The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

The Show Must Go On?

Well with everything that has happened and is happening in my life, the music has well and truly taken more than a backseat.  I think it’s probably in another vehicle, on another road in a completely different City to me – that’s how distant and disengaged I have been from my music.  Lots of very well meaning friends have said “get back to your singing you’ll feel better”, or “pick up your guitar and strum” you’ll feel better.  I tried. I didn’t feel better.  Music was a huge part of my life with my Mom and Dad, there wasn’t a day that there wasn’t a radio on, You Tube on, Keep it Country on, and all of us singing at one time or another during the day.  We loved the music.  My parents were so proud of me for following my dream but the dream doesn’t hold the same promise anymore.

My lovely guitar tutor on my first session with him recently suggested that we leave my usual genres of Country Music and Irish Music alone for a while.  It could be too sad for me.  So in order to get back to playing guitar and relearning the chords, we’ll try different genres.  Great idea!!  I did the same when I returned to my vocal coach and I sang some hits from the 1970’s. “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang.  “Native New Yorker” from Odyssey.  1980’s and a beautiful song from Sade “Smooth Operator” and a more recent hit from Bryan Adams “You belong to me”.  This was liberating and dare I say it, I enjoyed singing again.

I bought myself a new guitar book which has a range of songs within it.  I printed off some other songs from the internet which just happen to be Country…it would appear I can’t leave Country Music alone.  However, I am sitting a strumming this week for half an hour a day, the chords are returning and the tops of my fingers really hurt again as they harden up with the pushing down on the strings. (I have an acoustic guitar which has metal strings).

I returned to the choir recently although I sat in the back row and didn’t really sing out as my voice is still stressed, it will return in time.  I have lost a lot of confidence.  I know myself I am not the woman I was; confident, independent, fearless.  The trauma of the year so far has stripped me of me.  My confidence has been bolstered though when I looked at my You Tube channel Dawn Maxwell Music and seen that there has been a lot of activity recently with people watching/listening to the few videos I have on there. That made me happy.

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The new Guitar book. Some are way too advanced for me yet but looking through the book I can see quite a few that I do know the chords so I will have a go at those and yes, there are a few country songs in there!

I have been told by many people that if you are into your music, then the music will help you heal.  I’m beginning to think they are right.  If I take it slowly, not push myself, stay away from the songs that break my heart for now, maybe, just maybe it is time for the show to go on.

With love, sparkles and country music xx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Kylie means Sparkle!

Following on from the evening with the Home Free guys, I went to see Kylie.  I knew we were in for a sparkling show, there was sparkle everywhere…hats, t-shirts, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, face painting, I was soooooo underdressed.  Himself has been a huge fan of Kylie for a long time and I really like her music, especially as on her last album she went Country. When I go out.

It was a great concert, huge disco balls, great dancing, fantastic singing, wonderful stage settings and it was like one amazing party.  It was fabulous to be there to see such a global sparkling star as Kylie.  I always feel a little sad that she hasn’t found her soulmate, if the media is to be believed she has been let down in love.  I suppose you can’t have everything.

As usual, a few pictures and some quick video’s from the night, I wasn’t too close but I hope you get the idea of how the arena became a disco party.

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This is Resorts World just outside of Birmingham, next to the arena which I believe has changed it’s name yet again, now known as Resorts World Arena.  Resorts World is full of bars, restaurants, shops, cinema and a casino.  I haven’t visited there yet but it just looked so lovely on a clear moonlight night as we walked from the car park to the arena to see Kylie.

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The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Home Free.

Before life started to completely unravel on me last September I did manage to get out to two live gigs, on consecutive nights!!  Nothing for months and then two, one after another.

One event I was very, very, very excited about.  Home Free were in Birmingham. Regulars readers of my blog will know that my parents discovered these amazing guys on You Tube last year and we all became huge fans.  I was jumping around the room when I discovered they were visiting my city and I was so thrilled to get tickets.  The weather was atrocious the night they were on, torrential rain, fierce winds but you couldn’t keep me away.  I actually let out a scream when they walked out on stage, thankfully I wasn’t the only one that did so.  Oh my, those guys can sing.  It was pure joy from start to finish.  I don’t have the words to convey how fantastic I found this concert, I think I’m probably obsessed by them.  If you haven’t heard their voices check them out  Home Free on You Tube

I have a few pictures from the evening…of course.

