Monday, January 18, 2010

Mostly Fluffernutter 'bout that Pat Robertson, huh?

Way to represent, dude. As a person of faith, I state loudly and clearly that you do NOT speak for me and you are an embarrassment to other good and kind people of faith in this country. You sir, are an ignorant menace to society. Why can't you learn to SHUT!  THE!  $%^&*$#@!  UP???!!!


What Haiti has gone through - for years and years now - is just so heartbreaking. It has reminded me that I must - MUST - stop worrying myself into a frenzy about things as stupid as my cable bill. Things are tight for Americans right now as compared to other decades, but there's no doubt that even the hardest up amongst us STILL has more than just about anyone in Haiti right now. Let us all quit our sniveling, step up and a) give whatever we can afford to our fellow human beings because we are ALL in this together, b) pray, pray, pray and c) appreciate, appreciate, APPRECIATE the roof over your head, the bed you're going to sleep in tonight and the screen you're reading this off of, even if you're borrowing it at the library. And if you're living outside your means...CHANGE IT. Social plumage is worthless. I'm not saying to take a vow of poverty (unless you feel called, of course), but I am encouraging us all to re-examine our "stuff." has information on what you can do to help.


Now, let's move along to the fluff. Because I am also grateful that I was born in a country where fluff even exists. For better or for worse.

I went to see Avatar in 3-D a couple weeks ago and have been meaning to blog about it ever since. Time has gotten away from me this month. People, I'm not just "L.A. busy" (the practice of claiming you're busy in order to impress others) - I've been ACTUALLY busy! Praisaluiah! However, when trying to organize my thoughts about what I wanted to say about the film since seeing it, I found I couldn't come up with much other than, "WOW!!!" Truly, it is the single most beautiful spectacle I've EVER seen on screen. And in 3-D it's absolutely out. of. control!

That said, my gripes are:

1) The same gripe I have with most of Cameron's work: he's a good story teller, but he is not the best dialogue writer on the planet. Sure, he has created some iconic catch-phrases over the years:

"Get away from her, you B***H!"

"I'm the King of the Woooooorrrrrrrrld!"

"I'll be bock."

And many fine others. However, at some points it's still as if he comes up with a catch phrase and then writes a scene AROUND it. And at moments it comes off goofy.

2) Because of his love of grand spectacle, his characters tend to be rather one-dimensional. Or two. But never three. And this film is no exception.

3) And specifically here, the point that the "bad guys" are MERCENARIES is easily missed by many, especially my conservative friends. And this is Cameron's fault for glossing over it too quickly during lead dude's narration when he first arrives on Pandora. There is not a "military = bad" agenda being pushed here, but there is a "people-who-do-crappy-stuff-to-others-out-of-greed = bad" agenda being pushed for sure. The difference between these two statements should have been made considerably more clear so that people aren't walking out of there feeling like they just rooted against our military.

Otherwise, LOVED it. Escapism at its supreme best. And whomever wants to complain that Cameron merely ripped off the story of Pocahontas...or Dances with Wolves...or The Last my opinion he did a WAY better job of it than they did. Especially Disney. Talk about a missed opportunity for education...

But that's another Oprah show.

Turns out Avatar just won Best Picture and Cameron Best Director at the Golden Globes tonight. I have a lot of catching up to do on my movies before the Oscars, but still I'm not sure how I feel about that based on my gripes about the movie. However, considering the amount of time put into it and the whole "I invented this technology" thing alone, I also can't imagine that any other film would've stood a chance. It will be interesting to see how the Oscars turn out.

Two more Golden Globe notes...HOORAY FOR MO'NIQUE AND SANDRA BULLOCK!!!! Two well-deserved wins in my opinion. I've always felt Sandy was completely underrated as an actress, so I now feel vindicated for singing her praises all these years while people snickered at me. Take THAT, poopy-heads! And Mo'Nique...well, that was just a flat out act of bravery, there. Run, do not walk, to see Precious.

Best dressed? Helen Mirren, who is a stone cold fox, and Sophia Loren. Ladies, we should all be so lucky when we reach their ages.


So some have asked about that whole "Hollywood Idol" thing I did on the 10th.

Lordamercy.  What a joke.

I wish I could say, "What a GREAT learning experience." I really, REALLY wish I could say that. But sadly, I cannot (yet). It merely ended up being a supreme embarrassment and waste of not only my time and money, but definitely that of the few that showed up to support me.

