Scouting expedition!

•October 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hey Beautiful People!

It’s been a while. I thought I’d catch you up on the latest. The wait is over!  I have a plan. Or at least I have a plan for a plan!

I am headed out to scout out the perfect place to make music and revive my musical career. In hindsight, it feels like this year has been about deconstruction, this might be true for a lot of you. In a lots of large and small ways, things have fallen apart, fallen away, or changed in big ways.

Change as they say, is inevitable. It’s what you do with it that counts. I feel as if I am suddenly awake after a long hibernation.  The world looks new and intriguing, instead of daunting to me.  And now I am finally ready and able to start the reconstruction process.

There is a concept I’ve heard about being responsible for your own happiness -   I feel I finally beginning to have a handle on that one. I’m so happy to be alive and feel my fire and drive return. And I am so excited and happy to jump back into music with both feet.

I have continued to write and create, and now I want to find the perfect place, and an incredible musical partner to bring my music back to life on stages all over the world.

So I am headed out for a scouting trip back east, or maybe more accurately southeast. I am visiting Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN and then later on  Austin TX. I want to feel into each location and see if I can imagine my life blossoming there. I’ll be on a road trip between Asheville and Nashville and flying the other legs of the trip.

I am curious as to whether any of you might have friends and contacts that would be good for me to meet? There is nothing like getting a locals inside view of their city.

My dates are a bit flexible for the first part of the trip – I will be In Asheville around the 9th of November, Nashville Nov 11-18ish.

I would love to meet some other musicians, songwriters, industry people, or just your good friends and get the lay of the land and check out the music scene in each city. I’d love advice as to what to see, and where to stay or a place to stay. You can email me at annie@anniemacmusic.com Thank you for your help in advance!

In other news, my new venture with my business The Mistress Mind is a success! I am having a blast helping women to live their biggest lives possible. My partners and I will have new openings for more of our intensives in the next few months. There seems to be a big pull for us all to really find our place in the world and do what we are most passionate about.  Our process helps you figure it out. If you are interested in finding out more,  please let me know and I will keep you updated.

I want to thank you for your support and your help, and I wish you all the best in your lives.

With love,

Annie xox

How I Wrote Filaree – new music from AnnieMac

•August 10, 2009 • 4 Comments

Hey Beautiful People!

Some of you have asked me how I write songs, or how they come to me. Here’s an example of one that I wrote recently with Bret Levick.

About a month ago I came up with a melody and some lyric that I liked. They often arrive in my head at the same time. The ones that catch my attention tend to play more often in my head like a song bomb in my ear, also called an earworm. (although I like song bomb better.) Here’s what Wikipedia says about earworms

In regards to this song, I had been thinking about the ramifications of not speaking your truth, and how you can really twist into yourself when you don’t say what’s true for you.

Storkbill or Filaree seed heads

Storkbill or Filaree seed heads

Then I thought about other things that twist, and I remembered seeing this seed head in the hills of Marin, where I grew up. I Googled it and found pictures of the common Storksbill or Filaree, the seed head twists as it dries and “the familiar corkscrews then twist into the soil as they go through day-night cycles of wetting and drying, each time the spiral forces the sharp seed deeper into the soil.” (hastingsreserve.org)

Storkbill or Filaree flower

Storkbill or Filaree

I applied the analogy about twisting to the song and loved the name Filaree – It’s fun to sing! – the beginning of this song was born. I then took the chorus, which is also the “hook” of this song, to Bret and we started our collaboration process. As an aside, here’s more about hooks!

Bret Levick has a great way of simplifying lyric and  he added some great music to the verse section of the song. Bret worked on recording the music while I worked on more lyric and we got together a week later to polish Filaree. We went through my new verses and picked the best ones. When I say the best ones, I mean the ones that really tell the story, and progress it from it’s beginning, to its end. We then decided to double the chorus length and recorded a rough track of the vocals. I am so pleased with the song. There are some little tweaks I want to change, but on the whole I love it! I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s released.

Here’s a sample of a single chrorus and a verse of Filaree for you to hear. 


  (Filaree © 2009 McIntyre & Levick)

Thanks for listening!

Love,

Annie xox

The Deal About Voice Lessons

•August 5, 2009 • 5 Comments

What makes a good teacher and lesson?

I was thinking it over on my drive over to see Ken Orsow, my vocal teacher, what makes a good voice teacher and what makes a good lesson? I think it depends as much on the student as it does the teacher. You really need to find a good match for your style and needs. And the teacher has to have a great ear, be compassionate and have the technique down, not necessarily in that order!

I love learning and sharpening my skills. I am always on a quest for self-knowledge and understanding and I want to be the best I can be at whatever endeavor I set myself to. Continuing my musical education has been rewarding, challenging and fun.

I’ve had about 6 voice teachers so far in my life. There are some excellent teachers out there,  but two of them really stand out as ones that work well for me. And I think that’s because I not only got lucky and found teachers who are great at what they teach, but also great at communicating what they know, in a way that I can really grasp and apply to my voice.

All of us learn how to do things differently.  It depends on whether someone is more attuned to kinesthetic, auditory or visual learning. Personally, I learn best using both kinesthetic and auditory modes. I discoverd this when I studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming with Lindagail Campbell. “In NLP we know that each person has a unique style of learning, perceiving and responding to the world.” Lindagail Campbell. If you don’t know about NLP, check Lindagail out. I think she is a master teacher and an incredible woman. Anyone would be lucky to learn from her! There are ways to intuit what style most fits you. And there are many youtuble videos and sites devoted to helping you figure it all out.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing your vocal teacher. I recommend trying out at least one lesson before committing to a series of lessons.

1. How do I learn? By asking yourself this basic question, you will get so much further with your lessons! It is really important to understand yourself when deepening your knowledge. Personally I like to be familiar with how the mechanics of the voice work. And I need someone who can really communicate clearly so that I can visualize what he or she is saying and apply that action my vocal chords, diaphragm, glottis, and resonating points. Seeing a diagram of the interior of a head and throat can be really helpful in understanding how things work.

Anatomy of the voice

Anatomy of the voice

2. Do I feel comfortable with the teacher? You need to be able to both fail and succeed in front of your teacher. You need to feel comfortable enough to make mistakes and learn from them. Your teacher should both support your learning and help you to feel successful.

3. Does the teacher speak your learning language style? I once had a piano teacher that just didn’t know how to teach from the beginners mind. He knew how to play, but not how to transfer the knowledge to me. It was such a frustrating experience! Make sure you understand your teacher and that they understand you!

4. What are your goals? Do you want to sing theater, opera, blues, jazz, rock etc? Find a teacher who excels in the area that you are passionate about. And also crosses over into different vocal styles. They need to be able to sing you examples of what you are learning!

5. What makes a good lesson? Learning how to improve yourself, getting accurate feedback and feeling successful. I think coming away with a great practice tape and knowing exactly what to do with it is crucial. Practicing everyday and returning at least once a week to your teacher is an awesome way to hone your skills.

Lastly, you need to feel and hear improvements in your voice, and with each successive lesson get better and better. You may not have the ear to really hear yourself at first. But by the end of 3 to 4 weeks you should notice some positive changes! Bad habits can be pretty ingrained and give yourself the time and dedication to wotk them out of your system! It can take months.

All the best and thanks for listening,

Annie xox

Hallelujah Come On Get Happy!

•July 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

Hallelujah!

So the latest chapter in my wonderful unfolding life is…. No recheck on the dreaded lumps for 3 months. I take this to be a sign that the lumps are of no significance and so I will imagine them dwindling away… and poof they’re gone.  In reality I am making sure that I pay attention to any changes and will return to the doctor if anything alters shape or size before my appointment in October.

I wanted to thank all of you who wrote to me with your personal stories and advice. Thank you, you are amazing!! And to those of you who thought good thoughts and sent prayers – you rock! I also wanted to say that I’m sorry if I didn’t get back to you personally – but it’s just been way too hectic.