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Jeffery Joseph East was the support and he is definitely going places, a pure voice, great lyrics and built a good rapport with the audience. Jeffrey Joseph East

 

Yes I was fairly close and yes I have my eyes peeled for the next time they visit Birmingham, I so want to be there.

With love and sparkles xx

Life Sparkles ✨ · The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Back to the music and other happenings.

I wasn’t at all sure about the return to the music just yet. I wanted to and I didn’t want to, if that makes any kind of sense.  Was my heart truly in it?  Would it feel the same? I’m glad I gave it a chance.  The singing released a lot of built up stress, pressure. It just came out as I sang.  I was careful what I sang though, it’ll be a while before I can sing certain songs.  It did me good to sing.

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I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I would be upon my return to the guitar lessons. This was a different release to the singing.  My mind had to concentrate so much on what I was doing I relaxed for forty-five minutes and gave my attention to guitar chords.  I’ve made a list of the songs I was getting good at plus the ones I wasn’t very good at, at all.  This is my list of songs to practice until perfect with a view to an acoustic recording session and hang on, dare I even think this…gigging.  I just need to find some time to practice!

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One from last Summer, it feels so good to be able to play a song on the guitar.

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The list!!!

It was Mom’s birthday recently.  I think she knew it was a special day and she did enjoy opening lots of beautiful cards.  She received some absolutely gorgeous flowers. We made it through another first without Dad although I have the feeling he was most definitely here.

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Himself has got into the habit of cooking something for me.  He knows that if he goes to the trouble of cooking something I will eat it. I’m very lucky in how he looks after me when he can get over here and that he is a good cook.

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Quorn Pasta Bake and it was delicious.

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Himself.

I started to do a bit of cooking myself too, for Mom.  I was very pleased with myself that I made her a quite acceptable leek and potato soup, go me! I’m going to try her with smoothies next.

 

A little gardening project for myself for the Spring and Summer, you see I am endeavouring to keep myself busy and do some things for me whilst the carers are here to help me with Mom.

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As we have had some fairly nice weather I have started to go for a walk around the block when the carers first arrive as Mom is usually still asleep so I can get about an hour to do something for me.  Usually it is taken up with administration but it does feel good to get out in the fresh air.

 

Spring blossoms out far too early yet still so beautiful.

And finally for this particular blog post, mixed emotions and note to self.

 

Pictures are my own and these last two quotes are via Pinterest.

With love and sparkles xx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

The Video Files.

As referred to on an earlier blog post, I had meant to tell you all about the excitement of making the music videos.  The build up, the amazing weather we had on the day, how things just seemed to work out perfectly and how wonderful my friend who was making the video was.  So professional, full of ideas, tricks and his schedule and project planning was spot on.  It was such a fabulous afternoon and I am so happy that I got to make that particular big dream come true.  Unfortunately life events took over and it is only now that I am endeavouring to catch up with my blogging.

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Trying out the dress for the video!

“How are things in GloccaMorra?” is a song from the film Finnian’s Rainbow and is something my Mom says to visitors to the house.  She wears a huge smile and asks “How are things in GloccaMorra?”  We heard Barbra Streisand sing a version of this song with a medley from the musical “Brigadoon” within the song, a verse of “Heather on the Hill”. I loved this version.  Getting a backing track was impossible so I had to commission one myself.  It was a difficult piece for the producer to replicate as it is an orchestral piece but he did an amazing job on it.  I recorded this song especially for my Mom and anytime we play it on You Tube she sings along.

I also made a video for the song “Summer Love” taken from the Neil Diamond film version of “The Jazz Singer”.  I love the melody to this song.  Imagine our surprise to be sitting on Friday evening in December watching the John McNicholl show on Keep it Country TV and for John to introduce me and play the video for “Summer Love”.  Oh my goodness how proud Dad was of me. It was an incredible feeling to see yourself on TV!!

I posted both videos on Facebook and I was overwhelmed with the response I received and the amount of views, this really is a dream come true.

