This Just In: A Shortcut is Cutting Yourself Short
“It's a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get." - Arnold Palmer
It's just about tech week for Transmute, the deep dive into performing with Ableton online course I'm taking with some awesome artists under the guidance of Laura Escudé. Well, we've got two weeks and two performances to go. I'm setting aside chunks of time every day throughout the week and fully on Fridays, which are my studio days. Sunup to sundown, I work on music, save for some meditation, working out, journaling, and lunch and dinner breaks.
I have to get myself back into practicing mode. Damn, I have such resistance towards practicing. I never pracaticed much as child in all of the shows I did. I just winged it to the best of my abilities. When I was an opera singer, I didn't practice thoroughly enough. My heart wasn't fully in it. When I went to do Gypsy jazz singing for 7 years, we hardly ever practiced, unless it was a new band or special performance. We'd just show up to the gig and play. Also, though, we played together all the time, so most gigs were like a practice session.
Now, for this new live set, I do have to practice. I put it far off in my calendar this week, thinking I would spend most of the week messing around with sound and getting stuck in my head with what I want to create onstage.
I just got off a session with an Ableton mentor of mine, DaViNCi, within his Studio Sensei. He pointed out that our live show setup answers emerge through our performing. That means, in terms of building my new set, I'm going to, yes, play around with new vocal harmonizers, delays, reverbs, filter sweeps. I'm also going to DO THE THING that can feel so scary - set up and record myself. Not just once, but 3 times before filming my penultimate live show video for Transmute. There's more practice to be had next week before the final live-streamed performance.
DaViNCi said, "a shortcut is cutting yourself short." The process is the way. If you arrive to where you think you want to go without putting in the time and effort, you'll miss the point of it all. That point is about who you become in the process.
Only when I play my songs live under pressure do I see what really needs to happen to make them more engaging live. Sometimes, though, the music can speak for itself. DaViNCi pointed out that singing and controlling a live set IS enough on its own. I don't NEED to try to create extra things here and there. My songs are good. The only thing that's really missing there is the confidence that they're enough. Only create extra bleeps and blurps and extended loops when it's coming from an abundance mindset. We can strive forever to make something perfect, but it'll never reach that point. It simply doesn't exist. I guess that's part of the artist's struggle. Letting go and just doing.
Be your own Miles Davis. Be your own James Blake. Be your own Sia.
Lionheart, I go live on Facebook and Instagram every Monday at 8pm EST. Recently, I shared my creative process in the studio while making a new song hook.
>>> Watch the replay of my live studio session here
Some singers are telling me they'd like to write a beat or song for themselves in Ableton and perform it. Maybe you'd like to perform or DJ a set of three new songs at an event and sing on top of them, but you're not sure where or how to even start with the songwriting and singing. Is this you? If yes, respond to this email and let's talk.
>>> Check out lessons with Set Your Life To Music
What one thing are you going to practice, Lionheart? How will it feel to allow yourself to be where you are and play around in that feeling like a kid in a sandbox?
I couldn't and wouldn't do it withoutcha. Love ya.
P.S. If you're interested in elevating music in your life, go to setyourlifetomusic.com/lessons.
Alarke (AKA Mary Alouette) stands out with her compelling twist of experiences as an international opera singer turned Gypsy jazz singer turned award-winning electronic pop singer and songwriter.
Throughout her 25-year professional career, Alouette has mesmerized audiences from the Kennedy Center, the Rainbow Room, and Carnegie Hall to Fabrica Del Arte in Havana, Cuba, Romani caravans in Samois sur Seine, France, and castles in the Italian Alps.
Her music is an exciting, vibey, future-forward melt of pop, electronic, dance, and world music.
Photos by Ryan Broomberg.