FOR A SIDE BY SIDE EXPANDED VIEW CLICK ON BOTH BELOW:
Dear p(ARTNERS) in Songbird Radio.
I wanted to tell you about my Guardian Angel! When I was about 5 months old, my biological father, singer and songwriter, Billy Masters passed away. He played that guitar really well and traveled all around the world with the Christian Music Sensation, The Archers.
His music publishing company was left to me and is called Guardian Angel Music! I feel that I really do have a guardian angel and that singing and songwriting is my calling.
Thank you for singing with me!
I am interested in a creative p(artner) collaboration with you towards Songbird Radio in pursuit of expanding creative ARTnership using our voices together to inspire people worldwide! Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to be the first ever girl to dangle from a tall bike and sing original songs from an aerial hoop at the Bay Area Maker Faire! This month I will also perform an original number at the Oakland Metro for a monthly variety show that attracts 500 people! I plan to sing and use aerial again in this piece and I need your help to make my performances more awesome. I have the dream of getting everyone in the audience to sing and record and loop the content we are making together while performing aerial and singing!
Okay so how did I get here wanting to help people everywhere sing from their he(art)s?
My name is Lauren Larken I am a Songbird. I own a 22 year old parrot that I adopted when I was 8 years old. I grew up in theatre and attended a performing arts boarding school in high school, USC for theatre school and between April 1, 2007 and April 1, 2008 I wrote, collaborated, performed, recorded and published a song everyday for a year. It was a LEAP YEAR so you can find all 366 songs at 365Songbird.com
During the Song of the Day project I was living at a performance collective called The House of YES and pursuing my MFA in an interdiciplinary program in it’s first year that combined computer music, interactive programming, radio, film, television, theatre and art at Brooklyn College. I am always surrounded by amazing people and that year I collaborated with hundreds making song of the days.
House of YES is the kind of place where you go to sleep not knowing what you are going to wear and a gorgeous Kayti Bunny hippity hops home wearing a swarovski encrusted shimmering body suit the night before your concert that fits perfectly and Kae Burke of Make Fun studio sews up some sparely fabric. A couple of nights before I had had a dream about a Golden Birdcage (but told no one) and the proprietris of the house, Anya Sapozhinikova whips it right up. All of us in the community were singing, feeling amazing and I was about to Graduate with my MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts!
The song of the day project itself was conceived in an attempt to overcome my fear of song writing. I considered myself mostly a vocalist and didn’t realize how powerful the body is as an instrument. One of my professors, David Grubbs, told me to just start with the voice and hence the song of the day project was born! Tom Leger, a friend heard my ambition and work and gifted me a M-Audio KeyStudio and my ability to make music sound cooler became exponential. I became a composer and a song writer! Or when my talented dj, beat making, key board and percussionist friends came over they could really rock it out on the M-Audio KeyStudio.
A week after the Song-of-the-Day Project ended we had a celebratory concert at the House of YES featuring the crowd pleasing hits from each month. Amazing hilarious performances ensued including conceptually rich acts from the: MTAService Specialists, Impersonations of my Mom, Dennis Collective and Winkle Naughty Hilarious Themed Sing Alongs, Sappy Duets with Justin Lange and a Golden Birdcage, my perch, suspended from the ceiling.
Two weeks later I was in Denmark and England presenting my Thesis and something very strange happened. For a year we had safely hosted dozens of circus skill shares and events with fire performances but an electrical fire sparked in the kitchen and quickly filled a giant puppet head and destroyed all of our belongings and killed my orange kitty, DJ Pilgrim.
SONG OF THE DAY CONCERT: APRIL 6TH, 2008
SAME ROOM and OUTSIDE, APRIL 22ND, 2008
This M-Audio KeyStudio keyboard was sitting on my desk during the fire.
