Today (Thursday, February 22nd, 2018) marks the end of the third week of the FAWM Songwriting Challenge for 2018 and so far I’ve managed to get ten songs on the board with three of them being collaborations with Amanda West from www.sheeaunmusic.com (two of them I’ve still got to finish the music to).

Unfortunately, my scratchy throat was still giving me grief into week three and I think the vocal recordings of my later songs show this. I’m not overly worried though as I can always re-record them after the challenge is finished.

Another element causing some havoc with my songwriting routine this week has been the unpredictable nature of my day job. Sometimes I think my day job was conspiring against my songwriting but at the end of the day, it is what it is and I need to be at peace with that.

Last post I mentioned that adaptability and flexibility were things I learned about on my FAWM journey. This week I want to throw “patience” into the mix.

Even though I’ve endured being sick, losing my voice and an unpredictable working schedule, I’ve still been able to chip away at the task at hand and for me to do that I needed a lot of patience.

I needed to have faith that whatever had got in the way of my songwriting was only a temporary thing and all I needed to do was to wade through the distraction and just sit and wait for it to pass.

I found this week that the more patience I was able to cultivate, the less frustrated I would feel and of course we all know that the path of frustration and restlessness leads to songwriters block.

And songwriters block is something you don’t want to be experiencing in the middle of a songwriting challenge.

Am I right?

Anyways, if you want to check out what I’ve done so far in FAWM you can go to my profile page or, if you still want to join in the fun you can also do that here.

One week and four more songs to go… Wish me luck.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

FAWM 2018 got off to a cracking start for me with two completed songs and a songwriting collaboration all lined up in the first three days then all of a sudden, I developed a head cold which completely knocked out my voice and sapped what motivation I had left in me.

It’s amazing how much a head full of snot can just suck the life out of you.

Thankfully I’m on the mend now but at this very moment, I’m working away from home for the next three days which means no recording. That takes me to the end of the second week of the challenge hence why I’m doing an update for weeks one and two.

In between times however, I did manage to get another six songs recorded ready for me to put vocals down to. Even though I couldn’t sing at all, my head cold didn’t prevent me from tracking the rest of the instruments so I spent my time working instrumentally as much as I could.

When I get back from working away I’ll be able to put down the vocal tracks for the rest of the songs and complete my collaboration with Amanda West from www.sheeaunmusic.com, and that will take my total to 9 songs which will put me back on track to complete the challenge before the end of February.

What I have learnt so far is the amazing power of adaptation and flexibility. Even though I got sick I was able to adjust my songwriting process to accommodate the illness and still get things done albeit in a slightly different way.

Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs in your direction and you need to be prepared for that whether it be in songwriting or in anything.

If you want to check out what I’ve done so far in FAWM you can go to my profile page or, if you want to join in the fun you can do that here.

Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll have some better news on the songwriting front.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m going to be participating in the 2018 FAWM (February Album Writing Month) Song Challenge hoping to replicate the success of completing it like I did last year.

Personally, participating and completing the FAWM Song Challenge has been one to the most rewarding creative experiences I’ve ever had. It has allowed me to shake off the shackles of fear and doubt and just get stuff done. It kick-started the momentum I needed to get my music back on track and it (most importantly) made my self confidence and belief as an artist go through the roof.

I believe that every songwriter should try this challenge out at least once in their lives and experience first-hand the overwhelmingly supporting community of songwriters, musicians and lyricists that reside within the challenge. It’s a great way to connect and possibly network and collaborate with other like minded individuals.

Each participant has a slightly different interpretation of what FAWM means to them. For me, it’s a chance to really give my home recording setup (SongMachine) a thorough thrashing and along the way, learn more about the recording process and how to get the best sound possible with the recording gear I have at my disposal.

It also gives me the opportunity to go through my archives and finish off all of the random song titles, half finished verses, choruses and voice memos that I have scattered on pieces of paper, my hard drive or, on my phone, but I also take pride on using the challenge to write songs from a starting position of having nothing prepared.

Those are the songs in which their existence always amazes me.

If you have any questions regarding FAWM that you want to ask, then feel free to contact me otherwise, just go to the FAWM website and sign up. It’s free to join but there’s only a couple of days to go before it kicks off for another year.

Oh, and I’ll be blogging about my progress again just like I did last year so watch this space.

