The new fund-raising record for Mercy Ships is almost out and I’ve started planning a tour but the Mercy Ships Reunion has struck me – the intimacy and connection singing in someone’s lounge has collided with the amazing support from people like you to inspire me to ditch the stage for your sitting room! We can get up close and personal with the new songs while we celebrate the journey of releasing the record together. Just imagine having your best friends and me gathered in one room for a live performance of the record – so close you can reach out and touch the songs and their stories. This beats a ‘normal’ live concert with a powerful feeling of connection, presence and intimacy – the songs and the sound in a candle lit lounge room or a sun-drenched summer porch give the music a chance to breathe, and emotions are free to roam wild. It’s a unique, irreplaceable, once-off, beautifully memorable experience.
It’s actually the easiest thing in the world to host me … well, maybe second easiest, right after breathing. You send me an invitation, we agree on a date when I can make it to where you are (I’ve already got flights to the USA booked plus NZ locations too), you invite some friends around and set up a comfy space in which to enjoy the music. It really is that simple 🙂
Music is one of the key elements of what makes us human. Once upon a time we gathered around the fire to tell stories and sing songs and a house concert is simply friends and family gathering again to listen to stories told by troubadours whose lives are dedicated to putting to music the deeper journeys we all share as humans. By having me play at your place you are a direct patron of the arts within your community, and you support the creation of authentic, worthwhile art by giving artists like me a sustainable platform from which to share our heart’s songs. The value of this goes far beyond what I have the words to communicate here.
Darth Vader is not my first choice of musical collaborator.
If I needed to destroy a planet, or cut off my arm – believe me – he’d be the first Sith Lord I’d call.
Strangely though after writing “6 Things Darth Vader Would Say About My Album” [below] he showed up at my studio telling me he had always been misunderstood as a performing artist and that his velvet voice was just looking for the right opportunity to break out of his haunting helmet.
I protested but he started saying things like “I am altering the deal, pray I do not alter it any further” so I decided I’d just smile and hit ‘record’.
So …. ladies and gentlemen, Stormtroopers and Sith Lord’s … I give you Darth Vader rocking out my song “I Believe In You”!
To get the REAL version of my song sign up on the right.
6 Things Darth Vader Would Say About My Album
“You are unwise to lower your defenses!”
At this point, just about every musician knows that writing songs and recording them to share with the world is not just some 9 to 5 gig. You need to be prepared for the things that people are going to say about your songs – it’s too loud – it’s too quiet – why didn’t you use ukeleles – what’s with all the guitars …
Although you may feel a strong desire to use The Force to make sure everyone likes what you do (however handy that would be) there are plenty of Midi-chlorian in the sea … umm, did I just confuse two sayings?
Regardless, the Bible guides us to “guard our hearts” “they are the wellspring of life”. So the first step when you’re baring your soul and sharing your creativity with strangers is to understand that people will be disinterested or even down-right rude about it.
But as Mother Teresa put it “Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.”
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
I have to agree with Mr V. on this. It’s taken me over 20 years to get my “a” into “g” and make this recording. For most of those years I’ve settled for the status quo. I haven’t taken a risk and put my money where my mouth is – literally, I didn’t put my (or anyone else’s) hard earned cash on the table to pay for recording.
Let me say that you are, in fact, allowed to think that it really is just too big and too hard to do what God is asking you to do.
But I guess we all come to a point where we ask ourselves if we’re going to believe God or settle for what we can imagine. You’ve got to “gird yourself with the belt of truth” and tell yourself that “courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; the brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all”.
“You don’t know the power of the dark side!”
We all have to deal with doubt. Even during this recording I have had times when I’ve thought “who am I kidding, no one wants these songs”. I’ve wanted to give up and run away. It’s a long hard process and it can feel very lonely.
Life can feel like you’re in a death choke struggling to breathe (queue DV’s laboured breathing).
But when I’ve realised that lies I’m listening to have got me by the throat I’m suddenly let loose.
