I don't know if anyone reads these and I know I'm doing a terrible job at being consistent BUT if you do read my blog, I want to say thank you. And I mean that in the most sincere way you can read a thank you on a blog (which actually sounds pretty insincere but I promise it's not!). I've been meaning to write a new post all month, but clearly meaning to do something wasn't all that motivating to me. What did motivate me to write this blog was a surprise feature on a pretty well traveled music blog called District Da Capo. I didn't even remember sending in a submission until I read the email, but hell, I'm not complaining.
This goes back to my blog on celebrating small victories. And honestly, this feels like a big one. I don't know who writes these reviews, but whoever you are, it transformed my energy and state of mind. For example, "Ms. Fox's skillset is highly refined and her body of work displays her many elements of talent to the full effect. Take in a simple listen of literally any one of her tracks, and you will find true talent incarnate". Someone wrote that about me!! In my opinion, positive acknowledgment is the best form of flattery. I feel inspired, validated, motivated, flattered, and most of all thankful.
I think I've already shared that I write music as a creative, emotional outlet. But I always write with the intention of someone else listening to my songs and thinking, "oh wow, that happened to me too. I guess I'm not crazy after all". I think a lot of times we go through life thinking we're the only ones experiencing a certain event or emotion because if we tell someone else and they can't relate, then what? That's why people write and listen to music. It's like the best friend you never had to make. We are quite literally born with it.
That's a f**king amazing concept.
I've titled this blog August Updates and really haven't given you much of an update. So here they are! Next week is my fifth and last week of my songwriting workshop with Song Arts Academy. The information is both overwhelming and invaluable. I feel inspired and of course more knowledgable. Billy emphasizes that songwriting is in the "communications business". And he's absolutely right. If people can't put themselves in your songs, you're not doing it right, at least not as a career. I also got to meet some really talented and ambitious songwriters and I'm excited to cowrite with one or two or maybe even more!
In terms of musical projects, everything seems to be working out with the producer and I just got back the vocals from the session singer I chose on SoundBetter.com. To say the least, they're f**king amazing. I can't wait to hear what the producer comes up with for the instrumentals. I'm going to post a small snippet of her vocals with the original instrumentals on my Instagram within the next few days. I'm also working on a second project, my very first topline, with a producer duo out in LA. I put literal sweat and and figurate tears into it, so cross your fingers for me that it goes viral on Spotify. If it doesn't, I can now officially say I've written topline AND for a duo of up and coming producers. Everything leads to something. I'm further than I've ever been. And I'm proud of myself.
I almost wrote this yesterday, but I'm glad I didn't because I'm in a much better head space now. I knew going in that anything related to the music business isn't for the faint of heart. I have continue to remind myself of this because I know I'm not even close to where I want to be. The worst part is, I'm already spiraling into small bouts of depression (please take care of yourself if you ever feel like this too) and the one thing I love is starting to feel like a chore. If you're not discouraged, read on.
Songwriting usually comes very naturally to me. I have an idea or a melody, I play some chords, and voila,
a song is written. Some songs take me longer than others (a few days compared to a few hours), but in the past two weeks I've written about six different songs that overlap, have terrible melodies, and are no where close to being finished. As I'm typing this, I can't help but think, why am I doing this to myself? This is all clearly a choice and I can stop any time I want. Except I won't.
Between my girlfriend and my therapist helping me to recognize and celebrate small victories, I feel obliged to share a few that will hopefully keep me going and help me move up to the next level. I'll keep it short and sweet. I had a meeting with a VIP at BMI and of course my expectations were much too high and I left feeling quite a bit deflated. Out of all the songs I played her (small victory because there were 8), the one song that means absolutely nothing to me was the one song she thought was okay. When I wrote the song, I knew it had commercial appeal. I'm also annoyed with myself that I wrote a song with stupid lyrics that are pretty much meaningless to me but they're fun.
Anyway, I was so caught up in the moment that this very important person wanted to listen to all the songs I sent her, that we ran out of time to talk. So what did I take away from this meeting? Well, she told me to find a producer and a session singer and recommended I take songwriting courses at Song Arts Academy in New York. I did and I am. I found a producer on Instagram from Holland whose music I really liked. We emailed back and forth and it seemed like things were going to work out. I found a session singer on Soundbetter.com for a reasonable price ($185). I haven't heard from the producer in several days after asking him a bunch of questions about copyright, publishing, and labels. *Word to the unwise and learning, read up about publishing and rights to your songs. That shit is important.
So that kind of sucks and I may be out $92.50 (I only paid half so far) and I have no idea what he's going to do with my song but on the bright side, another kind producer/mixing engineer contacted me after I posted on a local Facebook page looking for producers. He seems to be very genuine, knowledgeable, and wants to help me for what seems to be an unbelievably affordable price to record 4-5 songs. He also has industry contacts that are invaluable that I may be able to meet with at some point. I'm still working out details, but things are moving along even with a few bumps in the road. To those of you pursuing the same path, don't do this for anyone else but yourself. You're going to be told many contradictory things about what you should do, who you should contact, how you should write etc. At the end of the day, you are your own advocate no matter any advice you are given. Love music first, be audacious, persistent, and patient and success will follow.
Sometimes we forget to reflect on our successes, no matter how big or small. We tend to get so caught up in what's not going right and where we want to be, that we forget where we came from. I know this sounds obvious, but it's times like right now, while my girlfriend and I are cleaning the apartment and she's playing my first EP recorded with my old band, Always On Time, that it hits me. I've probably written over 30 songs since that EP's release in March of 2015 (now under my name Jamison Chester Fox) which is crazy to think about. It's just as crazy to think about how the songs I chose to record and make real have been pushed to the back of my mind. Songs that embodied who I was, specific events, and people in my life have been put in a metaphorical attic in my head. These songs are very much a sound timeline of my life over the past five years. Maybe even longer than that. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a song can bring you right back to a particular time and place and state of mind.
Reflection is so important. I'm having trouble putting it into the right words because it really is unbelievable that we have this ability to make memories real. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I'm one of those people who can take my life experiences and mold them into something tangible like music. What's even more amazing, is that someone else wants to experience those moments with me and can relate to them on some level. It truly is the best form of flattery and it never gets old.
The song from the EP that inspired me to write this post is called "The Perfect Storm". It's about all the beautiful and tragic moments that come with experiencing love for the first time. That sounds epic right? I've become so used to hearing it and performing it that it's lost a lot of its novelty. I can never get back the emotions of when I first wrote it and I have a hard time accepting that. But right now, it's not about that. It's about how far I've come since writing that song. I'm a happier and healthier person. That song is a reminder that I'm on the right path.
So here's my reflection. Since the release of my EP - Time Are Changing, I've finished an intensive internship in music therapy and have become a Certified Music Therapist (CMT) and high school music teacher. I've met so many new people and made new friends. I'm two years into my first healthy, long-term relationship and we have two cats who we both adore. This is the first time in my life I'm making an effort to be proud of all my accomplishments and not just gloss over them while I'm reaching for my next goal. It's good to be ambitious but it's just as important to reflect on how you got there. Remember to remember.