when you feel like you aren’t enough, look outwards and explode with love bullets

From a very early age I have battled with this warped sense that ‘I am not enough’…

Like so many of us, I have an annoying internal voice that recites monologues to me at the most inappropriate hours in the most unpleasant and overpowering theatrical body-voice imaginable saying things like – you are not smart enough, loud enough, talented enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, political enough, smiley enough or fast enough – sharp breath – you are not bold enough, creative enough, friendly enough or successful enough – sharp breath –  you, kiddo, are just not enough.

I have a few theories about where this voice came from and although I’ve worked long and hard to make that little fucker decrescendo to a pianissimo, it is still there waiting in the wings for something or someone to trigger it.

NO MORE REPEAT SIGNS motherfucker! *Chocolate peanuts BE GONE!

Now, I’m now 31 years old and I’ve realised I will probably live with this acerbic cunt of a voice for the rest of my life, so I need to figure out some ways to deal with it and the volume in which it harasses me.

Let’s workshop some simple ideas and strategies together…

  1. When you feel like you aren’t enough, look outwards and explode with love bullets
  • Some of the most meaningful things I have ever done have been born out of what felt like interminable darkness. Instead of focussing inwards, I got to a point in my life where I chose to reach out instead. My community choir – Cheep Trill – grew out of a feeling of loneliness and failure while I was living in New York.  I decided I wanted to fall in love with music again and bring it back to basics whilst trying to create a supportive local musical community and fill some hearts with joy, maybe even heal a few – including my own – along the way. To so many, this simple act of bringing people together each week to sing might not seem like much. But through this group I have found meaning and purpose and I truly feel like I am contributing and helping my community with the skills and the knowledge I have. Look outwards. Try to help others. Maybe start with the people you know and love (it can be devastatingly easy to forget this!). As someone Australian and famous once said in a well-known song: “From little things big things grow”…
  1. Put on a dirty pop song and dance in front of the mirror like a maniac
  • When ‘the voice’ has me by the balls I like to take off a lot of my clothing and dance in front of the mirror like a maniac. There is no scientific research that I know of to explain why this feels so good (and even if there was, I kind of like the mystery), but just try it. I highly recommended attempting “the snake”…but not on concrete.
  1. Run that cunny of a voice away
  • Put in your headphones and go for a walk or a run. Drown the bitch of a voice out with the sound of your panting. Run fast. Run true, little unicorns. 
  1. Stop talking about all the things you want to do and bloody do them

…or at least start putting the wheels in motion! You. Can. Do. It. You. Can. Do. It!

  1. Find your tribe and dress like a lion(ess)
  • Find the people who make you feel good about being you and hold on to them. They are your tribe. There might only be one. There might be ten. Whoever they are, cherish the shit out of them. They will be the ones who catch you when you fall, and you must learn to catch them too. It needs to work both ways. And seriously, get a lion costume, some leopard print and paint your face. It works wonders.
  1. Remember that you are exactly where you need to be
  • The feeling of not being enough might make you want to fast track the learning process and you might feel more inadequate or worse off than when you started. You’ve got the tools. Be patient.
  1. Eat a salad
  • Just eat a fucking salad.
  1. LOVE

    – This is a tough one for many but try not to over-complicate it. You don’t have to say “I love you” after every conversation or at the end of every text message. Just open your little heart and it might come gushing back in too. The world needs more of this exchange. Go forth brave love warriors and just fucking love. Allow yourself to be happy. Don’t intellectualise something so magical. Go with it and… *surrender.

*Chocolate peanuts BE GONE: This was something my body attack instructor, Luke, once said during a pre-Christmas workout. An inside-joke I share with my little fake sister, Indigo that has always stuck with me and made me giggle.

*Surrender: I have this tattooed on my forearm in Italian as a daily reminder. I got this ink in Florence when I found myself fighting against the flow of life and love. I didn’t want to fight anymore. 

Hush. Be still. It’s going to be ok.

x

 

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Last show in NY/Australia here I come – extended newsletter!

