Catching Stardust-The birth of a Song-Women Who Rock Series

Welcome  February 6th 2020. The Call of Oma launch was a success it is receiving airplay around Australia and there will be more interviews coming. So far  we have had feature interviews on 97.9fm and Radio Adelaide’s Out of This World. More news on that into the future. You can purchase the album The Call of Oma at all digital outlets or go here https://catherinemeeson.bandcamp.com/album/the-call-of-oma . Today we begin a new journey.

The  video below details the spontaneous song writing process as a whole, in video document format from the beginning to end, (less than thirty minutes). Features the song ‘Stardust’ a song exploring the feeling and vulnerability of new love and the fragility of the heart. It will be released as a single in 2020.

Lyrics and Music by Catherine Meeson © 2020 ℗ 2020

All Rights Reserved

A Sonic Sanctuary production February 5 2020

Contains stock footage from Videoblocks.com

‘Catching Stardust’ is the first in a series of Blogs and Vlogs on ‘Women Who Rock’ in music (title inspired by Marilyn of the Red Church) for 2020, which will explore women in music and issues of craft as well as issues affecting well-being and sense of self from a women’s perspective. They may contain surveys and interviews with others and will also be a shout-out to influential and powerful women of music through recorded her-story. Sure, to be provocative and forthright.

‘Catching Stardust’ honours the song writing process of not knowing  and going with the flow of ones muse. Stardust was the second tune I wrote by the embers of an open fire, camping out in Lerdederg state park, whilst my boyfriend slept. It was 11th March  2019.

As a form of documentation, I literally set up the phone and recorded the whole process by firelight. It is in D# alternative tuning, (something my boyfriend has introduced to me). Before this I wrote a very long riff based instrumental piece called Resurrection Codes which was also captured. Video documenting allows one to see exactly what one was doing in the moment. Once upon a time I captured my songs on tape recorder and still have a box of tapes. Years later it became phone voice recording, now occasionally I do it on video. I always drew my chord charts and progressions down.

Stardust captured the feeling of new love, vulnerability and the fragility of the heart. As with most improvisation-based tunes, I noodle till I find something that resonates with how I am feeling in the moment, then I’m off on The Windcatcher (my magical mythical musical ship), we set sail and traverse the fields of time and space through sound. I voyage through feeling, melody, harmony, rhythm and form as the song is crafted/ birthed through me. Lyrically it presents as essentially a folky tune (psychedelic folk ambience) that has been developed as a demo and was submitted to the APRA professional development competition last year.

Many people have an opinion about how to write a song and what it has to be. A formula for the genre, a set structure, the rules of harmony and form. All those things are nice but they create limits if one is rigid about it. We all know the essence of popular music form through listening to it all our lives. There is no right or wrong way. Someone will always want to change what you did or how you did it, or they will change where it wants to or could go. But you know what? It’s your song, your way, your muse and voice. There is only ‘what is’ in the moment of creation. Finding ones own voice and style is essential in a world of wannabes. All one can ever truly be is oneself. Therefore, cultivate uniqueness, that is following the dao of your own unique unfolding on the river of life.

Sure you can refine songs later, re arrange them , adapt them etc, but in my experience  ( I can say this because I have been writing songs now for 33 years), they come out mostly complete entities; a chord progression and a vocal lyrical melody that stands by it’s own integrity. One does not need to agonise over it or get all intellectual about it. It’s a different process to writing to a brief or modern electronic based song writing, this is the old school way of instrument and words. It’s organic, with the flavours and tools of local space time, i.e. the feel and the instruments/ resources at hand.

You don’t go to school to learn how to write songs, you just write them. You go to school to learn composition, but degrees for song writing, that will get you a bunch of rules to break and a bunch of formulas and other peoples processes. Then you still have to do your own thing. So play, experiment, make mistakes, follow your ears, follow your feelings as they express.

This video is very raw and very real,  it features me being eaten alive by mosquitos, tripping out on the sounds of the night and being in awe of the stars. It features mistakes, bum notes and the real process I go through  to find /develop and create a song. I feel I don’t create it, I just follow it as it emerges, I am just the person it comes through. Like the universe wishing to express itself. I follow the feeling, rhythm, the flow, the melody. The lyrics come as to be expected. My hope is that this video demystifies and normalises the song writing process. This took less than thirty minutes to write.

As far as what is it – to fix it in a genre, I guess I would call it folky, psychedelic folk, as it has been developed and uses fx pedals. The structure is pretty standard. Intro, verse, bridge, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, outro. The instrumentation so far is simple, acoustic guitar with fx, bass, guitar riffs on the ricky, programmed beats and vocals, main and back up. It was a time-based completion for APRA ‘s professional development award program, (which obviously I was unsuccessful at). I also entered Resurrection and Standing there two more singles I hope to get out this year.  I will develop Stardust further and refine the parts for the single release, it needs tightening up, the vocal placement and vowels need to be bang on. It is very characteristically ambient, spacious and relaxing. It is a beautiful song that I am happy to say Marty Wilson Piper liked 😊 in a recent mentoring session. Marty formally of Australian rock band The Church is my favourite guitarist alongside Pink floyd’s  David Gilmour.

The purpose of this recording now is me reviewing my 60+ gig of video recordings from my phone, clearing my archives and storage and seeing what is worth developing and producing to completion. Not everything gets developed. The archives feature song ideas, improvisations on guitar, voice, bass, and piano, captured out there in the world, at work, or where ever I was at the moment. I am assessing my focus for the year and where my energies will go and what is realistic. I will aim for 3-4 singles, with a possible 3- 4 month turn around for each, that should be doable, but depends on work, funds and life.

As mentioned at the start of the blog I have a new series I will write about this year, aiming for one a month called Women Who Rock’ series. Look out for those as we journey along, and look out for my invitations to questions of relevance on Survey Monkey.

In ‘Catching Stardust’, I am inviting people into my process, I have always been pretty open about it blogging my albums creation and development of all my work.

I am promoting my services as a Creativity Coach (arts based coaching). If you are interested in Creativity Coaching and want to know more, click on the link below to my page about Creativity Coaching. The basic premise is that artists and creatives have unique sets of problems that need to be tackled and we may need the services of a whole bunch of allied health persons and professional arts industry allies, a Creativity coach can help you figure out what you need to be the best you, you can be as you bring your work into the world.

http://www.catherinemeeson.com/coaching/

Creativity Coaching is offered via skype, phone, email or in person. There are one of rate deals of $60 an hour (skype, and follow up email). And a 4 session package deal $220 (4 skype sessions, follow up email, 2 15 minute phone check ins). In person sessions will incur additional travel costs. Payment method is via the Paypal button on the weblink (secure).

Creative process is something I am an expert at and could be invaluable in assisting you to be all you can be. Make it happen in 2020. No matter the issues affecting your creative work, or sense of self in the world a creativity coach could be exactly what you need.

To this end my qualifications are  Adv Dip Music, B.A.I (Hons- music composition), Adv Dip Transpersonal Counselling & Art Therapy, Creativity coaching training with Eric Maisel, spiritual healing modalities. Professional development at Film Summer School (Melb Uni) and currently enrolled in part time Audio Engineering studies.