Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I have noticed that acoustic music is back. It is popular again. The last time this happened was in the 70's, after the war was over. In the 90's we flirted with it when MTV Unplugged debuted, but it didn't stick. I have noticed that in times of chaos, audiences need calm music to relax their anxious hearts.

I moved into my friend's 300 sq. ft. pool house last week, and I have finally gotten everything settled in. Miles Davis and Chopin Preludes are constantly streaming through my speakers as I work to make this my new home. The funny thing is, despite the tight quarters, I feel like I can breathe again. Having only one room to care for is so liberating. When I wake up, the first thing I see is my piano, and I remember why I was put on this earth. My goal is to live a simple life for as long as I can keep it up. I feel I have a responsibility to the Earth to waste as little as possible, and I owe it to my mind to keep things easy. I have chosen to not own a microwave and I am only buying enough food to keep me fed for a few days at a time. I don't want to waste anything. I am making my own bath products again, and I am washing my clothes by hand. My sewing machine is also waiting patiently for me to get really grounded again.  I find simplicity inspiring.

As I began the songwriting process this week, I tried to apply my philosophy of simplicity. I am one of those songwriters who beats myself up over every cheesy lyric choice, every lame rhyme, and every melody not worthy of being on the radio. My producer friend has given me the very interesting assignment of writing love songs. It figures that as I am going through a divorce that I would be asked to begin writing songs about the very topic I am struggling with now. I suppose this is the perfect time to begin contemplating the merit of relationships through song. Like many who have been burned, I cannot help but feel like marriage is such a joke. Just for myself of course... it is a common side effect for those going through breakups. I know many lovely people in beautiful marriages, but I also know so many who are chronically unhappy in their legal courtships.

I do believe in love. And I feel like love is really the answer to all of our problems. It's a very simple solution, but why is it so hard to achieve? My guess is that we are all stuck in our own inner prisons, seeing the world through our own messy life experiences. As people get older, I notice their ability to love is more and more challenged.

As my intention to live a simple life gets stronger, so will my desire to love unconditionally everyone I meet. I have found the idea of love to be the most powerful tool in every single conflict. When I sit for hours at the piano and come up with nothing, I remember to love myself. Beating myself up makes me want to quit, so the simple solution is love.

In my East L.A. neighborhood, it is very diverse. I like it. I have always lived in neighborhoods where artists meet working class families. There are young latin guys who have a tough and angry look on their faces as they hang around the neighborhood, appearing bored and annoyed with life. They walk with that "don't F%$# with me" sway, tight jaws, and hardened eyes. When a dear West L.A. friend asked me if I ever feel nervous around them, I didn't even hesitate when I said no. I look these boys straight in the eye and give them my most genuine smile and say hello. They say hello back. I can tell that I surprise them, and it gives me a giddy feeling to know that I am fighting the conditioned instinct to feel afraid. Why should I be afraid? We are all humans who all desire the same kind of love and respect from others. Respect and love are the only answers to any concern. All is well when you show love.

Today is day 8 of my experiment with simplicity. My first goal is to finish two love songs I started 2 days ago. I'm fighting the urge to write tricky and poetic metaphors instead of simple phrases that get the important messages across. Love songs are very popular for a good reason. It is something we all want every moment of every day, even if we are too afraid to admit it.

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