Literally Letting Fate Decide

As I’m sure you ALL know I’ve been having trouble deciding on which songs to record for my EP. So, I decided to literally let fate decide. I got my selection down to 9 songs that I couldn’t decide between. They were all equally strong contenders. I wrote all the names down on a piece of paper, tore each name off and rolled it up into a tiny ball. Then took a few deep breaths and stared down for a few minutes before making my selection of 5.

Just some paper balls.... That hold all the answers!

Just some paper balls….

At first I thought, what if I choose the wrong songs? Then I remembered a game that we used to play when we were kids and couldn’t decide between 2 things. Someone would hold the 2 items behind their back, make us pick a hand and then ask, ‘Which one do you wish it was?’ Then you had to answer right away, because that was the one that you truly desired. So the thought of an instant moment of clarity gave me comfort!

I took a deep breath, feeling the thrill of finally deciding on which songs to record, and then the fact that I was letting fate decide made it all the more exciting. I mean, I have control of EVERYTHING when it comes to my music. So giving that up was huge!

The final selection that fate gave so kindly to me!

The final selection that fate so kindly gave to me!

The songs that were drawn were: Endless Summer, Body Language, Hanging By A Thread, Champagne and Natural Disaster.

I was surprisingly pleased by the selection and didn’t want to exchange any of them. I had been deliberating between Endless Summer and Breathless, knowing that I had to choose one or the other. Body Language and 10,000 Ways to Love Me were another two I couldn’t decide between. Fall in Love All Over Again was one that I loved very much, but rated poorly in my test pool, so I wanted to select it but wasn’t sure if it was a wise decision. And I loved Nostalgia but one of my requirements for this EP was that each song had to have remix potential, and I just couldn’t hear it for that one.

So, I can’t help but wonder, if I hadn’t chosen pieces of paper from a tin jar lid, and had chosen them based on pro’s and cons lists, endless hours of thinking, worrying and hoping I’d made the right decision… Would I have ended up with the same song selection anyways? Do we really have control over everything or is it just an illusion that we create for ourselves to give us comfort?

From now on I feel like I will literally let fate decide, where it applies of course! ;)

The EP: The Fabulous Edition and Kisses 4 CANFAR

It may come as a surprise to you all, but I haven’t had a full EP up for sale on iTunes… EVER! Reason being, when I officially released my debut EP instead of putting it up for sale I decided to give it out in exchange for a pay what you can donation to CANFAR (The Canadian Foundation for Aids Research) Which officially launched a year ago to coincide with the 2014 Kisses 4 CANFAR Campaign.

Until the end of February I will donate 10% of my EP sales to the 2015 Kisses 4 CANFAR Campaign

Until the end of February I will donate 10% of my EP sales to the 2015 Kisses 4 CANFAR Campaign

My decision to fundraise for CANFAR was based on my effort to give back to the community that had given so much to me. I won’t elaborate too much here, because you all know how I got my start performing in the Toronto drag scene. (If you don’t and would like to, read my post ‘Creating a Smash Hit, Performing Live’ for more insight on my journey) When I started spending more time in the Toronto LGBT community it dawned on me that HIV/AIDS was something that was effecting so many people, but no one talked about it. In fact, I felt like it was taboo and it was something to be avoided at all costs during conversation. I mean, chatting about an incurable disease isn’t the best dinner conversation, right? Well, it might not be incurable for much longer… CANFAR is working to not only help people live with HIV through research, they have found a vaccine to reduce and sometimes even prevent the progression of HIV. That’s amazing news, but not many people know about it. It seems to me that the main reason people are afraid to talk about HIV/AIDS is because we are still afraid of the disease. Yes, it is a scary thing, but it isn’t unbeatable. Through research CANFAR is working every day to find our AIDS free future. However, a huge part of an AIDS free future is education on prevention. And the only way to educate yourself is to open up the conversation. So, educate yourself on how to prevent HIV/AIDS, and then educate others.

To celebrate the launch of my first official EP release on iTunes, for the rest of February I will donate 10% of my EP sales to the 2015 Kisses 4 CANFAR Campaign. And, just so you know, this is ‘The Fabulous Edition’ -because I have a few extra songs on there ;) If you donated and received my EP the first time around, you can also purchase the bonus tracks individually.

The EP: The Fabulous Edition iTunes Purchase Link:

http://itunes.apple.com/album/id966364988

Educate Yourself, CANFAR HIV/AIDS FAQ’s:

http://www.canfar.com/faqs

Music, Dining Room Tables, and Dolls, Oh My!

Filming an Acoustic set at the Hard Rock Cafe last year for Rogers TV.

Filming an Acoustic set at the Hard Rock Cafe last year for Rogers TV.

