Tag Archives: Recording

Faith, Doubt, Patience And Getting Famous

I wonder what it’s like to be the friends and family of U2 or Pearl Jam or Paul McCartney. I wonder what it was like growing up with them, having no idea they would become huge, international rock stars. I wonder if there were doubters. I wonder how their parents felt about the fact that they spent hours on end writing songs and playing guitar in their basements instead of doing homework. I wonder how they feel now.

I know there are doubters among my friends and family and acquaintances. I won’t say who they are. It’s annoying to me that people ask, “well, do you know what you would do if music doesn’t work out?” It’s just their way of saying, “You’re destined to fail. You need a backup plan.” Maybe I’m crazy, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I’ll make it. I don’t care about being famous. I just don’t want to have a day job. More importantly, though, I want to dedicate my life to music because it’s my most meaningful way of dedicating my life to God. I know I’m a good songwriter, and I know that talent came from him. I can’t do anything else because I feel like I would be wasting that talent.

Furthermore, I’ve already put so much time, money, effort and prayer into this dream of mine. I feel that, as a Christian songwriter, I have an obligation to spread a message. A week ago I was thinking; why did God make us in the first place? It’s not a thought that had ever really struck me. It had crossed my mind before, but I had never really thought about it. The conclusion that I came to after some reading and thinking was that God made us because he loves us. Before we were made we were loved. Furthermore, God is good, so we are good and the world is good because he made all that exists. I feel obligated to share that message LOUDLY.

Admittedly, I do want music to work out for selfish reasons. I don’t want to sit behind a computer for several hours a day researching or editing articles or whatever it is most English majors end up doing. I don’t want to teach either. I definitely don’t want to teach. All of it sounds boring, tedious and unfulfilling. I get so much joy and fulfillment from performing and writing songs, partly because it’s fun, and partly because I know people are hearing what I really want them to hear.

Sometimes trying to get gigs and only getting to play two songs at church open mics or tiny restaurants is frustrating, but I know it really is all worth it because it’s better than nothing, and will amount to something eventually. I do believe that God will open doors for me, like he already has, and this project will go somewhere. I have found that I get in my own way sometimes. It’s easy to forget that it’s all for his glory and not mine. I get a giant ego trip from applause and compliments after my sets, and I have to be careful of that. I’m not too worried, though. Doubters can be frustrating, but I know this is going in the right direction. I just have to be patient. That’s something I have trouble with sometimes. I’ll get to where I need to be eventually. I’m just a passenger on this crazy road trip anyway.

The Latest Version of “Passenger”

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Slipping

Today in chapel, the speaker talked about living for something worth dying for: giving everything are and everything you have to Jesus, and using all your resources to make the world a better place. It kind of made me feel bad to be honest. It sounds easy in a way; praise the Lord, pray for the world and be nice to people. On another level it’s really hard. I don’t know what it means to give all I have, partly because I feel like I don’t have much to give. I’m broke, so I can’t donate anything, and I’m disabled, so I can’t go anywhere and offer service to anyone.

I know that dedicating my musical ambitions to God is a good thing, and I know praying is a good thing. I do both of those. I pray every night, and I’m still trying to maintain that kicked-in-the-pants drive when it comes to music. I go to the studio once a week, which I’ve been doing for a while, and I’ve been practicing and writing more than usual lately. I’ve also been doing research when I have time, on top of school. I just feel like my mood is slipping. I think I know why, and I think it suffices to say that it probably has something to do with lady issues.

I’m on Spring Break as of Thursday, and I’ll be busy enough, which will be good. I’m playing at an open mic on Wednesday, March 12, and I have a recording session the following night. I’ve also been in touch with a woman who is very interested in becoming a songwriting/performing duo. She was the only person who replied to the craigslist ad I sent out last week, and she’s several years older than I am, but she seems very nice, and we seem to have the same idea of where we want our music to go. She’s also Christian and is committed to using music to glorify God, which is the whole point of this craziness. I’ll be meeting up with her either at the open mic or some other time next week. It should be super cool.