Hello everyone,

Hope this email finds you well, wherever you are. Let me begin by saying my thoughts go out to all of you affected by the horrifying fires in NSW. And if you are in the UK please take care during these storms.

I’ve just returned from a weekend away in Philadelphia where I learnt lots about the fascinating history of America, saw some great live music and enjoyed watching the autumn leaves fall. It’s been so interesting to experience these seasons pass and find the beauty in each one. This is something that I’d never really experienced before. Having said that, I do miss the (constant) Australian sun!

With that in mind, I am excited to announce that I am coming home for a while. After touring the US with Jesca Hoop and Shuggie Otis, opening for Jinkx Monsoon during her extended Off-Broadway season, playing numerous solo shows, opening for one of my favourite bands – Placebo – with Jesca, AND writing and performing in my own show on Off-Broadway with Kate Lee and James Dobinson, it’s time to call Australia home for a while.

Thank you SO much to all of you for supporting me and my music here in the US and a special thanks to everyone who helped make my show Imaginarium possible. New York, I will be back!

But before I go…

***ONE FINAL NEW YORK SHOW***
Friday  November 1st, 11pm
The Kazino,
259 West 45th Street, New York, –  Between 7th and 8th
Time- 11:00
FREE!!!
Info:  I will be playing a solo 40 minute set following the Off-Broadway hit
“Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet Of 1812”
Please come to see me off!

BLACK EP: My final digital EP in the 2013 trilogy – Black – will be released on November 25th. The song list, in no particular order, is: Mrs Gold, A Mess A Mess, Little Succubus, Money and Cherry Apple (featuring co-writer, Indigo Keane). Tony Dean and Janey Mac also star on this EP, and it has been recorded, mixed and produced by the fabulous Fronz Arp.

NEW PROJECT: I have an exciting new band project brewing. If you are a Brisbane-based musician/singer and interested in hearing more please email me at em@emmadean.com

TEACHING: I will be beginning my teaching school from 18 November. Teaching and creating community around music is something I am deeply passionate about. If you are interested in receiving guidance with your singing, performance, song-writing or creativity, please email me at em@emmadean.com. I teach in person at my studio in Ashgrove, Brisbane or via skype for international students. All levels of experience welcome with open arms.

Much love to all of you. Hope to see you at a show. Please share the word with your friends and fam who may be in NY.

Emma x

 
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From within the Imaginarium – Blog #1

Making theatre in a new city on a budget of zilch is no easy task.

So, I thought I would try to write about the process of creating Imaginarium: A new work for chamber-pop ensemble each week, a) so I can keep you posted on the details; and b) so I can get my thoughts and feelings in order.

I am now ten days out from beginning a month of NOT-full-time rehearsals with my cast and I am a mixed lolly bag of emotions. Here are some of them…

Excitement, Anxiety, Stress, Fear and Gratitude 

The biggest obstacle so far – apart from not having any money – has been the fact that the brilliant James Dobinson (my MD and co-performer/creator) has been in Wichita for two months working on Hairspray and Spring Awakening. This has meant that all of our communication has been via email and we’ve only been able to come together as a creative team once in the past two months – a big challenge for me and my old friend ‘anxiety’. Having said that, the creative electricity has been firing between us even over the internet, so I cannot wait to get into the rehearsal room to create some magic!

Kate Lee – the phenomenal physical-theatre powerhouse presence in our show, and one of the co-creators – is making her musical debut in Imaginarium. It’s hard to believe this is true because she seems like such a natural, especially on those pots n pans! Because this is a new adventure for Kate, she’s wanted to start practice on her parts early which has been such a dream for me because her excitement about delving into the musical world is infectious. On the flip side, she has been my physical-theatre coach for a few months now and I am feeling equally excited about incorporating this performance art form into my work again.

Here is a photo of Kate on the glockenspiel at a recent show we played together for Theater YinYin’s POP 5 in New York. Image

Many theatre folk would know that putting on a show in one month seems pretty normal in terms of time frame. But, the fact is, I’m wearing most of the “hats” for this first draft of Imaginarium and we are all juggling various other jobs. This is no different to every other self-devised show I’ve done, apart from one major variable: I’m now in New York and I’ve got no fucking idea of where anything is and how things are done. 

