Monday, January 28, 2008

Alphabet City Cycle

I recorded these five songs over two years ago with the fantastic singer Kate Baldwin and the brilliant violinist Victoria Paterson. Lyrics are by the amazing Marcy Heisler. And with a few exceptions, I don't think anyone has heard them. I'm thinking of making them the foundation of my second album. Take a listen. What do you think?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Amusing Fan Mail

Funny story. My daughter had an audition for college today, and we were rushing aroung the house trying to get to ready to leave last night. She needed to print something off the computer, and just grabbed it and ran out the door. Earlier in the day I had printed up the sheet music [to "My Lifelong Love"], but forgotten about it. While we were in the car driving she realized she had the music, so she just tucked into her binder pocket. At the audition, she sang her ballad, and then her up tempo piece, and they wanted to hear something else. The only other piece she had was your song, so she pulled it out and went for it. She said they loved it. No one in the room had heard it before so it was refreshing to them. We won't know for a few weeks if she got into the college or not but I think she has a new favorite audition piece! Thanks again. The timing was PERFECT.

Beth S.

I was asking how I might get a hold of the sheet music for a few of your songs. More specifically the following song: I LAY MY ARMOR DOWN (this song just slays me every time I listen to it--no pun intended. One of these days I'll stop crying when I hear it; let me tell you, people tend to look at you strangely when you're crying to your iPod at the Gym).

S. H.

This is just a quick amusing note -- first, I love the title track of "This Ordinary Thursday", and just ordered the album -- looking forward to it! Second, the reason I'm writing, is that when I first pressed "play" on your website and turned up my speakers, it sounded normal, but after a moment -- just before the "someone practicing Bach" part, I heard a distinctly non-ordinary electronica sort of background accompaniment. I thought "man, this is some weird but interesting sort of music!"

"This Ordinary Thursday" got weirder and weirder as I listened, and the electronica sort of elements stopped blending so well into the background and got louder, until I finally realized that iTunes was on in the background, quietly playing the track "God Bless" by the band Lamb.

It was a surreal experience... I definitely prefer the normal version now that I had a chance to hear your piece by itself! :)

Eric N.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Am Not Procrastinating

I told myself I couldn't go to bed until I wrote this. Here it is, almost midnight, and I'm totally procrastinating, which seems to be my word of the month. After Clash of the Choirs it's just taken me a while to get back in the swing of things, and now that American Idol is on the air I think my work ethic has completely gone out the window.

That said, I have two fun projects in the works.

1. I have new collaborators. One of the hardest things about moving away from New York (and it's been two years now) was leaving behind my writing partners. With all my NY collaborators, we talked about writing long-distance, working on line, scheduling phone meetings once a week, visiting in person as often as possible. It's worked, but it's been tough, and I'm not nearly as prolific as I was a few years ago. Maybe that also has something to do with the little person running around my house or the Broadway musical my husband is developing, I don't know, but the combination of things has made writing time much more scarce in the course of my day than it used to be. When I do get back to New York, I tend to lock myself in a room with one or the other of my writing partners, and we hash out something that makes me heartsick for the songs we don't have a chance to write. And then I get on a plane and come home. For a city filled with creative people, LA can be awfully lonely.

Those of you who know my album can see how much fun I've had writing with Faye Greenberg. (She wrote lyrics on "I Lay My Armor Down.") Faye and I have knocked out a few other songs (well, okay, one other song), and most recently she and her husband David Lawrence brought me in on one of those projects that could only have happened in Los Angeles. A movie musical. Faye and David wrote songs for both "High School Musical" (maybe you've heard of it?) and "High School Musical 2," and because of those successes they're now working as music supervisors on other projects. Yay for them -- and yay for me, because I got a writing opportunity out of it. Their new project is called "The American Mall" and I came on board to write two songs -- one in collaboration with Faye and David themselves and one with a new guy they assigned to write with me. His name is Eric Pressly, and I have the feeling that working with him is going to change me. In a good way.

My roommate back in college, Lauren, used to say I had absolutely no sense of pop culture. She, of course, was completely in the know and was always astounded when I couldn't sing the lyrics to whatever was on the radio at the time. Back then I was a real classical music type, practicing the piano for long hours every day, spending my free time at the music school in the library or in a practice room working out Bach or Rachmaninoff. I know she must be amazed that after all this time I've wound up living in Hollywood, working on reality TV shows and writing songs for MTV movies. That's why the fact that I'm working with Eric is so great. He's totally a pop guy. He's worked with Belinda Carlisle, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, and Cher (for God's sake CHER!), and he kind of fills in the gaps in my pop music head. You can imagine what our collaborations are like. I come in with Broadway-kinds of songs, and he pops them up. This should be fun. Watch for our tune in The American Mall, which is the vampy song for the bad girl, and if we're lucky, you'll also get to hear our two songs in the next movie which we're just starting now to write. Just wait until my college roomie Lauren reads this. She will flip.

2. And back to good old familiar Broadway, I've been asked to learn the conductor's book for WICKED. Which means I am going to conduct WICKED here in Los Angeles. I am told I will be the first female conductor they've had in the seven years since the show opened, and I think that will be very cool. So if you happen to drive past my house right now and you hear the very loud strains of "WIIIIII-CCCKKKKEEEEEEDDDDD..... (funny chord)....", you'll know it's just me practicing. From Rachmaninoff to Schwartz. Oh, how the times have changed.