Moments that make me smile… :-D

Easter Top 5 (in random order):

  • The Concert at Café Sør. 
  • BBQ at my parents’ house
  • Hanging out at Kristian and Marita’s
  • The Weather! I’ve got a tan line!!! And a sunburned nose!
  • The last night, with a belated birthday dinner at YaYa’s, and a great night at Milena’s. 

My Easter was jam packed with fun, sun, family, friends and concert preparations. I had a great two weeks at home, starting with a week on Kristian and Marita’s couch in Bygdøy, one of the most beautiful parts of Oslo. It’s a half island, and has lots of awesome houses and trees and beaches and stuff. And museums. It’s great.

See? Luuuuvly.

But the best thing about Bygdøy is without a doubt the house in which I spent a week of rehearsing and fun – The Winther residence. It’s like a little bubble of love it’s easy to feel welcome in. They are large consumers of tea and tea lights, and so was I that week, in a desperate attempt to fight off a very inconvenient cold – seriously, the TIMING…! But cold or not, I had a great time. We even took a family portrait, see?

The week of concert preparations was only interupted by an awesome BBQ with the whole family at my parents’ house in Jevnaker, where I got to eat awesome food, wear a dress, shoot with an air gun,

and hang out with these guys;

Actually, the BBQ wasn’t my only distraction from the rehearsals… I had to take the opportunity to see some of my favorite people while I was in Oslo, and the weather was so damn nice all week I couldn’t possibly stay inside…

Sunday came quick enough, and Concert Day was upon us… My throat was thankfully better, if not well, and the cough attacks weren’t as frequent. Marita did a great job of curling my hair, while we went through the songs one last time…

When we finally made it down to Café Sør, it turned out the other act had cancelled, so I was the only artist playing. That would have made me really nervous, if it wasn’t for all the familiar faces in the audience. Seriously, I am so glad so many of you came out to see me, it meant a LOT! I’m not saying I didn’t get nervous though – trust me, I was feeling it… First time in Oslo and everything. But all the love from my loves definitely helped calm the nerves. So THANK YOU! 😀

I also hope you enjoyed the birthday cake. I know I did!

Mmmm, the awesome, awesome birthday cake...

After the concert, we stayed for one more night at the Winthers, celebrating,

before we went to stay with my parents in Jevnaker for the rest of the holiday. And man, was it nice to sleep in my own bed for once…!! In case you don’t know, I’m a country girl, and it was lovely to spend some quality time with the peace and quiet countryside. To illustrate the loveliness; This was practically my playground growing up:

Family, friends and sun, and my birthday, which I have allready told you all about…

Mmmm, cake...

Everything comes to an end, as did Easter… Dan left on Friday, after a day with the Big C and the (other) dawg, the hansomne Nero,

and on Saturday I went back to Oslo for a belated birthday dinner with (some of) the girls, and a Lykke Li concert with my girl Milena before departure.

The concert was good, but of course the drunkest idiot in Rockefeller (which, believe me, is saying a lot..!) HAD TO stand next to me… After poring half his beer down my lap and throwing the rest of it into the crowd – what an absolute moron – he spent the rest of the concert “dancing” and elbowing me in the back… I can’t remember the last time I wanted to punch someone that much. Of course, the beer-in-lap incident happened just as Lykke Li started singing my favorite song of hers and the one song I was really looking forward to hearing. Way to ruin an evening. Grr…

The evening was saved though, by a lovely (as always) night at Milena’s. Pizza, soul heeling music, great conversations and a cat on my lap. That has to be one of my favorite places in the world.

After about an hour’s sleep, Eileen and Lars picked me up to go to the airport, and that was it – time to go back. Bye bye Norway,

hello Liverpool…

Naturally enough, I slept through most of the journey, sitting up in the car and the plane, which is probably the reason my back decided to cave in earlier today. No worries, it will probably sort itself out after a day or two, but it sucks to barely be able to move… Boohoo… Going to bed now, and hoping I will manage to scrape myself out of bed tomorrow for A Cappella class at ten… Wish me luck!

I hope you have all had a great Easter, and wish you all a happy week, filled with moments that make you smile. 😀

Lots of luuuv,

Audrey

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Happy birthday to meeee!! :-D

Yup, another year has passed, since I entered the world in a terrible snowstorm. And yes, snowstorm – on April 27th..! Which is probably the reason I have never gotten along with King Winter. It was COLD. Or so I have been told.

