How is that for a blog entry title?
Anyway, just a few minutes ago I got an email that my song 'Meant' will be featured on tonight's season premiere episode of So You Think You Can Dance. Wow! I will have to watch! Very excited. Over the past year I have received so many emails from people who used 'Dreamer' as their dance song - for recitals, flag routines - you name it. I do like that show a lot. Every time I have watched it I have walked away with a firm decision to take up dancing again. Er....OK, soon.
Unfortunately no celebratory glass of wine for me tonight. I have been sick with strep throat. Let me tell you: don't get it. I don't know how I picked it up, but chances are it was at the elementary school where we did our first Dreamer to Hero Art & Music Workshop a week and a half ago.
The workshop was done as a collaboration with my designer and art partner in crime Missy Washington of i102fly - she did the art portion of the event, while I did - guess? - the musical part of it, obviously. The kids were 8-9 years old and there were about 20 of them.
Halfway through the workshop I recorded the kids singing a part for my new song HERO. Yes, the one with the choir at the end. After that, Missy led them in an arts and crafts endevour.
Let me tell you: who needs high end gadgets or materials? She brought supplies from a Re-Use outlet and we made Superhero Machines from cardboard, discarded plastic, CDs, old packaging and other bits and pieces. The idea was to show them that sometimes even though you don't have the ultimate raw material/situation/resources to work with, you can still come out on top, be creative and come up with something amazing - and that applies to everything in life, in my opinion. The kids made some really incredible things and it was really inspiring to watch them.
We had a brilliant time and I can't wait to do it again. It was also filmed (by my friend Julien Lasseur), so in the next week or so we will post the video summary of the event.
Speaking of the Choir for HERO: a huge thank you to all who submitted their recordings and videos. We had plenty recordings and the choir is sounding great! We may still ask fans for more videos, but we may be ok, too, we'll have to cut to song and see what happens. The best part about it is that for the first time I have engaged my fans in something active and something collaborative. It generated so much positive energy - I am definitely doing to do this again.
Later that week we also shot a little video for the acoustic version of a new song called Dragonslayer. The song is in the electronica genre and one of the ones I have been producing myself recently. I am pretty proud of it. The acoustic version works really well, too. Here is a still from the shoot:
So now there are all sorts of videos in the pipeline.
However it was that weekend that I got very sick. I tried my best to stay off the antibiotics, but it turned out that I had strep throat, and it was rather virulent. It was so bad that I felt a slight sore throat Sunday morning and by Sunday night I had no voice whatsoever.
I did all my natural remedies, as usual and they helped a lot - but after a week in bed I was still in pretty bad shape. As much as I try to avoid medication (due to a very negative experience in the past I may speak about here later sometime) I had to give in and take one because now it's less than two weeks before I leave for Europe - my London show is on the 30th - and then Paris - and then TED Global. There's lots to do and I can't just keep riding this infection out.
Fortunately the antibiotic seems to be doing its job and I am better, except for a nasty cough that comes and goes, so no singing for another few days.
And now back to work.
Here is also a photo from my photoshoot with Belathee Photography a couple of weeks ago. Those girls are so good! And so fun to be around! Can't wait to work with them again.
So what a couple of weeks! Video shoots, raging strep throat and more. All meriting another entry in a moment... Why didn't I blog while in bed? Good question. Maybe because I was so miserable all I could do was watch BBC crime series. And so this means I owe my blog lots of attention...again.
For now, happy to say this song below will make it on the 2 EPs out in the coming few months. It feels right.
Love Song #3.
You are so bad for me
But I love you tenderly
I couldn’t bear the thought
That you may go
But you are a faceless wall
Sometimes you’re a carnival
And if you swallow me whole
I need to know
Is it addiction that feeds me
Is it affection that binds me
It takes so little to cure me
Why did you have to remind me
That you are so good to me
When I hate you bitterly
You rise above, fill me with love
Until I choke
You are the Christmas day
You laugh my rage away
You’re always right
So why do I fight
And try to provoke
Is it addiction that feeds me
Is it affection that binds me
It took so long to convince me
That you were destined to find me
You see the best in me
You love my honesty
You never stop
And you pick me up
When I am low
But this is a travesty
Cause you don’t mean a damn to me
I want to care
But it’s just not there
And you gotta know
It’s the addiction that feeds me
You are the habit that binds me
You’ve given all just to please me
Now you should learn to despise me
Now you should learn to despise me...
I think blogging more regularly is finally starting to become a habit. I often come across blogs of artists and personalities I am interested in - only to find out that their blog entries are often one a month or even less. I wonder why that is? Why start a blog if you are disinclined to write?
I can posit a reason or two: sometimes, life just takes over. It is so fast, furious, or even simply nice, that writing about it seems to be a moot point. Why write when life is so full you don't feel the need to fictionalize it in any way? Or when everything is a nice routine? Writing when you are content seems to be less of an urgent activity than when you are striving, unhappy, nostalgic and desire to express yourself. If an artist's life is normal, happy and full of normal, happy regular things - what is there to write about? Maybe there is, but there is less of an urge to try and do so.
