20191113- 50 Mistakes I Made In My Music Career, In No Particular Order

50 Mistakes I made in my music career, in no particular order:

1) Not recording and backing up work properly
2) Leaving gear in the car
3) Talking about work too much instead of doing it.
4) Losing journals.
5) Not scheduling enough time to make the work.
6) Not scheduling enough time to learn the material.
7) Spending too much time studying and not enough time creating
8) Trying to hard to appease my mentors’ aesthetics in my own output
9) Spending too much time on technical aspects and not enough time on creative vision
10) Lack of implementation of creative vision.
11) Reading the news right before I sit down to work.
12) Interweaving personal relationships too much with professional ones.
13) Being too afraid to spend money on help.
14) Buying gear before I had time, energy, space, or focus to use it.
15) Buying shit because it was on sale.
16) Being gone from my communities for too long.
17) Taking gigs which were way too hard for me without giving myself the proper time to prepare.
18) Taking “forget everything you learn in school” too far.
19) Not understanding my mentors’ unchecked baggage or trauma, and internalizing it.
20) Not making this list sooner.
21) Being too fixated on surviving and not taking the extra time to try and develop a better plan.
22) Lack of long-term planning.
23) Being too poor.
24) Being too busy.
25) Getting sick (often)
26) Poor coping mechanisms to deal with the crushing weight of being in the precariat.
27) Not exercising enough.
28) Not remembering my goals or dreams, and not empowering myself to pursue them.
29) Not believing in myself.
30) Abandoning projects without finishing them first, and other versions of not finishing work.
31) Doubting the validity of my goals, desires, and/or wether or not I am deserving of success.
32) Assuming that things will always be good.
33) Staying with other people’s projects for too long out of a sense of obligation.
34) Worrying too much about other people’s bullshit.
35) Being too afraid to seek mentorship.
36) Overscheduling.
37) Undermanaging my life and my vital relationships.
38) Being too flexible.
39) Forgetting to ask if they have a budget first.
40) Not getting a contract signed by everyone.
41) Leaving holes big enough for disaster to come through.
42) Getting too tired and then not practicing.
43) Overplaying and damaging myself.
44) Online dating in Seattle and listing my job as a “professional musician.”
45) An excess of hustle, generating a deficit of peace.
46) Continuing to put things off for later.
47) Normalizing being less than I wish to be.
48) Waiting while doing nothing.
49) Not surrounding myself with the people for whom our time shared is synergistic.
50) Forgetting to love the journey.

2019.10.16. Aaaaaaand I’m back!

Hello my people,

I’m alive and kicking! And I’m stoked to be able to make this—-wait, wait, wait. I need to do a little explaining for the years of radio silence.

ahem.

Okay, so first, my bad. I moved to Berlin and it was more than a little hard. the first few months went really well and the follow year or so was just really challenging. I got run over. I got sick a lot. I was financial issues. I developed issues with my hand. But then it got better. I started teaching some piano lessons, got to travel a bit. But I still moved a lot. I was in Berlin for 18 months, and I moved 14 times. It was a lot. About every 3 weeks I would fall sick…..I don’t want to dwell on it too much because it was unpleasant, but I was also very much shaped by this time. It was hard. That said, Berlin was also an amazing place where I was constantly encountering the unexpected, art studios and work spaces in underground spaces the size of buildings, doors behind doors through alleyways where live music starts around 23h on a Friday and stops around 6h on the following Monday, clubs for all type of activities…. Even as much change as I understand it to have gone through in the last decade or so, it is still full of magic and adventure and debauchery.

So maybe I was a bit distracted by it all. Also, Berlin is a place where they know what it is like to have a militarized police state and don’t trust the internet the same way that Americans do. Maintaining an internet presence isn’t a thing people do as much. I mean, there are some who do, but the average person is not nearly as connected to the internet as we are. For example, I got a flip phone and prepaid cards so that I could talk with my friends who only had flip phones. And there were enough of them that this became a thing!!!!!!

Anyhow, I came back to the States in November for birthday and to visit some sick family. During this time, my grandfather- the most father-like figure in my life- was diagnosed with a very advanced form of cancer and given about 5 days to live. He lived another month and a half. This was a massive blow for me, and I decided that I didn’t need to be 9 timezones and a language away from the world I know, the people I love, my home. So I stayed on the trip and still have yet to return to Germany. Und Ich vermisse Berlin, jeden Tag.

