Life is a twisty turn of unexpecteds. You can have a vision, you can believe and build and aspire to making the vision a reality, and, yes, the vision can become a tangible thing.
For example, making this new album, MOTHERLODE. Last summer I heard the voice in my head say “Make this.” And it was clear as day to me. I was guided by the intuitive force I call God, with love and determination. I created a proposal and sent it out. I found investors. I followed my budget and utilized the money right down to the very cent. The songs I chose were strong and expressed my voice, physically and spiritually. I had fun producing and mixing and being around musicians I believe in. I wanted to go national, so I found a GM for Sleeveless, my label. I had him go out in the world and he helped create a Joint Venture for Sleeveless with Mesa/Blue Moon so I could get national distribution with Fontana (Universal Group.)
My lawyer worked with me on the contracts. He was, as always, patient and answered all my questions. He stood up for me, and made sure the contract was fair. The people at Mesa/Blue Moon seem determined and enthusiastic. They heard the music and believed.
I called Cary Baker, an amazing publicist that I had just missed working with when I was at Discovery (he came on as I was leaving.)
He listened to the rough album mixes and told me to call Lisa Shively. Lisa was incredibly supportive and took me on as a client.
Now I have a publicist. She is out there working hard, sending my work to journalists and magazines and newspapers and online sites.
She sent me pre-addressed labels and my assistant, Teresa, and our two interns, Chelle and Nicole, and myself…we packaged up and mailed out 500 promo cds.
I called Michele Clark Productions, radio promoters. They were jubilant in their response and took me on as well. We got addresses from them, and, again, my friends and I sat on the floor and prepped packages to go out to radio stations…Crystal Ann is currently working the MOTHERLODE at non-comm stations (the NPR stations). Soon, they will start pushing it at commercial stations.
But…The one person I have not been able to find is a booking agent. I have tried and tried and tried. I have talked to everyone in this business. Almost everyone has been nice (some have been odd), but they all say their rosters are either full or no one wants to take me on because I haven’t been out touring in five years.
I understand… No one wants to lose money. Taking on an artist, even one with some name recognition, who hasn’t been out promoting her name and music, well…that artist isn’t going to draw audiences because I am, in essence, starting from scratch.
So, this morning, I finally talked to a very nice man at THE booking agency. He was the one I was so sure was going to say “yes”. His emails had been promising and positive and he called my new cd “phenomenal” and even “brilliant.”
The answer was no. I didn’t cry, but I felt like it. (I will cry later, though. I’ll need the release….)
But….he did say he wanted to help me on the side, or at least try, just for some sort of dates to promote this record… He said he believes in this album, and maybe something will happen at radio. He isn’t willing to take me on his roster, but he wants to help put a few runs together for me. I told him I would do whatever he asks. That I am willing to open for anyone, play any club…I just want to work. I am willing to build that audience back up. He said it isn’t a promise, but he’ll give it a shot. I’ll take that shot, I said. And I thanked him.
We are going to need a booking agent. We need help because the strains of this office are busting at the seams, and for all the Texas attention I get, we are having a hard time expanding past it by just having to keep up with the immediate, and long term, workload of this state. We need a big gun helping us break on through to the other side, to the rest of the U.S.
So, I need all of you. Now is that time for you to take your neighbor, your friends, the mailman, ex-boyfriends….and come out to my shows. I need you. For all the times you have asked, “What can I do to help?” here is your chance. Between calling radio stations (like KCRW in Los Angeles….this is an important station…and they are sitting on the record…but phone calls/emails will convince them to take a chance and spin it…) and coming out to my shows, I know we can do it. I will give you my all, on the guitar and through my songs. I will give you everything I have, with love and commitment.
It is a weird thing for me to ask you to support something I love. Is it selfish? Is it wrong? I don’t know. I am asking most humbly.
I believe in the message of this album. I believe that music, and my music, can bring comfort and laughter and love and connectedness, most particularly with a live audience. I love to see your faces. I love to talk with you before and after shows. I love to have hecklers and heckle them back (with love)…I love to see strangers walk in and then leave as family.
Taking the five years off from being out in the big world is something I would never even think to change. I loved being here with iolana and Lily. I loved being in their classrooms and knowing their friends. I loved being able to walk them to school, and walk them home, to swing with them in the hammock, to draw with chalk and take them to museums and the circus and to kiss them goodnight after reading them stories. I loved making their lunches and putting in love notes. I loved taking their pictures and throwing their birthday parties and walkng under umbrellas in the rain with our galoshes on. I loved holding their hands and listening to their heartaches and soothing them with in my arms. This was the choice I made, no one had to talk me into it. My children are my ultimate happiness, and I want them to have incredible childhood memories. I want them to feel and know they are truly loved. This was the best choice I ever made, and I love them so much…you know what I mean.
And…at the same time, I am still driven by this mysterious force that calls me to make music. And I work hard at it. But I recognize that this will take a team effort…me and you…to make this music come to life. I can’t do it by myself. I humbly reach out to the world, already full of beautiful music and art, and ask for a public embrace of my contribution with MOTHERLODE.
I thank you and… I will press forward.