I’m back I’m back I’m back!!

Jammin' in my room with Hanna, Eileen and Nina. And Iselin, who was taking the picture. I ❤ my life.

Herroooooow!!!
The time has come; I’m back in Liverpool, back at LIPA, back on WordPress… Back in my world, so to speak, and it feels great! Sadly, I’m not properly back online yet as we have no internet in the flat for another week or so, which is partly why I’ve been so quiet. That, and obviously the busy nature of the last few weeks – it’s been CRAZY!! Between sorting the new flat out, doing songwriting workshops in Norway (I promise I’ll do a post about that later) and preparing for the new LIPA year, I haven’t had time for much else lately… But now it’s finally starting to get back to just the right amount (and the right kind) of busy. I’m starting to get the taste of my new day to day, and it is YUMMY!! The flat is looking awesome, my new flatmates are just adorable and being back at LIPA ROCKS!! I’m a secondyear now!! I feel so big and important!! ;-P

I could go on all day about how happy I am to be back and the all the awesomeness that has filled the last few weeks, but I will leave that for another post another day and move on to The News… Because I do have some proper news this time! Are you excited?? Thought so. ;-P

The BAND:
So I have fiiiiinally kicked myself royally in the ass and started the process of finding The Band – also known as The People Who Are Going To Join Me On Stage All Over Liverpool And Help Me Make My Music Awesome. So far I have gotten replies from and spoken to a nice little bunch of people, and I have a very good feeling about them! I am actually moving into a somewhat different direction with my music these days (more about that later), and I feel like I’ve found some of the people who can help me find that new sound. The first un-official rehearsal will take place next week, and all though there is no reason to state the obvious, I’m just gonna put it out there: I am super excited!!! 😀
I will announce the band members properly as they are confirmed Members Of Staff, and introduce them with a nice little photo and stuff. Good fun!

New photos:
I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a sick amount of talented people in many different fields, in and through LIPA. One of them is the awesome photographer Mike Brits, who has agreed to do my next promo pictures for me. Mike is based in Liverpool and has done photos for a lot of my LIPA friends already. I love his work, and I’m looking forward to working with him! You should all check him out and Like his Facebook page (Mike Brits Photography).:)

I’ll show the blog some proper luv’ again soon, promise. Tonight I just really wanted to update you all on the band situation and stuuuuff.

Until next time, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, follow me on twitter and Like me on Facebook. That would make me very very happy. I might even do a little dance, just for you.

I love you guys!

Xxx

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News from Audrey-land! =)

Just a little update (waaay over due) from your favorite Audrey!

Woop Woop! I’m back in the UK, and one step closer to normal – i.e. LIPA, my piano and the new flat. It’s been nice to be home, to travel, and to relax, but to be honest, this holiday has been way too long already and I just want to get on with my second year already (or third, technically)…! Right now I am however in York, for my Lovely’s Birthday party tonight, and we are staying here until we can take over the flats in Liverpool in two weeks time. I. Can’t. WAIT!!

Another thing I’m really excited about, is that two of my all time favorite girlies are on their way here RIGHT NOW to join the party! Becky is in a car, half an hour away, and Dolly is in York, waiting for us to pick her up (which we can’t do till Becky gets here). I’m so excited to see them both – it’s been too long! ❤

Aaanyway – to the NEWS! 😉

Summer News:

I’ve mainly been in Norway this summer, but I’ve also had some time in the UK and South France, as you know. I haven’t been giving my music anywhere near as much time as I should have, but I’ve done plenty of other, exciting things.

Singing lessons…
Over the summer I have had two singing students, and they have both been absolute stars, and a joy to teach. I have had an overwhelming support from the local Culture School, who among other things let me use the dance room to teach in – look how huuuge it is!

Epiphany…
I also found (to my great joy) that teaching vocal technique actually makes me a better (technical) singer – I have crossed so many barriers over the last couple of months, and I am absolutely thrilled to start lessons with Ian again in September.

