Archive for song

Who? Oh yeah, THAT chick!

Posted in Life and General, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2011 by jeiji

So. This is the point where I look to my left, and I look to my right, and remember who I got around me, what I got around me, and where I used to be. I must say… I’m pretty dang happy.

I think about a year ago, I was a depressed, stressed, broken-hearted mess (that rhymed!). Freshly torn from a lot of people I knew and loved, I had a lot of trouble holding myself together.

I don’t think there was a lower time in my life, by a long shot! But I found a way out, somehow. While stumbling around in my emotions, I met Pastor Jason, otherwise known as The Rambling Shepherd. He, also having had his share of heartbreak woes in the past, coached me out of my misery, not only with talk and fellowship with new people, but through the ministry of music.

I had been writing some songs to help me get over this hump of depression and self-loathing, and it helped. I had written my first song with lyrics, “Let Her Go” because of the mess.

If you listen to the lyrics, it is sad, and it is longing. Angsty, even. I had put so much heart into the song, I just wanted to get my emotions and thoughts out. I’d written songs on piano to help get over sorrow before, but never on guitar, or with lyrics. This was my gateway into songwriting. I played it over and over, while crashing at my friend David’s place. By the end of the semester, most of the people in the apartment knew the melody and some of the lyrics, haha. There are some others from that time that are still unrecorded. Like THIS song. Lol, I look so ridiculous with my emo hair… And I don’t do so well in front of a camera, so… yeah, just keep that in mind:

David, coincidentally had just recently gone through some heartbreak woes, too. And as God would have it, the name of the girl he had been done in by shared the same name as mine. We had even gone through similar situations, feeling a lot of the same emotions! We had a lot to talk about, as you could imagine. Dave was the roommate of two of my friends, Sean (a stellar photographer), and Marcus, who had invited me to stay at their place for the remainder of the semester (After the big explosion I had with my ex, I had no place to stay while going to school in SJ…). Dave was one of the main components to my healing, he talked me out of my sorrow within 10 minutes! Not to say that I was completely healed, but I had made a great leap in progress. He had reminded me of what God had done in my life, and that it wasn’t the end of the line. Little did I know, he would be a future bandmate.

Then, Arthur made his appearance in my life. We skated a lot… I mean A LOT. He also had been troubled with some previous romance. We talked a lot, and supported each other. Always skating and playin’ guitar, we were always around each other. We also talked a lot about God. Later, he would invite me to Pastor Jason’s place for dinner, as he was invited, and felt more comfortable bringing someone he knew with him. That’s when I first met the Jason. The first thing I recall when I first went to his place was that there were guitars… EVERYWHERE. I knew I was meeting someone interesting…

As I grew to know Jason, and Arthur and I were being coached while reading “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshuah Harris (great book by the way), I came to understand his roots in music, and how he composed, just like I did! He had a song that got popular for a while called “Valentine’s Day” on mp3.com, when it was all indie uploads. He made some money off of it! He inspired me to keep writing. I was soon inspired to write “The Sea and Jacarandas”

“The Sea and Jacarandas”

Verse:
I’m tired of seeing you here
Why don’t you disappear, this is my world
I can’t stand
That you can just walk around like you own the place

Oh leaving so soon? Why don’t you stay a while?
We can talk about the sea and jacarandas
I can hold you for the first time again
Or maybe then again you should leave

Chorus:
I think you should go!
I think you should go!

Verse:
Why does your shadow leave tracks in my dreams?
It’s impossible it seems to forget you
So I try to distract myself with things
Don’t think for a second you’ll be staying here

‘Cause I have a heart that is guided
I’m all done picking up the pieces
No more
Talk about the jacaranda tree or the sea

Chorus:
The flowers mean nothing to me!
‘Cause I cast them all to the sea!

This song was a little less longing, though still angsty. I had grabbed the situation by the horns, and begun to fight it, rather than gore myself with them, my previous attitude, haha. Then, in the mood for composing, I rapid-fire shot out this one:

Verse:
There is a spirit ahead of me.
And he says, “If you die I win
I can give you the revenge you seek
If only you’d just give in
“I told him that I may be broken
But my weakness I forsake
Don’t take aim at my naivity
This is one soul you can’t take
Chorus:
I lock and I load!
I’m planting my feet!
You can’t kick me down!
I’m standing my ground!
My heart is on fire!
You can’t blow it out!
You can’t kick me down!
I’m standing my ground!
(x2)

Verse:
But he still tried to reason with me
“Look at her. Remember the passion you had
You will never be loved like that again”
and I said, “I already am”

(Chorus)

