The Power Of Letting Go

kite

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been dealing with a situation where I was almost bankrupted by one of my day gig clients. I also mentioned that this situation was going to finally be resolved by Christmas time.

Well, it still hasn’t been resolved as yet (it’s an ongoing saga) however, I found that by letting go of ONE THING, I’m not as stressed as I was about it all and the effect that this realisation is having on my life is HUGE!.

You see, all through 2014 I was incredibly stressed, riddled with anxiety and constantly worried about the future which took a huge toll on my mind and body.

I was constantly thinking about this particular situation I was in, talking about it and allowing it to stand in the way of me doing anything else in my life. I had allowed myself to fall into victim mode because of it, I had become paralysed by it.

I was becoming obsessed by it.

I started to pin my self esteem onto it and I was starting to use it as the foundation of how I was saw myself and my place in the world and because of this I started to fall deeper and deeper into a pretty dark place.

I almost gave up…

Now sometimes you need to hit the bottom before you can start clawing your way towards the top again and it was at this point I realised something really important.

Apart from the obvious “fear of the unknown” I was constantly experiencing, the reason why I was feeling this way I was was that I had been investing all of my time and energy trying to control the uncontrollable.

I was trying to control the timing of when this situation was going to be resolved. I recognised that even though I was confident there would be a positive outcome, I was powerless to determine when that outcome would come to being.

So, with that in mind, I let the attachment go and almost instantly I felt the weight of the world lift off me. Right then and there I experienced a valuable lesson in the benefits of non-attachment.

This all happened right around the start of 2015 and now I’m taking all of that time and energy I was wasting on something I couldn’t control and putting it into things I can control like getting on with life again.

Letting go is a wonderful thing.

Peace,

Corey :)

2015 – Bring It On!

2015 New Year celebration

I don’t know about you but I’m glad that 2014 is now “last year” and that 2015 is now “this year” because last year was not the best of years for me.

Besides getting married, 2014 is a year I’d rather forget but I’m determined that this post is not going to be a whinging post.

Instead, I’m outlining what I’ll be working on for 2015.

Now these outlines are not resolutions because I don’t have a good track record of sticking to them in the past but they are definitely “goals to be further defined.”

I always optimistically look at the start of each year as a way of “wiping the slate clean” and starting again. I think taking stock and examining what you’re doing in life from time to time is a good thing.

My “goals to be further defined” for 2015 are as follows…

Work: Over the past 12-18 months I have been neglecting the live performance side of my music business (especially the songwriting part) and 2015 is the year for me to get back onto the stage where I belong and gig my arse off.

As for my day gig as the graphics and web guy for BSide Magazine I’ll be doing all I can to make it pay a wage for me however, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel for that

In a nutshell… “More playing, less facilitating.”

Finances: 2014 was the year of me being financially kicked in the guts many, many times so the main goal for this year is simply to clear all of my debts and become debt-free by the end of 2015.

Spiritual: One of the side effects of living a life of reacting to situations and being weighed down by stress, anxiety and fear is that you end up being so far removed from your centre that you become a different person as a result.

That is me at the moment and 2015 is the year that I get back to some sort of spiritual centre. I have mentioned from time to time that if I was to align myself to any spiritual belief it would be the teachings of Buddhism without all of the deity components to it so I will work on myself moving in that direction

I’ll be working on getting the old Corey to come back.

Relationships: I’ve done very well in this department as I recently got married and to be honest, that event was the shining highlight of my 2014 however, 2015 will be the year where I start reconnecting with my family and friends plus I start getting out and networking with the music industry again

After a couple of false starts, I’ll be coming out of self imposed exile.

Physical: Ah, the great elephant in the room. Well, that elephant is me really as I’ve allowed myself to put on so much weight in 2014 that I’m now the heaviest I’ve ever been and it’s now affecting my health, my ability to work and my ability to be me.

Now, I’ve said earlier that this post is not a whinging one so I’m not going to wallow in self pity, reasons or excuses however, 2015 will be the year that I get my health back in some sort of order so I can be the best that I can be for Mara, my family, my friends, my work, my music and most importantly…

For me.