Hope to see you in the challenge. Good luck…

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Okay… Now that January is already coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time for me to start outlining what the hell I’m going to be doing in 2018 because I’ve had enough rest now, it’s time to get moving.

The most obvious change that will be made to my musical landscape for this year is the fact that I’m getting back into performing live again. I’m excited about starting over in a completely different musical environment then when I first started my tentative steps towards musical self-sufficiency more than 30 years ago.

I’ll be going down two paths this year. The first path is an acoustic singer/songwriter path which I’ll be doing a either solo or, as a duo with longtime partner in crime Darren Zaza.

The second path is a band oriented path incorporating bass, guitar, keys and drums which will expand on the acoustic song ideas I’ll be performing around the place or, adding new “band songs”to the whole mix.

I haven’t put an original band together since my “Seeing Stars” CD launch in October 2012 so I’m nervous but at the same time, very excited about this possibility.

In regards to the venues I’ll be targeting, I’ll be of course scoping out all of the venues that host original music but I’ll also be experimenting with putting together a hybrid gig showcasing my music plus reinterpretations of covers that I want to do.

I suppose I want to answer the question of whether covers (reinterpretations not replications of songs) and originals can really work side by side in the same gig.

2018 will also be the first year that I start touring my music in the country areas and then interstate. Why keep my music as a local thing?

I see this happening in the later part of 2018.

Moving parallel with my live performance goals is my intention to start recording my second CD. I’ll be wanting to record at home however, I’m not ruling out the possibility to collaborate with other studios when it comes to post-production.

I have the confidence to move forward in producing my second CD because 2017 was a year in which I really knuckled down and wrote a lot of songs specifically through entering online songwriting challenges like FAWM (February Album Writing Month) and 50/90 (50 Songs in 90 Days).

Now the songs created from those challenges plus the others that I had written will make up the base of songs I’ll be choosing from for my next CD and live repertoire. This would mean I’ll be starting again with new songs and eventually a new product to introduce to the world.

I promise I’ll keep you guys informed of any new CD news when it comes to hand.

As I’ve already established, writing songs is the backbone of my musical activity and in 2018 I’d like to extend that a little with the introduction of my home recording setup known as SongMachine.

This will make the recording of demos much easier and it will enable me to create more online content to further promote me and the music that I make.

An example of this extension of my songwriting activity is the introduction of a custom songwriting service for later on this year. I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there that would love to give to someone special or, to perhaps receive a bespoke song created by me specifically for them.

Obviously, SongMachine will come in handy for the creation of these gift songs but more details are to come later.

Another part of this extension to my songwriting activity is for me to start a song feedback service for any songwriter that wants unbiased, constructive and comprehensive feedback on their songs. I’ll be releasing more details on this initiative soon.

Of course I’m going to be getting stuck into FAWM (and 50/90) this year and with February 1st just around the corner, I’m all ready to tackle FAWM head on. I’d like to think that I’ll be able to write songs outside these song challenges and it’s my hope that the creative momentum created last year will follow me into 2018.

So that’s what I’ll be doing musically for 2018. It’s certainly not a definite list because anything and everything is subject to change however, the above list shows me that I’m up for a busy yet creatively fulfilling year. A year in which I can say with confidence that I am a proper performing songwriter/musician again.

What are the goals (musical or otherwise) that you’ve set for yourself in 2018. If you want to tell me what they are then let me know. If you want to ask me about the upcoming FAWM Songwriting Challenge then let me know.

In the meantime, 2018… Let’s do this,

Peace,

Corey 🙂

As 2017 comes to a close my thoughts now turn towards the coming year ahead and what my resolutions will be for 2018.

For me, this time of year is one of self reflection on the past/present and a renewed sense of purpose, vigour, enthusiasm and optimism for the future.

Here’s just a very quick summary on the year that was and what’s in store for 2018.

2017 was a challenging year personally but a very productive and prolific year musically.

2017 year saw major health issues take centre stage for both Mara and me which certainly got me rethinking some priorities in life but, it also had me writing and recording the most songs ever in a 12 month period thanks primarily to the FAWM and 50/90 Songwriting Challenges.

This health induced rethinking of priorities plus the creative momentum I’ve experienced this year will be serving me in good stead for 2018.

2017 was also a year where I concentrated on reshaping my finances and work my way out of some pretty hefty debt especially with the credit card.

Thankfully I’ve managed to rip up the card, pay off the car and consolidate everything else into something far more manageable than before and once I get my taxes all sorted out I’ll be able to breathe a little easier.

