Hey there! Just wrote my first article ever 🙂 As suggested by Elizabeth at the Rapidian after hearing me perform, buying my t-shirt, and hearing me call myself a “creativity activist” (she said “that would make a great article!”). Thanks so much for the encouragement, Elizabeth! And thanks to everyone at The Rapidian! If you have writer’s block, or creative blocks of any kind, this is for you:
Well technically it’s Day 103. But whose counting (j/k, I am). So here I am, with 103+ songs under my belt since mid-February (more like 150 because some days I write 2 or 3)…and they are sloppy and repetitive and grandiose and small and lovely and quiet as heck and annoying in their sameness perhaps. I don’t know. It’s not for me to decide. This whole experiment is helping me see that all the ways I fear being judged are simply all the ways I judge myself. And honestly, that kind of judgement is so borrrrrrrring.
So this process is liberating, and useful, and special, and private, and profound, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to blast out of a routine, or break out of their own self-constructed fears.
Step 1 – pick something you want to do, anything. Like for me, it’s always music, and usually original music, aka songwriting. That’s my go-to, #1 love.
Step 2 – do it every day for a year. Or 30 days. Or 90 days. Or whatever, pick something.
Step 3 – publicly share it, or share about the experience in a blog or something. Or in an email group. Or private FB group. Or with your grandma.
That’s it. Couldn’t recommend it more. It is making me – forcing me – to come to terms with my own self-installed delusions. Usually grown in fear, due to some very forgivable and understandable reason like a trauma (big or small) in my past. Simple ones we all share, like being made fun of in 6th grade, have been ruling my life into my 30s! And I suspect will continue to, in alternating ways on alternating days.
And that’s okay.
But I’m glad as heck to be here, to be doing something, saying something, feeling something, sharing something. I realize how often I want to be forthcoming and vulnerable, and how often I instead shut down, edit, don’t push post, share, send. And it’s so exhausting, holding back so much in such a way, every day or week.
Letting energy flow is helping me see where I am just living in fantasy (i.e. I love travel but only once in awhile, OR there’s things I say I really want to do but in reality if I really wanted to do them I’d be doing them…far more often… it’s not laziness that holds me back, it’s thinking my path in a particular field needs to look the same as someone else’s, and that if it doesn’t there’s “something wrong with me”).
I hope I can stay this “in touch” after this challenge is over… if not, maybe I’ll just do another one. That’s an interesting dream – maybe I could be the Bob Ross of Songwriting / Writer’s Block. I could show you “happy little songs” (or sad) and give you a little inspiration to create. Or maybe Mister Rogers is a better example. I don’t know… these are my heroes. I don’t know if there’s a need for that, and I don’t know what it would look like, but hey, I am learning I’m probably not a travel-around-in-an-RV-9-months-a-year-in-a-successful-band type of musician-as-businesswoman… I love those people and am deeply grateful for them for creating a cool scene, but I think I might be too floaty like a cloud to delude myself into thinking that’s what I wish for, when I really wanna go in parks and forests and make little ukulele songs in my car and share feelings and new songs every day (instead of the same 11-15 songs every night for a whole tour)… I guess I just don’t see a role model for this kind of constant creating + exploring as a songwriter, but if one is out there let me know please 🙂
Okay that was meandering. Feeling whimsical and dreamy and thought I’d share where I’m really at.
But also here’s some shows!
June 9th – GR – Jamnesty 2017 – Wealthy Theatre Annex 7pm
June 24th – GR – DAAC – 333 Rumsey St 7pm
I had hoped to travel to Madison and Minneapolis this summer, but it’s looking like I’ll probably be saving $$ instead and focusing on local house shows (we just did our first one, in our own home, as “cloudlight” for the ep release AND as JiTR, with 5 other amazing bands/musicians – Fiona Dickinson, Brian Mulder, JOE, Chef Goldblum, Maddie Jackson – and it was an absolutely enchanting experience…stay tuned for more 🙂
Love and hugs xo
I hope you’ve had a chance to check out one of my very-raw YouTube videos since I started this 365 songs in 365 days challenge… the writing of them isn’t the hardest part, it’s honestly been keeping up with sharing. Sometimes it feels like I’m scooping out my guts and putting them into the void, and other times it’s super fun. Overall I hope it’s entertaining at least, or provides you with the occasional lullaby or stress reliever. The easiest way to follow is to subscribe on YouTube and the second easiest way may be to follow me on Instagram @jessicaintherainbow or Twitter @jessinrainbow. Sometimes I keep up on my Facebook page too 🙂 Hope to see you!
