Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Heart Bulgaria Benefit Concert!

Remember when I went to Bulgaria with Sam Payne? We toured a number of orphanages during our stay and fell in love with the children and the country. This Friday, along with our friend and fellow artist, Peter Breinholt, we will be sharing videos and photos of that trip during a benefit concert for those orphanages. All proceeds will go to the non-profit organization One Heart Bulgaria who puts the money into programs, medical supplies, facility improvements and much more for orphanages throughout the country.

Where: The Wilkinson Center Ballroom, BYU, Provo, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: Single Student: $8, Date Night Special: $15, Group Rate (6 tickets) $35, General Admission: $10, Family Pass: $40
Tickets sold online at
Questions? Call (435) 764-3093

The Deseret News featured an article today on One Heart Bulgaria and the benefit concert. Read it here!

This will be the perfect way to celebrate the end of my chapter by chapter chronicles of Music Success in Nine Weeks. See you there!

P.S. Can I just tell you what a pleasure it was to read through all your comments on that last post? I was so pleased to learn more about you. I hope you feel comfortable enough to leave a comment here anytime. I have the BEST readers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Week 8: People Skills

This reminds me of a social situation when I met a celebrity. He was a gentleman and asked me all about myself and I was too dumbstruck to speak. Then, a mean French lady told me to leave, so I basically got escorted away. Yeah, it was awesome. But the Russian chick seems to be doing a great job.

Wow. According to my calculations, next week is the last week of my literary quest to conquer Music Success in Nine Weeks. Week 8 has been all about real live networking, which really comes down to one thing:

The biggest goal when it comes to networking is to be memorable. How does one accomplish this? It's pretty simple: the more you allow THEM to talk, the more memorable YOU will be. My dad has always taken a sincere interest in the people he interacts with. If we've ever been in a social situation together and he can't remember a name, he will whisper in my ear and ask me if I can remember. He always likes to greet people by their first name and tries to mention something he remembers about them. (I'm super sweet on my dad in case I've never mentioned that before.) I actually really enjoy getting to know people from all walks of life. Remember the New Orleans cab driver I once told you about? I wanted to talk to that man for hours. It's not like I don't have my narcissistic moments, but I do adore meeting interesting people.

There have been times when I've read comments here on my blog that go something like:

"I feel like I'm intruding . . ."
"I've been a blurker here for a while . . ." (that word cracks me up, by the way.)
"I've never commented before . . ."

Allow me to let you in on a little something: I made this blog so that I could interact with people from here to Kalamazoo. I don't know most of you, but I love that I at least know your blogger identities (that's right Liahonajourney, Amber, La Yen, Stephers, Gerb, Team Harris, Becky, Dana, and all of you other awesome people who leave comments). I want to know you better. If you are reading this right now whether we know each other or not, will you please leave a comment introducing yourself and telling me something interesting about you? I would like to comment back to each of you who does. Ready, set, GO.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stimulating the Inner Artist

I write on my walls.
I close my eyes and allow my hands to spell out words at random. I do not think about their meaning or their order. I simply allow them to escape me.

I first read about a similar idea in Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. Julia calls this exercise the "Morning Pages." Every morning, she advises that you write three pages of longhand, pointless, stream of conscious material. For example:

"I've noticed lately that my dog's hair is starting to form these vicious little matted clumps. How I will brush those out, I never know. Looks like it's time to have the groomer shave him again. I hate the groomer. She looks upon me with the most pitiful eyes, as if I have no compassion for animals. Does she know I never wanted this dog in the first place? Does she know he was brought home without my consent? She wouldn't care even she she did . . ."

There is no right way to write these. No one is allowed to see them and she even suggests that you put them in an envelope so you can't leaf back through yourself. You might notice that this exercise yields all sorts of self-pitying, negative, repetitive or even bland thoughts. Perfect! The purpose here is to simply drain your brain of all the nonsense that stands between you and your creativity.

