In It’s Own Time: Part 1

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It’s been a long while since I wrote any updates about my album, ETHER . As it turned out, the universe had other plans for me, with many bends in my road, that included a serious health detour. An abscess root canal had centered in my left side of my jaw, that necessitated immediate ‘state of the art’ surgery for jawbone reconstruction. So, having come out the other side now, I am very relieved and thrilled to share, that I am currently recording my album, ETHER. And if I do say so … the thirteen original pop jazz songs are coming together beautifully!

I admit, the surgery was a bit of a nightmare for this singer, but once I got on top of the jaw joint mayhem, along with my new mouth, and tongue placement, I gained a gentler and more patient approach to myself. It  has been a rather profound healing process. I also learned,  yet one more time…that the creative process has its very own wise timing. Because during recovery, I honed and dug deeper into my music and lyrics while also deepening my spiritual practice and meditation. Songwriting is a humbling and mysterious process I deeply respect and love. So I believe through letting my songs ‘breath’ over this past year in particular, they have benefited all the more… yet I’ll let you be the judge of that after you listen to them, yourself.

 

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For this high achieving mother and musician, it was hard to let go. I always had way too much on my plate.  ‘Running to stand still’ had become an accepted way of life. Wasn’t that why we called it the human race after all? As someone who can revert to perfectionism, I also caught myself measuring my recovery progress and beating myself up for not healing quicker. That was not very nice. So when I finally gave myself permission to be and do nothing… sleep, think and heal, it felt good. Really good. And RECKLESS!  In a most unexpected way.

I spent a lot of time really listening to the gorgeous bird songs outside my window…  the sublime silence… and the rhythmic ocean’s waves… that happen to be right in my front yard. I know, pretty amazing. A memorable day was when two dragonflies literally hung out on my shoulder and lap, for over an hour, with a pod of Orca whales also in view! Which immediately dispelled the limiting thought ‘ life was passing me by’. What a programmed societal hoax because I was exactly where I needed to be, with the most incredible island sanctuary to recover in, and loving family and dear friends to support me… that most people would clamor to experience.  So, the most fascinating part of being forced to unplug from both the global timer and my own inner metronome was that it slowly took me back to my own natural rhythm. An innate kind of timing that as it turned out, was reminiscent of when my child was born.

So, since the ‘so called’ detour happened, I can honestly now say I am sincerely grateful for the insights I’ve learned because of it. For one thing, I am certainly far more in touch with my tongue. That may sound unusual, but it’s true. After my operation…my poor tongue (and joints) took the brunt of it. Dominique Eade, an exceptional Boston teacher and vocalist, first opened my awareness up to ‘connecting to my tongue.’ For instance…did you know that our tongue is ‘ridiculously’ connected to every muscle and nerve in our mouth, throat, neck, shoulders and jaw? I mean, who knew how much tension could be stored in one’s tongue? And what a difference to one’s sound, it makes to release it? It’s just the beginning of my new-found body wisdom and self-awareness, which I happily now find myself self correcting with each conversation, yawn, kiss, each bite of food, and… each note and vowel in every song. Is my tongue relaxed? So, the deeper metaphors of this experience continue to be far-reaching for this evolving singer, songwriter.

With my recording cycle now in full tilt again, I take all these experiences and more… into the studio and my songs.  I feel very fortunate. Sure, my life has sped up once more and my plate is full again, yet, it is at my own pace with an easier stride as I feel a new sense of calm excitement and curiosity, about what lies ahead. I adore recording and the relaxed and intimate process of this recording cycle, with my talented pianist, Juno winning producer, co- writer and engineer extraordinaire, Chris Gestrin. It is the highlight of my year so far.

I LOVE completing my thirteen pop, jazz songs that I happen to feel are pretty special. I hope you will too. I really look forward to sharing them with you, at release time, next fall. So to you who have taken the time to read this, many thanks. I welcome any of your comments or feedback and I will be sure to post ‘Part 2’ and the further adventures of this ‘Reckless Grace’ journey, soon!  Life… isn’t it something?

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At My Own Pace

Well I am happy to say I am still here for week 7 of Music Success in 9 weeks. This process has been far more time-consuming than I ever imagined yet, it has been an informative ride introducing me to many essential social media tools that I still have much to learn about. It has also connected me to a supportive cyber community of dedicated and talented fellow musicians. The best part!  Admittedly it has also reduced me to a cinder of exhaustion yet it is good to know, I am not alone. I highly doubt my fellow musicians in this process, could keep up this rigorous pace all the time either, so I feel we have all done amazingly well. Here are a few links of their experiences to check out as well:

Karen Ellis:http://karynellis.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/poor-poor-baby/
Tom Shea:http://hundredmilemicrophone.blogspot.com/2012/02/open-arms-closed-doors.html
Jessica Speziale:http://www.jessicaspeziale.com/2012/02/28/week-7-getting-intimate/
Anysley Saxe: http://aynsleysaxe.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/saturated-snowballs/