The next thing I want to tell you about is a huge step forward for me. The last time I asked for help was in 2014, to finish funding my album. I was about to let the fundraiser run out of time and steam, when someone close to me said “NO! give it one last push and let people know you need help!” And I did, and it worked, and many of you funded that album.
Well now with only 30 days into this YouTube challenge, I’m reminded of what I’ve known for a decade – that I need help, that I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to being a songwriter as a business, that I don’t know how to market or promote myself, other than on the old FB and social media with people I know. And even that is in fits and starts (until lately lol).
So if you like me, and you make a lot of money, and have been wanting more ways to support the arts – please know there are thousands of people just like me on this great website called “Patreon.” Even super famous people are on there, as a way to be fan-powered instead of label-powered. Here’s a video of what they do. And here’s my personal Patreon page!
I don’t know if this will amount to anything, and I have no intention of stopping piano teaching, as I love my students. And I will continue to write songs either way. But I would love it if you’d listen to my little “pitch” about how you can help me bring this music out into the world a little faster (and it’s win-win, the more people I know become patrons, the more Patreon promotes me within their site…which could help me find people who need my music in their lives… I believe there must be a niche of sensitive or broken-hearted people out there who need these floaty-cloud piano-vocal songs, otherwise I can’t understand why so many of them keep flooding through me without a traditional writing process…just pressing record and out they come).
Thank you again to anyone who has given me likes or hearts or cheerleading on Facebook or Instagram or via replies to these blog posts – it has been like a little rebirth for me, speaking out in my passionate but long-winded way. Learning to take risks being myself (outspoken, expressive, friendly even if that’s not super cool), when I used to be too wounded and scared of the world to do so.
Hello there! Just writing here in case you are someone who reads my little blog, but you are not on other forms of social media (where I more regularly announce things – i.e. http://facebook.com/jessicaintherainbow or instagram: jessicaintherainbow / twitter: jessinrainbow )
Starting TOMORROW I will be writing a new song everyday, AND sharing it on social media. I’ve been saying for years that I write “hundreds of songs a year” – but still only releasing one album every 3-4 years.
In light of all the changes in our world lately, I’m feeling very ineffective and small – and I’d like to spread more light, more creativity, more inspiration, more smiles, more deep thoughts, more authenticity… basically whatever weirdness or mellow soothing-ness or just plain whatever comes out of me for the next 365 days, I want to share it.
I want to live in a world where goodhearted people get over their insecurities and fear of doing everything perfectly, and just come together and create communities and talk about feelings and be real people. Most musicians I know are blocked in one area or another… while I haven’t been blocked as a writer for years (thanks to The Artists’ Way, FAWM.org, and 50/90 in addition to my avid journal-writing obsession), I AM blocked on many of the “shoulds” of the music industry.
So this is me sidestepping any concern with such things, and just sharing myself for a year. Hope you find it enjoyable, enlightening, encouraging, or some other en- word. 🙂
Here’s the link to my YouTube channel, which will likely be the #1 place I share: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWUrJO6vPyVVCk_VDABUmaw
And here’s a link to my Soundcloud, which will likely be #2: https://soundcloud.com/jessicaintherainbow
Plus I’ll post clips of songs on Facebook and Instagram, and I think my Twitter feed posts updates whenever I release a video – so if you’re following me, you probably can’t miss it.
Hope you’re doing well! Stay creative 🙂
Hey friends! Just wanted to write and express gratitude for some really beautiful things I’ve been a part of lately… also, let you know about some fun things in the works!
