I’m not even gonna lie to myself and say that I plan on keeping a daily log of the events that transpire in my life. However, I’ll at least aim to do this twice a week. There’s so much going on… Where do I begin?
I’m not sure that I’ve ever worked so hard in my entire life, as a performer. When you say, “we’re going on tour”, you think fame and prestige. But the reality of it is grueling work. I’m not complaining though. I’m loving this. This tour couldn’t have come around at a better time. I’m just ready to take things to another level. The music industry is evolving and I feel that myself and my fellow tourmates represent the next step in this evolution: “artistos independos”, LOL.
I’m amped about the freedom and the power that we have today as artists. We don’t have to answer to labels the way we used to (and they’re freaking out!). When I see artists like Drake make such waves, without the aid of a major label, almost solely off of his talent, word of mouth, and fan support… It’s amazing and encouraging. I feel like something similar is happening here for me… for us… for all those involved with this tour. There’s a revolution happening. I’m ranting now, lol.
Anyway. We had a show for the Maryland Performing Arts Center and it went great. People kept asking me where could they buy my music… UGH!!! it was killing me. Yeah, I have an album out that they can purchase, and I’m proud of it. However, these audiences are hearing me perform NEW music, and they’re getting EXCITED over this new music. I want to be able to give it to them. But it’s not done yet. The second album is ALMOST finished.
I decided to do an EP, versus a full album this time. This project will have about 7 tracks. When I did my first album it sold really well. But we learned that the songs that sold the most were the ones that we featured on youtube( the ones that I was generally most excited about). People practically ignored the other tracks. So, I figured that this time around, I would do fewer songs… focusing only on songs that really meant something to me – either personally or musically or both. When I did my first album, there was a lot of pressure, due to time constraints and it WASN’T fun. Another major factor was my vocal coach career. I started really blowing up as a voice teacher right around the time I was half-way through recording my album… Those times were hell! I was suddenly in such high demand. I would teach for 6 to 8 hours straight every day (that’s 6-8 hours of talking, demonstrating, high notes, loud notes, mix notes)… It was mentally draining and physically exhausting… after those hours of non-stop vocalizing, I would go to the studio and work on my album. It was such a test for me of my mental fortitude and the solidity of my vocal technique. I managed to sustain that grueling schedule of 12 hour singing days for about 6 months, with no vocal problems. I was never hoarse, never damaged… I was tired though… perpetually tired… And, honestly, it robbed me of a lot of my joy during the recording process. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to be recording my first album and writing songs. It’s just that, I frequently felt like I wasn’t able to give my best, due to the constant fatigue and the looming pressure of deadlines.
So this time around, I knew things would be different. It’s been like night and day. I now have really good home study programs (AApproach Vocal Mastery Series, AApproach 2.0, etc) that I can refer students to. I also have 2 new coaches, Michael W. Bryant and TinaB., who can take on the bulk of my clientele. I still have a handful of select clients. They’re comprised of of singers whom are either successful professional singers now or singers whom I believe have the potential to be very successful. These are the people who don’t drain me.
I find that, as young as I am, I’ve already lost my patience for working with lazy wannabe singers. I have NO problem working with someone who’s not very good… as long as they’re willing to work. Because, even if someone is extremely talented… if they’re lazy… it drives me nuts. I just can’t do it. I’ve developed a strong disdain for those who come to me seeking a quick fix for all of their vocal dilemmas. Of course, results can come quickly. But, when you’re building a voice, you’ve got to be willing to take yourself seriously and work. The singers that I work with now have passion and drive… it’s contagious, and it fuels me. I feel inspired to teach inspiring people. People who genuinely LOVE music and LOVE performing. But those who just have a few bucks to spend… I could do without those. It’s not about wanting fame. It’s about enjoying what you do. So now, when I get the student who complains, “You really want me to vocalize for 20mins EVERY DAY????”, I simply refer them to Michael or TinaB.. You don’t have to be a naturally strong singer, but PLEASE have a strong spirit. It makes it so much more enjoyable for everyone.
So, anyway, I have about 20 personal clients now… and for all the reasons stated above, I’m VERY selective about who I take on now. It’s worked out great, because I enjoy teaching now, more than I ever have before. I love helping people realize their dreams, when they demonstrate the courage to make them reality.
The recording process for this EP has been SOOOOOO different from my first album. On days that I record, I teach no lessons, I sleep late, and I relax. I have no deadlines (save the ones I place on myself mentally). I can take my time and work on the music to the point that I’m totally satisfied with the end result.
I’ve been working with some amazing songwriters too: Dionne Halsey, Kristin Price, and Keith Marshall. Dionne wrote “Your Lover” and Kristin Price did vocal arrangements. I love that song, and recording with Kristin Price as my producer was a great experience. She had such attention to detail and such vision, yet she constantly pushed me to make the song my own. Keith Marshall has helped me to establish the overall “sound” for this EP. He really gets me, musically. We’re able to co-write songs effortlessly, our lyrics and arrangements seamlessly connecting. He’s born and raised in DC, but he was a dirty south soul vibe that reminds me of a New Orleans native. I could probably write a lot about the process of coming up with the songs and the themes and the lyrics… I probably will write more in future posts… but it’s 3am… I’m tired… I refuse to proofread this, lol. It’s a “journal” – a compilation of random reflective thoughts… it can be grammatically incorrect and even incoherent at times… I’m gonna allow myself that, lol.