I reckon, the best way to stimulate your songwriting process is to have some sort of goal, challenge or deadline to achieve and one of the best ways to do that is to tackle the FAWM Songwriting Challenge which is kicking off tomorrow, February 1st.

FAWM stands for February Album Writing Month and the concept of this songwriting challenge is very, very simple…

Write 14 songs in 28 days.

You can either do the challenge by yourself or, you can collaborate with the hoards of other songwriters that you can connect with through the website.

I’ll be tackling FAWM again this year.

For me, FAWM is a great opportunity to put all of my songwriting ideas, knowledge, techniques and processes into action. It’s also a fantastic exercise in chasing down inspiration through doing the work rather than waiting for inspiration to knock at your door by doing nothing.

Now, in the past (I’ve participated since 2008) I’ve found FAWM a very difficult challenge to complete but this time I reckon I have everything set up to take FAWM head on.

My home recording studio is ready, my collaborators are ready and my songwriting process is ready to tackle the extra workload needed complete the tasks at hand.

I’ll also be blogging about my progress and uploading the songs I create for FAWM so watch this space.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

One of my primary songwriting goals of 2017 is to never be afraid of words ever again.

Ideally, what this means for me is that by conquering my fear of words or, more accurately, the fear of my words being judged by others, I will be able to increase my ability to finish my half completed songs because at the moment a distinct lack of lyrical material is what is standing in the way of me finishing the songs that I start.

I know I’ve been doing a lot of collaborating with other songwriters for a time and while I’ve enjoyed this immensely, I still notice that for most of the time I end up doing most of the music/arrangement parts and the other collaborator takes care of the lyrics.

I really have no idea how I came to the misguided conclusion that writing lyrics is not one of my strong points but that is how I currently see myself as… A musician first and a lyricist (a very distant) second.

I think I have said this to myself so many times now that my subconscious actually believes it. It’s like I’m fulfilling some sort of prophesy about my lack of finished songs.

The biggest problem I have with my with lyric writing process is that I censor myself far too early in the piece. I really need to give myself the permission to put down on paper whatever comes to me, to write what is inside of me no matter whether I consider it crap or not and no matter how bad it might look on paper.

I’ve succumbed to the belief that I have nothing of value to say to the world through my lyrics. What a way to sabotage my songwriting and my creativity as a whole.

Yes, I’m pretty good at doing that.

Even though words have the power to change things and therefore, need to be treated with the respect they deserve, they can’t really hurt me and this totally irrational fear of them should never silence me.

The best thing I can do is to roll up my sleeves and just write songs and I know that by doing this I will in time, conquer my fear of words.

One song at a time…

Peace,

Corey 🙂

This song was inspired by one of the most significant events in my musical career which happened while I was living in Sydney between 1994 and 1999.

The event was a five day songwriting seminar that I spontaneously went to called Creative Options which was run by songwriter/musician Kerry Lambe.

This song was one of many songs written initially as an exercise in automatic writing and it’s the combination of a fully composed lyric and a full composed song arrangement marrying together in perfect harmony.


Don’t Turn To Me Now
(c) C. Stewart 1999

Looking at yourself in the mirror
Is what you see lies?
Thinking about yourself even clearer
Is something you despise?

Don’t turn to me now
Coz the time’s too late to change your mind
Don’t turn to me now
Coz that’s what you get when you don’t ask
Anybody’s help along the way

Why is there so much loneliness
When there’s so many people here?
Are we all afraid of each other
Coz there’s no reason to be scared

Don’t turn to me now
Coz the time’s too late to change your mind
Don’t turn to me now
Coz that’s what you get when you don’t ask
Anybody’s help along the way

Don’t you think it could’ve been better
With the choices that you made?
Coz all your life you were searching for pleasure
But all you got was pain

Don’t turn to me now
Coz the time’s too late to change your mind
Don’t turn to me now
Coz that’s what you get when you don’t ask
Anybody’s help along the way

Help along the way
Help along the way


Even to this day I’m still not really sure what this song is about but I do know that it means something different to everyone who hears it.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

This video I’m about to share with you is for me, the single most inspirational piece of media I have ever witnessed.

I would go so far as saying that if I hadn’t stumbled across this video then my musical journey would’ve turned out a lot different to what it is now.

I can remember where and when I saw this just like it was yesterday.

