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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Idaho Performing Songwriters Bootcamp July 2003

Wednesday June 25 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 1: I've spent a couple of months (gosh how the time flies!) slowly settling back into L.A life since getting off the South West Tour. I hadn't realized it, but i had literally been living in a suitcase since October, so moving into the great Sherman Oaks home was such a blessing, yet it's taken time to settle in. Mind you, the L.A weather has been less than admirable so that always plays havoc with my emotions. And then.. off again, for 10 days... to Driggs, Idaho (near Victor). Well what a blast. To be invited to teach at Lauren Adams Performing Songwriters Bootcamp. With John Braheny on songwriting, Steven Memel on voice, I am completing the camp with marketing and promotion. I got up at the crack of dawn on Wednesday 25 June to get on the plane at LAX (7.30am flight... ugh!). The flight was only a couple of hours to Salt Lake City, and then a quick lay over. The next flight was on a tiny jet to Idaho Falls. Me, Steven Memel, about 15 others, one stewardess, 2 male crew, and ... clouds. I felt like we were walking on them! Actually the flight is only 30 minutes, but we actually taxiied for another 30 minutes (are we walking there???) We flew into snowy mountains and country fields and landed in crisp air. I've heard that it's kind of wintry here 365 days of the year. The night doesn't come until around 10pm. Consider that we are on the same latitude as, say, Finland. I think... I've been taking some photos. It's pretty magic here, save for the Nuclear Power plant i've heard about that sends it's radioactive waves to us from 60 miles away. But they say we can drink the spring water.... The camp is taking place at a Ranch, called Teton Wells. We are located in Teton Valley, and the Wells part is the namesake of the Ranch's owner - Dawn Wells - who played Maryanne in Gilligan's Island! See photos. We have twelve wonderful students here at the camp, from all walks of life, all here to be inspired and learn more about their artistry as performing songwriters. Wednesday night, after everyone sauntering in from traveling, we had an opening dinner and meet & greet. I was exhausted having not had much sleep so we had an early night. Thursday June 26 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 2: Thursday a.m and John and Joann Braheny are captivating the class with - SONGWRITING intensive. We are all taking personality tests (I'm a complete extravert), learning chord structure and listening and critiquing songs. I occasionally go visit the horses. The food is exceptional. Friday June 27 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 3: We've been here since Wednesday. It's been quite intense. Classes by day, a meal, then more discussions at night. Thursday, Friday were John and JoAnn Braheny, talking about songwriting and Friday was an intense co-writing day. Steven Memel, one of the teachers, and I, instead, went for a 2 hour drive up north to Yellowstone National Park to see the Old Faithful Geyser which was incredible. Volcanic, sulphuric hot water bubbling and spurting out of the ground. The Park was filled with dead pine trees, like matchsticks fallen everywhere. There had been a big fire through here a couple of years ago and it still hadn't all grown back. It was quite sad. We saw some animals: elk, a moose and buffalo. We hiked a bit up a mountain and basically took in some fresh air. It was lovely. Back Friday night for more songwriting discussions (as well as JoAnn taking us through the various modules of working styles as professional artists ... and excellent food, I slept like a log. The weekend is all about Voice and performance! Saturday June 28 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 4: Saturday and Steven Memel took the floor as the second teacher - performance and voice. This was where I began to see our students really come out of their shell. Here they were exploring their voices, their stage presence, understanding the inner critic, and learning to let go. It was invigorating. Saturday night and Steven and I spoke about production - choosing producers, the check list in producing your record, what to think about. Payment structures, types of deals, and questions and answers. I was also eating so many vegetables, I was turning green! The weather has been superb! Sunday June 29 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 5: Sunday, a day of rest for me at least. Steven was into his second day of teaching so it was like a weekday for the group. The students had a great opportunity to work with Steven one-on-one. As for me, the altitude had become to take effect on me and I got a little weary. I slept a little during the day and couldn't quite focus. I actually had to go to bed early. Like weeks and weeks of working and preparing for this trip had caught up on me! Monday June 30 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 6: Monday comes around and after 10 hours sleep, I was ready like a fireball. Next, gilli's turn to hit the floor. I started the group with some breathing and a name game to get our mind alert, and then it was all systems go into marketing and promotion. Actually we began with some professional development, understanding the philosophies of defining success on one-s own terms; having a go for it mentality - self empowerment; and I AM exercises (affirmations.) By lunch (again