Cross Canada Tour Update/Sometimes We Just Need to Keep Fighting For What We Love

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Help me go on tour this summer! Click below to donate;

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I was just looking back at my post from February 2 of this year. I was talking about how I wanted to go on a Cross Canada Tour this summer. I wanted to combine music with travel and apply for the Via Rail “Artists on Board Program.” Well the good news is I am going on a music tour this summer.  It will soon be happening in less than a month. In less than a month I will be heading to Halifax with my boyfriend. So far I have 2 shows in Montreal and 2 in Regina. I’m waiting to confirm one in Toronto on the 13th of July. Well this has been my first attempt at going on a music tour. I can’t say I’ve done it it all perfectly. It many ways is a real humble little makeshift music tour. I had this vision of traveling across Canada and sharing my music both at venues in cities along the way and on the Canadian Via Rail trains. As I wrote in my earlier post that Via Rail has an Artist on Board Program where you can ride the train for free in exchange for live performances. My vision was to get on that program so I could ride the train for free and share my music. I applied for the Artist on Board Program but unfortunately did get accepted.

Let me tell you guys when you have a vision and a calling for your life sometimes things can get hard. Sometimes the opposite of what you hope, dream and plan happens. There are road blocks along the way to your dream and your vision. But I want to tell you not to give up! Sometimes even the people closest to us don’t agree with what we are doing with our lives. Often we have to keep going no matter what is thrown against us. We have to be willing not to quit. Yeah there have been times where I’ve wanted to not go through with this tour. I’ve had some rejection, some set backs, some people not quite getting what I’m doing and the biggest thing is that I’ve struggled with my own self doubt. But I have to make a choice, I have to stay true to the vision I committed myself to this summer. I have to keep going when the pressure is on. And believe me the pressure can come on quite strong. I want to encourage you guys not to give up. Make it your goal to pursue what you love relentlessly. Your life may not look like what everyone else’s does but you are a unique individual.

So the latest with me? I will be putting on a house concert next Saturday June 13 at 7:30pm in my buildings common room. I will be taking donations at the door and will have some artwork and crafts for sale too.  There will be free food and drinks with some great live music. Stephanie Ratcilff a local Vancouver musician will be there performing too. It will be a great night.

I am still going to go on my tour. You can check my “Shows” page for details. I plan to update on my blog as I go this summer. I also have a Crowd Funding Campaign that I put together. If you want to donate to my tour that would be awesome. For your donation you can claim “perks.” Click on the link above to support the tour.
 Happy dreaming, creating and doing what you love to do,

Got to Record a New Song at the Studio

Recording the vocal tracks to my song "Words Can't Express."
Recording the vocal tracks to my song “Words Can’t Express.”

Yesterday I got to record a new song at White Water Studios in Surrey, B.C. This recording session was a part of one of the courses I’ve been taking at school. The course was a song writing lab. Each of us in the class wrote 2 songs and these songs were workshopped by the class and instructor. I got some great feedback and input into my songs. I picked the song “Words Can’t Express” to get recorded in the studio yesterday. It was so great to be back in the studio after a couple of years. I got to work with Roy Salmond, the studio owner, producer and musician and Carolyn Arends. Caroline Arends is a seasoned performer and songwriter. She has released several albums and gone on tours all over North America. She lived in Nashville for a while. She is well known in the Christian Contemporary music world. I would classify her music as folk rock though.

It was such a treat to work with Carolyn and Roy. They did a good job working with me and making my song sound great. I put a good 8 1/2 hours in at the studio. One of my classmates Tyler, was recording his song “Nightmare.” I got to watch Carolyn and Roy work on his song. It was such a great experience.

I loved the experience so much that I asked Roy if he’d be willing to work with me further and help me record and produce a full length album. I have my EP “Free Child” but feel I’m due for a full length album soon. I just e-mailed Roy my vision for my album. He said he’d love to work with me when I’m ready. I would have to have a plan for funding the album. Recording and production can be an expensive process. I plan to have my song posted up soon on this website for you guys to listen to. For now here are some pictures from yesterday. Enjoy.

Roy working on adjusting the levels for my vocals.
Tyler chilling with Roy’s guitars.
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Roy adjusting the levels on my vocals
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Carolyn recording the guitar part for my song.
Another shot of me recording my vocals
Another shot of me recording my vocals

Performing at the Mix at the Belmont Bar in Vancouver

I’m excited to announce I’ll be playing at the Mix, a night of music and networking in Vancouver. This is a night where 5 Vancouver singer/songwriters showcase their music. Five music industry guests will be in attendance. Musicians network with these music industry guests and have a chance to get their music out there. The event is open to friends, family and the general public. The event will take place at 7pm, Tuesday February 24th at the Belmont Bar, 1006 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 1L5. Cover is $12. I’m excited to be a part of this. I will have my friend Tom Lum coming to play drums for me. If you are in Vancouver come on out!

