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MIDEM 2016

midem

Can you imagine my excitement, travelling to Cannes for Midem 2016?

Went with no expectations just a handful of choice confirmed meetings, my ‘flying yellow welly-boot’ handbag, ‘paper cloud’ promo pack (of course) and wearing my “fun doesn’t even start to describe it” grin!

Met with Sony Publishing, who requested I send some Mee Music songs, after speaking at length about my desire for song placements.  (Got so many of them, just need to find them some homes/launch pads!)

Met with Metropolis publishing, sync and label and we are just prepping materials to send to the team as i type this post.

Made some über techy, new, super cool, life long friends from The ZYX who are working with Mee to provide an online merchandise shop for all you happy shopper FANS!  You are gonna love the merchandise people!

So watch this website space and FaceBook for the launch of the Mee And The Band shopping Stand…(or some such name, we’re working on that too!)

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The venue was huge and excellently well organised.  The sandy beach and yacht-parking harbour, a stones throw away, i did manage to swim in the sea which was soooo warm!

The sun was out, the rain poured down all the while I relished in the adventure.  Saw some fantastic acts, went to some Duracell battery after parties, (that could sound dodgy, but I meant the parties went on and on and on!).

Thank you to all those I met and i look forward to doing business with you soon.

midem 50th

 

 

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New Sound for 2016!

It’s been a long while since the last blog…

Mee And The Band’s love affair with Gypsy Jazz in 2015 was so beautifully filled with making new life long friendships, giving the inspiration to write new songs and dressing up retro, as you see from the Instagram moments and FaceBook photos.

The Jazz scene in London, however stylish was not my current heart’s calling…

So, I followed the my heart strings back to ‘POP’!

Busy in the bat cave, inventing new stage craft deliveries and attracting new team mates…the universe led me to RYAN OMAMORI, a hugely talented musician and producer and inspiring light being with whom I have connected with through music and visionary collective dreams…

We have been collaborating our efforts to bring you some new songs while also reinventing the sound scape of the same songs you are familiar with.

Currently in the midst of production, recording and rehearsing for our 2016 gigs and Simon Gogerly, is still mixing for us, so we are aiming to have this new sound launched by May 2016.

Watch this space…..

Here’s Ryan on the Bass…soon to be witnessed live within Mee And The Band.

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Check his sounds out here….

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Random games I play…

When focusing on my breath isn’t cutting it and I need to raise my joy levels, this is what I do…

I play a little game…

If I have a particularly difficult person to deal with I throw daffodils at them in my mind.  I especially do this game on approach to a moody guard or entrance attendant, or if I see someone coming with a complaint…

I also pretend I have a cannon of love power in my chest and while they are moaning or talking I imagine it charging and and firing Love Bombs at them, it works wonders at keeping me happy, but even better, sometimes it has surprising results!

Yes I might be crazy, but whatever works to keep me in my happy zone right?

Experiment for yourself.

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What every artist should know…

Most recently I have joined what I call a course for mentoring your passion.  Before I  get into it and sing it’s praises thus far, here is the link https://www.udemy.com/the-art-of-meaning-make-your-life-matter/  check it out and see the content for yourself.

I have had a few assignments and a 1 to 1 Skype session with course facilitator Chris Paradox, which has all blown me right out the water so far.  My first assignment funnily enough I wanted to do before I had even heard of and joined this course and that was to write my life story in the form of a fairy tale.  Such a valuable exercise which helps me see clearer than ever the chapters that took place in my life and why they were so important to get me to the point where i am now.

I hope to share this life story assignment with you on my blog in a little while.

We also had to imagine our own funeral in detail and write eulogies on behalf of 3 people that would speak about us and our lives.  A hugely moving and tear jerking experience in and of itself.

Within these processes we are declaring what our lives have amounted to, thus far in our own opinions and what we would like to imagine them having amounted to up to our own deaths.  This included considering all the achievements and feats of life yet to be lived, which meant declaring our most huge unashamed visions and dreams and sharing them within the group which has a way of concreting it and putting all your vulnerabilities to air at the same time.  Fear of ridicule that your dreams and aspirations are far too far fetched that we are not up to the bars we set i.e. addressing possible failure etc…

Shish! Then comes the one to one… I will try to do the eloquence of Mr Christopher Paradox’s mentoring.  It went something like this.

Mee: “ Wow Chris, the homework assignments left em feeling pretty exposed and vulnerable and I had a breakdown this weekend, because it came to my attention just how far removed i was from my wildest dreams from happening….bla bla blu bla”

Chris: “Well let’s get something straightened out right form the off, you didn’t have a break down, you had a “Renewal Phase”.  I’ll explain it further so you can welcome this new label into your life.

Like many unrealised artists, going through the school system, unfortunately there is no careers officer and workshop in school give you the option of being an artist and validating it as a valid and achievable career choice.  If they did offer it as a choice, here’s what the job criteria would sound like….