delicious - thanks Ted), our brains were ready for more. Full-on marketing tools from recording to touring to radio, distribution (internet and retail) and press kits were explored. By the end of the day we began working on 'image.' Our discussion at night was in the tee-pee, all about our venue performance horror stories - sharing and discussing performance in the round. I conked out again that night after some hilarious joke telling about the faculty in the Condo. So... a horse walks into a bar and the bar tender asks, "why the long face?". Silly stuff like that. Tuesday July 1 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 7: Up again to a breathing circle and the 13 game. It was time for show and tell. I had asked the artists to create a collage of ideas about their 'image' on an 8 x 11 piece of paper. What an amazing experience as they each discussed their concepts. ... really investigating who they were as artists, and especially where they wanted to go. I had chills all day. We finished the morning with marketing plan and press kit creations and then... drum roll.. the big goal making exercise. Where do you see yourself in 10, 5, 2 and 1 years time. Where do i see myself next week? Missing the nature of Idaho! I am so thrilled to see the student artists grow and become their selves. I've had chills all day. And then of course, the food, oh my! Wednesday July 2 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... Day 8: Studio and performance day. Time to put theory to practice. We took Amy, Anna and Lisa Florine into the studio at Greg's to record their new songs. I accompanied Amy and Anna on the piano and their sweet, young voices showed so much talent! As much as they were both new to the studio, they were brilliant. Lisa truly shined also. It was a great studio experience for them. While we were in the studio, the other artists were white water rafting up in Jackson Hole. By 4.30pm we were at the Driggs Airport... to get ready to perform at the Busche's Airplane Hanger (The family behind the Budweiser beer!). They arrived in their private jet, and we set up the stage and what seemed like 10 cameras from the Film Actors Bootcamp Crew, who are also in bootcamp this week among us. About 100 people turned up for this evening of food and music, celebrating the 1st of Summer in Teton Valley and the Balloon pilots who had arrived to fly for the 4th July. We had the students perform 2 sets in the round with 6 artists on stage at a time. Everyone performed extraordinarily. It was amazing. Some artists had never performed live solo! Then Lauren Adams performed a sweet and powerful set with John Braheny performing fiddle (a rare site!) and Greg Kramer, student and local, on guitar with her. Lauren has a voice like KD Lang, yet with a country twang, and she's very, very talented. Thursday July 3 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... My turn for white water rafting. The last time I had gone down a river on these boats, I cracked my bottom tooth. But I knew I had to "get back on the horse" so to speak. While the rest of the troups were in the studio with John B., we went off to Mad River (The "Snake" as they call it) to white water raft. What an amazing trip! Snow capped mountains still on a hot summer's day, with every type of bird and wonderful water. We all bused it in our wet-suits and took a fun 1 and a half hours drive down the rapids, paddling fast, then slow, then just cruising. It was awesome. We lunched in Jackson, Wyoming, the nearest town. This place is truly the Wild West, with the old fashion Saloon (the bar stools are actually horse saddles!), moose and elk horns everywhere, and traditional 2 storey shop fronts with that old style verandah on the 2nd floor. You can just imagine the shoot outs and the cowboys! It was nice wandering around and going back in time. I can imagine it being a fabulous town in the winter, the heart of some of the best skiing in America. Back to the Ranch/Camp at 6pm I tootled over to the studio as John B was fried, and finished up recording Penelope, Hilde and Loreta. It's been an amazing camp. We are getting on so well, we can almost not talk , and just giggle together! Friday July 4 Performing Songwriters Bootcamp continued, Idaho... You know when the universe is saying : this is perfect! Independence Day - July 4th - and we arrive at the Knotty Pine - the local music venue owned by the wonderful Bryce. All the students performed as well as Lauren and I and even in the heat, sun beating down on us... we knew, we just knew... that all the hard work of the last 10 days had culminated into creative POWER! What talent and performances. They roasted a real pig backstage so I can say for the first time that I've shared the backstage now with a pig. Victor, Idaho, the next town on from Driggs is a cool little one street town... We watched the 4th July parade with everyone coming out in fancy clothes, all the cowboys (some quite yummy), dancing cheerleaders, Ma and Pa Potato and a few interesting types. And then we performed and some ate pork burgers (I chose bean burrito). It was a sudden change at 4 to get over to the Driggs Park for more fun fairs and lots of kids. Another performance by the group (with some sound issues that truly opened up our artists to be free and not care too much, but to have fun!!!) Life is being sumburned, having new friends, being on holiday, and drinking beer. We fly home tomorrow. TONIGHT, awards night around the camp fire! yay! See pics

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