It’s okay to hire people to do things that you can’t do well yourself.Read More
A cup of coffee and a change of perspective.Read More
I released a single today, but it doesn’t feel fair.Read More
Release Show: April 13th, 2019 | 9PM | Aster Cafe, MinneapolisRead More
Here we go…it’s time to get this thing finished so I can put it out into the world.
It’s taken me longer to complete this album than I might have originally imagined, but it’s going to get done, one way or another. I’ve been practicing with my drummer and guitarist for a few weeks and now I’m tying up loose ends and recording scratch tracks for everyone else involved. A full studio album takes a ton of time and resources, and I could not have made it this far without the support of so many friends, family, and fans.
I’ve had a few stinging rejections smack me in the face recently, but it’s okay. A wise businessman once told me, “No matter what you do, there’s always room for a good one.” I don’t need to be the best, and I don’t expect to always hear “yes” from every limb I put myself out on. I just need to finish what I started and be thankful for how far I’ve come.
Time to suck down the coffee and record this album. Let’s finish the year strong!
“I can’t get a handle, on winter turned fall.”Read More
I accidentally went radio silent on here for half a year. There’s been a lot going on, including reaching my Kickstarter to record my first full-length album! In addition, I’m releasing my first single from that album TOMORROW! (10-13). I even had a music video made for it, and hired a violinist who performed beautifully.
I was 24 the last time I wrote on here, and I’m 25 now. Sometimes I can hear the clock ticking, and other times I’m able to convince myself that age doesn’t matter. I don’t know if we all (all artists, that is), fool ourselves into believing we have to make it while we’re still young? I’m not sure where that stems from, or why there’s an illusion that only young people can be successful in this industry. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’m convinced that if I keep plugging away, I’ll to see results in hindsight.
I have faith, and I’m so grateful for all the people alongside me who continue to support the things I create. Music is a community, and I’m excited to keep building it!
How “churchy” should it be?Read More
Happy 1st birthday to my debut EP, “Will Play for Coffee!” In honor of this anniversary, I’d like to share with you how this album came to be.
Recording a live album was one of the most terrifying, humbling moves I’ve taken professionally. A while back I had a plan to record an album, but I was so scared because I didn’t know where to start. My starting point, then, was writing songs...which I also didn’t know how to do. For three years I would write a verse and a chorus, hate it, and try again.
At the time, I was playing cover gigs all over town. I used a music stand and lead sheets because I thought I had an inability to memorize music. And then, if I did finish something resembling an original, I rarely let anyone hear it. This cycle continued until October 2016.
It took a solo road trip of 4500 miles for me to stop being so damn afraid. On that trip someone gave me the idea to record a live album, and to stop doing covers. Only originals. I only had 3 originals finished at the time, but I listened to some solid advice.
After the trip, I booked a show for January 19th, 2017. That gave me three months to not only curate an event, but to write enough originals for a 60-70 minute set, and have my songs polished enough to record live and push out to the world, or to whatever tiny sliver of the population that would hear it.
I was able write my songs and record the live event, but that truly was just the beginning.
Not many people know this, but I almost didn’t release WPFC. I was so disappointed that I ignored what I considered to be crucial technical details that I thought it would be an embarrassment to publish it. Thank God I had some close friends talk me out of my nonsense. As you’ll notice if you’ve listened to the album, the title track didn’t even make the cut, but the album title can stand alone.
This album has been the catalyst that has helped me book gigs, earn a grant, and release more music. It’s given me the confidence to keep moving forward, and to realize that something doesn’t have to be perfect to be shared. And, most importantly, it has helped reassure me that I want to keep chasing this career. Sure, it would be nice to make a living from my tunes, but I hope I never forget the joy of being happy to play for nothing more than a cup of coffee.
Thank you to every. single. person. who has helped support me along the way. Thank you for listening, buying merch, coming to shows, or following my journey.
Happy birthday to “Will Play for Coffee.” You can listen on Spotify here:
I love the sweet, resounding music of rejection.Read More
In December, I met Rachael at a hair salon. I learned she was battling Stage 4 Lymphoma. We got matching haircuts that day, and became close friends soon after. As of March 12, 2018 she has successfully completed all of her chemotherapy treatments, with all signs pointing toward cancer recovery. To help with her medical expenses, I've started a GoFundMe page for help with her medical expenses.
For every donation made, I will sing any song of your choice live on my Facebook page.
Back in October, I played for an event on Infant Loss Awareness Day. Today, I will play for the memorial of an infant who passed away on Valentine's Day last year.
"Play" feels like a weird word to use. I have been practicing a couple songs all week, but yesterday/last night was when I was planning the rest of the music -- the stuff I'll play in the background while people filter in. I've performed (is that the right word to use?) at many funerals before, mostly for elderly people where classic church hymns were prevalent. But I've never had to try to find the right music to commemorate/celebrate/remember the short life of a sweet, perfect baby. A baby who was full-term but never got to take her first breath.
The event isn't at a church, and church hymns aren't appropriate for this memorial. The lyrics to nearly every contemporary song I had in my back pocket felt...off.
