So there I was… Sitting in an Irish bar in NYC minutes after finishing my set at their weekly open mic.  I was talking to a good songwriter friend, St Eloise,  who happens to be struggling with the same frustrating issue all writers face at one time or another… writer’s block.

At one point she asked about my process & how I come up with song ideas.  Ironically I’ve been asked this same question on multiple occasions.   The answer is simple, yet vague… Inspiration happens for me when it’s least expected…

You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time.
~ Neil Gaiman

My Inspiration

The Time:  5 years ago
The Place: Seattle WA

I was alone in my apartment… in bed…  texting… With someone who I was in a very significant romantic relationship with at the time, Amy.

It was around 10 PM & we were in the middle of saying our goodnights.  Needless to say our dialogue was full of the following type of messages…

“I love you!”
“I love you more!!”
“I miss you!”
“I wish you were here!” 

I’m sure you get the idea 😊 At this point I sent her a text that would change everything…

“Tonight, I’ll be holding you in my dreams”

Soon afterwards we finished saying good night & I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning when I awoke, my first thought was of Amy & our conversation from the night before.  I reached for my phone & read it again…

“Tonight, I’ll be holding you in my dreams”

Doesn’t that sound like a line from a cheesy 1980s power ballad? With a smile, I jumped out of bed, made some coffee, grabbed my guitar, pencil & paper… then began to write.

Within minutes the following words were written down…

Tonight, I’ll be holding you in my dreams
Tonight, you’re right here next to me
Although you are so far away, you’re closer than it seems
Distant doesn’t matter ‘cause I feel you next to me

Not a bad chorus & a great starting point!

Within the next half hour, 3 verses were added… the song was finished. It was by far the easiest song I ever wrote.

Amy’s Reaction

A week later Amy came down with a nasty cold & asked me to stop at the store to pick up a few supplies (cold medicine, soup, tissues, etc…).

I arrived at her place with the items on the list… plus a surprise of my own….

I took out my guitar & neatly laid out the lyrics on her coffee table. Avoiding eye contact I began playing my newest creation.

To this day I get extremely nervous when performing a song for the first time, especially for someone I care about deeply.

Finally towards the end of the song I allowed myself to look up… the first thing I saw… tears streaming down Amy’s beautiful face. She simply said…

“No one has ever done this for me before”

In that moment, words left me as I felt my own emotions start to take over. I could only reply…

“I love you”

And to think… all this started from a simple text conversation! Inspiration is anywhere, one just needs to look for it!

Recording Amy’s Song

Obviously the above song Amy’s song, “Next To Me” will be included on my upcoming album, Long Walk Home.

For a limited time only… You can pre-order the entire album… at a super huge discount… Click on the link below for details!

 

Long Walk Home Preorder

 

Plus I’ll also include my book Long Walk Home – The Stories Behind The Songs.

This book will include stories just like this one, diving deeper into the story behind each song on the album… including… the complete lyrics… pictures… and more! 

Reserve your copy today by going to the link below! 

Long Walk Home Preorder

 


P.S. Here is a picture of the original lyric sheet. I kept as a fond memory! Legible handwriting has never been my strength! What can I say… at least I can read it!! 😊

 

P.P.S.  A quick shout out to my good friend St Eloise (mentioned above)!  Her music is awesome & I’m sure her new material will be too!

Check out her music by clicking on the link below >>

St Eloise Music

Many thanks to Susan Newmeyer for turning me onto her nephew’s band, Footwork

Footwerk’s Music

footwerk

Besides providing an intense, high energy performance; this Washington D.C. based 6 piece band describes themselves as

A ‘blind date’ for first timers or a ‘booty call’ to an experienced audience member.

Source

I thought blind dates are supposed to be weird & awkward?!?! Not this time, I loved the music & hope for a second date 🙂

More information on Footwerk & there music can be found via the links below:

footwerkband.com

twitter.com/footwerkband

facebook.com/FootWerkBand

Sometimes it takes just 1 line to capture interest in a new band. The other day one of my twitter followers, Samuel Patrick Fink suggested I check out New York City’s own Rexford.

rexford music

The ‘line’ in question actually came from an interview they did for riffyou.com who claimed they were…

Like a planet of pop, with orbiting moons of soul and indie

Source

Wow… With such an interesting description how could I NOT investigate?!?! Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.

You can listen to more of Rexford’s music by following the links below:

rexfordmusic.com

twitter.com/FromRexford

facebook.com/rexfordmusic

Here’s another special thanks to one of my newest Twitter friends: Mike Hummell for introducing me to Trevor Hall.

Trevor Hall Music

The thing I love about Trevor is the close relationship he has with his grandmother. Here’s what Trevor has to say…

 

… my grandmother said to me …

“Isn’t time such a wonderful gift?”

