Then Suddenly There’s Music Again… Women Of Substance Radio

And then there was music again

My rock & roll past is no secret. In fact, most who know me are aware of how all-encompassing music was, has been, for most of my life. It wasn’t a hobby, a little thing I did on the side; it was MY LIFE… in all caps.

I started singing professionally when I was a teenager, hit the road with a rock & roll band before I was old enough to drink in the bars we played, and I ate the LA music scene during the ’80s like it was the best damn meal out there. No matter what else I may do in my life as a creative artist, being a singer/songwriter, and being able to get up on stage or behind the mic in a recording studio with incredible musicians making magic around me is, seriously, one of the greatest highs to be had.

But rock & roll dreams tend to be built on the alchemy of youth, opportunity, contacts, and, in some case, sheer luck, and as luck (or destiny or fate or whatever it is that drives these things) would have it, and as much fun as I was having, I didn’t quite get to the mountain I had in mind. There was disappointment in that, surely, but still… what a journey!

So now, as I write my articles and books, take and share my photographs; do any of my beloved creative activities, I keep my Music Muse nearby, always ready to tap her shoulder and say, “Wanna come out and play?” And she still (I see my Music Muse as a “she”!), miraculously, does. A few months ago I was in the studio singing backups for the upcoming album of my friend, Ken O’Malley, and his new band, The Ne’er Duwels. Friend and frequent songwriting partner, Jason Brett, and I cut one of our songs this past year and will get to others when I’m in Chicago next. Occasionally people write to tell me they picked up my CD and, still and always, I sing my lungs out in the car. It may not be Madison Square Garden but damn if the acoustics aren’t good! 🙂

Then, out of the blue, a music colleague of mine shared some information from an Internet radio station called Women of Substance Radiothe music brain child of musician and entrepreneur, Bree Noble; they were looking for new music from female artists. I had not heard of the station but loved the name and mission statement:

WHAT IS A “WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE”?

Substance can be defined as “significant quality with the implication of a hidden or special significance.” Music of Substance is not just entertainment or fluff, but has an essential “core” brimming with heart, soul, and spirit.

Women of Substance are female performers who deliver high quality music that speaks to the listener through vocal excellence, depth of character and emotion, and lyrics that leave a lasting impression. This includes Label Artists, Indies and Unsigned artists alike.

Women of Substance Radio has been on the air for 7 years. We are an Internet Radio station garnering fans from all over the world. WOSRadio plays the BEST female artists, both label and Indie, in all genres. We hand-pick all of our music starting with icons of the past like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Tracy Chapman, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, Adele, Carrie Underwood, Amy Winehouse, Feist, Christina Perri, Ingrid Michaelson, and so many more.

As one who sings, loves, and – hopefully – writes the kind of music that has an “essential core,” I raised my hand without hesitation. And, lo and behold, one of the two songs I submitted, “Comfort Me,” was chosen for their new music playlist and will be put into rotation starting tomorrow (9.8). As the title says… then suddenly there’s music again!

I’d be delighted for you all to click onto the station, listen, vote, do that thing you do. The necessary information and links follows, and I sincerely thank you in advance for your ears and your support. Of course, I mostly hope you enjoy listening to my song and the music of other singing, songwriting “women of substance”!

COMFORT ME (written by Lorraine Devon Wilke, David Resnik & Rick M. Hirsch) will debut on the “What’s on my iPod” Show, our weekly new music show on WOSRadio. See the playlist HERE.

Show airs September 8-12, 2014 at 2 PM PT; same show airs every weekday this week.

Listeners and fans can tune in at: http://rdo.to/WOSRADIO (click on “Website”). 

You can also tune in on Mobile Devices by downloading our Mobile App. Just search for “Women of Substance” in your App Store or use these links to download:

iTunes Store (Apple): Women of Substance app on iTunes
Google Play Store (Android): Women of Substance app

After this week, COMFORT ME will enter heavy rotation on WOSRadio for 2 weeks. Fans are invited to vote “thumbs up” for your song by clicking the “thumbs up” icon while it is playing on our desktop player (and some Android devices). Fans can also request your song right from the desktop player top menu. Songs that receive votes and requests will remain in heavy rotation for an additional two weeks (possibly more depending on voting) and will be considered for the Top 20 which is posted on our website and linked to our player.

