Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Wow, I realize it has been a while since my last post.
And boy have I been busy!
These past few months I have been finishing up my new album ‘Indelible.’ I went to Lark in the Morning music camp, Burningman, participated in fun festivals like the Handcar Regatta and the Rivertown Revival, and went on tour with Those Darn Accordions. I’ve been continuing to learn accordion repair at Smythe’s
While all of these fun and amazing opportunities have been mind expanding and wonderful, there has continued to loom the question of how does an independent artist make a living at this lifestyle?
In the year of “going for it,” that question has not been fully answered. I have continued to have the lucky support of the years I spent working as an architect in the form of unemployment. Which will soon be ending.
So far, it seems that touring has been a semi-lucrative strategy. Luckily my new album is almost done, and I will have new music to sell. But do people really buy CDs and music anymore? I am also learning to silk-screen. I am excited to be offering merchandise with my fun new logo-design. I don’t want to just offer the standard t-shirts – I want to have many types of up-cycled clothing with cool custom Amber Lee and the Anomalies designs on them. I am just now working on the first versions.
And I have also launched a Kickstarter fundraiser. This trend has become popular in the self-funded world of indie music and films. So far I have paid for this entire album out of my own pocket – and I am amazed that I have been able to afford it. I have made sacrifices and special arrangements to make sure that this album gets done before I loose momentum.
I am SO excited about these new songs and the way the have turned out! And I also decided to have it mixed by the talented and renowned engineer, Oz Fritz.
So now I am on the brink of it’s release, doing some accounting, and realizing the real cost of creating - $4,095 so far, and I haven't yet mastered it, or sent it to print. Oy.
This Kickstarter fundraiser is a way to pre-sell the album to my fans, and is a way to hopefully pay myself back for the cost of this album. One can always hope.
As I reflect on the cost of creation, I now feel guilty for all of those albums that I have gotten for free by downloading them from my friends… and all the other things I have felt entitled to receive for free… And yet, I know that without that access I would not have nearly as much appreciation for all of the amazing artists that have entered my ears and heart. I feel like I am inspired to try to give back to these artists in some way now that I am “living the dream.” And yet, I don’t really have the money at this point in my life. I will pledge to make contributions to them when I am able to make a reasonable living at this music lifestyle. I'm starting a list. If you think you need to be on it, please let me know :-).
And so, with that, I am asking for support.
I would love to give you my music for free because I want you to hear it, and enjoy the experience that it gives you.
And I also want to continue to be able to make music for you, and for the world which requires that I make money. There has got to be a way to make these two ideas work together.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Since I’ve been back from my European tour, I have been in the Amber Lee and the Anomalies Dream Factory:
Working on the 2011 Accordion Babes Album and Pin-up Calendar submission including mixing a song for the Album, and doing a photoshoot, working on new art for the album cover, tshirts, and merchandise. And last but not least, recording a new track for my upcoming album.
The first order of business was to finish mixing the song “Alpha.” I co-wrote this song with Devra Wolf. She and I originally met through West Coast Songwriters, but continued to foster our friendship in Jai Josefs' Saturday Songshop where we co-wrote two songs. They’re both “hits,” but I thought Alpha would be a fun one for the calendar.
You can get a preview and listen to it on my website here.
The next thing I had to do was to fly up to
But, we got amazing pictures!
Nothing like time alone in a foreign country to jump-start the creative juices! I wrote a song that I knew had to make it onto this upcoming album. So I squeaked it in with some help from Jesse Wickman and two other ubiquitous
Thursday, June 17, 2010
So the last stop on my 4 week tour was
A beautiful, cosmopolitan, Spanish city!
Luckily, I got a gig, and found a couch to surf!
While I was in
I spent many days in
I have finally officially surfed my first couch through Couchsurfers. Al-berto was my host – he lives in a comfy flat with two cats, and it was so nice to be his guest for 3 days. Al was a great host; he made me dinner, and invited me to tag along with him and his friend Sylvia. We had a lot to talk about, and it was great seeing the city through a local’s eyes. Although Al is fluent in English, he and his friends often spoke Catalan while I was with them – I realized how different it is than Spanish!
My last three nights were spent at the Kabul Hostel. It made me very glad that I found homey, free places to stay with friends almost my entire trip! I am much more interested in playing music, and connecting with other musicians and locals than being a tourist.
One thing I found really lovely in
I have been thinking a lot about how this is just the beginning of creating my European fan base – I will need to return to make this trip worth all the effort. If I don’t go back and continue to play in the communities that I connected with, I will never reap the benefit of all the seeds I have sewn. So I’m already starting to think about next year.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Well they say ‘
I ended up in
Luckily the apartment is close to a Metro station, and luckily I have had an internet connection. Both have allowed me to take advantage of my situation. I have decided to be a tourist this week – and I used Couchsurfing to make some new friends!
My first full day in
My two new Couchsurfing friends are Luca and Armando. Each has graciously spent time with me telling me their perspectives on this city. Luca is a freelance comedy writer for Italian television. And Armando is a musician and film editor. Both have confirmed to me that the local artists’ scene is small in
I had thought of busking on the street, and making a little money – Daniele is the vice-president of the street performer’s alliance here in
I did go see the Sistine Chapel in the
And the archeological sites that crop out at every turn in this city! It’s hard not to stumble on history here. But it’s also interesting for this California Girl to imagine how hard it must be to build new buildings here. And to wonder how people can have a sense of the future in a city so obsessed with it’s past!
I’m really looking forward to
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Chris lives in his family’s old farmhouse in a small village (apx. 800 people) named Hergolshausen, which is in the Franconian part of
My first gig was at The Standard in
Friday was my designated day to go to Klingenthal on the Czech border and see the Weltmeister Factory. We got the factory just in time for a short tour; it was Friday and they closed at noon. I found the room where they put together the bass mechanism the most interesting. Looking at the racks of pins and levers and buttons – trying to figure out how they all go together… it was a mesmerizing puzzle. Then Chris and I took a little trip over to the next town where there was a museum of musical instruments. There were instruments of all sorts – from violins, to tubas, to clarinets and accordions, guitars, pianos, autoharps and fun old music boxes with classic German marches and waltzes.
My second gig was at Café Vondran on Saturday night in
Sunday night Chris took me into Bamburg to crash a Jam Session at a club and play a few songs – it actually went really well… I was surprised! The players were all guys jamming out on classic-rock style music. I decided to be brazen and went up on stage between songs and took the mic. The drummer and bas player tried to follow along… Luckily I sold some CDs.
Monday was another tourist day for me. Bernd, the manager at Café Vondran, acted as my tour guide and took me to see Rothenberg ob der Tauber which is a medieval walled city with Tudor style buildings and a museum of torture devices that made my stomach queasy. But it was overall a very charming and wonderful city with lots of cutesy shops.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning in