Melanie Blades / Blog

"Cornish Evenings" (Pearl-Grey-Blue)

This version of Cornish Evenings is very dear to me. It was recorded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the record heatwave of 2012...Dan Type, a gifted and known local musician who lives in groovy Riverwest, plays the drums, and local musician/visual artist Jeffrey Eckel plays those oh so mellow grooves.. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

Background of "Chinese Notes" (In Memoriam)

Chinese Notes came about in a very unexpected way....At the time, my mom had one of her breasts removed due to cancer. I was distraught, but dealing with the reality of her illness. There I was, in the Stable Cottage Studio in Aldbourne, with Nick Beere, Nicky James (an outstanding artist who also passed on not too long ago) and I was just incredibly sad...I sat by the piano, and just began to play these notes that I could hear in my head. I had never tried to play the piano before...I guess because my mom was such a great pianist, and I lacked the confidence (still do) to believe I could play anything or ever be as good as she was. The fact that she didn't want any of her children to be musicians also blocked me psychologically....But play I did....And I called it "Chinese Notes", it's played using only the black keys of the piano... On October 7 it will be the anniversary of my mom's passing...She was 64...I've decided to include "Chinese Notes" (In Memoriam) in my ECLECTICA album...It's from me to my mom...Heart to heart...I added a violin part too...Yes, there are mistakes, and this is just the demo...But I wanted to share this with you, in its natural state.... Big hello from Milwaukee...Lots of love :) Melanie

In La-di-da Land

So many things going on, so many things to do, so many things to see through...Still trying to mix all the songs that are going into the "ECLECTICA" album...Hard going when I'm chasing other things that have equal importance and have absolutely nothing to do with music. Doing a lot of research online, and getting no answer to one of the things that I care most about...I should write about it...I would, if only I had the time, the space, and lack of interruptions...But I just keep on going because if I stop and dwell on trying to answer the 'why', I could quite easily get caught up in a dozen scenarios, and before one knows it, months have gone by. I don't have the luxury of putting things to the side, not when they're not finished...I just don't know how to do that...So I have to keep going, there is no other way. In my perfect world, the world of achieved goals, my son lives near me...My love and I are settled in a silly job that pays the bills, and all of us engage in our creative passions, quite happily. It's simple really, what I want. Getting it, however, is a different ballgame altogether. It is strange and very telling that I've had huge success when doing something totally out of the blue, with no planning and no thought of consequences. Synchronicity, wisdom, and conviction is required, and third-parties miraculously do what they're supposed to do instead of creating obstacles to be overcome. Maybe that's why spontaneity works, the element of surprise involving an inclination toward sudden action borne out of instinct which doesn't allow a given force to have the chance to jinx or delay a matter...Spontaneity is very different to recklessness. Recklessness involves a lack of thinking, a lack of taking matters into account, it's a complete lack of caring...Spontaneity comes from a deeper place, a place of just 'knowing'. Perhaps that is my answer. I should just return to my 'ways' and rid myself of all frustrating processes that make no sense to me. Doing things 'by the book' has never, ever worked out for me. It puts me in a box, slows me down and doesn't allow for anything that is 'out of the box'. Creativity cannot flow if it's conditioned in any way. Definitely tired from 'overcoming' obstacles since it just means starting over again. Kind of like that movie "Groundhog Day", but set in the surreal location for the series "Lost"... So my love and I are embarking on a huge change. And so I add a few more things to my daily 'to do' list. Except this time, as we let go of some things, we welcome others...As long as we can manifest who we are, freely. :)

About "Spring Has Come"

I woke up yesterday with this song in my head... I love, love, love the wonderful movies made in China, those fantastic stories of love, and warriors, and magical beings, and the absolutely stunning cinematography that is second to none...The colors, vibrant and alive...The emotions illustrated by the scenery and the cycles of nature...It stirs me deeply, it moves me... As far as I know, I don't have any Chinese ancestry, but I have always felt a very strong link to Chinese culture and their ancient ways, particularly their music. It is fitting that the first time I sat down to play the piano, after my mother passed on, I played for the very first time in my life, untrained as I am...I was filled with an immeasurable, palpable melancholy, for all that had been, and for what would never be and I was compelled to play...And I played only the black keys...I called it "Chinese Melody".... Expressing music, what I 'hear' in my head is a very difficult process for me...I am aided and abetted by software that allows me to choose the instruments I 'hear' and I arrange the sounds as I 'hear' them...Otherwise, you would only hear the a capella version, which I can lay down very, very quickly... I chose a Tibetan peace drum, and a couple of Native American flutes as well as the Sanskrit Shehnai to complement the sound of the Lotus drums, the Chinese Moon Zither, the Lotus Gunzhen, the Chinese Moon Flute, the Lotus Di Zi and the Lotus Erhu instruments in the song...It is only fitting, since they are related to one another, transcending time and what we think is our history as human beings...The sounds go perfectly well together, proving their ancient, and to many, forgotten origin. Yes, it's a rough demo, not the finished version...But it proves that I do 'hear' what I lay down, otherwise, the demo wouldn't exist in its present form...In my 'inner' world, musicians from all the continents take the stage together, and play our universal story...We are all connected to one another, here, in this world...There is no separation... We are all descendants of survivors: People that have survived catastrophes, famine, migrations, wars, diseases, over thousands, and thousands, and thousands of years...While the scientists still argue about the genetic ancestry of Native American Indians, I can clearly hear their Asian origin in their music, and I can see the link in their myths, their legends, their cosmology, their rituals and their knowledge of medicine and agriculture... Today, with this short little love song, I am expressing what lies deep within my soul...I hope it shines through to you...:)