I am a business…
I have (finally) registered Audrey Wilsen Music as a business, and can now proudly call myself self-employed and independent. I do invoices and everything, it’s well good! 😀 So much to learn though, and I’m hoping I won’t screw up – ending up having to pay twice my income in taxes or something stupid like that…! I’m sure it will be fine, and I’m doing the only thing I can do – learning as I go along.

Songwriting workshops…
Another piece of exciting news, is that I’m going back to Norway for a few days in September, to – get this – do two songwriting workshops for local high school kids! I am so excited, and very very honored to even be considered for the job. I’m not sure how I’m gonna do it yet, because I’ve pretty much been given the freedom to set it up entirely as I wish, which is a massive (and wildly appreciated) sign of trust from the arrangers side. The workshops are gonna be a part of a music video project the Culture School in my home town are setting up, and my job will basically be to “light a spark” in these kids, and help them get creative and start writing some lyrics, which they will later down the line get help to make music for, record in a studio and in the end make a music video. Amazing! Man, I wish they had done stuff like this when I was in high school!!

Next Year News:

I have pretty much decided what next year might look like, if I get my way (which I will). My wish is to put together:

  1. A full band, consisting of the usual: Drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys, backing vocals and maybe a bit of ‘synthage’ and some strings for special occasions.
  2. An acoustic mini band consisting of an acoustic guitar, a cajon and backing vocals – and probably keys as well.

Live…
Basically, I will rehearse pretty much the same set list with both bands, and play live as often as I can – with either of them. My main reason for having two bands is that I would definitely like to start gigging with a full band, but I would also very much like to do more smaller acoustic gigs in cafés and stuff, like the one I did at Café Sør in April. There is such a great mood in places like that, and it seems like people are generally more interested in chilling out and listening to the music, rather than getting drunk and talking loudly which is often the case with bigger concerts.

E.P Release…
I have pretty much decided to do the EP acoustically as well. Both because it will be easier (less people to depend on to make it happen, more flexibility with recording locations etc.), and because it will suit my music very well. The EP will probably be out around christmas time, and I will do a release concert at the Culture School’s youth café in Jevnaker in early-mid January. It’s gonna be schweet!

I should go see if I’m needed in the party preparation department – there’s a lot to do! Until next time, TAKE CARE! ❤

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Until next time, please remember to subscribe to my blog (top right corner of this page), “be-fan” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, and I will make sure to keep you up to date on what’s going on with me and my music. And please keep commenting, I love hearing from you! =) 

Take care & keep Shining! I love you!

xxx,

Audrey

Greetings from Auto-tune central

Back from the dead… Bet you were wondering where I had gone now, ey? Well, I haven’t died – I’ve simply had better things to do. Kidding, obviously, cause one day of silence hardly qualifies as worrying absence, plus, what could possibly be better than rambling on to you lovely people about my life and workings…! ;-P

Busy bee… On a more serious note, I have been quite busy the last few days, and the next few look just as busy. I need to finish my last two first-year assignments this weekend – an essay and a Professional Development action plan for the beginning of second-year – and also, my cousin is in Liverpool for the weekend with four mates, and I’m meeting them later for drinks. Should be fun!

Diversity & opportunities… One of the many great things about studying at LIPA, is that you get the chance to be a part of so many different projects, and the opportunity to do so many  random things you wouldn’t normally do. Step out of your comfort zone, so to speak. Last year, I was among other things part of a musical and a gospel choir, and I did vocals on a Remix of “You’ve Got The Love” for a mate’s project (The recording of that is in the ‘Music’ section on this site, under ‘Other projects’). For this year’s ensemble performance, I sang a bunch of 90’s dance songs, and co-wrote the cheesiest pop song ever with the rest of my ensemble. Which brings me straight to the point. Stef wanted to record our pile of cheese for his Production project this week, and I did the vocals for it the other day. Stef and I are pretty much on the same level with music tech, and it probably took us about ten times longer than it should to record a simple verse-chorus-verse-double chorus-cheesy key change-chorus song. I won’t go into detail, but we went through a lot of trouble to record into ProTools because Logic wasn’t co-operating – which, as I later realized, was because we were running the session from a flippin’ MEMORY STICK…!! Serious FacePalm moment right there – we are so retarded…

