FAWM 2011 Is Just Around The Corner

Today is the last day of January which means tomorrow, being the first day of February is the start of FAWM 2011.

For those who don’t know, FAWM stands for February Album Writing Month and the deal is, to write an albums worth of material in the month of February, which is set at 14 songs in 28 days. You can find out more about this brilliant songwriting concept by going to www.fawm.org.

On the FAWM website it describes the concept in this way:

“This is the club. Each February, FAWM.ORG forges a collaborative community where thousands of musicians of all walks and skill levels write an album’s worth of material in the shortest month of the year. That’s roughly one tune every other day. “Fawmers” are a mix of music professionals, students, homemakers, and folks who work dayjobs but rock nightclubs.”

In theory, the idea of FAWM being the kick-up-the-arse to my songwriting process holds true but in reality it hasn’t been that way which is my fault totally but this year I’m hoping that my songwriting output for FAWM 2011 will be much better than in previous years.

Later on in the year the guys at FAWM also run something called 50/90 (50 Songs In 90 Days) which will run from July to October 2011 but I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.

I must keep telling myself that FAWM is not a contest and no-one gets judged, it’s a concept which is designed to test my songwriting process.

Am I ready to tackle inspiration, the muse head-on?

I’m going to give it a go this year, are you? Let me know if you do too.

Peace,

Corey :)

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Sting Concert – January 26th, 2010

For my 40th birthday Mum and Dad got me Gold Seating tickets to Sting’s “Barossa Under The Stars” concert on Australia Day. The experience as a whole was fantastic but I got to tell you (and I don’t want to sound ungrateful here), the gig itself didn’t excite me one little bit.

It was all too “nice” for my liking. It was missing the passion and a sense of urgent intent that I got from the other Sting shows I’ve witnessed.

The best bits of the night however, was when Sting played his acoustic guitar with very minimal orchestral backing.

As if he was performing solo.

This was especially the case with his very last song of the night “Message In A Bottle”. I could’ve quite easily sat through a whole night of Sting performing in this way.

Please don’t get me wrong, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra were stunning in their musicianship and the orchestral arrangements themselves were absolutely breathtaking. I think what lost me was the marriage between Stings pared down band plus the Orchestra.

I must admit, seeing dreadfully inebriated baby boomers trying to relive their youth as well as being exposed to more mutton dressed up as lamb than one’s optic nerves can handle did nothing for the cause either.

I was hoping to be inspired but unfortunately it wasn’t the case. I wanted to… I really, really wanted to.

Peace,

Corey :)

Gary Numan Coming To Australia

In 1992 I was turned onto Gary Numan through one of my supervisors of where I was working at the time, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

In fact, it was through repeated listening to Numan’s 1978 “Replica’s” album (that he did with Tubeway Army) that inspired me to form a 3 piece band called “Big Bang Theory”.

We wore black despotic costumes and played 4-to-the-floor punk liberally tinged with Sci-Fi themes, just like what Gary Numan was doing.

The band only lasted one gig however, the experience was enough to give me the courage to move to Sydney in 1994 and the rest is history…

I never realised how much of an influence Gary Numan’s music had on my life until I saw an advertisement for Gary Numan’s Pleasure Principle tour of Australia (due in May 2011) which inspired this post.

Numan’s music and his dystopic imagery dared me to listen to music in a different way and to consider my role in it. I lost my way musically a little bit at that time which turned me into an angry soul but Gary Numan was the light I needed to find my way again.

Numan and his band will be performing at HQ on Monday May 16th, I’ll be getting my ticket. It’s my way of thanking an artist that has influenced me in ways I hadn’t imagined.

Below is my favourite Gary Numan song “We Are Glass.” For me, this song clearly shows how far ahead of his time Gary Numan was.

Enjoy!

Gary Numan – We are glass

Peace,

Corey :)

The SongCatcher Interview In Full

Last night I was interviewed on Radio Adelaide 101.5FM by the team at SongCatcher, a radio show which focusses on songwriters, their inspirations and general songwriting news.

I had the pleasure of playing two of my songs live, the first being “Back Of My Mind” with the second song being “Seeing Stars.”