I’ve reminded myself that so many people have been bugging me for so long to record these songs for them. It’s never a bad time to “put on the helmet of salvation” – the renewed mind – rather than a E-3778Q-1 helmet in gloss black finish.
“Impressive, most impressive.”
If it wasn’t for the amazing group of talented people who have turned this recording from an idea into a reality there would be no songs.
Watching Andy Mak craft the songs in the studio, or Tez Mercer let loose the lighting during the photo shoot, or Al tweak the album graphics is something amazing to witness.
God has gifted everyone with talents and abilities and to see people bring those together is awe inspiring … we’re not made to go it alone so get together with others and let yourself loose to do your thing!
“Only now at the end do you understand.”
When I finally made the decision to record the album I had no idea how big a task it really was, how it would make me grow, the amazing people I would meet and work with, or the incredible thigns that would happen along the way.
Looking back over this project I can see what God was up to but I’ve got to be frank and say that if I had known what He was going to orchestrate I would probably been too terrified and would have just done what I did for the previous 20 years – nothing.
Now I see the wisdom in a little poem I loved as a young Christian:
My life is but a weaving between my God and me I cannot choose the colours He weaveth steadily Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper and I the underside Not ’til the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly Will God unroll the canvas and reveal the reason why.
“As you wish.”
Aka “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” rolls easliy off the tongue …
But once I faced the fact that I hadn’t charged the hyperdrive or got lessons with my lightsabre but had instead spent the years sitting around on Tattoine looking up at the night sky expecting God to change the orbit of the planets to “make it happen” then I found myself reciting the rest of that poem:
The dark threads are as needful in the weaver’s skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned He knows, He loves, He cares; nothing this truth can dim. He gives the very best to those who leave the choice to Him.
If God had told me to record these songs all these years and I hadn’t then how could I say I was seeking to do His will with my life? Knowing His choice what was I doing about it?
Swallowing hard that day I could almost hear that cold metallic voice repeating “as You wish …”
Darth Vader has taught me much about making an album – in fact it was his idea to record a quick demo of one of the songs off my album to showcase his velvet voice … c’mon … I know that you’ve been reading through this saying Darth’s lines with your hand cupped over your face so why not have listen to ‘DJ DV’ rocking out my song “I Believe In You” right here and leave your comments below 🙂
Recording after 20 years of silence I figured I’d bang out some tunes at a local studio. I never expected this crazy ride! In Jan I found myself at Enterprise Studios, North Hollywood. I never planned or paid for studio time. This “crazy chance” became surreal when I read the studio plaque! Here’s my video inside the studios to see why I’m blown away…
Did you see the list of artists who have worked in the studios? Red Hot Chilli Peppers, U2, Aerosmith (going back aways there …), Celine Dion (eek!), Christina Aguilera, Megadeath(?!?!), Korn, Marilyn Manson (maybe that’s not so good), Black Eyed Peas, System of a Down, Beyonce, and Pink … and me 🙂 I worked on the album mixes for you in the very same rooms that this list of artists have worked in!!!
Now I know that’s kinda unbelievable but I’m getting kind of used to crazy “coincidences” occurring as I’ve been working on this album project … and this is the latest in a long line of “coincedences”! So maybe I’m just lucky?!?!?!? Well, here’s one of my favourite sayings – “luck is what a fool calls it when God gives him a break” – and we just got another BIG break :p
So what do you think about that?!?!? Comment beloooooooooow 🙂
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I’ve had my ears glued to my studio monitors, car stereo, headphones, iPhone & laptop speakers since my last post as I’ve been listening to and reviewing the amazing mixes Josh has been doing – this is an incredible privilege to have Andy and Josh in this project – they’re making world-class music for you guys. How world class?
The songs aren’t even finished but already a radio station in Paris has picked up Dead Man Walking and put it on air! Imagine, together, where we’re gonna take this music when the tracks are finished!
I bet you never thought the process of recording and releasing took this much work huh?!?!?!?! If only a global record company came along and signed me up and did it all for me while I sat in a Parisian cafe drinking espresso … and was BORED! I’m having so much fun doing this for all you guys all over the world – you are my precious musical family and I can’t wait to get the songs and more out to you!
