Monday, 28 August 2017 03:56

How Music Heals Us

Finding Meaning Amidst Pain

 

 

 

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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A gentle touch or a warm hug from a friend has the power to comfort and console us. Perhaps we are grieving or going through a rough time, or we know someone who is. Sometimes all we need is a hug or phone call to know we are not alone. Similarly, music has the unique ability to touch and enter deeply into our hearts.  I ask myself:

What creates these powerful experiences?

 


As an artist, there is nothing more fulfilling than speaking to someone's soul, whether it be the words or the melody of a song. Nothing gives me more joy; more hope; more satisfaction. I'm a sensitive soul myself. I absorb the darkness and brokenness of the world as my own. I used to think there was something wrong with me. The pain of the world was my fault. I learned to hide these things I felt. Conceal them. I was ashamed.

But wouldn't there be something wrong if we were not impacted by the suffering of others? I came to the realization that the pain I experienced was not because there was something wrong with me. The hurt, pain, and suffering in the world is an invitation for us to offer hope, beauty, and love in response. 


The power of music is that it speaks what words alone cannot. The darkness and pain of the world is not meant to be unnoticed or unspoken about. Isn't it our responsibility as artists to remain true to our calling as the truth tellers? To express the pain we feel inside that connects with the pain that others experience? Isn't it our duty to respond to this unique path of ours?



 

We are healers 



We voice the truth. We reveal our shared humanity. That is our gift to the world. It's our gift of hope and consolation--much like a gentle touch or a warm hug from a friend. And these are the things that create powerful experiences.


Dear reader, do not grow weary from the brokenness of the world. Do not let your hearts be closed off to the suffering of others. It is our calling to bring artistic expression into the world to help heal and nurture. We are in desperate need of this. Beautiful music is transcendent. It makes us come alive. 

 

There is joy to be found when we let the flame burning in each of us glow and spread the light of hope to others. There is joy to be found when we let the flame burning in each of us glow and spread the light of hope to others who are suffering. That same glow is what gives us strength amidst pain. 

 

Despite the trials and hard times that we all face, we can be filled with hope because through the pain, our art accesses a deeper place within us, which touches others more intimately, more profoundly. And that, my dear creatives, is the healing power of art.



I want to end this article with Josh Groban's song "Thankful". If you do not have enough time to listen to it, may you take this with you:



"So for tonight we pray for,

What we know can be,
And on this day we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for..."

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSKIVf0hSn0

 

 

 

 

You can find Colleen Bartlett's new album "Serenity" here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 24 August 2017 17:40

Daring Greatly As an Artist

The Arena:  Daring Greatly As an Artist 

 

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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One of my favorite parts about being an artist is being so consumed by the music that it's contagious to my listeners. That's the goal at least.  However, most of the time, I'm pretty sure that the strongest emotion I convince my audience of is my timidity. Ya know, the voice crack during the climax and swallowing at all the wrong times. I feel you.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 15:53

A Few Thoughts on Melodies

A Few Thoughts On Melodies

By Phillip E. Mitchell - Songwriter/Producer

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You can’t win an argument about melody—well, unless your opponent lacks imagination. You can complain about the lack of melody in David Bowie’s early work, or the lack of melody in Akon’s “Right Now” (nanana), (Or Justin Bieber), but here’s the reality: What kinds of melodies we like is largely a subjective arena (built on years of experience listening to and maybe writing music, of course, but still subjective). 


However, the fact that melody writing (and judging) is largely a subjective matter doesn’t mean we can’t evaluate our work or the works of others. There are different ways to conceptualize melodies that can help us approach our craft—to know where we’re going and how to get there.

First, for the sake of simplicity, let’s think about melodies in two ways: Boxy and Moving.

Published in Blog

Interview with Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Mix-Engineer Sham Sundra from Iris Pill

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A large number of artists approach me with a request for an interview but I try to be selective in whom I feature on www.SongwriterAndProducer.com because my intent is to help aspiring songwriters and producers become better at what they do.  When Sham Sundra "proposed" I was surprised by the fact that the deeper I researched him and his work, the more impressed I was.  The first thing I told Sham when I listened to his album (Box So Tiny) was "whoever mixed this work, understands their craft highly".  I was later told that it was Sham who mixed it (among everything else he did).  I also praised the consistent flow of the album, its theme.  I've always been genre-agnostic but it's a breath of fresh air to listen to a well made rock album by a New York City band in 2017.  Iris Pill’s Box So Tiny is a work of raw emotion and refined artistry. In a time when pure rock music is hard to find, this album is an absolute gem — authentic, unapologetically truthful, and brilliantly executed.  Then when I saw the gear and knowledge that Sham possessed, I was even more impressed.  A songwriter, a guitar player (who started as a wind-instrument-player), who knows their way around the studio as well as anyone.  An avid ProTools HD user (no pun) while equally being split between the world of software plugins and hardware inserts.  Serious hardware too.  From a Neumann U47 to various Lexicons, Neves, APIs and many more.  But what is all that gear worth without a great song, a great performance and a great production?  As you will read below, Sham's greatest asset is to be able to keep seeing the forest from the trees, while wearing a large number of different hats, which is what it has come to lately in the vast majority of cases within the music industry.  Unless you can afford the best team and a large team at that, a great output is achieved only when one person can do a number of vastly different tasks exceptionally well.  Rare, because it requires equal amounts of engineering talent, as well as musicianship.  Here's what Sham had to say to me about all that and more:

 

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 04:01

Dear Artist...

