Author Archives: mmgoodsongs

About mmgoodsongs

I am the mother and musician who is trying to find time to do it all. I recently challenged myself to meet my own fears head on but I have

Body and Soul

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It is 11:06 pm and, for those of you who don’t know me, that is pretty late for me to be up. Could be that huge cup of coffee (you could substitute energy and courage for the word coffee) I had before going into the studio tonight. I’m not so sure it worked in my favor. Singing is a really physical thing and I am realizing how much work I need to do before I ever step foot in front of a microphone. I cannot summon the spirit in a cup of joe or overcome my anxiousness with caffeine. Perhaps a little yoga would help me feel centered and relaxed. Basically, I need something that is going to get me out of my own head.

I found myself heading into tonight’s session with a lot of consternation and a headache. My headaches of late, I believe, have been exascorbated if not brought on by bad habits. I have only begun to work out again and my diet has been heavily laden with caffeine and sugar. What does this have to do with singing you might ask? Well….

I cannot sing with out giving my whole body over to it. I have to be able to be in my space comfortably and free of physical stress in order to connect to the song. With out connection, especially when recording and devoid of the audience, it all comes out flat. Sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally. Tonight’s material was all about letting go and trusting that you have all that I need and I went into it feeling insecure and a little depressed. I let myself get bogged down in what I didn’t have and the gave into the voice that speaks of what I think are my weaknesses. I think I rallied a little but it will be really interesting to listen back in a few days when I get the mp3s of tonight’s work. For now I sit and wait and work on being patient…again.

The take away for me tonight is two fold. Number one….I have to get healthy. I need to move away from temporary fixes and recommitting my whole self, body and soul to this project. Secondly I have to remember that a major factor in my moving forward with this project was to let go of my fears of inadequacy. I am taking the steps and proving to myself that I can do this! I have to validate my own voice before anyone else ever will. I am trusting in what I have been given and not handing this over to anyone else to fix or complete. I am learning and that ultimately good for everyone.

Patience is a Virtue…..right?

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Isn’t it so true that there is always two sides to the coin, or perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side and the tried and true, nothing’s perfect. The CD recording process has been stalled now for some weeks, hopefully to pick up again sometime around the 15th. My life and the life of the guy I’m working with are certainly not in sync and at the moment it seems impossible to make it a priority. We both have bills to pay and kids. We both have other lives that require so much attention. Even with the best of intentions it is quite dysfunctional. I am hoping we will get back into some sort of groove but none of those other factors are going to change in the near future so I am left feeling a little hopeless.

So, “what is the other side of the coin saying?” You might be thinking or “where is this green grass of which you speak?” Let me start here……some time ago I decided that I didn’t really want the limelight of the music business. I didn’t want a record company that would require a lot of travel and gigs to promote myself and their interests. It didn’t fit in with the family side of my life. I didn’t want someone breathing down my neck and making decisions for me. I certainly did not want anyone telling me what they wanted from me creatively. I wanted my autonomy and my creative control. I really was happy with the idea of writing for other people, maybe some film and TV placement and to gig when ever I felt like it. I was really clear about what I wanted. Then this little project started burning a hole in my brain. I wanted to record these songs. For two years or so I stayed stuck in the “I don’t have the money” mode. Certainly a record label would have come in handy there! Of course that would have come with all the perverbial strings attached. So along came Kickstarter and helped me solve that problem. Now I am stuck in the “I have to do this by myself” mode. It’s all on me and my time is so taken up with trying to organize my life in such a way as to get this done without inconveniencing anyone else. Yet another problem that would, at least seemingly, be fixed by having a record company behind me. Booking studio time would be on their end. Everyone on the project would be “on the project” what I might lose in that game is the freedom to call the shots, to record what and how and when I want or even can in some cases. I would risk losing the ability to work with gracious generous people who still see music as a spiritual expression as well as being able to delicately traipse around the “business” side of things. Ugh!

So what do I do now? I guess patience and I will have to learn how to keep company. Perhaps another cup of coffee and a deep breath are in order. I will continue to focus on booking gigs so that at the very least you all will be able to keep me and my music company while we wait. It’s more fun to wait with friends around who help you keep your chin up and carry on. Thanks for that!

Ticket To Ride

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Well, here I am again. I’ve been away for a bit but there has been so much going on and finally I feel like I have some really great stuff to share. Not having a record label backing me up financially, and a ton of fear about doing this on my own, kept me stuck for some time but I’m here to tell you that the wheels are now spinning and there is no turning back. I am learning to ignore that pesky voice in my head that wants to tell me I can’t. It’s still there mind you but I have developed a new voice that can argue with it. It makes for some really interesting conversations in my head.

The good news is…..we are two songs in. Guitar and vocals done. We are proceeding on in the same way with the rest of the songs. These demos are great because it gives me something to work with while doing harmonies and vocal arrangements and getting them just where I want them. It also gives me something to hand to the cast of characters who will be playing on the CD. Where not having a working band used to stop me in my tracks, now I see it as a way to find just the right people for each song. Creatively, it’s a real challenge but ultimately, I think, it will provide for a really interesting mix in the end.

The really good news is that we have decided to shoot some video as we move through this process. It’s a great way to document and take you all along for the ride. So excited…..even though my new voice will have to get to work on some good arguments for the voice that is going to say all sorts of things about being on camera. By the end of this process, my new voice and I will be ready to take on any debate team………at least at the junior high level.

So…..the train is leaving the station so please hop on board! Subscribe if you can so you will get all the updates as they come in. I would be bummed if you missed it. It’s going to be a great ride. (I almost wrote “I think” it’s going to be a great ride….new voice wins again!)

Taking the plunge?

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I have been grappling with the idea of “success” lately. It’s a funny thing with me. In some ways I want it and yet, as look back over time I have clearly thwarted it. I don’t think I realized it when I was doing it but I know now that I have kept it at arms distance. I think, especially when it comes to music, that “success” can be seen as the enemy. Many songs have been written about it in specific. To the “artist” and often their fans as well, it can be seen as selling out. I know growing up, the people (my brothers) whose musical tastes I looked up to, often gave me the impression that this was in fact true. Some of this, I’m sure, was born out of our secret competition, to try and wow each other with our new musical finds. If we found them first, because they weren’t “too popular” to be unavoidable, we win! Mind you, in, my case, the “win” was never acknowledged. Often times, months later they would play something for me……”hey, I played that for you months ago” I would say. No recognition…. and I was left frustrated. Still happens from time to time but it has gotten better. Perhaps they are getting soft….at least one of them….but I digress..

I have really been grappling with this idea of being successful these last few weeks. I want so much to bring this project to light. That, in one way, would be successful. I myself want to be impressed by the quality of the recording and production, yet another level of success. I want to be able to sell it when it is finished and be able to have some financial success which is a multi layered beast in itself. It would be lovely to break even and dare I think I could see it as a new source of income? Am I really allowed to make money off my heart and soul? Does that somehow lessen the integrity of the songs? Then of course there is the fear that arises in thinking about what lengths I would have to of to sell it on that level. How much to I need to think about image? If I don’t “look” hip or beautiful will people who don’t know me want to support me.

This brings me to some specific fears. I am a slightly overweight, gray haired mother of four. For years I have dyed my hair but have recently begun thinking that perhaps it is my constant fighting against that which is natural, that keeps me in turmoil. I have a very overly critical voice in my head and I am trying to silence it but letting my hair go gray? Will that do the trick? Will people listen to an old lady like me? Will the crowd who is still going to shows and buying CD’s even give me the time of day? More importantly, will my brothers think any of it is any good and will they still like it? Let’s face it, that’s where this all started anyway.

In the end, as all things usually end, I know the truth. The truth is, that if I feel good about myself and tell the truth, it will resonate with people. I believe it is that truth that allows us to listen to so many types of music and relate to it all. We human creatures respond to that which arrives wrapped in authenticity. If, as artists, we speak our truth, people can find themselves in what ever we create, whether it is music, poetry, film etc. I love to hear actors and actresses who have to portray despicable characters, talk about having to find something in that character that they can relate to in order to play someone and make it “believable”. It is so in all art, it must be believable and relateable.

It brings me back to this question…..am I really fooling anyone by dyeing my hair? Does it come across as someone struggling to hold onto something or be something they are not? Does it really matter? At this point I think it is about letting go of the fear of judgement at a time when I am really putting myself out there, in some sense, to be judged. As you can see, I am like the child at the edge of the pool thinking about diving in for the first time….head first. You have probably watched this before. Somewhere in the back of their minds they know it will be so liberating but the what ifs keep them stuck there on the side. I will keep you posted on whether or not they actually take the plunge!

I Write the Songs That Make the Whole World Sing (it’s just a title not a belief)

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So I am sitting here this morning working on a new song. It wasn’t my intention to do so but most of the time that is how it happens. I started out trying to work on an existing song and trying to decide if it should go on the three song demo I am working on and then this new song sort of pushed it’s way through into my consciousness.

