For the love of a good lyric…

It was refreshing the other week when, at an acoustic sing-around I attended in Derby, the host complimented my songwriting and went on to purchase my new EP ‘A Collection of Tears’; he remarked that his main focus is always on the lyrics of a song – the music is secondary.

This is how I have always felt. Music is a boat to carry the precious (or, in the case of some songs, the worthless) cargo! Yes, it is ALWAYS a major plus to have a well-crafted boat, but it’s the cargo and passengers that the boat carries which is important.

In this analogy, YOU are the destination. We, as artists, want our cargo to reach you. Ideally we craft beautiful and powerful boats to carry that cargo to you.  But, that cargo better be well-made, of first-rate material, in excellent condition, effective and affective – the cargo better be good quality stuff. I don’t care how good the music is for a song, if poor lyrics let the song down then the whole song is ruined. Give me an instrumental then, with your toe-tapper or rocky anthem; keep the crap lyrics out of it! I don’t understand wanting a pretty boat that is filled with nothing but shit – that shit is going to make even an exquisitely gorgeous boat stink.

In this modern age, music videos have also become a vehicle for the cargo, with YouTube replacing the once novelty of MTV (which, as far as I can tell, does little showing of music videos anymore…it’s all reality shows and such).

Videos appeal to those of a visual nature and our increasingly visual world. But, as I always say, a picture may indeed paint a thousand words, but just one word is powerful enough to conjure many, many millions of images in the mind. Where is the power (or lack of power) of a song? The lyrics are where that power, or lack thereof, resides.

This brings us to lyric videos. You get something visual and which also ensures you don’t miss any of those all important lyrics. Very handy.

Now, not all lyric videos are created equal. The simpliest ones are just the words of the song on a plain, static background. Not all that exciting visually but, at the least, you don’t miss or mishear the lyrics. And, of course, it makes it easy to sing along if you want. More complex lyric videos attempt to convey the lyrics through a collection of legitimately sourced images or specifically created images. This provides something very visually engaging to watch, while also having those lyrics there on the screen so you don’t miss or mishear them.

To promote my new EP ‘A Collection of Tears’, we worked hard to create a lyric video for the first track off the album. Lots of time and effort were put into the creation of the images that appear in the ‘Waiting Room (Official Lyric Video)’,  in order to illustrate the meaning of the song (just in case anyone is still having difficulty working that out just by listening to it). I feel that the lyric video we created delivers the message. In fact, it might make it all too clear. There are some that will find the song uncomfortable. That’s ok. The song is supposed to make people aware and make people think.

‘Waiting Room’ is a very personal song to me – as are all the songs on ‘A Collection of Tears’.  There are people who will immediately identify and relate to the song. For some, it will perplex them or frustrate them…or, even, outrage them. I will leave it to you to decide what category you fall into. Regardless, may these lyrics – this cargo – reach you, and reach you well. I also do hope you enjoy the boat.

 

A Collection of Tears by Autumn Dawn Leader is AVALABLE NOW on:

Bandcamp

i-Tunes & Apple Music

Amazon

Spotify

Deezer

Tidal

iHeartRadio

Napster

Google Play

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On The Spot

It’s been quite a while since I wrote a blog post. I figured it was overtime for an update.

Life has been busy; I won’t bore you with long stories or too many details. My health continues to be a thing that gives me many complications and grief, with new conditions/ailments/symptoms rearing their painful heads. Meanwhile, I am continuing to write, record and perform music, and I am very actively gigging. Besides the odd solo show, I am regularly gigging as one half of the prog-folk duo The Secret Magpies, performing our original songs, and I play with the original rock band Stevie Jones and The Wildfires.  I’ve also recently had national radio play on BBC6 Radio Music, something that was very exciting, indeed.

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So, it may appear that I am in demand. But, it is a seriously a challenge to stand out and get noticed among the glut of music that is out there and available these days. I am only now beginning to embrace digital media and streaming, in the effort to get my music out there to YOU who will hopefully listen and even share my music with others (word of mouth is still the best advertisement).

Do you use Spotify? Do you like music that is distinctive, emotive and intense? If so, it is you who I am appealing to in an effort to increase my music’s reach.