Now, I have to say that I think the folks that put this show on did everything they could to put on a professional and classy show. I really think they meant kick butt with this. Unfortunately - for starters - I think their timing blew. Expecting people to drop a $20 cover and then vote with their money for a singing contest that has built itself zero buzz immediately after a recession-ridden holiday season? I think it was a lost cause right out of the gate.

The band was woefully under par. The players were also all of 12 years old. Perhaps I am spoiled, having played with really great musicians both in Nashville and Los Angeles (holla! to In the Red and Debby Holiday's band), but I expected a band of hired guns playing 16 well-known covers with charts in front of their faces to be pretty good. I was sorely disappointed. During "sound check" (which happened to be my only rehearsal), I stopped the band to politely request they come in with the bridge sooner. The bass player, who was apparently the musical director also, insisted that there were 8 more bars before the bridge. Even the rest of the band agreed with me, "Yeah, I think it comes in sooner," but she was insistent and actually got a little persnickety. I smiled the whole time this debate went on amongst them, but finally sweetly said, "My love, I've been singing this song for longer than you've been alive. Your chart is wrong. But even on the off chance that it's not, I still would like you to come in 8 bars sooner. Cool?"

Kids these days.

The guitar player was actually very good. SHE was very good. And SHE was the only member of the band who had memorized every song in the keys we asked for. I remember her name was Liv, but I wish I'd gotten her info. And her brother, who also played guitar but was not there to play but was just there to support his sister, was an absolute sweetheart. But man...a more lifeless bunch onstage I've never experienced. So disheartening.

I was chosen to open the show. With freakin' "Barracuda!" Who OPENS a show with that? The hostess, who shall remain nameless and who was really not good at hostessing (ouch!), created the set list. No rhyme or reason to it, the whole night long. Set lists are often difficult to prepare and I'm sure it was a general nightmare to figure this one out with 16 songs in 16 different styles. But opening with "Barracuda"...? Just...why?

The cord fell out of my mic twice while I was performing. No, I did not step on it and accidentally pull it out. It fell out. It took four more singers and the hostess complaining onstage on mic that we needed a new cord before they fixed it.

There was nary a monitor to be found. For those of you who've never sung with a band, a monitor is the speaker(s) that should be on the stage for the singer and band to be able to hear themselves. Monitors are a MUST for a singer, otherwise we just scream into the mic to try and hear ourselves and not only do we sound like poo doo but we trash our vocal cords. Campers, even the worst karaoke bar you've ever been to has at least one monitor for the singer.

But not the Hollywood Idol contest. Live four piece band...but no monitors. 

Thank the Maker I grew up singing in churches with no monitors. I had no idea back then how handy that would come in over the years.

We started an hour late because barely anyone showed up. They kept holding off waiting for people to rush the door or something, constantly coming into the green room asking, "Didn't any of you invite your friends? No one's here. Any of you have friends coming? You were supposed to invite people."

There's nothing I love more than the attitude that I, the talent, was solely responsible for making the entire event a success. Ummmmmm...anyone producing the show bother to do any of their own PR, either? And let's not forget you're raping peoples' wallets right after Christmas. There's only so many mountains a woman can move on her own, people.

I actually remained relatively bubbly throughout all these bumps in the road. By this point I thought, "Well, I'm here. Might as well have a good time and try to enjoy my fellow contestants."

*sigh* Back in the green room I make the mistake of mentioning that I'm a vocal coach and the first thing someone says is, "Oh God, you're gonna be judging us."

Mmmmmmm...not really. I'm off duty for the night; it's all about me right now. (But here's my card.)

"Do you teach Broadway, musical theater?"

Yes, I explain, but I'm not an accompanist (I know what's coming).

"How can you possibly teach that style of music without playing piano?" (bingo)

I say it's worked out just fine with other students using tracks.


You'd think I'd sprouted an extra head or something. And then it's like you can visibly see a door slamming shut in their eyes as I explain that it's not ever been an issue yet and that it doesn't matter if I play for them in a lesson cuz I wouldn't be playing for them at their auditions so it would be senseless to get too comfortable with my style of playing anyway. At the end of the day, it's your responsibility to lead your instrumentalists and rely on your own internal sense of musicality, cuz you just might have an audition with a weak piano player and then what do you do? How do you keep from getting thrown off? You gonna blame it on the accompanist? Better not, Spanky. Lastly, I am a voice coach - if you want a piano lesson then find a piano teacher.

