It has been a while since my last blog post, and I’m really sorry! A lot of it is because I really haven’t been motivated to keep up with my blog as well as a lack of confidence with my writing. But I have come to realize that everyone has something that they don’t like about themselves. Weather it’s physically or mentally, everyone has something they wish they could change, and if you don’t then I envy you. What I’ve also come to know about this is, we cannot let our insecurities define us. I think it’s important to realize them then learn to accept them. So while I might not be the best writer I do have a passion for sharing my thoughts with others and eventually my writing will get better in the process.
Anyway, I’ll stop ranting lol. A lot has happened since my last post. I’ve had a few gigs this summer and have written a bunch of original songs. Originals are really new for me, while I started writing about two years ago, this year I was able to really get in to it and make some songs that I’m super happy about. I have also met a great group of people who I could not be more thankful for. They’re the people that I honestly needed at this point in my life and already I know that they’re the type of people I want to keep in my life as well.
I have also been very focused on my social media. This is honestly difficult for me to do. I do love sharing with you guys, but I hate taking pictures!! Not because of my confidence, but because I’ve never been the one to post pictures of just myself as the main focus. Which sounds ridiculous because that’s kind of a big part about being a musician. But along with that, I’m also really awkward when it comes to posing! So it takes me a while to act normal, so I look like an actual human being. So I really hope that as I keep doing it I’ll continue to get better!
Over all this summer has been really great! It’s been filled with great adventures and friends. I’m not ready for it to end, but I’m ready to be able to see my friends and continue with theater and track this year.
So earlier this month I really got out of the loop of things. I wasn’t focused on my goals, friendships, and even my music. I talked to some of my friends and adults that I was close to and they really helped bring me out of just being down on myself. I realized I was having a low and was just ready to get back to the happy loving me. After many many days and long talks with not only adults but also with myself, I started to feel a lot better. I started to realize that I need to come back to loving myself for who I am and keep moving forward. I learned that there are bumps in the road, and things that will break your heart and bring you down, but when you come out of the darkness you get so much stronger. It makes me so happy to know that I have found the place that I prayed and hoped I would find again.
Anyway, music. So where does music play in to all of this? I can sit here for another hour and tell you how important to my emotions music is, but you’ve heard that from me many times. Right now, music is helping me by giving me a new goal. I’m really focused on loving myself and setting new goals mentally, physically, and for my future path and career. I’m so happy to be sharing that I’ve finally started writing songs and really putting my all in to them. I’ve created so many stories through relationships with my good friends and others and I think a way to really remember and share these stories is through my music. Also feeling a wide range of emotions have made me want to express them more than ever. Not only am I writing new music, I’m challenging myself with harder guitar songs and have really been focusing on putting myself back out their and looking for new gigs. I’m so happy to finally be back on the path that I took a detour on a few months ago, and I hope you guys will keep loving me through it.
All in all, I’m really content on where I am now, and am excited to share the peace and love with you guys again. I hope that my little story can be something that you guys can look back on if you’re starting to feel a low point or just need a little boost in your self love. I just want you guys to know that I’m not doing this for sympathy, because as of right now I’m super happy with who I am and what life has in store for me. I’m ready for sharing more music and stories with you guys so be ready haha.
As I've said in my past couple of blogs, I have been meeting new beautiful people. High school is such a great place to meet people with amazing gifts. Including people with the same passion of music as me. Meeting these people have opened my eyes to a whole new genre of music and way of expressing music in such a unique and different style. One of my good friends listens to music all the time, they absolutely can't get enough of it. Another is drawn towards theater arts and more musical types of music. While another is just starting their music path and just getting a feel for it. It's amazing to see the different paths that everyone is on in their music career. They all have a similar dream, but also have completely different ways of getting there. What I find so great about these friendships that I've made, is that we can share what we’re listening to, or what we’re are focusing on right now. They can also bring inspiration and collaboration. Working with other people, that love the things you do, really opens your eyes to seeing the gifts each one of us was individually given.
Music is an amazing thing. I hope I don't have to be the one to tell you that. It brings people together in the most amazing way. Just one song that expresses your emotions, might be the same song getting another person through their day. Music shares emotions and feeling that can be shared and interpreted in many ways, depending on what person listens to it and how far into their journey they are. Also getting to know a person’s music style might tell them about their character, about their likes or dislikes, and most of all their emotions. Know, I'm not saying that everyone expresses their emotions through song. I'm just telling you what I've seen from my friends and my own person music choices. You can learn a lot about me through my music, specifically what mood I'm in.