As we head to completion in the next two weeks, it is fulfilling to see all our progress. As for me, my Klout score increased by 28 to 43, I’ve updated my website https:www.christiegracemusic.com and my YouTube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/christiegracemusic, I joined Reverbnation with my fan page https://www.facebook.com/ChristieGraceMusicPagecom and attracted many new fans . I am networking with super cool bloggers, http://thejazzbreakfast.com/http://withmusicinmymind.blogspot.com/, to name a couple and I had my first podcast in the US with Instrumentally Speaking Podcast. http://traffic.libsyn.com/ispod/ISP_35_Grace.mp3. Finally, I’ve now also set up a regular monthly newsletter with Fanbridge!  This is something I have wanted to do for sometime so for starters it will offer a brief update of my musical goings on, with cool contests and musing about world musical events. Do join in the fun! http://christiegracemusic.com/news-sign-up.php

On the downside, with all the added computer work, I have experienced several episodes of intense cyber daze! The remedy has been quick walks and regular unplugging . Make no mistake about it- too much time on the computer does create serious brain draining fog. The good news? With squashed time for practice, and little to no time for family and friends I have become more focused on my priorities and have returned to my St. Francis of Assisi touchstone: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Saint Francis. 

A turning point for me this past week was when I gave myself permission to go at my own pace, in my own time and in my own way . My experience totally shifted from a place of grumpy stress back to curious enjoyment . Otherwise, what was the point of doing any of it?  Once again, less is more. With less focus on what doesn’t matter and more focus on what does, I have found more space to digest what matters has opened up. Wonder of wonders. Along these lines here’s an inspirational blog that pulls in this theme and more by one of my favorite bloggers, Julien Smith. I hope you enjoy.

http://inoveryourhead.net/100-tips-about-life/

Happy spring blossoming and thanks for hanging out!

Christie


Website Grooming

I saw an amazing juggling performer at Cirque du Soleil last summer that blew my mind. “How does he do it? “ I gasped in disbelief! Yet, here I was saying the very same thing people often ask me. “ How do you do it Christie Grace”?  I realized I saw myself in that acrobats madcap act as I can swing in and out of haphazard balance in my life depending on which roles I am juggling.  They range from mother, wife, musician, designer and artist. To business owner, goldsmith, booking agent, housekeeper, cook, agent and a publicist, manager, band leader, recording artist, songwriter, business woman, student, shop keeper and… blog writer. In stride with every indie musician that I know, I juggle a myriad of roles directly and indirectly related to music making because it has become the basic requirement in our complex music scene. One of those central balls for a musician is our website. I began my first website with a hip graphics designer  from Nettwerk 12 years ago with the release of my first cd, Late Bloomer. It was so beautiful but was much more than I really needed not to mention the massive upkeep and costs. Similar to our family dog Danni Girl- I  soon discovered my website also needed its daily walk, play, swim, H20, brush, organic food and her cuddle. OK cuddling is pushing it but you catch my drift. For instance for the past year  in anticipation for my new site, I dropped the ball ignoring my current site www.christiegracemusic.com and during  my neglect it developed mats and started to get fat.  But not any more! …thanks to the inspiring tips from Ariel Hyatt’sMusic Success in 9 Weeks: The WEBSITE, I’m back on it!

Our golden Danni Girl and Angel

Believe it or not, one of my greatest challenges is that unlike the scientifically minded, funny folks portrayed in the current CBS hit nerd fest The Big Bang Theory, I am NOT a computer person. I work very hard to keep my computer cool and I am embarrassed to admit I have actually lost my grip over computer “issues”. So after recovering from panic from reading this weeks chapter encouraging us to review, claim and create every aspect of our site, I decided to avert any potential crash and burns and settled on updating my current site while laying the foundation for another one .

Even though there are  now fabulous sites like Bandzoogle and WordPress, that offer low-cost , easy methods for a computer novice like myself, I also have become a practical acrobat and fully recognize my limits . Subsequently, I have begun to understand in each of my site’s evolution, the purpose and platform my website provides and that to do it properly, well, it takes me a lot of time . It is a bit like songwriting in that it is an ongoing, living process that will eventually lead me into the next song, and the next site. So I’ll tackle another web adventure for my new cd release in Feb 2013 along with my capable design team Crocker Web Design.

In the meantime check out my webdog’s new shiny coat with many new additions including my exciting announcement about crowd funding for my cd . There’s also a new video of excerpts from some of my new songs and of course,  this heart stopping blog now in its third week.  Should you feel so inclined, do pass on any suggestions my dear reader that you may have to make your time in my site, more appealing to you. I am all ears. So, after I absorb a few more computer lessons , it looks like I’ll be adding web designer to the juggling mix while attempting to keep mats at bay. Happy trails.