I'm getting to a point where I am seriously considering not taking on musical theater students anymore. I can't bear the snooty. Especially because if they were really serious about musical theater, they'd be in New York. Or at least Chicago. L.A. is not a theater town. So don't gimme no 'tude, Nancy!

 My favorite part of the night, though...was whomever was running the spotlight. Oh. mah. gah!

Dude couldn't have followed an elephant with that thing! Having been up first, I was able to sit through the rest of the show. I'd watch singer after singer get up there, move stage right or left, only for the spot to stay right where it was in the first place, then make a bee line over to the singer a full second or two later after the singer started moving the other way. Once or twice the spot just fell straight down, leaving the singer (or the hostess) in total darkness. By the last few singers in the show my friends Gary and Regan and I were almost crying with laughter over it. It was like a Muppet Show skit - or what it might be like to have Jerry Lewis running the spotlight. My lighting designer neighbor Matt would have had a freakin' meltdown about it. I'm glad I didn't make him come!

So we finally get to the point where the "votes" (the money in each ballot box left by the poor, long-suffering audience members) are counted. Now...I admittedly sent up a little cash with one of my friends to put in my box, cuz a) no one said we couldn't contribute to our own ballot box and b) since they were counting the ballots in front of the audience I was NOT gonna have nothing in that box and c) I had made peace with myself that whomever would receive my money at the end of the contest probably needed it more than me anyway (all money in the ballot boxes is given to the eventual overall winner). of the other girls in the show who only had two people there to see her put in her own $100 bill (and possibly more, if her two friends didn't dump in $30-40 apiece for her themselves)! She nearly won because of it which honestly would have been a travesty cuz she was definitely outshined by a number of other contestants. But thankfully, a very very sweet guy who had a very good voice ended up winning the night. And he was sooooo excited to have won. I like it when the deserving win.

So...obviously that wasn't me! I didn't expect to win, cuz I knew it would be nearly impossible to talk my friends into spending that kind of money to hear me sing one song. I really did the contest for myself, for the chance to sing for some new people, to sing "Barracuda" with a live band in Los Angeles, which crazy as it may seem had yet to happen till that night (in Nashville, I closed all my shows with that song). I was so so so disheartened that it wasn't the experience I had anticipated. So I am actually relieved that not too many of my friends came out, because it was not at all the level of professionalism that was sold to me when I auditioned, nor the level that I am used to performing in.

The venue, however, was gorgeous! Really swanky place with a nice big stage. Here's a pic my friend/student Debbie caught on her phone during my performance:

And here are some of the other contestants in the green room. The boy on the left won (argh, can't remember his name!). Most of them were really sweet, fun folks and I did enjoy myself in the green room at least! But there's always the ones who separate themselves from everyone else, "focusing" or being all competey or whatever. I see no point in such nonsense myself.

The pretty girl in the hat had never heard of Heart. After I dug my nails out of my palm, I politely gave her some education and then I gave her some homework. Betcha she knows who they are now.

And so those are the gory details of Hollywood Idol. And I sincerely hope that this contest improves over the course of time, because again, I do believe the folks running it truly wanted to make it as professional and upscale as possible - I simply think they were in over their heads. You live, you learn. What I learned from that experience, I'm not sure, but I'm sure it'll come to me eventually.


And now, my little duckies, it's time to rest. Tomorrow I have to take Angelica Accent into the shop early in the morning (to fix a boo boo some big, obnoxious gas-guzzlin-Bush-mobile gave her) and then I have a lot of emailing to do in order to launch my plan of dance music world dominance.

Later, guys...thanks for playing!


Saturday, January 09, 2010

God is screaming at me...

Greetings, little lambs! So we are now eight days into the New Year and wow, what a difference a few days makes. I am feeling considerably better and far more clear-headed than I was in my last post and that probably has a lot to do with allowing myself the first three days of the year to feel sorry for myself and get it all out of my system. Well, almost all of it anyway...I'm still prone to burst into tears at oddly inappropriate moments; it's just that they are simply fewer and farther between now. Also, I somehow started New Year's Day with nearly nothing on my calendar for January - yet now I'm not sure when I'll next have time for a full 8 hours of sleep! This is a good thing though, because I'm pretty sure God is screaming at me, "KEEP GOING, STOOPIT!!!"

