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  1. 7 likes
    I wasn't always into music deeply though I enjoyed its company. I remember picking up a guitar for the first time when I was 15 years old (being 24 now). Maybe that's when my interest in music increased and kept my teenage mind occupied. Being in India and coming from a middle-class background, my only source of international music back then was the radio. Every night at 9:00PM, the local radio would air the feed of Top40 with Ryan Seacrest or Casey Kasem and I used to fall asleep to it. The more I recall those nights, the more I realise how significant it has been for me to ever have my doors open to this wonderful world of music. Around the same time, I came across and heard 'Gravity' by John Mayer. That changed everything. I'm sure there is always one moment in life for every single person that proves to be monumental in deciding what the rest of their life is going to be. Listening to Gravity was mine. Never was I so moved with the words being sung and the music going with it. That's when my fascination with songwriting, making music, expressing was born. My frustration with my noob guitar playing skills further motivated me to write my own words and melodies. lol That's how it began. From there, I would try to find every opportunity to sing in front of an audience. Since I was in school, most of that would be singing competitions. I guess being part of those competitions really helped me gain confidence in myself to stand in front of an audience and perform. There was no stopping me from there. And then Songstuff & John happened. For those of you who know Derek Sivers is would also know that he was an active blogger/writer as well and was open to discussions with any person who would send him a mail. I did so, seeking music advice back in 2011. He said that the best way to get better at what you do is to share it with like minded people. He suggested I find communities online. And obviously, the first one to pop up was Songstuff. I joined Songstuff in Feb 2011 (I just checked, it marked my 6 years of Songstuff just yesterday) and I was quite the excited one. John noticed. I started getting involved with more things Songstuff and we started talking more about music and what not. Back then, I had a very basic phone with internet capabilities at the lowest. I had no computer, no equipment. In fact I had no room of mine either & was living in a room with my two brothers and my mom. But I had these songs. And John suggested I put an EP out with those songs. Now, note that I'd never performed anywhere but in school and college. I had no equipment, no money and quite evidently, no sense of challenge. And John says - "If that's where we've got to start from, then let's start". I did all I can to put some money together (saving lunch money, claiming that I needed lunch money from friends lol) and then went to a studio and recorded 5 songs and called it Beyond the Door. It was just one guitar (with barely average guitar playing) and my voice. But I did it. That's the point John had all along. Use what you've got and work with it. As if there was any other choice. I put the EP out online, sent it indie radio stations all over the globe (I did get my songs aired in a handful of radio stations and podcasts in the UK, US and Japan. I think that was super sweet of the people running the shows), got a 'music video' prepared with the help of my brother. A few people in the city took notice, invited me to perform at a few places for free. Two venue owners saw me there and offered me my very first paid gigs and on I went on my journey to become a full time musician. With John's direction always being there, I continued to stay active and build my music career while in college. As you would know how it is in India when it comes to parents pressuring you to pursue a more 'meaningful profession', I ploughed on as I finished my bachelor's degree in computer science. I worked for about a year and then made the decision to call it quits and pursue music full time. My parents were obviously against it but being stubborn, I did it anyways. John and other friends helped me to be smart about it. Being a singer-songwriter in India is not exactly a financially stable option lol I had to make sure that my education loans were still being taken care of as well that nothing changes in the financial equation I have with my parents. I wasn't a kid anymore. I did have a responsibility. It's been two years since I called it quits. Looks like things haven't gone to the shits yet lol I don't plan on it to. My parents came to a gig of mine a couple of months back. Their very first gig. After years of quarrel, fights, debates and what not, my dad on his way back said "I understand what he's doing now". He's not opposed my music or has shown distaste towards it ever since. In fact, it has been the opposite. Over the years, I've got to support some of the best bands in the country. I opened for Lucy Rose and Luke Sital-Singh when they came to India. I got to perform with Christian Galvez, one of the best Jazz musicians in the world which was a life time opportunity. There is a LONG way to go. And being a full time musician is a real struggle every single day. But it's all worth it! Every single bit. Years have passed and John has continued to mentor me in my career. He's been a greater friend and has helped me in the toughest of my days even when I was at a stage where I was 'hurting' myself. And it is such a mind-boggling thing for me to comprehend how someone on the other side of the world who has never met me in person has had so much selfless concern and passion in helping me. Well, helping people. I mean, this is what Songstuff is all about. It sounds like I'm exaggerating but believe me, John is probably THE biggest reason for any success I have earned and will ever earn in my music career. I try to remember that every day. Well, that's me.