Music wise I had a great time writing with Bret Levick of Bang Hard Music today-
www.banghardmusic.com. We worked on three new songs together. Bret is an accomplished musician and his style is a complement to my own. It was so much fun to collaborate musically again.  We have already come up with some great stuff.

Yea, I feel so lucky!

Happy Annie

Happy Annie

Also – thanks for checking out Jango for me – Some of you said you were confused as to what to do when you got to the site – here’s the 411.

Hit this link – http://www.jango.com/music/AnnieMac?l=0

In the top right corner you will see the song player. Right underneath it are some little faces. If you like the song, click the one with the biggest smile (the one on the right!).
If you’d like to become a fan on Jango. It will walk you through the sign up process. It’s easy and doesn’t take very long.

With your help, I will soon get to the point where Jango will put my songs into regular rotation!

Happy summer to you all and thanks for listening.

With love,

Annie xox

So, No News Is Good News?

•July 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hey Beautiful people,

So no news is good news right? We hope so!

I am not really built for patience, as most of my friends and loved ones would attest to.  I love to make up my mind and then just plunge in and do it. At least when it’s fun or challenging for me in a good way. Yes, I love adventure, even if it’s a loose and crazy plan, but facing the unknown in medical news – not so much. The sonogram showed two 7mm lumps next to each another. There is a two-day wait for diagnosis and then a possible two-month wait for another sonogram to see if anything changes shape…Visualize shrinkage!

I am grateful that I wasn’t whisked away into another test cycle. I really am. That said, I was quietly praying that they wouldn’t find anything there at all, that it just would have disappeared on its own.

Intellectually I know I will be fine. Emotionally it’s been a topsy-turvy ride. Up was down and down was up and…where am I exactly? Thankfully since starting this blog entry I am feeling better and more centered. And I know I will be fine. Really, I know it down deep.

And now for something completely different:

Musically I’ve had some new promising possibilities. I have a meeting on Thursday to do some songwriting with a new musical partner. More on this later if it pans out! I have continued to write up a storm on my own. I love being in the flow with my muse. And I look forward to collaboration again. I have missed it in a mighty way.

Kudos to my voice teacher Ken Orsow.  He is is amazing and I continue to learn so much from him. My voice is really changing and becoming a better instrument. Thank you Ken!

I enrolled for a music theory class at Berklee College of Music on-line this fall. I am excited! And will take a song writing class in January. It feels good to contemplate honing my musical knowledge.I start class in late September.

Travel: We have a trip to Montana and Glacier National Park in August, Rocky Mountain National Park in September, and more music in the Bay Area in late September as well as Nashville in October. Yea! My inner Sagittarius is a happy beast. I am excited to travel, spend time in the glory of nature and have fun with Jeff and our wonderful dog Bella.

I’ll let you know more when I know more. Thanks for listening!

Annie xox

Don’t Freak Out, It’s Most Likely Nothing

•July 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

It happens everyday. Millions of people get the same news. But even knowing that, I never thought I would personally hear it.

Let me tell you, in my experience it was like a slow depth charge. You hear the words and then dismiss them, as I don’t know – impossible?

I said to myself, “It’s just not going to be a problem.” The doctor said “don’t freak out, it’s most likely nothing.” And in reality, I agree, I really don’t think it will be anything. But when the sentence is “I just found a lump in your breast” what do you do with that? For me it sank in slowly, it floated down gradually, and then more then an hour later it exploded into realization.

You see, I even called my husband to tell him about the other test results I got that day. And, I failed to mention the lump. It wasn’t till later in person that I said the words out loud to him. He drew me into his wonderful strong arms and held me. He assured me that no mater what I would be okay. He wondered aloud that I didn’t tell him right away. And honestly, so did I. And then I broke down.

The strange thing is, it’s a roller coaster ride of conscious and unconscious reaction. I am fine and then I’m not. I am dry eyed and living my incredible wonderful life, and then I am panicky and deeply scared. Right now I am fine and expect to be fine.

