Originals

Pat Pattison – Professor of Songwriting (Berklee)

Ah, what a wonderful evening with the one and only Pat Pattison, lyric-writing extraordinaire, Professor of Songwriting from the famed Berklee College of Music. It’s been 2 years since attending one of Pat’s seminars and though I’ve been dabbling in, but mostly out of my songwriting, just being in the presence of songwriting royalty has given me the kick up the butt I needed to get back on the horse again with my songs. So this smile you see is the smile of reinvigoration, of excitement and of thirst – here’s to plenty of new songs, good, bad and ugly!

 

complete cheese – and I love it!

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#thepleasurewasallmine #untilnexttimeRubyos

What can I say, but thank you a thousand times over to all who came out and showed their love and support on Friday night. It’s always a joy and privilege to play at Rubyos Restaurant, and this time round was no exception 🤗❤🤗❤🤗❤🤗❤ My heart bursts when I see the smiles on people’s faces and I catch diners singing along to their favourite songs (… and to get love on my original songs too, you’re all too kind!). Oh, and to play with guitar-maestro Steve Crain, it’s like having dessert first, and being left blissfully in a food coma, but for your ears … I’m so full of the #warmandfuzzies ❤❤❤  #untilnexttime #musiclovers #rubyosnewtown #duo #livemusic #shamelesspromotions #myhappyplace



 

 

 

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Rubyos – we can’t get enough of you!

Another gig done and dusted. It’s always a pleasure to share our music with you, guests of Rubyos. You are beautifully warm and appreciative, and we couldn’t ask for a better audience #feelthewarmandfuzzies 😘 😘 😘 Thank you also for letting me play you a few originals #whatatreat! And to our wonderful hosts @rubyosnewtown, your hospitality and calamari are divine and I’ll be having garlic dreams for days 🤗❤🤗❤🤗❤🤗❤ Thank you and catch you next month #musiclovers 😘 #mondayditties #rubyosnewtown #canyouseeme #reflections #shamelesspromotions 🎵🎶🎵🎶🎵🎶🎵🎶🎵

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Solo Gig at Frenchies Bistro & Brewery

On the weekend, I had the great privilege of playing a solo gig at Frenchies Bistro & Brewery which is located inside the Cannery in Rosebery. Frenchies is a newish little establishment, who brew their own craft beers, have delish French inspired platters AND is kid friendly SO I was fortunate enough to have a bunch of my awesome students and their families come along and see me play.

Now being that it was my first proper solo gig where I was singing and playing, with no body to lean on but myself, I was already a little exposed and feeling a little vulnerable but oh boy! Add on top of that the reality of ‘leading by example’ and actually singing and playing in front of my students … eeek talk about being a nervous-wreck! Thankfully, all the crazy stuff that was going on inside my head didn’t come out in my hands or my voice – or so my students report =p I think the idea of leading by example is completely logical in my head, however the reality of it was certainly not what I was expecting; it’s much scarier and very sobering to know that my example as a performer (and as a human) was in a way, paving the road for my students … eeek! I hope they didn’t hear all my mistakes =p

Despite all of my crazy thoughts, I do want to say a big huge THANK YOU to Thomas, Vincent and all the staff at Frenchies for having me. A big shout out to the kitchen staff who I caught singing along to the tunes and dancing around the kitchen as they prepped the platters and meals coming out. Thank you also to all my beautiful students and their families who came out in support of me and my music.

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Happy First Birthday Monday Ditties!

Today marks 12 months worth of #mondayditties =p woohoo! It was a little project initially started to justify buying an iPhone outright (it wasn’t the latest iPhone, however it was still a substantial outlay of funds!) but it has now become just part of my working week. It’s been interesting the many conversations I’ve had with people who have caught it on social media, some who even hang out for Monday just to see what I’m going to post next (does that mean I have an actual following???) … from creative peers, to parents of students, to students themselves (which is a little disconcerting when I have primary school aged students mentioning my #mondayditties to me – they may have liked my outfit, song or makeup or hated all choices featured in the video … =p) people seem to be enjoying my little ditties. YAY! So Happy Birthday #MondayDitties here’s to more #musicmaking and a big thank you to all for your comments, likes, dislikes, suggestions and generally for hitting play when you see a little Monday video posted. If you want to get in on the fun follow me on Instagram or FB =)

Here’s a selection of screen shots from my ditties #IpullfunnylookswhenIsing =p

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Picking the brains of these extraordinaires: Pat Pattison and Bonnie Hayes workshop

Pat Pattison and Bonnie Hayes. Two of Berklee’s (College of Music) finest professors, royalty in songwriting, two people who genuinely care about the art of writing songs and equipping their students with the tools to produce better music, sigh!

This last weekend I got to spend time picking the brains of both Pat and Bonnie at their recent songwriting workshop. To simply be in the presence of these two was awe-inspiring with their knowledge, experience and line-up of phenomenal musicians/ songwriters they have taught/ worked with (Pat taught John Mayer and Gillian Welch to write songs and had recently spent a week teaching the writers at Disney, that’s write DISNEY, to write better songs for their movies, just to name a few, and Bonnie played for Billy Idol back in the day and wrote songs for Bonnie Raitt – BONNIE RAITT!!! Not that name dropping matters =p ) but to top off the delightful weekend I was fortunate enough to have my song “Someday” appraised by them. Of course they were ruthless (in a good way of course) and everything they had to say about my song was totally right; the melody and the setting of the lyric were disjointed at times… giving emphasis to inconsequential words like “of” and “the” detracted from the emotional response of the listener … the content in the 2nd verse plateaued so there was no reason to sing the chorus again … oh such gold! Of course none of this was negative feedback, in fact I was so thankful for their honesty – how else am I going to get better as a songwriter? What I was thoroughly taken back by was how encouraging both Pat and Bonnie were. Bonnie dealt with the music and Pat dealt with the lyrics #dreamteam. They loved the chords and the melody, the bridge was “very Bacharach” (as in Burt!), the chorus was beautiful “remarkable” even, and the “will you think of me someday” catch line was “so cool” but the setting of the lyrics had to be perfect, no just kinda good or just a little lumpy or clumsy.

