A Little Showcase this week!

FREYjA is playing live this week in London! As many of you know, I have not been on stage with my original material since my darling Pa passed. You know how things can knock the wind out of your sails. Well, it has been too long!

I’m singing just four songs at piano with a cellist in a showcase (with four other artists) at The Bedford www.thebedford.com in South London 8.30 this Wednesday 19th June. The very same venue where Ed Sheehan started his career.

This is a teaser to a series of up-coming concerts FREYjA will be performing with full band at a number of venues in town soon. New album is bubbling away in the furnace. So watch this space, my friends. If you can’t make it this week there will be more. You are all welcome to come! The gig starts at 8.15 pm

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How to Write a Song

ONE WEEK AT A TIME. Day Two: How to Write a Song:

This is the age, for my generation, of parents passing over to the other side. A sad time filled with heavy-hearts, long farewells and sudden traumatising news.

I’m trying to get to Australia to see my mother but it’s just not that simple…nor that affordable…nor perhaps, so imperative…yet…

I have several friends who are  watching a loved one let go, and it makes me realise that these words ‘yet’ and ‘perhaps’ have become code for ‘inevitable’…

…and so i entitle my next song ‘Yet’.

I close my eyes and wrap my heart around the word ‘yet.’ I play one chord on the piano but it doesn’t match how I feel. So I reach for another and am surprised to find that it is a major chord, not a minor chord, which resonates with this word for this song…

The rest of the song writes itself…as if sent straight through a channel from who knows where…our lost loved ones perhaps…
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Out of the Hearts of Babes


ONE WEEK AT A TIME. DAY ONE: A New song:

she is nine years old and she sings me a song she wrote. there are no words to the tune yet but she sings a wonderful melody.

at that same age (me at same age in photo) i recall playing a composition to my piano teacher and he took no interest. did not pat me on the back. nothing. i was deeply affected by his indifference and lack of interest and so i decided that if a child ever played me a song they were proud of, that I would make a fuss. so i did.

because everyone needs to be heard.

on thursday, after choir, at our lesson in hampstead, we dedicated an entire classic piano lesson to learning how to ‘chart’ the chords for her song and then i asked her to close her eyes and tell me stuff which this melody brought up in her as i played the chords with one hand and wrote her thoughts down with the other on some manuscript.
this is what she/we came up with below. it is lovely. we are going to sing the song in the school choir. i am writing harmonies for it.

please note: she wrote this not me! i just captured her own words on the page and helped her put them in the right order with the occasional suggestion and guidance here and there. it’s like she was reading my heart!

yes she is 9 years old:

SONG FOR NOW by PJ Dockery
comes the rain with the tears
and i know you are sad
but i dont want you to cry
i want you to be glad
there’s no need to your sorrow no
there’s no place for that woe
there’s a time for holding on
and a time to let go
CHORUS
don’t leave tonight
it’s going to be alright
don’t know how
but for now it’s alright
comes the snow with a frosted heart
so i know we are through
though i don’t want to say goodbye
it seems that you do
there’s no prize, nor a winner here
only me only you
no place for your cloudy fear
only love that is true

FREYjA

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The Muse is Back: Songwriting Once More

 

DAY SEVEN: A New song:


I remember you
You’re the one who lets the hem fall
Leaves it fraying
Despite what the
Dress-police say about
Kids in odd socks.

 

I remember you
You’re my favourite pair of shoes
Cracked and ragged
With scuffed toes and wobbly heels.

You’re that pair I won’t let go
Climbing that pine
All the way to the top
So you can say, just once,
You sang as high as the
lorikeets.

If you recall
You once said “never” and then
you said it again.
Remember well, all those “nevers”,
Any day you’re dared to.

For you are the boots
which skip across broken bridges,
Span gorges from New York to Peru,
Kick up every pebble in your path
Just to see what lies beneath.

I remember you, old friend
Do you remember me?
If you remember, you still are
and will be again,
Any day you dare

FREYjA

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What It Takes: On Stage with Original Songs

DAY SIX: I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations with three different people recently. Hence, this post. For it dawned on me that few people realise what it takes to get on stage in the first place, let alone, what it takes to get back up there after such a long break (over three years). Yes I did the gig at the Ritz for John Guthrie’s OBE Inauguration dinner but that wasn’t really a FREYjA gig because it was jazz standards, not original songs and it was only a trio. I don’t particularly enjoy doing standards any more. I am a songwriter. There are classics I will always love like Nature Boy but I repeat – I am a songwriter.

What does that mean, “Jazz standards”, some of you non-musicians, non-jazzists may ask? Well it means that no matter how many musicians on stage, we all have a shared repertoire we know. You don’t need to rehearse for that. It is part of our DNA a repertoire of about 200 songs which we pull out of our bag. Not only does it take little effort but it costs less to put on such a show. We don’t have to schedule and gather musicians to rehearse, pay for a rehearsal space and so on. We just get on stage and 1, 2, 3 let’s go.

