Today’s the day!
I wrote this song sitting in my sister’s apartment in Philadelphia on my Christmas trip home from Los Angeles nearly two years ago. We started recording this particular song on Sunday July 7th, 2013. But we stepped out of the studio to record the piano on my friend’s beautiful upright. Just over five months later…and it’s all yours.
…I give you the first release off of the upcoming album…
Bridges We Burn
The first link is to listen – the second is to buy it on iTunes. If you have an Rdio account, you can find it there too.
Special thanks to all of the beautiful people who had a hand in helping make this happen!
So this is happening on my computer right now.
As you know, I’ve been in the studio since July working on the album. As you also know, we wrapped up production on it last month. As you may have heard, I’ve been planning the album release tour since September, and it’s beginning to take some nice shape if I do say so myself.
But what you probably don’t know is how these things get put together when it’s an indie artist like myself. So I figured I’d let you know how I fill my days, and how I end up traveling so much.
Usually the first question that I get from people when I talk about the album or tour is “How do you pay for all this?”
To answer that – I work a lot. When I was just starting out in the business I used to try to act like I was making all of my money from musical pursuits, but let’s be real here – that’s not true. In a way it was – when I was living in Philly, my source of income was shows, teaching voice lessons and singing funerals for nearby churches. Out here, it’s performances, teaching voice lessons, waiting tables, transcription work, film production jobs, etc. Whatever it takes to get the album finished and the tour funded. For the album, of course, I did an IndieGoGo fundraiser and raised just over $5,000, about 1/3 of the cost of creating the album. And that’s doing it “on the cheap” with gracious discounts from talented friends and referrals. I am SO grateful for my generous donors because it lightened the load and made creating the album the way that I wanted to much more possible.
But if we’re being realistic, it’s just a damn expensive pursuit. So here I am, temping as a receptionist, writing this blog on my lunch break.
You can see why independent musicians (like myself) get upset when people think that they should get music for free. I’d love to make that music for free, too. But everyone deserves payment for their expertise – studios, engineers, musicians, instruments - the list goes on. And that’s just production. Once that’s done, it has to be mastered. There’s design work. Photo shoots. Reproduction costs. Shipping costs. Promotion costs. Merchandise costs. It costs to put it up for sale online. It costs to run the website. It costs to have your domain name. It costs to copyright your material. Not to mention the usual – rent, food, phone, insurance, etc.
And without a label, all of that cost falls on the artist who, until a cd is purchased, is not getting paid.
This is not a complaint, mind you. It’s an explanation. This is the profession and life I’ve chosen for myself. One I Love with all of my heart. But there’s nothing easy or cheap about it. And sometimes I think people get hung up on the “glamorous” side of it. The things that I feel extremely lucky for, which is all of the interesting and different day-to-day experiences, the people I get to meet and the places I get to see. But while it may look like a carefree life, it is an extremely tiring road that continuously tests you. Not one of the beautiful musicians that I know is “living like a rock star.” They’re living so they can do what they love. And I find that to be a most admirable way to live.
The next question I get is usually “Do you have a manager?”
I do. Her name is Mary Scholz.
“Well do you have someone that does your booking for you?”
I do. Her name is Mary Scholz. I currently manage myself and do my own booking, and have been working this way for the past 7 years. When I’m working on a tour, I map it out first, literally on a map, as well as a calendar, and then start contacting venues and booking agents in the cities I’ll be stopping in. Sometimes I’ll contact another songwriter from that area. Sometimes a friend will put me in touch with someone they know in a town that’s new to me. We work out show details, artist cut of the door charge, etc.
Then I save. Gas. Tolls. Food. Drinks with friends. The occasional site see cost. And I rely on the generosity of the people who open their homes to me to cut out hotel costs. And I rely on the promotional work of the awesome fans in each city who invite their friends to come to the show. And that’s how I get to meet so many new people. And that’s how I get to sit on stage and talk about life, love, loss, loneliness and laughter.
And I’m GRATEFUL for it all. Grateful that I’m able to work. Grateful for the jobs that I acquire. Grateful that I live in a country where I, as a woman, may freely pursue the life I want to lead. Grateful for the talented artists who have donated their time when I was in crunch time crisis mode with the budget. Grateful for YOU because you’re still reading.
I’m not sure what my point is anymore. I look at that map and it is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It’s a lot to save for. It’s a lot to do solo. But it’s going to be amazing. I’ve got a publicist on board for this tour and already so many amazing hosts lined up for cities that I can’t wait to return to, and cities that I can’t wait to introduce myself to. And I’ve worked 9 shifts this week at three different jobs and I’m about to fall asleep.
And I think I just wanted to chat about what’s been going on in the world of Mary Scholz.
Did you make it through? You deserve a gold star. Also, I love you. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I can’t believe I didn’t post this already – here’s a teaser clip of the darkest song on the album. It’s called “One More Day,” and it’s about being addicted to the pain of being with someone. Just me, a piano…and some beautiful, beautiful cellos.
It’s a rough mix, no mastering…but I just couldn’t wait for you to hear it.
