It’s official… I’m releasing a second piano album this summer. As promised last week, I’m revealing the title: Out of Ashes.
When I first discussed my intentions for a second album in June, I didn’t know how I could ever again make another album as good as Airborne was. I had no title, theme, or storyline for this next album, and I was at a loss as to how to move forward without a plan.
So many artists struggle with the so-called “sophomore album.” You have your whole life to make the first album, but for the second, you maybe have two years—plus, you’re burned out from making the first album. Could I ever throw myself into a second album the way I did for my first one?
I know, I know—I haven’t posted in two months. So maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Or maybe you didn’t notice. The truth is, I’ve been a lot of places, so I’ll tell you about some of them…
For the most part, I’ve been… At school, in the practice rooms.
Three hours a-day, seven days a week (in theory, anyway). Music school is extremely demanding and exhausting, but in all of that time at the piano, I’ve come up with some amazing pieces that I’m looking forward to sharing on the next album. I’m going to dare to say that my second album will be better than the first. (I’ll tell you more about this album in next week’s post.) Continue reading “Where I’ve Been”→
When you think about Christmas break in college, you might imagine sleeping in, spending time with family and old friends, and just doing nothing. While it’s true that I did do all of the above a little bit, for me, going home is always a time for recording and composition.
In the last few months, much has happened that has made clear to me that I need to focus on being a composer. I can’t only do engineering. I’m certainly still recording, producing, and spending plenty of time in the studio (and plan to keep doing so because I still love it and need to record my compositions), but I’ve realized that, first and foremost, I’m a composer.
In the wake of an exhausting freshman year, unfortunately, until a few weeks ago, I had been struggling tremendously to compose anything at all. It wasn’t that I didn’t try—I tried harder than I knew I could. But the music wouldn’t come. I hated almost everything I did manage to write. On some level, I even began to hate composing itself because it took so much effort to even write things I didn’t like.
I’m excited to say that I have just been brought on as a composer by the production music library Musinc! From now on, anything I write and record, once accepted into the library, will be available for licensing for film, TV, and other media. The material from Airborne is already in the catalog. There will also be opportunities for filmmakers and music supervisors to commission me to write custom pieces.
“Music students: as the semester grinds on you may feel intensely burnt-out. You may even consider dropping out of music altogether. If that happens, go back and listen to your favorite recordings, make music with your friends, do anything you can to remind yourself why you loved music before you started studying it. An education in music can be a very good thing, but it can also squeeze the life out of any love you ever had for it. Don’t let it.”
Recently, I came across this quote by Eric Whitacre from his blog, via Facebook. The timing couldn’t have been better.
I just released some new music! I’ve recorded a solo piano song called “To the Sky” written by an artist named Dirk Maassen. It’s a lovely piece, and if you enjoy my own piano compositions, then you’ll love Dirk’s music, too. Check out more of his work here. This is my recording:
As I was getting ready for my piano jury at the end of the semester, it became apparent to me that my Chopin nocturne was at its peak. The problem? Juries were still two weeks away. I know myself too well, and I know that when I get to a certain point, the more I practice, the worse my pieces will become. So I decided that if I ever wanted to have a recording of my nocturne, I had to do it fast. So one night, I packed up all my gear (a feat in itself) and headed to my university’s music building, hoping to somehow find an open grand piano. Continue reading “Successfully Recording an Out-of-Tune Piano without Tuning It”→
I realize I haven’t written in awhile, but this last month has been an incredible month of first times…
1) The first time I performed one of my own compositions in a concert hall.
I performed my piano piece “Equinox” in the McAfee Concert Hall as part of the Student Composers Recital. As far as I know, I was the only freshman composer who participated. It was wonderful to hear the sound of my piece performed in such a wonderful venue. And it was such an thrill to be featured among so many other talented artists at this school! Continue reading “A Month of Firsts”→
It was a Friday night, and I found myself, once again, sitting alone in my dorm room, alternating between staring at my much-too-blank score and at the dusty keys of my keyboard. Making progress on my midterm composition project seemed impossible. I’d never even written a string quartet before. How was I supposed to write my first one in three weeks? And it wasn’t like I could spend the entire day working on it for three weeks—I had fifteen other credit hours of course work to deal with on top of daily two-hour piano practicing.