Thursday, November 14, 2013

Warmness On The Soul

This is my arrangement of Avenged Sevenfold's "Warmness on the Soul." Enjoy! :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Worth the Price?

Music has been such a huge part of my life. If you go back and read my first few blog posts, it is obvious that I eat, sleep, and breathe music. It is clear that I've had to give up A LOT to be able to be a musician. Most serious musicians have a similar story to that speaks of extreme passion for music, that totally justifies the many sacrifices they have had to make. We sacrifice our time, money, social life, and much more, so that we can let this "music monster" consume us. It is a love/hate relationship. We know what we've had to give up to be a serious musician. People remind us everyday by their words, actions, and lifestyle. However, musicians know what they've gained by becoming a serious musician. It isn't anything that a non-musician would understand. We try to explain it to them and we either get the glazed over eyes or the whole "music isn't a practical career choice" speech. Newsflash...there really isn't a "safe" and "practical" career choice these days. The safest job is the one that you have the SKILL and DESIRE for. Why? Because no matter how many times someone shuts the door in your face, you will not give up. You will continue to pursue your career AND do an amazing job without cutting corners. You will perform your career with excellence. You will find a job and you will work because you love it. People give up so easily when they don't really care about their career. They collect their paycheck, complain about their job constantly, and when things get tough...they jump ship and move onto the next thing they get hired for and the process usually starts all over again. Most people are afraid to pursue the career that they truly love for various reasons...but if you are in a career solely for the money and hate the job, I'm willing to bet that you don't perform well and you only do the bare minimum required to keep that job. I'm also willing to bet that you hate going to work. Consider the amount of time that you spend at a job you hate. I think that this is a pathetic waste of a life. Life is too short to be miserable and all of the excuses that you keep making to justify your poor career choices will not stop the misery. When you choose to accept a career that you don't love, you are saying "yes" to a miserable life. Why do I care about these people that choose a miserable existence? Two reasons: #1 They're the ones that try to talk us happy people out of pursuing our "not so practical career choice" so that we might trade in our happiness and sanity for a larger paycheck and society's approval #2 They are negative people that constantly pull everyone down because they hate their lives...but hey...they have a large paycheck and make society proud! The tax man is grateful for their contribution. I understand that kids, mortgages, cars, healthcare, etc. makes life more complicated when it comes to finances...but let's consider how many people must take some sort of anti-depressant to be able to survive their miserable life. I personally feel that there is more to life than just surviving and paying bills. You CAN make money in a career that you love, but you must be brave and willing to sacrifice a lot for your happiness. I believe that happiness is worth fighting for. The "safe road" of a practical career is not safe when you consider the stress, anxiety, medications, and poor attitude that are a direct result. It stuns me to see how little people are willing to sacrifice for their own health and happiness...but we sure are quick to dump money into various medical expenses so we can keep going to the same miserable job. It is ridiculous. We have become so good at masking symptoms instead of actually fixing the real problem.

I think that we all have specific talents/interests for a reason. I think that if we'd all start listening to ourselves instead of society, we'd pursue careers that we love, feel great about our lives, be much healthier, and produce everything with quality in mind. There's something wonderful about working hard on things you enjoy and the sense of pride/accomplishment that comes from creating with quality in mind. People used to take pride in having their name on excellent work. Now, people take pride in surviving another week, collecting their paycheck after completing mediocre work, and being able to pay for their medications and/or booze that helps them to briefly forget their miserable existence. People would rather sacrifice their mental & physical health (which in turn leads to poor social life, lack of energy, huge medical bills, unhappy families, death, etc) than sacrifice some of their time, energy, money, social life, etc. on a career that would have a huge payout in terms of quality of life. People are great at making excuses. There are many that claim to want to be a professional musician, basketball player, ballerina, author, small business owner, or whatever their dream job is...but they let society's fears take control of their lives. They believe that you CAN'T be a successful __________ (fill in blank with dream job of your choice), based solely on the lies that society has placed in most people's heads. Why on earth do people assume that just because one person didn't succeed, that they will also fail? Why do people think that if someone says they can't achieve something, that it must be true? Why do people discount the fact that hard work, talent, and drive CAN actually get you someplace? Why do people believe that each person is the same as others and CAN'T succeed? It is completely ridiculous that we buy into all of this nonsense. Wake up and believe that you CAN achieve whatever you truly WANT. Quit letting someone else decide your fate. Don't let people make you feel like a failure. They're just angry and bitter because they chose to sell out on their dreams & bought into society's lies.

