Shaunna Hall – Summer of Love & My hometown Coimbra, Portugal

Wow, It’s been half a century since the Summer of Love.  As luck would have it (as usual?), I was there to celebrate it earlier this summer with my friend Suzanne who I hadn’t seen in 20 years and my new friend Shaunna Hall, a badass guitarist.

And tonight, with even more luck, I got to play with Shaunna at Cafe Santa Cruz in my hometown in Coimbra, Portugal. The world is small.

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80/20 “rule” for Finishing and Releasing my Songs

Whoa, what is going on with failing to finish and releasing my songs?! I was just reading an article from SageAudio – where “The Pareto Principle in reference to mixing says that 80% of results come relatively fast, while the last 20% is more demanding and meticulous. The 80% is the very first part of mixing.” By now, if you’re in the recording business or doing anything of value, you know about this generic, rough rule.

But the realization here for me, is how I have folders with a total of 11 Bossa Nova songs arranged and mixed in my own Da Bossa style, but they are at different levels of unfinished – they’re all around 80% finished. Note that I was already using my own rough estimate on a scale from 1 – 10. What does this mean? Well, I’m on a music roll when it comes to laying out and enjoying (yes, they are all listenable as is right now) those first 80% of the songs; but then I get stuck. Those remaining 10 or 20% meticulous moves are a pain in the butt.

In the beginning I was blaming it on the “oh, I don’t have the technical know-how and experience to finish them off.” [important: by finishing them off, on the scale of 10 or the 100%, I actually mean: song is ready to be sent to a Mixing engineer, or maybe in some cases, sent directly to a Mastering engineer]. The good news – the great news, is that I now feel that I’m competent enough to: make a darn good arrangement; know when I need to rerecord the vocals or give them increased body or getting rid of the nasal stuff; LOL hear when I need to tune the vocal; when the acoustic guitar sounds muddy or has an annoying resonance; where the kick should go vis-a-vis the bass; hear if there is too much room sound in the live instruments; hear when the mix’s lower mid range is bloated; not to mention, where Verse 2 needs a pick-me-up to avoid the dreaded boredom that makes the listener quickly click forward to a different song; where the Chorus doesn’t rise to the occasion; where I get no chill or goosebump moments in the song (ooh, this is real bad); where something is masking something; where each instrument is not perfectly clear; where the reverb needs to be sidechained for clarity; I can tell when a song is finished or is unsatisfying.

So, now I can’t attribute blame to the technical aspects anymore – it’s a wonderful personal accomplishment that has taken me a few years. But, huh, OK, what about those remaining 10 to 20%?! F*#?!

From reading different articles on this – how to deal with procrastination and finishing your damn art work, this is what I’m going to do: i) follow the suggestions in the above-mentioned article and other ones; ii) really, set a fixed time every morning (like those writers that get up at 3-4 AM and work till 7 AM every day, before going to their daytime job, or somenting similar, like, for me: 8 AM to 12 noon (6:45 I make sandwiches for the kids school lunch); and iii) work and finish one song at a time.

Not foolin’ myself [Foolin’ Myself, great song by Billie Holiday – a little aside, she is a big influence on my singing], plan B is to just get each song to the 80% finish line and then hire a producer or a hands-on mixer to nail the bloody thing to its cross, for all to hear (ouch). The thing is, I get the greastest pleasure, and the ease, it’s child’s play, from creating, assembling, copy/pasting, arranging – those first 80% – I know this because I great frustrated with “meticulous”, and besides these Bossa Nova songs, I literally have hundreds of my original songs at the 40 – 80% level. So, regardless, I am going to need help. Help! If you like my music and you want be a part of my life goal of producing a HIT song, get in touch with me, now!

