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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Kicking Around Ideas

Do you have a bucket list? I’ve never had a formal one. The thing is, when one longs for death, the top of the bucket list is to kick the thing. 

I’ve sort of had ideas of things I’d like to do or accomplish, though. Some of these things – like recording a studio album, performing at The Musician, performing with Melanie Page – I’ve done. Some things I’ve done above and beyond. Like, I used to want to visit the UK. Now I live here and have done for over 12 years. I used to want to put a wild coloured streak in my hair. Now I have coloured it several times in wild, bright colours. Some things I’ve gotten close to, but no cigar… like, I recorded the album, but I still have no physical cds made, and that’s something I really wanted to do.

My informal list has changed since I was young, adjusting to what was possible and what was forever out of reach. When you’re young you can dream crazy dreams of singing a duet with Sting. You later realise that you’re filling your bucket with pipe cleaners when you add something so ridiculous to it. So, singing at Carnegie Hall and the London Philharmonic became singing at the Musician in Leicester. And, winning a Grammy by the age of 16 became just being satisfied with having a regular platform to share my music with others.

I can’t be climbing any mountains or travelling to see Greek ruins. I will never have the energy or the money for those things. A bucket list shouldn’t be full of pipe dreams; otherwise it would be called ‘a wish bucket’…or, a Bottle full of dreams, but that’s another story. 😉

My proverbial bucket looks rather empty. It sits there taunting me…shit, I’m rhyming. No, this isn’t going to be a song. 

Today, I began trying to think of things that I would like to do before I get out of this wretched skin…things that are actually possible.

Some days, when the longing for death is intense, it seems like just dying is impossible. There’s that taunting bucket, not letting me kick it.

Alas, miles to go, and all that. I’m so tired.

But, ok… let’s see. Let’s list some new things to do while I wait – some possibles…but challenging ones.

1.Do a gig (proper gig, not an open mic or folk/acoustic club, but a gig where I’m the featured artist) where I primarily play guitar (rather than keyboard/piano).

2. This edges near impossible, but it isn’t totally out of the realm of happenables, so… I’d like to meet Ryan Gage in person, give him a hug and see that amazing smile up close.

3. Visit Bradgate Park again.

OK. ..well, there’s a start, anywho. Feel free to tell me yours. 

Oh…and here’s a new song… it isn’t about buckets… it’s about longing.

Compulsion, Obsession and Despair

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I am totally weary to the point of crying. My body aches, my eyes sting and I can’t swallow the lump in my throat. Life sucks and I hate it.

I should just sleep as much as I can, but I am compelled to get out of bed and try – in vain – to promote my music. Again.

Try this. That didn’t work, so try this instead. Try this again. Keep trying.

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Self-promotion is soul destroying. We are encouraged to “get ourselves out there and make it clear we’re here to do business” but, when we do, we’re made to feel like we are harassing our friends and family; we can’t win. We are told to ask for help by people like Amanda Palmer who have successfully crowdfunded their projects. We are told that if they can do it so can we. But, we find the cold truth that some people are simply charmed; they ask and get help, while the rest if us ask and receive nothing.

And here I am now, throwing more rose petals to the wind, ranting to the air in a blog post, feeling desperation and despair.

“I cannot sleep for all these dreams” – Marillion

I know now that I’m not alone in my woe.  I am acquainted with plenty other (excellent) artists in my sad, sinking boat. And, I also know that this situation is NOT an indicator of talent. The world misses out on some of the greatest artists of all time simply because some of those with the most massive talent weren’t blessed with the massive break they deserved.

I sit here in turmoil. Should I spend the energy uploading my stuff to this and that again, in hope that this time my efforts will be worth it? Or, do I take a deep breath and accept that nothing I ever do will work and go back to bed and, at the least, have sleep to show for it?

Gah!

I’m going to be a long time dead. Now is when I have bills to pay and children to feed. I have tried to comfort myself with knowledge that, by recording my music, I have left a legacy for after I’m gone. My kids can say, “Listen! My mum sounded like THIS”. My voice will still be able to be heard. And, on my gravestone they can write, “She tried. She failed. At last, she’s at rest.”

Because, I did try (and masochistically keep on trying); I did ask (and I keep asking) for help; I keep knocking, only to find success behind a locked and bolted door. Excluded. Discriminated against. “This isn’t for you!”

And, I want to not care anymore. I want to accept failure. I want to quit feeling this obsession to keep, sadistically, trying. But, the burning tears running down my face right now prove I’m not close to being in that gloriously apathetic place.

