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Rae's Latest

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Behind the Song: Piece on Earth

Rae Hering

A few years ago I was in Henderson, KY enjoying a beautiful summer day at my in-laws’. Richard was on the far side of the yard at his meat smoker, faithfully turning a batch of ribs. I closed my eyes to take in the scent of charred sweetness when I hear Dorothy’s infectious laugh, all full of life, coming from the sunroom.

That day in Henderson the sun laid lightly on the skin and the breeze drifted through like we were seaside. I let blades of grass go through my toes and listened to the birds happily chirping away…

Well maybe the City Girl in me is getting a little sappy here, but you get the picture: it was a really nice day. It was the type of day that inspires a songwriter to write a Summer Song.

I had my guitar with me and started picking out some chords. I wanted the song to sound like it had a porch swing built right into it. I wanted it to feel like that little smile you get as you’re drifting off in the hammock under the shade of a tree.

“Piece on Earth” is an ode to loving your Home. It's about accepting what you have and being happy with your life for what it is. No frills needed, just your own backyard.

I think that’s just how Dorothy and Richard have lived their lives. They’re still in the house my husband grew up in and have made a lot of history in that house! It’s also a house with a strict open door policy: you can expect friends and neighbors to stop in on the regular just to say hi. They have an open refrigerator policy, too. :) 

So here it is: "Piece on Earth," my Summer Song, written in Henderson, KY. I hope it’ll make a nice companion to your summer days ahead! 

Show this Weekend - Huntsville, AL

Rae Hering

If anyone of you friends, folks or music fiends out there live in or around Huntsville I'll be playing a show this weekend NEAR YOU!  My fellow piano player and co-writer Robert LaSalle has asked me to share the show with him this Saturday.  I've got to say, he's one of the most creative writers I know, and that's why I love writing with him.  We'll even be performing a few songs we've written together.

The Lumberyard Event Bar is the newest addition to the well-established Historic AM Booth's Lumberyard property.  It's the kind of intimate space that provides a true listening experience.  If you plan to attend, just make sure you send your email to inviteme@thelumberyard.info - it's a requirement to come to the show! Once your email is on the list you may bring whomever you want.

On a personal note, I'm excited because this is the beginning of playing shows outside the Nashville area.  If you would like to see me play in your city, the main thing that will help me to do this is house concerts.  If you or someone you know would like to host a house concert, please reach out to me.

And to all you Huntsvillians - see you at the show!

Smiling "Watercolour" from the UK

Rae Hering

Wow, am so thankful to be surrounded by such a creative community!  Check this painting out by Peter Williams, a fantastically talented artist who lives in Leiston, England.   

 
 

I always love seeing artwork in progress, so I thought I'd include these, too...

Peter has cleverly names this piece "Watercolour" to serve a sneaky dual purpose:

1) he did, in fact, use watercolor paints and...

2.) he named it after my song "Watercolor" (posted below). 

Being that Peter is from the UK and I live in the US, we've been joking about who's spelling "watercolour/watercolor" incorrectly...hehe...  

But the best part about the story is that Peter found me and my music through a mutual artist friend, Ugo Paradido (who also did a beautiful painting of me and my guitar) on a site called Paint My Photo.  I am continually astounded by these connections being made online and through friends.

Thanks for making me smile, Peter - literally! 

Idle Minds and Window Shrines - Preludes to the Creative Space

Rae Hering

My music room
My music room

In the moments before creation, there is stillness.  I’m standing in front of my keyboard, but I don’t play.  Instead, I find that I’m staring out the window again.  Not wasting time, no, no no.  I'm...resetting the brain.

a_girl_hanging_upside_down_from_the_couch_1883099
a_girl_hanging_upside_down_from_the_couch_1883099

I remember summers as a kid – I would hang upside down off our sticky leather couch and stare up at the ceiling.  In this seemingly awkward position, I would imagine how wonderful it would be if the ceiling was the floor.  How clean and tidy it would be!  Nothing to pick up or trip over - expect for those twirling fans.  I’d stay upside down until the rush of blood to my head would make me woozy or until my mom would find me.

Looking back at this memory, I realize I was probably just giving my mind some transition time.

The window in my music room provides that much needed transition time in my writing process.  Here, I enter the slippery space between feeling the tinge of inspiration and actually opening its creative coffer.  I give myself time to zone out (which is, as I've recently learned, an essential part of the creative process) and forget about the menial tasks of the day and enjoy the view:

Jonathan and I live in an apartment complex in Berry Hill, TN – a small town that is actually right in the heart of busy, bustling Nashville.  I love living here.

