Photo by Mari Uchida, NYC
This year’s Parable tour, along with the work I’ve been doing in my own heart and with my All the Way In “ATWI” vocal improv cohort, is really coming through in my vocal qualities and abilities. It is definitely time for me to sing. Many hard days now, the only thing that could bring me solace was singing, and singing with other people worked faster.
In the recording process, I’ve been using bits of circle singing and just plain old freedom singing, bringing the sound from within myself with far less judgment than ever before. Matt and I were talking at the end of today’s session about genre- a question I’ve never met fully comfortably, because I don’t make cookie-cutter music. I have very many influences and they ALL come out in this process, especially in this phase of the project which I lovingly describe as the “Play stage.” This is the stage after I’ve laid down lead vocals with my original acoustic guitar compositions. In this stage, I am arriving at the studio each session, choosing a song to work on, and then listening to the ethers for the first sound element that wants to be added. I’ll then attempt to add whatever it is, and this often becomes a metaphorically scenic winding path to something more or different. Matt and I collaborate in this process. We basically walk this path until we come to something we both like, and then we track it, and it goes on like this until we finish with sometimes many, many tracks. It’s fun! We always enjoy ourselves. Working this way renews each song for me and some of them are over 14 years old! For Matt, I think it’s refreshing to have sessions wherein he gets to use his wide array of creativity openly. For me, I get to play a bunch of instruments I’ve never touched! I get to lean in on my own musicality, working on timing and meter, coordinating my hands with my mind-body and the rhythms I receive from memory or the Cosmos. It’s really cool!
I’ve also been doing a lot of yoga, and I recently purchased a set of 7 crystal glass singing bowls that I strike everyday for my own attunement and peace of mind. These things all go into the pot that we’re cooking up over here in the studio. Sometimes, I dance, stretch, or lay on the padded floor while Matt clicks away at something on the computer. I take the breaks that I need, I breathe, and yes, I’ve cried and talked to Matt like he's a therapist-friend a few times. He’s actually really good at handling that kind of stuff. I’m grateful all the time, and it helps me feel more freedom and trust in the process.
I’ve been thinking about restarting my weekly online vocal embodiment sessions. Attendance was low when I paused them to go on tour, and honestly, I would rather teach in person than online, but. I’m happy to share online space for as long as it works. I offer long-process support for vocal engagement through energy, breath, movement, and sound work that strengthens vocal expression. It’s very similar to what I am learning in the ATWI program- work that was seeded in me by the Kristin Linklater vocal technique for actors that I began learning in college. The process inherently makes the singing voice better, if by nothing other than using it well, but it works best for people who are willing to go through a more detailed practice. It’s a holistic approach that honors mind-body-spirit through the voice. For a long time, the work doesn’t necessarily show, but as with any physical practice, the benefits over time are paramount and long term. More to come...