X-Factor, here we come… Obviously, the second verse lyrics reveals how un-seriously we took this, but we are quite seriously thinking about re-writing that verse and pitching the song to X-Factor or EuroVision or something, cause I think it has just the right amount of cheese for something like that. But you know what, I’ll let you decide for yourself, cause here it is! Haha, enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Lots of luuuv,

Audrey

A Friday to remember…

Friday:

On some days, people and things just annoy me. Everything goes wrong, and everyone gets on my nerves. Today was not one of those days – all though it did kind of start out as one.

I love the unexpected. This morning, on my way to a rehearsal at LIPA, I bumped into Kristian Park, a former LIPA student from Norway. I had no idea he was here, and I was thrilled to hear he was playing tonight at the Leaf. Just to explain how I know this guy, Kristian is actually one of the reasons I came to LIPA in the first place. I went to see him live in Oslo 2 years ago, because I knew some of the guys in his band, and I ended up having some drinks with them after the concert (a concert that blew me right away by the way). Sitting in a kitchen in Oslo, talking to all these ex LIPA students, a close friend of mine (who is also called Kristian, just to add to the confusion) asked me the question that changed EVERYTHING; “Why don’t you apply to LIPA, Audrey?” And that was it. That was what I was supposed to do with myself! A week later, the application and demo cd was sent off to LIPA, and shortly after, I flew out to Liverpool all by my lonesome (on my birthday, might I add) for an audition. Which, as you can guess, went pretty well. And here I am, LOVING it!!

Like I said, today started out as one of those days where everything goes wrong. When you can’t find your wallet and your hair looks shit no matter what you do. And you’re not half as prepared for your ensemble performance as you should be. Ehem. That last one might be a tad too specific for people to relate to. Or not? Aaanyway… After the ensemble concert (which went pretty well by the way – I remembered the lyrics and everything) I went home and made the mistake of sitting down in “The Chair“.

The Day I Got The Chair...

The Chair was my birthday present from Dan & Becky last year, and it is a magical Chair; it sucks you in and casts a spell on you, and you’re lost, LOST I tell ya’…! So of course, I fell asleep, and woke up again at 8, which was when Kristian had said he was playing… I was half afraid I’d missed it, but as I walked up the stairs in LEAF with a coffee mocha, Kristian and his band were just getting ready to play. The TIMING! It was so nice to see him play in Liverpool again, and he did a great concert. As always. I can’t wait for the album to come out this summer! You should check him out on MySpace. Dooo iiit…

Turned out that they were here as a part of something called the Dreamcatcher Tour, where 4 bands from Northern Norway go out and play 4 cities in England. One of the bands had already played when I got there (bugger), but I stayed for the rest of them. Great music, a glass of wine, and peace of mind – I had a magical evening.

The bassist in a couple of the bands (left picture) was epic. I’ve never seen anyone dance that much with any kind of guitar, it was awesome! He put a big phat smile on my face. The last of the Norwegians, Peter Estdahl, was just 18, and such a great artist! Not only was he a great musician, but he was also so comfortable on stage, and in his interaction with the audience. Truly impressed. In addition to all these amazing Norwegians, Dreamcatcher puts a “special guest” on every time, and tonight The Dunwell Brothers Band from Leeds were on last (right picture). They had 3 main vocalists, even the drummer sang a couple of songs (I LOVE drummers who sing!!), and they did lots of lovely harmonies. Also, it was nice to hear some proper good old whaling electric guitar solos again. Such an evening!!