It started with a subtle two chord vamp and then boom…..the first line came out in it’s entirety, and then the second and third. Basically, this song was writing itself. Then there was a really strange chord change and an almost crazy melody that came with it. Listening back as I am singing it, it doesn’t sound so strange but at the time, it was certainly out of left field for me. Thus far, there isn’t really a chorus so to speak, but a definite hook and theme running through out. The second verse followed much the same. There was a tiny bit of crafting going on, a bit of phrasing and a little melody bending, but all in all….two verses done. This is a very common thing for me and then there is the perverbial wall. What now? The universe can be a cruel place. It gives me only enough to get me excited and then shuts the door and says…”do the work”. O man!

Let me tell you that I started this process around 8:30 this morning and just looked up at the clock to realize that is after noon. There were a few distractions I’ll admit, but the time just flew while I was in the process. For me, that is an incredible amount of focus and now it is going to get hard??? That must be why most songs of mine are only three verses.

Well now it’s time for lunch and maybe a shower (did I mention I’m still in my pajamas) and then back at it I guess. I did have to record what I have done so I wouldn’t forget. I used to let that part go figuring it wasn’t any good if I could forget it. I don’t think that way any more because, let’s face it, I am old and don’t remember much. Writing things down is nothing to be ashamed of.

I hope someday you get to meet this little song of mine…I think you might be good friends.

She Works Hard For The Money

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Yesterday was a big day and yet it went by with very little fanfare, just a little “here here” in my head. I spent a few hours, all that I could afford in both time and money, in the studio. We began the journey into what will eventually be my CD. I think the significance of those two hours, will only truly be realized upon completion of this project.

Let me give you a little picture of what it’s like. I arrive at Marks house ( he is the producer,technician etc.) remove my shoes, pet the dog (Cora) chat a little with Mark and his wife while they lovingly make me a cup of tea (super yummy) . The tea is significant because before my arrival I have developed a troublesome tickle in my throat…..I am not giving into it. With tea and guitar in hand, I head up the narrow wooden stair case ( the one I fell down in my earlier post) up to the ” studio”.

Mark has graciously done a lot of work before I even arrive and is basically ready to rock. We set up a tempo. I explain to him how I am “click track” challenged. A click track is just an electronic metronome that you here in the headphones when you are working on the first guitar track so that it keeps all subsequent tracks in time. Well if you know me at all timing and tempo are not my strong suit. The electronic metronome is exact and there isn’t much about me that is that precise. Mark is lovely and assures me that I am not the only one and after a short technical discussion solves my problem by creating an electronic shaker of sorts that give me the beats in between the down beats….problem solved. All this time that I have spent in the studio with this pesky little problem and he solves it in a matter of minutes. At this moment I’m thinking “where have you been all my life” and “thank you for not making me feel ridiculous”. Which is how I often felt before.

Four guitar takes later, we actually used the second one, and three vocal takes complete,( not sure which one we used) I have a “working” CD. This is the one that I will sing to in my car while working on a vocal arrangement for harmonies. I will sing it over and over again in my car where I feel free to belt out anything that comes into my head without offending anyone’s delicate musical ears.

So drivers beware. Should you pull along side me on some L.A. street, or driving south perhaps, on the 110 freeway, don’t stare or become concerned, I am only working to bring you the best music I can. I do it for love.

Nobody’s Perfect

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Well phase one is under way. I have been up loading a few videos to test the waters. So far it’s been a good response. Of course it is family and friends and I’m not sure they would say anything remotely bad. What I did find promising was that they were’nt shy about sharing it with their friends. Again, it isn’t too astonishing because they are family but it will be interesting to see if their friends have anything to say.

Something odd has come up however and I am writing it down. Mostly I want to chronicle everything that happens in this process, but also because writing of any kind usually serves as a tool just to sort things out. It is a concrete way for me to self examine, self analyze and hopefully come to some sort of understanding about the crazy thoughts that roll around in my brain. I think, right now, I am missing some criticism. I am really really self critical but what I really want is criticisms from outside soures. Let me explain….

If all you hear are positive statements don’t you start to become skeptical? Is that just me. I want to grow and be better so give me something to work on or challenge my position. Really, I guess I don’t “want” it but I think I need it. Sometimes it makes me reaffirm my own choices. I hate (and I mean it makes me physically ill) confrontation of any kind. If you critisize a choice I’ve made, I am likely to change it. I do have rare moments where I stand up for myself and my choices and then I feel certain of what I’ve chosen. It sometimes takes the challenge for me to be sure it is right for me. Sometimes things don’t end up the way I thought they would but, in those instances, I walk away feeling very satisfied and self assured. Does that make any sense? Well I’m not telling you to nit pick but just be honest and give me something to think about. I know I’m not perfect.