Stay tuned (in comedian circles that’s referred to a call-back to the previous news about the Paris radio station … and you thought my lame jokes didn’t even have any thought to them :p)!
10/15/13: It’s been a BIG 24 hours! We had a whole bunch more people jump on board and we sailed past the $2,000 mark and are now past $2,100 too! All because of Phil Larsen, Olivia Jacob (who funded for a 2nd time in the campaign), Clint and Mark Smith.
10/11/13: It’s my birthday on Oct 22 while I’m in the studio recording this project so instead of getting gifts I’m adding more rewards! Have a look below and grab them before time is UP!
I’m going to randomly select TWO people (below the Breve Boatswain Reward level) to each get a bag of my favourite coffee, personally selected by me, from Altura – New Zealand’s award winning coffee roaster – it’s the ONLY coffee I love to drink!
News and updates on a private web page with the latest milestones, progress and step-by-step “goings on” during the recording, manufacture, design and release of the EP
A personal handwritten “thank you” postcard sent out by mail … old school I know!
Watch over my shoulder as I pen the words that finally became the EP songs! You’ll seeing me crafting or killing all my crazy lyric ideas – you’ll watch a time-lapse development of the EP songs – the death of the words that didn’t make the cut and those that made it!
During the evening of one of the days recording at The Grove Studios in Sydney join me for “fireside chat session” with YOU – the supporters of the project – we can ‘chat’ online about what’s been happening in the studio, who’s been laying down the tracks, the challenges we’ve had, the success, behind the scenes stories and how good the coffee is [very very important!] plus anything else you want to talk about while I’m at the studios – this is your chance to do an online real-time interview during an ongoing recording project
I’ll give you a Private Concert – in person anywhere within 300km of Auckland OR online streamed to you anywhere in the world. Grab your friends at your place, or have me show up at your church, or put on your own gig – it’s your choice – this reward is available for this level only or Mocha Maritime Pilot level or above
Get the rewards before it’s too late – only 6 days left! ___________________________________________________________________
10/11/13: With Donna backing this we’re almost at $1700 … will YOU push us over? ___________________________________________________________________
10/10/13: It’s fantastic having Simon and Matt – a couple of Wellington boys – pushing us on and showing us how it’s done … so who’s gonna put us past $1700 – will it be the Wellingtonian’s who show the rest of the world how to rock the boat? ___________________________________________________________________
10/01/13: There’s a couple more videos for you to watch: See what happens when Mercy Ships NZ sails into West Africa – it’s mercy in action and where my song “Hope On My Horizon” gets some of its inspiration from
[insert MS video here]
And there’s the “who’s who” of contributors in a video update of our journey so far
I was SCARED of doing this project! I don’t mean the songwriting and recording and supporting Mercy Ships part – I love all of that.
I was afraid of running this online RocketHub fund. The EP project is actually costing tens of thousands of dollars but I just couldn’t bring myself to load a RocketHub ‘target’ with the actual cost … so I chickened out and low-balled it at USD$1500.
What was I thinking! I should have known better when so many amazing people have supported me … and so here we are! We’ve hit the RocketHub ‘target’ which is more than USD$12,500 away from the real costs of making this EP.
The show will go on regardless of where we end up so don’t worry – I’m booked into the studio in Sydney 21 Oct and you’ll get all your goodies 🙂
I want to say a huge thank you for all the support so far but DON’T QUIT NOW!
We’ll sail together helping Mercy Ships help the forgotten poor – let’s rock this boat!
This Recording Project is not about prancing around in a studio recording some songs. If you climb on board you’ll also help those who are sick and suffering in West Africa through my partnership with Mercy Ships NZ. The song I wrote for Mercy Ships NZ “Hope On My Horizon” kick-started this whole project and Mercy Ships NZ will not only get to use the song for free but they’ll also get 50% of profits of the sale of the song too!
So all you need to do is select the “Rock the Boat Reward” you’d like and you’ll not only help power this RocketHub project but you’ll bring hope and healing to West Africa.