Thank you Kristian! =)

Just to emphasize how great the evening was – and this may not sound like a lot, but it completely made my evening – I give you my list of ten;

10 Reasons why tonight was awesome! 

  1. I was getting change out to pay for my mocha in Leaf, and had exactly £2,20 in my purse. The mocha cost – tamtarataaa – exactly  £2,20.
  2. The artist I came to see started playing 5 minutes after I got there.
  3. All the other artists were very enjoyable.
  4. I got a large glass of white wine, and it was actually really nice. That doesn’t happen every time.
  5. The girl in the bar complimented my purse.
  6. Everybody were so nice at this place!
  7. It was raining pretty heavily during the concert, but when I walked outside – no sign of it.
  8. I had green lights all the way home. On the frequency baby! 😀
  9. When I stopped by BaaBar on the way home, a lot of my friends were there, and I ended up staying for a bit. At one point I found myself in a dance circle with a bunch of people dressed up as old people…! RANDOM!!
  10. My boyfriend came to BaaBar to walk home with me, after doing a big gig in Manchester.

Just little things like this can be enough to turn my whole day around, and that’s exactly what happened tonight. It completely overshadowed the part of the day where I was swearing and yelling because all my necklaces were tangled up, and I couldn’t decide on a dress for the performance, and the flower I put in my hair kept falling out, and I couldn’t find my wallet, or my keys, or my LIPA card, or the cute little black jacket/bolero thing I wanted to wear (did I leave it at yours, Mile…?), and I was late for sound check, and then everything else was late anyway so we didn’t go on until an hour after we were supposed to, and I had to miss out on This Is Two’s big important gig in Manchester because of funds… This may not sound like a lot either, but if you keep focusing on negative things that happen, more negative things will happen. And that’s a terrible frequency to be on.

Now, all I have to do is stay on this frequency. As an attempt of that, I shall give you another List – a List Of Five this time;

5 reasons why tomorrow (Saturday) is gonna be equally awesome!

  1. I can sleep in.
  2. I’m going to a BBQ at my Dolly’s place, to celebrate our birthdays and our general awesomeness.
  3. Dan is making burgers.
  4. I can sleep in. Yes, it’s worth mentioning twice.
  5. It’s my mum’s birthday – of course it will be awesome! Just wish I was there to celebrate it with her.
Me & my Dollyyyy! 3
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So, that said, I think Saturday can roll in. I hope you are all having an awesome weekend! Only one thing left to say;
.
GRATULERER MED DAGEN, MAMMA!!!

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

Can you learn/teach Songwriting…?

“When I write songs, I personally try to avoid forcing anything onto the page. If I get stuck and start over-thinking things too much, what comes out usually isn’t 100% genuine, and in the end, the song is forgotten and never played again. Most of the songs I keep and play over and over, are ones that come fairly easily, and just sort of flow out (definitely not an every day occurrence!).”

From Priscilla Ahn’s blog post successful shopping is like writing a good song“.

Photo: Private (Audrey)

As a part of the Bachelor Degree in Music at LIPA (and every other Music University, I can imagine), we do a class called Songwriting. The name of the class is pretty self explanatory – except in a way, “Hit-writing” would be a more accurate name for it. Because that’s what we do. Write songs with simple chords, a repetitive melody, and lyrics which require no sort of brain activity on the listeners part – we shall say it all straight forward, leaving nothing to imagination and interpretation. They are catchy, catchy songs that get stuck in people’s heads, and they are made for people to sing along with, dance to, and buy – this is the mold in which they are teaching us to write.

So how do I feel about this sort of “music mass production?”, you ask.

Well… To me, the whole concept of teaching and learning Songwriting is pretty absurd, and so is the concept of writing songs with the sole purpose of selling records and making money. During my time in Shine (the R&B group I was a part of in Norway), I never liked the suggestion (which was made more than once) of working with songwriters, singing songs that someone else had written. I know that people do it, and by all means, some artists are performers more than anything, and thank f**k we’re all different, right? But for me to want to do a song that someone else has written, there has to be something about that song that speaks to me emotionally. Like if someone has managed to write the song I couldn’t write, and say what I can’t say, like Unni Wilhelmsen has a habit of doing.