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For a while I have been using the hashtags #supportoriginalmusic and #supportindependentartists. What I do like about Spotify, as a streaming service, is that it allows its users to discover more of what is out there off the mainstream. Sure, you can stick with what you know, what is familliar and comfortable, but where is the fun and adventure in that? We miss out on so much when we do that.  I have personally discovered artists I had not known before by using Spotify – artists I now love. And, when you follow an artist on Spotify, it updates you whenever artists you have followed release anything new – so you don’t miss out on new music coming from your favourite artists. This is beginning to sound like an advert for Spotify, and in a way it is (although, I can assure you, I am not on their payroll and they have not commissioned me to plug their app…more’s the pity). I’m not trying to get you to download Spotify if you don’t already use it and don’t want to use it; my aim here is to engage with people who are already sold on Spotify and use it regularly*.

 

What I am doing is fan-fishing. I’m not going to deny it. I’m looking for people to follow me on Spotify.  I don’t write and perform music for it to sit on virtual shelves. I know my music is not for everyone. I am a particular niche. While being trans-genre, or cross-genre, or multi-genre, whatever you want to term it (because sticking with one genre is just far too fucking limiting!), my music isn’t EVER happyclappypoppyfluffy. It is more moody and edgy and about all the anquish, frustrations, longings, sorrows, struggles and pain and grief of this life. Many of my songs deal with longing for death. Ocassionally (as in my track Siren Song), I delve into the realms of fantasy and mythology. But, nothing I do is what anyone would call ‘happy songs’. So, if you don’t do morose, move on now. If, however, you question and rail and scream and cry at the general madness of the world, or if you tend toward introspection, over-thinking and daydreaming, my music may just be for you!

So, with no more ado, I leave you to (hopefully) go listen for yourself. If you dig what you hear, please click that follow button so you will be updated when I add more music (I am presently recording a brand new EP which will be released in the next month). Thanks for reading and listening.

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*If you aren’t a Spotify user and you are still interested in checking out my music, it is available to download or stream from i-Tunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, Pandora, i-Heart Radio, Deezer, Napster, Tidal, Pandora, Bandcamp, & YouTube Music

NOW HEAR THIS (Music & Musicians you should know) Episode 1

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Back in October, I presented this idea.  Lots of life stuff has happened since then, and it’s been difficult for me to put something together for even the first post.  But, as there was some actual interest for this – and because I owe it to the musicians themselves – I better crack on. In this episode I will introduce you to three artists that I love.

Now, I know I told you I’d put people in categories, but I really do hate doing that. Categories suck.  I suppose you could stick these three under a sort of indie-folkiness category if you were shoving them in a pigeon hole, but I’d really love if people had more of an open mind and just forget the labels.

I’m going to begin with Tom Kane aka ‘No Man’s Heath’ – a singer/songwriter after my own bruised and broken heart. Tom packages raw personal truth in velvet metaphor, with an intricate, mesmerising guitar style and clean vocals. Every lyric is packed with meaning, every note is breathed through silver.  I challenge you to listen to this artist and not be touched and moved.  Here you will find longing and pain expressed in such a beautiful way, and – if you are at all the type of person like I am, who lives in a half-world of wishes and what-ifs – you will find yourself in Tom’s music.

Next, we have Melanie Page. The word ‘exquisite’ comes to mind when thinking of Melanie and her music. This woman’s artistry upon the classical guitar is a musical feast for the ears, while her lyrics paint very visual pictures. And, her voice! True sopranos are nearly as rare as true contraltos.  Melanie’s voice is a high, sweet, clarion call straight to the heart. Her songs are of love, loss, friendship, longing, hope, frustration and memories – the keepsakes of the heart. Her music is like starlight and thunderstorm, and can be likened to the musical equivalent of a good book that you get totally lost in; Mel’s music has the power to transport you to another realm.

Now, for Les Hayden.  This young man is ridiculously talented. I don’t think there is an instrument that he can’t play, and play well.  And, what I love about his songwriting is that it pulls no punches. This is life as it really is, minus the rose coloured scales and other nonsense people blind themselves with.  His musicianship is, as I say, totally outrageously good. Fellow musicians will appreciate the complexity of Les’s compositions, while everyone can appreciate the truth and power of the songs he writes. I recently got to see Les perform at The Musician (music venue) in Leicester, and knowing I was doing this series, I captured some video for this post (watch the video version of this post to see Les perform). Awesome stuff. Just awesome.