Written by Mary Scholz
Cello arrangement by Chris Thomas
Tracked by Stewart Hidalgo and Chris Thomas
Mixed by Brandon Slavinski
(Okay I didn’t record this song on that piano in particular – but I did record the last song of the album on it…that you’ll have to wait for…)
So last summer my good friend Brian Alan shot this acoustic video for my song “Beautiful, Tortured Mess” – and now it’s time you see it
I’ve been in the studio for the last month working on the album, this song included, and it’s sounding AWESOME.
The audio for this video was recorded with Brandon Slavinski at Red Letterbox Productions – where, coincidentally (not really), I am finishing up the album
WE DID IT!!
9 hours left on the campaign and we are OFFICIALLY FULLY FUNDED!!
You are an amazing, amazing group of people. I am so excited to get back to LA tomorrow and get into the studio and really sink my teeth into this album.
I made a promise this morning – I’m writing my donors a song, recording it this week and sending the download to you by Saturday. I’ll let you know when to check your inboxes.
Oh and my Philly show attendees…guess what you’re making possible? STRINGS. SO GRATEFUL. For you ALL.
Sending so much Love your way – I am so grateful. Thank you!
Just thought it would be fun to post this conglomeration of photos here on the blog. In honor of next Thursday’s fundraiser show at The Twisted Tail in my home city, I put together this collage for today’s Throwback Thursday. It’s all Philly show photos, ranging from 2006 to 2012.
Hope to see all of my homies next week! (BUY TICKETS HERE)
Photos by Jim Flemming, Joanna Scholz, Patty Bonfig, John Hayes, Patti Byrd and Ron Martin.
Photo by Don Macavoy
The reason for this is that I have found that through my life, 2 and 22 continue to appear. The second child born to my parents on the 22nd of September while they were living in their 2nd home. Named after 2 Grandmothers, both Mary. When I moved to my 2nd residence here in Los Angeles, the 2nd major city I’ve lived in, I wound up in an apartment on the 2nd floor of a building where they assigned me parking spot #22.
There’s more, but I won’t go on. Maybe it shows up because I’ve begun to take notice and so I just happen to see it because I’m aware. But I only started taking notice because it was there. And so the number 2 (and 22) is special to me.
For those that know me personally, or have been to one of my shows over the past 2 years (yes, 2), you have heard about my “Kodak922″ photo.
Back story on the name: when I was in high school, I loved to take photos (not so different from now). It was a hobby I picked up from my Mom, who was always documenting family occasions. I love taking photos of people and events – capturing laughter, sideways looks, quiet moments and silliness. It further developed into a love of taking photos of the beautiful things I see everywhere. It is important to me to LOOK UP and take notice of how wonderful the world really is around me.
ANYWAY, in high school, I was the one my friends knew to count on for photos from events. They complained about me snapping shots, but let’s face it – I knew they’d be glad to have the pictures. And they always were.
And so they deemed me “Kodak.” One of the few nicknames I’ve had in my life. So when I got my first email address (no, I didn’t have email until freshman year of high school) I used kodak922 and it’s kind of been my thing since. (Even my class ring, rather than opting for a music note on the side or some representation of band, theatre or chorus, I went with the camera.)
2 years ago I met a musician at NAMM (Tristan of Native June) who was doing a “photo-a-day” and trying to get others to do the same. I jumped on board but changed it up to better fit myself, and my reasons for participating were immediately obvious to me. I was in the thick of a really difficult period of my life, and I spent a lot of my time in a very stressful, upset fog. It was draining, emotionally and physically, and somehow taking these photos was a sign of hope for me.
So I changed it. Not one photo but 2. At 9:22pm, every day, my alarm goes off. I take a photo of exactly what I am looking at when I hear the alarm, and then turn the camera on myself and take a picture of me. The goal for the first year was a hope that by the end of the year, the look on my face would have changed. That I would be noticeably happier. Calmer. That even if things were still hard and stressful, that I could look back and see just how much progress I’ve really made, and to know that in another year’s time, I would be further along yet. Sometimes it’s hard to realize how much better things have gotten when they are still a struggle.
I also do it as something just for me. I share so much of my life on social media, which is a wonderful way to connect with my audience. But it’s nice to have something just for myself. Of course, it has come to incorporate so many of the people that I spend my time with, that there’s always a curiosity from friends of the outcome of the first year and the continuation into the 2nd. So I may put an edited, pared down version together to show. Maybe. We’ll see.
Looking back, it’s good to see the joyful moments. And no surprise to me, there are a lot of beautifully painful ones as well. Well, maybe surprising. Surprising to note that although it was painful, it was beautiful in it’s own way. For what it taught me. There is indeed, beauty in sadness. The Beauty of It ALL.
So on this 2nd Anniversary of my life as an Angelino, wrapping up the 2nd week of fundraising for my album, 2 days before hitting the studio to start recording…I’m telling you about my 2s.
A look at one of the more intimate, mournful shots in the series.
(About a month after I started, at 9:22pm at the VH1 Save-the-Music Grammy party, I ran into that very same musician, Tristan Hendy…so here is my 9:22 of us from that night)
I’ll leave you with the 9:22 from last night’s rehearsal. I’m so psyched after hearing us play together and can’t wait to get started in the studio. Special thanks to Devon and Chester, pictured here, for their work. Making music with you is going to rock!