I was still in High School at the time when I saw the beginning sequence of the video played on the classic ABC music show Rock Arena (do you remember that program) and I experienced the what could be described as the closest thing to a religious epiphany.

This video literally blew my mind. I had never heard music like this before and I was hungry for more.

I hunted down the video and once I had it in my hot little hands I went over to my music teachers house and we both watched it in awe of the music and the musicians that played it.

To put things into some sort of perspective I want to give you some background as to what was happening for me at the time as I was in a world of confusion and pain regarding where I was going in my music.

I was studying music composition and clarinet (as well as everything else) at High School and I was being groomed by the school to go to the Adelaide Conservatorium Of Music to get my Bachelor of Music degree and become either a music teacher or, an orchestral player (music teacher was looking the most likely path).

Everyone else had my musical life planned out for me, except for ME.

I was just starting to learn guitar at that stage and I didn’t know what I should do but once I saw this video, I made my choice and for the first time in my life I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I wanted to do what THEY were doing.

This video has been long lost from my possession but I was beside myself when I recently stumbled across the full version of it on YouTube so here is King Crimson – Three Of A Perfect Pair: Live In Japan in its entirety just for you.

Enjoy…

I’ve always considered King Crimson’s “Discipline” trilogy of albums, starting with Discipline in 1981, Beat in 1982 and lastly (my all time favourite) Three Of A Perfect Pair in 1984, as my most favourite albums of all time.

It’s influenced my playing style on both guitar and bass as well as shaped my musical approaches and attitudes in more ways than I can imagine and I’m so glad that I can share this video with you all.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Seeing Stars is a song that started off in two ways.

First, was the line “my head is spinning and I am seeing stars” followed by the beginnings of the verse chord progression being a Dmajor7 to a Bminor. It wasn’t until I accidentally played an Aminor while I was workshopping the verse that the song really kicked into gear.

A great example of a happy accident changing the course of a songs development.

In this song, the feeling I’m trying to portray is one of loving something so much that it physically hurts. I also drew on some experiences of a very good friend of mine who was becoming a Dad for the first time at the time of writing Seeing Stars as the foundation for the song.

Special thanks goes out to Alexandra Frost on backing vocals, Darren Zaza on guitar and Stig Lindell on keys.


Seeing Stars
© 2003 C.Stewart

Hold the phones and stop the press
This will be better than the rest
Coz my head is spinning
And I am seeing stars

You gave me life from a single breath
No truer words have now been said
Coz my head is spinning
And I am seeing stars

I feel so dizzy, I need to rest
With this feeling I got in my chest
Oh, I see the world now
Through the eyes of love
My head is spinning
And I am seeing stars

I’ll build a world in which you can live
And give you all the space to move within
But I’m hardly breathing
As my eyes well up with tears

I want to hold you in my arms
And drown in your presence, your light and your love
Coz my head is spinning
And I am seeing stars

I feel so dizzy, I need to rest
With this feeling I got in my chest
Oh, I see the world now
Through the eyes of love
My head is spinning
And I am seeing stars

My head is spinning
And I am seeing stars
My head is spinning
And I am seeing stars


Seeing Stars is the one song that I get the most comments on when I play it live so I felt it was fitting to have the song as the title track of my CD.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Yesterday, January 7th, was my birthday and because of this, I thought it would be a good time to end my self-imposed break from live performance and start off today by reaffirming to myself (and to all of you) my primary musical goal.

And that is this…

“To develop, maintain and sustain a career as a full-time songwriter/musician/blogger utilising the internet as my primary tool of promotion, networking and marketing.”

Now, this goal doesn’t mean that the more traditional face to face music business related activities will get neglected along the way.

No way! I actually love the cut and thrust of getting out there and networking, securing my own gigs and using the power of word of mouth advertising to create a community around me, my music and any other projects that I’m involved with but I know that I’ll be starting again almost from scratch so the question I ask myself is “how am I going to achieve this goal?”

Well, I’ll be well on my way to achieving by doing these three things:

1. Simplifying my life

I know that I have the tendency to over-complicate and over-think aspects of my life and work which paralyses me through having too much choice.

I’ve started on the road to simplicity a few months ago by deciding that this site is the main focus for all of my musical endeavours and pulling all of my content into it. I will be having a closer look at ways in which I can streamline my online presence in the near future and it’s my intention to blog about it.

2. Focusing on my activity

As well as over-complicating and over-thinking aspects of my life I also fall into the habit of doing far too many things at once under the guise of needing to “diversify my income.”