My friend Candy says to me the other day, "Darc, you act like you haven't DONE anything. You know how they say 'a writer writes'...? You're a musician making music -- you're doing it." And I suppose she has an excellent point there...there are plenty of closet musicians in the world who don't even play for their own enjoyment anymore and I've certainly been that person at times in my life. I think what was getting me is that I had done lots of things that never seemed to actually lead anywhere. But I suppose as they say, "everything in its own time"...things happen when they're supposed to and when you're ready. There's that little quote, "Success is when preparedness meets opportunity." My friend and sight singing teacher Gerald White said in class once that the people who make it in this town are the people who were READY when the opportunities came knocking. I can look back on my life and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was NOT ready in the past. I feel like I am now.

So I'm a slow learner. Meh.

Anyway...out of the blue on Monday Tony Sweet asks me to come on his show at LA Talk Radio and talk about my music. I managed to lift my woah-is-me behind up to the keyboard and wipe my snot-nose long enough to type, "YES PLEASE!" Soooooo cool, cuz he's had some seriously big deal

Mo'Nique ...

Sherri Shepherd...

Margaret Cho...

the incomparable Martha Wash...

...and many, many others. I've wanted to be on his show for quite awhile, because he is - wait for it - a gay Christian. No, that's not an oxymoron. They really exist. And I love that he has a show out there with the intent of drawing more of the same together. And seriously...THAT is my audience. Growing up in an evangelical home and now considering my most loyal fans are's a perfect fit. And as luck would have it, I had just gotten my first dance mix (holla, to Josh Harris!) and it was perfect timing to kick off its release on the show. It was such a privilege - not to mention SUPER fun - to be on the show tonight.

Tomorrow we're doing test shoots for my first music video, Sunday I compete in a singing competition called "Hollywood Idol" (whether I win or not I don't care - it's an opportunity to get to sing "Barracuda" with a live band, one of my favorite things to do on the planet!), Monday rehearsal with Debby Holiday to play the NAMM show on Friday, buncha students on Tuesday (Praisaluiah!!!), another round of Fame starts on Wednesday, students Thursday, oh it looks like NEXT Friday I can sleep...oh no wait...that's NAMM, up to Santa Barbara that weekend to visit my friend Chann who will be in the area for the week, and in the midst of all this I will be babysitting my quasi-nieces Rylie and Kayla (lurve!) here and there, writing/recording/releasing a song by Valentine's Day, hopefully singing a few Sundays at Church of the Brethren, recording some vocals for my old friend Chris Mitchell's new album, emailing a bazillion DJ's to beg them to spin my new dance mix of "Jezebel"...and driving myself off a cliff. If I'm smart, that is.

I cannot complain. Most of these commitments involving music have literally come about since my last post.

God is screaming at me.

Candy said, "You're doing it."

I suppose I am.

Main reason for this blog though is really to share that I will be visiting NYC in June. "Big deal," you think. "Anyone can visit New York." Hold up, now. While that is certainly true, one cannot always visit New York for FREE.

But I am!

A few years ago CBS had an AWESOME reality show called Rockstar: INXS. It was American Idol on steroids, rocking out, with FAR better talent and the most killer for-hire band in prime time I'd ever heard. Like I write my WMR for A.I., I decided to do so on the Rockstar message boards for that show as well. I ended up with a few fans from it. My friend Tiffany was one of them.

(To clarify, not "I Think We're Alone Now" Tiffany. This is Canadian Tiffany. She says "aboot.")

Tif has a wonderful husband and two daughters, one of whom was terribly sick with a heart condition and struggled through the first years of her little life. While she's still got some developmental issues, she's a corker and doing pretty dang well now. Tiffany used a song I wrote with Levi called "Hardly A Hero" to make a video to thank the nurses that worked at the hospital. It was really touching and reminded me that when the focus of what I do starts leaning way too heavily toward "the biz," I need to take a step back and remember that music is an element of healing and I have the privilege of being a vessel for it.

Fast forward to present day. Tif and I share lots of pictures and anecdotes of her girls and "my" girls (the twins) on ye olde Facebook just about every day. She mentions a few months ago about wanting to visit New York City for her birthday, but I think nothing of it, really. Then out of the blue recently she decides to ask me what I'm doing in June. My first thought was, "Probably nothing, like every other month in my life." (Tortured artist - my emotions are roller-coastery!) What I think I said was, "Dunno, why?" She proceeds to tell me that she is definitely going to go to NYC for her birthday, her hubby doesn't want to go, her friends up in Canada can't go and she REALLY felt led to ask me to go and that my flight would be paid for using points she's earned on her credit card. We could share a hotel room.

