been neglecting you

Dear diary, I've been neglecting my blog, I confess... every spare minute I have been fooling with my Tracktion recording software. I found out about 'plug-ins' - a term that always met a "huh" in my brain before now. The first couple of songs I tried to create using MIDI & live instrumentation were okay but uneven and still had a little buzz. The one I worked on yesterday is CLEAN, and the instruments sound good together. I figured out it's better for me to use Tracktion to create the Midi & effects, then I mixdown the individual tracks & am using another piece of software for the final mix, which is where I put in the vocals - mainly cause I understand it better and my voice comes out more.

I'm very pleased with the one I did last night....til 3:30 am - mind you I didn't start til after 11 pm because I was out last night... at the opera... yes, opera.... a wonderful production of Tosca... I really like Puccini, I think part of what attracts me is the lush orchestration... but also the drama and romance! Anyway, this is a new country song I'm workin on, I'll let you know when it's posted. Song #2 is a 'world'/folkpop... I'm not happy with the back-up even though I spent a week creating tracks for it!!!! Argh... some parts of it are great, but again... it's uneven in its greatness. I also need to work on the harmonies in that one.

Also have a number of other songs I need to work on... I've decided to book next weekend as a music weekend. I have a coaching Friday, then lunch with my Mom, on the flip side I've ended up having all Monday off except for 2 hours in the evening. With Sat & Sun, that will add up to lots of time.

I laid down the country song last night in about 4 hours or so - but I already had the music template all laid out with chords & melody. Got two cool instrumentals half figured out, and have ideas for a couple more songs... and I want to get my CD laid down and mastered within two months. Tall order! I think I will aim for 7 to 8 songs on this first CD. A couple of those may be new age or world instrumentals.

Anyway, gotta get back to workin on music!!

bit the bullet!

Well last night I broke down and purchased Tracktion recording software, imported some MIDI tracks into it, sounded pretty good, rendered a wav file.... and the clip was just silence when I played it in my Windows Media Player. After much fiddling I finally called support - really wierd problem for them, hasn't come up before - naturally. We got it figured out eventually. Spent this evening downloading some free plug-ins, as it seems as though I need to assign plug-in filters to each track before rendering. I'm looking forward to playing around with it and seeing what kind of effects and instruments I can create with MIDI, etc.

My songwriting partner [MK] & I also joined Songlink International today. We figured we'd give it a try, since it was recommended to us by a pro songwriter.

I also have several collabs on the go at the moment.... I have to watch I don't take on too much at once as I also have my own music, plus that I create with MK, to work on as well. But I'm finding that working with others kind of takes the pressure off and can be a lot of fun. Plus I love to sing, so if I can sing other people's music - and they're happy with the result - that's a wonderful thing!

Gotta go make music!

still working, a little downhearted

Ah yes... worked pretty hard yesterday on my new ballad... some parts of the music sound quite good, but it sure isn't complete yet. Wish I knew how to do it faster, but it seems to take hours and hours and still not complete. There's a part of me that wants to finish it TODAY... that's really unrealistic. So I am learning to let songs go for a day or two and come back to them with fresh ears.

I am pleased I've grown my list of collaborators again, this new one is especially good because M and I will be trading vocals... I can demo his songs for girls and he can do mine for boys. How cool is that?

And I am downhearted because two songs came back rejected. One is "too abstract" and the other is "too similar" to others. The one that's "too abstract" has been consistently in the TOP TEN on the Soundclick country-pop charts since the end of January - that's 10 weeks or more. I really don't get it.

But I won't give up.

worked diligently this evening

...spent about 4 hours or so laying down some tracks for my newest. Even threw in a late-night vocal just to hear what it sounds like. Need to do more, but just wanted to get a sense of where it's going. Got a couple more possible internet collabs comin' my way too. Fun stuff. Just gotta get the commercial stuff out there too -- there's more than one submission I want to make this week, gotta make sure I'm ready for that. My last studio recording of a personal work is finally ready, can't wait to hear it! Hope it's as good as I hope it is... LOL.

Also worked a little more on improvising around Volker's music... an internet collab I've been musing on for a bit. Starting to sound pretty cool, gotta clean up a couple of things and then might send him a sample to see what he thinks.

As usual, I'm up past midnight. Ah well, 'tis the weekend, eh? (That's Canadian for 'huh?')

I'll be writin' & composin' and recordin' up a storm this weekend. Will report throughout.

Chow for now, tho.

oops, I've been a little lax in updating...

If anyone's been wondering, that is. I have an excuse, though, cause I was away for four days. I did do some writing while I was away... wrote two instrumentals. Been busy working the last 3 days, but did manage to complete a draft of a new song tonight, and work on some musical settings for it. I think it will be rather cool. I seem to be moving in the direction of sort of classical contemporary or perhaps 'world'. Plan to spend the weekend working out the kinks in a couple of pieces. Let you know how I do!

good first meeting

The little songwriter's circle people I know had been talking about for a couple months had its first meeting tonight, I thought it was very good. Got some good suggestions on one of my folk-pop songs, and stopped for tea with my co-writer on the way back... while we were sitting there we came up with the idea for a cool new song!