Popular-Wooden-American-Style-Window copy
Popular-Wooden-American-Style-Window copy

The daily activities outside my window are excellent fodder for the creative spirit, but what’s on the inside of my window is inspiring, too.  My windowsill is one of my favorite spots in my apartment.  Without being too conscious of it, it’s become an assembly of meaningful nick knacks and trinkets.  I’ve made a creative shrine - a concept I first read about in Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” a year or so ago. It’s funny how I came around to making one without even knowing it!

IMG_0577
IMG_0577

The Accordion Angel on the right is a gift from my good friend Jen.  It reminds me of the support I have in my friends.

When I first got the succulent plant I almost killed it.  There were but a few specks of green left when, with a little tender care, it started coming back to life.  It reminds me to always hold on to hope.

If you look really closely on the left hand side of the plant, you will see a needle sticking out – this is an acupuncture needle.  This reminds me to not forget about maintaining simple practices for health and vitality.

Next are the dried avocado seeds.  I used to etch patterns into them and try to preserve them as art.  Although I could never achieve the full effect I was going for, these seeds remind me to keep experimenting and dreaming up new ideas.

Then there’s the bicycle.  I think I picked this up at a thrift store.  Years ago I wrote a very whimsical and playful song inspired by this toy.  Now, it reminds me to always keep my playful creativity close to my heart.

Here’s the song if you want to give it a listen.  It’s called “Bicycles Go Woosh!”  (And mind you, it’s only a work track.)

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139062188" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Do you have a way of resetting your brain before your creative process?  Do you keep meaningful objects close by to inspire you?

Behind the Song: Wordless Words (a Special Valentine's Video)

Rae Hering

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVdZCdt95Bc&w=640&h=360]

An Out of Order Love Song

I wrote “Wordless Words” around the same time I met my now-fiance Jonathan.  At the time, if you had asked me whom this song was about, I would have flat out denied that it  was about him!!  Thinking back on it now, I believe our relationship did influence this song, though I wasn’t able or ready to put that into words...

Jonathan and I goofing around...
Jonathan and I goofing around...

Love Makes You Tongue-Tied (or Tongue Tired)

As bloggers, we LOVE words (and aren’t they wonderful? what a paradisiacal playground!) But in “Wordless Words,” I attempt to get at the heart of a certain feeling when there are no words.  I feel that there’s a point where words inevitably fail us, where definition goes only so far, and the only way to express our deepest emotion is through things that require no words at all...

The Love of My Life

Music-enables-us-to 2
Music-enables-us-to 2

I love music because it communicates on a different level than words.  When words are paired with music, the music takes those words to a higher emotional level.  I believe that whether we’re listening to music or making music, it enables us to connect to emotions that are not normally accessible through words alone.  It’s what made teenage girls scream for The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, it’s what gives us the chills when we hear those moody high notes in Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” and what makes us smile and dance when we hear the infectious tune by Pharrell Williams, “Happy.”

How do you use wordless words in your life?

The Art of Resting in Motion (When There's Just Too Much To Do!)

Rae Hering

Photo from Wikipedia.
Photo from Wikipedia.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133254573" params="color=00aabb&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The process of recording an album is different for everyone.  Some musicians complete their album in a week’s time, maybe it takes a couple of months, or if you’re Miles Davis, you can knock out an album in just two days – worked out beautifully for his 1959 album Kind of Blue. I’m not that kind of musician - at least not yet.  Teaching lessons during the week pushes recording time to the weekends.  And the fact that I don’t tour consistently means it takes longer to figure out how the song should sound on the recording. Nonetheless, I’m happy to report that the tracking for “The Shy Gemini Sessions” is now complete!  This marks the end of a six-month period where Jonathan, Bobby Holland (my

Here's Bobby and I working out some parts. Photo credit: Jonathan Morse.
Here's Bobby and I working out some parts. Photo credit: Jonathan Morse.

producer and engineer) and I have spent almost every Saturday and Sunday exploring parts, experimenting with instruments and hammering out details.  We sure have had a lot of fun working our butts off!  Time for a break, right? Silly Rae, recess is for kids!  The moment I start thinking that I have my weekends back for a little R&R, I remind myself that when it comes to being an independent music artist, weekends simply aren’t for relaxing – there’s a LOT more to do.  In fact, I’m frequently saying to myself there’s too much to do.  For those of us that are moving towards bigger visions for our lives, there’s always going to be too much to do.

library.defenderdirect.com.
library.defenderdirect.com.

But I try to keep in mind what Rory Vaden eloquently states it in his book “Take the Stairs.”

Successful people “understand that there’s no real finish line, no magic moment when they will ‘arrive’ and get to rest on their laurels. Discipline is a perpetual process, and the growth is in the journey.  Simple, but here’s the part that you won’t want to hear – you don’t get a day off.  Ever.”