  2. 5 likes
    Hi Sreyashi Good topic. For me it has always been there. Making music was and is, as essential as breathing. Just like breathing it happens automatically, my default setting. As a kid my mum sang opera with the Scottish National Opera and the BBC, and she taught piano. So at 4 I started learning the piano. Singing was always there, so I am not sure when that started! After seeing Yehudi Menuhin on TV I was determined to learn to play like that, so at 7 I started learning how to play he violin. My mother rolled my sisters and I out to perform at social events, and I picked up the performance bug there, although even at 7 I was already performing through clubs etc. Although I kept playing both piano and violin, over the years my interest became focused on how music was composed and arranged. I started to learn other instruments so that I could understand them, and How they all worked together. Not only that, it was a challenge and it was fun. I sang with a choir and took part in the odd competition, I started to learn how to play drums and played in a competition pipe band. In our grade we won national and world titles. I learned how to play the bagpipes and played in another pipe band. All along I tried every instrument I could get my hands on, bugle, trumpet, clarinet, viola, cello... I tortured them all lol I am not sure exactly when I started writing. I know I wrote lyrics, and I know I wrote music from a very young age, but writing full songs, I am not sure? 12? 13? When I was maybe 14 or 15 I took up the guitar. My world transformed. Until that point, unless writing my own melodies, I had worked almost exclusively with the notes written by someone else, represented on a manuscript, with me interpreting and performing those notes. When I started playing the guitar I stepped away into improvisation, and playing purely by ear. I remember working on mainly rock music with some folk thrown in for good measure. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple was many a guitarist's first notes. I remember working out Stairway To Heaven, note by note, and playing it on a terrible acoustic with a ridiculously high action. My guitar became my main instrument, saving for an electric guitar, exploring blues, heavy rock and heavy metal, funk, jazz, folk... just music every day. Soon I was learning bass guitar, mandolin, even didgeridoo! lol learning circular breathing for that wax a challenge believe me! I started playing in bands, people I knew through school, playing school gigs etc. Good fun at the time, but also good experience. My sisters both played and sang. My eldest sister sang in choirs, was a concert pianist who took part in pretty prestigious competitions. My other sister was always more interested in pop culture, Elton John being on of her favourites. Both sisters would duet on piano and singing. They were certainly an influence and through them I experienced pop and Rick music much earlier than I would have as a single child. Similarly, I had an aunt and uncle who loved music. In the 60s my uncle had become a huge Dylan fan. He used to go to gigs in and around London and record them on his 4 track recorder. The earliest Hendrix gigs, The Who, Yardbirds etc. He even had a recording of a jam between Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison lol He has so many rare recordings, in many cases the only recordings of events and gigs in the late 60s and 70s Freak scene, mainly in London and the South of England, but elsewhere too. I am not sure exactly when they started going to festivals and gigs in the USA. Nowadays they still travel to gigs all over the UK and the odd Dylan gig in the USA. (Years later the BBC made a documentary about one of his recordings, a "lost" recording of Bob Dylan in London). Both he and my aunt were friends of Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) and Roy Harper, and they were involved in the vibrant folk rock scene in Britain in the late 60s and 70s. My uncle ran a Bob Dylan fanzine for many years and he still travels all over the world to see them. I mention my mother, sisters, aunt and uncle, because my family were a huge influence, helping to fuel and nurture my passion and interest in music. Fair to say that my interest in music was quite diverse, and that I was far more interested in how music was created than anything else. I got jobs working in recording studios, live events, played in bands sometimes professional, some times semi professionally. I rode motorcycles, had long hair, partied like there was no tomorrow, but music was always front and centre. One band had quite a large following, got loads of press coverage, played festivals and large gigs was on the brink of being signed, for it to fall away as the band imploded after a few years of playing together. A common enough story. I did session work too, that was fun. It should be said that, what little regard I had for wanting to be a celebrity died away at this time. It had never been a huge motivational factor, but for a variety of reasons, mainly being hugely uncomfortable with press intrusion on my life (even at that minuscule level of celebrity) and being recognised going down the street, became something I didn't want. So here I was, a musician and writer, who loved performing, wanted to play bigger gigs and record my music... but I hated celebrity, what it stood for. I wanted attention for my music, but no attention for me lol. A conundrum! Then I injured my spine. I went from playing gigs several times a week to lying on a floor for 18 months and what was to become decades of pain and extended periods of incapacity, operations, stacks of pain killers, injections, hundreds of hours of physiotherapy. I could no longer reliably perform. I couldn't work as a roadie, or sound crew, or even as a recording engineer. So I went to night school, got the qualifications I needed to get to University, studied and achieved an honours degree in Electronics with Music, which was mainly about designing music tech, but also using it, composition etc. I played in bands all through University, and I honed my music making skills and applying my creativity to technology and the business of music. It was a mind expanding period for me, literally. I played on TV, live gigs on radio, did my share of TV and magazine interviews, Fun years. By now I had built a lot of experience of music marketing and promotion, learned a lot about the making of an artist, managing bands, recording and producing, even the kinds of music deals around, and the ways that the music business worked, how it ticked over, common strategies etc. I had seen bands that worked inrehearsal studios beside us, go from nothing to the top of the charts in the UK and the USA, and had spent a lot of time talking with people behind the scenes, including band managers and entertainments lawyers, publishers and Record Label staff. I started work with Motorola while my musical focus turned towards what I could do at home, recording using computers, electronica, and towards the fledgling internet as a great way to meet and work with other musicians. I was producing local bands and started working with a female singer. We made chill out tracks, were getting featured on Radio One in the UK by Pete Tong and others, we were meant to be tour support for Groove Armada, things were happening again.... and then my back went again. The old injury came back hard, another few operations... and while lying on my back, still full of creativity, frustrated as hell that I should have spent so much time learning all these skills, and they were just going to evaporate away, as if they never happened, when I came up with the idea for Songstuff. If I couldn't do things myself, I wanted to help others, pass on what I had learned. The internet was still pretty new. Google didn't exist! I still made music in my home studio, I still worked with other musicians, but gradually Songstuff took over. I really enjoyed helping other musicians, connecting with people, learning about the internet, how it was used and how it could benefit bands. I transferred over a lot of skills developed in the real world for the old music business, and tried to bypass issues that the internet was throwing up, investigated what worked and what didn't and how successful bands used different strategies on and off the internet, and how they combined the two. Another mind expanding period! I added a community onto Songstuff, and the rest they say is history. I have met a load of famous people over the years, even at a very young age, and was aware just how ordinary they are (out with their sometimes exceptional, sometimes little better than average talent) We put them on a pedestal. Some remain good, untainted, others believe their own hype and really are not that nice. I've learned many lessons along the way, but amongst the most important lessons related to success, I would say are these: Always give attention to detail Be creative in all that you do (music, image, business, everything) Work to as high as standard as you can at all times Work hard Work harder Work harder still That is the essence of the work ethic that is required to make original, engaging music you can feel proud of... no matter if it is as a professional, semi-professional or enthusiastic amateur. Happy accidents occur rarely. Everything else is just noise. A long post (as if I am not known for them lol) but on a bright note, I didn't write an entire book) Hopefully it adds to your picture of who I am, and maybe even what Songstuff is. Why Songstuff is. Cheers John
  3. 5 likes
    Wow you're gonna regret asking that question. I'm gonna ramble on about myself because then I can pretend I'm being interviewed by the music press...no doubt plenty of others will...it'll get really annoying... Well, Sreyashi... It all started in the mid 70s after a chance meeting with David Crosby over at our mutual friend Joni's place in Laurel Canyon... kind of... well not exactly... it was my mum n dad's house in Moston North Manc...but Moston and Laurel Canyon were really similar except one was beautiful, sunny and smelled of sinsemilla. and one was a rainy, sh*t hole which smelled of coal, tar and garbage. Anyway...there, aged 8ish, I spent most of my non-school time in headphones listening to whatever I could find in mum n dad's record collection... mostly Del Shannon, Buddy Holly and The Dave Clarke 5. Unlike most kids, I listened thoroughly (because I'm better than everyone else), I can't stand background music. And so the spirit of music possessed me. Soon I was performing to crowds ... Usually Mr Gribbins (psychotic old pervert) class... since he thought making kids go to the front of class to sing was amusing punishment (not as much as he enjoyed putting our heads between his legs to smack our arses)...with such classics as 'Skinny Dogs' and 'Dylan The Fairground Man'. I got the bug. Later, aged 13ish, I began sketching out my master plan...literally sketching it... inventing my new band, recruiting top non-musical talent from Mr Braithwaite's (miserable old git) history class to form the ultimate rock group - 'Satan's Avengers'. And inspiration for our first shit came when my good friend Shaun (school nut job) revealed his latest creation from beneath his school blazer... DEMENTON! (An action man/ GI Joe, which had been mutilated so it was just a head stuck onto one leg)...I wrote the song immediately - Just a head on one leg, That's Dementon! Just a head on one leg, That's all! Yeah just a head on one leg, But a mind built for war, He'll tear out your brains, And eat them still raw, Built by the dark lord himself, Aaaaargh, built with pride, Are you ready to die? Let Dementon decide. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh, prepare to meet his maker! This received rave reviews such as "Headmasters office!...NOW!" And so a star was born... I'll spare you the middle stuff between then and now... You asked!
