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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FREYjA is back!

…and will be performing soon in London…

In the meantime, peeps, feel free to follow and message the FREYjA handle at Instagram so I know you are still all out there after my long sabbatical.

I am posting my latest poetry and flashbacking to old photoshoots from France, Italy, Switzerland, USA, Australia…

Soon I will also be posting The Church Sessions: videos of me at the piano playing new songs.

Look out on SOFAR. I will be playing in London at a SOFAR event in London and or Paris.

The sun is shining. FREYjA

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Song For The Siren

Song For the Siren
Excerpt from my first song in three years
There’s a way through all of this
It’s not for you to wonder how
Just hold on close for the prize it is
Then catch the wind, For there’s a boat coming now
So go there now, my holy child
It’s not for you to wonder why
Keep her safe, as she has you,
But hoist your sails
The wind won’t back round on you now
Go easy in the melancholic autumn
Just gather ribbons in your hair
Batten down the hatches in the winter

You won’t find love wanting there

Lift your chin, can you catch a scent on the air
It’s not for you to wonder who…

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The journey is both magical and strange…

I had the great honour recently, of being taken to Sicily for a week’s holiday with twenty beautiful souls, from all over the world. I worked daily on the first draft of my novel, the Siren Odyssey, which is halfway through its first edit and will be ready to present at the York Writers Festival. I swam in the sea, lay in the sunshine, played sous-chef with children and lapped the wonder of life up, despite the health challenges and profound sadness which lives with me.

Back in London now in a gorgeous little flat. For these last six months and for the first time in two and a half years, I have been given the opportunity to stay put, in one place. After housesitting twenty-four different homes in two years, this feeling of having a ‘home base’ has been a gift in itself. Although I have not been able to take my piano out of storage, nor most of my personal effects, I have felt more grounded and steady on my creative and professional feet.

This sublet situation will change again in five weeks, and if I cant find affordable living space in London then I might pick up and move to the sea. I will try to keep my little music thang going in London, running my singing clubs, even if I move from the big city, for the time-being.

I have tid-bits of exciting happenings, which all add up, and which help me stretch beyond the debilitating depression I too often suffer from:

  • I did another Jamie Catto workshop, which explored communication and new ways of being. It certainly helped to re-frame difficult aspects of life.
  • I have been invited to sing at the Chelsea Arts Club – which is a thrill!
  • I am being taken to The Edinburgh Festival at long last, where I will see Stewart D’Arrietta perform Tom Waits and where I will hopefully find and hear my old friend Antonio Forcione playing.
  • I’ve been invited to France again this year…always a joy to visit my creative friends in Paris.
  • I’ve also been invited to open a new music cafe in Glastonbury. What an honour that will be
  • My choirs bring me such great joy. I run four of them at the moment.
  • I have a Music Director course coming up this summer too – ever-learning and growing

For the first time in as long as I can remember, despite ongoing challenges, I am finding the old creative me was merely hibernating.

A new Spring is dawning perhaps…and maybe even a new album recording on its way? I suspect I need to find a place to take my piano from storage first There’s my news this month.

Blessings galore to you all. Keep counting them, no matter what. Life is too short to do otherwise. Musically Yours FREYjA

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Digging Deep

Hello FREYjA Friends,

It’s been a busy few months. I’m temporarily settled in South London and I’m loving it. I still have no permanent home and may leave London all together after the summer housesits are through. In the meantime, nature is plentiful in this city. As are church steeples. I am ever-inspired. I marvel at the beautiful circle of souls in my singing clubs. Fifty kids a week in the numerous Quirky Choir Clubs. And Thirty adults in my Shower Singers Clubs.

I’m putting together an anthology of my arrangements of over sixty songs for easy amateur choirs.

I’m seeking a new agent to find a publisher for my various writing projects, including Paris Bear the musical book series co-written with Mykey T with illustrations by Silver Larossa.

But my main babies at the moment are my novels Tilting the Doll and The Siren Odyssey. Yes! It has a similar title to FREYjA’s second album. I seem a little obsessed with sirens, wouldn’t you say!? Well, being one myself – a singing sea-faring kind of nomad – I’d say that makes sense. Notice I do not use the term ‘mermaid’. To understand why, you will have to read my novel.

To read my novel – it will have to get published. Right? And so, I am here to tell you that I, songwriter singer author Rebecca Rennie (also known as FREYjA) is about to launch a Patreon campaign.

For those of you who do not know what Patreon is…well stay-tuned. It will be a place where sponsors, such as your lovely selves, become Patrons (or Sponsors) of this artistic journey I am on.

Keep in the flow, fellow soul-divers. A new creative journey is about to begin.

Rebecca Rennie (FREYjA)

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