I came home from the Bay Area full of fire. I worked on a song along the way. I was excited to get back to work and really dig into my action plans. I have to say the first few days after the doctors appointment I just stayed put, I idled and felt suspended in molasses . Then I got busy. Yesterday I rearranged my entire living room – instant gratification for a designer! I’ve  mowed the lawn, cleaned the gutters, and then worked on promoting my music – check out Jango. Let them know you like my song. It’s a new kind of radio station and you can review the song, or become a fan – Every bit helps artists like me!

This Tuesday I will get a mammogram and sonogram and they will say the same thing I feel, that it’s not cancer, and that it will all be okay. And I promise that when I hear back I will inform you all. In the meantime, I’d appreciate your good thoughts and prayers, not just for me, but for all of us who hear scary things from our doctors.

Thanks for listening,

Annie xox

Summertime Sings In The City

•July 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hey Beautiful people,

My husband Jeff, and I drove down to Marin on Thursday afternoon and arrived in Fairfax, Ca, one of my favorite towns ever. We are staying with wonderful friends, John and Nancy – and it’s so great to reconnect with them after so much time away. We wondered downtown after a delicious BBQ and checked out all the live music in town – a block long nirvana with three bars playing music 7 nights a week – I love it!

Yesterday I hiked on Mount Tam with Peter Clarke whom I consider both a friend and a spiritual guide. I love being in his presence. The man is deep and extremely interesting and I always come away from our conversations with a lot to ponder. After our hike I picked Jeff up from the Fairfax Coffee Roastery, where he had been working and we headed for San Francisco. We left the 100-degree plus heat into the blessed cool of the fog streaming over the hills like long white veils and silver fingers. It snaked down canyons and flowed like a trumpet blast through the Golden Gate. The cool hit us and we laughed with relief and giddiness. Being in the City at night is a wonderful thing.

I prayed to the parking gods to assist us in our search for the perfect spot and got one right in front of the Saloon!!! This has never happened to me before. I have spent over an hour circling and hunting in the past. It was an amazing find.

Our main reason for being down here this weekend is to attend the memorial service of my dear friend “Little” Lisa Stoufer. She and I used to go to The Saloon once or twice a weekend to see Johnny Nitro and dance for several years running. Her birthday would have been today, and we’d celebrated her birthday many times with Johnny in the past. I went to honor her memory and to dance and dance and dance for her because I could. And I can’t help but think she helped with that parking space.

I credit Johnny as being one of my musical mentors. He produced my first demo CD and gave me a lot of invaluable advice. He is both an excellent musician and performer. He knows how to work a crowd and I just love him.

Johnny was on form and Jeff and I let loose and found the very present rhythm and danced. We had a blast. I gifted Johnny with a copy of my CD “Ignition” and he asked me up to sing. It was on honor to be on that stage again and just let loose and have fun.

I am going to go get ready or the memorial and to sing to her spirit. Thanks for listening.

With love, Annie xox

If you like the blues – go, I know you will have a blast! Here’s some text from the Saloon’s website:

World’s greatest blues bar? Well, that may be a little strong, but it’s the oldest bar in San Francisco and boasts the best of the blues in the Bay Area, not only in terms of the incredibly good music with almost unbelievably small crowds of a mid-week evening, but because of the impressive array of CDs recorded on the premises and released by proprietor Myron Mu.

The days of catching Tommy Castro at The Saloon are probably past, but Johnny Nitro & the Doorslammers rock the place almost every Friday and Sunday night while Ron Hacker, Steve Freund, Cathy Lemons, Daniel Castro, Dave Workman and numerous others are on the regular roster too. And, every Monday night (“for the rest of our lives”), The Bachelors.

During the 1800s, so the legends go, drunks who stumbled out of this tavern risked being shanghaied for nasty and ill-paid ocean voyages. The building survived the ’06 earthquake, it’s said, because of its unusually stout timbers. It survived the subsequent fires, it’s said, because the fire brigades made sure protect the hookers who worked upstairs. Today the doorman-bouncer-soundman Greg scares hell out of would-be troublemakers but is actually one of the sweetest characters you’ll ever meet. And oh yes, for between sets, this place has about the best jukebox anywhere…

 
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