The Music Sparkle.

Music Diva

It has been a while since I blogged about what I’m doing with my music. If you don’t follow me on Instagram or FB you won’t have seen my various leaps of faith over the past year. You may remember that I had started to learn to play guitar. My sessions were very start and stop due to my caring role and then the sudden passing of my parents last year. I returned to the vocal coaching and guitar sessions towards the end of last year. Just before lockdown was imposed here in the UK, my guitar tutor informed me that he felt I was ready to attend an acoustic night and feel the waters of performing live. I was happy I was finally at that stage of my learning and I was also so scared. The thought of actually getting up on stage to sing and play guitar…absolutely terrifying. And then came lockdown, great weather and the gardening.

Leap of faith time.

As lockdown ensured all live gigs were cancelled, social media, especially FB, was alive with people performing. Singing, playing instruments, comedy sketches, art work, you get the drift. I decided that now was the perfect time to try some of this for myself. How hard could it be to sing into the phone? Actually, it was nerve wracking. The number of times I had to say to myself “you don’t have to post this online, it’s just a practice run”. Sometimes it took hours to sing and record a song. I would lose my way in the song (sometimes I get carried away with the melody and forget the lyrics). Sometimes I forget to come in at the right point in the song, sometimes I sing in the wrong key. I can tell I’m going to be a very interesting act when the time comes.

I made a start and my first effort sounded ok (I’m terrible at self praise), I looked like a statue on the video. My friends all gave very positive comments and messaged me to say “why aren’t you smiling?” or “why aren’t you moving?”. It was difficult enough for me to stand there and sing into the phone, remember the lyrics and come in at the right point of the intro never mind move or smile.

However, each song I sang I became a little more confident. I shared my songs to various groups on Facebook and I was blown away with the amount of views and lovely comments I would receive. I started to receive messages with requests and I’m making my way through the list. I’m so enjoying that people want to hear me sing!

I have a wobble now and again, a crisis of confidence, wonder what on earth I’m doing, think that I’m not good enough. Then I have a word with myself and tell myself to just go for it, do what makes me happy and if I want to sing, play guitar and be sparkly then I should just do it. It’s so easy to measure yourself against what someone else is doing, or how others appear to get shared everywhere and I’m plodding along. But plodding along is good, I have a lot to learn about the music industry and how it works and what I need to do, the next steps. I’ll get there. A lovely lady once said to me to take the long road up the mountain, the scenic view, it’ll be better for me when I reach the top.

Another piece of advice I was given is about believing in myself because if I didn’t, nobody else would.

It’s up to me to do this!!

I have written some songs which I am working on with my guitar tutor. It really is the most amazing feeling to hear the music that was in my head come to life. I’m loving practising the songs on the guitar. We are even talking about getting into the studio next Spring and recording a CD. This is the stuff dreams are made of, well that my dreams are made of.

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Not forgetting

With love and sparkles xx

The Music Sparkle.

Do It Anyway.

Regular readers of my blog know that I love to sing and that I have been visiting a wonderful vocal coach, Christine, for a number of reasons. The main reason is that singing brings me stress relief; life as a full time carer to two elderly parents is not easy, it’s harder work than I ever thought it was going to be so stress relief of the singing kind works for me.

I have so enjoyed learning about the voice, to hear my own voice develop, to hear the clarity of the notes I can produce and to know that I am blessed with a good vocal range an a natural vibrato (apparently some singers would kill for a vibrato)!!

I am coming on well now with my Guitar lessons.  Since Christmas I can actually get the sound of a few chords from the Guitar and I bought myself a new Guitar book “American Country Hits” so that I can practice the chords and learn the songs at the same time.  It has taken time and I have more or less cracked “Jambalaya”, very little plink and thunk on that one now. I am learning, practising four more songs and I want to download the guitar chords for some of the Irish traditional songs and country songs that I love to sing.

At the start of the year I mentioned to my Guitar tutor that it would be a dream come true for me to record some songs.  I don’t care if anyone bought them or not, but to have recorded and released some songs would be just awesome.  He informed me that he can help me with that as he can bring a mobile recording studio to me here at home and we can record away. I’ve to choose four or five tracks so that we can utilise the recording time and keep cost to a minimum. He can then do the mixing at his professional studio.

My vocal coach is almost as excited as I am about this.  Every time I think about it I get a headache with excitement.  Of course this has now thrown me into a world I know nothing about, the music business…something new to learn.

Choosing four or five songs may sound easy but it is proving to be a little difficult. There is only one I am absolutely sure of and I keep changing my mind about the other four. I have backing tracks but I need to shop around for the best sounding tracks and then I need to check on the licensing.  Most that I purchase online are licensed for private use or public performance but not recording.  I require permission to use the track and there may be an additional cost.

I also need to research public broadcast licensing and how royalties work. I’ve been told to start getting things ready; website (although there won’t be much content at first), photo shoot (who me?), video’s for the songs (really, me in a music video?) and to get to grips with self promotion.

These are things I really want to do, this is very much dream come true time and if I can get these things done before I set foot on a stage to sing it will boost my confidence enormously. It really is a case of “Feel the fear and do it anyway” for me. However, I’m a full time carer to both of my parents along with running the home and everything that goes with that.  I have very limited free time.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do it but you can bet your bottom dollar that any free time I have will be spent on the music dream.

I have put together another video.  One of my favourite songs is “Making Memories of Us” which is sang by Keith Urban and also a couple of my favourite Irish singers; Mike Denver and Derek Ryan.  I managed to locate a good backing track but the key may be not quite right.  I can just about hit the bass notes but if I take the key higher, the higher notes may be off.

I used photographs of places I have been on holiday with my lovely boyfriend over the years for the video.  Places where we now have memories of being there together from taking him home to Ireland to visit Galway where my Mom is from to our summer holidays in Spain, Portugal and England.

Please give it a listen and let me know what you think.  Thank you for supporting me on this journey to my dream.