2018 will be the year that I get back into playing gigs again on a regular basis. I’ve been spending some time getting my online profiles all sorted out so it would be easier for bookers to find me online and get an idea of my music and what I can provide for them and their/my audiences.

I’ll also continue to write and record new material plus, the idea of participating in FAWM and 50/90 for 2018 doesn’t scare me as much as it did the same time last year.

I also think it’s about time I recorded another physical CD for release. I know I put out the FAWM and 50/90 releases online however, they are more collections of demos rather than something that I would formally release into the world.

I can see some songs from those online releases being re-recorded and making their way onto my second CD.

These are just some of the things I’ll be saying either goodbye or hello and of course I’ll be going into more detail about things in future blog posts but whatever happens, I’m genuinely excited about the possibilities that 2018 will bring for me on both a personal and professional level.

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and that 2018 will be everything you want it to be… And more!

Peace,

Corey 🙂

At the end of September last year I wrote a blog post called It’s Time To Take My Health Seriously which was primarily a health update and outlining how I was experimenting with something called “Intermittent Fasting” which was doing some good things for me at the time.

Then Xmas came and I fell off the wagon… BIG TIME!

It took me the rest of 2017 to realise that I should get back on the wagon again as any loss of weight and overall wellness I experienced before had been eradicated.

Now, I had been without a GP for the past 12 months so recently (thanks to my wife for being very insistent about this) I found the courage to find another one and the first thing he noticed was that my blood pressure was worryingly high.

He referred me to get an ECG done and it showed that I have a slight abnormality in my heart rhythm. Since then he’s referred me to a Cardiologist and I suppose this is where the fun begins…

I’m writing this post as an update to all of you but more importantly, I’m writing this post for myself.

I’m writing this post and committing it online so I can read it back as many times as needed to get it through my thick head that my lifestyle choices in the past is at worst, slowly killing me or at best, robbing me of motivation to create, record and perform my music and be the best person that I can be.

Now, I don’t want to sound whiny and whingey here but, I am now at a crossroads with my overall health and wellbeing. This shit has just become REAL.

Since finding out about my latest health issues, I’ve revisited the post I mentioned earlier It’s Time To Take My Health Seriously and have started to adopt all of the concepts mentioned again (including Intermittent Fasting) with the hope of this time continuing it through the dreaded Xmas and the holiday season which includes my fast approaching 47th birthday.

Honestly, I’m feeling a bit scared right now.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’ve only just found out about the ECG test results and I’m yet to make an appointment with the Cardiologist but if this recent experience has taught me anything, it’s that I really, REALLY need to take my health seriously as I’m now living through the consequences of not being serious about it in the past.

I will keep you updated as news comes to hand and I promise you that posts such as this won’t become the preoccupation of my blog however, what I am also fast realising is that the most important thing in my life now is keeping my health in check as it can affect how I function as a songwriter, musician and (in the greater scheme of things) an all round human being.

Wish me luck,

Peace,

Corey 🙂

As you would be aware, about two years ago, I made a conscious decision to take an extended break from playing gigs to focus on my songwriting and the recording of my own material.

I did this because at the end of the day, I was burnt out and creatively vacant after 12 years of working as a professional musician in the covers scene. I needed to take a break to give myself some distance so I can begin to “miss” playing gigs again.

During my time away, I have gained a much better understanding of who I am as a songwriter, musician and most importantly, as a human being and the last six months especially have been an extremely creative and productive time in my life.

In that time I’ve completed two mammoth songwriting challenges (writing a combined total of 64 songs in 118 days) culminating in six online albums plus I’ve released two other collaborative albums via BandCamp taking my total to eight online releases for the year.

Even though I consider myself a permanent work in progress, I know that at this moment, I’m in a pretty good place when it comes to my songwriting and my recording processes.

It’s time to switch the focus back to playing gigs again. I now miss playing live.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that the Adelaide music scene has gone from strength to strength in terms of its popularity with the punters and in the number of venues available for musicians to play at.

Now, my conclusions have been made purely through anecdotal evidence and personal observations however, I am greatly encouraged by the overall positivity that the local Adelaide music scene is radiating at the moment.

What’s encouraging me the most is the attitude of (non-original music) venues towards musicians playing a hybrid mix of covers and originals in their repertoire rather than forcing them to play the stock standard covers that everyone else does.

