July 15, 2017TomacatomacaComments Off on Digging Out Old Videos & Pictures
As part of the moving process, I am purging, purging, purging. As emotionally attached as I was to certain items, I decided, sadly, to let them go. My goal was to get my possessions down to 5 large boxes and to ship them via FedEx Ground.
So, I went through every single item that I owned. I touched it, looked at it and thought about it. Then the decision was made to keep it or to let it go.
I will start over fresh – which means I will brake for every tag sale I come across looking for furniture for my new place, in my new location across the U.S. Most of the furniture I have now I purchased at a tag sale. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say! I found some really cool pieces at tag sales and know that I will find more cool stuff.
I had a couple of boxes of family memories on video tapes of various sizes and many that had already been burned to DVD. Instead of dragging those items with me, I chose to digitize everything – including family photos.
Not only does digitizing them make it easier to keep with me, but it also makes it easier to look at everything with today’s technology.
Going through all of our memories really does a job on us. I was so teary eyed as I watched all of those wonderful past experiences with my kids. It took me back.
An appropriate introduction to my song “Memory Lane.”
In addition to all of my family memories, I also have some video and pictures of my past performances and interviews. As I go through them, I am posting bits and pieces. I hope you enjoy them.
Woodshedding to musicians means practice. It means that you are stepping back from everything to sharpen and hone your skills.
I’m woodshedding heavily this month. Every day is geared towards getting better, stronger and more diverse vocally. It’s been about a decade since I’ve formally sung in a live situation with musicians. I’ve got to take time to get my ears right, my sound right, my body right, my voice right. When I come back out again with the live shows, I want to come out strong and confident.
Being confident is different from being arrogant. Being arrogant means that you are beyond reproach with your nose up in the air. You consider yourself better than. I won’t work with anyone like that.
Being confident means that you are well prepared to undertake a situation, but you don’t lose your humility. I am always humble and grateful for this gift that has been loaned to me for this lifetime.
I spend a minimum of 5 hours a day working on my voice and my body. I’m working out – exercising with zumba (!!!), lifting weights, walking and stretching. Working out my voice running scales and stretching to reach more highs and lows in addition to making sure that every note that I hit is solid and strong.
I joke and say that I am working on my “voices” – plural. I am so fortunate to have a 3-4 octave range, and the ability to sing across genres – R&B, jazz and opera. I have to openly admit that I love my operatic voice the best. The energy surging through my body feels amazing. It’s like my body is plugged into some kind of current and it comes up and out. And the sound is so big. Well – you’ve heard opera singers on tv or somewhere. It’s a beautiful sound that fills a hall.
I was this little girl with this big operatic voice. I could be heard above the whole choir. I was ignored. I started singing more softly. I cut the flow and reduced my presence. (Sniff, sniff…) Oh well. Life has moved on and now I am here. It’s up to me to do what I love and to develop it so I can do it well.
I interject here – parents, pay attention to your children. Help them to do the things that they really love to do. If that means paying for lessons or finding people or a person that they can work with to develop their skills, do it. Encourage and support them!
My kids had the opportunity to do and experiment with just about anything they wanted – dance, sing, play instruments, gymnastics, sports, art, martial arts, etc., etc., etc. The only thing that we could not do was to help my son become a racer. The costs to do that were extreme – buying bikes and equipment, traveling to different courses, paying coaches… It’s too bad; he really would have done very well. He was suited for it.
Okay – now back to me… I don’t play any instruments. I can read music, but it takes me some time to really make sense of it by applying it to a piano. I’m working on that too. At this stage, I may never be a “good” or fluent musician on any instruments, but I am learning a little bit.
The difference between performing with live musicians versus tracks is substantial.
With tracks, you basically sing the song with prerecorded music. For me, it’s just singing along as if I’m doing karaoke. It is fun, but it’s predictable because there is no change in the music and the feel of the music. I can sing all over it, but there is no one to interact with. Tracks are really good though if the venue is limited or the budget is limited. Good artists make them work.
With life musicians — oooooh! There’s a lot of energy coming from the people playing the music and from the music itself. It’s not just live – it is “live.” The music is alive. It’s moving, flowing and taking you places. There is so much more to do because everyone is feeling something different and exciting from the music being created. It goes places and takes you with it if you become a part of it doing what it’s doing. I don’t know how to explain it much differently…
There is a pattern and a structure to the song, but there are so many different variations that can occur. From solos to changes in the pattern, to accents in various places to going back and forth vocally with the guitar or the horn – it’s an amazing feeling. Improvisation. People have the freedom to improvise on the spot in various places. We’re all along for the ride. We’re riding on those vibrations from the music.
As a listener, you already know. Music takes you places.
How nice of these ladies to ask me to their show. We were filming at the West Indian Center in Hartford, CT. The West Indian Center is a place where they also have huge parties and live bands. We were there filming for the talk show around 6:00 pm. They were having one of their huge parties that night and the DJ was already set up and absolutely booming the music. As they were making their preparations, they kept the music on. It was so loud that you could hear it throughout the whole entire facility. Jamaicans love bass and that bass was vibrating the walls of the small meeting room that we were in.
Vangie, one of the hosts, went over to the hall and asked if they could hold off on the music for a bit. Of course, they would not. I had to go over there and request that they keep the music off or very low for at least half an hour so our segment could be recorded. Luckily for us– they complied. But, after about 15 minutes, the music started again. I went back over and begged for 15 more minutes of quiet so we could finish. They gave us 12 and that was it! The music was back on full blast. Fortunately, we were done!
The ladies had to consider going forward whether or not they were going to continue to use that facility for recording. They would be able to do well as long as there were no festivities planned for the same day.
I always prefer to perform with a live band, because live music is just so awesome and organic. But, for this talk show, I sang with my background tracks. It came out okay.
Here are some excerpts of the show. It is posted on youtube.