For the past 4 years we have been re-building our lives and The House of YES performance collective has evolved into a professional thteatre space that houses: Make Fun (a diy puppet and costume lab), a recording studio, and The Sky Box theatre a 50 foot ceilined aerial dance and movement theatre that hosts workshops, classes and almost nightly performances. I’d like to become a featured artist and use M-Audio equipment in my daily new show: Songbird Radio, This is Real Life! Each week we feature episodes of Bike Salon, ARTnership, Creative Alarm Clock & Missions with OCCUPY BEAUTY. This show is in response to people’s desire to sing from their he(art), attract and invest in sustainable lifestyles through everyday choices.
In exchange for the use of cutting edge M-Audio equipment I can offer: a tax write off, custom M-Audio jingles, and product reviews and tutorials.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience! The SF Bicycle Music Festival is June 23rd and I’d like to churn out some new beats to bump from my bike speaker!
My biggest fears off the top of my head:
10. Undergoing an Abortion or Miscarriage. (I don’t even know if I ever want to have a baby, and I am in no fear of becoming pregnant anytime soon so no worries on this one.)
9. Doing everything right and still something very bad happening. Ie: right before the house fire of House of YES I bought a $200 screen door and kitty door to improve the quality of my kittie’s life and ensure his safety but neither thing helped it survive the fire.
Or the idea that no matter what we do, no matter how many organic veggies we plant or how safe our cosmetics are that we are doomed!
8. Always putting other people’s needs first.
7. Being homeless
6. Being unable to overcome my addiction to coffee, sugar and wheat
5. Being stuck somewhere far from home because my bike gets stolen or broken.
4. Not being productive
3. Killing myself with Stress.
2. Loosing my eyesight or hearing or forgetting how to sing.
But the #1 Greatest Fear of the Week
was that after my my bird will flew away for the second time that it wouldn’t come home—but it did!
….so I didn’t want to, but I clipped it’s wings…
i <3 you! thanks for reading my blog.
Currently in Oakland, Ca.
I am fairly certain I will give up cell phones
& conventional social networks as soon as possible
and replace them for maps, compasses, kaleidoscope, nature, in person interactions, songs
if people want to keep in touch, they can.
a. write me a letter/post card
b. leave me a recorded sung personalized greeting
c. call in to songbird radio show! it’s real life! listen in~
d. hire me
Is this too intense? It feels right.
Don’t try to talk me out of it, but gimme some advice.
I miss you dearly!
Singing the song in your he(art) will forever change your life.
Thanks for the opportunity to think about:
How to Sing/Make a Song of the Day
First instruction: don’t hold back/trust your instincts
There is no wrong way to do this.
Maybe you start humming with a violin as you are walking to the train.
Maybe while riding your bike over or under the bridge
you whistle and then scream.
Whether it is recorded or not-it counts. Whether or not it has vocals, it counts. I recommend trying vocals because it’s really helpful to the soul to sing.
Your assignment is to record a few different kinds of songs. They can be as long as you like 15 minutes plus or just 30 seconds a pop. A minute and a half is a great length to aim for, but whatever it is counts.
Try making one now without any instruction. Just out of your head into the air.
If there are a few different songs to record you won’t get too fixated on just one song. In fact do as many as you can. One per day or multiple per day are fine. Otherwise aim for 3 total.
The band, They Might be Giants, has thousands of quick ditties and Orchestrations in Opera Houses might be an Hour or so for a movement of a song.
Don’t limit yourself of be constrained by what you think is right or what other people are doing. Sing over someone elses song on the radio. Change the words then change the melody.
Look around you and get inspired…
Or use a friend’s experience as a good idea!
ie: I wrote a song about my old friend/roommate who was dating a Scientologist
It can be very healing in unexpected ways for you and someone else to release songs, emotions, thoughts and poetry as sound vibration. Songs can be simple mantras or prayers of intention. A famous musician, John Cage has a song that is silence.
You don’t have to be talented at singing and music to be a good singer or songwriter. Birds sing all day long and no one thinks that they are bad.
You can collaborate with a musician, but usually this makes things harder, because it starts to get serious. I encourage raw experimentation.