Background to "Minutes Before Midnight"

A few years back, I was living in Hungerford, Berkshire, above a tea shop, in the very picturesque High Street. The flat had a beautiful and rare balcony, and the view was very relaxing: The canal to the side, and the countryside...And of course, the huge sky... On clear nights, I would step outside and sit and contemplate the perfect geometry of the stars... One night, I kept 'hearing' a song...It was very clear, and very precise...And there were images, like a video, accompanying the song...I saw Elton John, seated before a gorgeous grand piano, a light shining upon him as he played and sang "Minutes Before Midnight"...The image was a little bit perplexing since it was an older Elton John, and not the Elton John of those years (he was in his thirties, I think)...I saw thousands upon thousands of flickering lights, which I assume was the gathered audience with their lighters on... I ran into my flat, grabbed pen and paper, and jotted down the words to the song...Then I went in and sang it a cappella into my tape recorder... I found out a few months later that Elton John's mansion was also in Berkshire, not too far from where I was living...I entertained the thought of just showing up at his gate and leaving my song in an envelope for him, but dismissed the idea as a little crazy, considering all the unwanted material that famous people receive...Plus, I feel that showing up unannounced at a stranger's place to request something or leave something unexpected borders on stalking and is downright weird and a little threatening, and I wouldn't want that done to me, so I never did it... I have sat on the song all these years...And Elton John is now Sir Elton John...And he is the age of the 'vision' I saw all those years ago singing "Minutes Before Midnight"... I am not interested in fame, never have been, never will be...But I am forced by circumstance to sing the songs I write, if only to illustrate what the vocals are...In an ideal world, I would sell my songs to the artist that I see singing them...and I would remain in the background, as a simple songwriter and not a performer, as much as I love to touch people's hearts... I hope to complete the vision for "Minutes Before Midnight", somehow...And get the song to Elton John's ears...If ever there was a song that is meant for someone, it is this song...Sung in Elton John's inimitable voice and beautiful piano...

Wish me luck! :)

Wisconsin (Part One)

In the summer, my love and I travelled to beautiful Wisconsin. The idea was to have a mini-vacation and for me to record four songs that are part of my ECLECTICA album with Dan Type at his home-studio...And that we did! We laid down four songs in record time, during a record-breaking heatwave (107 degrees Farenheit!)...For the first couple of days we had no AC, and to say it was stifling is an understatement...Fortunately, Dan and Jeffrey Eckel (who very generously agreed to play guitar) are very Zen people and we all just made the very best of it, and plodded along, achieving the seemingly impossible... We laid down "Minutes Before Midnight", "Draw The Moon Down", "Lost In The Crowd" and "Cornish Evenings"...The only version from those sessions that is currently here on my playlist is "Draw The Moon Down", since I'm still trying to work out how to mix using Logic! While in Milwaukee, we also spent some time checking out Summer Fest, and it was FANTASTIC...Saw Kelly Clarkson and Aerosmith...It was a wonderful experience, and one that I will most definitely repeat in future. Still plodding along with the songs, tweaking this and that.. Found an out-of-this world pianist, Petra Persolja after we attended a very low key event organized by a piano store owner...She was the last one to play, and there was no info on her except her name...But BOY was she FABULOUS...I likened it to finding a rare wildflower on the Moon...My other half contacted her so she could play the piano for "Minutes Before Midnight" and she agreed...That's all that's missing now, and once we record that, I will lay down new vocals and mix the piece... Getting closer to finishing ECLECTICA...:)

About "Look Down"