To hear the entire SongCatcher interview click on the play link below

SongCatcher Interview January 17th, 2011 (1hr)

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I have also isolated both songs from the interview and have featured them below.

Back Of My Mind (Live)

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Seeing Stars (Live)

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I’m really, really proud with how both songs turned out. Let me know what you think.

Peace,

Corey :)

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Radio: SongCatcher On Radio Adelaide (101.5FM) Tonight

I’ll be appearing tonight on the SongCatcher songwriting program on Radio Adelaide (101.5 on the FM dial) with Clayton Werner and Claire Thackeray.

Wooo Hooo!

I’ll be playing a couple of tunes live, talking about my song “Billboard Angel” which appears on the latest SCALA CD “A Guided Tour” plus, the SongCatcher crew will be playing a couple of songs from other artists that have influenced me over the years.

So tune into Radio Adelaide between 9 and 10pm to hear the program or, you can listen to the SongCatcher program online.

You’ll be glad you did…

Peace,

Corey :)

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Video: Night Voices – December 7th, 2010

Late last year I had the pleasure of being the featured act for the Night Voices Open Mic which is held at The Garage Bar on Waymouth Street in Adelaide. The video below (taken by my good mate BT Cassidy) are the edited highlights from my performance.

In this video you’ll hear three songs, two of my own songs “Girl Like You” and “Back Of My Mind” which will be available on my upcoming CD release plus, a version of Spandau Ballet’s 1983 hit “Gold”

Enjoy…

I’m really quite proud of this video considering I was sick as a dog at the time. In fact, I detuned the guitar half a semitone to give my voice a bit of a rest.

Hmmm, the things we do for our art sometimes.

Peace,

Corey :)

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Experimenting With MailChimp

Image representing MailChimp as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

One of the most important things a musician needs at their marketing disposal is a mailing list and for a long time I’ve just been using the groups function on open source email clients such as Mozilla Thunderbird to manage my mailing list however, this has been a bit limiting especially when I’m sending out emails in bulk.

Thunderbird (or my ISP for that matter) wouldn’t let me do it.

Now that I’m using a Mac I thought using Apple Mail would be different but even now I can’t send out more than 20 emails at a time without getting the appropriate error messages and having the whole emailing exercise grind to a halt.

I needed a better way to manage my email list.

About 18 months ago I tried to install phpList, an open source email management system, but it seemed I needed a degree in rocket science to work it all out so I quickly gave up on that idea.

There were other email management systems that I knew about such as AWeber and Constant Contact but they cost a lot of money and I wanted to try something out first before handing over a monthly fee to a company.

Then I stumbled across MailChimp.

I heard about MailChimp through a friend of mine about a year ago. I checked it out and man, I was impressed. All the information I was after and the answers I was looking for were written in plain English and the instructional videos are very well made and easy to follow.

It took me a while to gather up the courage to use MailChimp but I thought… “New year, new email management system.”

So I went for it.

At the moment I have transferred both my Corey Stewart Online and Open Mic Network mailing lists over to MailChimp and I’ve just installed a signup form in the right sidebar of my site.

The beauty of using an email management system such as MailChimp is that they handle all of the emailing for you, none of this sending out emails in batches of 20 like I had to do pre MailChimp.

Another thing that I love about MailChimp is the reports you can generate. With a click of a button I know how many people have opened their email, what links have been clicked on and what emails are bounce-backs (which are cleaned out of the list automatically).

All lists are opt-in and the email confirmation and “thank you for subscribing” pages are handled by MailChimp as well.

The best part about MailChimp is that they have a free forever account which allows a 1000 subscriber and 6000 emails/month limit on my activity which is plenty for me at this time.

For more information go to the MailChimp website. in the meantime if you want to sign up for my mailing list please fill out the form provided in the right sidebar and click the subscribe button and you’ll be kept up to date on news and gigging information.

Peace,

Corey :)

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On Turning 40

Last Friday I turned 40 and I must say, besides recovering from an intensive weekend of celebration, I really don’t feel any different.

