Los Angeles, rain, and magic
I just got back from another whirlwind trip to Los Angeles. Every time I go there it feels slightly surreal. I have lived and worked there in television off and on for years, but going there just for music, as a musician was different. Maybe because growing up and hearing the myth that "LA is where all music happens" and if you can "just get to LA" big things could happen.
Strangely enough they did.
I am never 100% certain what song I am working on will get recorded next, and I like the excitement of that. I wrote songs to about 80% completion and every time I record I always end up changing or improvising something in the studio that seems to be the bit of magic that ends up making the song unique.
I arrived in LA travelling with an actor friend, Don. At the airport we grab an uber, LOVE Uber... after an interesting conversation about Trump winning with our Uber driver we arrive at Sunset and LeBrea. I always gravitate to Sunset and LeBrea upon landing so that was the first stop when we arrived which is very close to the Guitar Centre...echem... Anyway, we find a cafe at the corner of Hollywood and LeBrea with wifi to grab a cafe and begin our search for a place on the Air B&B app and spent the next few HOURS trying to confirm our account. So frustrated we looked to google to see if it was us doing something wrong! It was the app and several dozens of people complaining about the same thing. It was getting late and still nowhere to stay so we looked across the street and saw the "Hollywood Inn" total dive hotel, we both laughed knowing that was our hotel for the night. We went for a stroll down the Hollywood walk of fame and I snapped a pic on my phone.
Over the next 5 days I did all my normal LA stuff. First on the list was meeting Ran, my friend and record Producer for shakshuka for breakfast at Aroma cafe on Sunset, I love this place and we always eat shakshuka there, it's delicious and feels almost like a tradition. I am very superstitious now every though I don't really believe in superstition. Weird huh?
Anyway after a couple of days of LA ing it and visiting some friends I decide to do some photography, I call up some models and we hit Venice beach, Santa Monica and have a blast. Photography is like painting or sculpting for me and I love it. As we leave the Pier at night I turn and snap another pic with my phone.
As I am taking the photo I hear this beautiful sound, an acoustic guitar... almost like a soundtrack for the photo. It's a busker around 20 years old, this guy could sing and play. So I stop and throw all the 1 dollar bills I had into his case. He STOPS playing immediately and tells me that he just got to LA and this was the first money he has made. I just said, "You sound amazing" and we both smiled. Three days later while I was in the studio Don saw him DT again busking and he recognized him. He gave Don his CD and now I have it. Nice Universe.... his name is Sam Ness check him out.
That night we head out to The Magic Castle for more inspiration and cocktails. This is the only time I wear a suit, the top shirt button was not done up. what a rebel I am... LOL
Back at Ran's studio I sing and play through 3 songs on the acoustic. Immediately Ran stops me on the last song and says "That's it! that one, we are going to do that one...with a beat that matches your playing!"
Ran fires up the boards and begins to make a beat. 4 hours later we have the guitar, bass and beat made. I start to sing. There is a skylight in the studio and I can hear an unearthly sound I have never heard in LA before... RAIN! pouring rain, hard and fast. We stopped recording for a few moments and I got inspired. It was time to sing the Chorus and I changed the words to "In the Pouring Rain... We fall" and it totally worked.
Remember I said I always leave room for improvising and magic moments to happen. Thankfully it did.
The last night we head to United Recording Studios on Sunset, where legends like Frank Sinatra have recorded, to see Ran in action Producing John Beasley and the MONK'estra Jazz Orchestra. On the way there I see a Mural of Frank Sinatra again more magic moments.
We arrive to a very humble entrance United Recording.I had no idea how massive the studio was and what was behind this door.
For the next hour or so I got to listen to some of the best jazz players do their thing and watching Ran listen to every instrument together following along his fingers were twitching almost like he could feel the music run through his fingers. These guys were nominated for a Grammy already and I could hear why.
Outside Ran introduces me to someone, Gavin Lurssen https://lurssenmastering.com I knew who Gavin was, the top mastering guy anywhere. He has worked with everyone. He asked me what I do, and I said something like, "Nothing..." LOL we chatted and had some laughs and it was time to head back to the hotel to listen to my new song on headphones and welcome it into my family of songs. Each song is like a child to me, every one is unique and truly a part of me. This some especially as I sing about my Father, Mother, Brother, life and death.
The sky lit up pink and I feel like it was an ending moment for me in LA, so yeah another phone pic. Until next time LA.
The song "We Fall" will be released after Xmas so please check back and follow this blog for more.