November 24, 2018
Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State
©2018 Singin String Publishing, ASCAP
collaboration | kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n |
1 the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
• something produced or created by collaboration.
Musician: “I just finished a new song, wrote it, recorded the drums, keyboards, guitars, bass guitar, backup vocals, and lead vocals, mixed it, mastered it, all by myself!”
Right, I know how it is, sometimes one has no other choice than to tackle it all, wear all the hats, and it’s fantastic that anyone these days, for very little money, can produce a world class result. Trouble is, if you don’t have all your waking hours to devote to this level of demand, your musicianship will likely suffer. It’s one thing making the music product. Then it needs to be marketed. Marketing alone can consume most of one’s available time. WE NEED PEOPLE!
Looking through the history of your favorite music during your life, you’ll likely find that the music that hit you the deepest was borne of the melding of minds, at least two. But more likely, it was the struggle that took place between many people that wrought the virgin marble into a finished masterpiece of polished beauty. That finished work affects you on many levels - the result of the collaboration of DIFFERENT perspectives, some of which often clash. The opposition of various views and the necessary harmony involved in making them work together is what creates MAGIC. The opposition of various views and the necessary harmony involved in making them work together is what creates MAGIC. Right?
One of the most rewarding experiences during a concert for me is when, through whatever means, the artist or group clearly brings the audience together. Sometimes this feat is veiled behind the mask of command performances that illicit a common response shared by all in attendance. Sometimes it is spoken and made clear to everyone, “C’mon people now, let’s get together, try to love one another right now.”
The collaboration between performer and audience is sometimes overlooked by the performer, and despite incredible skill on the instrument; good songs; and a convincing light show, the crowd response is flat… crickets. What happened? Well, was there real communication from one heart/mind/soul to another? Or did the group merely go through the motions, eager to end the night and get paid?
Music is possibly the deepest, most important form of communication on the planet. Nothing about it can be underestimated, including the sincerity and adherence to REAL, and 100% INVOLVEMENT from the deepest part of the performers.
When you hear one of your favorite songs, you are stirred to the deepest part of your being in ways you have no words for. Why?
In my experience, I would answer, “I deliberately infuse the music I perform on stage or in the studio with intense emotion. To me, I have this chance, and this chance only, to perform this music the way it is meant to be played - with conviction and some kind of ineffable beauty and intention.”
These “vibes” are real, and they are absolutely included in the recorded or live-performed music.
Why is the music that Heart created over 40 years ago still popular today? Could it be that the songwriters genuinely chose to create worthwhile art that mattered, that made a difference in the lives of those who welcomed it into their souls? Is it unlike other “music” that was manufactured for the sole reason of making money? And were the musicians giving their best, most inspired performances? Hell yeah! We were in it for the right reasons. We collaborated. We walked the path that isn’t easy. We gave and took; we vehemently insisted, and other times, submitted, for a higher purpose. We, along with our producers, Mike Flicker and Mike Fisher were entrenched in creating harmony… MAGIC!
While writing the songs for the Fisher Brother’s 2018 release, HEART OF THE BLUES, I wanted flavors that I alone couldn’t come up with. I reached out to many musicians, telling them I’d like to write something with them. Some acted enthused, yet nothing materialized… no follow through. Others seemed unlikely candidates, yet great results were realized. All in all, the songs where collaboration was involved turned out as I’d hoped: the sum was greater than the parts, and surprisingly unexpected ground was covered, through whim, accident, and serendipity. I never would have come up with this stuff totally on my own.
COLLABORATION is the macro model for what helps the world be a better place. A marriage where collaboration is at a minimum is probably fraught with tension. A relationship where things have been discussed and agreed on is probably happy and thriving.
More than any other aspect of music, one’s ability to collaborate with musicians; audio engineers, producers; business people; and audience is what will bring the work to a mass audience. Some people feel it is the responsibility of the artist to make their work available to share with others… an opinion not always shared by the artist :-)
Often, an artist is so sheltered in their lone world of concentrated creativity and evolution that they become somewhat inept at social interaction, resulting in a tendency to not want to interact with others. This can be interpreted as arrogant; self-absorbed; narcissistic, and generally unattractive, undesirable. Maybe it is true that one’s craft shouldn’t be allowed to be one’s escape. Maybe communication is as important as the art or craft one is perfecting. Maybe it is true that together we stand - divided we fall. I think so.