But there’s hope…

The universe has sent Kate, James and I three angels. Their names are Stefano Brancato, Michael Goldfried and of course, Fronz Arp. Stefano and Michael saw me open for Jinkx Monsoon and we connected online afterwards. Turns out they are both unbelievably talented and uber experienced creators of theatre, art, puppets and costumes and our artistic aesthetics seem to be so beautifully complementary. Stefano and Michael have come on board to give us some direction and also help with our costumes and styling. I will tell you more about them later, but in the mean time, check out their websites. There are some stunning images of their work on the image pages.

Stefano Brancato Website

Michael Goldfried Website

Fronz Arp will be doing our sound engineering. Knowing that our sound is in Fronz’s hands always makes me feel safe. He is the master.

Fronz Arp’s Website 

Speaking of the fabulous Fronz Arp… He recently shot and edited a film clip for my song “My Heart My Blood”.

 

Until next blog, I hope to see you at the theatre. So much love.

x

EmmaDeanImaginarium_evite

 

 

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La La Lune (lyrics for a song demo)

I originally filmed this demo song.

But when I watched it back, I had orange lipstick all over my teeth.

Because the demo is a little soft, the words are below.

This song transcribes a conversation I had with the moon when i was lonely.

LISTEN TO THE SONG. 

LA LA LUNE (a demo)

from this window i look out
and see what the noise is about
a siren cries with desperation
i want to cry along

for there’s a mountain up ahead
i can’t afford the boots but i’m prepared
to climb it ’til i’m almost dead
if they’ll let me sing my song

la la lune
is this all
i will see
from the moon?

la la lune
when i’m gone
is this all
that i am?

 la la lune
la la lune

from this window i’m a ghost
a shadow with a silent host
with a thousand screams that i spread on toast
and swallow, quite unheard

hold me ’til i’m out of breath
plait my insides like my hair
and turn me into something that’s not quite there
and maybe then they’ll see

la la lune
is this all
i will see
from the moon

la la lune
when i’m gone
is this all
that i am?

la la lune
la la lune

pack my bags
i’m goin’ away
to the moon
la la lune

Image

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On ‘being discovered’…

A very dear friend of mine saw me perform recently here in New York and very innocently (and quite beautifully) made a comment about her feeling confident I will be discovered in New York City.

As a creative and a performer who has been on stage since the age of 2, I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole idea of ‘being discovered’ and how you categorise artistic ‘success’, ‘fame’ and whether or not you are an ‘established artist’ or not.

I thought I’d share my response to her in the hope that this may spark some sort of discussion.

These are my thoughts in that moment, and even reading back over some of this letter I too have questions for myself. I’m still trying to work it all out!

MY REPLY: 

Some things I’ve been pondering of late which I would love to share! This is just an inner ramble lol…

I’m not sure how this whole ‘discovery’ thing works. It’s a little elusive. There are so many great artists who work their bums off who will never be discovered. If artists are doing the art JUST to be discovered (and there are many like that) then perhaps they need to re-think the job choice. It’s all about how you define “success”.

I do it because I have to. And I live knowing that there is a chance I may be ‘poor’ or ‘undiscovered’ (whatever that means) for the rest of my life. It’s my purpose – to create music & share it and try to build community through it. Though I would not recommend this life to anyone who didn’t NEED to do it.

Sorry to rant! Ha ha!

I just had a 19 year old Aussie fan/friend come to my gig the other night and say he was ‘disappointed’ for me that the venue wasn’t bigger. He said I am so ‘patient’ and that he wouldn’t be able to be as patient as me.

Patient for what? To be discovered? To be FAMOUS? Is that when it all begins? This is my life. This is my journey.

I understand what he meant. He didn’t mean it to be hurtful. 