This version was recorded in Saddleworth, England...The original song was made when I was in a band called Ice, with Nick Beere, Mark Gittos and Robert Robinson...I wish I had the original recording, with Nick Beere's outstanding and inimitable rhythm guitar and the very particular energy we had as a band, but alas, I don't...The original one was titled "Look Back", but I changed those two words when I re-recorded the demo in 1985-86...I wanted to have a record of the song, so I redid it with a two great musicians... Even then, one can hear that I was writing about what goes on the world, the insanity of hate and wars, and the lack of unity amongst us as human beings...The Ethiopian Famine, the Falklands "War", the first, historic "Live Aid" concert, huge anti-nuclear demonstrations in Europe, huge riots in England...Sound familiar in 2013? "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" Philosopher George Santayana

About "A Bed of Roses"

"A Bed Of Roses" was recorded in England, at the home studio of a great friend, Nick Franks...It's still in its demo form... Nick mentioned that he had a demo he made himself, but didn't know what to put on it for lyrics or vocals...So I listened to the first minute of it and instantly 'heard' what could go there...He had a female voice sample of an Arabic chant and I matched it with my own...The vocal melodies and the words all came as one... What inspired me was what I saw as the approaching changes in the Arab world, the turmoil, the blood shed, the madness of it all...I could see this in 1992...

Most people would agree that roses are beautiful, especially red roses...But they have spines, and must be handled with care...Flowers are as precious as life and the blood in our veins.....Roses, and rubies...Love...red...Life... Indeed, to me, life is very similar to a bed of roses....Danger lurks just under the surface... We must love, there is no other way to overcome ourselves...:)

Sept. 1 2012

Writing from home...Autumn is here, the year has passed very quickly. I continue to record practice songs on my Mac, but now I have a YETI mic, and it records my voice without distortion, something the Mac built-in mic could not handle, no matter how quietly I sang certain notes or how far back I stood...

Travelled to Milwaukee and recorded some songs for the ECLECTICA EP; It will be my first solo release ever...It has been difficult, since I don't have a band, I don't gig or tour...Not exactly living in a musician's paradise either, the music scene here is tiny and very insular... I sent a video audition to The Voice, turned it in before the August 16 deadline but have not heard back...Perhaps they had an overwhelming response, who knows...Gave it a shot...Meantime, I continue with the music, and recording... Restarted my writing...When I was living in the U.K. I started writing a book...It's fiction (well, that's the category it will be under)...It's called "Messages From Eve"...That title might change, but it has been the working title for years...Don't want to give the plot away...But it's about the origin of the human race, our purpose, and our destiny...

Anyhow, I want to thank every person that visits my humble page and becomes a fan...I appreciate it so very, very much. I'm not signed with anyone, nor do I promote myself or what I do..It's not time yet...But hopefully, soon I will have my EP and then another stage of my life will begin. My other half and I are considering moving to Wisconsin. Absolutely love it there, it feels like home..

Hope you find comfort in the practice songs I've chosen to sing... Be well...And dream big...:)

A Singer's Life

Well, I continue to record a lot of practice songs at home...I just use my Mac laptop, use the built-in mike..I have a lovely Neumann and a Sennheiser but I don't feel like turning my living room into a recording studio...I just wanna sing...Was using a little Tascam for reverb but my boyfriend pulled out a small portastudio that he doesn't use....But I don't use that either...Too many buttons for me, too much fussing, so now I just throw the music into Garage Band and sing, and put some reverb...It's straightforward that way...Otherwise, I would just go to a studio...When I have fifty songs that I like I will decide which 12 I will put out as a CD, to sell it on iTunes...And yes, for the CD I will go to a studio to record, promise :)

I don't earn my living singing...Singing is what I do to balance myself out...SInging is like my therapy/salvation, how I maintain my sanity, and something that is as normal to me as brushing my teeth...I have been singing since I was a little girl...I would sing to the sky, to the trees, to the rain...To anyone and anything...Singing is a habit, and a necessity, like oxygen...

I have a little Production company...But singing is what fills me, it always has...Put an ad to form a band, but only two people replied, and the ad's been out for two months...Doesn't look like I will form a band here in Oahu...I think I will just forget about doing that...Maybe it's too late for me already, after all...Oahu is beautiful, but it is not a place for 'doing' things ....There's a general laziness that permeates the air...There isn't really a strong music scene as such here...

One has to leave Hawaii to get anywhere musically...Not saying there aren't any great musicians and singers because there are tons of fantastic singers and musicians, but it's as if everyone's in their own little world, there doesn't seem to be a collaborative thing going on...There's little pockets here and there...Not like the UK, where I lived for many years...Or Miami, where I grew up...A little disappointing for me, but that's life, yeah?

So I will carry on just singing to touch hearts, to express my love of people, giving voice to that which is unspoken, those feelings that we all share as human beings...And in the process, I will leave something behind for friends and loved ones to hear...Pieces of me, and the things that move me as a human being...:) Hope you enjoy your visit...

ladonna  dudette
ladonna dudette  (about 6 years ago)