Friday, June 5, 2009

Artists' Burden


-What it is world?!?!?!? It's been a while since my last post. I assure you that my Top 20 Albums piece will continue real soon. I've got some East Coast love on deck with explorations on "Ready to Die" by the Notorious B.I.G and "Enter the 36 Chambers" by the Wu Tang Clan, so stay tuned.
Anyways, I wanted to get back on the blogspot & give a little insight to what has been going on as of late. The main situation in my life right now has been the first official recording of my band, The Boss Level. The idea of the "Magnificent Beasts" EP has been in the works for a while now, and it's in the process of coming to fruition. Drums were laid down courtesy of Mr. Evan Gentry back in Mid-May along with most of the basic bass and guitar tracks, and little by little we've been getting closer to completion. Last night, I laid down the core vocals for one of our songs, "Danger," but it was so strange to perform it under these circumstances.
Music has always been the primary passion in my life, and creating it almost comes naturally. I can't really force it, so I'm constantly searching for means to spark the creativity. The strangest thing about it is that, most times, it's almost as if the song writes itself, and I have no control over the degree of difficulty the tune will provide for any of the band members...including myself. What's even more perplexing is the difference between performing in the controlled environment of the studio compared to the "anything goes" arena of the stage. Lately, I've found that when I perform material with the band, we all propel each other to attain that level (the "boss" level, if you will) of performance necessary to execute the song. I can feed off that energy and hit a vocal range unattainable in solo performance. Hence, the difficulty in performing in the studio.
I've always sang but never consider myself a singer. I still cringe a bit when that label is mentioned, for this vehicle is the first where I'm up front and center...for everyone to hear, so it's taken some getting used to. It's a very vulnerable position to be in, & it can drive you mad...if you let it. The only way to find solace is to surrender yourself to the song, and in doing so I've discovered it's not only an easier way to's the only way to be. As I tracked a part of one song in particular that held Twista-like amounts of verbage in a small space I recall telling Ryan, our engineer, "I need to stop writing such difficult parts." We laughed it up, but deep within the recesses of my mind I knew, I've never written anything for the sake of being difficult. I've only written what seemed right for the song, even if it meant not necessarily being right or easy for me or anyone else in the band.
There have been times where that very aspect of my creativity has rubbed some folks, including myself, the wrong way, but most of the time it works out for the best for everyone involved grew musically, technically, & artistically. We discovered the ability to tap into something within ourselves that we never knew was there, and that's what makes the entire process so exciting. I still get a kick out of playing recordings of our material to friends who upon listening ask, "Who's your singer," only to be pleasantly surprised when I tell them it's me. I enjoy it when folks who only knew of our guitar player, Josh, during the FTL days, revel in his sound, ideas, and prowess saying, "I didn't know he could play like that."
The truth of the matter is we as artists are slaves to our art. Some artists are genius, constantly attempting to break barriers in order to redefine our perception of what is possible & palatable. Some artists are freaks of nature that can effortlessly create or perform what most would deem unfathomable. Some artists are just in tune. They see, hear, and feel what is out there & translate it into something universal for all of us to tap into. I feel as though I belong to that third category. I remain open as a vessel for music to flow. All I do as a performer is attempt to relate the message as best I can...and entertain people while I do it.

Peace. Love. & All That's Beautiful in the World.

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