ARTIST: ‘ Looking for a highly self motivated individual, with an insatiable thirst for self educating in all things humanitarian.  An individual that can make choices following their heart not their head, which often leads them into challenging relationships and situations forcing them to experience the human experience to an extreme, through a great trauma.

Achieving Mastery as an Artist, requires a twist of activism.  A drive to contribute and change the world for the better, while still remain gin at peace with it moment to moment.  This includes finding it in themselves to forgive all human beings and themselves, find peace compassion in the most torturous situation life can conjure for that individuals soul to endure and then to add extra pressure, bare their soul for all to see through their chosen form of art.  Strip down their guard and defences and share their own personal stories so as too give other humans the tools to learn from their own experience.  Thus the artist proves that the collective need is greater than that of their own egotistical protection, by constantly challenging their own embarrassment, their own take of failure and possible ridicule.

A raw place to be in at the best of times let alone when one is wounded, suffering and on the edge.  This on the edge human experience, is sometimes labelled bi-polar, depression, imbalance, extreme highs and low swings, but how else is an artist able to fully comprehend the human experience unless in the realm of extremes.  Have we ever come across an artist who has stood the test of time in expressing life’s mediocre middle of the road safe path, I don’t think so, the path less trodden is the path that exhilarates the art lover, in painting, story, song and dance.  Burning a new path and forging ahead where no human has gone before takes extreme vision,  applied focus and huge self drive.  To achieve this state of being one must shun one’s own deepest fears to the side and deny them a voice for a time, daring greatly to be bold and try something new.  With great vision and powerful positive intent

It is in times of inaction, when emails are not responded to, phone calls aren’t answered, people do not want to engage in a project, that is when isolation comes flooding back and with it all out washed up denied fears and worst case scenarios and nightmares.  These times are necessary too,  the opposite extreme, is to acknowledge a human’s or worldly worst fears, nightmares and failures, it is in these deep dark times that we recoil and go within finding even greater reason and even more motivation and strength to spring back with renewed vigour.

These times are called RENEWAL PHASES, not depression, not imbalance, not failure but Renewal and should be recognised as such.  Recognising and living through these phases and swings are the attributes of a greta artist/activist.”

I hope I did Chris justice there, that’s certainly what I took from his pep talk it hugely comforted and reassured me that I am not alone, even though intellectually I know I am not, in periods of darkness, I can forget I belong to a collective called the human race which all shares human emotion and trials and tribulations.  The higher achiever and drowning in darkness experience can create the greatest sense of isolation and being alone in the world.  This in itself is a great test, for we are never truly alone and we must go within to explore what that actually means, finding a source or something to connect to.

In my mind and heart, the definition of an artist is someone who, risks doing what they love doing, even though it may not bring them wealth, or recognition, even though it may not gain approval, even though it may bring up all their worst feelings and thoughts…It is someone who lives through all that and tries and tries again, through knock downs and set backs and keeps going and does it anyway.  Someone who invents new ways of being, thinking, feeling for themselves, someone who is always trying to improve and better themselves.  Someone who cares above all other things, to focus on Love and all living things.

ARTISTs are pioneer, front line freedom fighters, out there on the leading edge!

Check out https://www.udemy.com/the-art-of-meaning-make-your-life-matter/

It’s a community of support and reinvention.

See you there.

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Life of an Artist – ups and downs.

The question that’s so loaded for Mee…”What do you do?”

That always stumps me, it does! I’m still not comfortable saying I’m a singer song writer, because I am so much more than that.

I’d like to say, “I’m an Artist”, so convincingly and really own it, but that stumps me too.

I worry about people’s reactions and judgements.  “Ooh how lovely!  What’s your art?”

Well how do I answer that….This is what I would like to say.

I have dedicated my entire life, since leaving home at 17, to study the self.  I have studied with the greats, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Ala, Louise Hay, Abraham Hicks, the higher self, the great mystery and spiritual unknown.  I have delved deeper into the never-ending abyss that is my mind, heart and soul about every topic life had to throw at me.  For the soul purpose of learning how to apply compassion and wisdoms in life to better not just my human experience but the rest of humanities too.  Life threw some curve balls, disease, healthy relationships, relationship break ups, conception, pregnancy, birth, motherhood, fatherhood, the family court system, pain, heartache, hate, depression, suffering, loss, hope, faith etc etc.

During my life, poetry, lyrics and melody, seemed to arrive in my head and heart without me consciously deciding to sit down and try.  Sure sometimes I have worked on a song and refined it, but generally it is not something I remember choosing.  For fear of sounding full of myself, I have felt chosen and compelled to express these songs and share them with who ever so shall listen.