How am I going to do all this? I’m not sure at this stage but I will work it out and I’ll share some of my findings in future posts however, it’s safe to say that 2015 will be a year in which, through self examination and then decisive action, I will be in a much better place than where I am right now.

As Socrates once stated… “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Enough said.

Peace,

Corey :)

 

My Aural Portfolio: Writing Songs To Expand A Body Of Work, Not To Create Albums

redguitar

Here’s a bold statement to start things off with…

From now on, I am not going to write albums anymore, instead, I’m going to create and maintain an ever-changing and constantly evolving body of work.

An aural portfolio as it were.

Photographers have a visual portfolio available for their clients so why shouldn’t I, as a songwriter, have an aural portfolio of my songs available online?

I came to this conclusion after my experiences firstly, with the writing, recording and releasing of my first CD “Seeing Stars” which took an extraordinarily long time to create and secondly, with my self imposed songwriting challenge of writing, recording and releasing six online albums by the end of 2014.

I learnt the hard way that creating an album takes a lot of effort, money and some time off the live music circuit to actually produce the thing. Then there’s this huge stressful build-up to the release of the CD and once released, it’s so very easy to lose momentum with the result being the old “boxes of CDs under the bed” routine.

Personally, I found that writing for an album of 12 – 15 songs seemed too limiting in its scope to me.

In creating my first CD I put together an initial list of 30 songs which was whittled down to 25 then 15 with 12 songs being the final number.

What was I going to do with the other songs? I created a “Bonus CD” out of it however, these songs still had value and should not be discarded onto some scrap-heap. They should be included into a body of work to be re-purposed in some way.

More on re-purposing my music later.

The more I look into this paradigm shift from creating albums to maintaining an aural portfolio I’ve become more a fan of the “record and release often” concept.

Putting together a body of work by recording and releasing one song at a time will allow me a constant flow of momentum while still playing live and doing all of the other necessary activities an independent musician needs to be doing at the same time.

But don’t get me wrong though… The concept of carrying physical CDs purely for sale at gigs still rings true for me but for the online world, the CD (and even downloads for that matter) are becoming less and less relevant.

Another part of this shift in thinking is that I’ve decided to give away my music for free and devote all my energies on finding ways to be found online, re-purpose my music and build my mailing list based on my aural portfolio rather than trying to sell individual downloads online.

I am taking my lead from a San Franciscan songwriter guy by the name of Dave Hahn. He’s set up his own aural portfolio at songwriter.fm

David gives his music for free for two main reasons which he explains on his website. He says…

“First, I really want people to hear the music I’ve written. The only thing better than creating something exciting is sharing that something with others. For me, writing songs is about connecting with people, telling a story, and sharing a common experience. Writing a song is, then, only half of the thrill of being a songwriter. I also want people to hear it!

Second, I want to build a career as a songwriter. As a Broadway conductor, I worked with some of history’s best songsmiths. I’ve seen what it takes to write a great song and to make a career out of it. What it takes is this: People need to hear your songs, like your songs, and give you the resources to make more of them. That could come in the form of a Kickstarter donation, a TV or film placement, a commission, a publishing deal – or any kind of songwriting project. I want to work on those projects.”

In giving his music away for free, David Hahn is concentrating on the other ways that a songwriter can make some money out of their music rather than the old buy/sell downloads model. I know that there are plenty of artists that have adopted a “pay what you want” model but me, I want to start giving away my music for free.

Doing this is not an exercise in devaluing my music. I’m looking at this as increasing my chances of getting found, increasing my chances of exploring the other options for monetising my music.

On songwriter.fm you can sign up to David’s mailing list where you get a free song each week plus, you can browse his site and listen to all of his other songs. Each of his songs have their own page with lyrics, sheet music downloadable as a PDF, a YouTube video of the song and a Soundcloud version of it too.

I really like the idea of each and every song being a focal point of music discovery for somebody and utilising social media at the same time.

The site layout is extremely simple and specifically designed to facilitate some sort of dialogue between client and songwriter. For me, stumbling upon David’s website was a real game-changer for me. Very inspiring indeed.