Another essential exercise in creativity that I have loved from this book is called the "Artist Date." This is a block of time (perhaps two hours a week or so) dedicated to nurturing your inner artist. Most of the time, this is an excursion of sorts where you open yourself up to insight and inpsiration from the environment of your choice. Your artist date might be a stroll through a local art gallery, a treasure hunt through a junk store, taking yourself to the matinée, or a quiet walk on the beach. No one is allowed to accompany you on your artist date. This is meant to be done alone. You may notice the urge to resist this, finding it too self indulgent or using the excuse that you don't have the time. You must defend your artist date from all others who might encroach upon it. Regarding the "Morning Pages" and the "Artist Date," Julia states:

"Think of this combination of tools in terms of a radio receiver and transmitter. It is a two-step, two-directional process: out and then in. Doing the morning pages, you are sending--notifying yourself and the universe of your dreams, dissatisfactions, hopes. Doing your artist date, you are receiving--opening yourself to insight, inspiration and guidance."

Something I have personally found very helpful in my creative process is shifting my body position when I feel blocked. I may be sitting on the couch for an hour and when I start to feel stuck, I lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling or I go sit in a corner and view the room from a different angle. This somehow stimulates my brain to think of new ways to write lyrics from a different angle as well. One of my mentors, Tony Litster, suggested once to try standing on my head.

I try it.

I fumble.

I start laughing.


My husband starts laughing while snapping shots of my fanny.


Next time, I think I will try it alone.

What do YOU do to stimulate creativity?

P.S. Quinn Curtis is featuring me today on her awesome blog, "Created by Chicks." Check it out!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 7: Reporting for Duty

Do you see my subliminal message? Click here to decode.

I am reporting for duty on Week 7 of Music Success in Nine Weeks: How to Build Your Mailing List. The irony here is that the first page is all about the importance of communicating regularly and consistently with your fans and I have been rather absent this week here on my blog.

Where have I been? I've been on the couch snuggling with a sick boy. I've been to the grocery store. Thursday was dedicated to tending my sister's 10 month old baby while she worked. Friday night was date night with my Mister and last night I saw the amazing Paul Jacobsen and the Madison Arm in concert. But largely, I have been trying to disengage from the internet. You know that sick to your stomach feeling you get when you've eaten way too much sugar? That's how I was feeling this week about all of the electronics I've been plugged into. Besides, do you really care about my email list? I think not.

But here is something you may care about. I am a text person and find that I respond to texts way faster than I do to email. If you're the same way, then you can scroll up to that nifty widget and sign up for my texting group. That means, you'll get a text from me to notify you about shows in your area or an occasional really exciting tidbit of news that I want to share with you. Pretty cool huh?

Thanks to all those who signed up for and responded to my newsletter last week. How about that bathroom humor? Has anyone tried out my Thumbprint Cookie Recipe? You guys rock the casbah.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paul Cardall: A Celebration of Life

Paul wasn't messing around when he put this concert together.

The lighting was beautiful.

Ryan Tilby and Craig Miner on guitars (right).

Waiting in the wings with Ryan Tilby.

There is nothing like singing to a sold out audience in a gorgeous concert hall.

Sam Payne (right) is an amazing companion on stage.

Ryan Tilby, can't be beat as lead guitarist, banjo, and mandolin player.

Of course, Peter Breinholt got the entire hall to sway their cell phones back and forth.

Paul's performance was spot on.

His beautiful wife Lynette and daughter Eden. That's what it's all about.

Thank you so much for coming and supporting families effected by heart disease. If you missed the concert and would like to donate, click here.

All photos, courtesy of Dustin Bess Photography.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Customer Service, Speaking"

After I posed some "customer satisfaction-ish" questions last week about my newsletter (How frequent? What kind of content?) and my online store (what other products would be cool to sell?), I once again was so impressed with your comments.