I have tried to do the norm to just bring in the money, countless jobs that never lasted more than a year.  Barclays insurance clerk, teaching assistant, gardner, butcher, live in care giver, check out girl, bar tender, coffee barrister, you name it…all the while I scribbled furiously in my lunch breaks and coffee breaks into my poetry pads, to capture the loop of songs in my head, that would otherwise be playing endlessly. Once on paper and created into “a thing”, they stop playing in my head and I become emptied and ready for the new to be received.  It might seem like a curse sometimes for some, (a but like schizophrenia) but I often experience my world and immediate experience in song.  Really if you lived a day in my mind you’d be living in your own private musical.

So at a turning point in my life, after realising that music was always on the back burner and I always had a plan B in action never allowing myself to fully commit to being a musical artist, I never had the guts to fully immerse myself in putting the music first, thereby never really giving it a fighting chance.  So I decided to turn the tables after years of denial and fear and focus on it whole heartedly.

Brave you might say? Lucky maybe? But the feelings that rise in me are delusional.  It’s difficult enough being self employed without having to bare your soul to the surrounding world and say here I am exposed and in the flesh.  When I am in full swing creation I am super high and happy, occupied and sure of myself, inspired with positive action.  I know the cliche that we all have ups and downs, but when I am low it’s during periods of inaction or calms before the storm of reinvention, worrying of the future and lack of recognition of army work.

Most recently I decided to go completely solo working only with a producer, I have always created my songs solo, perhaps delivering them to a band and rehearsing, but performing solo is something I have done very little of.  I’ve most always had a guitar, or piano and when I just had my voice, I found that the audience was most engaged.  No distractions, no pretence or hiding behind something or someone, just stripped back, a human being with all insecurities and doubts exposed and open for ridicule.  That’s been my most exhilarating times.

So in the last 3 years my artistry involves the following…

Condensing my life’s work of song catching, into digestible chapters, grouping them in to common Humanitarian themes.

This very quickly became 6 albums of songs.  THE MIND, LOVE AND LUST, CONFLICT, NONSENSE, FAMILY, DEATH and more songs being born every week, the most recent album on WINTER.

This is what “I do” or “have done” at certain times…

I set about recording about 15 songs per album.  Creating 2 CD’s worth of album artwork.

This meant, having a visual vision of expressing the content, becoming a production team project, budgeting, managing groups of people to help make that a reality.  Making vision boards to share and discuss with professionals, prop sourcing or prop making, set designing, employing make up artists, photographers, graphic designers, communicating website maintenance, sourcing printers, printing, speaking to music producers, mastering, visiting Abbey Roads, getting in contact with management companies, entering song competitions, running 3 bands, firing said bands with boring bridges or offending, going solo and no reinventing the sound, endless daily hours of rehearsing, choreographing, drafting stage banter, hiring venues, employing sound engineers, paying the band every single time, organising band rehearsals, managing band members, promoting gigs, printing and designing flyers, contacting radio stations newspapers magazines.  Always working from 9am-2.30pm and 9pm-11pm most days.  Working every other weekend and thinking and plotting like an all consuming think tank 24/7.

The term Artist means; “A person who practises or performs any of the creative arts.” But there’s so much more to it, than that as you can see above.

My false belief is that our success is measured by our monetary profit and so in social situations I immediately assume that others must see me as a failure, because I have only turned a loss every year.  Which means I see myself through their eyes, saying ‘artist’ meaning, ‘lower than working class’, because you couldn’t even call it work, it’s a luxury being funded by the goodness of my loved ones hearts.  When I look at other artists I feel worse, I see them as competitors and peers doing seemingly much better and being much more successful.  I must be selfish and self absorbed, scared of committing to an honest days graft, a cop-out for not doing a meaningful job that can tangibly be proved.  I still have super low days where I think, “what’s the point” what if I stopped doing what I am doing? Would anybody really care, probably not, everyone’s wrapped u in their own busy lives, which is fine.  …bla blu bla, the voices in my head are relentless with this ilk of shite.

So I try to counter all these false beliefs, by looking at my achievements and seeing how much I have created and made available to the world, for sharing.  I try not to measure myself and create for creations sake, perhaps somewhere, somehow, a line or melody has stuck with someone, meant something, given comfort, food for thought.  Much like a good novel, or a beautiful painting or a friendly chat, that can move or stir something profound in someone’s soul.  I hope that I am paving the way for other people (especially my children) to follow their passions, regardless of social norms.

Who is really listening?  My soul and the divine mystery are and thanking me for expressing life in my own way everyday.

Even if anyone wasn’t listening I would still be compelled to do what i do, because It is and always has been my way of coping with life.  My free therapy.  And I am extremely proud of myself at how I have met life’s challenges.  I could have easily, become a bitter, resentful hating, blaming person, but I chose instead to find freedom in daily forgiveness, saying sorry, accepting responsibility for other people’s harmful behaviour to be a direct mirror of how I could better improve myself to be a kinder more loving human being.