Sometimes, however, it's the opposite. An artist won't write because he/she feels too fragile to write, because everything has gone wrong. Some of us are less inclined to share our faults and failures with the world at large. "No news is good news" sort of thing. What this means is: we hide when we are weak and feel lost. Reaching out to the world and letting it know we are in trouble seems like a cop-out and a signal that we are, indeed, failing and unworthy. An artist who has been public for a while is also surrounded by people - management, label and others. If there is a sense of frustration and it has been vented online, it will surely find its way to be seen by those who are connected to the artist's career, which is probably not a good thing.
And finally, it may be a question of discipline. Starting something is easy - like buying a plant. Sticking with it, feeding it, making sure it gets water regularly, trimming it, puting it in a bigger pot - well, that's a whole other thing. Good thing: blogs are like succulents - they don't die. Blog or not blog, your page is still there.
I used to be terrible with plants, in fact - before my whole 'flower alchemist' phase. I am quite a bit better now. When I look at my plants now I can almost tell when they are happy or not: it is almost as if it is talking to me. That doesn't give me any ideas as to WHY that is, of course, but most of the time it is pretty easy: it wants attention. With attention comes water and care. A little bit of regular attention to anything, and it will grow and flower, including a blog: regular being the key word here.
This morning I found a great quote from Tchaikovsky:
“There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest (inspiration) does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.”
― Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
It is so true, in my opinion. In Russian we say: "Аппетит приходит во время еды". This means: Appetite arrives while you are having the meal.
I do use Twitter, of course, but there is something so annoying about having to use 140 characters. I prefer it for news and communication, as well as keeping up with people I admire, who are online - like Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is my favorite conductor, and many others.
And so I am happy to say that I am getting back into blogging regularly - not to blog but to write, because I am developing a taste for it again. Writing should be done for writing's sake, otherwise it is contrived, stunted and reads more like a press release, than an account of human experience. Same goes for poetry: I have been so focused on music recently, I only now realized how much I have neglected my poetry. Not that both don't go hand in hand, because I do write lyrics, and that can be constituted as a form of poetry. However, what makes writing poetry different is that there is no music involved, and words and the spaces in-between are both the brush, palette and the canvas.
As you may know, I have been working for a while with a wonderful artist i102fly, or Melissa Washington, who is a great photographer, graphic designer, painter, Renaissance woman and much more. She also happens to be a dear friend of mine.
This Saturday, November 17, she is holding her first Los Angeles exhibit, featuring outtakes from her graphic travel journals and other works. It will be a remarkable event. It’s at the art space of another friend and renowned artist Paulin Paris, who will also present some of his newer works.
I will sing a song or two to celebrate the occasion! It is an open launch, so please join us if you are reading this and are in the area.
It is also open to public the following day – Sunday – from 11 to 2 pm.
Yes... and an important tidbit: there will be WINE...:)
Here are a couple of graphics of i102fly's art pieces I love - but there are so many!
We have finally launched the new official website, which includes the Store page, Videos, Photos and everything else in one place.
I am also excited to present the Beatrix Story Map, which is a way for me to roll out the story I wrote in the past year. It's a story of time traveling adventure, love and the heroine's name is - you guessed it - Beatrix.
I will still use my blog, of course, but you are encouraged to go to http://www.elizaveta.com and look around a bit. I promise you will not be disappointed.
New music, videos & covers coming soon. Sign up on the left to be part of the Email List and get special updates and free download links.
Thanks for being part of my adventure.
I am overdue on a number of things, one of which is calling my mom, who is in Russia. I miss her.
It has been a difficult time, emotionally. Perhaps it is time to turn to some literary friends I have acquired over the years. And so I do... to one man who is always with me, because of his words - well you guessed who it is:
..Love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away, you write, and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.
And if what is near you is far away, then your vastness is already among the stars and is very great; be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend.
Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.
Avoid providing material for the drama, that is always stretched tight between parent and children; it uses up much of the children's strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms even if it doesn't comprehend.
Don't ask for any advice from them and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
(rainer maria rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)
I am learning a lot these days - about myself, my limits, desires and true needs.
The good thing is that the music is flowing freely - I have a full album's material's worth on my iPhone - and that's just my iPhone.
I feel like a phase is ending and another beginning, but I am still in between. It's not the most comfortable place to be, because I like certainty. But perhaps that's just it: learning to be in that place, with patience - that is the lesson.
It appears to me that many of the people I know are having a similar experience. Or perhaps, once again, I am just seeing the world through my own little private lens, that just so happens to be a bit foggy these days.
I am doing, however, some good work. There are some interesting covers in progress, as well as originals. I am also wrangling with software and cables. Eck! I hate cables. But, alas, they are necessary in sound engineering of any kind.
Here is a bit of a cover I am putting together. It is a French song I have loved for a while now. I think I'll do another version with English lyrics... well, I'll have to WRITE them first, but it will be a pleasure. And then I'll have to remix it for sure, it's too gorgeous of a melody, it has to go over beats, too.