  4. 4 likes
    Wow...good topic. I've always been interested in music, in singing, playing guitar and drums...(I sang "Country Roads" in my Vacation Bible School class to inconclusive reviews) and broke dozens of drum sticks by beating them against anything I could find. Unfortunately, to say that my mom and step-dad were unsupportive would be like saying the ocean is a small pond. Eventually, after a few years I gave in to "what was expected" and pursued a more conventional track and "rewarding" (pardon me while I yawn) career. Fast forward 45 years, then something truly magical happened. Out of nowhere I got a call from a private eye who was commissioned by my biological father to find me. He and my mom divorced when I was three and he had been trying to find me as I moved around the country over the years. I was skeptical of course, but he did provide convincing evidence. When we met, it freaked my wife completely out because we were virtually carbon copies of each other. Same build, mannerisms, hair (he had much less than me...yikes!) I found out that he had played in a band called Southern Comfort for many, many years as a drummer, and also my brother D (who I met for the first time then as well) is an accomplished bass and guitar player. So I picked up a guitar again. I really had my doubts when I started playing again, and had no confidence that I could even write a song but he kept telling me "goddam boy, it's in your genes, don't let no one tell you no different. Do what's inside and t'hell with 'em." and that's where I started writing my own songs. I looked around for some time trying to find somewhere to get more feedback on what I was writing and then I stumbled into Songstuff and the great group here. And I've never regretted it. Thanks John for putting together this site, and all you folks who write, perform, and produce music that take the time to critique and help. ~ JH
  5. 4 likes
    Proposals 2, 3, and 4 are now implemented
  6. 3 likes
    To actually answer the question: When I was kid in elementary school, my parents bought a pretty nice upright piano for me and my four sisters, and my mom made us all take piano lessons - she didn't play. The piano was pretty cool because it had built in rhythms - metronome, samba, rumba, shuffle, a 4/4 pattern, a 6/8 pattern, etc. - that I guess were recorded loops of some sort. It was pretty revolutionary for the time. So, I've had rhythms the play to from the start - which no doubt greatly influenced my love of rhythm. My piano teacher was really cool as well. She recognized that I wasn't very good at reading music, but that I could play really well by ear and had a strong sense of rhythm. So, instead of having me learn from the same standard piano books my sisters and other young students had to learn from, she got me sheet music for boggie woogie songs, and she'd play them for me so I knew how they were supposed to sound. That kind of got me hooked with making music, because I also almost immediately started coming up with my own piano instrumentals. For my first and only piano recital, I played a boogie woogie (I think it may have been something by Fats Domino) and one of my own original compositions. My best friend from the neighboorhood Karl had the same piano teacher. His mom had made him and his brothers take lessons as well - and I wonder now if that's where my mom got the idea. Karl quit lessons right before I was forced to start. My mom let me quit after a year, because I got "older" and taking piano lessons didn't seem cool, and practicing and lessons wasn't something I wanted to do during summer. But, I never stopped coming up with my own stuff at home Eventually, I got Karl interesed in coming up with his own stuff at home too, and so, we kind of kept encouraging each other that way over the next four years or so. When Karl and I were 15, Karl started teaching himself to play acoustic guitar using some old steel string that sat in the corner of his living room which no one played. Well, it just so happened that my older sister had quit guitar lessons, and her nylon string acoustic was just gathering dust under her bed - so I stole it. It didn't take long for Karl and I to figure out how to use the guitar chord schematics on all the sheet music each of our families had left over from piano lessons to guide our fretting fingers. And, since we each were good at playing by ear and knew how the popular songs we had sheet music for were supposed to sound, we were playing songs in no time. After awhile though, Karl and I wen't on divergent musical paths. He kept buying sheet music to learn how to play James Taylor, and I started doing my own songs - with words - that I sung. I've been doing it ever since, first with that classical nylon-string acoustic, then with a steel string acoustics, then with electric guitars, then with synths and MIDI and multi-track analog recording . . . and now also with my DAW.
  7. 3 likes
    I'd like to hear some feedback on this tune, Control Freak. Any suggestions about this recording and production, accompaniment, lyrics, and whatever else you can throw at me. I'm mainly concerned about the instrumentation because I'm not very skilled on synth and was experimenting. This song has been re-written a few times and I think it's improved with each re-write.