There you go… now go rock on!  🙂

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

Remember That Piece About Songwriting? Here’s The First Follow-Up: ‘You’re Still The One’

Remember that piece I wrote about songwriting, the one with the memorable title, I Write The Songs That Make The Whole World… Well, I Write The Songs I Love And We’ll Go From There? In it, I shared my particular creative process when it comes to songwriting, detailing a new collaboration with an old friend, Jason Brett, that held high hopes. I promised to follow-up on the adventure as we got deeper into it, so let’s launch the next chapter!

When we last left off, we’d just finished writing our first song together, “You’re Still The One.” We’d worked out the arrangement, found the right key, then I had to dash to the airport to return to Los Angeles from Chicago, leaving us to figure out how and when to get the song recorded. Which meant I happily returned to Chicago shortly after, for the third time in five months, and Jason and I headed into the studio with the amazing Elliott Delman, a wonderful guitarist/composer with a remarkable musical history (including a collaboration with Dan Fogelberg whose early records were a soundtrack to my life for many years!).

Elliott Delman

With Elliott mastering the recording process and much of the instrumentation, and Jason handling acoustic guitars and drum programming, we spend an entire day in the studio doing something I’ve spent thousands of hours doing: taking a basic idea and building it into a – full-blown, put it on your iPod, listen to it in your car – piece of recorded music. A record. An mp3. A file. A disc. Whatever the format, it’s the music that counts.

Jason rocks

Though, actually, I wasn’t able to be there for the full ‘birthing process” this time around. After the basic tracks and vocals were done, schedules demanded that I leave it to the guys to finish it up (damn those long-distance relationships!)… which I believe they did to stellar results.

With the music done, we now leap into the commerce side, getting it out to song publishers and music supervisors we know, looking for the right soundtrack, the right show, the right artist to fall in love with it. Certainly let us know if you have ideas on any of that… we’ve got more coming.

So, as promised, I’m sharing the finished song. We call it a “country slow-dance heartbreak song.” It’s not twang country (anyone who knows me knows that’s simply not possible!), but it has a country/pop feel and instrumentation. You’ll see… it will hopefully touch a heartstring or two and make you want to slow dance with the person of your choice!

I’ve included the lyrics below, as requested. Since I well remember laying on the floor of my living room with the inside sleeve of whatever album I was listening to, singing along with the lyrics in my hand, I’m happy to oblige!

Enjoy…

You’re Still The One 

Words & Music by Lorraine Devon Wilke & Jason Brett

We were young, we were dreamers
We had time on our side
We had life, we had love, we had hope, we had … everything

We set out, we surrendered
We held on for the ride
Till the road we were on left us weary and wandering

You say time got the best of us
Maybe love got the worst
Now you stand at the door with your sorrows
Your goodbyes all rehearsed

CHORUS:
But there’s still a spark that’s holding us together
And you’re still the man who promised me forever
So I’ll tell you once again so you remember
You’re still the one… you’re still the one for me

You say love it was easy
It was life that was hard
And we were foolish to think we’d have everything

Now you beg my forgiveness
While you’re breaking my heart
Finding words to deny any reason for lingering

Now you’re ready to walk away
No more room for the fight
Should I listen and learn to forget you
Or convince you I’m right?

CHORUS:
That there’s still a spark that’s holding us together
And you’re still the man who promised me forever
So I’ll tell you once again so you remember
You’re still the one… you’re still the one for me

Bridge:
Yes, some dreams have been stolen
I’ve lost a few of my own
So we cry and we try but we hold on
To the love we have known

CHORUS:
Yes, there’s still a spark that’s holding us together
And you’re still the man who promised me forever
So I’ll tell you once again so you remember
You’re still the one, you’re still the one for me
You’re still the one… you’re still the one

© 2013

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

I Write The Songs That Make The Whole World… Well, I Write The Songs I Love And We’ll Go From There

SOMEW TRAYIN.QXD

I spent a weekend in Chicago recently with a group of old friends celebrating a birthday. This particular group embraces people from every era of my life – grade school, high school, college, and beyond – and every single one of them is supremely talented in one creative arena or several. Particularly music. Which meant the weekend, like all weekends with this group, was filled with music: the singing, playing and, this particular weekend, the writing of it.