*cue record scratch*

What I say: "Tiffany, I snore like Shrek. No one who's ever shared a room with me has EVER done it again. It's really not advisable." (Right, Karen? Sisters?)

What I think: "And plus...we've never met in person. What if it turns out we hate each other???"

She says what I'd been thinking, "I know we haven't met in person and it might be weird. Let me think." (I get the impression that she thinks I made up the whole snoring thing to be polite...oh how I wish that were true! Karen? Sisters?) She tinkers for a day and messages me again. Turns out she's got enough points for both our flights and SEPARATE HOTEL ROOMS!

Now I start thinking to myself, " could be a totally fearful freak about this, or you can consider that you have been stewing for a good year now on how you could make a cost-effective trip to NYC to do a show soon and consider that God might be screaming at you again..." I also thought, "But it's too easy..."

And it really was. We had to mess with dates a little...Tiffany is a mother of two after all and she's got a very busy, activity-filled life and is leaving the kids with Dad for a whole five days, which...well...we all know how amazing moms are, let's just put it that way. But then HER mother, or mother-in-law?, said, "Just go and have fun. I got the kids." Then last night she's checking flights and such and everything is SO CHEAP. Tiffany keeps saying, "It's so meant to be! It's soooooo meant to be!"

And so last night she booked the tickets. And we will be in New York City celebrating our birthdays (mine is in May, hers the week before the trip), she for the first time EVER, me for the first time since 2006, from June 14th through the 18th. I'm going to bust my patootie to learn to play my own songs on the piano so I can book myself a show at Rockwood Music Hall, where I sang with Levi the last time I was in NYC. We're also going to be seeing the new musical Million Dollar Quartet (which will be starring someone I know). As my little seester Mandi would say, "IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!"

And if it turns out Tif's left of nutso, I have several friends in the city with which to hide.

Just kidding, Tif!

I cannot express what a blessing this is. I cannot express my shock, either. This past year I have been stunned at the generosity of others in my life. I didn't say so at the time, but my flight to Nashville in October was paid for with a friend's hubby's frequent flier miles, too. Out of the blue she said, "We want to do this for you. We're in a position to help, so let us."

(You should know that on the vision board I made on New Year's Eve 2008, I had placed pictures of L.A., Nashville and New York, with the words "on the road again" beside them, having no idea how I would possibly make those trips happen.)

The lap top I use to teach my Skype lessons - donated by another friend through a program at his work. "Don't spend any money yet, I think I can get you something." Another friend earlier this week made a donation toward my music video. "Go make your video and DON'T use it on rent and DON'T talk about this anymore or I'll hang up on you right now." (Cuz of course I was blubbering over the phone, "Ohmygahthatisamazingicantpossiblyletyoudothisohmygahohmygahohmygah!")  And quite a few other things as simple as "We want to treat you to the new Harry Potter movie!" Or, "Come over and let me cook you my grandma's spaghetti and meatballs." Or one of the BEST things, "Let me pay for your cleaning lady to come, I know it's been awhile." (He had no idea! Seriously, DO THIS for a friend if you can, it's the BEST gift EVER!)

It appears people want me to succeed. Lunatics.

And yet...I complain? About ANYTHING? REALLY? I feel like I have no friends? Shut your frickin' piehole, Darci. No, I may not have someone only a mile or two away who's going to enable my ice cream addiction and allow me to whine and moan and slobber all over their shoulder and ruin their shirt. But it turns out I have so much more than that. I have love coming at me from ALL. OVER. NORTH. AMERICA. And probably from a couple folks across the pond, too. And how many people can lay claim to that? Yes, God is screaming at me. And conspiring with my friends - both old and new - to keep me from sentencing myself to a life behind a desk. If they all believe in me that much, and if I've been given a gift that is intended to be shared on more than just a local level, then I can do nothing but honor these calls to action. Anything less from me, at this point, would be an insult.

Yes God, I hear you. You can pipe down a little now.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Went down to the crossroads...tried to flag a ride...