There is an underlying issue to achieving your dreams. There is a group of people that have bought into society's lies in a twisted way. The idea that hard work, talent, and drive will NOT allow you to succeed...has been taken to heart by a small group that has decided to pursue their dreams regardless...BUT... they feel entitled. They look for the quick and easy route. In music, these are the people that think they don't need to practice. They act like they are doing everyone a favor by just stepping onto the same stage as you. They make very defensive excuses for their flaws. In short, they are very defensive because they know that they don't have the skills that they claim and they don't have the drive to actually obtain them. I believe that these people truly want to achieve their dream, but people have made them feel like it is ridiculous. Reality shows have made the music industry look like winning the lottery...try your luck with minimal effort compared to the real world and you get a recording contract. Seeing the "luck" of others has made this career look like a breeze. People don't realize the amount of effort required to be a great musician. Practicing isn't an is a necessity! There's more to music than memorizing and matching pitch. Musicians that think that they can just step into a band and ride on the backs of the band members that are busting their butts, should not be given the encouragement to do so. Being a successful musician or any other career, involves extensive practice/skill (excellent work ethic/natural talent), responsibility (show up prepared & on time), drive (passion to succeed), respect (value the time of others and be grateful), and a good personality (no one likes to work with an ass). Unfortunately, this "entitled" breed of musician is making the rest of us irritable/hostile. As a musician, I have very little time and patience for entitled musicians that choose to waste my time with their excuses as to why they aren't prepared or why they can't practice. Since the age of 14, I've sacrificed outings with friends, relationships, job offers, money (gear, music school, lessons, are expensive), etc. to be able to be a good musician. I'm not complaining at all! I'm proud of the hard work that I've put in and CONTINUE to put in. I believe that I can always learn something new and work to improve my skills for the rest of my life. I love what I get to do. The sacrifices are worth it! Even as a teenager, I realized the sacrifices I was making (going to practice instead of hanging with my friends), and yet I was okay with it! I know I'm in the right field because I'm not focused on the money, the sacrifices are worth it, and I love my work! If you don't feel that way...I think you're in the wrong field. As a musician, you have to give up a lot if you're going to work your way up the ladder. If that sounds terrible to you, then being a pro, is probably not the best choice for you. Play music on the side, for enjoyment. Find the career that you love! You'll know what it is, when the sacrifices for that particular job are worth it! Be brave! Do what you love!

Check out my band! Waking Myth on Reverbnation and Waking Myth on Facebook

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Decline of Music? Enter...the cheater