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Lovers Come and Go

I miss your warmth,
A little bit.
Miss to byte, just a little,
Your peachy lip.
I miss you giggling
At things that aren’t particularly funny,
How you call me darling
Rather than honey.
But, hey,
Lovers Come and Go,
As my song goes,
However, unlike the song,
After the ecstasy,
There’s been no misery.
Thank you.
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Paralyzed by Fear Less and Less

It’s true, less is more: less fear, more of life! The great news is that I was accepted at the Transmute Retreat in New Smyrna Beach – I’m so excited, I’m so challenged by this (these people are goood), so I lost my fear, I’m jumping right in. It’s time to up the ante, up my game, when it comes to being on stage, to perform, to be entertaining, to tap into the dreams of each person in the audience, taking them on a little excursion…



Anyway, I believe they still have some slots at the retreat, so check it out!

I have great memories of New Smyrna Beach with its very white fine sand and that delicious burger restaurant right at the beach (and I don’t even like burgers that much).

I will be sharing with you on this blog, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, both my progress and some of the bitter-sweet memories of have New Smyrna Beach – you’ll see.

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Paralyzed by Fear

No, this not the title of some self-help book; this is me now. Fear of commitment to my music career, fear of jumping in the water, fear of not being able to keep with it, stay afloat, once I jump in. I’ve been sitting on the bench with three major things: i) taking my live show to the next level: ii) mixing, mastering and upload to the world my first songs; and iii) hiring help for photo, video editing and music video making, web content management and social media maintenance.

I was a sent a link for – a week long retreat in Florida, precisely for helping your live show get to the next level. There are two openings left, and I have to answer some questions to apply for one of the 15 slots. Oh no, paralyzed by fear! These people have amazing live shows, apparently boundless energy and focus. Where is my freakin focus?!

I’m paralyzed by fear. So I had to share this paralyzing angst with my 16-year old son. “You can’t do nothing for the next thirty years.” & “No one cares about your age.”

Wow, thanks son, I’m going to fill out that application form and take from there… I’ll keep you posted.

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Thoughts on Religion after seeing the movie The Promise

After seeing the movie The Promise about the Armenians being, let’s say, pushed out, of Turkey, driving home, a bit bummed out, it became really clear to me what religion is for, what role if fulfills in human beings, why it’s so pervasive in all cultures and through the ages.
It’s five main reasons: i) it is for people to justify fighting each other, and taking the other’s resources; ii) use it as a reason for nation building and for defending the nation; and iii) for keeping order in society so you know you’ll either get punishment or revenge for either doing, or being done wrong; iv) for easing the brutal reality, pain of living and then, dying, vanishing; and v) for easing the pain, for comping with very painful things that happen in life. So, the first three reasons show us that religion is both a unifier and a divider. When you take out these three reasons – basically, doing away with so-called organized religion, then you are left with so-called Spirituality – that’s why spiritual people are normally not affiliated with a religion (which is always affiliated with a nation or a race), because they don’t have the nationalistic view and don’t have the us versus them attitude.
As for me, well I understand all this, but I’m a man of the Renaissance, and now a 21st Century human – just an atheist, or some kind of a Taoist – whatever that means 🙂

I think some of these thoughts are a bit of a common threat, albeit, not-in-yo-face, that runs through my song lyrics.

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I have something to say.

Some people say it in their writing, some people state it in their art, some say it through their work, I say it through my songs.

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I’m breezin’

This post made me feel really good, like I’m on thcs-breezine right track, I got something to share – my music, myself.

Of course, I was thinking of Breezin’ by George Benson, a beautiful album that was key to my development as a person and as a musician.

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It’s about turning corners

So you got a plan, pretty much, you keep on pushing forward,  and it feels like you’re getting nowhere; you start hearing negative dialogues in your mind – wow, this is hard, I can’t do it… But you keep on doing it, being nice to yourself, hoping for feeling better the next day. And then… you find yourself turning a corner and realize you’re reenergized again, , accomplishing something that vindicates your progress m, you’re moving forward. You realize there will be other corners, and that’s what it takes.

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I’m here!

So much has happened since my last Post that it will take a bit of time to reveal and share with you. The good news: I will be posting regularly now and I’m working full time with my music, yeah!!

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