So I needed some time to put my self and my life back together. It hasn’t been the most beautiful process or time, but I’ve reached a new phase of being with all of it, and I’m on some new shit. It feels good. “But what does that even mean?” you ask? I am so glad you asked!

First and foremost, is this show I’m working on for February 29, 2020. Through the support of Nonsequitur and the Wayward Music Series, I will be presenting Assorted Chambers: works by Michaud Savage, which will be a collection of pieces I’m writing, centered on my perspective and experience as a fourth generation Seattlelite. I will be joined in performing these pieces by Jordan Voelker, Heather Bentley, Maria Scherer Wilson, and Ross Gilliland. I’m pretty stoked, tbh. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Speaking of happens, what happened with the record of classical guitar music you were gonna put out? Well, I foolishly did not record it before I took off to Berlin and now am working on carving out time to get back into the proper playing condition to make it. Just give it a little time. Stuff is gonna happen. Right now, I’m still playing a fair bit of catch up with myself and and need time to get mah $#!+ together. Which means getting work together into recorded form, which I will release onto the streaming platforms. And make some videos for. If you would like to support me in that process, I warmly welcome you to shoot me some money on Venmo (@michaud-savage), subscribing to my Patreon, or hire me to play for you or take some lessons from me (look at the rates tab).

Anyhow, this is a lot of talking about making art and not in an especially artistic way, so I’mma go get back to living that life I proclaim to be about.

OH! And before I go, take note that I’ll be playing on the Earshot Jazz Festival with Grace Love this coming Saturday, October 19. Check the link for more info. And this is kinda special because I am pretty sure this is Grace’s first show since having a baby.

And take note- in March I’m going to be taking off on tour down to LA. But more about that next week.

 

2017.04.26. To the tune of A Change Is Gonna Come.

I’m moving. I’ll be leaving Seattle on May 31 on a flight to Berlin. From there, I don’t know where I’ll be going, but I am doing what I can to get a visa there, or somewhere in the EU. If you, or somebody you know might be able to help with this process, please connect us.

In the meanwhile, I’m busy liquidating what I can, performing a whole bunch, and wrapping up projects. I’m having a going-away party on 5/28, where your company is welcomed (check the event for more information about the hang).

I cannot even begin to get in to the feels, but there are many. Needless to say, I am very excited to take part in the open road ahead and am sure that there will be some great adventures. It’s a rather open road ahead. Also, stay tuned for news with the Patreon.

My loves, parting is such sweet sorrow.

2017.02.28

In the brevity of life, it is worth loving. Its worth living. It’s worth finding a way. It’s worth pursuing a dream. It’s worth finding understanding. It’s worth learning how to not be angry. It’s worth trying. It’s worth failing. It’s worth trying again. It’s worth crying. It’s worth learning to speak in silence. It’s worth screaming. It’s worth being human. It’s enough being you. It’s worth feeling your pain. It’s worth letting go. It’s worth saying no. It’s worth the hardship of want and virtue. Where there is a will, there is a way. Sometimes you will have to evolve. It’s worth being wrong. It’s worth is what you make it. You’re worth making it worth it. It’s worth setting yourself up for success. It’s worth your continued effort. It’s worth finding peace and happiness. It’s worth being present. It’s worth showing up. It’s worth patience. It’s worth laughing at yourself. It’s worth. It’s worth telling your story. It’s worth being honest. It’s worth saying I’m sorry. It’s worth moving forward. It’s worth looking back. It’s worth not. It’s worth fighting. It’s worth listening. It’s worth growing. It’s worth everything. It’s worth what you make it. It’s worth taking the time. It’s worth re-reading. It’s worth paying it forward. It’s worth sharing.

2016.12.02 South Lake Union, Seattle, WA.

This evening reminds me of why music matters. It can seem trivial so often, and especially in the lines I work through to pay my bills, my work feels novel at best. Sometimes the conditions are less desirable, as was the case this evening. But tonight this thing happened, which happens only a few times a year, at most.