So, there you have it.  Now, GO HEAR IT! And, stay tuned for the next episode of NOW HEAR THIS!

A New Project

First, I want to thank those of you who follow me here on WordPress. I know that many of you here suffer with health issues like I do, and the main reason you follow me is because we have that in common.  I also hope that I have gained fans and followers of my music, so much of which comes straight out of my struggles with my illnesses. First and foremost, I am a musician.  That’s where my heart is and, really, if you don’t want to hear/read me ramble on about my music and why you should listen to it (and support independent artists in general), you pretty much shouldn’t be here (just sayin’ it like it is). So, saying that, I want to go on to say that I really do appreciate my readers, watchers and listeners, and sincerely hope you will stick with me.

**(For those of you who would rather watch and listen to a vlog version of this post, here you go…otherwise, keep reading.)** 

Inspiration has struck for doing a series of posts about obscure/independent/unsigned musicians (other than myself), in an effort to make more people aware of the talent that is out there amongst us lesser knowns.  So, I am beginning ‘Project: Now Hear This (Music & Musicians You Should Know)‘ in order to spotlight the treasures that dwell amongst you.  Because, they are worth knowing about.

Now, in doing this, I know that musical tastes vary immensely.  But, I will try to provide something for everyone…well, for most people, anyway (if you like grunge metal, move on now). Thus, I will have categories for genres, so that if you really aren’t interested in a certain genre, you can skip that one if you must.  However, I encourage you to check out all the artists that I will be sharing over the coming posts; you may surprise yourself by finding you like something in a genre you never could imagine liking.  Hey, it happens all the time.  Music is like that, and so many of my fellow artists cross genre barriers all the time (I do it on purpose).  So, don’t count something or someone out just because you’ve never liked a particular genre before. Try to keep an open mind, and heart!

Now, this is simply an introductory post to whet your appetite for what I plan on sharing as an ongoing series – an advertisement for future posts, as it were (I’ve also written it for myself, in order to solidify the inspiration and importance of doing this) . So, as I say, stay tuned. Watch this space. And, get ready to Now Hear This!

Searching For You

C.S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

This is also why we listen to music. And, ‘if sad songs say so much’, as Elton John has rightly said, then my songs speak volumes.

This post is about me finding the right fan base for my music.  See, I know I’m not alone out there in what I suffer with major depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, suicidal thoughts and everything that goes along with these conditions. In writing this blog, and reading others, I have certain proof that I am not alone. And, yet, we are all uniquely alone in what we individually suffer. My music helps me to express and, in a very magical way, make beauty come from the horrific thing called life/existence. This is my gift. However, in another way, it complicates matters, because, with it, comes the intense frustration, anger, and sadness of not seeming to be able to get my music out there to the people it will most speak to and resonate with.

The thing is, I need a fan base—and I KNOW you’re out there, I’ve even spoken to a good number of you. Now, there are just a whole lot of people who aren’t ever going to like and support my music (even those who rave about my voice and talent), simply because they can’t relate to it.  I need to find those of you who will relate and find some comfort, expression and solidarity in what I do. I know I’m not alone, but I seem to keep pitching my music to the same people who don’t understand what I am going through in my daily life in general. In this way, I need a very specific audience. I know that audience does exist.  And, I truly believe it is an audience that NEEDS a musical voice.

I don’t want this post to just be some advertisement. And, I don’t want it to be me begging for people to check out my music like some sad failed loser of an indie artist. This is simply me putting out a search to see who’s out there in this Blogdom that my music might touch. ‘Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?’

Yes, I know that even for those of us with similar health problems, our musical tastes are not all going to be the same, of course…  but, if you are a music lover, just check my stuff out – if it vibes with you, then great. I do incorporate a wide range of styles in what I write and perform, so there’s a good chance that something I do will hit the spot.

I’ve just released a new studio album for digital download.  No, I am not giving it away for free (giving away my stuff in the past hasn’t helped me gain fans anyway). Musicians have bills to pay, like all craftsmen/craftswomen. I REALLY shouldn’t have to explain this, but in this day and age where musical talent can be faked with software and those of us with real gifts are left in an industry bankrupt and bereft, without a leg to stand on, many of us feel forced to give our lifeblood away in any desperate bid to get noticed. The thing is, most of us literally cannot afford to do it. I cannot afford to do it. Furthermore, it’s worth far more than the modest price I’ve put on it anyway.  I owe it to the other fine musicians and the exceptional producer I worked with to bring this piece of art and labour of love to completion to not just ‘give it away’, as if all our hard work meant nothing. Good music, real music… it costs something.  It costs those of us who make it – it should cost those of you who hear it. It’s part of the deal – it costs us all, but we ALL get so much in return…look at it as an investment. And, finding something you personally can relate to…well, that value cannot be understated or underrated.