When it comes to writing songs, I always put a little bit of myself in every word, and a song is a feeling I’m trying to express way before it’s a catchy bunch of words that get stuck in your head (even though, as I have always said, if it does get stuck in your head, I know I’ve done my job as a songwriter). I haven’t written the largest catalogue of songs, but every single song I have ever written, is special to me. Most of them, at least up until I started doing Songwriting as a class in Pop Dip last year, have come to me all by themselves. Triggered, off course, by a person, an event, a feeling or a random sentence, but still, I have had no control over when and where the song decided to pop into my head. Inspiration strikes at the most random of times, and when it does, you just have to go with it and write it all down with whatever you have at hand at that exact moment… A notebook, a napkin, a phone even – I have been seen singing into my phone in a corner of a club, because a melody line decided to crash the party. There are not many things that are more annoying than loosing a good hook.

My point is, songs to me have always been something I couldn’t control, couldn’t rush, couldn’t force, they came when they came, and I just had to grab them and hold on for dear life. It was the best feeling in the world when that happened (which wasn’t too often). I never sat down with a notepad and a pen and said to myself, “Right, today I shall write a song about… Coffee.” It didn’t work like that. But now…? Now, I have been forced to think differently, and I gotta tell ya, it-is-weird. Sitting down with a task at hand to write a song about unrequited love for instance, which is the kind of tasks we are being given weekly in this class, feels unbelievably bizarre to me. But surprisingly, it is working. Even though I do feel that most of the things we are being “taught” in these classes are mainly just one man’s opinions (which of course is valuable – but not any more or less so than ANOTHER man’s opinions), I am actually getting something out of it, something way more important than pointers and feedback and suggestions on how to make the chorus more catchy: A kick in the butt to write songs. I am writing again – and I am in control of it. I’m still leaving bits of myself in every word, but unlike before I can now pretty much trigger my own creativity. I realized that even if you do initiate an idea yourself, even if you’re given a topic to write about, even if you are deciding to write the song rather than the song deciding to be written, which is how it has always seemed to me, it is possible to “stay real” and write from the heart.

I guess, to answer my own questions, that no, you can’t teach songwriting. What you can do, is inspire it, trigger it and give someone a kick in the butt.

Can you learn songwriting…? Nah. You can find it though. Your creativity I mean. And sometimes, you need that kick in the butt to get started. But in the end, songwriting should be a personal thing that you share because you want to, to make someone feel something, and because you are proud of what you have created. If you make some money doing that, that’s great. But writing for value often takes the values away. Don’t you think…?

xxx

Another concert!

Another show is now on the list of “Shows To Come” (see menu above), and even though it is not until the 6th of May I thought I’d mention it. It is my Term 2 Ensemble performance, and I am very exited about it. It will be very different from the performances I’ve done in the past, but a little variation never killed anyone, right? I’m with a fun bunch of people, and we’re doing a fun bunch of songs. So far I’m not doing any of my own songs, but that can change off course. The songs we have chosen so far include some hits from the 90’s (but don’t worry, it’s not Backstreet Boys or Bryan Adams – it’s the cool stuff…) and a Maria Mena song. If you don’t know who she is, I strongly recommend that you check her out. She is a great Norwegian singer/songwriter and is currently in the process of recording her 6th album, which I am very much looking forward to hearing. I had the pleasure of meeting her (very briefly) in Stavanger many years ago, and she is just lovely. She has a beautiful voice and her songs are honest and heart-wrenching and fun – some critics have criticized her for being too honest, but we don’t care about the critics, do we?

Anyway, the song I’m doing is this one; He’s Hurting Me…

It’s very dark, but I love it. Especially the drums are amazing, and the way she uses her voice. Loves it!

Gotta go now, I have a class (if you can call 45 minutes of running and jumping and doing press-ups a class), but I will leave you with another one of the songs we’re doing in the ensemble performance on May 6th. I was gonna keep it a secret, but what the heck… I remember this song from the first cd I ever bought –  Absolute Music 16 -and it brings me right back to 1996. Hereyago – Missing, by Everything But The Girl… Remember?