All in all music, I think brings people together in such an amazing way. Music is pain and beauty and peace. And most important music is love and a bond of hopes that people may find similar to another.
We all have been there, those days were you just feel like nothing is going your way, like things are just not on your side. I know I have. Coming around to my second trimester a lot of things have changed. I've meet new people, people that make me laugh and feel good, but with that, I've also lost some people as well. For me, losing a person is hard, once I get to know them it's really difficult for me to let them go. So going through these changes, losing some people that meant and still mean so much to me, is tough. I still have a lot of my close friends, but losing anyone that has made an impact on your life is rough. I've had my share of bad days or even bad weeks, and in no means am I telling you this for pity. That is not what I'm trying to get out of these blogs what so ever. I'm sharing this with you so that if you're going through something similar, you have someone to relate to. I think if I can help someone out or give them a sense of comfort, then I'm doing something right. Anyway, through these bad times I've found that one thing that will always be there for me not matter what time or place, Music (bet you didn't see that one coming haha). But in all honesty, I don't know where I would be with out music. It's away for me to either face and express my emotions, or drown them out for the time being until I'm ready to confront them. Without music those hard days would be so much harder, I wouldn't have a way to get out my emotions in a healthy way or wouldn't have that one song that could completely change my attitude in a matter of two minutes. Music, for me, is that one best friend that will one; always be there and two; always know exactly what to say. I'm so glad I have a way to really express myself through music and have those songs that share exactly what I'm going through or feeling. Those are the songs that make my bad days just a little bit brighter.
While I've had those bad days through last trimester and this trimester. I've also had some really amazing days that would be worth reliving again. I've had those days where I just couldn't stop smiling and everything was just turning out okay. Even some days where I felt so unbelievably loved that it made me feel like I could do anything. Remembering these days reminds me of how fortunate I am to have such an amazing family and group of friends. Just like music I don't know what I would do with out these amazing people in my life. What makes music so great, is the fact that it can relate with really any emotion. So on those days where I feel like I could fly if I wanted to I like to listen to happy upbeat music, or just silly songs that my friends and me can laugh and sing along too. Having something as great as music available to me basically when ever I want it is so amazing and has really been a key role in my emotions and attitude for the greater majority of my teen life.
A lot plays into the roles of songwriting, and personally for me, song writing doesn’t come easy. I’m not the kind of person that can just sit down and bust out a great song in a matter of thirty minutes. For me, writing songs takes and excruciatingly long time. Which is why I haven’t had any song out yet (sorry). But I have been finding new inspirations and muses. Now that I’ve started high school I’m meeting new people and with that facing new challenges. In the beginning, I was excited about school, I mean who isn’t. You get to see your friends, past crushes, new students, new teachers, and simply have the excitement of something new. I know we all pretend like going back to school is basically the worst thing in our entire lives, but for the first day at least its pretty exciting. Now for the rest of the week I was honestly completely stressed out. I learned that best friend wasn’t going to be in any of my classes or lunch, so basically for the whole school year we aren’t going to see each other. That is a serious challenge that faces this school year. Not only that, but I also started to get scared that my friend group was going to break apart, and that’s where the heart break sets in. I know you were expecting me to be talking about a past significant other. But, I’m sorry to inform you that I’m talking about a heartbreak from friends. As of right now, my friends are one of the most important things to me. I love them unconditionally and I know that they’ll be there whenever I need them. So, having the thought that all the memories we made together would be broken apart really bothered me. I’d heard stories in middle school that lots of friend groups break apart when they hit high school, and how that’s kind of the way it goes. But, when you love people, that also leaves you open to getting your heart broken, so I just have to except it for what it is.
So how does song writing play into this whole thing? Well, these challenges that I’m going through probably have some people that can relate to them. Even if it’s not a lot, if I can write a song that only a tiny handful of people can relate to, then I’m doing something right. Song writing is being able to express your emotions in a way that people can feel and remember in their own. So, having struggles or experiences in your life that people can compare to their own life is what ties us together and for this specifically, ties us together through music. When I was in middle school, I really wasn’t going through any real drastic changes emotionally, which is kind of a good thing. But, now that I’m older and facing those challenges, I can really focus on making a song that helps people get through their own hardships. So, I’m not writing this blog in no means for pity. I just want to show you guys that when you do start going through some emotional challenges, maybe it will help to put it to paper. And when you do, share it with people, so they can relate to you and feel like they have someone that understands what they’re going through.
It's important to communicate with the venue your performing at. Knowing exactly what will happen the night you perform will prepare you mentally for what to expect. It also helps you know what to bring and how long you need to perform.
