Saturday, June 25, 2005

A songwriting inspiration...

So, as a new songwriter, I'm learning the pains of birthing a song. I have four songs worthy of singing in public, and I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do with all the other scraps of songs, and how come my four songs aren't flying out the door and into other churches?

Then I got David Phelps's email about his new cd. He wrote 35 songs and listened to 20 submitted songs before choosing his final 12. He would spend 3 days a week writing, and 2 performing.
Lesson: Write lots to find the precious few.

Then I was doing some research on Thomas A. Dorsey, who penned my favourite gospel song - Peace in the Valley. Early on, he sent 500 copies of his song "If You See my Savior" to churches around the country. It took 3 years before he got a single order for the song.
Lesson - If the song is good, people will find it and sing it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Toronto AIDS Vigil 2005

What an awesome night! Last night, Gerald and I played for the Toronto AIDS Vigil. When we auditioned, we just thought of it as a gig where we get to do a song. Pretty normal, right?

Imagine 2000 people in a park. All ages of people. Very quiet. Everyone was there out of love. Perhaps remembering a friend who had died. Perhaps praying for their own health. Some were there out of fear for this terrible disease. Some were there to support their community. And some were just curious.

And we were there to sing. We did Bridge Over Troubled Waters, with Gerald on guitar and both of us singing.

It was - I don't know - I can't even get my words around what a powerful night it was or how honoured I felt to be a part of it.
It's one of those times when I just feel so blessed to be able to do what I do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

End of an era

I received heartbreaking news today. My Aunt Helen passed away. She wasn't really my aunt, but just that kind of family friend who is so close and dear that she becomes family, and you're happy about that.

Aunt Helen was my Voice Idol.

She was the first person I ever heard with a professionally trained voice. Her voice was beautiful. Actually, "beautiful" is too broad and simple a word for it. Her voice shimmered with richness. She served the composer in all the ways required, and yet still brought an amazing level of emotion and humanity to her performances.

She was a professional singer, but sometimes, she would perform in our living room. As children, we were all in love with her voice. If she was singing at a "grown-up" party, we kids would sneak out of our beds and hide at the top of the stairs to listen.

When I did my first operetta, she came to hear me. Her compliments were the highlight of my night.

Last year, I found out she had bought one of my cds. I think I blushed with pride.

I love you, Aunt Helen. I will find peace in the fact that you are no longer ill and in pain. You are in a place where you can sing forever, and Heaven is celebrating your homecoming.

I hope I can inspire the children around me as much.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jumping in feet first

Why in the world should I publish my thoughts for public consumption?

Because that's what artists do. We take everything in our guts, our minds, our worlds - We mix them with paint and sound and words and costumes - And then we take all that stuff and we march it around in front of people on a stage, or for a more permanent effect, on film.

And then we let people have their own thoughts and reactions to our guts, our minds, our worlds.

And it affects their guts and minds and worlds.

And I guess, now, tonight, I just want to start sharing that journey.