Through studying songwriter.fm I realised that there are many ways that a song can be re-purposed for discovery or monetary purposes. My job as a songwriter (besides writing songs) is to find the many different way that my songs can be re-purposed such as:

  • To be performed by me
  • For others to perform
  • To get a publishing contract
  • To be licensed in film/TV/theatre
  • As a stepping stone to my next song
  • To collaborate/network with other songwriters/musicians
  • To self promote via social media
    • YouTube
    • Facebook
    • SoundCloud
    • Twitter
    • Google+

My belief is that as a songwriter I shouldn’t have to worry about genres, trends and fads because what I write, what I create and the output of my creation should be anything that I want it to be.

Not to suit some arbitrary collection of songs

If I write something that can be turned into something with a country twinge then so be it. If I write a song that has a strong leaning towards rock then so be it.

I always thought that to be truly a liberated songwriter is to create without prejudice to the outcome and the aural portfolio approach I’ll be adapting in 2015 is something that will take me one step closer to it. I’ll keep you posted.

Peace,

Corey :)

Hi There… Remember Me… It’s Been A While Hasn’t It?

dontforget

Since my last post on July 8th, there have been some events which I’ve allowed to get in the way of my blogging and overall online activities hence there has been not much activity online of late.

I’m not looking to make any excuses for my absence or to gain any sympathy from you all, I’m just getting you all up to speed with what’s been going on.

Firstly, I’ve been having an ongoing issue since March with one particular freelance client of mine which has almost bankrupted me financially.

Now, this issue will hopefully be resolved by Xmas but for all of that time I’ve been severely restricted in my ability to make an income and this has taken a huge toll on my mental and physical health.

People that know me know that my health mentally and physically can go up and down from time to time but this year has been the worst for it. I don’t ever want to go through something like that ever again.

At the same time through all this I’ve allowed my music business to become neglected to such an extent that my income from my gigs has dropped off to almost zero which doesn’t help things either.

Secondly, I’ve decided to bring to a close my 2014 Songwriting Project a little earlier than planned.

Even though I didn’t reach my target of six completed online releases I did achieve the following…

One online release (Ross Hood – 15 songs), two completed sets of unreleased recordings (Jeff Smith – 12 songs / Geoffrey Stapleton – 12 songs) and one set of pre-produced demos awaiting final recording (Adrian Miller – 15 songs) a total of 54 songs in various stages of online release.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to record the solo album and the covers album as planned but my experiences with this self imposed songwriting challenge has taught me one thing…

I don’t write songs to fill an album, I write songs to expand a constantly evolving body of work.

Looking at my creative output in this way has lead me to make some decisions about how I promote myself and my music but I’ll write more about that in the very near future.

Thirdly, I (along with Alec Gheude and Adelaide music publishing icon Robert Dunstan) have started Adelaide’s only music street press called BSide Magazine which as you could imagine has taken up a lot of my time of late.

BSide Magazine started off as a website and social media presence on July 31st and the very first printed issue of BSide came out on October 2nd and in that time it’s established itself as an essential part of the Adelaide Music Community.

For me personally it’s been a welcome distraction from all the other stresses I mentioned previously.

Fourthly (if there’s such a word), I finally got married to my long time partner Mara on December 6th.

The wedding was held in Mara’s home town of Millicent and it was definitely the highlight of my 2014. It was a small and intimate ceremony and the reception was everything both Mara and I wanted it to be.

Phew, there you have it, you’re now up to speed with wha has been going on.

Thankfully I’m in a much better place now which means I’ll start putting up content again on here and my other blogs but in the meantime though, I hope that your 2014 has been a good year and that 2015 will be a year that is everything you want it to be.

I’m certainly hoping that my 2015 will be just that.

Peace,

Corey :)

While You’re Here, Check Out My Other Blogs

I love to write and while activity on this particular site has been a little lean of late I have been preparing and writing posts for my other two blogs…

Thankfully, I still get that feeling of satisfaction from releasing what is in my heart and mind into the ether through the simple act of writing.

For me, writing is also about learning as I tend to retain and assimilate information more effectively if I write it down.