Getting a project like the FREYjA incarnation back on stage is an entirely different matter. These are original songs. They need atmosphere of a different kind.

As many of you know, my life went on a peculiar trajectory recently. I have found myself moving from home to temporary home. I lived on the boat. I looked after friends’ and strangers’ pets. I put my Bosendorfer into storage (that’s some years ago now) and what this means, the peripatetic, ungrounded, floating life, is that I don’t get time to practise my craft. Read More »

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The Value of Down Time

DAY FIVE: We creatives work hard. Whether we run our Art as a business or no. Writers, painters, musicians…we are constantly practising our craft.

I can truly vouch for this. No matter where I am, I constantly absorb details, my senses are receptive to everything. It is all fodder for a song, a story, a sound, a line, a character. Every emotion, moment, neighbouring conversation. A face can set the artist in me off. The colour of a sweater. A smile from a stranger. A line from a child.

This is something non-artists often misunderstand. We are always creating in our minds. Feeling things deeply. Digging in places beyond the hard surface of reality. To the outsider we appear vague, at times, for this very reason. We drift away. We need a lot of space. Read More »

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Why I Run Choir Clubs

DAY FOUR: These days I get more and more calls and emails asking me for private singing lessons. I used to teach singing one-on-one but I did not enjoy it so I stopped and now only teach groups.

The X Factor culture has changed people’s perceptions of what singing is about. Namely instant stardom. There are many reasons I won’t go into as to why private, one-on-one lessons do not rock my boat but one thing I will say is that, for me, it is an entirely different prospect teaching a group of voices to harmonise. I LOVE DOING THAT!

I have decided that (unless you are an opera singer) group singing is the only way to really learn what your authentic voice is about. In my opinion, it is only in a singing group/choir up setting that one effortlessly learns to get one’s self-consciousness and ego out of the way in order to: Read More »

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Stepping Up

DAY THREE: Stepping up toward the stage. It’s a daunting prospect for this siren who has not been on stage, as FREYjA for 3 years.

Yes, I dipped my toe in the water when I performed at The Ritz with Jonny Gee and Luca Boscagin for the OBE Dinner for John Guthrie but that was jazz not FREYjA Music.

Today I took steps. Real steps. I signed up to SOFAR SOUNDS as an artist. If you don’t know about it then you should! There is one in a city near you, for sure, no matter where you are in the world. They are intimate concerts in secret locations, often private homes. Join up. And watch this space.

Sign up to my fan list (top right button called Reverberation)

Or join the mailing list  if you’d like to get in the know 

FREYjA will perform live soon. Am also planning to book a coupe of stages in London. How’s Sunday lunch gig in West London sound? Or an evening in Soho?

Get ready. 2019 here I come.

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Submitting Songs for Films & Commercials

DAY TWO: You all know the joke, right? It was my late Dad’s favourite. About the guy who has lived his whole life praying to God to win the lotto and when he finally gets to heaven God says to him “You have to buy a ticket, you know”

Well, I have been long dreaming of my songs being exploited in films and commericals again. It is a many years since my music has been placed and  I have received substantial royalty or income from my songs.

There are over 100 of them I have written. Am I sitting on a gold mine? I certainly hope so because I am in a bedsit these days and would love to be able to afford a proper rental home so I can stay in London.

Today I spent several hours submitting my favourites through Xray Music. I bought the ticket, Dad! 

Wish them well on their journey, these FREYjA tunes.

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Day by Day Life of a London Creative 2019

After my February post I received a number of emails from folks expressing their glee on hearing I’m back creating. A number of you asked me what I am doing and hence I thought I would TRY to post a few Day in the Life Of”s.

DAY ONE: So Quirky Choirs for Kids had a little concert in a church in Hampstead this week (See quirkychoirs on insta) A couple of my singing groups came together to sing some of my favourite selections from my spiritual collection of arrangements:
Father Along (inspired by Ellen MacIllwaine)
Down In the River to Pray
Love be in my Head – which we did with actions
Wade in the Water
Jerusalem – which we sang with the organist! This is the kids’ favourite
Danny Boy
and more
I wept during some of their solos. Moving stuff.

This is just one of the touching messages received afterwards:
“Thank you so much for the lovely singing this morning at the Church. It is always so uplifting to hear the choir and to see them in your thrall! I especially love the way you are getting them to work on harmonising. I just wish I’d had [someone like you] when I was Lizzie’s age.” Makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Beautiful, but it was a long day. I had a look at a possible rental in Hampstead, which wasn’t quite right for me as too much like a bedsit but I made a new friend in the landlady. After which I held a series of private classical piano lessons all over London.

Finished at 8pm and was invited to dine with the last family (I teach both parents and the children as well back to back in that French household) in Notting Hill which was an invitation I could not refuse as I was exhausted. The glass of wine was a welcome treat at the end of such a weekend of intensive work.

Long live the muse. Signing off now x FREYjA x

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