It seems there is a timeline to how long society deems it appropriate to pursue a career in the arts. It’s a funny old world!!

Xxx

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The birth of RED: An EP with a lot o’ heart…

In the next couple of weeks I will be giving birth to my second baby from this year’s digital EP trilogy.

I’ve named her, RED. 

I thought I’d give you some insight into her songs before she is released, kicking and screaming, into the unknown.

  1. My Heart My Blood

I wrote this about all the things I would give to the ones I love after I die. Although I feel I lead a very rich and colourful life, my pockets are not so full when it comes to money. So instead of leaving dollars for my loved ones, I would give them parts of my body so they can see, hear, smell and touch all the extraordinary things I’ve experienced in my world.

Life is short and I want you to fill it with your heart’s desire; you can make it look like anything you want, my love.”

  1. Venus De Milo

Love, as many of us know, can tear you to shreds. I wrote this song when I had been smashed into a million pieces and hadn’t yet worked out how to put myself back together again.

Tear me apart, smash me to bits, kill me with your heart.”

  1. All The Kings Horses

This is a song for my dad. It made me very sad to sing it for a while. It’s about seeing someone so strong become so weak and how that makes you question which way is up. It’s about roles shifting. It’s about people sticking together. It’s about family. And most of all, it’s about love. Just love.

Teach your children how to love.”

  1. Tinkerbell (Down)

A song written in the depths of despair, when all I wanted to do was fly.

Flying high so no one knows I am on the way down.”

  1. Head In The Clouds

I got married. This is the song I wrote and sang for my husband as my vow. On the day, I performed it with my little brother Tony on glockenspiel, and my fake little sister Indigo on backing vocals. We even had choreography! Although this doesn’t musically fit with the other songs, I simply felt I couldn’t leave it off the EP.

One must follow the voice that calls out through the land, but must hear the one whispering softly to hold out your hand.”Image

I will be releasing my RED EP independently. So, my dear friends, I will need your love, support and help as we begin to spread the word. You can facebook, tweet, blog, email, shout it from the tops of mountains, or even just mention it to your friends and family. Every little bit helps.

In return, I have decided that as well as releasing the EP through itunes etc for a fixed price, I will be releasing it through Bandcamp with a PAY WHAT YOU LIKE option. I want as many people to have this EP as possible. Of course, any donations will go a far way. And through Bandcamp, I get all the money from sales (unlike other websites)!

This project was made with so much love and care. It features the following extraordinary people:

Ben Stewart/Fronz Arp: Recording, mixing, mastering and huge amounts of love and support.

Tony Dean: Glockenspiel on “Head In The Clouds”!

Andrea, David and Sarah: My cacophonous clapping squad and fabulous house mates!

Thank you also to Seamus and Tony who lent us their ears during the mixing process. Much appreciated.

Thank you thank you thank you. THANK YOU!

RED EP will be released on 22 July.

For updates please join my mailing list at www.emmadean.com and follow me on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emmadeanmusic

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emmadeanmusic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/emmadeanmusic 

xx

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New York Vs My Ego.

Well well well…an apology is in order. It’s been far too long since my last confession and I’m feeling plenty guilty.

Please forgive me.

Truth be told, I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to write. It somewhat goes without saying that the act of writing down your thoughts and experiences forces you to relive them one at a time. This can sometimes be confronting, especially in a city like New York where it feels like there’s not much space for anything other than surviving, or racing from one appointment to the other.

I’m trying not to be a tennis ball, though some days it feels like I’m being smashed around the court: New York Vs My Ego. It’s fucking fascinating as a bystander (yes, sometimes I have a degree of insight that allows me to be able to take a step back and actually analyse the game)…

Simply put: If you don’t know why you’re here in New York, this place has the ability to smash you out of the stadium. Game. Match. New York.

Funnily enough, folks, I didn’t really know why I was here. Not exactly.

From the age of teeny tiny somethin’ somethin’ I wanted to be on the radio, tour the world and be a pop star. I don’t really want that any more.