Auto tune, lip syncing, reality music shows (i.e. American Idol), greedy record companies, companies promising to buy you a fan base on social networks...what's next? While there is great music happening in the world, you only get to hear what mainstream radio chooses...based off of money. Much of what you get to hear are the over processed, musical fakes that insist on auto tune because they can't match pitch. It makes me so angry that when I mess up the pitch and can't quite sing things up to my standard...I HAVE TO PRACTICE while the radio star is off vacationing on some tropical island. I practice my butt off. I want my music to be good, but it kinda stinks to work so hard when I know that the big radio star doesn't put in anywhere near the time as lesser known artists. I like to think that hard work will always win...but then you see American Idol. This show is a glorified karaoke contest that actually cheapens what non-American Idol musicians have to deal with on a daily basis. I'm not saying that the musicians on these reality shows aren't good...I'm just frustrated that the show is so obviously based around money. Do you really think that a jazz musician, opera musician, or metal musician could stand a chance in their true music genre on this show? Of course not! These musicians are not going to bring in much money for the TV show/record label. Today's music business is all about mainstream and money. I can't help but think that more people would listen to classical music if we grew up hearing it on a regular basis, and if the genre had as many radio stations and as much airplay as pop music. Our society has glorified the pop musician. Even many country music artists have sold out and have become "cross-over" artists so that their music can be played on country and pop stations. I understand the desire for money. I know we all need to make a buck...BUT my point is that there are so many truly talented musicians that NEVER get their big moment, since the industry controls what you hear...unless you go searching for something new. People don't like to try new things. Most people stick to what they've always known or been told by their family...everything from cars, sports, religion, name it! We believe other's opinions and rarely bother to go exploring on our own, unless something triggers us to wake up. I find this to be very sad. I think there are so many amazing, new things that we can experience in life. Trying new music is easy and relatively inexpensive. Most new artists have at least one free song that you can hear! However, we make excuses. We are stubborn. We assume too much. There are people that think opera is for the elite, filled with overbearing vibrato, and only in a foreign language. There are people that think metal is nothing more than a bunch of rebellious, blood drinking, satanic individuals that scream complete nonsense while randomly strumming their guitars & banging drums as loud as possible. Meanwhile, I've heard some pretty awful things from the mouths of church musicians...just saying! There are people that think an indie artist is one that has opted to smoke pot all day long and couldn't muster up the gumption to get their material to a record label. All of these awful assumptions are RIDICULOUS and completely false. Realize that there are always a few "bad eggs" in every bunch, but don't assume we are all that way. These stereotypes hurt the lesser known artists/genres. Please don't let someone else's opinion keep you from trying something new!

Now...getting to my main point (500 years later! Haha). My first sentence today listed 5 things in the industry that are skewing our view of music. You no longer have to match pitch...because there is auto tune. In fact, your whole sound can be changed if you lack talent. Please don't think that what you hear on the radio is always true talent. I'm not saying that these artists are all fakes...but I can't help but wonder what the poor sound engineer had to go through to make certain people with a pretty face, sound so amazing. News flash...all pretty people do not sing well! They DO have flaws! Shocking, right? When I attend live concerts, I'm often disappointed by the sound/lack of pitch. Interesting. Could it be that the artist was having a bad night...or is it a case of yet another auto tuned, lazy singer? Frustrating. Oh, and lip syncing is apparently okay now if it's cold, if you're sick, if you're tired, if ya just don't feel like singing, or if you can't handle the pressure of a televised event. I don't know of any lesser known artists/genres that are allowed to lip sync without getting booed off the stage. What is wrong with admitting...I'm sick, I lost my voice, I'm not able to sing under pressure, I'm not able to sing without auto tune? Haha! Don't answer that. Just think. We have created this. We have allowed this to be okay. Each time you support mainstream artists and deny lesser known are telling society that this is good and okay, so give me more! One more thing...companies that buy you a fan base. Grrrrrrrrr!!! Every single day I receive numerous emails and tweets from companies that say "for $19.99 you will receive 11,000 new fans for your Twitter account/Facebook account/etc." Why is this skewing music? Well, many big music festivals require bands to have a certain minimum number of fans on their social networks if they are to open for a big name band. Many record labels look at your fan base to decide if you have enough fans to make things worth their time. In other words, it is all about money. As I write this, my band's Facebook account has 598 fans and Twitter has 547 followers that were not bought by a promo company. These are friends/family/music fans/supporters that would like us to succeed at reaching our goals. They've had to put up with our hundreds of invites, requests, status pleas, and tweets BEGGING them to just support us with their vote. Meanwhile, other bands with 11.5K fans that got their funds together to buy a nice fan base package, are playing big music festivals with a set list that contains roughly three chords, a tone deaf singer, and some guy that claims to play the bass as long as he doesn't have to play on more than one string per song. So...something to think on. Things are skewed. You're missing out on some fabulous musicians if you only believe what the mainstream radio, American Idol, and social networks tell you. You're also contributing to the problem by falling for what the mainstream peeps tell you. If you'd like to try something new and make a difference for other artists...check out sites like Reverbnation, Youtube, and BandCamp. You can even check out the Facebook pages of lesser known bands and listen to their music there. Support smaller radio stations and record labels. Supporting the little guy seems to get you far more than you could ever imagine these days. Why? These people truly care about their work and take pride in what they present. They usually love their work so much that they don't care that they aren't making very much money. They do it for the sake of good music! They genuinely value their fans! Every "like" on Facebook and other social media is greatly appreciated! Don't support the artists that try to pull the wool over your eyes...or ears, with their lip syncing or auto tuned voice. Demand more!! Quality is still just have to look past the obvious and support the musicians that are who they say they are!
Happy new music hunting adventures to you! If you find something good...share it!