If I post something to this site, I’m learning more about myself.

If I post anything to All About Songwriting or All About Music Business I am opening myself up to learn more about songwriting and the music business.

While you’re here you should check out my other blogs and let me know what you think.

Peace,

Corey :)

A Welcome Blast From The Past

A few days ago I got an email from an old bandmate of mine Colin Pasfield letting me know that he recently bought a cassette to MP3 converter and that one of the cassettes he’s converted to MP3 was our six song demo we did at Zen Studios in 1997.

(Just to give you some idea on the background to this email, Colin and I were in a three piece power trio called “Hot Fridge” when I lived in Sydney from 1994-1999)

He went on to say that after putting the converted MP3’s through some Cubase treatment I was able to download the re-mastered tracks from his Dropbox account.

I was excited, I hadn’t heard the songs in years. I have a couple of copies of the cassette in my archive but not on MP3.

Once downloaded I started listening to the songs and immediately I was flooded with some really great memories. We had a lot of good times and played a few gigs along the way but what I remember the most was Colin, his family and the rehearsals we’d have under his house.

To this day, Colin is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and he’s also a damn fine guitarist too.

Here are the songs for you to listen to. I certainly don’t mind sharing a little piece of my history with you but for me, this demo gives me a good indication of how far I’ve come as a player, performer and songwriter.

Brand Spanking New

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’ve Got You

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

It’s Alright

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Realised

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Time Of A Day

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Why Do People Dream?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Peace,

Corey :)

Wanted: Images For “Happy Mothers Day” Video

Recently I put up a post about a songwriting project I’m undertaking with collaborator Ross Hood in which one of the songs featured is a tribute to his late Mother called “Happy Mothers Day.”

Here is the official video of the song to refresh your memory…

Now as you can see, the above video is something that Ross put together himself and while it is an intensely personal and beautifully heartfelt tribute to his late Mother, I’ve always felt a little bit awkward sharing a video as personal as this around.

I’ve always felt that the song “Happy Mothers Day” could quite easily be used as a tribute to all Mothers past, present and future.

For that purpose, I wanted to create a video that runs along the same lines as the official video but have more general images of Mothers doing what they do best (I’ve spoken about this concept with Ross and he is totally fine with it).

With that in mind, I had to answer a simple question… “Where am I going to get the images from?”

I tried experimenting with free stock photo libraries such as FreeImages or FreeFoto but to me there was something missing, something impersonal from acquiring the images and putting them onto a video in this way.

Then it hit me… Why don’t I crowdsource the images?  Well, this is where you come in.

Why don’t YOU send me your favourite picture of your Mum for me to put on the video and for your trouble I’ll put your name on the end credits as my way of saying THANK YOU!

How does that sound?

I’m looking for a total of 60 images for the video and all you need to do is to email me your full name and attach your favourite image of your Mum to corey[at]coreystewartonline[dot]com.

Ideally I’m looking for one image per person to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to have a go at this so the first 60 people to email me their favourite image of their Mum will get the image on the video and their name on the end credits.

It’s as easy as that, your Mum can be doing anything in the picture just as long as she is in it. Once I get all the images I need I’ll put together the video, post it onto YouTube, embed it on my website and send you a link to it.

I look forward to putting this video together. I do hope you can be involved.

Peace,

Corey :)

Video: State Of Play 2 (FULL)

On May 5th, I posted a video preview of the second part of Jethro Heller’s “State Of Play” documentary series about the present state of the South Australian Music Industry plus some details of the video launch at The Gov that night.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the launch myself however, I heard that it was a huge success.

I also promised in the earlier post that when “State Of Play 2″ was available to the general public I would post it on this site. Here it is below… The full version of “State Of Play 2 – Truth, Youth, Beauty and all that Jazz” for your enjoyment.

Whereas the first part dealt with Open Mics and the Blues scene, the second part of the State Of Play series delves more into the Jazz scene in Adelaide and interviews some of the main protagonists such as The Foenander Brothers and newcomer Jo-Anne Stutley.

Let me know what you think of it. What’s your opinion on the Adelaide (live) Music Industry these days?

Peace,

Corey :)