“One bit of advice I could give you is to invest in someone who really knows what they’re doing to do your photos…”

A photo shoot… With a professional photographer. Got it.

As we sat for a cuppa and chat, Matt Bone had so many bits of advice to offer! As I grope my way around in the dark of this musical world of ‘getting it out there some’, his words were like shining lights. Matt is not only an incredible musician, and a man of much pearly wisdom when it comes to the music industry, but also a genuinely kind and lovely fellow.

Having said that, the idea of a photo shoot (beyond in the back yard with my mum, who happens to be a great photographer I might add) made my skin crawl. I really struggle with the idea of having to ‘create an image of myself’. It’s just not something I want to do. I just want to be myself and share my music and art with you. That’s all. Not create an image. I remember a man telling me outside a venue once: “if you want to get your music out there, you’ve got to sell yourself.” But I don’t want to do that either. It makes me sad to think that in this world, if you want to pursue your passion in music and art, you feel like you have to slice up your soul, rearrange it, and present it on a shiny dish in an attempt to sell it. What does what I look like have to do with how my music sounds or my art looks anyway?

So here’s the big question I want to know…how do I share my music and art with the world, without feeling like I need to create an image to sell?

….Well anyway, I did it. I found a fellow who’s photos look more like paintings, and that lured me in. He also offered to do the shoot in a beautiful natural setting instead of in a studio. Double plus. Bleary eyed, I parked my car just as the first rays of light splayed over the sand dunes, and like golden streamers through the wattle leaves. I felt a bit weird wearing my favourite earrings to the beach at 7 in the morning. But kind of special also. Not being one to wear make-up or sparkly clothes on any occasion, these lovely earrings were my one symbol of dressing up a little. Making it a bit special.

Arterium, his friend and I walked over the damp grass towards a beautiful tree, where the golden light created shiny borders of light around each leaf, and turned the green interior slightly translucent. Before we began, Arterium encouraged us to close our eyes and set an intention for the shoot. Gratitude for the beauty of the natural world surrounding us and a wish to capture something real and beautiful. Reverence. This was clearly beyond just business. This was his creative and soul-led art.

I could feel my heart beating in my mouth. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to pose. Even the idea of posing makes me feel uncomfortable and in-genuine.

Arterium didn’t ask me to pose. Lucky.. Just to close my eyes. Listen to the birds. Move in my body. Dance a little, if I felt like it. Just to relax and feel into my body a bit. That I could do. I closed my eyes and focused all my attention on my senses. I listened hard and let the birds tell me their morning story. And curled my arms and fingers around the strands of wind, as it twirled on past. I moved gently to the rhythm of it’s rustle through the leaves around me. Stopping and listening to the natural world felt familiar and genuine to me. This I could do. This felt good. As long as he didn’t ask me to open my eyes too many times, where I’d be reminded of that camera lens…

We moved over the grass, up onto the dunes and down onto the beach. A large bird of prey with a white belly sat high on a nearby branch. Osprey or Sea Eagle, I couldn’t quite tell, but it was big. The sun turned the ocean into a giant bath of gold. I sat in the water, guitar in my lap, squinting in the morning sunlight. And all the while Arterium reminded me not to try. Just to keep tuning into the natural world around me, I so adore. I drank up that golden sunlight, and delighted in the cool salt water seeping through my clothes.

I guess it wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it was a nicer more meaningful experience than I could have hoped for.

Gazing through the many beautiful photos after wards, I felt a gratitude for this kind of photography as an art form. Yes, I guess it is still ‘creating an image’, but perhaps more like the way I create an image when I paint. In each fleeting moment, Arterium had to see the light, the patterns, the shapes, the feeling, and be right there in the right place to capture it into a picture. Using golden sunlight and water as his paint, instead of oils. And all the while, encouraging me out of my shell, but not too much. Just enough, to keep it real…

I guess what I have learned is that you can put heart and creative love into anything you choose do.

Here are some of them… There are so many to choose from! Tell me which ones you like best 🙂

These past Summer holidays were the kind that afterwards, made you wish you had you’re own personal remote control, just so you could hit rewind and replay as many times your heart desired. I’ve been swimming about in a most glorious sea of creative juice, splashing about like nobody’s business! Recording my debut album with a bunch of salt-of-the-earth gems, painting my heart out, a-hollerin’ and a-pluckin’ away writing new songs, writing poetry and stories… You know… all the good stuff! My heaven.

Working with sound engineer and producer Jordan Power at his studio in Byron Bay was a dream. What a mighty legend he is! If I were God, I couldn’t have moulded a better fellow for the job myself. Not to mention all the incredible musical humans who added their magic to the mix ~ Kara Mallory, Benny Fowler (guitar), Peter Hunt (trumpet), Charles Wall (percussion), Robbie Farrar (cello), Will Chance (percussion), Kat Cooper, Mikey Bee, Matthew O’Reynolds, Liz Kee, Michael Eckersall and Lisa Larkins (vocals).

The recording is done and sounding like honey in my ears! Once that Jordan fellow gets back from his well-deserved lazy-man holiday, we’ll get onto mastering.

I’m planning to release the album, ‘Woo Me From My Sleep’ no later than June 2018.  In the meantime, here are some photos and links of memorable moments that keep me happy.