I'm just burning to work on music but it's already midnight, so I'm gonna make myself go to bed and allow that I will have to work on it later. I'm such a kid, never want to go to bed :-(

I'm going up to a place near Long Beach, on Vancouver Island, this weekend... but I'm taking my music & lyric file & some blank manuscript... cause I know there's a grand piano there. There's also a computer so I can check all the sites & update my blog on what I'm doing on my wet windy West Coast weekend.


new song in works

Well, a bit old, a bit new. I wrote, and recorded a rough cut, last year. But I spent tonight building an instrumental back for it, putting in some solo piano, and then recording the vocals. I'm uploading it to Soundclick right now... even though I still have more to do on 'I Still Dream of You', I'll also post it on Taxi & get some feedback. Bit of a cliche title, I guess. You can check it out at

I also tweaked the harmony on Bill's song and sent him an updated MP3, and emailed two other people who said they were interested in collaborating. I will wait for them to get back to me, if they don't, I'll move on.

Tomorrow I have to work on a song for MK & I, I've got a bridge to write, and lyrics to tweak.

That's about it for tonight...

well, duh!!

Today I figured out that my lovely new instrument mic - Shure SM57 - is perfect for picking up my keyboard! It sounds warm and rich. I just played around with recording some bass chords, and then playing a tenor melody with piano voicings. Sounded fine. So hey, maybe I can do some instrumental work now! Cool.

I need to just tweak the song I recorded as a collab with Bill Boutin yesterday - there's a couple of places where the harmony doesn't quite match the lead, so I want to fix that. Then I'm going to send Bill just the vocal track so he can mix it effectively. But you can hear a working version if you like, it's called "Been so Long", check it out at

I'm also working now on re-doing 'Jack of Spades' with better instrumentation at a slightly faster tempo, since most folks said they felt it was a little slow. Overall I received a lot of positive feedback on the song, so I'm hopeful it will wend its way to Taxi, and beyond, with some success.

I have a couple of other ballads I've been mulling over in my brain, probably get to them later this month -- I'm out of town next weekend, but where I'll be there is a grand piano, so I expect I will still fool around with music & lyrics.

I've had some lovely feedback on the folk song I recorded. If you'd like to hear it, it's at


hmmm, my first internet collab in the works

Suddenly this past week I had four offers for collaborations with different folks. Worked on one of them tonight, an 'avant rock' song, very interesting music, almost medieval or Gregorian, it feels to me. I recorded the vocals using my new mic, I think there's a definate improvement in the quality I can achieve. Have a list of things to get for my "studio" - I have to budget myself and maybe pick up one thing a month.

My next acquisitions will be:
- a set of headphones, which I can likely get this month
- a mixer & another mic chord. Then I'll be able to do live guitar & vocals.

I'm also thinking of either getting Traktion, or Cubase. I have to check prices, though. I really want to get to the place where I can write & record instrumentals as well as songs. Gotta figure out how to hook up my MIDI keyboard.

Finally, I will get another vocal mic, with different qualities.

I was told at the store that the mic I wanted to buy (which is very reasonably priced) was not good for vocals... even though it was recommended as 'the working man's mic' in a recording mag, good for instruments & vocals. After hearing my recording tonight, I say the guy was wrong. Mind you, there are more expensive mics & they have their place. But I don't like the hard sell.

I have soooo much music to work on, it's hard to know where to begin. I have at least two songs MK & I are developing, my songs for the CD I plan, these collabs... and things I need to get ready to submit to Taxi.

Had a session with my vocal coach on Friday, picked a couple of arias for an upcoming opera audition, one in English, one in Italian.

Tomorrow, being Sunday, I plan to do very little but have fun writing music all day. I'll let you know how I fare.

Time changes tonight, to daylight savings -- YEAH -- I LOVE daylight savings, and I wish they'd just stick with it all year round!

recorded a folk song tonight

Spent this evening laying down tracks & vocals for a folk song I wrote with a friend a few years ago. Decided it will be one of the cuts I'm going to have on my first CD. Yes, you heard it here first... Vikki's going to produce a folk CD with all original songs inspired by the islands on the West Coast of Canada.

Was going to post this first cut on Soundclick, but Soundclick is, as it is WAY TOO OFTEN, down AGAIN. I actually sent them an email on the weekend to complain about how often they are down. They replied, but I still think that those of us who are paying (including advertisers) could do with a service that isn't down everyday or every second day. Now that I said that... I just checked & they're back up. Okay. I'll go post the song.

I also have a couple songs I'm working on with my songwriting partner MK, I will have to work on them this weekend & get some rough cuts happening. I also have a possible collab with an LA producer... I'm excited about that.

Next week I'm heading to a Songwriter's Circle that a couple of folks I know are trying to get started... hope it works out well, be nice to have an in-person forum for sharing drafts of what I'm working on.