Dear darling readers,

I will tell you something right now about this new blog I've started. I will be sharing my blessings and triumphs with you, but I will not be blowing sunshine out of every orifice all the time. While I am more and more becoming a person who believes that happiness is a choice, I'm also a born-and-raised New York Italian with a dogged French stubborn streak and I recognize that some days just flat out suck. I will not be presenting a pristine, carefully constructed image to you in an effort to sell more CDs, get more voice students or make myself look more important or accomplished than I am. This is going to be full of the stories of my real life, because a) I can't possibly be the only person who feels this ridiculous all the time and b) I realized recently that I felt MUCH more sane when I was a kid and kept a journal faithfully. Be forewarned that I may use colorful language from time to time, offend your delicate sensibilities, challenge your belief systems or make you gag from my occasional abuse of exclamation points. So if you are a person who cannot deal with reality either in its grit and grime OR warm fuzziness, then this tome will not be for you.  If you are cool with coming along for the WHOLE ride...then please accept my welcome and sincerest thanks for reading.

**************************************** we are again. Not just a new year...but a new decade. Ten years ago at this time we thought the world was going to shut down. I didn't live here in L.A. then but I was in town to spend the holidays with my sister Jodianne, who did live here at the time. I decided that if the world was ending, I was going to go out of it having off to the Sunset Strip we went for New Year's Eve, Y2K-style. Well, obviously we all survived and that New Year's Eve I recall feeling like my future was wide open and full of promise. I'd lost 120 pounds and I was making plans to move to from Nashville TN to L.A. and start the next chapter of my career and life. And I did so in January of 2001.

Fast forward to New Year's Eve 2008. I spent it quietly at my other sister Mandi's apartment with our friends Kelli and Karen (Jodianne had moved to San Diego for like...the 3rd time or something, Mandi had moved here a year after me). We decided to drink some wine and make vision boards - you know, a large poster board with magazine clippings indicating the things you want for your life so you can visualize it and therefore make it come to fruition. After seven years, I had made a lot of wrong turns - sometimes no turns at all, frankly - and things were not as I had hoped for myself. And I'd gained back the majority of the weight I'd lost. I needed a pick-me-up and focus. I decided that I didn't care that they don't do things here like they do in Nashville. I had decided that no one but ME got to tell me what I could or could not do for a living and that it was certainly going to have nothing to do with how I looked. I was about to carve out my own path. As Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - not Eleanor Roosevelt - once said, "Well-behaved women seldom make history." And so I rang in the new year once again feeling like my future was wide open and full of promise.

And then 2009 happened. All we all know how THAT turned out. 

Actually, it started off really well. I had the most voice students I'd ever had so far, I was nannying my good friend's totally awesome twin toddler daughters three days a week, I was singing backup in my friend Debby Holiday's fantastic rock band, I was finally making some good contacts, getting calls for studio work here and there and I was about to release my first album since 2001. I even walked a red carpet! Okay, it was more like a swatch than an actual carpet, but my mom doesn't care. So there. And lest I forget, I was lucky enough to be cast as a contestant on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" where I remembered enough from grade school to win juuuuuuuust enough money to buy a new(ish) car that I desperately needed. Plus, a handful of folks went out of their way in their generosity to help me with my Nashville trip plans and get me set up with a laptop and wi-fi for Skype lessons. The first half of the year it seemed it was raining blessings!

Then somewhere during the summer things went right down the crapper. The twins' mom got laid off, which means I also got laid off. Students started dropping like flies because they simply can't afford lessons anymore in this economy. Virtually none of the publications, radio stations or podcasts I pitched to reviewed or featured my CD which means no one's hearing it or reading about it so it's not selling (thank you Popolio, Soul ColeThe Baub Show and Women With Substance Radio for being the exceptions! Please give them your support!). All my grassroots sales techniques no longer work because the industry has drastically changed for indies since the last time I put an album out...there is such a glut of DIY artists these days that it's hard to get noticed, whereas with my last album it was a brand new frontier. As for song placements, the few contacts I had made through my songwriting relationship with my dear friend Levi Kreis won't give my new songs the time of day. Without nannying and students, I cannot afford to hire players and therefore cannot play gigs (which is my fault for not getting my piano chops back up and being self-sufficient, admittedly - this I plan to remedy this year). Don't even get me started on the union singers in this town. In the midst of all this, my sister Mandi informs me that she will be moving to Chicago on January 1st, 2010.