Band update: Things are going great with Waking Myth. The majority of our album is recorded and gigs are already planned. We will be releasing another song shortly! If you haven't heard our first song, please check it out. Share it! "Like" our Facebook! Spread the word! You have the ability to help a group of musicians achieve their goals. We appreciate all of the support! Thanks!

Waking Myth on Twitter     Waking Myth on Facebook     Waking Myth on Reverbnation

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Waking Myth Update #1

Things have been going incredibly well since I auditioned and took the gig with Waking Myth. I can't stress enough about how important it is to have the right members. This band has struggled in the past because they just couldn't find the right combination for them...much like my various band situations. Patience is the key, but it's difficult since we all long to be out there actually "doing" our craft at that very moment. It is easy to settle on members that don't share the same work ethic, style, and goals. This can be a problem that haunts a band for quite some time. Let's face it...we get used to hearing how a certain band sounds or seeing certain members. We make judgements about a band and it's difficult to push past the negative aspects, even after the band has changed members. I am discovering that to be the case with Waking Myth. The band has had a variety of female singers and other musicians. The drama/sounds of the past, still follow this band. I am a completely different singer than any of the previous singers. I like to have my own sound and not be a copycat. I enjoy singing to the best of my ability and I have no desire to sound like anyone else. So, now I play the waiting game to see what the response will be for a band that has had a different sound since 2009. So far, I've received positive feedback, but this is from new fans that haven't heard the old Waking Myth. I know that local bands have a very "set" opinion of Waking Myth and I hope that they realize that all bands evolve as long as they are continuing to work hard. There seems to be a certain level of "snottiness" when it comes to the attitudes of bands in this area. I am new to the band scene here...and very few bands have bothered to reach out in support of the recent member changes of Waking Myth. This makes me think that the scene here is very cold...or that the egos/drama levels run high. I honestly don't have time for that behavior. It is unprofessional and a complete waste of time. Maybe it is just a "small town" mentality or just how they do things here...but in the larger cities, it has been my experience that the bands support each other and they're all willing to help you if they can. I'm used to that, and I miss it. I guess that you can't have everything, but I'm certainly grateful to have such an awesome group of musicians to work with! Waking Myth has made a huge jump in their level of playing and professionalism. I wouldn't have bothered to be a part of this group if I hadn't seen/heard it for myself. The founding members have made a serious attempt to scoop up musicians that share the same work ethic and goals. Everyone in this group has been working to improve their skills individually. This has helped to raise the level of the band. I'm very excited for us to finish the album & start performing in a little over 2 months. I think people will be very surprised by the new sound of this group! More updates to follow!!! -Keri  \m/

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Support Each Other!