It seems that there’s now a little bit more room for a musician to express themselves through their repertoire. This alone makes such a refreshing change compared to what was going on when I was playing covers a few years ago.

Now, at my most recent show at The Daniel O’Connell Hotel (Friday October 6th), I experimented with playing a 50/50 mix of my own songs plus covers that I wanted to do and how I wanted to do them. The gig went down a treat and it was this experience, that helped me decide that it was time to get back into playing live again.

So… what do I do now?

Well first of all, right here and right now I’ve stated my intentions so that’s a start.

Secondly, I need to start getting back out into the local scene and reconnect with everyone that I’ve lost contact with. Don’t be surprised if you start see me hanging out at Open Mics and other gigs around town.

I’ll also need to start doing some research as to what venues are out there and the music they’re hosting while at the same time, get my online presence sorted out, get some new songs uploaded and update my booking information.

Plus, I’ll need to relaunch my mailing list.

With that in mind, you’ll start to see some changes taking place on this site as I get myself gig-ready and if there’s anything of interest that I come across along the way, I’ll let you all know.

Until then, if any of you out there have any gigging opportunities you’d like to chat with me about then let me know. Whether the opportunity be for a solo guitarist, bass player, vocalist or a combination of all, I’m ready to go.

My break from live performance is now OFFICIALLY OVER. It’s time for me to start playing again at a venue near you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Last week the music world lost yet another amazing songwriter/musician in Tom Petty.

Personally I wasn’t exposed to Tom and his band “The Heartbreakers” song catalogue (except for his hits) too much but these two videos below (which a friend of mine recently put me onto) really demonstrates how much of a beautiful songwriter/musician and human he was.

 

 

What a songwriter he was, his heartfelt songs are the epitome of simplicity and honesty. I tell you what, I’m really enjoying learning some of his back catalogue.

Vale Tom Petty…

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Well, I finally did it. I’ve bundled together all the songs I wrote for the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge and released them in a five volume set online through BandCamp. Each volume has ten songs on it and they appear in the order that they were written, warts and all.

I’ve done this for the same reason as putting out the FAWM2017 online release earlier this year… To showcase my latest songs online and to get feedback from others.

At the moment all five volumes (and in fact, all of my online releases on BandCamp) are available for download using the “pay what you want” (PWYW) function meaning you can either download the albums for free (but you need to put in your email address) or pay as much as you want for them, there’s no upper limit.

I’ve had people ask me why I have chosen to go down the PWYW path with my music releases and I think the main reason is that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with setting some sort of arbitrary value on my music.

Of course, I value greatly the creative and artistic side of the songs I write and the music I compose but I think monetary values and creative/artistic values are two separate things. I would much rather have the public set the value based on the quality of relationship they have with me as an artist/songwriter/musician.

Way back when, I was in awe of Radiohead when they did the same PWYW business model on the release of their 2007 album “In Rainbows.”

The PWYW experiment they undertook was later deemed a success with “… three million in sales, 100,000 disc-boxes shipped and 1.75 million physical CDs sold” according to the Pitchfork article Radiohead’s In Rainbows Successes Revealed.

Plus, according to a LinkedIn article Radiohead Rocks Pay What You Want (A Case Study), the main reason the experiment was a success was that “… it cut out the middleman and increased its profit margin. With traditional sales tactics, Radiohead would have only earned 15% of total sales (or around $2.24/album). By cutting out the middleman, it’s profit margin has dramatically increased as the average album sold.”

Granted, Radiohead are a well established band with a loyal fanbase, global profile and an extensive mailing list, but the handing over the responsibility of setting the monetary value of their output to their fans rather than with themselves really gravitated with me.

I thought, if Radiohead can do it, then I can too.

Now, my sales are nowhere near what Radiohead can muster but my take on my PWYW experiment is that the harder I work at my relationship with YOU, the more you’d be willing to pay for any product I release as a way of supporting what I do.

Which gets me back to the “50/90 2017 (Volumes 1 – 5)” BandCamp release… It’s all up on BandCamp for you to check out now and very soon I’ll have it all up on the Music page on this site (plus on SoundCloud as well).

All I ask is that you have a listen, let me know what you think and if you’re so inclined, pay what you want for the music and enjoy it for what it is… Me giving a piece of myself to you.

Enjoy…

Peace,

Corey 🙂

This year I have completed both the FAWM (14 songs in 28 days) and 50/90 (50 songs in 90 days) Songwriting Challenges and besides feeling pretty chuffed about completing them, these challenges have positively changed me as a songwriter forever.