  8. 3 likes
    This is where pissing around will get you. Seems that's all I do, nothing ever gets a fine polish on it. My question concerns prosody, should this be slowed? Seems when I do that it's just mired in the boring level of blah. Down To The River Hammered in the coals of a fire lost Shot from the age of Homeric lust The tip of love's arrow, well it pierced my lung But it missed my heart, I had none, it went Down to the river waters keep Down to the river where it's black and deep Down to the river where it's too damn cold to come home Love is an owl over fields of prey I was caught while dawn was threatening Clawing for the heart of it's victory won Well love left hungry, I had none, it went Down to the river waters keep Down to the river where it's black and deep Down to the river where it's too damn cold to come home I pulled her close when the night was young When still she needed to know I was strong But her moon fell over and her sky went numb When she reached for my heart, found I had none Down to the river waters keep Down to the river where it's black and deep Down to the river where it's too damn cold to come home Come home
  9. 3 likes
    I am looking for some feedback from the members who are into composing Rap/Hip Hop lyrics and music. I had an interesting conversation with another member as this seems to be a fairly recent addition to the forums and I was wondering what you are using when you compose your lyrics? Do you create your beats, or are you rapping over another song? Are you writing the lyrics, with nothing to guide the flow of the words and vocal? Would it help if a member(s), were to assist you with this, by maybe creating a simple track with a beat so you could use it as a guide? This could be done with different tempos or beats, something more in line with the style of music you like (e.g. Your favourite rapper). What are your thoughts?
  10. 3 likes
    Scratch can mean a lot of things, depending on who you are talking to. Generally speaking, it means a recording that has been brought to it's present state quickly, without the comprehensive treatment a fully engineered and produced track would normally receive. Usually the term "scratch" refers to a fast demo of a song idea, one that can be shown to other musicians that may then move forward to contribute to the more complete version of the song. One plus One means ONE instrument and ONE voice. Typically, this means guitar and voice, but not always. Another often used one plus one format is piano and voice. Specifically, this format invokes a finished song where a singer performs with just one instrument in accompaniment, or maybe two, where the production has received only moderate, or minimal engineering. A video, shot with a Go Pro video unit, of a guy playing piano and singing, which can potentially yield a VERY effective presentation, would be a common form of a one plus one effort. This, as opposed to a full band, with a dozen or more active tracks (sometimes MANY more), and intense, comprehensive engineering work, mixing, mastering, etc.
  11. 3 likes
    "And the watershed turns to bloodshed in the blink of an eye" a quote from from one of my favorite songs. It's so easy to get the wrong impression from something someone has said on these internet boards. I see Rick has liked my post, but he doesn't know why I posted it, I didn't explain my intention. All it it took was a little disruption of the boards as a catalyst and then one statement, not mine but someone's, was the trigger that set off the shooting. The watershed (Songstuff) turns to bloodshed (arguing) in the blink of an eye. I can deal with all the changes, but without the pit I am forced to throttle down my usual way of coping by bitching. I think it might be interesting to see how many little arguments come about. It may be a good tool to gauge the amount of agitation and perhaps the need to revert back and try plan two. Other gauges would be posts, site visits, and members overall tone. Im thinking Rick doesn't like change, he got a bit lost, took some things personally and said some things before thinking them through. Yeaterday was was a tough day, a lot of people felt things were strangely out of place.
  12. 3 likes
    I really thought this would make a good song title too. I recorded a little demo for my chorus idea. I would have put it up on Soundcloud, but they're having issues today. http://www.muppetlabs.com/~mikeh/TooMuchChange.mp3
  13. 3 likes
    Actually I might change my opinion a bit... Happy to have Religious music separate...and a separate place for any o that line dancin' kinda country stuff... Yes I'm all for segregation then!
  14. 3 likes
    I was forced into it by my next door neighbour!
  15. 2 likes
    Hi Ken When I was young I just experimented with little foundation in knowledge, and emulated the approach and techniques of other mix engineers. It wasn't until I was older that I reapproached mixing based upon an understanding of what I was doing to sound. In fact, when I reapproached mixing I had a far, far better understanding of what sound was, and what is looked like. It made a world of difference. I found that training my ears was, of course, very important. But the big difference for me was in visualising sound, and visualising what I was doing to sound, with every tweak and every effect. Effects and processors can do quite complex things to sound across 3 aspects: amplitude, in the time domain and amplitude in the frequency domain. Use DAW tool spectrum analysis to help with understanding frequency domain, and use a wave editor to understand the time domain. I found using 4 test wave forms helped with time domain effects and processing, including EQ. I used sine, square, triangle and saw. To help with getting what was going on in the frequency domain I tried both known wave forms at mixed frequencies mixed together and white/pink noise. Each had different benefits. On top of that I learned and understood the maths involved... but that was because I was learning about designing digital and analogue effects! So I don't recommend most people fo this!. I also learned what theoretically Each effect and treatment should do in the digital and analogue domain and the limitations of electronic circuitry. All that did improve my understanding. It helped me visualise what is going on, whether that is cutting an EQ hole in a pad to allow other instruments to cut through, or applying a chorus effect etc. One of the reasons I love Isotope tools is their visualisation. My point here (yes there is one) is that anything that improves understanding is good. Experimentation using your ears is necessary, an absolute minimum... trial and error. But you can greatly improve the speed and accuracy if your understanding of what is going on is developed in parallel.... and as part of the experimentation. Simple waves like sine, square, triangle and saw make visual change pretty obvious. Different waves also let you see the effect that quicker transitions can have. I realise few would go to the lengths I did, but it doesn't mean doing some of what I did wouldn't be very useful. This at least allows you to experiment with more focus, and with the ability to improve your learning. On mixing itself, times have changed (and with recent development come full circle). When I started mixing there was no automation. Ok perhaps on very high end Neve desks. Mixes had to be rehearsed. Group faders were essential, as were trainee engineers to manage sections of faders. You learned your mix much like playing a musical instrument. It introduced another performance element and level of variation mix to mix. Latest mixing control systems seem to be reintroducing this as a feature. I always enjoyed that, it has to be said. These days you can control and automate your mix to a fine level if detail. All the more reason to understand your console knobs, faders and switches, and the effects and processors you use from VSTs to console EQ. Testing is best done using test signals (many consoles can generate them) and by using reference recordings. Reference recordings are essential for getting to know your system, especially when getting to know the effects of amplifier and monitors on a recording. You know how your reference recordings will sound on different systems, so you can work out how your new mix sould sound (ball park) in order to achieve a similar balance on other systems... Moore of an issue when you do your own mastering. I hope this rambling is of some use! Lol Cheers John
  16. 2 likes
    This is just to introduce myself and to get in touch with other singer songwriter. I may be a bit of an exemption. I am no young and upcoming new talent. Although I started playing guitar when I was 15 years of age and soon after wrote my first own songs and had some gigs, I first focused on my corporate career. After having had enough of that (while still making music with others and sometimes writing songs) I left my well paid expatriate job in Asia and moved to Queensland with my wife. Guess we are sea-changers. We started an own, small businesses and I had more than ever time to create my own music. I recorded 2 CDs with a friend but for the 1st time have recently recorded my 3rd CD in a fully professional study in Cairns. What an experience! (not cheap though). And now I hope I can find ways for my music to find listeners. I am not pop song writer. I love satire, good stories and poetry. Lyrics are important to me. I actually tell stories with the help of music. So I need a listening audience. I wonder who has similar experiences to share.