I guess I have to keep things in perspective. I prayed earlier today that God would give me patience and courage. I think great things can come of my project, but it’s going to take time. I’m just too expectant for results now. I’m hoping my new potential band mate (Sam) can give me some pointers, because I think she has a little more performing experience than I do.

I’ll leave you guys with some song lyrics

I will sing Hallelujah
‘Cause there is good in things and I believe it
I can see that it’s true
And it’s beautiful

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Bystander Effect

Yesterday in my philosophy class we talked about the bystander effect. We talked about how a group of people will stand and watch a child drown purely because there are other people there. People seem to have a mentality of “no one else is helping, why should I?” It’s why the genocide of the Jews in Germany was even possible.

It’s also why there are millions of starving children in the wold. We talked about how it seems that a person who is able to help should be morally obligated to from an egalitarian viewpoint. We talked about how people act based on social norms and an innate sense of self preservation and how this does not  seem to correlate with egalitarianism or a common sense of compassion.

It disturbed me a little in class, but we have talked about this kind of thing numerous times before in other classes mainly on a theoretical level. It sunk in however when I read an add in the school bulletin that gets sent out once a day via email. A girl was asking for help with a public speaking project she had coming up and I almost replied, but then I thought, “Well, she probably already has several other people offering to help her and I’m busy.” It is midterms. What if everyone else was “too busy” as well? I most likely have a few hours to spare some time this week. Am I morally obligated to help that girl?

Something else struck me today. I remembered that Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you.” Why? Is it because people aren’t helping? Is it because of economic or social structures, as some would argue? Do they bring poverty upon themselves? Is it forced upon them? What bothers me most is that word always. Is there nothing we can do to stop it? Is poverty an undying force that can’t be stopped?

A question that plenty of people deal with all the time is; why, if God is good does he allow suffering? I don’t have an answer to that. Everyone suffers in one way or another. It’s because we live in an imperfect world. What I really don’t get is why some people suffer WAY more than others. What’s more is that often times, the more people suffer, the stronger their faith is. In fact, many people bring suffering upon themselves to strengthen their spiritual life. The thing about our God is that he suffered for us, and he suffers with us. I know that, but I don’t entirely know what it means. God is with us and he is with us in our suffering, but what does it mean that he suffers too? I think if I could figure that out I would understand a lot of other things as well.

Last semester in my creative nonfiction writing class I read a short piece called “Being Christ to the Traveler.” In short it was about a guy who offers to hold a drunk guy’s flowers while he pees out the door of a train (the guy had evidently just broken up with his girlfriend). We can help anyone by doing little things like that, but it takes so much more to help the poor or the people dying of AIDS over in Africa.

The thing is, I basically don’t have anything saved. If it weren’t for my parents I’d be dead on the street somewhere, but as it stands I live in an awesome house in a nice, safe neighborhood, I go to a super nice college and took guitar lessons for five years. I personally am very poor. I have a part time job, but because of school and music I don’t work much and I make peanuts; actually less than peanuts.

All the money I’ve saved or that I make goes to recording my first album, and that’s where I’m conflicted. My plan/hope is to be able to live off of music and have a little extra to send to charities, etc. What we talked about in my philosophy class was this; is it more morally right to take the money one spends on college/recording/whatever and just give that to charity, or should one wait, go through college/recording/gigging/whatever and ultimately be able to do much more and help many more people? I don’t know.

I guess a good compromise is to help who you can when you can, how you can, but I don’t think it’s quite as satisfying as being able to say you got a kid out of poverty. I guess we’re not supposed to look for satisfaction out of helping people. Again, I’m probably thinking about this too much.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Contest

Hey everyone! I’ve joined this contest through Guitar Center, and I’d seriously appreciate it if you’d at least check this link out. It would be awesome if y’all would share it with your friends and family, because the more people who check it out, the better the odds of my doing well in the contest are. If I win I’ll get a lot of great prizes including the chance to make a 4 song EP basically for free.