I want to create shows – with theatre, music, whatever really, just as long as I fucking love it and it doesn’t bore me shitless. My days of uploading my tracks to Triple J Unearthed (or whatever) are OVER. I finally realised this after uploading a recent single – “Phoebe (With Her Whole Heart)” – and had the most visceral reaction (I.e. the urge to puke) when realising I had to once again beg my (incredibly supportive and patient) friends and followers to vote for me. Yes, thanks to you absolutely amazing people, I once again made it into the charts. Insert huge cuddle here. But no…once again…the song was not played on Triple J or even the Unearthed station.

When I made a definite decision to not follow this traditional path to “success” in the music business, a huge weight was lifted. I also realised that it makes total sense.

My music is meant for the stage. Small stages at the moment. But hopefully one day, big ones too.

Where better to be than New York to get the opportunity to EXPLORE this? Just to simply explore. I don’t know where I will end up, but I know I’d like to now make my focus about me and my music simply being on the stage as much as possible.

Focus, focus, focus. I. am. not. a. tennis. ball.

So, with all that in mind, on to extremely exciting things…

I’m busy with lots of solo shows here in New York. I’ll list them for you below. At these solo shows I play whatever I feel like, really. It may be songs from the White EP, my other EPs or either one of my albums. It may be that I’ll try out new material or perform a cover. Maybe I’ll recite a poem? Maybe I’ll ask a guest up to sing or play with me? Who knows. Sometimes it’s loose. Sometimes it’s not. This is my time to experiment in a less theatrical setting, sell some my CDs and get to know you all here in New York.

All the while, I’m scheming…

You see, in October I will be debuting a new theatrical music show called “Imaginarium”. The show will feature a theatrical pop-chamber ensemble with James Dobinson (my fabulous musical director) and Kate Lee (an amazing physical theatre performer and actor making her official pop-chamber musical debut). The show is being produced by Spin Cycle (Joan Rivers, Jinkx Monsoon) and will be performed on 2 and 9 October at The Laurie Beechman in the theatre district. What a buzz. I’ll let you know when tix are on sale, but if you’ll be in NY please set these dates aside and spread the word!

In other news, I visited the Niagara Falls with Fronz and my parents this weekend. Seeing this natural wonder made me realise just how insignificant we are in many ways. I was awe-struck. I highly recommend taking this trip if you ever get the chance. I would, however, hold back on plummeting off the falls in a barrel. Long story.

So much love to you all.

Oh and, if you want to follow my adventures with photos, you can add me on Instagram. I’m emmadeanmusic !!

****Thursday 20 and 27th June, 11pm****

“15:54” @ 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St, NY
$15 ticket includes complimentary drink!
TICKET INFO: http://54below.com/wordpress/?artist=1554

“15:54″ will unlock the doors for a weekly Thursday Late Night series featuring the best of New York City’s cutting edge nightlife. Re-inventing the magic of Studio 54, Resident artists, performers, DJ’s will serve you 15 minute sets at 54 Below. This week’s artists and DJ sets include: Bridget Everett, Lance Horne, Corey Tut, Jamez Lopez, Lord Easy, Emma Dean, The Deep Pink, remixes by Quinn McCarthy, The Creamery Studio and many others TBA. Cover charge includes one complimentary well, wine, or beer beverage!

****Friday 28th June, 9:00 – 9:40pm****
Fronz Arp and Emma Dean @ The Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St, NY
TICKET INFO: FREE

Fronz Arp and I will be sharing the stage at this iconic venue on Christopher St!

****Sunday 14 July, 8:00 – 8:45pm****
Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Ave A, NY
FULL LENGTH SET with special guest Kate Lee!
TICKET INFO: FREE (with tip jar, min $5 recommended)

I will be performing a full 45 minute set featuring old songs, new songs and arrangements from my up-coming theatrical music show, “Imaginarium” (set for October at Laurie Beechman Theatre on 42nd St). Joining me for a few sneak peek numbers from “Imaginarium” will be physical theatre powerhouse performer, Kate Lee, making her chamber-pop-musical debut!

 

 

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