I have had a great day, starting off with getting up early for breakfast at my sister’s,

where I got to flirt with this guy ❤
And later on, this maniac here (the small one)
I also got the perfect pressie, from my sisters and their families; The perfect dose of fun and yumminess;
love Nemi (An awesome Norwegian cartoon that you can check out online in English here), and the Easter egg is full of candy that I will have aaall to myself in the UK cause nobody there likes salty candy! Oh JOY!!!! And yes, the green bag is full of them to… REFILL!! ;-P
Oh, and my Lovely was there to.
Of course, there is no birthday without cake, and I had prepared my awesome home made lemon cheese cake the night before. We brought it over to my grandmother and had a taste, and it was just as good as it looks (strawberry design by Dan). I’m tellin’ ya – mmmmm….
Desert first, then there was dinner. I had a lovely chinese meal at Ta Shun with family, Dan and Eileen. Very very lovely.
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As if we weren’t full enough, we had some ice cream,
before we went home for more cheese cake, coffee, guitar’ing on the porch and a film. Luuuuuv’ly! ❤
It was nice to be home for my birthday for once. I’ll probably do some more celebrating on Saturday, when I am going to Oslo to see Lykke Li live with Milena and Eileen, and hopefully go for dinner with a bunch of people before the show, and/or drinks with a bunch of people afterwards.
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Right now I’m exhausted, and absolutely overwhelmed with all the texts, calls, messages and wall posts I got today, wishing me a happy birthday. I haven’t had a chance to reply to them all, but know that I truly appreciate your words and cyber-hugs! I LOVE YOU TO!!! ❤
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Sleepy time now. Have a good night, day, week and weekend!
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Lots of love,
Audrey

