50% Off Flash Sale
"It's so simple to be wise… just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it." – Homer Simpson
July is rounding out. I'm feeling more expansive and aligned than ever.
Every day, I ask myself: how can I make today the best day ever? How can I make myself feel really good in the process?
I realized that everything I have strong emotional feelings towards (negative or positive) comes true at some point.
Your experience of life comes down to the story you're telling yourself, Lionheart.
What was the story you told yourself to get to where you are today? Through questioning your beliefs, you can change your present and future.
In this week's newsletter, I'm excited to share my story of how my month-long artist retreat in Cuba unfolded and why it was all about going after a wild dream and questioning beliefs about what's possible.
Sometimes I regret having spent time doing X and Y years ago. But then... I realize that the past is research and development for what I'm doing today and where I'm going. Every day is full of breakthroughs and tiny victories.
As I'm intentionally evolving into the artist I want to be and creating the life I envision, I'm thinking and behaving in a lot of new ways. I used to view it as losing out on what was comforting. Now, I'm training myself to luxuriate in these new emotional connections to new habits and actions because of what they stand for.
I come back to some of my happiest experiences in Cuba and at the Transmute Retreat at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, which are the basis for my two new albums: Cuba Diaries and Little Secret.
What made me feel like I was walking on Cloud 9 in those two experiences was the fact that I gave myself music. I allowed myself to connect with people and with myself in an open, unblocked way.
I'm SO EXCITED to offer you an opportunity to go after your wild dreams of taking music to the next level in your life. If you're thinking about taking music lessons, NOW IS YOUR TIME TO SAY YES!
FLASH SALE! 50% OFF ALL LESSONS!
It's exciting to me when people follow their heart and go after their dreams in music. After all, you only live once.
That's why I'm excited to offer this STEAL OF A DEAL of 50% off all lessons from now until July 31 at 11:59pm PST.
12 LESSONS - $1000 (a $2000 value!)
3 LESSONS - $300 (a $600 value!)
90-MINUTE BREAKTHROUGH INTENSIVE - $150 (a $300 value!)
This offer is only available until 11:59pm PST on Wednesday, July 31. Use the code KICKITINTOGEAR for 50% off ANY lesson package.
Lessons purchased with this code must begin by September 7. For example, if you'd like to take advantage of this amazing deal but want to start in the first week of September, you can still snag this deal!
NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO!
Let's talk about songwriting hooks - specifically 5 non-lyrical hooks. This is just a fraction of what my songwriting students dive into in our lessons.
Toro y Moi: Freelance 0:25
2. Repeating rhythms
Katy Perry: Never Really Over 0:59
3. Nonsense syllables
Camilla Cabello: Havana 0:08
Ed Sheeran: Shape Of You 2:36
5. Instrumental riffs
The Knife: Heartbeats 0:01 and 1:16
If you want to take your pop and electronic songwriting to the next level, reply to this email with the word "hook" and let's talk about your next steps to writing songs you feel proud about sharing! Even better, take advantage and save $1000 with your 12 lessons!
NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO!
Watch my performance at 343 Labs' rooftop x I Heart Producers' open mic. Click the image above or the button below.
CUBA DIARIES + LITTLE SECRET
Sometimes the most beautiful, free, and creative moments in life happen as a response to limits and constraints.
They’re the times where you feel limitless and connected to your deepest passions. They’re the times when you give to yourself.
Two years ago I did something I never imagined I would’ve done. I booked a month long trip to Cuba to dive into the unknown, be inspired, create music and art, unplug from the internet, relax and enjoy, and throw myself a curveball to challenge myself to see if I really can go after a wild dream.
An experience of a lifetime unfolded and showed me that I can create whatever I want in my life.
How? By simply showing up, checking my intuition, and trusting my gut.
All signs pointed to yes.
Now, let’s back up a bit and get the full story of this trip. It’s about creating something when doors were shut and opportunities didn’t seem to pan out.
Over the years, I’d formed an impression that I had to struggle in some way to make the music and art that I felt within me. I thought I had to be a starving artist to have integrity.
I denied myself so many experiences. Lost and confused, I mostly moved in circles without making major progress towards my dreams.
Yes, I’d experience successes, but mostly I felt like I was watching others achieve their dreams as I made slow progress on the sidelines.