I searched "funeral" in Spotify. "Funeral Pyre" by Julien Baker and "Funeral" by Phoebe Bridgers popped up as the first results. Then, below those options were playlists people had created:
"Funeral Songs for Mom"
"Funeral Songs for Dad"
"Songs for Funerals (mostly just songs about death)"
People have spent many hours putting together songs to help heal their broken hearts, or to feel the hurt deeper, or to share music that reminds them of their lost loved ones. Music is powerful, but holy shit sometimes it just hurts.
In the end, I picked some tunes that I hope will honor Hope and bring comfort to her grieving mother. You can listen to the playlist here: "Hope's Memorial."
- Wherever You Will Go - "If I could, then I would...I'd go wherever you will go."
- Yellow - "For you I'd bleed myself dry."
- Fix You - "Lights will guide you home."
- Somewhere Only We Know - "I came across a fallen tree, I felt the branches of it looking at me. Is this the place we used to love? Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?"
- Keep Breathing - "I want to believe in more than you and me. All that I know is I'm breathing; all I can do is keep breathing."
- A Drop In The Ocean - "It's like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert, but I'm holding you closer than most, 'cause you are my heaven."
- Gravity - Sara Bareilles - I think Hope and her mommy both loved Sara Bareilles. This is for both of them.
- Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop - This song I went back and forth about. It's a song about a couple adults falling in love. But, the more I listened to it, the more I realized that Hope and her mother also spent time falling in love at coffee shops in Fargo. When Kayla was 8 months pregnant, the weather was bad and she didn't want to risk the drive home to spend Christmas with her family. So, she spent it in a coffee shop in Fargo. She had the a wonderful time with others in the shop that day, including the owners. Today, local coffee shops still play a large role in Kayla's life, as well as places that Kayla and Hope share.
- How Long Will I Love You - I played this song for a wedding a couple summers ago. "How long will I love you, as long as stars are above you, and longer if I may." I never imagined I'd be playing it for a memorial, but the words couldn't be more perfect.
- Winter Song - Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson - Requested by Kayla. "This is my winter song to you. The storm is coming soon, it rolls in from the sea."
- Please Don't Go - Stephanie Rainey - Requested by Kayla.
- Landslide - "And if you see my reflection in a snow covered hill, well the landslide brought me down."
- Winter Bear - This song is specifically about losing an infant.
a purring cat and a musical boxRead More
Everything changed overnight.Read More
Throw out a popular theme and replace it with this one instead.Read More
It's amazing what happens when I'm honest with myself.Read More
Sorry I took a month-long hiatus.Read More
A few months back, I uncovered a car mirror visor CD case filled with mix CDs from high school. I popped one in my CD player that I labeled, "Pretty Good Mix - April 2010." This mix had everything from pop, to country, to rap, to EDM. I guess I liked variety. On the surface, these types of music have little in common with each other, except for me, the listener. I enjoyed all of them, and I didn't care that they were different genres.
Over the last few years of trying to build my music career, I've discovered a dangerous yet important part of being a musician, which I like to peg as Musician's Jealousy. This is what happens when other local talent seems to be getting more breaks than you, and it's "just not fair." Or, "she got to play that venue? Why won't they ask me?" "Why did they get to open for ____? I could've done that!" This is an elephant in the room for many musicians, and in my opinion it's not talked about enough. Musician's Jealousy is a trap, but other players in the game are 100% necessary.
I once had a conversation with a successful business founder. I expressed concerns about my career, and how there's so many musicians trying to do exactly what I'm trying to do. He told me, "That doesn't matter. No matter what profession you choose, there is always room for a good one." There will never be too many musicians, and most listeners don't want to experience just one artist. Variety is necessary; variety is good. Other players in the game that is the local scene are not your competition. Rather, they are peer mentors and people who challenge us to improve. If I see someone at a gig that I want, I push myself a little bit harder. I figure out what I can do to get there.
It's also important to have these local musicians as friends. meaning people you genuinely care about and respect. These are the people that you want to succeed. They won't block your way, because they're likely on a different path. If you're finding yourself asking, "What can I do for you?" instead of, "What can you do for me?", then you've probably got this figured out already.
Personally, I view my music as a business. I am (to reference Artist's Way) Lacey Guck, Inc. Sure, I love what I do, but there's a pile of work that goes on behind the scenes. Marketing, promoting shows, recording, designing merch, practicing, booking gigs, purchasing/selling gear, networking with like-minded people, distributing music digitally and physically...the list goes on and on. I'm sure this rings a bell with many other musicians. But the difference between musicians as a business and standard business-to-consumer businesses is that listeners rarely choose one or the other. If I go out to eat on a Friday night and I'm choosing between Vinyl Taco and JL Beers, one of those businesses won't get my sale. However, if a listener is on Spotify, he or she can skip between my song and every other local Fargo musician. For me, this concept in action has been me attempting to change my mindset. Rather than jealously thinking to myself "I should be playing here instead of him/her", I now try to think, "Good for them for getting this gig. I'd like to play here also." It's not this or that with music. In other words, the local scene is one big mix tape.
Jealousy can be a demon, or it can be a tough-loving enemy. Those who put in the work and view Musician's Jealousy as a means to improve are far more likely to succeed than those who let the jealousy eat away at them. Musician's Jealousy should never be used to put other artists down. Since we're all after a similar career, we might as well lift each other up and offer a hand where we can.
February 15th, 2017Read More
How it feels when mini moments of creative genius strike.Read More