Reflections after recording in Europe
Two weeks ago I returned to Los Angeles from recording in Berlin and Lisbon. I am a changed woman.
The BREAKING SHADOWS album is recorded. It is a 17 track beast of an album. Granted, 5 of those tracks are “interludes” instead of fully arranged songs, but it’s still 17 tracks.
At Viktoria Studio, Berlin.
There is something about bringing into form a creative project in a different city that changes my relationship to it. I feel a piece of me is now rooted in the ever changing pulse of Berlin. Another piece of me is swirling in the windy sunsets above Lisbon.
To see video clips the recording process in both cities, go to my Instagram page and watch the highlights titled “LISBON rec” and “BERLIN rec”.
My music is also changed from these experiences. Songs are rooted in the moment in which they were written. In performance songs are reborn to exist in that particular place and time. Recordings become timeless things, but they are rooted in the moment in which a song was captured, was crystallized into recording. And so the quality of the air in Berlin and in Lisbon, the rhythm of those cities transit systems, the laughter and facial expressions of the people in the room, their feelings and thoughts as they played, they are all crystalized in these songs.
I’m incredibly grateful for all the people who embraced working with me on this album, who have become part of my creative family. I feel blessed that I followed my intuition overseas to not only find musicians and engineers who understood my vision in a new way, but also that recording aboard has been much easier on my budget making completing this album possible.
at Funkhaus with Stefan Fuhr on bass, Jerome Bonapart on drums & Sugbear on electric guitar.
In the past two months I have had moments of being overwhelmed with a sense of completion and responsibility while standing before crews of musicians and engineers willing and excited to lend their skills to my vision, who also expect me to bring my best to the table. I have needed to perform at a high level as a singer and musician while making countless decisions with a level of calm; all this while watching the clock. I have been learning to trust my capacity to show up in every moment, to be a performer without over thinking, to be a leader.
On the Board
Andy Schlegel at Tricon Studio, Funkhaus
Leadership is a dance between planning, weighing the needs of people along side the needs of the vision, keeping track of time, keeping track of bugdets, keeping track of your personal needs, and simply continuing to take action. Doing this in a different country is both refreshing and awkward; refreshing because there’s new approaches of artistic process to engage with mixed with an excitement of foreign exchange. It is sometimes awkward in cultural translation. Even though people use the same language —in this case English— it does not mean that they speak the same cultural language. Sometimes it’s easier to play the music and find the communication there. Sometimes I have found the need to simply apologize and clarify.
It is hard for me to put into words my feelings of elation and anxiousness as I near the completion of a vision I’ve held most of my life; of a project that has taken five years to complete from the time of inception.
with Rita Senhor
at Cais Do Sodre metro station in Lisbon after a long vocal session.
The past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on my intention as an artist. I am aware of two central intentions, both of equal weight. One is to articulate my authenticity which I believe also reflects the experiences of others, mainly of women. The other is to build community and to create experiences that nurture the individuals in that community.
Community forms around art and culture, but before that community begins to gather, there is the community built in order to create the art and culture in the first place. I am taking my role as community builder at this level more seriously.
Of RELATIIV recording guest vocals at Viktoria Studio
I am now leaning into the themes of the BREAKING SHADOWS album while finishing mixing long distance and beginning the process of photo and video shoots to represent the music. Embodying the concert of “breaking shadows” is my daily meditation. I’m both excited and nervous to begin this stage of the process, trusting my capacity to vibrate positive.
I grew up dancing professionally and I compose and arrange my music from a very kinesthetic place. While I often play concerts solo on guitar and foot percussion —and it is important to me that my music can be performed in a power outage— I feel my music with a full band sound. When possible, I enjoy putting down my guitar and embracing the music as a singing mover; to dance the feeling that gave birth to a particular guitar riff or horn line through the fluid articulation of an arm while my feet tap out the drum pattern and my hips connect the two. It is important to me to articulate this kind of musical movement in the visual culture of this album.
Shadow & Light Play
And so I am entering the next stage of creative team building, of community building. BREAKING SHADOWS is now entering it’s final stage of completion.
Tentative release date for the album is Oct 1st….. stay tuned.
PHOTO GALLERY BELOW, in order left to right. 1. Amoy Ribas on percussion. 2. At board Tricon Studio. 3. Garet and Andy investigate a vintage moog for sounds. 4. With guitarist Sugbear Narin at Badahaus for SWAG Jam. 5. In the vocal booth Viktoria Studio. 6. With keys player Alejandro Marulanda after an overdub session. 7. Sanne Möricke recording accordion. 8. Laura Lloretta at Viktoria Studio. 9. Christian Dawid recording winds.