What you want to hear about in the newsletter:
  • "What's the songwriting process like for you?"
  • Include news and links to the charities I support
  • Feature fan photos
  • The stories behind the songs I write
  • Where I've been and where I will be next
  • What's my favorite music, artists, stores?
  • Recipes (yeah, I'm really not a great cook, but I suppose I could muster something up.)
  • Bathroom humor (I am, however, pretty good at this.)
What products you would like to see me sell:
  • SHEET MUSIC!!! (I got the message loud and clear. Thanks.)
  • Ring tones
  • T-shirts (of course, they would be hip.)
  • Karaoke music! AKA, "minus tracks."
  • Pillow cases with my face on them, for stalkers. (That one made me laugh.)
I thought these were all excellent ideas and I am going to use most all of them.
So listen up: I am sending out an newsletter by tomorrow evening that will include information on how you can find the sheet music for 8 of my songs. I'll share with you the songwriting process I have been going through for my upcoming album and I'll even include the recipe for the thumbprint cookies I posted a photo of on Facebook tonight. But WAIT, that's not all! I'm offering a bonus story involving bathroom humor if you sign up in the next 20 minutes! If you haven't joined my email list yet, you can do so by visiting the "EVENTS" page on my website:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Whole Hearted: A Post About Paul Cardall

All photos and videos provided, courtesy of Russ Dixon Photography.

Once again, your suggestions for the newsletter and online store were awesome. Thank you so much! I'll make some more detailed remarks about all of that very soon, but right now, I want to interrupt my posts about Music Success in Nine Weeks to tell you about one of my heroes.

There was a time several years ago when I was not happy with the music I was making and the label I was signed to. I wanted out, but it seemed overwhelming to declare independence in the sea that is the music industry; a sea where there are sharks, and I would face the reality of being a little fish in more of an ocean than the current pond I knew so well. But I determined that I would rather drown in an ocean than stay confined in a stagnant pond. So I left. And THAT is when I met Paul Cardall.

Paul knew the industry well, having been signed to a major label (Narada) as well as being successful independently. He is one of the major forces behind me releasing my last album, "Feather in the Wind." Paul helped me figure out all of the business aspects of releasing an independent album and helped me to create and launch my website.

All of this time Paul was working on his own career as well as managing other artists, I never would have guessed that he was operating with a serious heart defect. Paul was born with a condition called Tricuspid Atresia in which the tricuspid heart valve is missing. Yeah, I said MISSING. So, Paul has basically been operating with half of a heart his whole life . . . until now.

Last year, things got really bad. His family was informed that if Paul couldn't get a heart transplant soon, his days were numbered. He waited, and waited, and WAITED FOR 385 DAYS until he got the phone call that his new heart was awaiting.

One of the most inspiring times in my experience as a musician took place in Paul's room at the hospital while he waited for his hopeful transplant. Several musicians who have worked closely with Paul including myself, Peter Breinholt, Ryan Shupe, Ryan Tilby, Russ Dixon, Charlie Jenkins, and Sam Payne gathered together a few times in Paul's room to shoot the breeze about life and to make some music. Of course, these gatherings would not be complete without Jeremy Barron, who has managed all of us at some point or the other. Not knowing if it would be the last time we saw Paul, it was a sublime experience for us all to share those moments together. You can watch some videos of the songs we sang in his hospital room by clicking here.

On Monday, February 15th, several of us will join Paul on stage at a sold out Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City (actually, I talked to Paul yesterday and there were 100 seats left. There may still be a few!). This is Paul's first performance on stage with his beautiful, whole and healthy new heart. Proceeds from the concert will go toward families effected by heart disease. A silent auction with some INCREDIBLE items will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. For ticketing and details, click here.

Now, a few videos from that time back at the hospital. Enjoy . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Successes for 02/11/10

1.) Worked out arms and shoulders this morning. P90X has given me some seriously manly arms. (Shadow or pit hair? You decide.)