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

Where it all began…

The picture that sent me back…
Growing up, I never had singing lessons, or piano lessons, or guitar lessons. My two older sisters, my heroes, were both in the school choir, and I used to sit in my pajamas and look at them with envy when they were rehearsing in the living room. It was after my bed time, but I forced myself to stay up. I knew all the songs. I knew what song they were gonna sing before they started, because I knew the pictures in the song book. They were part of so many shows and performances, and I couldn’t WAIT till I to was old enough to join. Off course, the year I was old enough to join, was the year they decided to put the choir down. I was heartbroken. 
So I never had music lessons, and my performances stayed restricted to singing on the living room table (yes, I said ON the table) whenever we had people over for cake and coffee, and forcing them to clap afterwards. I have got the impression I was a bit of a dictator – I was also ordering my family around in the living room acting out scenes from my favorite play. I’m sure it got old after a while – especially that scene where they had to carry me around in a blanket. I might not have had the training, but I sure had some fun. 
What we did have though, was an organ. An old, electrical organ which I was convinced had mice living in it. My one year younger brother and I used to lay down on the floor and stare into the hole where the pedals were, but it was always too dark to see anything. We never did find mice in there, not a single one. I don’t quite know why we had it, because no one in the family played, but I am very glad we did. When I wasn’t looking for mice in the organ, I played on it, and with it. I got to know the keys, the image of them and the sound of them, and I taught myself little melodies. I spent many hours on that thing, and maybe that was a part of what triggered my passion…? 
Later, when I was around ten and the organ was long gone, my parents gave me a keyboard for christmas. The year after that, my first guitar was wrapped and hid until the very last moment on christmas eve so I wouldn’t guess – after all, a guitar is pretty hard to camouflage… I was thrilled, and spent many days and nights practicing chords in my room, but to my great despair, I never got as good as my uncle. My uncle was my first guitar hero. He spent hours with me, singing and playing, and there is a cassette somewhere, with a recording of a particular singing session we did when I was 4. He is definitely also a huge part of my musicality. 
I kept playing, now and then, without really getting past boring; stuck on the same old chords and the Tom Dooley type strumming. I sang in my room, loud, with Celine Dion and No Doubt and Destiny’s Child on the stereo, loud, until parents and siblings almost knocked the walls down to make me shut up. I loved singing, but I never dared to raise my hand when we were doing bands at school and the teacher asked who wanted to sing. Lord knows I wanted to, so bad, my arm was twitching… But in a small place like the town I grew up in, it is difficult to raise your voice. You shouldn’t think that you can sing, or do anything else creative, because that makes you self important. “You big ego”, was one of the names that were called when people “thought they were good” at something. So I kept my mouth shut, and kept singing in my room. Music was just a distant dream. And then, there was Julie. Julie came twirling into my life at the speed of light and made me see that I actually COULD sing, and that if that’s what I wanted do, then to hell with everything else. She dragged me along with her, up on that stage she was practically raised on, and I never wanted to come back down. She is the Music Of My Heart, she taught me to believe in myself, and I owe her for that kick in the butt. 
We were a trio, then a duo, a trio and a duo again. We sang, we danced, we wrote, and we dreamt big. When the time came for college, I went to a music college where I finally got lessons in singing, piano and guitar, as well as my first meeting with music theory and finally fulfilling my childhood dream of being in a choir. I started being creative in more ways than before, and I was suddenly starting to make music, instead of just lyrics. After college, I moved to Oslo to be closer to Julie, who was finishing dance college there, and got a job in a kindergarten. I was also babysitting a lot of the kids on the side. The extra nights babysitting ended up giving me more than money and a growing love for these kids – one of the families actually GAVE me a piano! A big, black, wonderful, out of tune Gröndahl piano, which my landlord helped me pick up and put in the garage above my flat. I loved my piano. I spent ages, freezing my fingers off up in that garage, teaching myself to play “Für Elise” from sheet music, and eventually, songs of my own came rushing through me. 
There are oh so many people who have had a great impact on my life. Kristian, my second guitar hero, has always inspired me and pushed me forward. Milena has been my biggest fan since before everything, and is always the first to hear my songs. Kenneth gave me experience in the studio, and lots of good times, and  Guro Dugstad gave me singing lessons and introduced me to new techniques. Then there is off course the Straume family, who GAVE me that piano. Unni Wilhelmsen, my third guitar hero, who made me believe I could also get good when she told me she had only played guitar for a year when she recorded my all time favorite album. Amy, who made me realize I could just get up and move to New York to write a book if I wanted to. Line, the best boss in the world, who in a matter of seconds managed to somehow flip a switch in my head that made me do those exams I had never considered before, and finish school. 
When it comes to flick switching, life altering moments, there is one moment I see as the end of before, and the start of now. It was in a kitchen in Oslo, after an amazing concert with a former LIPA student. I came with Kristian because we knew some members of this guy’s band, also former LIPA students. The concert blew me away, but that’s not the most amazing thing that happened that night. Sitting in a kitchen after this concert, talking about music, Kristian looks at me and asks me a question I cannot answer. Out of the blue, he asks me; “Why don’t you apply to LIPA, Audrey?” I was stunned, and simply couldn’t speak. That was it. Why the f**k don’t I apply to LIPA?? My life made sense in that very moment. Everything made sense. I could see how every day had been leading up to this very moment. Within the next month I recorded a demo, sent an application, went to Liverpool by myself to audition, and got a place on a one year Diploma course in singing. I packed up and left Oslo, left Norway, to finally spread my wings and fly into the world. Enough talk – this was it. 
That year, I learned so much. About music technology, theory, sound, production, business, the music industry… I found my forth guitar hero, my producer, my visionary, and my love. And yes, they are all the same person. Dan sees things I don’t, and he makes my music great. He makes me great. And that pretty much brings us up to date. Here I am today, a couple of months into my 3 year Bachelor Degree in music. Not bad, for the girl who wasn’t gonna study, ever… I may be a late bloomer, but I get there eventually. As for where I will go from here and now, I have no idea. But I trust that whatever lucky fairy who has been looking out for me so far, will keep hanging around. Actually, I don’t have ONE lucky fairy, I have plenty. As do we all. And I know exactly who they are to. They are called friends and family. The people in your life who are there at the right place and the right time, who say things that makes you think, who inspire you, kick you in the bum when you need it, and help you up from a fall when you need that. I don’t need anything else to believe in when I got angels like this in my life. ❤
What about you? Where did it all begin for you? Who are your angels, your lucky fairies? Do you have any flick switching, life altering moments behind you? Please do share! =)
Peace, flowers and love,
Audrey