I was playing down at Amazon under a tent. It was a little rainy and cold, and I didn’t have a space heater- plus this cold I’m fighting. I was in good spirits, as I always try to be, about this somewhat uncomfortable situation. As I began the first set, there were people who just passed, some who waved, and others who chose to ignore me. However, the most comical were those who stood behind me and watched me. From behind. Apart from the would-be voyeurs, I’m used to this treatment and pretty much have my program prepared for when the non-crowd orients themselves toward me in this way.

There were 2 young women who were walking and stood and watched for a while. They were walking and talking but then they became still. After a while, I asked them what they would like to hear, and I played a couple of the tunes they requested. They kept talking, and I kept playing, with the rain falling. I started listening to their conversation a bit between and during songs and realized that one of these people was preparing for a burial tomorrow. Her grandmother had died.

I learned that this was the woman who primarily care-took for her. Who taught her how to read. Who protected her and guided her through life. But she’d died somewhat suddenly. And this person was very upset because she had left North Carolina because of the bigotry and general hatred she found there. She was upset because these family members who she was supposed to grieve with had voted for Trump, and in addition to being angry, she was so embarrassed to be forced to affiliate with them. And that she didn’t want to hear any holiday music, because of what it meant and no longer does. She was quiet. There would be some swallowed emotion.

Her friend was comforting her, and they eventually sat and listened quietly. I sang some old jazz tunes, made some jokes, and sang some more songs. At some point the friend was also talking, lamenting how at the beginning of 2016, her best friend had committed suicide in the same week as her birthday. There was more talking and some more tears and I kept playing. They were appreciative of the music. They eventually got me a cup of tea because my fingers and I were very cold. They left the tea with me, I sang some dumb songs, and they laughed. They went and had drinks and came back. When my gig was over, they were there and sat, talking. There were hugs and some tearfulness, some southernisms, condolences. I left and they were still talking.

I thought about what I do, because often times it feels purposeless. As an instrumental soloist, often times people don’t know I’m there. They think I’m a recording, as I know because they tell me this and often times proceed to not tip. I can easily pass 4 hours somewhere where there may be no one who seems to notice me at all.

But it’s really just more where people’s heads are at. When people are upset, stressed, or otherwise agitated is when they say thanks. Or how meaningful it is that I’m there. Or how happy they are to be hearing live music. I think this is more characteristic of instrumental solo music than anything other I do in performance. And it’s a somewhat strange feeling, to realize that the majority of people probably don’t notice you, but those who do greatly seem to appreciate the presence of live music. I mean, obviously there’s folks who hate you and your music and won’t say anything, but who has time to care much about that?

It’s important to see how this thing which can otherwise be so novel or trite can have an otherwise profound impact on someone.

2016.09.21- Capitol Hill, WA.

Come see some of me in the music making this week! Sometimes even with others!!!

Thursday: I’ll be conveying some pro-sumer level vibes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) for the travelers- keeping it cooooool.#Tremellow. #professionalgradevibes.

Friday- same. Except that I’ll also be singing along the way. I’m not just all fingers, you know…

Saturday: #doublegigday ! Underneath of Sophia Wheelwright‘s Suspended Eddies, I’ll be performing the Departures suite again, and for what will probably be the last time (for at the least quite while) down at Occidental Square from 4-6. Featuring Alex Guy, Janet Utterback, Michael Watson, Nick Pozoulakis, and Rose Fininha Gear.https://www.facebook.com/events/182155748881388/

AAAANNNNDDD then I’m heading to the residence of Mark Ulises Chavezand Christian Pincock to perform some solo works for classical guitar and voice. I believe this is open to the public, and y’all are welcomed. Probably wouldn’t hurt to RSVP. https://www.facebook.com/events/1238251129538521/

Sunday: The Seattle Composers Alliance hold’s it’s first official open reading down at THE ROYAL ROOM rom 1-4. Featuring pieces for a chamber orchestra of 16 by Stan LePard, Susan Maughlin Wood, and a special guest. Come hear composers talk with performers about compositions, idiomatic stuff for instruments, and hear the beautiful sounds of strings, winds, brass, and sticks/mallets. https://www.facebook.com/events/183321422102981/

2016.07.01

Long time no see!!! Work has been incredibly full, and I’m still trying to get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing. The biggest highlight of the last month: being interviewed and featured on King5! and upcoming: playing for Amazon’s farmers market on July 7, at noon with my tango trio Sol De Noche.

Hope to see you there!!!

2016.02.29 Capitol Hill, Seattle.

There is a wind who blows through me.