Questions to ask
Will I have access to an outlet, if so how many?
How long should my set be?
Will their be another performer before me?
How early can I arrive?
Make Sure You Have Enough Music
Definitely make sure you know how long you are going to be singing then estimate about how many songs you think you'll need. Then add three more songs, you'll need these if you are asked for an encore or end up not having enough songs to fill your set. If you have a long set like 2-4 hours then you'll probably get away with singing your set list through multiple times.
Arrive 30 Minutes in Advance
You'll need this time to set up all of your equipment. If you want to eat before you go up arrive about 1-1:30 earlier depending on we're you singing.
Always Bring An Extra Battery
If you own a guitar and plan on playing it make sure to bring an extra battery. It would be horrible to get on stage and not be able to hear your guitar because the battery ran out.
Talk As Much As You Are Comfortable With
If you don't feel like you have enough songs to get you through your time, talk, it's a great filler.
Have Fun and Get Your Audience Involved
The most important thing to remember when performing is that you love doing what you do. If you show that your having fun everyone will see that and act the same. They also love to be involved and hear something that they can relate to. The more energetic you are the more energetic the crowd will be.
This will probably my most personal blog ever. My playlist sums up all of my emotions that I've felt. It sums up my bad days but also sums up some of my best days ever. I takes you through the points in my life were I felt like giving up, but also takes you through the points that I felt like I could fly. This playlist is apart of me, it's something that I've developed and made for about three years now, it's my safe place. So to whoever is reading this, I hope you get as much use out of it as I did. Now, I'm not going to share my whole playlist, but I will walk through the songs that I think we're of the most importance to me. And of course I will share the link to the rest of the playlist ;)
Collide- acoustic version by Howie Day
This song brings back my memories of when I felt like giving up. Whether it be in sports, school, or my friends. This song helped me know that everything will be okay. And that's good to be reminded of every once in a while.
" Even the best fall down sometimes"
Renegades- X Ambassadors
This song makes me feel alive. It makes me want to jump up and go on an adventure. This song is a song that I'd like to play when I'm happy or want to get something done. It's makes me feel powerful.
"Go forth and have no fear"
All I Want- Kadaline
this song is one I listen to when I feel lonely or lost. When I just need to feel like someone is going through the same pain as me.
" All I want is nothing more, to here you knocking at my door"
Run Around- Blues Travelers
This song will make you want to get up and dance. It reminds me of the intro of a movie we're everyone is dancing in the kitchen and just generally happy.
" and when your feeling open I'll still be here"
This Old Routine- First Aid Kit
If your not careful with this song, you could easily miss the meaning of it. They talk about how people go about their life. They talk about a man that has lived life just to live it, but has missed the good things that also come out of life. Most people just go through their everyday routine. Wake up, go to work, come home, eat, go to bed. And at some point you'll realize that this gets really boring. I listen to this when I'm ready for a change in my life. When I'm ready to break the routine.
" this old routine will drive you mad"
Waiting On The World To Change- John Mayer
This song I'd listen to when your honestly are feed up with people. It sounds like a awful thing to say, but honestly I feel like we all through those days we're people are just being really annoying. So listen to this when your ready for people to change.
" Me and all my friends. We're all misunderstood"
Rocket Man- Elton John
This is a very calming song. When you just need a break. While you listen go out side and lay down. Close your eyes and feel the earth under you. Hear the birds and the trees in the distance. When you sit up you feel peace. And honestly who doesn't need a little Elton John in their life.
"I'm not the man they think I am at home. I'm a rocket man"
These next songs were put in when I was about 13. This was a time we're life was really busy and crazy. So you'll notice that the songs are very acoustic and calming. It was my time to rest and reflect.
Old Pine- Ben Howard
the guitar in this song is simply amazing. At one point every thing in this song almost pauses and goes from the fingers picking of the guitar to almost acapella. At this time take a breath and know everything will be okay.
"We stood. Steady as the stars in the woods"
Dirty Paws- Of Mosters and Men
This song has amazing imagery. Everything in here, if you really listen to the lyrics is just very random and almost meaning less. If theirs a deeper meaning that anyone can find please let me know.
"They had a pet dragonfly"
Middle of My Mind- Tom Rosenthal
"Hello to you. Did you ever know that you were in the middle of my mind?"
All the Pretty Girls- Kaleo
Thisbsong really shows the emotions that this man goes through. He's sad because he can get someone to love him like his friend has.