Ages 5-8 I went through a SERIOUS stuffed animal and baby doll phase. I had about 30 that I would keep on my bed and in rotation, so that none of them felt left out, I would let 5 sleep in my bed with me and then switch to the next 5 until I had gone through all 30. Then I would start at the beginning again. I know… It’s insane now that I think back on it. I also used to think that the dining room table had feelings. I cried when my parents sold it to get a new one because I thought it would think that we didn’t love it any more. (I think I actually hugged it goodbye…) BUT that’s a story for another day, that I’m not sure I can even explain…

Recently, I’ve been trying really hard to whittle down my songs from 50 to 5 for this upcoming EP. And it’s been way harder than I expected. I remember thinking when I first started writing that I would know instinctively which songs would be ‘the ones’ to go on the final EP. But honestly, it’s like I’m 8 years old again choosing my favourite dolls to cuddle with at bedtime.

Finally, I managed to cut the 50 down to 12 songs that I feel are strongest. However, being an independent artist, I can’t afford to fully produce an album, the budget is strictly for an EP. So, I’m considering releasing an acoustic album of those 12 and only fully producing the final 5 for the EP. What are your thoughts? Should I do it? ;)

Vinyl or Vault?

Hello everyone! As you might know from my recent facebook posts, I am working on recording another EP! Yay! :D

My last EP was a collective of all my singles that I had released when I was feeling my way through the jungle, experimenting with sounds and finding my footing in the LGBT community. I didn’t even put it up for sale when I released it, instead I gave it out in exchange for a pay what you can donation to CANFAR (the Canadian Foundation for Aids Research).

This time I have a better understanding of who I am as an artist. But, I need your help! I have written so many songs over the past few months preparing to get into the studio, that I now have to whittle my list of 50 down to ONLY 5 SONGS!! Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to listen to all 50, I have weeded out the majority and narrowed it down to 2 ‘Rounds’. (Each round will have approximately 10 songs)

Round 1: The idea is for you all to listen when you have a moment, decide if you like the song, and then let me know how you hear the song in it’s finished format with your minds ear. So be creative! All suggestions are accepted and none will be judged. I want to create a fun sharing environment for you all to be able to help with the creation of this EP. If you don’t like a lyric and think it should be changed, if you hate the title, if you think it’s too long, if you think it should be sped up, slowed down, dance production, country production, pop/dance/country/electro/blues fusion production, tell me! Anything goes! All suggestions will be taken into account, and I will be so happy to do it!

Round 2: I had a few close contenders that I need a bit more time to reconsider and ‘un-vault’ in this round.

You can hear all the eligible demo’s from ‘Round 1‘ in the music player below.

So tell me, Vinyl or Vault?

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

As an independent artist I am constantly looking for people to add to my team. So that means one thing and one thing only. Networking. A lot of people have a hard time with this one, but it’s really not that scary once you wrap your head around it. Successful networking is comprised of 3 things, doing your homework, asking the right questions and following through.

1) Before you venture into any networking situation you need to have a clear definition of what exactly you are looking for, who you’re talking to, what their expertise is and how they will be able to help you achieve what you’re looking for. If you don’t know anything about the person you’re approaching, then you might end up asking a person in real estate if they know a potential producer you can work with. (Yes, that is a real life example.) Before you make that phone call, go to that meeting or approach that person at the conference, you need to do your homework!

2) Lot of us, myself included, end up not asking the questions we want to because we’re afraid of rejection. However, you can completely avoid being rejected if you never ask a question that has a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Always, always, always ask open-ended questions that will either open up the door of opportunity with the person you are looking to connect with, or better yet, will open the door of opportunity to their network of people.

Here are a few examples:

“I’m looking for a producer for my next album, and I’ve always loved your work, would you consider working with me on my next project?”

This question looks lovely, because it’s a compliment sandwich, however, it might not get you the goods because it only yields a 50/50 chance of success. Either the prospective producer will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The no might not be a mean no, they might just be busy on other projects. But a no is still a no.

“I’m looking for a producer for my next album, and I’ve always loved your work so I greatly respect your opinion. Would you be able to suggest any producers that I should approach for a possible collaboration?”

Once again we have the compliment sandwich, but this time there’s something different. It’s outcome has a far greater chance of getting you what you want. The person you’re talking to will either offer themselves for the position, or they will offer up their colleagues on their recommendation. What I love about this part is that it’s the most effective way to grow your network, because in the event of the worst case scenario (a no) you are presented with the opportunity to expand your network by asking the referrals the exact same question in the exact same way.

3) So now you’ve asked the question, and they’ve either agreed to work with you or have offered to refer you to other colleagues. This part is crucial, because it can be the most tedious. Follow through. Following through is a balancing act of being persistent without being annoying. I’ve found the best way to approach this is by alternating contact mediums, (phone, email, Facebook, text, repeat) combined with only reaching out once a week. This way you will stay present and show them that you’re serious without being too aggressive.

This is the networking method I’ve used for years now, and it seems to work fine for me! Do you have any pointers on how you conduct your networking?