I'm not sure why it is such a difficult thing for a human to support and encourage another human, but there seems to be an overwhelming condition that attempts to dull any glimmer of success that another person might have in ANY field. As I continue to talk with fellow musicians/bands and watch them attempt to promote their craft, I have learned that this is something that plagues us all, regardless of success level. Everyone has their own taste in music/artists, but it really isn't a competition. You can't make people like your music...either they do, or they don't. It is like a color. I can't make anyone like red. There is nothing wrong with red, but if you like blue...that's your preference. However, you can appreciate that we have all of the colors, because things would be pretty boring if we could only see one color. Music comes in many forms and blends with others to create more interest and evolves into newer styles. Consider...back in Mozart's time, styles such as country & rock, didn't even exist. Our music has evolved from styles that you probably don't care to listen to now. At the very least, we should be grateful that we have music and appreciate the effort that goes into creating any style of music. I'm grateful that we have evolved past Gregorian Chant! What I'm really getting at though is that  there seems to be some poor attitudes in the music business. Let's face it, we are all passionate people that love our style of music. The problem is that if we even think that someone is cutting away at the music we write, perform, and love...we put up a huge wall and then proceed to make cuts at the perceived offender's music. We've all done it. We are loyal to our craft. Loyalty is good...but somewhere along the line, things have gone too far. The meanness and petty drama that exists between colleagues in any field, is completely pointless. When you partake in this sort of behavior, it ends up hurting you. You don't feel good when you're ripping someone else down and it doesn't feel very good to have your colleagues rip you down either. Both parties suffer. Why cause suffering over something that you love? Why rip down the things that someone else values? It certainly doesn't help you to get ahead. It doesn't make you feel good. It doesn't make you look good. It just cuts away at your integrity.

Those of you that are your fellow musicians and respect the fact that we are all striving to achieve various goals in the field, from beginner to pro. To be an excellent musician of any genre, you need to have passion...and to have passion, means that you have a heart. In other words, don't be an ass. If you don't like a particular artist due to their behavior, music genre, or whatever...that is fine, but at least respect the fact that they are working in music and music has value, regardless of how the person behaves, or their genre. Also, if you don't have anything nice to say...shut it.

Those of you that are your favorite artists, but realize that there isn't a competition between bands at shows, as if it were a football game. You can't make anyone like a certain artist. It is a personal choice. Booing at artists, throwing objects at them, and other attempts to show your lack of support are not helpful to anyone. The artist isn't going to quit, so you are wasting your time & making yourself look like an ass. Instead of causing problems, just don't attend their concerts if you can't control yourself. Respect the fact that all artists have had to put time/effort into their show, and they're the ones on stage...not you. I don't care if you sing better than them in the shower...shut it.

That being said...there is a bit of a competition in terms of getting bands noticed by record companies. These days, a record company will not support a band even if their music is the most incredible thing on the planet...unless the band has already proven that they have a following. Record companies have become nothing more than giant, risky loans. They will not risk it all to give great artists the funding to record/tour on the basis of being a great musician. We all know certain bands and artists that are more talented than others, but the less talented one ends up getting signed because they have a huge following. The record companies want to see that a band/artist has enough fans to make it worth their time. They only care about money. This is why so many bands are going under independent labels, recording in private studios, and doing their own thing. This is also why you see every band begging for you to "like" their Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and spread the word. We have to promote ourselves until a record company is pleased OR until we just happen to have enough fans that we don't even need a record company to front us the money. So, one of the best things we can all do to support music and change the fact that only a select few ever "make it" to pull away from what the radio station makes you listen to. Spread out and listen to other music and artists. Support what you like by giving them a "like" on Facebook, share what you find with your friends, and attend their concerts. Stop letting the radio station dictate what artists should be on top. Trust me...there are incredible artists that aren't on the radio and it's all due to money. What a shame! Now here's the cool can show support for every artist you love and it won't hurt each individual artist in terms of getting "signed." The record companies just need to see a strong fan base. They know that we all like more than one particular band/artist. Every band/artist can ALSO support their favorite musicians and not hurt their own band in return. So, why aren't we building each other up? Why aren't we all getting along and being grateful over the fact that we have music in our lives? Help each other out. Support bands. Help build up each other's fan base. You can't make people like or hate a certain type of music...remember that. You CAN help spread the word about a band you really enjoy & help unknown bands "make it." If you stumble onto a band that you don't like, but you have a friend that likes that genre...pass the info on! There's so much great music out there that people don't even get to hear. I feel like we should all have one big group hug now...mmmm...maybe not. I value my personal bubble. ;)

Give my band a listen and "like" us if you are willing. Do the same for other bands. We really do appreciate your means a lot to us.
                                                                     Waking Myth

Any band that would like to forward their page info to me (Contact Keri)...I'd be happy to support you too. Seriously. We have an amazing and difficult career. Let's keep it awesome. \m/ -Keri  

Monday, February 25, 2013


                                                        Waking Myth on Facebook!