" all the pretty girls like Samuel"
First day of my life-Bright Eyes
play this song when your ready to start your life with a new person.
"Think I was blind before I met you"
Yesterday- The Beatles
this is a good song for the days we're you are nervous for the day ahead of you. For when your already stressed out right when you roll out of bed.
"I believe in Yesterday"
I hope you guys find some songs that you can relate too and that can help you as much as they have helped me.
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In the music industry, if you are not able to talk and sell yourself, your honestly not going to make. I'm sorry to tell you, but that's the honest truth. That's also the struggle that I'm facing right now (so don't feel like your the only one). All my life my parents have always been speaking for me, that's not a bad thing, that actually means their great parents, which they are. They have helped me make decisions by talking me through the process, and have helped me achieve the goals I have in life. But, at some point in time I have to fly away from the nest and be able to speak for myself and sell my self as a musician. Now, I don't want you to think that since my parents have "spoken" for me, that means that I don't have my own opinions. Trust me I have my own opinions, that sometimes my parents don't agree with. Now I'm starting to learn that my parents can't speak for me anymore, which kind of stinks for one of two reasons. First, I'm not a great public speaker, or speaker in general. I think I touched on this in the last Blog Post, but I've never really been the one to get up and talk infront of my peers, or have been the out going one in school. And I definitely haven't shared my whole life journey in the music industry with my friends either. Second, I don't have the largest self confidence with my music. My vocal coach, Austin Johnson and I have worked on my stage presence and how I act on stage, and I've never had a lot of movement on stage preforming, but we've worked on it, and I've learned how moving around will make me look a lot better than standing on stage looking like I'm putting myself to sleep with my own music. But, it all comes with confidence in yourself and your music which I hope to learn someday to be a better musician and share it with you. So, how am I going to become this outgoing performer who can talk and make friends with anyone? I have no idea. But, I'm going to start by sharing my music life with more people, and sit down and think, why do I play music, and why do I want to be a musician when I'm older. I hope that starting with these questions will eventually lead to me knowing myself better as a musician and a person. So, if your having the same problem as me, or just want to be a better speaker, then I would ask these questions:
Much Love, Emily
For the past month or so I've learned that making friends in the music industry is vital for your success. Personally I am not a very talkative person, I always joke that the gene for social communication passed me up, as for my brothers and father, they can practically make friends with anyone. I did how ever managed to meet the two people that would help me find my way through the music industry, they we the Mr. Miyagi to my Daniel Larusso. Their names are Brett Hardin and Faith Marie. Now to tell you how we meet, we have to go back about two years, picture a short girl who hasn't yet discovered mascara and is still unsure on what she is going to do with her music career. My family had decided to go listen to some live music at a local bar and grill, fortunately enough The 78's (Brett and Faiths band) were playing. We listened in awe as we ate are meal, they were amazing! I watched as their music made everyone in the grill light up with happiness. As we were leaving, we tipped The 78's and were about to walk out of the door when Faith asked if I wanted to sing. Now given the fact that I was still super conservative with my music, and had never meet this lady in my life, I froze with nerves. My father being the take action kind of person stepped up and accepted her offer for me. They brought their tablet up and asked me what song I wanted to sing, I picked Wide Awake by Katy Perry for the reason that that was the only song I really recognized. I stepped up to the mic and sang with Brett the main guitar player for the group. When I was finished everyone cheered, they couldn't believe that a girl my age would step up and sing to a room full of about 80 people. Apparently neither could the manager, because a few days later when we went back I got an offer to sing 30 minutes before another group. I continued to go watch The 78's perform and we eventually formed a great fried ship. Sadly we fell out of touch, until just recently Faith reached out to me telling me that she found this really nice restaurant that had open mic nights every Tuesday. Of course I ended up going. I felt so good to be back on stage and share. Faith, Brett and me quickly reunited and became even better friends then we had before. The fallowing day, we went to watch them at the same bar and grill that we meet at two years ago. Faith and Brett are going to start teaching me how to write my own music and teach me the ways of the music business. I'm glad to have meet such lovely people. So, what I'm trying to convey with this story is to go out and make friends with some musicians, it doesn't matter if their older or younger you both share the same love for music and can help each other out. Friends will always have your back and will make it that much easier to meet other fellow musicians who can also help you out! So, the moral of the story is, don't be afraid to make friends because they will show you amazing things.
Emily Rhodes is a fifteen year old girl in High School. She enjoys running track and field and hanging out with her friends. She started this blog to share her journey through the music industry so that other musicians can learn from her mistakes and take her advice.