Evolution

I think of all the music I’m working on right now for my new album and I really feel like it’s me. It’s very strange to remember how my first album felt so fitting and perfect when I finished it a year and a half ago. My style has changed completely, and though all the songs I’ve ever written are a strong representation of me, it’s funny how the old album seems so alien now. The concepts are still the same, but I’ve evolved as a songwriter. When I first wrote Porcelain Doll and actually finished it as my first completed single (ever) nearly three years ago, I thought it was the best song I would ever write in my entire life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e_r10Nli-o. I was truly concerned I would never be able to write something more meaningful and emotionally involved. Then I finished an entire album. While I still think Porcelain Doll is one of my favourite songs on the album, I wrote Curtain which I thought was at least as good, and in some ways, maybe even better.

The new series of songs I’m working on, however, have genuinely surprised me. I never thought I would be shift in the direction I have, but I’ve really been able to test and push myself because of it. It’s opened up a lot of creative space in my mind as well, and I’m deeply grateful for it.

Wishing everyone an amazing Friday. 🙂

S.

Woodkid Concert

20131025_005122 20131024_194700 20131025_000045I went to see Woodkid live today. Great show, amazing music, but the coolest part was what happened after. I decided to stay after the concert (which I never do) to get autographs and chat with the musicians briefly if I could get the chance. I was one of the first people there, and started chatting with the pianist in the group, who happened to be the first musician to step outside. That conversation led to more with the other members of the band, and before I knew it I allowed myself to be led away to a 9 story mansion for an after party for the crew. Met super cool people, hung out with awesome musicians, and had the chance to give out my cards and CDs. Wow, I have no idea how that all happened. All I did was wait around at the right place at the right time.

It’s nearly 2 am…hello and a big kiss to one of the most beautiful days I have ever known.

Creative Conversations

A chat with a friend today spurred the idea for a song that could become really beautiful if I focus on the correct notes and moments. The subject of our conversation was a rather heavy one regarding human psychology, and left me questioning the future of my own nature. Because of a perpetual need in me to explore everything through art, an idea for a song emerged and with it, a sense of optimism for all things human.

Magical Escape

Magical Escape

The film crew redid my parts in the music video for Nighttime Story. Check out the new version of the song for the video: https://soundcloud.com/samayaformusic/nighttime-story-video-edit.

Every time I get into the production for the video, or am in the studio recording or composing I escape to these incredible realms. Tuesday night’s shoot felt magical, and I was so happy and energized after.

I felt the same rush today, when I was working on the chord charts for Porcelain Doll before my voice lesson so I could go over the theory with my teacher. In one part of the song, I hit an A flat major chord, then a D flat major, and that progression is triumphant in what it declares. I felt like life was perfect, and I could repeat that moment over and over again; I never wanted it to stop. I felt powerful in what I was trying to express, and felt confident that I was capable of unconditional love and forgiveness. I felt at peace, even as I was feeling a rush of energy.

These are the moments that I live for.

Quiet Moments

I haven’t spent much time blogging in a while, and I felt an update was long overdue. One of the major crises in my life has been somewhat resolved–I got a new job and decided to stay here. For some time I wasn’t sure it was the best choice for me, but I’ve got a few fun things in the works that are making me feel like it’s the right choice, at least for now.

I’ve finished rough arrangements for four more songs after Porcelain Doll, and am currently working on the final song for the album. Once that’s done, I’ll start looking for a producer to help me improve and master the tracks. There may also be another video in a few months…stay tuned. 🙂

I was doodling on the piano earlier this evening, playing a piece I’d composed a few years ago. I play it nearly every time my fingers touch the keys these days; it’s like hanging out with a good friend with a complex personality. Even though the notes are comfortable and familiar and the melody extremely well-traveled, there’s always an opportunity to discover something fresh, fascinating and beautiful. An unexpected shift from a melody started in D minor, to F major. Some notes you didn’t think would fit that actually do. And while I was working out this analogy in my head as I played the notes, I began to think about the people that I love: my family and dear friends, who make me feel safe, happy, and welcome in their lives. And then I felt incredibly grateful, warm and fuzzy. Lucky, even, which was a welcome break from the angry brat I’ve been for a while now.

