Friday, 11 July 2014 10:58

Life of an Indie Artist July 11 2014

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I had an interesting week. My mind has been running like a machine ever since the beginning of this month. I have a lot of shows lined up and I even orchestrated a week-long open mic tour for myself. Last week, I did make time for family outings, to network and support a fellow musician, and to volunteer with a local radio station. I went to a show on Wednesday at Troy’s Jazz Gallery on Olive in St. Louis. I was invited by my childhood friend Bernard Long Jr on Facebook. Bernard is an excellent drummer who performs and teaches throughout St. Louis. I met Bernard when I was a little girl. His grandmother lived right across the street from my house and he would visit his grandmother every now and then. We learned that we had a mutual interest in music after we became adults.

So funny story, on my way to the venue my GPS stopped working. I think I drove around in circles for about 15 minutes before I decided to take a different route. It was pure insanity. I believe I passed by the street that I was supposed to turn on like 15 times. Ok, maybe not 15 times, but a bunch of times. Once I got on the right street my GPS decided to start working… go figure. Finally, I arrived at the venue. When I arrived at the venue I was a little skeptical of the area because the buildings surrounding it looked vacant. I saw the venue and heard the music playing so I knew that I was in the right area. But it was night time and I was in an unfamiliar area. As a woman, you have to be careful, especially when traveling to unfamiliar areas. But knowing that my friend is a classy fellow and seeing that people were out and about walking their dogs, I began to feel at ease. I arrived at the venue around 9 p.m. The inside of the venue was extremely nice. I would describe the venue as romantic. I could picture Billy Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald performing at a venue like this before they made it big. The venue was dimly lit and the mood was set to enjoy some jazz. The event was like an open mic for jazz musicians. My friend’s band included a pianist, a bass player, and a drummer. There were a lot of musicians that were playing woodwind/ brass instruments. I do not know if any of those particular musicians were a part of my friend’s band or just there to play for the open mic. I really enjoyed myself. It was cool to see so many talented musicians playing together and having a great time. I was solo, or else I would have had myself a glass of wine and would've really gotten into the flow of things. I never really listened to jazz. And I was surprised at how interesting I found it to be. My aunt always tells me to listen to everything in regards to music. So I am always open to hearing and learning new styles of music. My friend asked me if I would like to sing. I told him that I was going to need some practice lol. It can be intimidating when experienced musicians want you to sing with them. However, I am always up for a challenge. During the closing of the show, he told the audience that I would be singing the following week. I couldn’t help but grin. It was like now I have to do it lol! But I could totally picture myself up on the stage with a new age version of a 1920’s dress and head piece singing some jazz. Unfortunately, the following week I blew a tire and was not be able to make it. I notified my friend as a courtesy and during the conversation he let me know that some issues came up and that the show had been canceled. I was sad to hear the news but as most musicians and artists know, thats just how things go sometimes.

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Friday, of course, was the Fourth of July. So, my sister and I decided to check out the VP Fair. So let’s back track a little here. About two weeks ago, I started working out and taking it seriously. My sister and I have been going running almost every day. I know you are wondering what does this have to do with the VP Fair and the Fourth of July. Well, I’m about to tell you. So the VP Fair was moved from the Riverfront to Forest Park, as most of us know. Forest Park is chock-full of hills. I’m thinking since I’ve been working out, that I would be just fine… man, that was a workout! I think my butt cheeks were about to give out lol. But, we had a great time. A lot of people came out to support the fair. I think that Forest Park was a great location. People enjoyed the food, the scenery, and celebrating the independence of America!

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Saturday was the start of something special! Saturday was the first day that I volunteered with a local radio station. I will tell the name of the station eventually, but I want to get more volunteer hours under my belt before I do that, so stay tuned! I went to a festival in the Benton Park neighborhood near Arsenal Street and Jefferson Street. I loved the houses in the neighborhood. The houses were big brick homes that were built in the early 1900s. The houses reminded me of the home that I grew up in. This time, my GPS actually got me there without any problems. I was able to get a decent parking space. And, yet again, I had to walk up a hill to get there. I think God and or the Universe is really putting me to the test in regards to working out lol. Anywho, I finally arrived at the festival and began to scan the perimeter. I was told to look for the booth with the radio station’s sign. Funny thing is, everything had the radio station’s signs lol. Luckily for me, I was blessed with the gift of gab and I began to ask questions until I was pointed in the right direction. I went to the area where I was supposed to meet with the representative and I was told that they had not arrived yet. So I got myself a snow cone and relaxed for a minute. I checked back and there was still no sign of the station. I didn’t fret because I know how these things can go at times. But on the same token, I didn’t want to seem like a creeper and keep harassing the lady that was helping me. So I asked her if she would let them know that I was here once they arrived and I pointed to the area that I would be in. So I purchased myself a BBQ hamburger and Sprite and watched the show. I loved the way that they set up the stage. The festival was in a park. There was a walk bridge in the park. And underneath the bridge there was an open space that you could walk under/through. They placed the stage directly in the opening under the bridge. It was pretty neat. People, animals, blankets, and lawn chairs decorated the grass. The Funky Butt Brass Band was the first performer. They were amazing. I was surprised at how awesome they were. They took us to New Orleans, then to California with their remake of “California Love” by Tupac Shakur, and back. People were up dancing and feeling it. The cutest thing was this little baby snapping his fingers and shaking his knees lol. There was an older gentleman that the band referred to as “Side Burns” lol that was down there having his own boogie session. It is always great to witness people having fun and enjoying their lives. Finally, the representative for the radio station arrived. I walked over and introduced myself and prepared myself for the experience. People would walk up to us and start conversations. They would tell us how they enjoyed the radio station. They helped themselves to the free stickers. They signed up to receive emails. It was a pretty cool experience. The next band to play was The Ryan Spearman Band. They play folk music. I don’t usually listen to folk music in my everyday life but I definitely found the sound interesting. The lead singer had such a soulful voice. And the added sound of the guitar was the cherry on top. I love the guitar. I own one, but it is sad that I do not know how to play it. One day I will learn. But back to the festival. I saw the majority of The Ryan Spearman’s Band performance before my volunteer shift ended. Once I was done, I told my co-volunteer "so long" and made my way back to the car. There were other performances but I had to leave because I had to go on air for the Blog Talk Radio show that I host. I definitely look forward to the next volunteer experience. I am hoping to meet musicians and other indie artists during my time as a volunteer!

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The Blog Talk Radio Show that I host, “Indie Up Saturday,” has been going well. My cousin and I have been working out the kinks for the show and I believe that we have a formula that works. I really appreciate my cousin because she has been helping me out tremendously with the show. I like to believe that I am Super Woman, but at times I too need help. Creating dreams, chasing dreams, and maintaining real life can be stressful. But I would rather be stressed out doing what I love than be stressed out doing something that I absolutely hate! Again, this is your girl Raye Cole and this is the life of An Indie Artist!

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