I was told by some people that I’m either going to love or hate reaching this particular milestone. Where I sit on that spectrum is between half way along and loving it (about a 7/10) but I know that my Dad hated turning 40, he was really bummed out by it.

I’ve also been told a number of times that 40 is the new 30. Now, I consider myself a smart man but even now, I have no idea what that statement means. To me, it seems obvious that a 40 year old trying to relive some sort of lost youth came up with that statement to justify their own mid-life crisis or something like that.

There was a time not so long ago that I would’ve hated turning 40. It would’ve scared the shit out of me but that was all part of my “I’m too old to be a relevant musician” phase that I was going through at the time.

Thankfully, I don’t feel that way now as I’ve embraced my age, my grey hairs and the experiences that come with it.

What turning 40 did do for me was to allow me to look back on my life and relive some of the amazing times I’ve had. It allowed me to finally realise that the more I live my life, the more experiences I can share with others, the more life inspiration I can draw upon for my own songwriting and the more people I can touch, move and inspire through my music.

I also realised that based on my family history of longevity (a few months ago I attended my Grandfather’s 90th birthday) I haven’t even reached the halfway point of my life as yet and that is an amazing fact in itself.

Right now I’m in a position where I’m doing what I’ve wanted to be doing since high school.

I’m playing music professionally and, at the same time, developing a long term musical career as a songwriter/musician using the internet as my primary form of marketing and distribution. It’s really nice to know that I have a few more years of life left in me.

The possibilities are limitless and turning 40 doesn’t scare me anymore. Besides, only two more years and I’ll know the answers to life, the universe and everything.

Peace,

Corey :)

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A Tribute To Mick Karn (1958-2011)

Mick Karn with Japan @ Hammersmith Odeon
Image via Wikipedia

When I heard of Mick Karn‘s passing today it hit me really, really hard. It wasn’t only because I’m a bass player myself but because with Mick’s passing a part of my musical history had vanished too.

You see, in the beginning of my musical development there were two people who inspired me to pick up the bass and that was John Taylor (of Duran Duran) and Mick Karn, but it was Mick who inspired me to rip off the frets on one of my early basses and start playing fretless.

While everyone else was listening to Jaco, I was studying Mick.

For me Mick Karn is one of the most distinctive sounding, unique and amazing fretless bassists I’ve ever heard.

Mick Karn is best known as the bass player for art-rock band Japan. His sound was unique, distinctive and unmistakable and it was this sound that enabled Japan to stand out sonically and musically from the rest of the bands that were part of the New Wave movement in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

The video below is a really good example of how Mick Karn’s brilliantly rubbery and wobbly fretless sound made Japan a truly unique band. The song is called “Visions Of China” and the video is taken from their “Oil On Canvas” live video of 1983.

Oh, this takes me back. Bliss…

I always admired Mick’s approach to his playing. Being essentially self taught he never learnt to read music but he once said…

“I rely very much on my ears. If it sounds as if it’s the right thing, then I’ll keep it, even if it may not be.”

Amen to that Mick, your playing as well as your wisdom will be sorely missed.

Peace,

Corey :)

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Happy New Year 2011

The start of a new year is always an exciting time for me.

It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again, to promise oneself that you’ll do more of this and less of that and make plans to ensure that this year will be better than the last.

You see, I’m the type of person that likes to make resolutions. I love the feeling of working towards changing my life for the better. Of course most of the resolutions I make for myself fall by the wayside but some do stick, I mean, it’s how I gave up smoking many years ago.

2010 was a year of many changes and challenges both in my work and in my health. Now, I don’t need to go on and on about as I’ve already documented most of what has happened through past blog posts however, I want 2011 to be a year of consolidation and reclaiming.

2011 will be the year that I stop bookmarking information to read “at a later date” and actually do something with it. It will be the year that I finish the things that I start (like my ever expanding backlog of songwriting ideas for instance)

It will also be the year that I reclaim the essence of what it is to be me, through my music, through creativity, through life balance and through loving and taking care of myself.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful 2011. I hope this year is everything you want it to be and a whole lot more.

Now that the first day of 2011 is slowly coming to a close, all I can say now is…

BRING IT ON!

Peace,

Corey :)