Why Dance Music Is Important

I was reading one of those end of year posts somewhere online and it was stating how dance music is important and how difficult it has been during this time with the clubs closed. And perhaps there were other ways we could dance.

That got me to thinking about why I love to create dance music when so many articles and documentaries talk about the importance of storytelling in song and that’s what stirs people’s emotions and that’s the number one goal in creating music.

Ouch! I started wondering why I love dance music. Am I that vapid? I had never thought of myself that way and I don’t think anyone else would either. Am I avoiding emotion? Hmmm… and then I thought about my history with dance music taking me back to my pre-teen/teen years. Like whenever I got to be in the house alone, I would crank up the family stereo and dance to my favorite music. As I got older, that meant staying home when the family went off on camping trips.

I couldn’t always have the stereo and the house to myself, so when I reached driving age, my car became my dance floor.

And by the time I was in my twenties, Disco was big and I pretty much lived at Earthquake Ethel’s. So why was that?

My dance partners thought I wanted something other than dancing. “I can tell you want me by the way you dance.” That was the furthest thing from my mind and became the inspiration for the “Don’t Touch Me” song I wrote for 50/90 this past year.

So why did I love to dance back then? No doubt music and drums run through my veins, having discovered I come from a big musical family. But it’s more than that natural love for moving to music.  Off the dance floor I was the bookworm, shy, quiet, introverted, awkward in conversation, don’t look at me kind of person. On the dance floor I felt powerful, larger than life, in my element, somebody to pay attention to, comfortable in the spotlight, confident. Sexy.

So is dance music important? You bet it is. So no matter your plans for tonight, you can always find a dance floor, whether in a crowd (stay safe), home alone, or in your car.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

2021 Accomplishments, 2022 Goals

I couldn’t let this year pass by without acknowledging what I’ve accomplished artistically in 2021.

The top 3 accomplishments of 2021 are:

  1. FAWM (February Album Writing Month) in February – write 14 songs during the month of February. I believe this is the first year I met that goal
  2. 50/90 (write 50 songs in 90 days – I wrote 60) – meeting that goal was also a first for me – my top 12 (plus a bonus track) were uploaded as an album on Bandcamp.
  3. NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) – I managed to use all 12 of my membership feedback credits, which is another first for me

The top 3 goals for 2022:

Upgrading my Reverbnation account to Pro for 2022. As for the rest, I haven’t really locked this down yet. Under consideration:

  1. FAWM
  2. 50/90
  3. NSAI
  4. Ableton Push
  5. Fiction

As vague as usual when it comes to writing vs music. Some things I will just have to let unfold.

Wishing you all the best in 2022!

Turning Pro

I’ve been reading Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield (again), and I had this epiphany. He writes a lot about that moment when you turn pro and I was thinking of when that happened for me. It was that moment on that day on a New Year’s cruise in the middle of the Caribbean when I realized I had to find my father. That was the day I claimed my identity, that was the day I turned pro and not  the day I submitted my first novel or song. That all followed in due time.

And part of me heard this speech in my head for those voices that say I’ll never be as good of a musician as my half-siblings and their offspring, those who grew up knowing my father, while I did not.

And then in true Steven Pressfield fashion, this voice in my head said, “I don’t give a sh*t” what any of those people think. After all, I came before them. The only person I respect is my older half-brother Ricky because he came before me.”

It also occurred to me how little respect we give to those older than us. But it’s an ancient practice, one that we should all pay attention to.

The point is, though, that I’m now questioning (again) if music should be the muse I follow first and foremost at this time in my life, or if it’s time to get back to writing fiction. As much as I love music, and I do, I miss writing speeches and making pronouncements in character (instead of here on my blog).

So what does 2022 look like for me? Is it time to return to writing novels? I guess the answer depends on which scares me the most moving forward, and which scares me the most if I don’t move forward at all.

Or maybe being Pro means I do both.

“She’s Not That Good” Goes Cruising…

I just returned from 7 nights on the Carnival Panorama still in her inaugural year that was cut short due to, well, you all know. She’s a beautiful ship, the cruise fare was a bargain, and no flights were required. Besides all that, I was hoping that freshly back from a cruise experience, I’d be overflowing with ideas on how to finish She’s Not That Good. I think I’ll have to wait. Why? Too much reality interferes with my imagination.

What I will say is that my favorite part about cruising, besides being at sea, is being able to casually drop in and listen to a live band. Our favorite this cruise? The House Rock Band that played in the Ocean Plaza Bar, the best kept secret onboard the Panorama. We grabbed a couple glasses of wine and sat outside where we could take off our masks and still enjoy the music. I listened to the beats and my muse can’t wait to get back into the studio to write some new music.

But first we kicked off the cruise by indulging in the tasty “Orangesicle” (think “Pina Colada”) at the Tides Bar in the aft pool area.

The other favorite spot was actually the Atrium, a redesigned space on the Panorama that I wasn’t too fond of at first. Until I had a Tequila Sunrise, an old favorite cocktail from my youth, at the base of the Atrium. The atmosphere was much better, to me, lower rather than higher.

And I think that’s another favorite thing I like about cruising, Carnival cruising, in particular. I feel young again. And now I may be inspired to get back to writing. What do I mean “I think?” Of course, I am. And I’m almost finished editing She’s Not That Good. Stay tuned to Screamie Birds Studios here at screamiebirds.com for the release date.

Drummer Dottie Dodgion Leads Me To Ableton Live/Push2

So I’m thinking I need to know more about drumming since the drums seem to be my favorite instrument in electronic music. I searched online for “female drummer,” thinking I’d be able to relate even more since the music industry is so heavily male. And who do I find but Dottie Dodgion who drummed with all the greats in her time until she was 91. We’re talking the 50s/60s when a female drummer was unheard of. I also discovered she died just this last September.

And then I discovered her autobiography The Lady Swings: Memoirs of a Jazz Drummer. So, naturally, I snapped that up, and I am completely enthralled with her story. And completely humbled. Her father was a drummer so she internalized all that he knew and did, besides having inherited those genes, and a lifetime of learning and practicing and loving her instrument.

My father said, after I met him later in life, “All my kids play the drums.” In fact, his grandson, my nephew, earned a degree in Jazz Performance at Fresno State. You guessed it – he played drums.

And then my life started to make a lot of sense. My uncle said “Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.” I’ve always loved music, sang and played the keys, guitar, violin when I was young, but didn’t really do much with it as an adult beyond turning the radio up loud, windows rolled down, racing my black Pontiac down Cornell Road in Portland, Oregon.

Although most of the music I create usually falls into the “House” category of EDM, I love all genres, including Jazz. Naturally (I keep using that word), I desired to know more about it and downloaded the Peter Magadini Jazz Drums tutorial from Groove3.

I’m totally intimidated, realizing that being a traditional drummer is beyond me (or, at least, my interest), but I can learn a lot by knowing as much as I can about the drums by studying different genres.

I also realized that this is where Ableton Live shines over Logic Pro, at least to me, when it comes to programming drums using the drum rack and Push2. I am finally motivated to spend more time learning Ableton and Push.

What Disco, Metal, Rock, and House Music Have in Common

Major influences on today’s music. House Music Godfather Marshall Jefferson said (in Electronic Musician) his early influences were Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. But he moved on to club music because he thought only big, sweaty men went to Zeppelin and Deep Purple and he wanted to meet some women. Ha! Not entirely true, though – lol!

Those were also my influences and my friends and I went to plenty of concerts. And if you read the comments on YouTube, you’ll see that other women were/are fans, too.