Ok Pat and Bonnie, yep you totally schooled me with my own song. Thank you for the kick up the bum and the reminder to never settle for just KINDA good … perfection here I come!

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Pat Pattison; Songwriting Genius Extraordinaire

“The most important thing is to write in your own blood. I bare intimate feelings because people should know how other people feel.” Joni Mitchell, Time Magazine, December 1974.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, even before I wrote songs. I wrote stories in school, have journaled endlessly and am hopelessly in love with the use of language to convey ideas, dreams, hopes, desires, loss, mourning, fear, anger and every other facet of human existence.

It was at uni that I started dabbling in songwriting and soon after I discovered Pat Pattison; songwriting genius extraordinaire, Berkley School of Music’s Professor of Lyric Writing and Poetry, the guy who taught John Mayer, Gillian Welch and many others to write songs – jackpot! And thus starting the snowballing desire to harness and sharpen my songwriting skills, ever striving to write songs that not only convey a message but really connect and even pull at the heart strings of my listeners.

It was a joy to be able to spend the last weekend in the presence of Pat (and many other budding songwriters), picking his brain and having him share his knowledge and experience in a workshop titled “How do I know when I’m done with a song?” … and Pat’s answer to the title? “When I’ve done and checked everything I know … so how much do I (we) know?”

Often what drives one to write is a feeling but as Pat pointed out, writing a song from what we feel never makes a song ‘better’ rather just makes a song ‘different’, due to the fact that our feelings change so regularly. So in light of this, Pat insisted to start with the BIG 3 QUESTIONS: 1. Who’s talking? 2. To Whom? 3. Why?

1/2. Who’s Talking? To Whom?
This describes the relationship between the singer and the world of the song, more specifically the point of view that is being used in the song. Am I (the singer) speaking to you (the person who broke my heart) or am I (the singer) speaking to you (the listener or the world) about a 3rd party he or she? Or am I (the singer) just telling you a story where the characters are seen through a looking glass or periscope? The closer the address (you and I) the more intimate the singer is with the listener.

3. Why?
What’s the moral of the story? Why am I (the singer) singing?

Pat challenged us to realise the answers to these questions were not discovered accidentally, rather they were very specific conscious decisions that each writer must ask themselves during the process of writing, as well as when they were checking to see whether they were ‘done’ with the song.

… and this was all just skimming the surface =p So back I go to the writing desk …

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Pics are IN!!!

Yay! The pics are in!!! Amy Benjamin is a photographic genius!!! I mean I knew she was amazing but seeing the physical pictures has elevated my respect and admiration for her work a hundred fold. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the phenomenal Amy Benjamin for taking these gorgeous gems. Ok, enough words, here are some of my favourites =)

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New project. New vision. New ‘me’.

Friday 23 April 2016 (AEST). A day for many PRINCE fans was a day that came unexpectedly too soon; PRINCE had been pronounced dead at the age of 57 and the world was in shock and mourning. As I woke to the news accounts, it was surreal to see how the world collectively all had individual PRINCE stories; how his music/ iconic style/ strut/ genius-ness in general had made an impact on their lives/ music/ style etc. For months I had set aside this date for a photo shoot with an old friend, the ever amazing Amy Benjamin, in hopes to revamp my image and set out on my own journey of rediscovering myself and my music through a visual medium. I was unsure of which direction I wanted to go, however in light of the world’s loss of a phenomenal and most influential human/ musician/ artist, I felt compelled to take a leap of faith and just embrace my ‘differentness’, as PRINCE and many others had done before me. And as it turns out, Amy helped me cultivate my ‘differentness’, my ‘me-ness’ (which obviously embraces my ‘Asian-ness’) and the results are breathtaking (if I do say so myself =p).

A massive thank you to Amy from AMY BENJAMIN PHOTOGRAPHY, it was a pleasure to work and reconnect with you. Thank you for encouraging me to embrace my Asian womanliness with all it’s grace, elegance, sophistication, fun, sexiness, power and confidence all squished together in a teeny tiny body.

Stay tuned for more photos! But here’s a sneak peak just to wet your appetite.

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Vale PRINCE. Thank you for being aggressively and unapologetically YOU.

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Two Oh One Six

WOW! We’re officially 1 month down and 11 months to go in 2016 … eek! Where did January go?! I have to admit I am seriously struggling to comprehend this new school year, particularly with the writing of 2-0-1-6, but I am excited to see how 2016 unfolds. 2015 was a huge year for life – 0. jumped through ridiculous hoops to try and get a home loan tick (though our efforts were completely futile) 1. got married despite flooding, gale force winds, uprooting of trees and torrential sideways rain tick. 2. moved in with hubby tick. 3. went overseas and met extended in-law family tick. 4. hubby resigned from full time work and became a full time student tick. 5. hubby changed careers (actually this is yet to be completed but still in the process of doing so). 6. became the main bread winner (though only for a time) for the household tick. 7. have yet to go insane and can still laugh when thrown a curve ball tick (though sometimes tears will precede the laughing)… So despite all things, I survived! Yay!

So 2016, whatever you have install, I’m ready to get dirty, so bring it on! (on a musical note, I’ve been doing some writing and rewriting so watch out world, there’ll be lots of originals on their way!)

(a massive shout out to Rebecca Ng for allowing me the use of her awesome handwritten Two-Oh-One-Six pic)

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