Source

He continues by explaining how his grandmother’s wisdom helped open his mind. Time was no longer a curse (like many of us experience) but a blessing! Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to change everything! Thanks grandma 🙂

You can find out more about Trevor Hall & his music by following the links below:

trevorhall.virb.com

twitter.com/trevorhallmusic

facebook.com/trevorhall

The Airborne Toxic Event

Here’s a band one of my newest Twitter friends recommended… The Airborne Toxic Event. Thanks PartyBearLA for the awesome tip! 🙂

What I love most is what can be found on their Facebook page. Mikel Jollett (vocalist & guitar) say’s

 

I made a decision to change my whole approach to music. I just wanted to be joyful about it. I wasn’t going to worry anymore. For the first three records, I thought mostly like writer. My mindset changed. It was about inventing a musical logic that was unabashedly catchy and rhythmic, but way weirder than anything we’ve done in the past.

Source 

Sometimes the lightbulb just comes on! Here’s a rally cry to every artists out there…. Stop worrying, have fun, follow your instincts & just do it!!!

More info on this inspiring band can be found below:

theairbornetoxicevent.com

twitter.com/airborne_toxic

facebook.com/TheAirborneToxicEvent

Here’s a huge shout-out to one of my newest Twitter friends,  davidpolanx who introduced me to Sam King, singer/songwriter from New York, NY… a town so nice they named it twice!  (HAHAHAHA Sorry I couldn’t resist.  I love that joke 🙂 )

Sam King Music

Sam’s had the blessing of traveling the world doing what he loves… play music!!

He describes his journey as the following….

It’s a dream come true to get to do what I love for a living (or at least to try). Music and I have had a powerful relationship since I was a child, and no matter what I do, it will always be a part of me.

Source samkingtv.com

We need more dreamers like you Sam!  Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

To connect with Sam & his music please check out the links below:

samkingtv.com

twitter.com/SamKingTV

facebook.com/SamKingTV

Many, many thanks to PoopRainbowMama for recommending the music of Mumford & Sons, this British rock band out of London, England defines hard work.

Mumford & Sons

In their own words

The band who once told an interviewer that if they didn’t play live they weren’t a band at all

Source mumfordandsons.com

That’s exactly what I love to hear, hard work that pays off!

Connect with them via the links below:

mumfordandsons.com

twitter.com/mumfordandsons

facebook.com/mumfordandsons

House concerts are the wave of the future & one of the most effective ways for an artist to connect to his/her audience.   Why?

The subtle warmth that smacks your fuzzy feelings

Mothlight House Concert Series

There’s some exciting stuff coming out of Montreal Canada, with their new “Mothlight House Concert Series” which showcases local talent in an intimate setting.  This is EXACLY why my goal for 2015 is to starting booking a LOT of house concerts!   Daniela says it best:

“Music is so beautiful when you really get to pay attention to the idea of the artist, or their perception of their project. It’s so much more than just a noisy bar,” says Daniela Madrid, who started the event in November with her boyfriend Siavash Kolaei.

Source cultmontreal.com

This is a HUGE development for Independent musicians!

Stockhouse.com reports that:

Over 50% of independently produced music videos have been accepted for airing by major national music video networks in the U.S.

The tides are starting to turn… we are the media! Soon the day will come where records won’t be needed.  The internet is changing the world for artists everywhere!

Now here’s soi-prevailmeone who completely “gets it”… Through 100% focus & determination, Brian Burkheiser’s hard work is finally paying off. His band, I Prevail, redid the Taylor Swift song “Blank Space” & it went viral:

The cover, released in December, reached No. 1 on the iTunes rock charts for a straight week followed by I Prevail’s whole album hitting No. 1 of the iTunes rock charts for five days.

Here’s how he did it:

Burkheiser said he worked 40 hours a week at a pizza shop in order to pay for the music gear and recording time.

“You have to go right home from work and just work on the music though; don’t (mess) around and play video games, just put everything into the music.”

That’s right “no messing” around! There’s no secret to success. All you need is laser focus, a plan & 100 commitment!!  Read more about it here

Robyn Bonucchi MarriottI’ve always been a huge fan of Reverbnation.com. For the independent musician it gives a free platform to promote their work, and for the music lover it’s an excellent place to discover new & interesting artists. Needless to say, since I fall into both categories I visit Reverbnation.com quite a bit.

One day a few years ago I came across Robyn Bonucchi Marriott’s page. The thing that struck me most was the 80s influence. Being a child of the 1980s I was naturally drawn to it. Over the years we’ve communicated a few times, first through Reverbnation.com and eventually via Facebook. Recently I caught back up with Robyn to discuss the challenges facing indie musicians. Read the highlights below:

Q: Describe your music. What are your influences?
A: The music from my first and second CD is a combination of melodic rock/pop and some acoustic style songs. The music can probably be compared to Pat Benatar, Heart or Journey. The type of music I’m aiming to write moving forward is more of the acoustic rock/country sound. I would say it’s more influenced by the sounds of Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge and Miranda Lambert.