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Hoping to Combine Music and Travel This Summer 2015

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Here is a picture of me back from Spring 2012. I was playing the Lonsdale Spring Celebration right near where I live in North Vancouver. I thought I’d share it with you guys.

Well today I came across something really cool on the Canada Via Rail website. Via Rail, one of Canada’s railway companies let’s musicians take the train across Canada for free in exchange for live performances on the train. I thought that would be a great way to combine my passion for music and travel in one. I could go sometime this summer, play music and see the country. I think it sounds like a great deal. I would love stop in cities like Winnipeg and Montreal along the way. I’ve grown up in Canada my whole life but I’ve never gone across the country. One of the things via rail asks of the musicians performing on board is that they play some Canadian content in their musical sets. Can you just see me playing some Joni Mitchell tunes going through the prairies? So cool. Stay tuned friends!

Sometimes Words Are Not Enough

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I have been thinking a lot more lately about music. As well I have been practicing a lot more. I have been thinking about music practice and songwriting and how much of a discipline it truly its.  Before music school I used to have this idea in my head that songwriting was all about inspiration. You had to wait for those moments when the song just “comes” to you.  I have found this not to be true. As my guitar teacher Mark Hildderbrand puts it “Often you have go chase creativity.” Yes we have to work for that song. Creativity is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Songwriting requires a lot of thought, input from others,  playing around with the chords and melodies and patience. I have learned that songwriting is a journey. I am not going to become a great songwriter and seasoned musician overnight. It requires work and dedication. I requires trying, working, failing and trying working and failing all over again.

Last night I had my songwriting class at school. This is a class where we are writing songs, performing them in front of the class and getting input from the class mates and teacher. With shaking hands I played my songs for the class. They didn’t sound as great as they did in my head. My guitar playing is a choppy and off the beat as I play some chords I don’t usually play. I stand there and graciously accept constructive criticism from the class and instructor. My songs my brain children, my creations and are picked apart. This is not my favourite part about music and songwriting but I’m learning it is essential. We need other people in our songwriting journey. Sometimes we need to face the truth that we are not as great as we think we are. We need constructive criticism so that we can grow and become better.

After class I felt a little discouraged. I felt like “Man 10 plus years of playing the guitar and I’m still not that great.” I also think to myself that I should have it by now. I should after over 10 years be a much better musician than I am. I wallow in a cloud of self pity of my transit ride back home from school. You know what, who cares if I’m not the best. Who cares if 10 plus years have gone by and I’ve made slower progress than a lot of other people. I still have many years ahead of me to get it right. Self pity you suck!!  But as artists we can get like this. We need to be gentle with ourselves. I have written before that in order to be a good artist we must first have the courage to be a bad artist. This is very freeing for me. It’s ok to suck for a while so that eventually I can be awesome. This inspires me to not give up!

I love the quote pictured above. Sometimes there just are no words only music and only a song. Music transcends barriers and reaches into the very core of one’s being. That’s my goal I want to become so good that my music reaches people’s very centre. I am a unique person with a unique voice and a unique message to share with the world. And you my friends are unique in your own way too. So let your originality shine and be your best self. Listen or play some of your favourite music today.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

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I love this quote and find a lot of freedom in it. So often we get caught up in not being able to make decisions. We get paralyzed with fear. This quote frees us up to take chances. As on of my favourite speakers Joyce Meyer puts it “sometimes you need to step out and find out.” Is there a painting class you want to sign up for? A trip you want to take? Do you want to try you hand at some stand up comedy? Then go for it. Now do everything within reason. Don’t hurt anyone in the process and don’t jump off a bridge thinking you can fly. Do take positive risks though.

Here is a list of risks I would like to take;

1. Take time off work to travel – possibly to Australia and New Zealand

2. Record a full length album for my music and pay for it through crowd funding.

3 Move to a different area of town.

4 Do some more couch surfing.

5. Play a different instrument like the mandolin at an open mic or one of my shows(I usually play guitar)

What’s your list? What creative risks would you like to take? Fears aside you deserve to go for it!!

I Will Be Showing My Artwork at the 2015 North Shore Art Crawl

I am pleased to announce I will be part of the North Shore Art Crawl!!!

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Show times are March 7&8th 2015

Location Kara’s Home studio: buzzer #98-1415 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver

time: 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday

Come on out to my studio apartment to view my artwork, feather jewellery and photo cards. I’ll have my guitar and mandolin ready to play you a song! Refreshments will be served. See you there!