It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living.
Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing.
That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don't know what it was.
We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.
And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.
The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it "happens" (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being.
And that is necessary. It is necessary - and toward this point our development will move, little by little - that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us.
It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them.
Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.
Yes, that is definitely me today.
Mission for the rest of 2012 is to learn to walk a careful line between smugness and a sort of magnanimous noblesse oblige. And own it.
There must have been something going on recently in the collective unconscious of the world - the ether - or maybe the planets fighting each other for their respective astrological supremacy. Hard to say. But it was a harsh week.
Today is Saturday and a full moon - it feels better, though. I feel better. I didn't wake up anxious, as I had been doing for over a week, straining to understand why the invisible sounds of life's behind-the-scenes machinery were filling me with dread.
It is not raining. It is only raining in my poem below. But in fact, for the first time in days it is also a morning of generous sunshine without the sprinkling of the rain or marine layer rolling in at first light.
I found this old poem I wrote a while back.
I have not changed since then. Or have I? That is the question.
When I start going mad, I always turn to one man who will never leave my heart - Rainer Maria Rilke.
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day".
I thought of you today.
The morning was covered by the blanket of rain
It was so sweet to lie there, half-asleep
and wonder, hazily, at the irony of life.
All my days, I am torn between
the safe haven, shining like a beacon
and the Grand Adventure.
But I am unable to give myself up
not for long anyway.
Who do you see, when you stare at me so?
A kind of saintly ghostly glow about me, perhaps
or maybe I represent a part of you
lost long ago; stillborn to this world.
The water on the roof was the Morse Code
I felt like I was close to knowing the answer.
There comes a time when all that matters
is being your own self, through and through.
And if I was with you, I know I would become
a better version of the girl I've only come to know.
No, not the girl: the woman.
I am no longer made of clay. I have been weathered,
beaten, burned and now I do not yield.
Your love is like the wind: it tugs; it beckons and embraces
I do not want the wind: I'd rather be with trees.
They stand there, waiting, until I come to them myself
and do not ever judge me.
I am feeling a lot better today, but it is still a day of rest.
I just watched Love The Earth, which is a crowd-sourced short film, scored by Imogen Heap - and then her performance with special cyborg gloves, which produce sound wirelessly, and the movement defines the tone/sound.
She is beyond amazing: I adore her.
Tomorrow I hook up all my equipment, pick up the guitar and start playing with music again. I want to do some special things for the tour that starts mid May. More on that soon..
I also intend to write more poetry, make some serious inroads in the Beatrix story, listen to hours of new music, dance and be wildly inspired and creative. I have been *doing* a lot since the beginning of the year - performing, planning, stressing, traveling, wondering, organizing.
And now all my heart wants is playtime with my Muse.
Last night I went ahead and re-read some of 'The Little Prince' by Saint-Exupery. I recently met someone who made me think of the book and its character - not the grown-up, but the Little Prince himself. This is one of those books that forever speak to me: almost as if it is written in code, and the code translates into whatever daily life I am living; regardless of whether it is now, tomorrow or five years ago.
'The Alchemist' is another one of those books.
A poem I wrote a while back:
I am not afraid
Ok, maybe a little bit
but even if I am
it's just a temporary place.
But this much I do know:
The straight lines and corners;
illusions that we make
and clothes we wear
to separate ourselves:
they are not us.
Now and then I get this
aching desire to let go
of everything I have ever learned
about who I am
where I am going
and what I truly want.
There is something here
I keep seeing out the corner of my eye.
Perhaps, if I move sideways
instead of forward, or backwards
or even standing still
I will know what it is.
Now and then
I get weak at the knees
from the love I feel
for this world
and tonight they're within me:
the knowing, the fear, the pleasure
of being human:
so alive and imperfect.
I am incredibly tired, and yet buoyant.
Yes, buoyant - I love this word - it is one of my favorites in English - and I have been waiting to use it in the recent days, so here is my opportunity.
In case you are wondering: buoyancy is a good thing.
The video shoot went so well. We had such a difficult time making everything come together in a very short time - but come together it did. Last night, as we opened some champagne, the feeling was of that best (in my opinion) variety of satisfaction when, against all odds and through ups and downs, the pieces of the puzzle fit in a beautiful pattern and the final result is almost more than what you expected of the best possible outcome.
I learned that I can act - and now I actually want to take some acting lessons because I found myself enjoying it, quite unexpectedly. Who knew!
I have so much to look forward to - and for once - I am not afraid. I have no idea what the future will bring- but I have done so much already. I have given 2012 my full and undivided attention. The music is out there. The story of Beatrix will grow and spread far and wide. And a vital emotional piece of it - Meant - and the video, which we shot as part of the larger story - will be out there soon, as well.
Tomorrow we are flying to Seattle and driving to Vancouver to perform. I am opening for an amazing group - James - and it's a string of 10 dates this time, terminating in San Diego on April 19th.
Onwards. With or without a map.
But definitely with a compass:)