As I set about planning my next tour, I can’t help but reminisce back to September last year. It seems like so long ago! My dear musical friends Luke Rhodes, Tyler Nakoa, Holly Mae and I set off on a musical road trip that’s now seared in my heart. The ‘Making Tracks Tour‘ was my first ever tour. I didn’t begin 2017 with a plan to overcoming self-doubt and making it a year of firsts. It just somehow magically turned out that way!

Earlier in the year, I called up my dear old friend (and once upon a time, my music teacher!) Luke Rhodes down in Bellingen.

“Luke, I’ve decided to record a cd in December. So I think I should go on tour to build up some momentum and confidence before hand. I was thinking to call it the ‘Making Tracks Tour’. You know… to symbolise journeys, moving forward… making new tracks as we walk through life… which is kinda what songs are right? Writing songs is like carving tracks in the soil as we walk through our life-journey. What do you think?’

“Not because you’ll be making tracks? Like song tracks?” he replied.

“…..Oh yeah… I hadn’t thought of that… That too! Do you want come along?”

Without too much thought, he was down for it!

Then I half-heartedly contacted Tyler and Holly, not expecting much of a response from these wonderfully busy humans. But hey, what’s to lose in just throwing it out there?

“Hey Tyler, do you want to come on tour with me in September?”

“We’re in!”

And that was that. I guess the fact that we all work in schools, and my tour proposal dates fell in the school holidays helped somewhat…

We soon realised we needed to work out a way to travel with 4 people, instruments and sound gear. Take 2 cars? Boring. Hire a bus? Borrow a van? Hire a trailer? Borrow a trailer? As these things often turn out, Luke came across a small furniture trailer on the side of the road just down the road from his house. With a little Luke sweet-talking, we had borrowed the trailer for $100! I had a tow-ball installed on the back of my car, et voila! We were ready to go!

But that trailer….. Oh that trailer.

After our first (wonderful!) gig at No 5 Church St in Bello, we left early and made our way south. We were headed for Canberra in one day! 600km down the road, we were roaring along the pacific highway (well, tootling..), just north of Newcastle, when a car passenger hailed our attention as they passed, pointing frantically to our rear. We pulled over. The back of the trailer had come open. Luckily everything seemed to be in there. We drove to the nearest servo for a closer inspection. On arrival, we ran into the fellow who had passed us, who informed us that he had run over a big back pack. And watched a good few other cars run over it too. And trucks. On the highway…

A second trailer contents inspection illumined us to the fact that my back pack was missing. My back pack with all of my clothes, toiletries and camping gear for the trip. Great.

Tyler and I left Holly and Luke to try and fix the trailer whilst we drove around for over an hour trying to look for a stray squashed bag. I kept picturing my clothes scattered all over the highway, and imagining the op-shopping trips we’d need to make time for along the way. In our hurry, Luke and Holly had left their phones in the car. After some hours had passed, Luke and Holly’s growing concern for our where-abouts lead to them calling the Maitland police with the service station phone. The police couldn’t tell them where we were, but they did mention a big green backpack had been handed in!

Tyler and I arrived back, long-faced. No bag guys. Gone. Aliens?

Luke and Holly set us straight, and so back we tracked to Maitland to retrieve my bag. The bottom was busted and my shampoo had exploded all through my everything. But at least it was all still there. After a trip to the dry-cleaners in Canberra and $24 later, my sleeping bag is cleaner than it’s ever been. (And smells of lavender and Ylang Ylang! Great shampoo 😉

It was after dark, and we still had another 6 hours of driving. We took it in turns to keep each other awake and gorge on chocolate. (Except for Tyler. He doesn’t eat chocolate. So we had to eat his share too. We managed.)

Well after midnight, as eyes were more frequently dosing, Luke, who was driving, pipes up:

“Hey, where did all the signs to Yass go?” …

Suddenly we were all awake, map apps out. As we turned around to drive the 70 odd km’s back to the Yass turn off, we engaged in deep discussion about changing the name of our tour to “Making Back Tracks”.

At 3-something in the morning we finally pulled into Canberra, and crept into a house of sleeping people we’d never met, but who’d offered us a place to stay and left the back door unlocked for us. Ahh thank the lord for beautiful people. With spare couches. And back doors.

Our second gig, The Front in Lyneham, Canberra. Yeah!

Our third at The Delatite Hotel in Mansfield, thanks to the almighty Dean and Gil. Then Open Studio in Westgarth, Melbourne. And onto the Cambewarra Hall, on the south coast of NSW, and The Old Vic in Maitland. And finally, a beautiful house concert and the lovely Gigi’s house back in Mullumbimby.

As I’m supposed to be planning a tour here and not writing a blog entry, I should probably stop this story right here and get back to it!

Before I sign out though, I must mention… the trailer saga did not end there. The shutting mechanism and the lock didn’t work. It never worked again. And our main, on-going band discussion topic became: ‘How do we keep the trailer shut and secure without spending too much money, and without it resembling too much like a large gift-wrapped thief attractant shouting in a flashing neon-light type way,

‘VALUABLE GOODS INSIDE. YOUR WELCOME.’

Needless to say, with the ridiculous amount of cheap chains, locks and jockey straps origami-wrapped around the whole damn thing, we failed there.

We certainly succeeded in having a mighty fun time though!

Until next time… Adios!

 

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