Please click the link above and help support new artists! If you are able, please share our page. Take a listen to our first song from the album. We greatly appreciate your help in promoting our work! New artists depend on you to help them get noticed. It is not enough to have great music. We need to show that we have people that support us. Please help us and other new artists to see their work come to life. Thanks for your time!! -Keri

Saturday, February 23, 2013

And the Journey Continues...

I haven't posted for a couple of months due to many changes that were happening faster than I could process. Once again, I ended up working with people that were not as serious as they had originally stated. While it was a bit of a shock to me regarding how they chose to handle the situation, I am not angry. Anger is pointless. I've stated from the beginning, that I only want to work with musicians that actually WANT to work and enjoy it. Clearly, these people were not right...and even though I had pretty high hopes, it wasn't meant to be. I learned a great deal from them and I honestly believe that this experience was a necessary stepping stone. I had gotten too comfortable with my own vision of how things should be. I needed a bit of a shake up. I certainly got that! Veiled Words (my band), will continue on, but as a project that will be recordings of my piano/vocal originals. I will use other musicians as needed. In short, it will be a means for me to showcase another side of my writing/performing skills.

After Veiled Words took a different direction, I started writing a bit more and taking personal inventory on my goals/desires for music. I branched out a bit and started talking with musicians locally and all over the world. I discovered that there was a melodic metal band in my area, that was flying under radar due to having a difficult time with finding the right musicians. I was intrigued by this, and started to investigate. I was very noncommittal when I discovered that they needed a female lead. I simply said that I might be interested or that I might be willing to help out for a bit. After many conversations with one of the founding members & listening to their music, I decided to go ahead and audition. I was very skeptical and fairly certain that it probably wasn't going to work, but I had agreed to audition and had to follow through. Don't get me wrong, I was excited, but I had a million reasons as to why it probably wouldn't work. I just kept holding on to the idea that "you never know until you try." At the audition, I had to create the vocals to one of their songs. Needless to say, I had a blast with these guys, loved the sound, and we ended up recording the first song to the album right then and there! I was stunned at how much I enjoyed working with them on their music. Their ideas and processes were very similar to my own. I was impressed that they actually cared about the sound and would critique each other without getting offended. It has been an awesome experience to work with this group. In fact, I would even say that it is one of my most enjoyable music experiences ever. The past three weeks with this group, have been incredible. So, I am now singing with Waking Myth!

Waking Myth is a melodic metal band that uses male scream/growl vocals and clean female vocals. I enjoy this type of metal, because anything is possible. Playing with extremes, is encouraged. One song can be incredibly heavy, and the next can have a lighter, expressive feel. Melodic metal also requires each person to be a true, skilled musician. Those that are ignorant of this style of metal, will comment that the band is "not heavy enough" for metal. Typically, you need to listen to a full album to appreciate the extremes and receive the "heavy" metal feel. I personally feel that melodic metal is great for audiences, because the extremes give the listener different sounds that allow them to digest and appreciate every opposed to slamming them with the same level of dynamics and intensity the entire night. Music gets lost in the shuffle when you don't give an audience a chance to breathe. The lyrics and emotion behind each song are important in melodic metal. Bands such as Kamelot, Epica, and Insomnium, are the experts in melodic metal. If you listen to one of their full albums, you'll understand.

Waking Myth has performed with some great melodic metal bands, such as Epica. We are currently in the process of planning our summer tour, various concerts, and finishing our album. Please check out my band's Facebook page, listen to our first song from the album, and show your support by "liking" and sharing our page! Please support new artists! Waking Myth