Writing songs used to be a major part of my life. I wrote my first real song back in the 80s, a very era-centric pop ditty called The Ghost, which I co-wrote with the drummer and guitarist of my band, Tony Alexander and David Resnik, respectively. It had a boppy sing-along chorus and a great synth part and the words worked with the rhythm. That song, for some odd reason, became a popular tune in France and was one of the band’s top requested numbers at live gigs. And I was singing my words… I was hooked.

The process of songwriting was mentored for me by both players but mostly Tony, who, though a complex fellow I didn’t always understand, was a deeply creative musician who organically understood the flow, rhythm and meter of music. He taught me to listen to what the music communicated and trust what it told me. He taught me to trust my own skills as well, and gave me plenty of opportunities to practice them. I became a good songwriter, predominately a lyricist at that point, and we – Tony, David and I – wrote some great songs together. One of my favorites, one that also, strangely, made it to France, garnered us the attention of 80’s icon, Kim Fowley, who thought we “smelled like money,” as well as thought we had an 80s hit in “What Can I Do?While the song never fully blossomed into the commercial boon we hoped, it was one that remained emblematic of the mood and musical sensibilities of the era and our part in it. One of my dearest friends, Tina, knows she was the inspiration for the lyrics and to this day presumes most of my lyrics are about her. 🙂

DEVON band photo w-logo

I eventually began writing melodies as well as lyrics, a process that relied on my ability to grab the “music in my head,” since my hands never learned to play an instrument well enough to properly assist me in the task. I’d listen to a recorded track over and over, locked in my “songwriting bubble” of focused, meditative concentration, and eventually the melody (and the words) would come to me. Sort of magical, always very exciting. As I was sorting out these various songwriting methods that worked for me, I discovered that the process is as personal and individual as any craft and, as my own confidence rose, I listened and learned where I could, but also came to understand that no one else’s process need be my own. When I’d read articles about that great writer who “wrote 5 songs a day” and all I could manage were one or two a week, I didn’t let it bother me. When friends from Nashville told me everyone there sits in a room together and hashes out lyrics line by line, it wasn’t hard for me to say I worked alone inside that “bubble” to find the story of a song. When others said you should do this or that or the other… well, I followed my own drummer and became my own songwriter. We each have our way.

My second prolific songwriting period was what I called “the English chapter.” A couple of longtime Rod Stewart vets, the inimitable Jim Cregan and Kevin Savigar, were looking to put their own side project together, looking for a singer/lyricist specifically, and mutual contacts “made the marriage.” We worked together under the moniker Third Person (ironic that in the only band photo we took, Jim couldn’t be there so our “third person” was a mannequin!) and together, as well as with other writers the guys knew, we created a catalogue of songs that are still some of my favorites.

It was with “Tender Mercy” that I stepped up in this particular incarnation to first contribute melody parts. Both Jim and Kevin welcomed my contributions (and were very fun guys!), so writing with them, as well as with the other writers they brought along, was always fabulous. Lots of laughing and wine. Our process was, typically, that they’d give me already recorded music tracks with some melody ideas hummed over them, and I’d come up with the words. As we continued, tracks started to come without melodies so I could find my own, and, eventually, we started songs from scratch, sitting around Kevin’s music room or Jim’s Sunset Strip vintage condo bashing out songs we’d later record in some stellar Hollywood studio. Notable was the opportunity I had to provide Rod Stewart, at his request, with lyrics for the song that would ultimately become “Forever Young.” He didn’t use my words, but just the asking was a heady experience at that stage of my career!

After that chapter came a few years of writing and recording songs for films (my favorite being one I wrote with my old guitarist, David Resnik, for the independent film, To Cross the Rubicon, a tune called “I Surrender”). But the next big foray had to be my most profound and satisfying as a songwriter. I’d always wanted to write and record my own album; it was, in fact, a life-long dream. But as the music business undulated in the changing, churning tides of the digital and internet revolution of the 90s and into the 2000s, things changed. When piracy and downloading shattered all previously known paradigms, leaving the bar for “rock star success” so high and down so long and winding a road that few know how to follow, it became, for me, simply about the music.