Our bodies are instruments and can be used for percussion-bellies are drums, fingers snapping, heels stomping. The things around us-whether they be key boards on type writers, the pitter patter of rain, the swoosh of a pen drawing, the clunking of shoes on the sidewalk, or kitchen utensils while cooking are all great collaborators.
Also the song can be about how people feel about you… this song,T9Word was written April 2, 2007–the second day of my song of the day project and is about people not understanding my illeligible text messages I accompany myself on my cell phone.
I like to personify inanimate objects and sing about weird functions of technology in our modern day relationships. I also like inside joke songs sung as telegrams to celebrate people. Humor helps me heal.
I usually start out with a blank piece of paper. Because envelopes are around I often write on the back of a correspondence or gut the envelope and use it as a recycled sheet of paper.
Get a pen or marker that feels good. Sharpie, Ball point –ink flowing.
Write out some words inspirations or ideas. This can be at your writing desk, on your couch, on the street, on the subway or in a cafe or anywhere.
See if you can write a line about something
with a tiny bit more explanation
and another line about something
with more explanation
If those explanations rhyme that is cool…if not…that is cool too
In Formal Song Writing
There are common song writing techniques which include structures
One Part that is usually called A
and one Part that is Usually Called B
and a 3rd Part that is considered a Bridge
So for instance with my hit single Boys Are Dumber than the Average Bear:
A: Boys are Dumber than the Average Bear
Boys are Dumber than the Average Bear
I know it’s Sexist But I don’t Care
Cuz Boys are Dumber than the Average Bear
B: This Boys Says He Likes Me
But I don’t Really Care
Cuz Boys Are Dumber than the Average Bear
There is no Bridge so I guess this doesn’t follow a normal song writing structure, oh well…it still makes people smile
Here’s an example of one that rhymes. with A/B/Bridge Structure
I wrote it at the Apple Store waiting for my Computer to be fixed
version 5: a few months later we did a version with a guitar, drum machine, mbira (finger piano), upright bass like instrument called a guitaron, and vocals and a musical flash mob adding 30 apple geniuses into the NYC stores
My Apple Genius
Oh the Apple Store is so Shiny
And the Geniuses are So Smart
I wish they’d put down my broken ipod
and fill up my dance Card
If I could Kidnap a Genius to another kind of Bar
They will tell me little Apple Secrets and Marvel At My Art
If They Can Fix My Ipod
Then They Can Repair
This Broken Heart
If They Can Fix My Ipod
I bet together We can Change the World
I will wake up tomorrow Morning
Wearing a Genius Tee Shirt
and my Genius will conveniently
Call in Sick To work…..
Strolling through Tompkins Park With My Genius Boy or Girl
Together with Soy Lattes and my New Wireless Mac Book Pro
LOL OMG Click on the Short Cut to My Genius Fantasy
Apple C Apple V
Embedding My Genius into my Screen Saver
CHORUS: just clapping
Eventually My Genius Will Quit Their Corporate Job
I will Bake Them Vegan Cupcakes
in Exchange for Lifetime Technical Support
I would Love My Genius and My Genius Would Love Me and then all we would have left to do is start a Genius Family
I actually have never graphed that out and I don’t know if it’s entirely accurate so please don’t let it stop you….
but the idea is that there are Verses and A Chours and a lot of times Verses sound alike and there are two of them that are slightly different and repeat
then there is a chorus that gets repeated many times
and a bridge that comes about half way through the song
so how to put this into practice? Here is one way….
Open up Garage Band on your computer.
Select New Music Project//Name your Project: I like to use the date at the front.
