Thank you, Suzahn! :-)

Like I promised, I’m gonna tell you a bit more about Saturday and Suzahn Fiering. Susahn is a Nashville based songwriter, music engineer/producer and touring jazz musician, and I first met her when she came to LIPA one year ago, to do a guest lecture in songwriting for my class. She was a joy to listen to, and it was truly an inspirational class. She is so confident, so american and so fecking cool!

I met her again at my Graduation last summer, or rather, at the Graduation party, where I looked like this:

It was a wonderful night, and sadly, it was the very last night with most of the people I had become so close with over the last year. It was both fun, loud and emotional, and I will always look back on that day and night with a smile.

Also, my parents drove down from Norway to take part in my Graduation and see me shake hands with the almighty Sir Paul, who was for the occasion looking sharp in a suit and TRAINERS:

Oh, and by the way: The guy you can (barely) see sitting behind Paul McCartney is Governor Swann. Also known as Jonathan Pryce. ;-P

Anyway, Suzahn was there because she is a close friend of LIPA, and she comes there quite frequently to do Masterclasses and guest lectures. At the time, I was still on the waiting list for the LIPA degree, and I hadn’t yet decided if that was what I wanted to do with the next 3 years of my life – if I even got in. I had a long talk with Susahn, over a few glasses of wine, and she had so many words of encouragement for me. And she said that, if I didn’t get on the degree, I could come to Nashville and be her apprentice! Who knows, I might have taken her up on that offer if I hadn’t ended up going to LIPA… 😉

Last week, when I heard that this year’s last Masterclass was with none other than Suzahn, I was thrilled. I haven’t forgotten what she said to me that night in the LIPA bar, and I was very excited about meeting her and drawing from her expertise once again. This time it was more about the business than the art, and how to be your own booking manager, and it was really interesting. She actually tours, teaches and writes songs full-time, and it takes a loooot of self discipline in order to make a business work pretty much on your own. So I have full respect for the woman, and it was truly an enlightening hour and a half.

In addition to the Friday Masterclass, she did an intensive 6 hour workshop on “How to Become An Independent Touring Artist” on Saturday, which I am so glad I went to. I met some cool new people, and learned A LOT. I feel like I have another leg to stand on, after a whole day of focusing 100 % on the business, time management, booking and a whole bunch of other little things to put in my “sack of knowledge”. Just being royally kicked in the ass by a feisty american business woman for an entire day, was great! ;-P

Photo by Kevin McGillivray

She also properly opened my eyes for the possibility of teaching as a part time job. I have been flirting a little bit with the idea before, but now I am actually thinking seriously about giving singing lessons in Norway this summer. I have have only come so far as sending out a couple of e-mails to start the ball rolling, so we’ll see how that goes. Exciting times! =)

Like I said at the time; there was nowhere else I’d rather spend my Saturday, than in Parr Street, with friends, a cup of coffee and an injection of pure inspiration. We all need a kick in the butt now and then!

So thank you Suzahn! =)

Photo by Kevin McGillivray

Stop procrastinating – tomorrow, maybe?

Ironically enough, I’m procrastinating by watching this video about procrastination right now. I have sooo many things I should be doing, but I keep finding other things to do… Anyone recognize themselves in this? I’ll let Ellen talk for me on the matter of procrastination:

 

I talked to Kristian yesterday, and it seems like most things are ready for the gig (Café Sør 24.April). I have tracked down a piano I might be able to borrow from the culture school in my home town, so all that’s left now is pretty much rehearsing rehearsing rehearsing… Which will start in 2 weeks and 4 days, when I move in to Kristian&Marita’s couch for a week. One worry though; The poor man has managed to cut half a centimeter of his left index finger off…! So at the moment he can’t actually play guitar at all… Iiiik…! Oh, and they’re having some work done on their apartment soon, and if that falls in the week we’re meant to rehearse, we’re gonna have to figure something else out… But all I can do is crossing my fingers that the finger is healed and the apartment finished by then… While waiting, I am finishing songs, recording demos and sending them along to the Winthers. The setlist is 11 songs long at the moment, which might be a tad too long, I don’t know… We’ll see how long it is when we run through the set in rehearsals.

Turns out, by the way, that I am not the only act on that night – I’m playing after a girl called Christina Sandsengen, who apparently is an amazing guitarist. She is on at 20:30, I’m on at 21:30. So quite late, but I’m hoping people will take the drive from Jevnaker and wherever they come from to see me anyway. =)

Now I really have to go – I’m making myself a Mocha to go before class. I hope you’re all ok. Keep leaving those comments, and subscribing to my blog! =)

Lots of luuuv’,

Audrey

Cut the strings 2

Right, so my post Cut The Strings created quite the debate last week, and I have been getting a lot of different reactions on it (and been called both a hypocrite and a “music snob”), so I think a follow-up post is in its place. I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I wanted in #1. I think most of the misunderstandings have been cleared up in the comments, but since that whole discussion went on in Norwegian, and because this topic is something I care a great deal about (and never get tired of talking about), I will do a proper follow-up here. First of all, thank you to those who left comments. I love a good discussion, and besides, I would hate for people to walk around thinking that I’m a music snob and not saying it to my face. Keep leaving those comments, and if you think my blog is interesting/funny/cute/entertaining, why don’t you subscribe to it? Just put your e-mail address in the box on the top right of the page. Just remember to confirm once you get the e-mail, or it won’t work. 🙂

Up there, see?

The first thing I would like to clear up, is that it is not pop music I’m having a go at. My problem, if you can call it that, is with pop culture, and the popular music industry. There is a difference there. I am a pop musician. Obviously, I have nothing against the genre of pop, whatever that is (defining pop as a genre is very difficult, as it is so often confused with the term “popular music”, which is used for everything that is popular, be it rock, R&B or dance music). I am very, very open-minded when it comes to music, and I always have been. I can listen to almost everything, and I have my favorites in everything from folk to jazz, Hip Hop to hard rock. I love Jason Mraz. I adore Lykke Li. I think The Killers rock, and I shake my ass to Beyoncé. Any kind of music can capture me, with a catchy melody, an interesting voice, tasty chords or exciting lyrics. However, though I listen to most genres, I think all genres have good music and bad music. And yes, good and bad are definitely subjective terms – good music for me can be shite for you, and vice versa. So let me give you, for further reference, MY definitions of the terms good music and bad music.

Good music for me is music that has a soul. Music that someone has made out of the love for creating music, in the genre that is close to their heart. Songs that had a home in someone’s heart before they were even sung for the first time, and have a permanent address in the hearts of many. Songs that are someone’s true expression, and reflect the creators personality, feelings and thoughts.

Bad music, for me, is music without a soul. Music that someone has made out of the love for money, in whichever genre is popular that year (since when does Britney do dubstep??). Musical prostitution, like Eileen so rightly called it. Songs that are created on a conveyor belt, and take home in your head, despite countless notices of eviction. Songs that mean nothing, say nothing, or if they do, they are full of shit. Songs that are carried by the names of the artist singing them, and not the actual song. Songs that are created for us to naively and blindly sing along, shake our booties and close our ears for the message, or rather, the lack thereof. Songs that pump our heads full of repetitive nonsense, about money, the smell of sex, cars, jewelry and brushing your teeth with Whisky. Like I said in my post about songwriting a few weeks ago (Can you learn/teach songwriting…?);

Writing for value often takes the values away…

Now, I am aware that people consume music in different ways. Music plays different roles in different people’s lives. As for me, music plays a way bigger role in my life now than before, and I am more aware and more critical than I used to be. That’s just a natural part of growing “older and wiser”. Music can be so many things though. To some, it is just background noise, or share entertainment. To others, it is something you dive into, analyze and enjoy on a deeper level, and to some it doesn’t really play a role at all. That last one is hard for me to understand, and I wouldn’t believe it was even possible if I hadn’t, when I asked a friend a while back what music she listened to, gotten the answer; “Nah, I don’t really listen to music.” I was shocked. The point is, I get that to some, a “fat beat” is more important than lyrics. I get that. And fair enough. We are all different. Music can spread joy in so many different ways, and that is nothing less than fantastic. I am just a bit frustrated over how much CRAP people can get away with just because they are famous and popular already (and how much amazing music people are missing because they are too lazy to hunt down anything other than what they are being fed). I feel that as human beings, we have a responsibility to be aware at least, and yes, a bit critical, of what we are actually singing along to. Which values and attitudes we are supporting by the records we buy.

I’m not advocating that “Mainstream is bad”. I don’t boycott mainstream music, I do like a lot of music that is mainstream. I don’t refuse to listen to music because it’s popular – but I do refuse to listen to music just because it’s popular.

If that makes me a music snob – then so be it…

Saturday in Parr Street

My Saturday is being spent in Parr Street Studios, with the great Suzanne Fhiering, basically learning about how to be an independent artist in a tough business. I have had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne in the past, and she is a true inspiration.

I will write more about both the day and the woman later, for now I will leave you with a picture of, for me, the perfect day. There is nowhere I’d rather be. 😀

New Links =)

Just letting you know that I have now added a bunch of websites, Myspaces and blogs of many great artists and people to the links section. If you have a site that you want me to share, comment with the link and I might put it up there. I am very interested in spreading great music, both of artists I know and love, and artists I “just” love. Other interesting sites are more than welcome as well, like music blogs or other blogs that are fun and well written. =)

xxxx

Mind over body, mind over body!!

Well, my mind doesn’t wanna do the fucking “plank” either, does it?!??

I can’t wait for next year, when I will still have all the good stuff, and none of this ridiculous dance business. I’m sorry, but it is actually making my weeks miserable at the moment. I used to enjoy dance classes, and sometimes I wish I still did. Like 3 times a week – in my dance classes. Buuut I don’t, I really don’t. It’s like I’ve got selective amnesia, and all my ability to dance is the only thing that got lost. I feel like a chimpanzee on crack, just tumbling around with no idea what I’m doing. And of course that’s my own fault, it has nothing to do with the class being shit. I know I could try harder. But the thing is… We’re a class of musicians. We’re all monkeys on crack (no offense guys) doing this because we have to and not because we want to, apart from a couple of exceptions. And it’s so damn uninspiring. Must be to the teacher as well. I bet she’s looking forward to just teaching the dancers.

When that’s said, I do surprisingly enough enjoy the work-out part of the class, at least to a certain point. It’s just the choreographies that make me feel stupid. And the “plank” and the horrible music just makes me angry. All the running, jumping, press-ups, stretching… That’s actually quite pleasant. And the laughter of the group when we all collectively fuck up, that is very pleasant. Wonderful people. And the sore muscles afterwards. So it’s not all bad, obviously. ☺

Actually, I might have to do some sort of working out next year, just for the sake of being able to mend my sore muscles in the bath. That’s right – I’ve found a house for next year, and it’s got a BATH!! Oh joy… It’s right across the street from where I live now, so moving will be easy enough. I could actually just walk back and forth about  210 times.

See?

I am really looking forward to a new flat, a bath, my own room, HEATING, and living with girls. I mean, I love my boys, but I’m really not gonna miss the wee on the seat and the constant mountain of dirty dishes everywhere… And they are only gonna live two doors down from us, which is the best part of the house. Yay!

I think it will be easier to be creative as well, when I have my very own space to crawl into. Good times. =)

Wherever

Sometimes you just need to rest your feet on warm asphalt and feel the sun on your face. Even if it is just a 2 minute walk from your house. Maybe not the greatest adventure, but at least I’m out.

There are so many idiots in the world, and right now one of them decided to lean far out of his car window and yell “WAAAA!!!” as he drove past ten feet from me. Like his goal in life is to scare the crap out of a random girl blogging on the sidewalk. Jerk. I hope he gets a flat tire on his way to wherever he’s going.

And where am I going?

Wherever the hell I want, that’s where. See you there. =)

Audrey Wilsen @ Urørt

To my Norwegians out there;

Just to let you know I am now back on NRK Urørt. Click on the picture to have a look! =)

Cut the strings…

Hi guys! =)

I just did another writing session with Rossy – this week we’re writing a social comment RAP SONG!! Not gonna say too much about the song itself, but it is aimed at the ‘victims’ of Pop Culture’s “brainwash”, and encourages people to think for themselves and not just be a puppet on strings, eating up all they’re being fed through the media. “Dare to be yourself” is a line in the chorus, and it pretty much sums it up, I guess. This song (entitled “Cut The Strings” for now) will probably not get used for anything serious, but I might put it out eventually, just for a laugh.

The subject matter is serious enough though. Pop Culture has such a grip on people, especially young people, and it’s not easy to step off the trail and follow your own path. We blend in, both from the fear of being thought of as different, and because we’re to lazy to think for ourselves when the option is there to just stay passive and accept everything we’re being fed. Radio, TV, record stores, Hit Charts, we just accept what’s popular as what’s good, and what we’re meant to be listening to. The Disney Channel and similar companies keep puking up pretty youngsters, dressing them up in cool clothes and giving them their own TV-shows/films, and when they get too old, new pretty faces are there, ready to take over. The Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, Justin Beiber… Kids eat it up raw, they wanna be like them, dress like them, and be with them. They want their faces to cover their walls, their lunch boxes and their t-shirts, and we get a generation of uniformed, uncritical robots without a taste of their own, who are used to having everything shoved down their throats. Who are used to sit back and be entertained, and not think about what they actually stand for.