Thanks in advance to those of you who check this out.
http://songwriter.revimage.com/channels/Katie+Curtis+Music

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Learn To Fly (Demo)

Hello all you readers of the Flying Guinea Pig! 🙂

I thought I’d share a new tune with you guys. It’s probably a few weeks old at this point, but I’ve just got it up on the internet. I recorded it on my phone yesterday. It’s not going on my new album, so I thought I’d make a demo to share. I’ll probably make a demo of “Shadow” today as well. Believe it or not, the quality isn’t that bad.

It’s a bit hard to hear, so here are the lyrics. They’re also posted right on my Sound Cloud.

I will follow the setting sun
‘Cause it might just lead me to you
I don’t know your name and I’ve never seen your face
But I believe that we’re bound to collide
We’re going ’round in circles chasing the stars
And star crossed lovers always meet some time
You might be far away, and this could take a while
But we got time and love never forgets

There is someone smiling at the center of my sun
And there will be a day when the 2 of us are 1
And if there’s something worth waiting for it’s worth waiting for love
I would learn to fly for you

I sing like a bird in my childish way
But no one seems to mind so I sing louder
And late at night it’s just me and my guitar
And I’m waiting for someone to sing the harmony
When I go to sleep I’ll dream of crazy things
I’ll dream it’s the end of the world
But maybe the end could be a new beginning
And the picture will be brighter than before

chorus

I’m am waiting, waiting for you
‘Cause when we find the right time and place
We’ll prove that love is true
But I’m not waiting, waiting for you
‘Cause life goes on without us
If we’re not going too

Chorus

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly! 🙂

Music Buddies

Hey everyone! I just thought I’d do one of my random updates to tell y’all what’s up on the creative world of Katie Rose Curtis. I went into the studio today for a session that ended up being very productive. We’ve finished acoustic guitar, drums and as of today, bass guitar on my song “One.” Today I figured out some of what I’ll do for harmonies and started tracking the electric guitar parts. If I can find the charger for the video camera, I’d also like to make a video for “One” and my newest song, “Learn To Fly.”

Ken and I also talked about taking on a side project once this one is finished. Ken has often mentioned that although he can come up with great ideas for my music, he seems to get stuck when working on his own. He wants to work a lot of it out on his own because he wants his project to be mostly instrumental, but he said that he might want me to write lyrics and sing on a couple of his songs.

Replace My Empty Spaces is nearly finished, and I have 2 shows coming up to close out the summer; August 1st and August 22nd @ Victoria Station (86 Wharf St Salem MA).

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

A Part Of The Show

My brain just did a 360.  For weeks now I’ve been trying to figure out how to get gigs. It’s been such a painful search that I just sort of gave up (not completely, but I’ve mostly been playing open mics). I think life will be easier once my album is finished, so I’ve decided to mainly focus on that. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make God part of the show. I believe that God inspired and continues to inspire my music and I want to make that clear to the audience. I just couldn’t figure out how to do that without being annoying.

When I started my gig search I decided that I wouldn’t play churches because my music wouldn’t exactly fit. I think it’s Christian music, but it’s not worship music in the way people normally think of worship music. I never come out and explicitly say “Look how awesome God is” in any of my songs.

Of course that sneaky little voice in my head piped up a few minutes ago and said, “if you talk about what inspired the songs before you played them or something it would probably be perfectly acceptable to play in a church. That and if you want God to be part of the show, that should be more important to you than what the audience thinks.”

*sigh* Yeah, I know. 🙂

The only thing I don’t like about this plan is that I partly wrote music that isn’t explicitly Christian so that i could try and reach people who wouldn’t listen to explicitly Christian music. I’ll admit it’s a little bit of a sneaky evangelism thing that probably doesn’t even work. I think in order to get anywhere I sort of have to separate my faith and my music a little bit, which I sort of didn’t want to do. I do want to gain fans, and that means playing for everyone. Plus if I play churches I can practice making God a part of a show so that it doesn’t feel weird when I play for the general public.