There have been plenty of times where I feel like I’m running the hamster wheel, never getting a chance to just finish something.  But when I have the discipline to stay active with moving my music career forward, I realize that I’m rejuvenated by staying active, NOT from taking a break!  I find that maintaining this state of being wipes away that craving for “zone out” time in front of the TV, luxurious weekend spa treatments, or drinking the weekend away.

juliacameronlive.com
juliacameronlive.com

In her book “The Artist’s Way,”Julia Cameron depicts this idea perfectly when she urges her readers to learn to “rest in motion.”  It’s a counterintuitive truth that I think we all have a good grasp of already.  Think of it this way: exercising our bodies requires energy, but it gives us a whole lot of energy in return.  Exercise gets our blood flowing, which delivers oxygen throughout our bodies – oxygen that’s required for making energy.  In short, we spend a little energy to get a whole of energy back (now that’s my kind of investment!) “Endless” is a song about continuing to move forward even when it feels like there’s no where to go.  (Please keep in mind that this is a SNEAK PEAK unfinished version!)  Now that a milestone has been achieved with recording “The Shy Gemini Sessions” it’s time to tell myself, “good job!” and then quickly tell myself to keep moving. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133254573" params="color=00aabb&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The Creative Community Movement

Rae Hering

I've been talking with my fiancé, Jonathan, a lot lately about what a creative community is and how to strengthen those communities around us.  We all have a lot to offer each other, no matter what we love to do: paint, dance, sing, write, play, speak, draw, levitate… Through blogging this past year, I’ve been making wonderful creative connections with other bloggers, one of whom is Rida of Work In Progress.  She was inspired after watching a video I posted of my song “Navigator/Aviator” and wrote her original lyrics to my tune.  How cool is that??

Here's my song "Navigator/Aviator:"

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGZKsUNfBP8&w=480&h=360]

And Rida's beautiful, creative response:

i’ve been traveling round and round been looking for what can’t be found i don’t really know where i belong

life keeps taking pound for pound and i can’t find that stable ground i don’t really know where i’ve gone wrong

i meet you, i’m spun around i once was lost but now i’m found i know with you i am finally strong

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

you keep me from falling down no longer feeling like i’m drowin’ for in your loving arms i do belong

all my walls you’ve broken down it’ so safe to play the clown how did you know i was the one

i’ll be your queen and wear your crown once so lost but now i’m found ’cause you put in my heart an eternal song

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

with you i know i’m safe and sound have no need to look around for you cannot compare to anyone

my loneliness forever gone you and me, we can’t go wrong being with you babe, i am someone

hold me baby til the dawn we’ll be together all life long for you are my moon and my sun

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

Check out her original post here.

What a testament to being inspired by each other!

So what inspires you?  Are you inspired by your friend’s painting?  Your co-worker’s poem?  Your boss’s mother’s hairdresser’s interpretive dance routine?

And if you’re inspired by one of my works, please, jot it down, record it, video it - share it. Let’s strengthen our creative communities together.

Behind the Song: Navigator, Aviator - SNEAK PEAK

Rae Hering

I've been having a great time working on a new song called "Navigator, Aviator."  Here's what it sounds like so far: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGZKsUNfBP8&w=480&h=360]

I've had a hankering to write a song about asking someone to be "my Navigator" for probably eight years now.  It's been one of those ideas that hangs around, floats in and out of my thoughts...I never could fully flesh out till now.

As a musician trying to navigate herself through this tangled music industry, it's easy to see where the desire for some navigation comes from.  In times past, I've certainly wished for someone to just DISCOVER ME, to go "POOF you're famous!"  But I've realized (through these eight years) that I need direction, not someone to do it for me.

Jonny and Me pic
Jonny and Me pic

WARNING: I am a total Cheezeball, but here I go: I've found my Navigator, my wonderful fiancé and manger, Jonathan.  He lets me fly the plane, of course, but together as Navigator and Aviator, we get the aircraft off the ground and on to new places.

Yep, I think that's why this song is finally forming for me.  Well, I'll keep working on it.  Hope you enjoy the 'lil preview!

P.S. - Do you have a Navigator in your life?  Who is it and what do they do for you?

 

Behind the Song "Hitchhiker of the Universe" and the Legendary Hippie Halloween Costume

Rae Hering

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117798723" params="color=441b66&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] What’s your favorite or most meaningful Halloween costume you’ve worn?

Hippie costume
Hippie costume

Mine has got to be the Hippie costume I wore in 5th grade, replete with seed beads, head scarf, rag purse and the tie skirt my Mom handmade when she was in her twenties.  Although the costume was, in my opinion, fabulous, that’s not the only reason it means so much to me.  My fun disguise reveals a poignant time of transition in my life: from girlhood to womanhood, the beginning of restlessness, longing and exciting discovery.  I ached to be an adult without knowing what that really meant, of course.