Ah, She Drowns, She Drowns!

I went swimming today, and it felt great. Over the past few weeks it’s become a regular activity, which is doing me a world of good. I feel like I can work out all my issues in the pool, and the water just holds me up gently.

Today has brought me back to Lana Del Rey’s Video Games, which sucks. As long as I keep it playing in my head in bits and not out loud on Itunes I should be ok. It’s really sad to see the end of a relationship, and to watch people pull away from each other even as they don’t want to. Our lives have become pretty complex, and people have built up a lot of protective layers to guard themselves. People are really afraid to be vulnerable. I was prone to putting up walls when I was younger, and I grew up being shy and having a small circle of friends. But as I grew older, I realized how important it was to allow people in, as you gain so much from it.

When I was young, it felt like I had some control or power because I held back parts of myself. Part of it comes from being an introvert, which I cannot (and don’t want to) change about myself and am perfectly comfortable with. But the rest of it points to having deep seated insecurities. I was lucky, I grew up in South East Asia on a bunch of islands. People there are really mellow, and really open, friendly and caring. I learned a lot because of it. I also grew up around a lot of people from different cultures who moved around a lot, so you have to get good at getting to know people quickly and opening up to them because otherwise you’ll miss out on really great people and always feel lost in the sea of constant change.

Which brings me to my current state. I really let go this time, and I’m glad I did. Even though I’m feeling overwhelmed right now as I’m trying to keep up with the job hunt. I sincerely hope I’ll feel safe enough to do it again someday.

The one very constructive thing that’s come out of the dips in my mood is an artistic period; I’m coming up with a pretty decent number of song ideas and really wish I could spend more time working on them and recording the ones for the short album I want to finish. This would be the perfect time to get in a studio.

Cards

So, the world’s dealt a few more cards and I wonder how these will affect the turn of events over the next few months and years. Sometimes I wonder how much scope there is for free will in life, and whether we even have a choice or any influence over what happens in our lives.

A lot of biologists stop believing in free will after they start working in the life sciences, as choices could merely be interpreted as your genetic make up interacting with your environment, and the rest is up to stochasticity. A few religions, such as Hinduism, eliminate the concept of choice as well by invoking ideas like Fate, or God. Is choice merely an illusory concept that we humans came up with in order to prevent ourselves from having a collective nervous breakdown?

Or does choice really exist, and if it does, what is its basis? How do we choose what we choose? How do you settle on the best decision, or is that simply something we look back on after a series of resulting events have passed and rationalize? What is regret?

With modern lives that throw opportunities and changes our way constantly, the concept of straightforward and obvious choices may have been eliminated completely. What is the most important thing for a person? Does it vary from person to person? Or do we have one common priority in life as a species?

If I had to pick my strongest drivers, I think I would settle on the following three in no particular order: happiness, music, and the people that I love. And I think I can narrow it down further–with music and the people that I love around me, I think I could be happy. Is happiness a choice that we make in our heads?

Horticulture

There’s a grubby little plant sitting prominently in front of the main window in my living room. It introduced insects into my house, shed dirt everywhere as I unwrapped it, and caused the largest number of changes to my morning routine as it requires being watered daily and a lot of sunshine. It’s a needy, high maintenance attention whore, unlike my mellow and gorgeous orchids. I can never run out of the house and ignore my living room anymore. But I still find it endearing. And it forces me to raise my blinds and bring in sunshine into my place every day.

I spoke to a good friend of mine who knows a lot about plants a couple of months ago, and she said even the orchids need sun. I almost felt a little guilty, as I’d been taking my generous plants for granted. So maybe the new plant is doing my beloved orchids some good as well.

A few days ago, I noticed some new shoots on all three of my plants. The orchids are going to bloom for sure. The strange new plant may die despite my efforts, but for now I’m hoping the sprouting growth on it will eventually become beautiful flowers someday.