Here is the link to my You Tube channel which I hope to update very soon.  I do have two recordings made last June when I made the other recordings which I haven’t uploaded yet.  Please give me a visit, I really do value your support.  Also below is the “GloccaMorra” video, would love to hear what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVHLg_2erVoITLESQY5trTw

 

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Here it is!

I wrote in my blog post yesterday that I would share my cover version of the Randy Crawford classic “Almaz” so here it is…

https://youtu.be/G89N3onMDJY

I’m both excited and nervous about sharing this, there is something a little scary about putting yourself out there but I love singing and I just wanted to share this beautiful song. I really hope you enjoy it.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

This is like work!

Well a quick update, actually can I do a quick update? A quick update for me is something like 1,000 words!! I’ll do my best, honest.

There has been much going on, on the singing front.  The singing it appears is the easy bit, it all the other bits that take the real effort, organisation, research and time oh yes that precious commodity time.  So far we have the tracks recorded and all bar one is completed.  Everything is on course at the moment for the video shoot at the end of August.  I’m very lucky to be working with Rivermade Films   Mulk is so easy to work with, he is aware of my restrictions as a carer with regards to location being close at hand in case I get a call to come home, keeping things simple yet effective and listening to my thoughts on the songs and turning them into a vision.  Mulk has already provided me with lots of information on his thoughts and plans for the video shoot and every time I read them I get goosebumps. Mulk has such vision and creativity and I’m so looking forward to the day and also nervous about how I will be in front of a camera.

I had a very insightful and useful hour with Paul Dunphy Esq  Paul is a Social Media Curator who I “met” on Twitter some years ago.  His knowledge is incredible and to anyone looking for advice on how to use social media for their business or hobby I would highly recommend Paul.  Paul advised me to just be me, don’t bother with a separate Facebook page or Twitter account for the music, just use what I have already, be me.  Paul pointed out that as a full time carer I won’t have time to keep two lots of accounts going so keep it simple and keep it sparkly.

I told Paul I am not very confident in pushing myself forwards, self promotion but he put me completely at ease with this.  As Paul says, most people are nice, most people like to engage with people they like, people want to know more about the person, the back story behind the music or whatever passion it is you have.  My Instagram is already filling up with pictures of me.  It still doesn’t sit quite right but I would love to share the music with as many people as possible and this is the way to go.

I have been researching the various licences I require in order to release a couple of my tracks commercially.  This is time consuming as I want to be 100% sure of what I am signing up to.  I have done hours of research over the weeks on music aggregation and I have narrowed it down to two organisations.  Digital music is changing all the time it seems and having the correct licences for what you want to do is very important. I’m still hoping to release “Summer Love” by the end of the Summer, it just all depends on how fast people get back to me, how quickly license applications are handled and how fast the music aggregator will work once things are in place.  I probably could have done this quicker with more time to hand but I don’t have that luxury so dipping in and out of things is how I’m getting things done.

I have located the Musicians Union website and located it is all I have done so far.  I switch the laptop on in the morning, access a website and then sometimes get no further and I end up switching the laptop off before I go to bed.  Just depends how the day goes caring wise.

I know the above all sounds like hard work and I suppose it is but I am really enjoying learning all about this industry and what you need to do if you want to do anything at all with your music.  I have scribbled a few songs, sudden inspiration would hit me and I’d reach for the phone to record the tune and lyrics whilst it is fresh in my mind.  I was brave enough last week to play two to my guitar tutor and he said they were good!! I was amazed.  He has given me the guitar chords to the tune in my head so that I can practice. It just is so exciting and it does give me an escape in my head to the stresses of the day and I think too brings peace to my soul.

I’m hoping to upload a song to You Tube this weekend.  It’s my cover of the Randy Crawford classic “Almaz”.  I love this song so much.  There isn’t a video, just a photo of myself.  I will do a quick post to let you know when it has been uploaded.

My chap has been practising his photography skills taking some photo’s of me in the garden, for social media purposes.  I have included some below, I do hope you like them.

With love and sparkles until the next musical update xxx

 

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Recording!