It is more important than my name, and it is not me. But I am the one who’s mouth must open to give it a voice.

There is a window- a doorway- who is open. This open frame, through it comes a season, all of the seasons. Through it comes a memory in roulette, a memory in vignettes. Presses it’s best foot forward and doorward it enters into this place we share without an effort or a care and we are one at once and then also none.

There is a silk and patient breeze who makes love to me, off in a fantasy between my tongue and teeth. I remember the wetness but not the touches of your embrace. I miss you still, even though you’ve left nothing more than the wake. All of these shades of blurred makeup sits sweet in my waiting but the breath draws like a bow across some old string. The universe jumps into sing, and I bleed grief. The universe jumps into blue and I can’t do a damn thing to stop the thief, yet I weave a new thinking on the hinge, and I’m forgotten by the blustering pummel, the sensing of what has been into a pastiche of being, a pastel of teeth digging in on my blooming dream.

Intersecting with reality. The tragedies don’t grow close here, they just grow here. Year in and year out, a decanter sings a whistling tune and I’m back in June with the sound of concrete against me. I can feel the pulse pull me, I grit my teeth and they draw me like a blade across some long lost masquerade. My characters and myself, we find our way our of the blister and linger in the morning light. At the edge of evening. At the dawn of reflection. In the moon of Regrets.

I can’t revoke my silence then, and my remorse now has drug me into the villages who birthed these ideas.

I think about my name, and I wonder who is saying it. There’s an uncertainty, waiting for the opening.

 

 

There is a wind who blows through me. It tells the truth.

2015 in Review

Seeing as I did a wonderful job of not posting a single post in 2015, I figured I’d start 2016 with 2 posts, and one of which ought to be a year in review.

 

At the top pf 2015, I was getting some traction with the financial stability, exiting the tails of a traumatizing later-2014, and was playing some tangos, some jazz, and some classical music. Around the New Year, I had my first gig performing with Marina Christopher, which quickly made itself apparent that there was going to be a bunch of musical fun in this year and gave creation to Duo Michma. Also around the New Year, Amy Denio and myself, drunkenly late one night decided to compose some music for a set ensemble, and that sparked off the large-format, 16 piece Ancient Present reading session, which would become a monthly event for the next half-year. Around the time this came to a conclusion, in August, I was on Orcas Island with Sara Thompsen and Jennifer Bruner, who suggested I reach out to Mirta Wymerszberg. With also similarly good luck, shortly after our first jam we were booked for a gig and ended up creating Sol Del Noche, our tango duo. The last of my musical collaborations, which has been a long time coming, developed in November with Andrew Joslyn, for the case of playing some holiday music together.

 

2015 was a year of great musical beginnings, and also the beginning of some returns. In September, I transitioned from being Secretary with the Seattle Composers Alliance into the position of Executive Director. In December, I finally released my first record, Easy Moods, which is a task I actively set out to accomplish in 2011. The earliest of those recordings dates back to Spring of 2014, and the most recent if taken from this past summer. It’s been very educational and challenging along the way, and the result is that I feel that now, more than any other time in my life, I am finally gaining a sense of clarity and strength in my abilities as a musician, and a way seems to be presenting itself.

 

I can do this. Let’s make it good, 2016.

2014.03.12. Capitol Hill.

Music is so magical.

After the ‪#‎doublegigday‬ I went to grab a bottle of water while waiting for the bus. The gas station attendant, noticing my guitar, asked me to play a song, so I did, for which he discounted me a dollar. There were 2 cops hanging around, who were enthusiastic about the music and started tipping me.

Then, the gas station attendant started telling me about how he came here from India on a student visa, which he secured through being a professional singer. He showed me videos of himself, videos of his teacher, and then he told me to accompany him! I told him I had to catch a bus, and then the cops said that if it was a problem, they’d be happy to give me a ride home.

So we began to play, and the cops continued to tip, and the cops and I went on our way. They are apparently big music fans, and so we talked about that a bunch and I turned them onto Mulatu Astatke. We drive around for a while, and then we eventually made my way way home. We had so much fun, we took some selfies!!

And my roommate was a grump, as usual, so he threw a wet blanket on me- but- my students have taught me very much lately to just Shake It Off. ‪#‎music‬‪#‎ftw‬

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