Q: What is the next step in your music career?
A: The next step would be writing on my own or collaborating with one person. I wrote the lyrics and developed some melodies for my first two albums, but I handed them over and someone developed the songs from there. I want a hands on part in writing the next time.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as an independent musician and how do you hope to overcome that challenge?
A: Well, I would say is getting exposure. But, I get through it by talking to other musicians and realizing we all struggle. And also by remembering I don’t sing in the hopes of making millions of dollars one day. I sing because it full-fills me. It’s who I am. Also, knowing people like you Tim, people who want to help and support other artists helps to overcome this challenge.

Q: Where can people check out your music?
A: Everything is available at www.robynmusic.org, cdbaby.com/robyn and on all the digital download sites too. They can also check out my facebook page under “Robyn’s Music

Q: Anything else you would like to tell the world?
A: The reason I sing is to hopefully touch people. Perhaps I can say something they can’t find the words to say. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, I feel like I’ve done what I’m meant to do.

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

For more information, music, news and updates, please visit:

Facebook.com/TimBrandt

Twitter.com/TimBrandt

Youtube.com/TimBrandt

Pinterest.com/TimBrandt

hydria entangledAnyone close to me will attest to the fact that I’m a huge fan of the progressive rock band Genesis. Although old school fans may shutter at this fact, “Invisible Touch” was my introduction to the band. However in my defense, I was only 16 at the time and had yet to understand the overall historical perspective. A few trips to the record store (actually at that time it was mostly cassette tapes) taught me the history of Genesis. What a shocking revelation to learn that Phil Collins was not only a drummer but wasn’t even an original member of the band! Determined to understand the history, the next cassette tape I purchased was “From Genesis To Revelation”. Working my way backwards it took me a year or so to get to “A Trick Of The Tail”. To this day it’s still one of my favorite Genesis albums.

This is a long winded way of introducing today’s Tim’s Show & Tell posts! A few years ago the Brazilian band Hydria recorded a cover of “Entangled”. See the video below:

I personally love the distorted guitar during the “B” part of the song (Well if we can help you we will…) It adds an interesting dynamic element while still holding true to the original intent of the song. Unfortunately since this recording the band has decided to part ways.  It’s too bad because I really enjoyed their music. Hopefully there will be solo projects coming out soon. I’ll make sure to post an update if that happens.

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

For more information, music, news and updates, please visit:

Facebook.com/TimBrandt

Twitter.com/TimBrandt

Youtube.com/TimBrandt

Pinterest.com/TimBrandt

victoria smith musicVictoria Smith is an independent singer/songwriter hailing from the great state of Massachusetts. We met on Twitter of all places; social media is a wonderful way to bring people together from all over the world. One of the many philosophies we share is the idea that indie artists need to support each other (Artists Supporting Artists), both in terms of encouragement as well as promotion. Basically I’ll promote your work to my fans & you do the same for me… or in other worlds scratch my back & I’ll scratch yours. Competing against the big boys is tough enough. Independent artists need to stick together.

That said – Victoria’s song “Bad Boy” was a recent finalist in the Annual Great American Song Contest (Pop category).

For more info on Victoria Smith & her music check out the link below:

victoria-smith.com
– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

For more information, music, news and updates, please visit:

Facebook.com/TimBrandt

Twitter.com/TimBrandt

Youtube.com/TimBrandt

Pinterest.com/TimBrandt

For today’s Tim’s Show & Tell post I’m very please to introduce Melanie Dekker.

Melanie Dekker Distant StarThe story: It was June 2012. At the time I was living in Seattle WA however on this particular Sunday afternoon I was in the middle of a day trip to Port Townsend WA. On the way home we passed the Port Townsend Brewery and being a sucker for small independent breweries we decided to stop & check it out. We were surprised to learn on that day they happened to be featuring live music in there outdoor beer garden. As we sat down Melanie was just starting her set. I remember it being a perfect afternoon… gorgeous weather, good beer, great company and live original music. What more could I possibility ask for? After an hour we finished our beers & decided to head for home.

Fast forward 5 months… I’m cleaning off my desk & come across Melanie’s card that I happened to pick up at the brewery in Port Townsend. Thinking back to that summer day I remembered 1 song in particular she played I really liked… well sort of! I couldn’t quite remember the name of it. A quick visit to Melanie’s website proved inconclusive. None of the song clips listed were it. Out of desperation I sent her a quick email explaining my dilemma. To my pleasant surprise I receive a response within 30 minutes!! After several email exchanges back & forth we finally figured it out…. “Stare at The Rain”.

After asking where I could purchase a download of the song, she simply just sent me 2 copies (studio & live) then thanked me for my support.

This is one of the many reason I love supporting independent artist. There’s nothing that compares to a 1 on 1 conversation & simple “thank you”. I urge everyone to check out Melanie Dekker’s music via the link below:

melaniedekker.com

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

For more information, music, news and updates, please visit:

Facebook.com/TimBrandt

Twitter.com/TimBrandt

Youtube.com/TimBrandt

Pinterest.com/TimBrandt