  17. 2 likes
    I bet he wore a big hat and paid for your lunch.
  18. 2 likes
    Regardless of preparation, shit happens. Unless you have backup plans for every contingency which requires money and a team of pros, you are bound to run into issues at some point when you gig regularly. During one stint, I was on the road for over 3 years, and I can tell you that there is no way to conceive of the types of problems you are going to run into on tour. Even if you have all the bases covered, stuff still happens beyond your control. That being said, having your act together certainly helps. Repetition solves most of the usual problems, and the load-in, load-out, etc. becomes so second nature that it's automatic. You are bound to rely on other people (it's nearly impossible and extremely draining to try to manage every facet of a gig yourself), and people are fallible. I loved the playing part. The part that takes its toll is every other part, lol. Some examples are: getting pulled over by the cops who want to search your truckload of equipment for contraband and make you 3 hours late to a show; having a roadie steal a bunch of your merchandise and disappear into the nether regions of the planet; showing up at a gig where the college frat boys decided to put the keg of beer in the electrical room and the power is down with beer/water all over the floor; having fans climb onstage and not having the security you need to regain control of the situation; finding out one of your bandmates has gone over the cliff of drug addiction; watching your new soundman blow out one of your bottoms to the point it catches fire 500 miles from home base; and so forth. You can prepare all you want but be prepared to roll with the punches Peace, TC
  19. 2 likes
    Hi there, I spent the last days working on this little tune... https://soundcloud.com/dustin-naegel/journey-onward ...a somewhat rhythmically driven (almost march-like) medieval/fantasy theme soundtrack theme. It's build upon a (hopefully) heroic melody and is intended to accompany the travel montage of a fantasy epic (game/film). But it's not really complete since I am not satisfied with the overall sound. If you have some handy tips, especially concerning the mix, please do not hesitate to share your insights. Best regards Dustin
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    Hi Gang OK so the critique board re-org hasn't been popular, so taking all that into consideration we have some proposed changes. The hip hop boards are being dealt with separately. Proposal 1 - Critique Area Critique |-Lyrics |----Lyrics Archive |-Scratch or 1+1 |-Full Production |-Video |-Artwork |-Song Covers and Remixes |-Poetry |-Members Access Only Proposal 2 - Discussion Area Discussion |-Songwriting |-Music Production |---VST and VSTi |-Performance |-Videos and Images |-Music Industry |-Musicians Lounge All existing sub boards will be merged into their parent. In other words, boards for individual instruments will be removed, leaving only an overall Performance Board, Specialist Music Industry boards will be removed leaving only "music Industry" as a board etc. Only the boards above will be left. Proposal 3 - Contests and Challenges Contests and Challenges |-Contests |-Challenges |-Rap Battles Proposal 4 - Showcase Showcase |-Music |-Lyrics |-Video ________________________ If all 3 proposals are acceppted the Main Forums group will look like this: Main Forums |-Introduce Yourself |-Showcase |-Critique |-Collaboration |-Discussion Cheers John
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    Overall, there are less critique boards than there was when we started. The main categories are the same. Across all the boards roughly 25 boards were removed.
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    I think you should be proud of your work on this so far. Like Monostone said, just keep at it. Not every output has to be The Masterpiece. Sometimes songs are just stepping stones to something else. I also appreciated that you have a sense of building to something and then you know where the payoff is supposed to be and you try to deliver. Those are all things some people never quite get the hang of, so that's good. Your singing also seems just fine, no worries there. I found the lyrics to have a lack of original imagery. There are a lot of kind of random metaphors strung together without enough sense of unity. You've got a road, a fire, a storm, a wire, there should be more commitment to something. It sort of feels like you just strung together some familiar lyric cliches without a whole lot of thought into an overarching theme. Lastly, this is a much easier fix: I find the chorus to be really midrange-heavy. I want to put a big old classic V EQ on it, get the bass to pop out much more and tone down the muddiness of the middle stuff. I think you'll find it feels a lot more satisfying.