In the early 2000s I started working with a deeply talented guitarist and songwriter, Rick M. Hirsch, doing a blues/rock gig, which was incredibly fun but largely built on classics rather than originals. Two years in, it finally felt time to create our own music and so we did. The first song we wrote together was built on a guitar riff Rick had in his personal library, one so evocative and emotional that I was immediately drawn to the melody and words of Drowning.” Songwriters are often asked what compelled certain lyrics, if they’re fact or fiction, and this one was definitely inspired by an outside source. Mira Nair had directed an emotionally wrenching film called Hysterical Blindness about a floundering young woman struggling with the fallout of her father’s abandonment and her own inability to find meaningful love, and the ache of that script jumped out at me; “Drowning” ended up being an homage to that very heartbreaking story.

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Another of my favorites from our collection was hatched in its melodic and lyrical entirety in the “songwriting bubble” inside my head, assisted by no music track or chord progression. It was just a musical line that ran over and over in my mind, its melody slowly attaching, with lyrics to follow. I sang it into a boom-box recorder (yes, that’s what we used back in those days!), gave Rick the cassette, and he came up with the chords and arrangement that not only supported it, but built on the words and melody. The song, Richer For Rain became an anthem of sorts, a testimonial to the triumph of realizing that one’s hurts and heartaches only add to the richness of who we ultimately become. It also became the title track of Rick’s and my CD of 11 original songs which, later, after the incarnation of our project took some turns, I released as a single artist under the new title, Somewhere On The Way (a refrain from “Richer For Rain”). That CD, a true labor of love and one I will remain forever proud of, is up at CDBaby and iTunes, if you’re interested.

While I continued to dabble in the craft even after that album was done and out in the world, as anyone reading this likely knows, my creative focus shifted more predominantly to other writing arenas: fiction, non-fiction, journalistic, etc. But the music Muse was always there, always tickling my brain with snippets of melodies and lines of verse that begged be formed into something cohesive and melodic. But circumstances to collaborate were fewer and farther between and so I suggested the Muse sit down for a bit, relax, and wait until some new turn of events offered an invitation. That came with this glorious gathering of friends.

One in particular, Jason Brett, is a brilliant and accomplished producer (About Last Night), entrepreneur (founder and CEO of MashPlant.com, an emerging artistic and educational platform for school/student interaction), and all-around creative enthusiast, who also happens to think I’m one of the funniest people on earth (the feeling is mutual so you can imagine the time we spend falling to the floor in laughter, particularly if certain mutual friends – Pam and Louie, that’s you! – are there to egg us on!), and while I was visiting recently, he pulled out his guitar and we sat quietly for about 30 minutes banging through a chord progression he came up with, recording it on our iPhones to listen to later.

Later was back home in Los Angeles; I ran it over and over, inviting my Muse to sit with me and see if there was something to hear and translate from the music. We listened, again and then again, and there it was… slowly emerging from the tinny, muddled recording on my phone. First a melody idea, than a lyric or two; before long the whole song flowed out of that progression and I rushed to type up the story that was being told. I went back to Chicago a couple of weeks ago and we sat around Jason’s music room to work out the bridge, find the right key, come up with the feel and flow of the arrangement and, before I hopped back on the plane, we had our song. It’s ready to be recorded, but we’ve decided to accrue a few more before we go into a studio to experience something both long-distant and oh-so-familiar to me, as well as one of the most exhilarating experiences any singer/songwriter can possibly have: going into a good studio with excellent musicians and top-knotch technicians to record a song you wrote. Nothing much better than that in the spectrum of creative experiences.

I’m writing about this today because it reminded me of how powerful and energizing the creative process can be – whatever creative process – and how life can prove so circular and unpredictable. How things that once seemed to have disappeared can come back anew; how something we long ago abandoned or felt we had to put aside can suddenly move right into the forefront to bring us back to some part of ourselves we loved… and missed. My Muse is delighted to be back in the room. I’m delighted to have her there.

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.