So I guess, the next time someone asks me…”what do you do?” I’ll tell them this…

“I express life, as compassionately, responsibly and lovingly as possible, finding a fun and creative way to share it with as many people as possible.”  (Bit of a mouthful but that’s my truth).

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Song Writing Scores 8/10 by Industry Pro’s!

Stuart Epps and his team at The Uk song writing contest …

Have graded my song TO DO LIST an 8 / 10 !

I couldn’t be happier.  Here’s the grading system.

The standard in this contest is very high and the marking is very strict but fair. The music industry knows this, and this is one of the many reasons that this contest has such good reputation.

A low score of 1 or 2 indicates that the song was considered to be poorly written in comparison to other songs in the contest. It indicates that in the judges opinion the song needs either almost complete re writing or, especially in the case of a score of 1, abandoning.

A score of 3 indicates that the song follows accepted standards of song form and that the writer shows potential and some songwriting ability and talent. But the song is among the weakest songs in the contest and it will certainly benefit from re working and re writing. Few songs receive low scores of 3 and below and receiving one of these scores is a clear sign to look critically at your songwriting style and approach.

A score of 4, 5 and 6 indicates that the writer has demonstrated real songwriting ability and understanding and songs with these scores will usually receive a Commended Entry Certificate. The UKSC attracts a high standard of entries and the majority of songs in this contest will usually fall somewhere in this range. A score of 6 is regarded as a borderline semi finalist score and indicates that the song very nearly made it into the semi finals.

Songs with a high score score of 7 or 8 are awarded a semi finalist position and certificate and are considered by the judges to be among the top songs in the contest. A score of 8 indicates that the song was a borderline Finalist. (whoo hoo that’s Mee)

Judges included.

Shelly Peiken is a Multi-Platinum Album, Grammy nominated hit songwriter who is well known for her #1 hits “What a Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby” with Christina Aguilera. She earned a Grammy nomination for the song “Bitch” recorded by Meredith Brooks.
She is a very succesful and talented songwriter with songs recorded by Meat Loaf, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Ronan Keating, Backstreet Boys, Cher, Gladys Knight, Gloria Gaynor, Lindsay Lohan, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, NSYNC and many more famous names. She has had hundreds of songs placed on albums and in TV and films.

Stuart Epps is particularly well known for his work with Elton John, Robbie Williams, Led Zeppelin, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Paul Weller, Oasis and many others.

Marc (Kipper) Eldridge (pictured with UKSC winner Emma Fitzsimons) is one of the UK’s most eminent producers and composers. He has two Grammy Awards and also an Emmy Award and his albums have sold more than 15 million copies. He is well known as Sting’s producer and musical director and he produced (and performed on) Sting’s album Brand New Day and the Platinum albums All This Time and Sacred Love and produced/performed on all Sting’s musical output between 1998 and 2005. He has also worked with Stevie Wonder, James Morrison, Mary J Blige, James Taylor, Richard Marx, Clay Aiken, Chris Botti, Gary Numan, Catherine Zeta Jones and Curtis Stigersamong many others. Find out more at kippermusic.co.uk

Richard Niles is an award winning Hollywood producer, arranger and broadcaster who found great success in London where he had his own studio. For much of his career he lived and worked in London and his list of credits includes Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Westlife, Michael McDonald, Take That, Mariah Carey, Cher, James Brown, Pat Metheny, Ray Charles, Tina Turner and many more. For more info visit richardniles.com

And many more, check out the website for more details.

This competition was so valuable to me, as I have had my song writing validated to a very high standard and know that it is all down to personal opinion and taste in the latter stages of the competition. Combined with this competition and Music Xray reviews, production is the main focus that needs reinventing, which is just what i have been doing…

Experimenting with the ‘sound wizard’ that is Michael Palmer of Born Musicians and hopefully soon to be experimenting with RyanTheGecko and of course Simon Gogerly is ever present.

WATCH THIS SPACE…LOOK OUT 2016

Here I come!1360233173

 

 

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Jeff James/Director of A&R – Sony Music Entertainment Review…

THANKS TO MUSICXRAY I WAS ABLE TO ASK JEFF FOR A PERSONAL REVIEW, HERE’S WHAT HE SAID…

Hello Alexandra and Mee And The Band!

First, thank you for submitting your song and seeking my opinion.

“Legacy Of Love!” It’s a little slow for me but it does showcase your vocals. You are talented.

I checked your website and I really enjoyed your visual direction and creativity.

You’re acapella music is very cool – “Feather up There”

Your branding and logo looks great.

Other artists I think about when I listen (I don’t like comparing artists to other artists) are Portishead, Imogen Heap, Sia, and Dido.

Your voice could do anything.

Good Luck!

Jeff

THANKS JEFF!

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