It all started the previous summer when I was in Mexico. I found this gorgeous little town called Tepoztlán and I deeply desired to live there for a month and create music. Over time, I realized Mexico may not be the safest place for what I wanted to do, so I made up my mind to apply to international music residencies, where I would be supported in artistic environments, create my work amongst other emerging and established artists, and build my resume. I applied for the highly competitive residencies in France, Italy, Alaska, and other places where airfare and accommodations were paid for and stipends were provided. Landing one of these residencies would boost my career and give me confidence and validation.
I’m a hustler, baby, but I don’t know the last time I’ve worked that hard. For months, I bunkered down and worked so incredibly hard. I’d call the residencies and get guidance for my applications. I hired a grant writer. I put everything I had into it.
I got rejected from all of them. The organizations selected established global artists, and I wasn’t there yet, so I wasn’t too surprised upon learning this. However, I was still deeply disappointed by the idea that I worked so hard and still my dream was beyond my reach. This life is so precious and I was fed up with not feeling recognized for all that I have to offer.
Then it hit me.
The only person who could ultimately recognize my worth was me.
No longer would I let someone else’s agenda determine my fate.
I decided to make my own retreat.
I'd had Cuba on the back of my mind. I LOVE their music and it was a very special time in history to go. I came up with the idea, slept on it, and booked my trip two days later. I designed my own artist retreat.
I'd had Cuba on the back of my mind. I LOVE their music and knew it was a very special time in history to go. I came up with the idea, slept on it, booked my trip two days later, and found myself flying into Cuba three months later for an adventure of a lifetime.
I put that "no one's ever done that" vision into action, and ended up living with a Cuban family, studying Cuban piano and percussion daily with master musicians. Some filmmaker friends happened to travel to Havana at the same time and invited me to collaborate with Cuban hip hop artists on an album and a documentary film. This led to a performance with true artists whom I admire at Havana's premier and coolest cultural venue, Fabrica de Arte.
I never dreamed that I would make an album! It came about after dreaming of the music I played in my lessons, songwriting on the balcony overlooking the Malecón and the Havana night streets, and retreating in a small cabin with an old grandmother and her granddaughter in the stunning UNESCO World-Heritage mountains and valleys.
My trip was almost over, and I realized I had just enough cash on me to make it happen. And, mind you, I was coming from a starving artist perspective trying to liberate herself - even though resources were extremely tight back home, I knew that I couldn’t live with regrets and that everything would be okay.
Life is too short to not show up for your dreams.
There I was, making arrangements in mediocre Spanish and hiring a six-piece Afro-Cuban band to record this new album in the state-of-the-art studio of one of Cuba's most famous singers, Pablo Milanés.
I now not only had one musical recording to remember this trip of a lifetime, but two - the Cuban jazz album and the hip hop collaboration.
I had new friends, new perspectives, and a new outlook on what’s possible.
I say this to continue to stay open, trust intuition, and know that anything is possible.
This story about following my heart to Cuba and realizing a wild dream was a prototype for a bigger, lifelong adventure, in a way. It spun into realizing even greater, long-term dreams:
- write, perform, tour, and collaborate with musicians around the world as a solo electro pop x world music artist (the Little Secret EP features this music!)
- teach songwriting to passionate musicians around the world (setyourlifetomusic.com)
To read more stories and see pictures about Cuba Diaries and Little Secret, join the pre-launch team and contribute to their releases! As an independent artist, your support on any level truly means the world.
>>>JOIN THE PRE-LAUNCH TRIBE HERE!
Go to setyourlifetomusic.com for free singing and songwriting trainings and to enroll in private lessons.
Follow my Instagram stories and Facebook lives to catch live streams of performances, studio tips, and life behind-the-scenes.
Correction to last week's newsletter: my student Ava Anderson was a semi-finalist in the 2019 Song of the Year contest, not the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Competition. Stream or buy Ava's song "Broken Up" on Bandcamp here.
It's always for you + me, Lionheart. So much love.
Mad love. Wishing you inspiration and expansion.
P.S. Lionheart, take advantage of the 50% off FLASH SALE offer for all lessons from now until July 31 at 11:59pm PST!! Go to setyourlifetomusic.com and go after your wild dream!