I can’t believe it is just over two weeks ago already, but I actually fulfilled a dream to record some songs.  What an experience.  The week before I was suffering with a sore throat, achy bones and felt I was definitely coming down with some horrible bug.  Why that week?!!!  Why the week I was due to sing my heart out?!!!  I lived on paracetamol, honey and lemon drinks, Lemsip (which is gross even with added honey to sweeten it) and some of Dad’s throat spray as advised by the Doctor.  I had ordered some VocalZone pastilles under recommendation.  They didn’t arrive until the day of the recording and I was advised not to take them on the day I am due to sing.  Happily my throat had recovered somewhat by Thursday evening.  I didn’t sleep a wink Thursday night I was so excited and also full of apprehension.

Friday morning I felt my throat was totally constricted, “just nerves” I kept telling myself. My boyfriend arrived early; he was going to look after M & D whilst I was singing.  My Guitar tutor arrived with his mobile recording studio and we made a sound booth with two music stands and a duvet…amazing.  Then my vocal coach arrived.  I wanted her to be there plus she was very interested in how the recording would all work out at home.

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I was really nervous but we got started with the songs that are easier to sing.  It was weird to hear myself singing in my own ears alongside the backing track.  To stop and start. to break in later in the song, to rephrase a lyric, to put my own sound on it.  In two hours we had managed to record seven tracks; some Irish, some Country and some from totally different genres…all will be revealed in due course.  I was hoarse afterwards and I was on a high.  This was one huge tick off my “dreams come true” list.  I am very lucky that I managed to choose such wonderful people as Christine (Vocal Coach) and Roger (Guitar Tutor).

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A week later I received the unedited tracks to listen to.  They sounded amazing, I really can’t believe that it is me.  The sound quality is excellent, you’d never think we recorded the songs at home.

Over that weekend my boyfriend took some photographs in the garden with a camera, rather than a mobile phone, so that I could start on my music social media work.  I had been out the night before to see John McNicholl so a tad tired looking but I do like some of the photo’s and have used them for my Music page.  I’ll use them for the You Tube channel when I get that up and going.  There is so much to do and so limited time to do it. However, I have no great expectations of ambitions.  Singing and music is my respite, my stress buster from the caring role which takes up the majority of my time. This is my hobby.  I have a lot to research regarding licensing, commercial obligations, royalties, CD’s etc but it will all have to be done in my own slow available time.

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I also have the opportunity later in the year to make a video or two for a couple of the recorded tracks.  I’m very excited about this and yet this too will pose problems to get around.  I can’t not be at home in the morning so a full day out is out of the question. I will need cover whilst I am out so I’m looking at £20 per hour before I do anything with a video. Location is another question, I can’t be too far from home in case I need to get back quickly. I want to keep things as simple as possible as I don’t have people who want to appear in videos and I don’t want to have to hire rooms, theatre’s, bars etc.  So before I start I have some obstacles to overcome but as the saying goes, where there’s a will there’s a way.

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I spotted some dresses on Instagram in June and when I visited the website I was amazed that they were so reasonably priced, plus there was a sale and a first purchase discount. So I bought two, one in Black and one in White. They arrived at the end of last week…from China.  The Black one is huge but I can work with it, that’s what we have clothes pegs for 🙂  The White one is a perfect fit.  These are for photos and also for wearing in the videos.  How exciting life has become.  I am so grateful and blessed to be getting the opportunity to do these things albeit at a very slow pace.

Dad made me laugh the day after the recordings when he asked me what was going to happen to him and Mom.  I asked him why he asked that question and he said now that I’ve recorded the tracks things will change.  I laughed and said that I had only recorded a few songs, I didn’t think I would be taking on a World Tour next week and in any case, him and Mom are my priority.  I’m here 100% for them and that won’t change, global stardom will have to wait.

Pictures are mine or via Pinterest.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

New Music.

We have some fantastic new Summer tunes from my favourite Irish Country music stars. I’m waking up each morning humming one of these, the tunes are so catchy and the video’s are excellent.

First up is the lovely John McNicholl with his song “The Brightest Road” written by Derek Ryan.  I was lucky enough that on the release day, June 22nd, when it was number one in the Irish country charts and number five here in the UK country charts, to hear it performed live as John was appearing in Birmingham that evening.  It was like a huge party at the dance as we all celebrated the single being number one.  So proud of John and happy for him to reach the number one spot, a fantastic song.