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    Russell here, just found this site on the off chance while I was searching for sites to help,out with lyrics and songwriting. Been a musician for around 27 years and perform mostly in Liverpool, uk
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    Ok, should be fixed
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    Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Our band, Jerkatorium, is back with another single. This time around the title is Ace in the Hole and here is our take on the title. I hope you enjoy it! You’re sick Sick and tired of this town Let’s break loose, there ain't no use in us hanging around Maybe we should up and burn it all down But I think that you've got a Nihilistic soul But I truly believe You've got an ace up your sleeve You're tired Sick and tired of this place It's a shitty little city and a total disgrace here You never ever ever wanna show your face here Again, I think that your anger takes its toll But now I understand You've got an ace in your hand You've got an ace in the hole When the chips are down, you just skip town and go you don't even care, you'll go anywhere you just GTFO You've got an ace in the hole when your world gets tough you pack it up and go You can't even deal, when the shit gets real you play your ace in the hole You're high High and mighty, complaining Love's a lame little game, or so you keep saying Been dealt a good hand, but you keep overplaying I'm not the bad guy But I can play that role So now I'll tell you what You've got lodged up your butt Kiss me I'm sick Kiss me I'm tired Of your dirty tricks And your dumpster fires When you figure out you love me anyway And you figure out you really want to stay You're gonna figure out it doesn't work that way ‘cause I got my own ace that I'm gonna play
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    I just rewatched that SM57 video again, and I noticed something interesting. A commenter asked the band what preamp/converter they used for the song and they responded: "Portico mic preamp, LA2a compressor, and Lynx II converters, mixed in a treated room using Cubase 7.5" So for those of you playing along at home, that's a $100 mic with with a $1,700 preamp, a $3,500 hardware compressor, and a $1,000 PCI audio card. I'm thinking that video as an argument for how great the SM57 sounds may have just had some of the wind knocked out of it.
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    I'm not a Mac guy and have no idea how Drummer works in either Garage Band or Logic, but others here do. If you can select what drums sounds to use, it might be an option for you to try with this song, because it sounds to me like you're going for a quirky-cool pop sound, and that means you need drums - just my opinion. I would think for this particular song you'd want synthetic-sounding and not really natural-sounding drum sounds - it's just that kind of tune. But, anyway . . . I've listened to a lot of your stuff on Reverbnation. You're not only a fine singer, you've got killer chops on piano and apparently you slay with an oboe too? I know you probably think you're just getting into music production, but with your talent, you should consider it a worthwhile investment to upgrade to Logic Pro as soon as you can. Again, just my opinion, and I have that opinion about your talent because you also shine as a wordsmith - this song included. Fab lyric. I did notice that you have substantially reduced the incidents of p-pops/plosives in your vocal tracks since your earlier recordings, but for some reason those earlier recordings sounded like they had less hiss from the mic+pre-amp than you have here. Not sure why. It also sounds to me that even though you have reduced the plosives, you still have some, and the mic is also picking some extraneous noises from your mouth. All in all, it sounds to me like you're singing a bit too close to the mic. Another thing I can hear in this recording are clicks from your mouse at some points when you start the recording for the vocal track and/or stop the recording - including at the end of the song. That happens to me too. What you need to do is highlight the audio clips for the vocal tracks, and cut and/or trim the clips so that they only sound while you're actually singing. Here's a tutorial on how to do that in Garage Band. http://www.techradar.com/how-to/computing/apple/garageband-how-to-trim-a-track-1302336 It's always good practice to make sure you click the start of the vocal track a bit before you start singing (if you can given the timing of things) and that you wait a bit until after you stop singing before you click stop (again if you can given the timing of things). That way, any mouse clicks that get recorded at the beginning and at the ending of the audio clip won't be super-close to your actual singing so that trimming the track to remove the clicks will be easy to do. Also, trimming the vocal tracks so that they start right when you start singing and end right after you stop singing can mitigate against the hiss being heard before and after you're actually singing, perhaps making the vocal track hiss less noticeable in the mix. As I said, I think this song is fab. I also think you structured it very well - even the bridge works great. I do have one nit though. I really don't think the song is long enough in duration, and is aching for a longer ending having you repeating the killer chorus and hook. In fact, the current ending kind of sounds like you really didn't know quite how to end the song. I think you should keep going having your backing vocals singing "control freak" while your lead vocal sings things like "yeah, I'm a freak for control baby ," etc. in a more free-form kind of way. After a further while, you could end the song with the music coming to a full-all-stop in rhythm with all vocals then singing "control freak" a cappella in harmony, or you could have a fade out while you're still singing. Just ideas. I think you show really good instincts for how you want to have the instruments arranged in this song. Even though I personally think some of the synth sounds themselves might not have been the best choices for this tune, the notes they play sound "right" to me Dek (MonoStone) complains that there's no bass. I think you do have a synth playing a bass arrangement in the song; it's just not the best choice of a bass sound for the arrangement. Again, just my opinion. I think you're just "better production" away from doing incredible work, Emily. I don't know if I've been any help to you right now, but if you stick around, maybe I can be of help - and if I can't, maybe someone else can be of help. David P.S. If you would re-do Wilderness at some point to eliminate all the vocal track plosives, you would make me a very happy man. What an amazing song.
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    Sreyashi, Yup. I'm able to connect much better now with the gigs. Some days better than others. Being in the zone as David mentioned still holds strong. Being able to emulate that emotion at the beginning will help get into the nature of the song a little more and then you end up being more connected, at least in my experience. Regarding your question of keeping emotion every time while doing a song repeatedly, I got this tip from John. To be able to reassociate the emotion in the song to a current situation or a recent life event really helps. At first this seemed a little difficult for me since my mind is used to associating the song to the original reason I wrote it for. But then, a song is interpreted by every person in their own way. In fact that's the beauty of it which brings people together through the music. This works for the artist too. You just got to get out of the habitual way of thinking. I'm known for tearing up on stage quite often. That's because of all these tips and things I've learnt from other musicians. Anyways, on a side note, there will be a new article about this - "Keeping Emotion" very soon. I'd interviewed John about this topic a while ago and being the editor, I added my own views a bit as well. This topic is super close to me and I look forward to publishing it soon.
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    A Question Of Time (extended remix) - Depeche Mode
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    Seperating the critique section into genre subforums is not a good move! Most of us want to hear every kind of song produced and don't want to have to enter every subforum to do so. This is going to splinter the community, and make it a pain in the ass to keep track of all the songs we critique with all these sub-forums. PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS! PLEASE. Some support here would be good if others would comment, too. Peace, TC
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    Hell yeah. Of course. Just providing as much initial feedback as I can. That's what we do here, after all.