This last bit of news, above all else, makes me crumble inside, as it occurs to me that a) Christmas is practically cancelled!!! and b) with her move, my entire family is now spread out all across the country, literally. California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Florida, New York, Massachusetts. As a (not-so) starving artist, how do I EVER get to see anyone? Living in Los Angeles till now had been tolerable because my sisters were close by (I've never really fallen in love with the place, sad to say) and when we are together I feel powerful, capable and understood. Now, with Jodianne in San Diego and Mandi off to Chicago as of yesterday, my greatest fear in life - and this is no exaggeration - is being realized...




"But Darci," you may query, "don't you have any friends there?"

Sure. But the nature of this city is that everyone is too busy all the time. We are all way too self-absorbed to be of much good to each other (of course I include myself...why else would I be writing this blog? c'mon, it's all about me). Or, along with the total awesomeness of knowing many people of all sorts of thought processes, belief systems, cultures and ethnicities, I haven't really come across a true kindred spirit. The kind of friend who shows up at my door with ice cream and arms open wide when I desperately need it. And somewhere along the line, in my effort to try and stop feeling the need to be "the mommy" or "Dr. Darci" in my friends' lives, I have probably managed to go too far in the extreme opposite direction - I'm all, "I am a rock, I am an island." I tend to do that.

Rewind to the summer before 11th grade, when we moved from Binghamton NY back to Johnstown NY and I vowed to myself, "Self...this is a new beginning. NO ONE will pick on you for any reason ever again." And they sure didn't. Apparently most of the kids at good ole JHS ended up terrified of me. Now THAT'S extreme. And something to be proud of in life.

And's my own fault and it's no one's fault.

If one were to look at my life without bias, I would appear a complete and total failure on all counts. Almost *censored* years old, unhealthily overweight (again), never married, childless, still struggling financially month-to-month and fighting to keep music my full-time living, all family and closest friends hundreds and thousands of miles away, uninsured and no retirement savings. Nevermind that I chose a lot of those things purposefully and am at peace with them (the marriage and kids thing) -- still to society, it looks pretty sad. Even my mother, who threatened us as kids that once we moved out of the house we were NOT allowed back, told me only yesterday, ever so-gently with her most comforting mommy voice, "Honey, maybe it's time to consider coming home. Why are you still doing this to yourself?"

A really good question.

So I enter 2010 in a much different headspace than I did 2009. And while I have lots of great ideas for my music this year, I have to ask myself if it's worth it, or even accomplishable. When is enough enough? How long will I try and keep telling myself I'm young enough to keep going, when am I smart enough to know that it may have never been in the cards? I read an article the other day by a DYI musician who stated (paraphrased), "If you're really called to music, it will work out for you. Nothing you do will keep it from working." That hit me like a two by four between the eyes. It's always been so hard for me; I've almost been successful a million times. Is it possible I completely misinterpreted my calling all these years? Should I have gone into psychology instead? Or early childhood development?

Believe me, I know what a downer this first blog is. I intended to share some of my plans for the year so you wouldn't all assume I was suicidal or something (no worries, I swear! I'll get over my whining in a minute), but right now I'm too tired to keep writing. My amazing, fearless, wonderful baby sister's move to the Windy City has smacked my denial upside the head and I have more thoughts running through my brain than I ever expected. And the last few months I just thought my blues were as simple as, "Man, I'm gonna MISS her. And her awesome cupcakes." It's definitely that...but also much more than I realized. I am lost and at a crossroads, certainly. And maybe somehow in the course of writing this blog I will figure out what to do.

Wishing peace, joy, a return to abundance and contentment of heart to all of us in this new decade.


(Robert Johnson)

Went down to the crossroads
I tried to flag a ride
Standin' at the crossroads
I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me
Everybody pass me by

You can run, you can run boy 
Tell my friend, good Willie Brown
You can run, you can run boy
Tell my friend, good Willie Brown
Lord, that I'm standin' at the crossroad
I believe I'm sinkin' down

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Welcome. Buckle up.

Testing testing testing testing....

First blog........

I forgot how cute Ravyn Simone was when she was little (Cosby Show's on)...

I will be writing my first blog of 2010 tomorrow. Er today...since it's nearly 4am. And what a weird day it was. Not how I wanted to open the new year...but it's nothing that can't improve with time.

More to come after some blessed, blissful sleep.