Of course, when you are that young, you might not stand for a lot at all, which is fair enough. But more often than not, you stay in that bubble, where all that matters is what you wear and how you look, and how not to stand out. Manicures, hair extensions, spray tans, expensive clothing, tons of make-up and other parts of the “Uniform” that so many people can’t leave home without, is it the grown-up version of a Hannah Montana lunch box…? It makes me wonder; Are they scared that someone might catch a glimpse of them under there…?

Some of the songs on the charts these days also puzzle me greatly; I cannot be the only one who is a tad disgusted by the thought of 14 year-old girls singing along with the words “Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it” from Rihanna’s newest single…? Heck, I’m disgusted by anyone singing along to that to be perfectly honest, I don’t know what she’s thinking. And that’s not the only example of tastelessness on the charts – seems to me most hits these days are about one out of two things; Getting drunk or getting laid. Or both. You’d think people were smart enough to see through such cheap tricks, but it’s amazing how easily manipulated people are. Don’t even get me started on the X-Factor.

I don’t know much about the “tween” idols of this week, but I know there is one little girl I do like. She is so freakin’ cool, she’s got a great voice, she dances, but without being made sexy. She’s a kid, and they’re letting her be a kid, which is more than I can say about a lot of other child stars that have shone in the past. I am of course talking about little miss Willow Smith, daughter of Will – something which probably is the reason she is not being made into some horrible hotpants-wearing mini woman. Yet, anyway. There’s no guarantee that she will deal with the early (let’s face it, a bit too early) fame and fortune any better than anyone else, even if she does have parents with their heads on the right place, but I would say she has a better shot than most. And she is at least a healthy role model for the kids out there who are starving to be entertained.

I have rambled on a bit now, I know… I will leave you with little miss Smith’s music video. Which is quite appropriate for this post actually, since the song and the video to “Whip My Hair” is pretty much saying the exact same thing that I’m saying – dare to be yourself… You like?

A little piece of Norway…

All my Norwegian people out there will understand the significance of The Last Smørbukk when you live abroad. It’s not that I eat so much of it when I’m in Norway, but it’s got such an emotional value it’s insane. It reminds me of my childhood. I love the faces of my fellow Norwegians at LIPA when I throw them one of these out of the blue in the middle of class. We get real patriotic when we see Smørbukk.

Anyway… I had another meeting with my “mentor” for my Practical Project today, and even though I didn’t really have a lot of exciting news for her, it’s always nice to have a chat and a think about how it’s all going. And now I can keep her up to date in here as well, because she is a fresh subscriber! Yey, welcome, Ragz! 😀

And just so you all know, you can put your e-mail address in the box to the right and subscribe to my blog – just remember to confirm when you get the e-mail from WordPress or it won’t work! =)

UP THERE! 😉

About the project (my concert at Café Sør on April 24th), there is not really that much I can do at the moment, since my musicians are in Oslo and I’m not going there until a week before the show. I actually just bought my plane ticket home today, and we will have exactly one week of rehearsals… It’s driving me nuts & nervous to be so out of control, but I’m doing what I can from here. I’m sending the Winther’s (Kristian & Marita) songs as they are written and arranged, and hoping they are listening to them and getting them under their skin. One little piece of news, is that the Lovely Eileen will be joining me on stage as well, doing backing vocals and looking gorgeous. And there will definitely be a few new songs in the program. A couple of the songs I’ve co-written with Rossy over the last couple of weeks are definite keepers, and it’s exciting to be premiering new stuff in Oslo! To be performing in Oslo at all is huge to me, and especially at Café Sør. I love that place. I really hope to see a lot of familiar faces there, so if you are anywhere near Oslo that day (Sunday 24.April), please stop by and give me and my band a smile..! The concert is 3 days before my birthday as well, so I shall encourage everyone there to have some cake in my honor.  😀

One of many Good Times spent at Café Sør... ❤

I am very much looking forward to being back on stage, and I know I will have a good time at good old Sør. =)

Almost bed time for Audrey now – I just HAVE TO have some of those delicious brownies in the fridge first… And YES Eileen, there are still some left, believe it or not… You’ll make it if you run..! Haha…

Thanks for following me guys, and if it’s your first visit to my online palace, feel free to snoop around. Look, read and listen, and leave me a comment if you feel like it! ❤

Lots of luuuv,

xx -Audrey- xx

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