As with most adolescence, signs of my transition came in the form of many a frustrating remark to my parents.  I remember changing into my costume at school before my Mom picked me up to take me to the ALL IMPORTANT CAN NOT MISS THIS EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE THERE Halloween Party.  The not-so-logical part of my attitude was that I was embarrassed to be seen at school wearing a Halloween costume on (gasp!) Halloween of all days!!  Oh travesty!

I can hear my Mom’s confused and exhausted voice saying, “But Rae, you never get embarrassed.  Why now?”  I just sank further into my angsty frustration, trapped in the minivan as we headed to The Party, a place of anxious unknowns.  What if no one else is wearing a costume?  What if I stand out like a sore thumb?  What if my costume is stupid and everyone else’s is cool?

The toughest part about going through this transition stage is that everyone has a place on the social ladder at school.  Mine happened to be just a nose hair above the lowest of the low.  Here I was, so caught up in my internal conflict I didn’t notice that I was about to enter a place where the social playing field would essentially be leveled out.  I mean, what does a costume do anyhow?  It makes you become someone or something you’re not.  It disguises your true nature.  It transports you into becoming a silly whim or your deepest desire.  I was heading towards a free ride with my peace-loving, hitchhiking Hippie Child garb on!

But can you expect a hormone-enraged pubescent to think this clearly?  So there I was at the Halloween Party awkwardly mingling with my gossipy schoolmates while getting a taste of non-parental guidance.  And you know what?  I have to say with shining honor that my (oh so embarrassing) Hippie getup won the Best Costume Award.  Take that suckkkers!!!  I can see the envy in all those parochial school girls’ eyes now as I received my prize, a Boyz II Men CD.

“Hitchhiker of the Universe” is not only about longing to be older, more experienced and independent, but it’s about looking back at that time now that I am older.  It’s about reconciling with my younger self for being so naïve and thinking that I’m some “casual prophet of youth” who’s got it all together.  Even though the person I am now doesn’t look like who I thought I’d be, I revel in the strange comfort of knowing that who I think I will be twenty years from now is absolutely unimaginable.  Dream on, Hitchhiker of the Universe…

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117798723" params="color=441b66&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Endless - The Torture of "Tick Tock, Tick Tock"

Rae Hering

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110911238" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] I’m angry with my 22 year-old self.  She was aimless and flippantly said things like “it will all work out somehow.”  I bitterly ask her what the HOW part of ‘somehow’ was.  She would daydream in her music business classes and ignore songwriting for other petty projects that sidetracked her.  I want to scream at her, “what were you thinking!?”  I’ve imagined an unhealthy amount of times how it could have been if she hadn’t wasted so many precious years.

“Youth is wasted on the young” – George Bernard Shaw

The 22 year old Me.
The 22 year old Me.

I haven’t been able to forgive that lost 22-year old girl yet.  This game of mental torment is a poor placeholder for forgiveness, but I keep coming back to it.  I bang my head against the fact that I can’t go back and do things differently.  It’s a familiar story – I’m sure many of you can relate.

I spent my younger years being clueless in my music career endeavors.  I regret this tremendously.  I stayed in relationships that were not conducive to pursuing making a living with my music.  I maintained the belief that it would all fall into my lap.  I chose to pointlessly drink with friends at the bar more nights than I stayed home to work on songwriting.

If you ever argue with yourself to no avail, if you’ve found yourself defending your regrets and obsessing over your loses, if you can’t stop seeing life as a series of mazes and dead ends, then this song, “Endless,” is for you.

I wrote “Endless” as a sort of letter to myself.  Through the writing process, I acknowledge my hurt, even though it is self-inflicted.  I assure myself in full conviction that my Spirit extends much further than the narrow field I draw myself into.  I tell myself that I am Endless, so I shouldn’t stop here, much less wallow in a pity party.

As of right now, the pity parties still happen once in awhile.  Last Friday I found myself stifling tears in the corner of the bathroom stall at Jed’s Sports Bar and Grille in Nashville.

Jonathan and I at Jed's in Nashville, TN.
Jonathan and I at Jed's in Nashville, TN.

I’ve been going there every week to play and get my music out there, but still, my negative thoughts were on repeat (…I’ve wasted so much time, so much TIME, all gone, wasted, wasted, WASTED! )

I went back to my seat to find my fiancé, Jonathan, who knows I struggle with this regret.  I am thankful for having someone like Jonathan in my life to remind me that my thoughts are hurtful to myself.  To remind me that I lead a good life, and that everything is as it should be.  It takes a lot of reminding, but I do believe this.  When I sing “Endless,” not only am I singing it for the audience but for myself.

(FYI: The recording of "Endless" included in this blog post is an un-finalized version I'm making for my new EP entitled "The Shy Gemini Sessions."  I'm shooting to be finished with the project early 2014).

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110911238" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]