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

Life Sparkles ✨

So Far.

So far I have managed to put one foot in front of the other everyday and keep going. Some days have been easier than others and some days I just haven’t done anything, because I just haven’t been able to.  I have become very conscious of looking after myself because I am all my Mom has.  I didn’t really think too much about self care before, Dad was here, he always knew what to do, who to contact and make the decisions.  Now Dad isn’t here, it’s all down to me and once you start thinking about that, it’s scary.

So far I have managed to get Dad’s memorial cards designed, printed and I have sent the majority of them out.  I have had a meeting at the hospital about the disgraceful lack of care my Dad received (I will blog about this separately).  The meeting really took it out of me, I was physically and emotionally drained, but it had to be done.

So far I have gone back to my music slowly.  I never feel like singing or picking up the guitar but once I do, I feel so much better.  Because I concentrate so much on what I am doing it releases stress and pressure for a little while and that feels good.

So far I thought I was doing well, coming to terms with things, not crying too much and then all of a sudden on Sunday night I had a huge outpouring of tears which came on suddenly and without warning.  Thankfully my man was here visiting and I could leave the room so that Mom didn’t witness these tears.

So far I haven’t done anything about the website I was putting together for my music. I have made a slow start to this.  With the website building taking place I will be downgrading my blogging plan here on WordPress.  I will still be blogging, I enjoy it and it helps me plus the wonderful fellow bloggers I have met on here which I certainly wouldn’t want to lose.  From July when I have the blogger plan I think any videos I have to share with you will have to be on the website.

And so far finally I haven’t really been up to that much.  At the moment I like it this way. I don’t want to have a full diary, or things planned ahead, I’m just not in that mindset yet. I want to take things slowly, to spend as much time as possible with my Mom, to plan my music and try to plan for the future.  As we know, the future doesn’t always go to plan.

A few photo’s of life over the past couple of weeks.

With love and sparkles xxx

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Tears totally out of the blue and when you least expect it.

Some delicious Irish Soda bread my cousin gave to me on her recent visit.

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Prayer is what works for me, it keeps me calmer, it soothes me and it makes me feel closer to my Dad, my Sister and all those who have gone before me.

And a little Snapchat to make me smile, take away the black circles and remove wrinkles 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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

Life Sparkles ✨

Automatic Pilot.

Well the weeks continue to roll by and I keep trying to make sense of things, adjust to this “new normal”. I still feel as if I have brain fog which is almost protecting me from the reality of losing my Dad although I feel reality is coming home a little more every day. Automatic pilot is wearing off, the tears fall and time is just flying by. I cannot believe we are into mid April already although I’m still a little behind on my blog posts.

I thought I’d do a “this is what I have been doing” blog post so that you can see I really am trying to deal with things, look after Mom and try to return to some sense of normal.

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Another “first” without Dad, we raised a glass to him and I hope there was one huge hooley going on in heaven.

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After telling me to start eating healthy and look after myself, himself rocks up with these little temptations.

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Aforementioned drinks for raising a glass or two!!

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Not traditional Irish fare for us for St Patricks Day – we had Indian instead.

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Signs of Spring.

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A “me time” cappuccino during a long overdue trip to the hair salon.

It’s the little things that matter the most.

Until next time, 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

 

Life Sparkles ✨

The First Night Out.

Many people have mentioned to me that this year will now be a year of firsts.  The first time I do something without Dad, the first time we have birthdays etc without Dad.  I have experienced a year of firsts before, in 2006 when my sister passed away suddenly. It felt very different to how I feel now and of course back then, I had Mom and Dad to help me through it, we were there for each other.   This is different because Mom is happy in her own world and can’t support me and Dad is supporting me from his new home.  Yes it is all very different.

I had mixed feelings when my country music friends were messaging me about going to see John McNicholl when he played Birmingham three weeks ago.  I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  I know Dad would have been the first one to say “Go, go out and enjoy yourself”.  It was the emotional side of things that was affecting me.  Seeing that group of friends for the first time, crying, hugging, singing, dancing.  Was it all going to be too much too soon?

Once again my amazing man was there to help me by coming over to visit that evening and sit with Mom. If I decided to just go to the dance I knew Mom was safe and sound. I decided to go.  John had telephoned me about Dad and messaged me and I wanted to support him plus I felt it was better to get this particular first out-of-the-way.

I felt incredibly alone and vulnerable getting ready to go.  I felt physically sick leaving the house and I felt weak, barely able to walk when I arrived at the venue.  I never felt so alone as I did when I walked into the club. John was already on stage, people were dancing and I felt lost.  One of my friends appeared at my side, gave me a huge cuddle, a glass of wine and took me over to the table where everyone was.  One by one we hugged, had a tear and held hands.  The sense of support was wonderful.  A family friend who has known my parents forever was there to support me too.  When I cried he took me out waltzing on the dance floor and he tried so hard to make me laugh.  John as always was so supportive and lovely although I didn’t get to speak to him for long.  As usual I had arranged my taxi far too early.

One of the main things I missed was Dad worrying about me.  Whenever I went out alone to meet my friends at a dance he always worried about me travelling alone.  I missed that conversation so much.

Was I glad I went out?  Hmmm I’m still unsure how to answer that one.  It was lovely to see me friends, to see John and the lads and there was such a big turnout for a Sunday night I was very pleased for John.  I didn’t get my usual sense of excitement, I wasn’t my usual diva on the dance floor but how could I be, it was my first night out.

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Well it’s not a proper night out without a Snapchat filter!

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A little blurred but a lovely reminder of the support I received from a great friend of my parents.

John and the lads rocking St Anne’s with a Neil Diamond Medley.

 

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 ✨🎶

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