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    Since it said "shameless promotion", here it comes. The genre is somewhat orchestral and I really tried to capture a certain feeling to it. Just wanted to try something new and now was a good time for it. Any feedback is welcome! thanks! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js0xLrJ_knE&app=desktop
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    Put me straight? You see extra moves that didn't happen (2) and a removal that didn't happen. There already was a hip hop music board in the same area, it just got merged with the lyrics board to give a single board. It's a pity you feel that way, but If you are not happy here I am not going to persuade you to stay. I know you have been treated well. If you do not see that, I feel no need to explain it further.
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    *takes down a note: "write song called Too Much Change"*
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    I think I was the first to complain about the new critique forum structure. But, I'm going to give it a fair chance, because I think I owe it this community to give it a chance. I know change is hard, but I ask that others also give the new setup a chance. As members, we know we are valued by John and Songstuff, and John has indicated that if it doesn't work out, changes will again be made. So, c'mon gang, let's give it a fair chance. We can do this! David
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    It will be even more important to follow a topic now. More members will be good, more participation is good, change is difficult but we will work through it. Darts and beer, same but different.
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    Is there a reason to make an album? If you are a band and have any aspirations of moving up to the next level, the answer is YES. You said your band has enough songs to do an "album" - then by all means produce it. It doesn't have to be a physical product but it does need to be available to your fanbase. So many bands get stuck in the local bar grind, and most never progress beyond that because they never committed to doing their own original music. Some bands never make it out of their rehersal space. You need to do two things to have any shot at all: gig and have your own tunes. That formula hasn't changed for decades, and, even though the 'record industry' is undergoing a dramatic shift, playing live and having records (by this I mean a "record" of your songs/work/compositions available in ANY way) is essential. The other reason to produce your songs is from the artistic perspective. There is never a better time to record your art for posterity than NOW. Peace, TC
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    That was great, Hobo. It's great that another member would take the time to do this for another. It's especially impressive considering you had to tune your guitar in standard tuning. Did you have to look this up? Just teasin'. I think this would be an excellent song tempo.
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    Mahesh, so it turns out that another perk of my joining Songstuff was to come across your profile I was going through your posts and music in detail today and to see a professional sounding voice, music and production like your’s trying to make it big is both an exhilarating and sobering feeling. The former reason being, this is potential star-material that can help promote quality international music through local talent (maybe even making it big globally). The latter one being, a great part of the Indian music scene is not about the kind of music that you and I have started to appreciate. I admire your courage to fight the odds and stick to your decision to make this a full-time pursuit. I was an active performer in school and college levels but never gave it a thought of going further because I couldn’t see the viability. Turns out that the heart’s stirrings have a greater strength than the mind’s calculations So, as a thirty-something who’s finally beginning to polish her voice again, I find your story really motivating. My best wishes for you and the exciting times ahead! Will keep picking up tips every now and then
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    LooknGlass Hey bro, good song. This is my two cents for whatever it's worth. Here's what I liked. Although it was probably unintentional, I think you tapped into one of the lesser used "sentiments" in songwriting. That being a self desire to change and be introspective..Now don't get me wrong, "angst" and "regret" are the whipping boys for writers and for good reason. However, your lyrics definitely don't read as if your trying to "bore/bare" your heart. It's more like, "Gee, I miss that girl because I could really use someone to bring me a beer about now." Luckily for you, not every song needs to sound like it was written on a death bed, or by someone expressing regret because they are going through alcohol withdrawals after a big night of drinking. The perspective you used is effective because the market isn't saturated with (for a lack of better description) with an introspective almost self-loathing, bitterness/ regret style message. Meaning I see this songs audience being more for guys "who just lost their girl" and not " for a man trying to woo his woman back." It definitely doesn't read like you're pouring your heart out to your ex, that's for sure.. . Commentary aside. I would suggest putting a bridge in between the chorus and second verse. Or possibly a pre-chorus/hook. .Basically something like; (Verse) (Verse) (Hook) (Verse) Etc. Also, you used the word "purposely" as a start off point in one of your verses. There's nothing wrong with that obviously, I'm just having a hard time with that sounding good because of the, PUH - PUR sound starting the word...IDK. Besides that everything looks good except for the last verse. I can't put a finger on it but it definitely has an cliched feel like others have suggested. Let me know how it comes out. Joe
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    Wow. There's simply no way to cover it all. The posts are flying willy-nilly, and I can barely keep up just reading them! It's funny... and what I am about to say refers to myself, included... humans seem to have such a hard time with change, by and large. Often, to me at least, it seems that those who accept and/or embrace change seem to profit and prosper the most. At least such seems to be the case the older we all get, anyway. I have to say though, to me it seems pointless to resent a person who achieves a measure of personal success posting videos on youtube.