Vocalboost and early mornings

Hmmph… Turns out I’m not recording vocals today after all, because Dan and the guys are recording some ThisIsTwo stuff… Bummer, I was really looking forward to finishing Another Song. Oh well. I guess that gives me time to work on my music theory or something. I do need it. Actually, I have found an awesome Music Theory App for my iPhone which makes it a LOT easier. Today I finally cracked the key signature code, and I totally rock on key signatures now. An hour ago, I didn’t. 
IPhone Apps are great. Whatsapp Messenger (gotta love the name right?) allows me to text (all my THREE friends who also has it) for free. I just got one for budgeting and keeping track of expenses, which is VERY handy, and I have to-do-lists and shopping-lists and you name it. And maybe the best one, is the one that allows me to listen to all the main radio stations in Norway. And off course I gotta mention the Facebook app and all the games… If you still haven’t tried Doodle Jump, Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds, I strongly recommend that you get on the case right away. You might not see the sun for a couple of days once you get sucked in, but what’s a couple of days, right?
Today has been a good day. I had serious trouble getting up this morning, but that’s nothing new. I managed to drag myself in for A Cappella at 9:30, and except from some major trouble us alto’s had with this ONE line of the christmas song we’re working on at the moment, which resulted in us having to stand in “the circle of shame”, as Ian calls it, it was great. ;-P We also got the message that Body Conditioning class was cancelled, which didn’t exactly make us any less happy. That actually meant I didn’t have any more classes until Ensemble at 5, so I went home and organized my big mess of a pile of papers/notes from LIPA, and started going through receipts from this month before they disappear in the big black hole that is my room. Cause I know they will. 
Ensemble was good, as always. I love my ensemble, and I love working on that song again… It is so much fun to sing something that far from what I normally do. I can’t wait to perform it again! I had a major boost when we went through it for the first time last week. You see, I can actually feel that something has happened with my voice since I last sang it, two years ago. I’m singing RIGHT now, not only can I reach the notes, but it comes easy, no pain! Such an amazing feeling! And it is always nice to get good feedback, especially in a crowd like this. Fun times! 😀
I’m gonna squeeze in a bit of theory now, before sleepy time. I’ve got 3 hours of Professional Development first thing in the morning, so I need my sleep if I’m gonna stay awake for that… Don’t get me wrong, it’s interesting stuff, I just have biiig problems paying attention in situations like that, when I have to sit still and just listen to someone talk. ADD has been suggested by a couple of my near and dear ones, and I don’t completely disregard it. Coffee makes me TIRED as well, which apparently is another symptom. 
I hope you have all kicked the week off with a smile!
I LOVE YOU!
Lots of luuuuv,
Audrey
PS
One good reason to love today:
It is Tuesday, and in a week today, Silly is coming to visit from Norway, with a suitcase full of hugs and Norwegian candy! ❤

Another Long Monday…

Eileen, me and Katrine

Yup, the backing vocals are done, and sounding great, thanks to these lovely ladies. Like I suspected, they kind of have a similar type of voice, and sound really good together. I didn’t finish my vocals in the end, because we spent so long working out and recording the harmonies, but that’s ok. Tomorrow is another day. Technically, today is also another day, but Dan and Alex are rehearsing with This Is Two tonight, and I am not yet good enough friends with ProTools to record by my lonesome. 
It’s probably a good thing that I have nothing on tonight. It has been a loooong day, like Mondays are. The week is kicked off at 9:15 by an hour and a half of hard exercise; Aerobics, strength and street dance choreography. Then I have a couple of hours to get home, have a shower and eat, before I go back in at 1 for 5 hours straight of lessons, with no more than one 5 minute break. Theory, theory, percussion and more music theory. Those last 2 hours straight of theory are long… It’s getting pretty advanced now as well, and I must say, I’m struggling a bit with all the scales and 7th chords and harmonizing with Tritone substituted secondary Dominant chords. My brain feels like jelly, and I feel completely incapable of doing anything other than watching something that doesn’t require any kind of brain function on some sort of screen. Like Sex And The City. Oh joy. I know, I know, it is kind of silly. But it has served as therapy for me many times in the past, if I ever felt down, or pissed off, and it still makes me smile. Apart from every time Carrie and Big breaks up. And that one time with Aidan. Devastating. 
Aaaanyway. That’s as much activity my brain can take for the evening I think, so I’m gonna go. 
Oh my god, Eileen just came waltzing in and surprised me with lovely Norwegian chocolate!! 😀 Just what I needed tonight! That, and the talk I had with my sister on Skype earlier, and my amazing nephew who couldn’t stop kissing the screen. The good times always outweigh the bad. Thank fuck for that. 
I LOVE YOU!! …and my nephew. And Norwegian chocolate. ;-P
Lots of luuuv,
Audrey 
Oh, and Sex And The City was beat by American Dad. It happens.

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