The old jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none thing gets really boring after a while when you realise that you don’t get anything achieved by adopting this way of doing things. I know I can do a lot of things but I need to be mindful of what I’m really doing every time I decide to take on another job here, another role there.

Which leads on nicely to the last point…

3. Internalising my efforts

I know, I admit it, I’m a people pleaser and in the past, I’ve done anything for anyone because I wanted to be seen as the “nice guy” and would do whatever I could to protect that stance, even at the cost to myself. Well, as of today there will be no more of that.

Helping others is fine as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my own stuff. One of the things that taking a year off from gigging has enabled me to do is give me a fresh perspective on what I will say yes and (more importantly) no to if asked. I am first and foremost, my own client in my music business and even though I’m open to any opportunity that comes my way, if I have time spare to work with anyone else in the same capacity I’ll do so but, if I don’t, I won’t,

It doesn’t get any simpler than that and I hope you’ll understand that if you happen to be the one doing the asking.

This year is about creating and maintaining some balance in life. I’ve had my break and now it’s time for me to get back into it but this time I’ll be working smarter (not necessarily harder) towards achieving my primary musical goal.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Before I start with this first post for 2017, I just want to say that I hope you all had a wonderful Xmas and New Year.

I would’ve posted sooner but we’ve had no internet and home phone since Xmas Eve and it has only come back on yesterday (thanks, Telstra). That is an indication of how 2016 was for most people judging by the conversations I’ve had and the posts I’ve been reading on social media.

For me, however, 2016 was a year of consolidating on what I already had and from there, rebuilding a solid foundation to move forward with.

After undergoing some financial uncertainty for the last few years, 2016 was a perfect opportunity for me to really knuckle down and relieve myself of that uncertainty.

The main lessons that I’ve learnt from 2016 are…

  • To be patient
  • To keep life simple
  • To not pile too many things onto my plate (both with work and food)
  • To take a step back and breathe

These are the lessons that I want to continue on with into this year and with that in mind, here are some things I’ll be concentrating on for 2017…


Work

My financial situation is a lot better than it was three years ago. This is mainly because I now have a day gig that’s able to relieve the financial pressures left over from the past.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of work around and it’s not going to be slowing down anytime soon. My current employment is as secure as you can get through being a subcontractor.

Sometimes the unpredictable nature of being on-call can throw a spanner in the works every now and then, but if I work on managing my time better this year, the unpredictability will start to work for me rather than against me.

If anything, this will give me lots of practice in being patient, tolerant, malleable and flexible when it comes to reacting to what life throws at me which works in well with the main lesson I have learnt from last year.

As for my online work, expect a lot more blogging activity which will include doing a lot more video but more about that in later posts.

Health

Through practising intermittent fasting (IF), I’ve been disciplined with my relationship with food over the last three months and besides relaxing my IF regimen for December (due to it being the holiday season), my health has improved and the payoff has been very noticeable.

Now that Xmas and New Year’s celebrations are out of the way, I’m back onto my IF schedule and my health will get back on track and beyond for 2017.

(I’ll keep you updated periodically as to my IF but I promise you, I won’t bore you with all of the stats and intricate details)

Music/Recording

After a year off I’m now ready to get back into playing live again, however, over the past 12 months, I’ve been concentrating on developing the recording side of my skill set while at the same time building up a nice home recording setup (SongMachine).

The main goal with SongMachine is to increase my recording skillset so I can create, release and publish my music in-house and online. I know that means that I’ll be doing most things myself but at the end of the day, I will be in control of my own affairs and master of my own destiny beholden to no-one.

I’m getting confident enough to show off my home recordings with the world which will culminate in putting together my own self-produced, self-recorded album for 2017 using SongMachine and what I’ve learnt along the way and I’m really happy with that.

As for live performance, I’m not sure what that is going to look and sound like at this stage but I do have the urge to move forward with that. I am, however, going to start experimenting with streaming live with the goal of putting together some sort of regular streaming performance gig for myself.

I’m still researching this concept and I’ll let you all know what I find but I can tell you now, I’m excited about the possibilities.


I didn’t want this post to become one of those boring New Year’s resolution lists that I know I won’t stick to, but I just wanted to give a brief outline as to what to expect from me and this site for this year.

Did I say I’m feeling a bit excited by all of this…

Peace,

Corey 🙂