Dear Artist...

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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I hope this letter finds you well. You may not have been told this in a while, so I thought I would say it:  I have the utmost respect for you. You are courageous and brave. You may feel as though your efforts as an artist are undervalued, not important, and perhaps even shameful because others might not support you. But I am here to tell you this:  keep going. The world needs the art that only you can create.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 07:47

Interview with singer-songwriter Sheri Miller

Interview with Singer/Songwriter Sheri Miller

By Sheri Miller - Singer/Songwriter

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I bumped onto Sheri Miller and her work during one of my regular and frequent facebook scouting sessions of online singers and songwriters.  She immediately grabbed my attention because her classical influence was evident during the first verse of her song "Mantra (I'm in Love)".  I admire classically trained musicians, I always will.  Rarely found "on the charts" these days and even if so, rarely showing their classical influence.  Moving to Sheri's song "Spoons" she proves that she can write, sing and execute a perfectly balanced "happy-song".  There's nothing like a beautifully crafted 88bpm happy-song which immerses you into the sounds of a cornucopia of accustic guitars and drum brushes on a drum snare.  Everything is right in this song.  The vocals, the lyrics, the mix, the video full of happy moments of various happy couples curled up.  They do "fit like spoons" as the lyrics call.  When I pressed play on Sheri's song "I Could Love You Still" I found yet more diversity in her ability to create music.  The country influence here is evident the second the first harmonies kick in on the first verse.  Another very nicely balanced mix when I put my producer's hat on.  All the fundamentals executed perfectly from an instrumentation perspective.  My favorite part of this song is the bridge.  Incredibly well glued to the two parts of the song it....bridges. The harmonies, perfectly timed.  And the tremolo on the main accustic guitar fits the vibe.  Finally, with "Waste My Breath" we get yet another side of Sheri's music-making-machine.  Faster than the other three examples at 97bpm with a pronounced and striking drum section, the song wants to raise you up and take you places.  Given my impressions, I approached Sheri and asked her 10+1 questions.  Here's what she had to say:

Published in Blog
Sunday, 06 November 2016 04:38

Exposing Yourself As An Artist

Exposing Yourself As An Artist

 

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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Getting final cuts of music means one thing to a timid artist such as myself:  Crap! This means I'll actually have to show people my music soon. Here's the thing, the music I've written comes from a place of such raw vulnerability and the thought of sharing it with family, friends, and worse, strangers, is repulsive. The memories of being in the studio and expressing the torment in my tender soul will be exposed. It's a mixture of being excited, nervous, and nostalgic. I ask myself:

Published in Blog
Friday, 04 November 2016 15:43

Five-Ways-To-Improve-Your-Lyrics

Five Ways To Improve Your Lyrics

By Janice Kephart - Songwriter and vocalist of trip poetry

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What follows is a lyric excerpt from the title track of spoken word album KAMASUTRA, which is on the ballot for a nomination in the 59th Grammy Awards (Feb. 2017)

Lyrics and spoken vocals, Janice Kephart
Selected music, production and engineering GREEN MAN and Ken Eros
Featured compositions, including Kamasutra, by Ricky Kej
Published in Blog
Friday, 21 October 2016 00:14

How Did It Feel To Work With Prince?

How Did it Feel to Work With Prince?

His Former Technical Director for Paisley Park Studios Explains

 

By David Hampton - A Grammy Award Winner Engineer, Producer, Author and Educator

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Today, October 21st 2016 marks the 6-month anniversary from Prince’s death (April 21st 2016).  There was so much written, by so many people about Prince on that sad day and even more during the weeks that followed.  I am Gabriel ILiadis, founder of www.SongwriterAndProducer.com and I have to admit that, sadness aside, after absorbing the tons of material written about Prince around that time, I felt that I learned very little about how it really felt to work with Prince.  How was that like?  To be there.  Be responsible for part of the output, for the creative work rendered?  That’s why I decided to find someone who lived with him, worked closely with him, who would be willing to describe some of those experiences to us.  How was it really to work with Prince?  How was it to learn from him?  Prince trusted few people, one of which was Dave Hampton.  Dave worked for Prince as his Technical Director and Chief Engineer of Paisley Park Studios.  Prince’s own state of the art complex where all kinds and different types of creativity exploded.  Where the magic happened, some may say.  Coincidentally tours of the Paisley Park Museum are set to start this month, October 2016.  Through social media I started discussing with Dave Hampton the possibility of an interview regarding his experiences with Prince.  Dave agreed.  I asked Dave ten questions.  Here they are with Dave’s answers.

Published in Blog

A Mainstream Music Detox

By Colleen Bartlett - Singer/Songwriter

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Over the summer I decided to go on a "Mainstream Music Detox". You heard me right. This meant no radio in the car on my way to work. It meant that if I wanted to listen to music, I had to seek out the music that I wanted to listen to and not the stuff that was so readily available. Although I didn't think much of this "Mainstream Music Detox" at the time, I'm realizing how this benefitted me both as an artist and as an individual.

Published in Blog
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