New Song! The Solo Project – Witness at the Gate

Sometimes the only thing you can do for someone you care about is to stand back, let them fall, and bear witness to the trials they go through. That may not sound like much, but sometimes it’s enough for someone to know that their struggle is recognized.

I had two musical influences that collided with life to form this song. The first is Heather Dale’s Mordred’s Lullaby. There are always those songs that are so perfect you wish you’d written them, but of course you didn’t. This is one of mine. I utterly love the layered chanting underneath the melody, and wanted to do something similar (I have a couple of earlier songs somewhat in that vein I’ll share at some point).

The other song is Leslie Hudson’s My Dear, My Doubt. There are more musical flavor similarities to this song, but the big influence was the lines in the first verse that were like a punch to the gut.

“Where are you when I need you
To watch me struggle through
Not to save me
I can swim
Just to bear a witness to”

That moment of “ohhh… that’s what I was trying to tell you.” Too late to be heard.

Witness at the Gate came together some months later when I found myself on the other side witnessing a friend’s choices and knowing there was nothing I could do to help because they needed to work things out for themselves. All I could do was use music to say “I see you. And I’m still here, but I can’t follow you.” So I put a light in my window, musically speaking, and let go.

New Song! The Solo Project – Winter’s Gift

I have the firm belief that it isn’t Christmas until it snows. It came a bit late this year, but my gift to you is a new song that sings the praises of winter. It’s a lovely song to listen to whilst curled up by a window, snuggled into a warm quilt, and drinking a mug of hot cocoa. It is a quiet joy, filled with awe and delight, a slow dance and a lullaby wrapped up in song.

May you know joy and stay safe in the snow.

Namaste

New Song! The Solo Project – Winter is Coming

©2018 Shanti Singleton

Hero or Villain? Sometimes it really depends on where you’re standing. One person’s defiance can easily be another’s insanity, and who is to say who is right and who is wrong. So beware, for either way Winter is coming…

This song started as a scrap of chorus and threatened to stay there until Dara Korra’ti helped poke at it and tossed out the idea of the sapling. I didn’t know the rest of the story until a music theory class prompted me to finish it and submit the lyrics for an assignment. The best three would be posted and we’d have to compose a tune to match. Of course I liked mine enough that I couldn’t submit without writing my own tune first. (A precaution so if someone else wrote something awesome to it I couldn’t be accused of stealing bits of their work.) I was delighted and astonished when mine was chosen. One of my friends, Emily Ridgeway, did in fact write a tune I enjoyed quite a lot, so I was happy I’d taken the extra time with it.

This one is a stronger blend of acoustic and synth than the last two (still all GarageBand though). I thought about playing with it more, but realized I liked the sound I had.

New Song release! The Solo Project – Winterglass

©2018 Shanti Singleton

Given the time of year, I thought I’d start things off with a fairy tale set in winter. Dance your way through mirrors on a cold winter hill, but don’t eat the apples.

Some of you heard this previewed at Norwescon last year, when I danced to it with Ocicat at the end of my concert. It has been polished up and I think improved for the extra work.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and keep your ears open… Winter is Coming.

New Song! The Solo Project – Eternal Reverie

My dear goblins and gentlefey, I announce my first official release since Mine to Love came out in 2013!

Eternal Reverie is my first ever released piece of instrumental Fairy Trance. It’s free to listen to, and buying it helps me bring you more music (The next song is in queue and will go up as soon as I’m done poking at the vocals and the mix).

This is part of the ongoing Solo Project. The Solo Project was originally meant to be just an album, and as the name suggests, is entirely by me. Well, mostly. I’m recording vocals in Dara’s studio and she’s running the controls, and any mastering will likely be done by someone else because it’s generally prudent.

The songs are mine, the compositions are mine, the playing is me using GarageBand, the editing and mixing and album/song art are all mine. This is what I come up with when I don’t have (or let) anyone else help me. It got started on the bus (I do a LOT of commuting), and I kept discovering more that I was capable of. I stepped it up a notch to prove that I can be awesome all by myself, mostly for my self (Honestly that’s a thing for a lot of us creative types).   I still miss live in-studio collaboration, but it’s a pretty great feeling that I made something cool all by myself!)

Before I knew it I was writing music related to the 80’s, Fairy Trance, and complicated vocal harmonies. Clearly an album was happening, except that rather than stopping to polish the songs off I kept going and realized the Solo Project might be less a single album, and more a new band (Two new bands if you count The Solo Project +). Further more, it’s becoming more clear that even under The Solo Project I have multiple styles, and it might be nice if they were to match on an album…

Rather than keep dithering about what exactly the next album will have on it, I’m trying something new. I’m releasing songs from The Solo Project as singles for now, with a plan to bundle them up into an album (or two) down the road.  I’ve got a release date in mind, and a concert slot booked.  I just have to buckle down, get these vocals done, and get over my nerves about performing what essentially amounts to Karaoke for you to showcase the album.  (But really, how else do you perform something when you wrote almost everything using instruments your friends don’t play? …And how do I show off an instrumental piece? Clearly the answer is to dance!)

As a side note to any of my musician friends reading this: The Solo Project + does in fact feature real people besides me on top of (or replacing some parts) the new music. If you think of fun ways to reinterpret any of the songs in our usual acoustic configuration (or other ways), I’m all ears! Attempts to reinterpret into Ragtime will see me laughing too hard to sing. You have been warned.

Studio Fail #1

That moment in the studio when you realize you really need to record something else before this instrument layer.

Now I have to teach myself to think “percussion”. This? This is not my strong point people. I’m a dancer, percussion lives in my feet not my head.

(Working with GarageBand for the drum kit. It’s totally got an assistant for the percussively impaired. I’m not entirely sure if it makes things better or worse…)

For those who don’t understand how multi-track studio sessions work, your foundation track is your rhythm track. Usually percussion, but you can have rhythm guitar, bass, piano… even vocals if you’re an acapella group.

Now I knew this, and thought I had my rhythm instrument set (Irish bouzouki if you’re curious). But then I realized that song really did need the drum kit. And if I was being honest, so did that other one. Cue a screeching halt as we discover that my scratch GarageBand version is incompatible in several places with the Zouk pattern.

Now I have homework. Make a pattern that suits an acoustic version of the song. Get it to Dara so she can alter her playing pattern if she needs to. Hope it sounds good enough to use. THEN record Zouk.

(Hand drums ought to go first too, but it’s a little easier to cheat and add those later if you have to. Not good studio practice mind, but they work better as a last minute add than a kit generally will.)

Secondary homework. Re-analyze every other song for whether they need percussion and recruit a talented hand drummer if so.

So glad I haven’t set a release date yet (just a personal target goal).

Walk With Me in Beauty – Subscriber song

©2018 Starlisa Black Photography

June’s Subscriber offering is up, this time a meditative song that loops seamlessly. (Or it does in GarageBand anyway.) I wrote it this time last year, so it seemed an auspicious time to share it. 🙂

Walk with me in beauty

Walk with me in peace

Walk with me in silence

Or when looking for release

Walk with me in beauty

Walk with me in grace

Take the time for what we have

Before we leave this place

As always, it can be heard by becoming a Bandcamp Subscriber

Thank you so much for listening!