So, this album isn’t a freebie, but you can listen to the tracks on bandcamp without paying; however, if you want to own the album and listen whenever and wherever you are, get the special bonus track and extra artwork, as well as support me as an artist (I’ll be eternally grateful), well, then, surely that makes the tiny monetary price a worthy investment.

Thank you for reading and listening. I hope I will hear from you soon.  Most of all, I hope (there’s that four letter word again) my music will reach who will most benefit from hearing it. I’ll finish here and let the songs speak for themselves.

The Struggling Artist (Give Me A Chance)

The Struggling Artist (Give Me A Chance)

You get an eclectic mix in this blog, for sure. Because, I am an eclectic mix (and, those of you who follow my blog for pictures and/or witty quotes and/or thought-provoking messages, I ask you to forgive me for the shameless plugging; just wait a bit and I’m sure one or all of those things will make another appearance soon)… but, when it comes down to it, it all comes back to this here (and, so, I beg you to stay with me, please).

A couple of days ago, my husband decided to start a blog and begin posting some of his brilliant photography and artwork on WordPress because, he said, and I quote (hey, there’s your quote):

“There’s no point creating them if no one gets to see them.”

I feel that way about my music. And, in my struggle – and, in essence, my failure (I know, people dislike when I use that word, but get over it – call it what it is, dammit!) – to be heard, I have days when I just wonder why I continue to pay for a website that I really can’t afford if no one is discovering, enjoying and, yes, paying for my music. It is frustrating for the artist in me, and sometimes it’s downright so demoralising I cannot bear it. Today I stopped paying the $19.99 a month to ReverbNation for doing nothing for me (they’re supposed to promote me, distribute my music and gain me exposure…yeah). I still have my website (which I am loth to let go of at this time, but I wonder how long it will be… unless, oh, unless… sigh, it’s a dream, Autumn… no, Autumn, it’s not a dream, it’s a complete fantasyand yet, I still hope a fool’s hope). I know I’m not alone (not the only artist going through this). There is so much competition these days. It really isn’t anyone’s “fault” (or, if it is anyone’s, then it is everyone’s…); I am not placing blame and getting bitter (*twitch, twitch*), no, seriously and in complete honesty (having worked through those issues), I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on you (everyone) for not discovering my music and sharing it with the world (uh, yeah, more everyone).

So, this brings me to today and where I say with my husband, there’s no point in creating if we are not seen and heard. Ah, yes, notice I didn’t say, “if it isn’t seen and heard. For our art is the deepest expression of who WE ARE. To appreciate me is to appreciate my art; know me = know my music. And, so, I am giving people an opportunity to download one of my singles (Waterfall) and my album (Gloriously Autumnal) for FREE (that’s a whole album for free)! Now, when I say free, it is “name your price” – you can, if you choose, pay more than nothing for it (and, much appreciated if you do…it all goes to a good cause: paying my bills). Because, there they’ve been, just sitting on a virtual shelf, collecting virtual dust, and not being downloaded (and it breaks my heart and rips my soul to shreds…this is my very essence being ignored here). Why? Because people can’t be bothered and they are so spoiled for choice in the music world that my work gets completely lost in the mix. I’m asking for people to give it a chance. Like all music, it definitely won’t be EVERYONE’S cup of tea (I know and accept that). But, if you like it, you’ve discovered new music to speak to your heart. You have nothing to lose. And, we both have everything to gain. And, if you do like it, you may want to go ahead and purchase the single “Hope Breathing” (and, again, I would thank you muchly). So, over to you (everyone – and YOUI’m talking just to YOU – sitting there in front of your computer screen reading this, I see you); you can make a struggling artist’s day (week, month, year, really).  So, clickety-click that link at the top (which will take you to my Bandcamp site) and download some tunes. Thank you!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogdom (of pictures, witty and poetic nonsense, and everything from thought-provoking rants to inspirational devotions), already in progress.