2.) Other than the laundry room, THIS is the room in our house that never ceases to look like it got hit by an atomic bomb.

But today, I cleaned up the nuclear waste.

3.) Got invited to sing at the awards gala for the Monaco Film Festival this May. (This is me and The Gypsy Kings two years ago at the festival. I think they're actually either the sons of the Gypsy Kings or some dang good impostors.)

4.) Took a bath.

5.) Went to class and had a heart to heart with my teacher about how I don't understand a single thing he says.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Week 6, Day 37: All About You

Hmmm. I think it's safe to say that women make up a large percentage of my audience.

Look. I'm not one to beat around the bush. Let me just lay it all out on the table and confess that the chapter I am reading this week in Music Success in Nine Weeks is about YOU. More specifically, it's about connecting with my "fans" (you, I hope) specifically through my email list. If you haven't joined it already, you can do so by clicking here.

They say that an email list is possibly the most valuable part of a business. I can see the logic in that. However, there's this part of me that does not like to think of you as fans, let alone customers. I'm uncomfortable even typing those words. I don't want you to feel like I'm trying to sell something to you every time I send out a newsletter. Being that I put my heart on the line, get up in front of you at concerts and spill my guts to you, I'd like to think that we have a closer relationship than that. By the same token, I hope people are understanding that making music is part of my livelihood and my business (So if you ask me to sign your burned copy of my album, you will not escape without a lecture on the illegal downloading of music. Yes, this has really happened on several occasions.)

So here is where I could use your help. I have several burning questions:

What kinds of things would you like to hear about from me?

How often should a newsletter ideally be sent?

What other products besides albums and downloads would be cool to see in my online store? Shirts? Sheet music? A coffee mug with a pixelated photo of me on it?

One thing I love about you all is your creativity. I mean, you gave me some of the best elevator pitches EVER. Can't wait to hear your opinions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Random Airplane Activities

Flying to Las Vegas with my husband (aka "The Glediator").

During the flight I brainstormed ways to be creative with my finances.

Try it!

I always have a glass of tomato juice. But I only like it on airplanes for some reason.

Reading my book and learning how to conquer the music world through blogging :-)

Stay tuned to find out what we've been up to in Vegas . . .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week 5, Day 30: Blogging, Facebook Fiasco, and an Upcoming Concert!

I risked my life to take this photo. Had to climb up on a one hundred year old ladder. I hope you're happy.

For those just tuning in, I have been documenting my journey through the book, Music Success in Nine Weeks. This is my first post on Chapter 5: BLOGGING. This week will be dedicated to the random happenings in my life. No more. No less. That's what blogging is all about anyway, right?

So, check it out: Today I had a horrible experience on facebook with a fan. I made a comment about Taylor Swift in my last post that I feel was misinterpreted. My fan was greatly offended by this as well as comments made by others. I removed her comment from my wall. Then she publicly displayed her disappointment in me on my wall. Ugh! What a mess! We had words. I expressed how I felt, as did she. Pretty soon, it had gotten UGLY. This sounds so ridiculous, right? We're talking about Facebook for crying out loud. But I was stewing inside. I reflected on things and determined that the best thing to do when people can't agree is to just apologize sincerely and let it go. When I went back to write this fan an apology letter, I had been (gulp) BLOCKED. So attention: If that fan (or ex-fan, should I say) is out there anywhere, I would like her to know that I am honestly sorry for offending her. Truly. No one knows more than I do that I have room for improvement in the way I handle things. Forgive me?

These situations can sometimes feel more complicated than they seem when you're in the middle of them. What successful ways have you dealt with conflict in the past?

On a lighter note, I had a great rehearsal with friends, Ryan Tilby and Sam Payne today (who really cheered me up). We are preparing for the upcoming Paul Cardall Concert in which we celebrate his unbelievable comeback from a heart transplant! Read more details and buy tickets here. Proceeds go toward families effected by heart disease.