I’ve had the last week to reflect on my time doing both song challenges and how it has affected me and these are the five points that I’ve come up with.


1. My songwriting process (and recording workflow) has greatly improved

I don’t think I can write and record 64 (14 + 50) songs between February 1st and October 1st and not improve as a songwriter in all aspects of the craft.

Just the sheer practise value of doing both songwriting challenges have certainly sharpened up my…

  • Overall creative attitude
  • Time management
  • Songwriting process
  • Silencing of my inner critic
  • Logic Pro X operating skills
  • Recording workflow
  • Instrumental/vocal skills
  • Ear training
  • Lyric writing
  • Powers of observation and research

I am now considering the idea of setting up my own songwriting/music composition challenges (and documenting/showcasing my progress) to carry on the momentum that participating in FAWM and 50/90 has started for me.

2. My confidence as a songwriter/producer has risen sharply

In previous years my participation and subsequent musical output in FAWM and 50/90 have been pretty sketchy at best and nonexistent at worse.

This past track record was not because I didn’t have song ideas to develop and record, it was because of my severe lack of confidence as a songwriter which allowed my fears and doubts defeat my creative intentions even before I had taken my first steps.

Now, initially completing FAWM this year was an amazing achievement in itself which I’m very proud of however, adding 50/90 to my list of songwriting conquests has, beyond a shadow of a doubt, proven to me that as a songwriter and producer/engineer, I can create the music that I want and additionally, achieve any goal that I set for myself.

Which leads onto my next point…

3. I can now finish what I’ve started

In the past I’ve been really, really good at starting things (like new projects, song ideas and setting goals) but rubbish at finishing them. This has lead me to having a massive backlog of half finished songs and other projects that need to be finished but the sheer weight on my conscience paralyses me into doing nothing about it

Completing FAWM and 50/90 this year has also proven to me that if I set my mind to something I can carry it through to the end. When I think about it, I’ve had 64 songs to practise my finishing skills on and my songwriting ideas archive looks a bit more manageable now.

4. I can pursue songwriting/recording as a career with confidence

You know, if I was told five years ago that I would be writing and recording my own music in my own home studio setup I wouldn’t have believed it. Just the very thought of being in the driving seat of a DAW like Logic Pro X or Pro Tools sent shivers up my spine but now after completing FAWM and 50/90, I have definitely got the songwriting and production bug and nothing is going to stop me from writing and recording more music.

I’ve been toying for many years the notion of again pursuing a full time career as a songwriter, musician and producer without relying on just being a covers musician to make ends meet, but I felt that I hadn’t had the necessary skills and attributes in…

  • Recording and producing music
  • Instrumental and vocal proficiency
  • Lyric writing
  • Self sufficiency and belief as a songwriter, musician and artist
  • Finishing what I start
  • Being prolific in my songwriting

FAWM and 50/90 has given me opportunity to practise my skills, attributes and proficiencies from the above list to the point where I feel that I can now pursue my full time musical ambitions and songwriting/producing goals with confidence.

5. I’ve discovered a new love of working solo again

Over the past few years I’ve been trying to collaborate with as many songwriters/lyricists as I can and for the most part, it’s worked out very well. This time however, with FAWM and 50/90 I have been working as a solo songwriter again and I’ve been loving it.

Before I underwent my collaboration phase a few years ago, I was really getting bored with writing songs on my own. Everything was starting to sound the same and I felt I needed to branch out a bit and put my hat in the ring with other songwriters, lyricists and musicians to create. This approach gave me a flood of fresh new ideas, perspectives and processes to consider, integrate and implement into my own creative process.

Now, being able to create a song from initial idea to completed recording without having to rely on anyone else and in my own time and recording space has given me a sense of freedom I’ve not experienced before.

I’ll still collaborate for sure but I now also love my own songwriting company as well.


With the end of the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge a few days away (October 1st), I’m now taking a break from songwriting and I’m currently mapping out what I want to do next with my new found confidence in all things songwriting and recording.

Even though I know that me, my music and my overall career in my chosen profession is a constant and never-ending work in progress, I feel that I’ve now entered the next stage on my songwriting/recording/producing journey.

Right now, I’m just enjoying the scenery around me with the knowledge that I’m in a really good place and the best part is that it’s only going to get better.

Peace,

Corey 🙂