Pressing Play

One of the hard things about being a musician is when people say they love your music, but hardly anyone is willing to take the time to listen to or buy it. It’s very easy to fall into a state of wondering if people are just being polite and wondering what they really think, or if you should even bother releasing new material.

Of course if you’re someone like me, you realize you’re not going to stop making music even if *no one* ever listens to it, so you might as well release it anyway. ‘Course it also means thinking maybe you should stick to pure home brew rather than putting money into fancy studios and shiny discs. The era of digital releases makes it much easier to go low budget in that respect.

I do get some people pressing play (and thank you for that!). Not many, but some. (I’m still 8 listens away from my goal of 30 before I release my next solo. It’s… kind of a low bar). Some of my fellow artists, not so much. Because of that, some great songwriting has been shelved, at least publicly and that makes me sad.

I get that we’re all busy people, and sometimes we see new releases while we’re somewhere we can’t listen. Often we say “oh, I’ll listen to it when I get home.” And by the time we’re home after a stressful day of work and a crappy commute, we’ve forgotten there was something we wanted to listen to at all. Yes, I’m guilty of this too.

All I ask, is that if in your friends circle or among the people you follow someone releases something new… find a way to make yourself remember to go check it out. Put a quick alert in your calendar if you have to. Bookmark the link. Whatever it takes. If you really do love it, if you want it to keep happening, “like” the photos, listen to the music, interact in some small way that shows that art isn’t just being hurled out into a vacuum.

Just because we create because we love it doesn’t mean we put in less time or less effort than working at something we hate. We still like to eat. If we can’t do that with our art, we have to spend more time on a day job and less time creating.

Believe me I understand being broke. Small interactions still give hope that when you can afford to, you might choose to buy a song or a painting or a neat piece of sculpture or clothing. Don’t wait to appreciate something until you can afford to buy it. An art gallery might see 20 sales and hundreds of visitors. Those sales support two things many artists are fond of: eating and sharing beautiful art with the world.

I’m not saying spend your time on something you don’t care about… just if you love what we spend time on, spare us a little time of your own. It really does matter.

New Song! The Solo Project – Reflections

My dearest goblins and gentlefey! I have two things to announce today!

The first is that I shall be presenting the Solo Project on Thursday evening of Norwescon at 10pm. Originally The Solo Project started as me being bored on a bus with access to GarageBand, with the idea that I would see what I could make if I did everything myself. I made enough things that I decided The Solo Project was actually an album title… and then I made more! At this point The Solo Project is my new solo band.

So at Norwescon look for me and my iPad performing an album’s worth of new music (including a couple of familiar songs with a brand new sound). Much of it is excellent to dance to (and I would love to see you out there dancing!).

The second announcement is this new song (which will be performed at Norwescon). Reflections was inspired by a couple of very close friendships I’ve had. The kind where you’re so similar in who you are that you could almost be twins… and then discovering that *almost* can be the bane of communication.

I felt like I was like Alice, standing on one side of a pane of a mirror, pounding on the glass and trying to communicate with someone in a world that hit the uncanny valley between utterly familiar and unsettlingly wrong. Not for my friend, but for me and everything I thought I knew. I realized they’d been seeing only as much of me as they could see in the mirror, and that they had no idea that the world just out of sight was dramatically different than the world they lived in.

By the end, I felt more like I was writing the song from both sides of the mirror, feeling like neither side was more real than the other.

(As a side note, with minor changes I think this would also make for a great Harry Potter or Alice filk song. Which I discovered when I accidentally sang trust instead of touch in the first verse.)

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.


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.