One more time, sitting here, I deliberate over uploading some new stuff to bbc introducing (maybe this time will be different) or just going to the toilet and heading back to bed. At this point, I don’t know which I’ll do. I’ll get back to you on it…or not.

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Can I Go Now?

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The older I get, the more frightened I become. Not of death. But of continuing to exist. Oh, I long for death. Please, death. But not this deteriorating going on. Please. I don’t want to be a pathetic, useless old woman.

The older I get, the worse my health is; the less good I am to anyone, the more of a burden I become.

Being a woman, I am scared I will outlive my husband. And, being unable to take care of myself, I wonder what horrors await me on this wretched mortal plane.

I am so scared. I am so weary.

Where is the mercy? Why can’t I go now?

Not Today

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A quote from Lauren Child’s book ‘Clarice Bean Spells Trouble’.

 

Longing for death is different than being suicidal. With being suicidal, one is actively looking for a way to end their existence in this world. Longing for death is just wishing it would happen without lifting a finger to do it oneself.

Most of the time I am firmly rooted in the longing category. Not today. Today I am suicidal.

I received some bad news yesterday, news that suggests circumstances are getting worse, with even more worse than that to come.

I find myself researching how much of my meds I’d need to take to be fatal.

It’s a practical matter.

Someone says to me, “You’ll survive this.” I don’t want to bloody SURVIVE! Not if it’s going to be so much worse. Why do people think that as long as you keep existing, that’s all that matters? (See my post “Life Goes On”)

However, patience being a virtue, I’m going to wait and see if it’s going to get as terrible as it most likely will. After all, sometimes things do turn around or one gets a bit of a reprieve. There isn’t much hope but, at this point, I cling to a shred. So, I’m not going to down every one of my pills yet. Not today.

I can’t promise about tomorrow or the next. Just not today.

Today I will read my new book and I will make more music that only a few people will take notice of, but will be beautiful nonetheless.  I will make love to my piano. And, I will hold to that tiny shred of hope until it, too, is ripped from my aching hands – but, that won’t be today.  Today I will let time play out.  And, when the stinging tears fall hot and angry from my eyes – as they will – I will tell life I’ve got its number. I will end it when the time comes. And that’s not today.

This Is What It’s Like

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I want things to be better, I want to get better, and when, instead, things get worse – with my health, with the way I’m feeling – it’s a severe blow. Terrible. It’s life slapping me in the face. Again. It’s pure torment.

“You can choose to be happy and enjoy life.”  What a load of bollocks. You can choose to accept and sit with the pain, as mindfulness teaches. You can choose to escape some of the pain through books, music, sex, other distractions. But, the pain is still there. The struggle is still there. And, it isn’t enjoyable.

On the days that are less intense, I let my hopes rise. But, inevitably, disappointment comes with a vengeance in these times when it’s not only bad, but worse than ever. I let myself think that maybe there could be some freedom outside of death, just to be proven, once again, there is no freedom but death.

Frosty

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Thank you to all of you who are reading my blog. It’s nice…it’s nice to have you here.

Today is a frosty day. The sun is shining, but I’m not going out into the cold (except for the obligatory school runs, of course; today I don’t feel like going out voluntarily). My body hurts with joint and muscular pain, my head isn’t up to the challenge of battling both physical pain and mental anxiety. Thus, here I sit, writing another post.

I appear to be on a roll here, blogging wise. Don’t expect one tomorrow, however. I wasn’t going to write about this, but I have an appointment tomorrow in Leicester (which means getting the train and probably a bus, but my husband is going with me, so I won’t panic…oh, I still might panic or meltdown, but he’ll be there to pick up my pieces). It’s a psychotherapy evaluation. Not a psychotherapy appointment, but an appointment to see if they think psychotherapy would help me. Anywho, yeah…even if I end up wanting to write about the experience, a trip to Leicester will drain me and it isn’t likely I’ll have the energy to post tomorrow.

But, today I have followed “the plan”: get the kids to school and then engage in some music therapy. I began with vocal exercises and then proceeded to play and sing, even looking up the music to some new songs, so as to give the brain something fresh to work on.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. Every night, as I go to sleep, I pray I won’t wake up. Every morning I am disappointed when I’m faced with another day. Couldn’t this time been it? Just fall asleep and have done with it. Rest. But, no… and it rushes at me, bombarding me. Nowhere for me to take cover. This is everyday. But, it’s especially  when I know a day will definitely contain added struggle and suffering.

Perhaps tonight will be the night. I’m always hopeful (which is why I’m always disappointed). But, yeah…not likely. Tomorrow there will be more than frost to face.