A month ago, Tavi from BMI gave me some professional advice: “Go to the BMI open mics!”
So I did. Last night I got a slot at BMI Koffeehouse in Harvelle’s in Santa Monica (thanks to Mouse, the mistress of the venue.)
I was a little nervous, I admit. I would be sharing the stage with L.A. BMI songwriters. But I acquitted myself pretty well in this positive, welcoming environment For damn sure, the songsters were top notch. But they were all different, and comparing them isn’t very instructive.
As my turn approached, I hadn’t decided on what I was gonna play. I planned to connect with the vibe in the room, while playing a different style from the songwriter before me.
The result was “Some Hidden Things” and “Hours Go By.” which was a risk, because they both have the same groove. But I had good reason. “Some Hidden Things,” while maybe not my best song, has compositional trajectory. That is to say, in songwriter lingo, “it goes somewhere.” It’s in the relaxed part of my vocal range, and the chord progression builds tension and releases. A good way to introduce myself as a songwriter who, at the very least, makes musical sense.
I played “Hours” ’cause it has vivid story-oriented lyrics and a catchy melody. But I completely changed it for this spot. Slower, and finger-picked. This served two purposes: 1) It varied from the “Hidden Things” groove, and 2) I needed to sing my frickin’ ass off! ‘Cause before me, a woman named Heidi Rojas raised the bar like a vocal Olympic high-jumper, with two sexy, velvet-funky, original R & B tunes.
I felt that a slow version “Hours” would give me room to do some emotional Americana style crooning of my own.
It felt good. And by the end of the night, I was invited to participate in another event of Mouse’s hosting.
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