Archive for October 2012 | Monthly archive page
For me, music is the richest form of self-expression. I find one of the most fulfilling things about being a musician is working with other musicians. I love making things with other people: I love working on school projects, working in teams in the world of business – actually I really love serving on juries. Yes, I love jury duty. I enjoy the process of creative collaboration. Making art with others is thrilling, and emotionally and technically challenging. It requires focus, passion, discipline, vulnerability – and clear communication of goals, expectations, roles and boundaries. Sometimes the excitement of creative collaborative can overshadow attention to the business details like defining process, expectations and roles. That is the stuff of hard feelings that can last a lifetime between musicians.
I’ve discovered that my collaborators need not be limited to musicians who are physically local. Stevie and I embarked recently on two separate collaborative music projects with other artist/producers who are located in LA and England. We just finished a hip hop piece with my stepson, Danny James, a successful musician and producer in LA. Danny took our original song, wrote and recorded three totally new verses sung by another (hip hop) vocalist he has worked with in LA, and then sent us back the project electronically (more on the logistics below). Stevie made a few musical and production changes, and a new song was born (you can watch the lyrics video here, the audio is available for free download on Soundcloud). To have been able to collaborate on a song with a family member who I both love and respect has meant so much to me, I was willing to wait the 6 months it took to complete!
It’s hard to tour – expensive, time consuming, and pretty much out of the question if you have kids or a full time job outside the music industry. But what’s an indie musician to do – you have to get out and promote your music, right?
I liken it to live internet porn for musicians, albeit generally G-rated and a much better value for the audience. Streaming your live music shows over the internet is one of the hottest ways musicians can boost their visibility, grow their fan base, and make a few dollars in the process, all from the relative comfort of their own living rooms. And neither they nor their fans have to pay a babysitter either. I’ve met quite a few musicians now who are putting on regular live performances via a streaming music service. There are several different platforms out there including StageIt, Ustream, LiveStream, Google+ Hangouts On Air, Skype, YouNow, Broadcast for Friends for Facebook, and Second Life Music. What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of each? I couldn’t find any articles that compared all the services, so I decided to try researching them myself and sharing what I’ve learned. In this article I’m going to cover the basics of StageIt.
My partner and I experimented last spring a bit with StageIt. We streamed two of our house concerts using it, and I found it quite fun. You start out by joining as a StageIt audience member, which is free. You can join by using your Facebook page, or by entering a StageIt name, email address and password. One advantage of StageIt is it’s dead simple to join. Once you are signed up as a member, you can sign up as a performer, which is a one-click action. To view a show, you purchase “notes,” a StageIt currency that translates 10 Notes = $1 US. To view a show, you purchase Notes in a minimum of 50 increments ($5 US). Notes are used to pay for tickets and to tip performers during the show (more on that later).
The relationship between love, madness, addiction, self-destruction and creativity is always a complex one. Passion is the fuel, whether it comes from love or pain – or both.
I’ve been reading the new Ann and Nancy Wilson biography, Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll. Fascinated and horrified at turns, I am nonetheless appreciative of the matter-of-fact way Ann and Nancy talk about their love relationships, their music, and the role of addiction throughout the book. The narrative switches back and forth between the two sisters’ viewpoints, although at times it seems to almost come from the same person. The book touches on so many issues that I can identify with – from Roger Fisher’s narcissistic drug-fueled sexual excesses in the band’s early days (as told by Nancy) to the melancholy admission of alcohol problems and body image issues at the end (by Ann). The love story between the two sisters and the two brothers (the “Wil-shers”) breathes like a sleeping dragon throughout the book. In one of the last chapters, Ann tells of the last time she saw Michael Fisher. Never married, it’s clear she never quite got over him. If you watch footage of Roger Fisher talking about Nancy (in VH1’s Behind the Music), it seems he took a long time getting over her as well.