My job now is to find churches that like contemporary worship music. I’m hopefully getting back to the studio tomorrow, so I can talk to Ken about it. I know his church uses contemporary music in their Sunday service, so that might be a good place to start. In the mean time I’ll be spending lots of time with Google.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Dreaming In Sound

I played an open mic on Monday in the tiniest bar ever! In fact, the room seemed to be full of musicians and their friends/family and no other patrons. No one else would have fit. It was a really fantastic atmosphere and everyone there seemed awfully nice. I met a band that consisted of two brothers and their dad (who had an awesome beard btw) who were visiting from Florida. There was also a tiny middle aged woman (probably in her 50’s) who played some really strange original songs. She had a good voice and an adorable hat.

Everyone only got to play 2 songs, so I played “One” and “Passenger.” The whole room freaked out. I actually remembered to promote myself this time, so I even got a few Facebook “likes” out of it.

Last night I heard back from someone at Jade Tree. They’re Jets To Brazil’s record label. I had emailed them a while ago because I was wondering what I would have to do/what it would cost to record and sell my own version of one of their songs. Apparently it’s pretty cheap and simple, so I think I’ll put it on an EP or something at some point. Once “Replace My Empty Spaces” is done I’m going to hold off on recording for a while and write some new songs and perform as much as possible.

I met a lady the other night who came up to me after my set and said she wanted to feature me at her open mic in Beverley. I’m going to give her a call today. I’m hoping to play there on July 2nd. Sometimes coordinating this stuff is difficult because I don’t drive so I usually get a ride from my dad and he’s been traveling for work.

The album is 70% finished. I have 3 songs to record and then it’s gloriously done! As much as I love working on it, I’m so ready for it to be finished. We’ve had a lot of delays because Ken is doing some upgrades at the studio. I’m really hoping to finish it before I go back to school, but we’ll see.

I’m also not sure what to do about a release party because Ken’s friend sort of dropped off the face of the earth. There are a few places that I could probably set it up at. It just won’t be as big and grande and epic as I was hoping.

Well I ought to get to work. Thanks for reading!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Album Cover Part 7: The Decision & General Update

Well guys, I posted the version of my latest album cover idea with the larger circle in the middle on Facebook  and a bunch of people gave me some super positive feedback, so I think I’m going to go with it. Ladies and gentlemen,  Replace My Empty Spaces has an official cover.

School has kept me absurdly busy, but I sent another message to the Sad Cafe because they were looking for people to play this summer. Hopefully I’ll hear back on that soon. I’m finally getting back to the studio on the 17th to work on “Missing You” (song #7 out of 10). My dad’s been working with Kue, my old voice teacher so he can sing harmony on “Nostalgia.” My friend Nate should be home from college soon and I’m going to see if he can play strings or piano on a few things.

I still have to talk to Ken’s friend about getting a date for the CD release party but in the mean time I’m hoping to hit up a few open mics. I’ve written one new song that isn’t going to go on this album and I started another today. The first is about how I’m kind of crazy about not being cliche. I don’t quite know what my new one is about yet. I’ll probably have to leave it alone until school is over with.

So that’s that. It’s going slow, but I’m making progress. Things should go a little faster this summer.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly! 🙂

My Old Man

Well guys, “Replace My Empty Spaces” just became a family project! I was talking to my mom in the car a couple days ago about how the album is coming along because I’m going to need to bring in some backup for “Nostalgia.” My friend, Nate played Piano on “You Answered” for me, but now I need someone to play strings. As much as I hate spending money, whether it’s my own or my parents’, I’m going to have to hire one of the other guys from the studio.

I also mentioned that I would like to have a male harmony singer on “Nostalgia,” so my mom started going through the list of people we know. We don’t know too many singers. Nate is away at college, and Nick has a weird voice; great for choir music, not so much for Folk-Rock. Then she started going through the list of family members who would be willing to learn to sing. The only person we could think of was my dad. I’m setting him up with a few lessons with the guy who taught me.

It’s so perfect because “Nostalgia” is about growing up and feeling old. I call my dad “Old One” too his face and he’s totally cool with it. My dad and I are like two peas in a pod, as lame as that expression is. Neither of us have any intention of actually growing up. It might mean holding off on finishing the song for a little while, but It would be really cool to have my dad sing on my record.

P.S.

Apparently this is my 100th post! 🙂