As you can tell, I wasn’t the best musician/vocalist, but the point was to get my emotions out, and do something other than just sit and take my depression like a daily pill. It was helping a lot. This song was much more empowering, and I began to build confidence around this time.
Also, around this time, Jason had proposed to Arthur and I, the idea of a band, and the revolution of worship in our church. At the time, he felt that it could be better, and he felt a burden to bring a new spirit of worship to the congregation. How convenient that God was guiding people Arthur and I, and later, (Johnathan Hsu on keys) to Jason and the church! For some reason, Jason just attracted musically talented people, before even talking to them!
So, for the first time ever, I was on the worship team. I couldn’t believe it. I never thought I’d be on one. Never felt “good” enough, or that I could keep the nerve. But after that first worship session I was playing organ on keys, we really brought the Spirit down on the house. It was palpable. People were talking about it for a while! Arthur was on lead elec. guitar, and he did his thing, too. I was excited. I had never been a part of something so important and big before! A good start. This built my confidence even further, and distanced me even more from my woes of my previous romance and former friends.
With the positive influence coming in, I wrote another song. Much more happy and uppity, and a lot less rawk, haha.
“I Believe”
I believe in love
And the power that it holds
I believe in Heartbreak
And how it leaves you so coldI don’t believe in worry
‘Cause that’s a lack of faith
I don’t believe in revenge
‘Cause it just brings the hateI can’t believe you’re sorry
‘Cause I don’t believe your eyes
But I do believe you’re happy
That isn’t a surpriseI don’t believe what they say
They’re only saying what they hear
I do believe in heroes
Why do they disappearChorus:
You don’t have to agree with me
It’s just what I believeI believe in Mama
She never lets me down
I believe in papa
The smartest man in town
(Don’tcha’ know)

I believe in my sister

My biggest supporter and my friend
I believe if you’ve got family
Your joy will never end(Chorus)You gotta’ fight for what you stand for
Or else what else are we here for?Don’t keep it in the dark
Show everyone who you are
It really isn’t hard
Just say it out loudThat you believe in love
And the power that it holds
Watch out for that heartbreak
‘Cause it will leave you out coldAnd don’t you worry
‘Cause that’s a lack of faith
Don’t partake in revenge
‘Cause it just brings the hate

(Chorus)

It was a lot of fun to record. As you could tell, I was doin’ good. Things were looking up. Still no recording/music skills, but lots of heart in the right direction. Afterward, I had been hired on Fiverr.com to write some songs, just for fun. The first was Cat Food, based off of a grocery list a client thought was pretty funny. It’s so cheesy, but it was fun, haha!
 
This is… the ONLY song on soundcloud… that has downloads, haha! 
And an author contacted me to write a song about a person with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), who’d been in Iraq. His book was about the consequences of war. (masscasualties.com). But I realized that I was going to through somewhat of a form of PTSD myself! I had come a long way, but still hadn’t completely healed. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to take an abstract angle at my own situation.
This song… was SO much fun to sing.
Then, Jason got me and Arthur together again, and really got the idea of the band in our heads. We needed a drummer. So I knew just who to call! David Wickman, the same guy who helped me before, is a great drummer. I jammed with him some time ago before this point, and knew he had the chops. Josh Supelana served as the bassist, and Johnathan Hsu eventually came in on keys. Together, we formed Songs of the Redeemed! We practiced for a long time, and had our first performance, which happened to be a concert!

It was great fun, man. We’re not the best musicians in the world, but we all complement each other. That’s what matters. We’re still getting better, though! This was the high point. My dad even came to see me, and some friends from Tracy! I realized at that point, I had come a long way. By this point, it had been over a year. Still healing, but much stronger than I was before. The power of music ministry is amazing. God worked it all out so that we could all come together and make things happen. I leave you with this little treat I had done a little while ago, just because I freakin’ LOVE Billy Joel!


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Defining The Ambiguous

Posted in Thoughts, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by jeiji

“Well he would just spray paint on a wall, and people would be like ‘Well My 12-year-old daughter could do that.’ How come you can make thousands of dollars when I could do that if I tripped down the stairs?” Alex doesn’t like Jackson Pollock. As countless others have wondered, why is what he painted so easily classified as “art”? Four of us newly discovered philosophers sit at awkward places around a desk in a classroom under the Business Building at San José State University. We tackle one of the hardest and most convoluted questions in our society, trying our best to find a single answer. I asked our group “What is art?” Big mistake… Never have I been thrown into such a vortex that led to countless other questions and opinions. Once we seemed to approach a unanimous understanding of one concept of art, we find that there are deeper tunnels to explore. Some of those tunnels met other tunnels, and others just halted. Some had too many forks in their paths, and had to be avoided all together. Either way, we had already embarked on a treacherous journey with no road back, spelunking and traversing the many nooks and crannies of our outlandish landscape. We had no idea what to expect.

Jackson Pollock - Galaxy Pictures, Images and Photos

Galaxy - Jackson Pollock

“Well… I don’t know… some people talk about Salvador Dali’s paintings and they say ‘He was high as hell, like what’s up with that?’” Alex likes Salvador Dali. We had just come out of talking about Jackson Pollock, and started trying to define art by means of understanding. Was it that if someone can understand a piece, it is art?  I think Alex was trying to point out that just because it isn’t understood, doesn’t mean it isn’t art. Earlier on in the conversation I had mentioned Picasso and some other abstract artists and paintings, stating that the meaning may be hidden, and can be understood, but we soon found ourselves exploring the thought of purpose. If the artist had no preconceived purpose, planning or personal motivation to the piece he or she is working on, is it truly art? I brought up an example: “When something is squeezed out of you, or required, can you call that art?” My roommate, Daniel had always teased me about drawings I would bring home to display in the apartment. He would ask when or where I found the motivation to make the piece, and if it were for a class, he would say, “That’s not art, that’s an assignment!” in a jeering, pedantic tone. Alex returned an answer to my question: “Oooh, it can count, I mean my professor now only does cups, like does stuff with the cups, like he’ll design them.” Alex is a sculptor, and for sculptors, cups are the basics. You do them every class, Alex says, even in the advanced classes. I agree that assignments have the potential to be art. I usually treat it as if it were born of my own motivation, “That way when I finish it, I can honestly say, I put my heart into this, like I really want this to go into my portfolio. In fact, in my design 83 class, we had to do these 9 icons, and they were too easy. So she’s like “Okay, get creative.” so I turned each one into a portfolio-worthy, stand-alone logo, and sold two of them.”

We soon found our compasses pointing toward the advertising world, where McDonalds and Burger King’s showy posters lie ahead. I ask if their advertisements they display on the windows can be classified as true art. McDonald’s ads usually consist of large pictures of burgers and prices, blinged out to the max to grab your attention. Megan, another philosopher, doesn’t deem these marketing ploys true art, but presents another point of view: “Well, I wouldn’t [classify them as art], but I’m sure there’s people out there who would think they are good.” The McDonald’s ads are missing basic design principles, especially with use of space. They are usually cluttered, and can use clashing colors. But it seems that that is what sells those heart attacks on a plate. It’s all about grabbing attention.

On similar turf, we address jingles for stores in commercials and on the radio. It is often the same situation as the advertisements for fast-food chains: no good composition or basic principles of music in sight. I described it as “something you wouldn’t want to listen to in your iTunes playlist”. I again say that it is not art, but Meliza, our fourth philosopher, comes at us with an idea we hadn’t considered. “I think that a lot of people in the commercial field would think that is the art of doing commercials, and then there’s the art of music, so I think that it depends on the people who are involved,” she said. What an interesting point of view. None of us had thought to think of it in the eyes of the artist who designed such a work. This gave us something to chew on for a while, and we discussed it deeply. Though I was still firm in my belief that art must have the basics, I had been open to a whole new idea.

We pondered more on how to recognize true art, but we four adventurers were soon to realize we had left behind something crucial to the journey’s progress. All this talk about true art, and how to spot it, but we had forgotten a small, yet important point. “So are you saying good art is knowing the basics? What if its just aesthetically pleasing?” Megan asks me. This opens up a whole new door to thought process. I hadn’t even realized it myself, yet, but a lot of what I was basing my opinion on was what “good” art was. Alex helps me out a little down the line by saying, “So the part that can’t really be determined would be if it’s good art, or if it’s just a job. Good art is basics plus the extra.” I totally agree with that. Good art has to have basic knowledge of composition and color theory, or pitch, or movement, or whatever basic concept you must master for that area of art.

Love Photography Pictures, Images and Photos

“Wow this is really much more complicated than I thought.” I sigh as we end our session. As a group, we still could not come to a final answer, just as I had expected to end this escapade. It was a long and treacherous path with no end, but I really believe we all had taken something from this session. We at least found a way to classify our thoughts, and learned to organize our thinking, making sure we knew what we were actually questioning. Though I don’t believe there was much of a point to be made from this adventure, there rarely is one definite answer to such an ambiguous question. In the end, we can at least agree that philosophy is in fact an art: the art of questioning.

dali Pictures, Images and Photos
The Persistence of Memory – Salvador Dali