for a New Track
Press: Shift + Apple + N
(Anytime I say Apple + something ….it means hold the Apple Button and the other button at the same time…don’t worry about the plus sign so—hold down Shift Apple and the letter N to create a new track)
Test your voice recording
To Start Recording
Say Something and press the space bar to Pause
it should have recorded your voice
There is sometimes automatically a Metronome that Comes on
To Turn of Metronome Press: Apple + U
Move the triangle curser back over your track to hear yourself. If you don’t hear yourself try again. If you still don’t hear yourself make sure your settings are set to internal mic under your audio preferences (both in Garage band and in System Preferences choose internal mic)
Once your vocals are working
Open up the Loop Browser under the Control Tab
The Loops will show at the bottom of your screen and you can listen to and choose the ones you like by dragging them directly into your Garage Band Track
They can be spliced using: Apple + T
You can add New Tracks by pressing: Shift + Apple + N
Dragging a new loop can also add a new Track when it’s dragged into empty space on Garage Band
You should have a track specifically for your voice
and a few tracks with loops that you can drag to various parts of your song
Choose another Loop You like for another Verse
Choose a 3rd Loop for a Bridge
Go back to the First and/or Second Loops
If you want to act super pro you can wear head phones so you hear the back ground music coming through but don’t record your vocals with it
Play Around. Have Fun. Good Luck. Export or Share your Track with itunes and email it or post it to a Sound Cloud Account to Share….
Oh….how to sing…..
Open your Mouth
Let Sound Out
Sound Can Be Words
Or Become Words
Opening and Closing your Mouth Can Serve as Percussion
Changing Pitch is Fun
Going Up and Down your Register
Also Changing the Pace of what you are singing
Fast or Slow
Breaking it Apart
Break Break Breaking Break Break Brea Br Brrrrrr….
Break Break Break my Heart
Art Fart Cart Start Singing…..
A cell phone voice recorder works really well too. Or tape recorder, or mini recorder, or just remember what you are singing and record it on your computer. It also need not be recorded to be a song.
Try to write 3 songs-ditties-jingles-or scores
do one with your computer, one on the fly, and one super spontaneous.
Don’t care too much about how it sounds or what other people might think.
Feel free to get angry or say what you need to say.
Or keep it hidden in a(n obvious) metaphor.
Hope this helps. Just do it, don’t think too much.
3 hours ago
Thanks for the update! Auspicious indeed that we should meet at this magical crucial moment.
I am a songbird who is so excited to hop on board this magical transformational vessel. For Burning Man and for 2013.
The capacity where I think I could be the most effective is facilitating the collaborations between all of the various people involved and helping to tell a story. Producer/Director style.
I would also like to be involved in songwriting and performing (I am melding my love of song writing and singing as a lyracist—that is singing off of the aerial hoop which is called a lyra!) —>>>you did say there is a rig…correct?
I am used to the kinds of collaborations you are proposing and got a lot of experience working in production modes with the YES MEN and also at the performance space I co-founded called THE HOUSE OF YES. (http://www.houseofyes.org/) where I facilitated many productions between bands, circus performers, site specific plaes (like abandoned buildings, ships, warehouses).
I am a collaborative production maven. I did my MFA at Brooklyn College Performance and Interactive Arts. I have worked quite a bit in production and performance and founded an arts organization called Artistic Evolution which was an hub of activism and arts. You can check it out at artevolve.org. Now a-days I am focused on song writing and performing in conceptually rich and interdisciplanary mobile venues—so this production and all of its excitement is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY.
I’d love to get together on skype around the 9th you say is good? Also I would plan a trip to be with you all in 3 weeks. Do you know exact dates-I’d love to plan to be there.
Also: Could you write up in a few paragraphs:
*what is going to happen in the show
*who is involved currently
(names of anyone….is there a spreadsheet with this information)
*any reference material (books, articles, literature) I could use as research?
So very excited,
House of Yes
Performance space in Brooklyn, NY
It is important to know how the people with whom you are communicating like to receive correspondences. Picture texts? Emails? Greeting Cards?
Here are a couple of writing samples I have put together to show the different kinds of content I am used to putting together.
Here is an example of a budget proposal written through Band of Bicycles and the Transportation Alternatives:
Here is an example of a Yes Men email call for the Survivaball Campaign:
Here is a planning document used to remind participants about an upcoming meeting and show students from the University of Baghdad how to create a blog post:
I write and publish reviews, webinars, tutorials and video skype interviews on:
Here is an example of a curriculum simple bike maintenance tutorial video I made & wrote the music for: