancuso (piano-chicks unite!), so you won’t want to miss this!

Wish me luck!!