1) History Lesson music video – we met for our first production meeting on my lucky day, 2/12 (Abraham Lincoln’s bday, my favorite president…well til Obama 🙂 and discussed a whole series of videos for my “dead” album Catalysts. It’s a totally impractical project as no media outlets that I know of release videos for albums that are many years old, but we decided we didn’t care and wanted to do it anyway. There will be 3-4 videos in the series, and we decided to start with the easiest, since it’s just me in the shoot (and my bff, nature). Day 1 of filming took place in October, after us all being too busy through summer, and it was supposed to be a 2-day weekend of filming and then wrap…BUT day 2 was rainy (and it was filmed outdoors). So we rescheduled 3x and after multiple rain-related cancellations, finally did Day 2 on Saturday. It was super cold but we did it 🙂 Next up are edits and rough cuts, but it should be released sometime in 2017! So excited and grateful to work with these super talented people (Rachel Resterhouse, Caleb Kilgore, and Jonathan Clark – thanks for everything, it’s been such a blast so far!)
2) Tom Waits tribute night at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe – so the lovely Megan Dooley, a powerhouse and force of nature in the Michigan music scene, organized an absolutely beautiful, fun, wacky, free-spirited, eclectic event in Kalamazoo for the second year in a row, and I was lucky enough to be part of it this year. 28 musicians filled the Bell’s stage, covering Tom Waits songs all night. I can’t say enough about the energy in the room, the dancing, the costumes, the camaraderie, it was such a wonderful event. Can’t wait for next year! Thanks again for having me Megan! If you didn’t make it out and wish you had, mark your calendars for next year – it’ll be around the same time (near Tom’s birthday on Dec 7th). And if you’d like to see some pics/video from the night, quite a few people have been posting them in the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1326503220696060/
3) The Guest List / WYCE 88.1 (Grand Rapids) – I’ve been so grateful for the many amazing people I’ve met in Grand Rapids the past few years… from everyone at Girls Rock GR to Lamp Light Music Festival to WYCE, the music community is just full of spunk and energy and a cohesive passion for music that blows my mind. Mostly I stay in the outskirts and wander among trees and by the lake with my journal and ukulele, but only 40 minutes away is this lovely artsy world, which has been like a little home to me, culturally speaking. So last night was my 3rd time on WYCE this year – and after living so many years in Chicago, feeling isolated much of the time and not knowing how to make connections with media or venues (other than my favorite divey bars/venues with pianos like Gallery Cabaret and The Orphanage, which were like a home away from home for me! so much love to all those wonderful people!!), this has been like a whole new world for me (no Aladdin pun intended :). I’m so grateful to all the people here who reach out and offer opportunities to connect and make it possible to share music (and feelings/thoughts) outside of my circle of friends. Last night was extra special for me, since I got to choose 12 songs to share and discuss… influences, music I love, and also a few of my originals (including a cloudlight song :). If you want to listen to Ben and I chat about music and life, and hear some songs I love and why I love them, listen here 🙂 https://www.mixcloud.com/WYCEradio/the-guest-list-december-4th-2016/ Thank you again Ben for having me on your show! It was so much fun.
4) Brick Nest house show! Tea and pillows and hugs + mini-EP release : soooo I always joke about how many songs I write a year (it’s up to 300?) But I preface it by saying, they’re not all good (at all) or they’re just for me (like journalling while singing? like living in a singer/songwriter classically-infused musical or opera where everything is constantly recitative?) ANYWAY, I may write fast but I don’t release fast sadly (it’s actually a huge goal of mine since November, to start releasing albums much faster…but that’s another blog post, and somewhat philosophical/political/spiritual). So my friend Ryan and I decided to host this little event, which is me giving myself a deadline and pushing me to release something. The album I started recording in June 2015 has been “in the works” with orchestrator/arranger Elisabeth Blair since then, but there’ve been hiccups and mishaps and technical difficulties (w/ DIY approach while I had no home studio, just my brother’s in Minnesota) and we’re both super busy… so I decided to leak piano/vocal versions of the 2 long songs from the album creating a 24 minute EP (2 12-minute songs, in honor of my lucky number 212 lol 🙂 Handmade copies will be available at the show (free/donation) and it’ll also be on my more secret Jessica Fogle bandcamp. Oh wait I guess it’s not secret now 🙂 I hope to have it up here by the 15th, fingers crossed (+ here’s the event page )
***UPDATE: It was released on Bandcamp on December 20th:
with beautiful handmade cover art by Cat Jackson! Prints of her artwork, also featured on this site, are available HERE. ***
5) cloudlight update – Bryan and I have both been decompressing and/or working on other projects since Lamp Light, but we’ll get back to work finishing the EP in the new year, and there’ll likely be a March release and house show too. Stay tuned here: https://www.facebook.com/cloudlightmusic or email cloudlight22 AT gmail.com to join our eventual mailing list.