 

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Next up is Michael English with his summer tune “Then it’s Love”, I absolutely love this. Unfortunately Michael didn’t sing this one at the concert I attended at the end of April (that’s another blog post I need to do), the video is very summer like. I find myself singing this one almost all day long, I really need to learn more of the lyrics though than just the chorus, I’m driving folk crazy repeating the same thing over and over 🙂

 

Derek Ryan just keeps rocking out those hits, here he is with another country/pop type of tune “Hayley Jo” which has got folk dancing up and down the country, he really is just pure class.  I really like this one, I just can’t work out who is Hayley Jo in the video?

 

My last selection for today is from our homegrown, Irish country music superstar Nathan Carter.  Self penned with his singer/songwriting manager John Farry “Give it to Me” is a sure fire summer hit for Nathan.  Great song, fun video and Nathan Carter, what’s not to love?!!!

I hope you have enjoyed these fab four summer hits from some of my favourite Irish music stars.  I have a few more to share which I will leave for a future post.

With love and music sparkles xx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Musical Vibes.

Somehow, throughout the last three months of illness here at home, I have managed to keep some music going in my life.  Music is my respite. I can escape into it. It brings me peace, harmony, balance and happiness.  Even if I am wallowing in the saddest of songs, it brings me comfort.  I can dance around the kitchen to trance music and lose myself in the words of a country love song or the lyrics of old Ireland.  I am lucky that my guitar tutor comes to me for my lessons and I have been having my vocal coaching sessions online also.

So, the story so far…

I have all the backing tracks I require in order to record seven tracks.  It has been a steep learning curve so far.  License agreements – the two companies I have bought my backing tracks from work very differently.  One based in the UK has far superior tracks, a one off fee and job done, I can use it.  The other, head office in France, has excellent backing tracks, no charges initially, I think I need 100,000 downloads from Facebook…can you imagine that…I’ll be ecstatic if I get one download from anywhere!

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I’ve been practising when I can, I need to be note perfect plus I need to come in on que. I do have a habit of getting lost in the intro music and forgetting to sing.  I’ve also been making a list, which is becoming a never ending list of things to do.  I think of one thing which leads to another, then another and another.  All things which I know little or nothing about and with being a full time carer, time is premium and these items on my to do list need to be researched fully and properly.

Mom, Dad and I decided that my “Professional” name will be Dawn McDermott Music. I already have cousins in Ireland using my surname professionally so we chose another family name for my foray into music.  Last weekend I set up my Facebook Music Page 

There isn’t much content yet of course and I think I mentioned before, self promotion is not my thing.  After much thought about this I decided that in the end, I just have to be me.  I can’t let the unknown scare me.  I have no grand expectations of overnight stardom, number one on iTunes etc.  I am doing what I love as my hobby and respite. I am making a few dreams come true for myself.  I just want to sing the songs I love and if in turn they make people happy then that will be such a huge bonus for me.

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I have also set up my Twitter Music Account. If you would like to follow me on my musical journey on either Facebook or Twitter I would love that. Thank you.

All being well, recording date is set at 22nd June and again I am fortunate in that my guitar tutor has a mobile recording studio and can come to me.  My Vocal Coach will also be here and my chap has taken the day off work so that he can be here to help with Mom and Dad whilst I am recording for two hours.  I would think the recording will be ready two to three weeks later and then hopefully I’ll be shooting a couple of video’s in late Summer. Even as I type this it is all unbelievable.

A very good friend for many, many years is shooting the video’s with me.  He is a fabulous short film maker and this is a new project for him also and we are both really excited about this.  Check out some of Mulk’s films here Mulk Raj.

And so for now, that is where I am with the music hobby/project.  Still lots of research, broadcasting licenses, iTunes, Amazon Music, CD’s etc…once you start these things you realise there is a lot more to it than you originally thought.  I’m just going to go with the flow and do things as and when time allows.  Thank you for your support so far and I hope you will continue to support me as I travel along this path.

Pictures via Pinterest.

With love and sparkles xx

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