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    Dark tapestry woven with a retro vibe. This is a pretty good start you got here. The biggest thing it needs is a killer arrangement. I would consider this: Intro V1 V2 C V3 (but make this same length as the other two verses. I would end on "Resigned to history" and go to chorus) C Instrumental (Some cool synth and/or guitar here would work) V4 (not sure you need verse 4 here; my inclination is to leave it out) C Outro Losing the second half of V3 (which is really a V4) is not going to detract at all, imo. TBH, I am not crazy about the line "But still a twinkle is burning in your eyes." By the way, you could alternately make the last line in V3 "All the battles you have fought; resigned to history" (instead of lost). It's a bit repetitious, especially in the chorus. I am not sure I would use "In the Midnight Hour" 4 times in a row. However, with a more complete production including harmonies, this might work fine. I hope this helps! Peace, TC
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    Ah yes, Stage 5. For us, at this level, on this site, I think we do experience anticipation but it is fleeting. For those of use still mired in the early stages and not taking it to the next level, I think it is that time when we feel we're ready to show the song to the world, and looking forward to what people have to say. It mixes with excitement. For me, and I'm sure others, right before that song is posted there are many things that go through the mind. Everything from "how will people like it", to "I hope it's good enough" to "I hope it doesn't get slammed" to the oft felt, but never admitted, "what if someone hears it, really likes it and wants to either use it, or have us play it/sign us somewhere". (I now not everyone feels that way but I suspect there are some that do, but wouldn't come out and say it. For those that have no desire to get that kind of recognition, your success has been reached. You want nothing more … Or do you?) Back to Anticipation. This anticipation is fulfilled when they hear the good comments about it (hopefully) or when they get some not so good comments. I call it "Quasi-fullfillment" because in almost every single case, when it's all said and done, unless something more becomes of it we only feel semi-fullfilled based on our early anticipation. Which leads to Emptiness which in turn makes us try to find an answer. The easiest option is Self Doubt. "What did I do wrong?" "What was wrong with the song?" "Why don't people like it?", "Why do only guys respond to my songs?" (that's one for me), etc… More than likely this leads to the realization that either 1) everybody's an idiot or 2) maybe I didn't do good enough. And when you think you did your best and start questioning it, it can lead to Self Doubt, Self Pity and then Depression. At that point most, myself included, get over all that and try again … back to Stage 1. But, and this is a big but, there is a chance that maybe the song was good enough, it's just that this particular site may not be the best vehicle to launch your career, and it certainly shouldn't be your only vehicle. That's when you gotta take it to the next level with really and truly getting your songs out there to be heard. And that doesn't mean only posting it on your FB or Souncloud page. That's where the really hard work comes in because you're really not doing what you'd like to be doing, which is writing and playing songs, but it's a must. The main thing you have to figure out is "What does success mean to me?" A lot of people say they just want a lot of people to hear their songs. Which is great in and of itself, but why? What's the difference between 10 people liking your songs or 1,000 people? What does it give you that makes having more listeners so important? Do you want to hear the comments from them? Just have people say the like your stuff? Because I have a feeling the only difference between having 10 people say they like your songs and 1000 people say it is that it takes longer to get to the Emptiness stage aiming for 1000. Read more in my new book "Typing While I'm Thinking"
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    Yeah... I reckon if I don't post another song on Soundcloud in the next 3 weeks ... but Tweet that I'm going to do something even more brilliant than the last... Fans will be knocking my door down ... Done it before, said it before too sorry, I know what it is to create a buzz, get the cool people talking, get the marketing done, sell out the gig... My post had nothing to do with me wanting to find 'fans' though (been through that phase)... If I'm not gigging then I'm not finding fans, you have to really put yourself out and about... and I won't be going on YouTube to do the YouTube thing either. What I said wasn't a complaint at all... it really wasn't and still isn't in what I say below. Wasn't planning on getting back into this conversation but... I stand by what I've said before...again not as a complaint, no bitterness or whatever, purely what I think is fact - If you're not putting a show on, and a really amazing show so that people are actually paying attention, you're not gonna get far. Live show or YouTube madness, same thing in that respect. If you're not prepared to be on stage, PERFORM, forget about it... What you're talking about is creating a product, and in music when you're trying to become known, a big part of that product is performance. I think it's easy to over-simplify... Having AN image means nothing if it's the wrong image, tweeting about it means nothing if you've got no one to Tweet to! If anyone is shooting for 'success' as a music artist...well that involves PERFORMANCE...get out there performing. Or be happy with a very small to non-existent following, or just be happy to be making music. Ok maybe in some small niche genres you can be a big fish in a small pond and might make music that doesn't even work live... but on the whole.... got to perform... Currently, I don't! And unless I get a band together, which would be fun but unlikely, I won't be performing. Anyone who thinks they can become even a minor success (making a living) as a music artist in most genres without performing and knocking people's socks off is...loopy (smiley face allows me to say stuff ) .... Anyone disagrees, show me examples. EDIT - To clarify... I'm talking about success as THE artist, with fans.
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    Not true. Listened to your music yesterday Peggy
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    Lots of solid truth here, my brother. Across all my websites, I have perhaps 4000 fans all told. A few of my vids have been seen a few hundred times. A couple of my songs have been heard 400 or 500 times. Every view or listen I get is a huge pleasure for me. Then there's the rest of my life;;; my wife and I are 10 years into our life together and still insanely happy. We are best friends, can talk all day long driving in the car, make each other laugh every day. Our worst fights are little spats that pass in a few minutes or less. We have a small but growing 401K we are hugely proud to have squirreled away. We are buying our first home. To me, my life is not just all I would have hoped for, it is so much more, because of all the little intangibles I never knew to ask for, that life has seen fit to give to me anyway. What price tag would one put on such things? To me they are precious.
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    Every day in which i manage to squeeze in an hour of playing/writing/recording is a successful day to me. I do wish for people to listen and enjoy my music, but I try to think of that as the cream. Wouldnt mind having an income from my music (so i could buy more instruments and spend more time on music) but that is not my goal. Cheerio
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    Keep My Powder Dry Copyright © 2016 by L.C. Campbell Verse 1 When love turns to war It’s not love anymore Home is a battleground Casualties all around Don’t even remember what I’m fighting for Chorus 1 So I’ll keep on keepin’ on Give nothing away Bind up my wounds Live to love another day Hold my head up high You won’t see me cry No tears on my face I’ll keep my powder dry Verse 2 We were on the same side Now the gap’s a mile wide I can’t see your heart from here Who we were has disappeared There’s no point in fighting what’s already died Chorus 2 So I’ll keep on keepin’ on Give nothing away Bind up my wounds Live to love another day Hold my head up high You won’t see me cry No tears on my face I’ll keep my powder dry Bridge I’ve learned the hard way that lipstick and blush Just aren’t enough when the going gets rough Chorus 3 So I’ll keep on keepin’ on Give my heart away In spite of my wounds I’ll live to love another day Hold my head up high You won’t see me cry No tears on my face I’ll keep my powder dry
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    It's about being in The Zone, Man. When you're in The Zone, nothing else matters. It's not about the audience. They're only there in the before and after. The performance is about you, the guitar and the song. The "emotion" of your performance isn't something you can manufacture. It's something you get from being in The Zone when you play and sing your songs, and you share that with the audience. You're a solo, singer-songwriter/guitar player. Don't worry about giving them "show." You're not doing party songs or crowd participation numbers. You are more an artist than an entertainer. Give them a recital - give them you, and your amazing songs, voice and guitar all in The Zone. You'll get encores, Bro.