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading all this and being curious about my eclectic musical life 🙂 Sooo grateful for all of you.
Hey everyone! Just wanted to share thoughts from two huge events I was just lucky enough to be part of.
1) Ladyfest at the Lakeshore – in it’s 1st year, I was part of the planning committee for this new festival. We brought together 9 acts from around the region, in addition to many emerging songwriters for our open mic. AND we raised $600+ for our designated charity – Girls Supporting Girls! It was an incredible labor of love, pics coming soon. Thanks again to everyone who got involved, volunteered, donated raffle items, and came to the event! This year was in my current hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan – next year we rotate to Muskegon!
2) Lamp Light Music Festival – my favorite festival on this planet, hands down. This year I participated as part of a new duo called “cloudlight” (https://soundcloud.com/cloudlightmusic ) – a recording project and collaboration between myself and Bryan Ralph (https://bryanralph.bandcamp.com/ ). We nearly completed a 4-song EP in the rehearsal process as well, stay tuned for a release party sometime this winter. In addition to performing, we spent every waking minute from Friday evening through Sunday evening at the fest – hearing some of the most incredible musicians around, filling our souls and hearts with their beauty. Favorites included May Erlewine, Seth Bernard, Ty Maxon, the Soil & the Sun, The Great Ones, Fiona Dickinson, Rachele Eve, and so many more…
As for current news, I finally have carved out a couple months to devote time to finishing my impending collaboration with Elisabeth Blair – which is an 8 song album called “Everything’s True.” 2 songs on it are pretty unconventional (nearly 12 min long each), and I’ve decided in honor of all the turmoil I’m feeling lately… and many of my friends are feeling… to release an EP featuring the piano/vocal versions of these two tracks by the end of this year. Stay tuned for that – I may release them sneakily (on my http://jessicafogle.bandcamp.com where my old albums reside ).
Hope everyone is staying warm and comfy and safe, or is exploring the universe and surrounding areas in whatever way makes you feel most alive today.
I’ve had such a whirlwind of a life lately, that it hasn’t occurred to me til just now to write a little update! Basically, I’ve been exploring some normal everyday things, in addition to co-organizing a music festival for charity (more info to come!), and co-creating in the studio with Bryan Ralph, singer-songwriter extraordinaire (all heart, so much goodness http://www.bryanralph.bandcamp.com )
Squeezed in there, amongst family visits and friends and a new house (still in Grand Haven, Michigan!) was a little writing retreat up north, lots of new songs, and a few stellar shows.
I had the pleasure of sharing a bill with Olivia Mainville & The Aquatic Troupe, and JOE, at the DAAC in Grand Rapids – and it was a beautiful, inspiring, encouraging night of music for all. I also had my first radio performance!! (88.1 WYCE) And playing at the Crosshatch Center of Art & Ecology benefit at Short’s Brewing in May was a joy and an honor, among some lovely musicians and bands like Abigail Lapell (Toronto), Cold Country (Chicago), and Seth Bernard (northern MI, Earthwork). So much talent and such a beautiful cause. If you are missing hearing about these things and wish you weren’t, please follow me on FB – I do a better job of sending little updates there, including pics! https://www.facebook.com/jessicaintherainbow/
Otherwise, please stay tuned for continued infrequent updates about my little writers’ life (which includes lovely piano students, fun collaborations, lots of feelings, and getting to know the musical side of this beautiful state 🙂