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Sunday, December 25, 2005

end of year musings. taking stock of 05

G'day everyone. Gilli here. Thought I'd send you all a newsletter to sink your teeth into as we head towards C day (you know, that apparent birthday of a prophet who seemed to spread his creativity, words and miracles far and wide.) Seems like this time of year is a great time to reflect about our own lives, where we've been, where we are going. Who we are, Who we want to become. I've landed in Australia for some good time out, holiday cheer, time with family and, of course, the usual end of year warrior girl think-tank for the new year.
It's been a terrific year, don't you think? We can all talk about the dramas, politics and natural disasters, but I would like to think that many of us have had the opportunity to really take stock of our lives through all this shenanegans this year, and achieved greatness within each of us. Because that's what it's about. Taking on whatever circumstances and being masters of our own destiny. For me, it's been an immensily creative year, with lots of travel. My life as an expressionist and an explorer has taken me far and wide across oceans and lands, with tours to Great Britain, the South West of U.S, East Coast and now I'm in Australia. I also have been blessed with being still, in the music studio, producing 3 albums that I'm terribly thrilled about. Of course, as you all know, I was in the studio for over a year on my latest album, extraOrdinary life, which was completed in July and we had an L.A and NY album launch for that. Being able to create an album filled with personal anecdotes of life, love and living in Los Angeles has been very satisfying, and it's also enhanced with video and photos. The musicians on the album are incredible. I'm really honored to have had them involved, as well as my engineers and all the people involved in putting it together and now promoting it. It's a finalist (top 5) in the Independent Music Awards and we'll know how it goes this month. The judges included Norah Jones, Melissa Ethridge and Jonatha Brooks. Good company don't you think? Anyway,.. I'll be spending the next year or so marketing this album with more touring and good stuff. The tours are called the "ordinary tour" and it looks like 2006 is already going to be full-on with travel. Yippee! Some details below on getting your copy of the CD and/or downloads. I do hope you can all get a CD and support it. The artwork and enhanced part (video) alone deserves more than just a download, let alone some good music that sounds way better off the CD itself than squashed mp3s ;) So scroll down below for how to get your copy.
As part of my Warrior Girl Music 05 endeavours, I also completed Dina Gathe's album Bother Me in October and we just released the album with a great launch at the Mint, Los Angeles early December. I performed a set with my band, J Walker did spoken word (wait till you hear his upcoming spoken-word and rap CD release Rhymecology, ...oh my!), Jennifer J hosted the night and Dina Gathe rocked with her band, which I played keyboards in for kicks. Dina's album is exceptional if I do say so myself, with over a year in the making of her and I in the studio, and you can get your copy at the Warrior Girl Music store... details below. It's very rock and modern in a sense, has a great retro feel that wouldn't give it justice if I compared her, but let's say Chrissie Hindles of 05 is along the lines, with a real Gomez edge. Also another produced album (I'm really LOVING producing and want to do more!!) is Holly Light's album, to be released April/May. Already seen as a Bob Dillon meets Sheryl Crow vibe, it is again way cooler to even compare. But it's totally in your face with hits and yet has a great blues, folk and rock vibe. We have a 3 song EP on the Store available and you can hear her music on our site too. go Artists for all the artists. Then of course, we released the Females On Fire [double] CD Compilation in August with a stunning 18 artist launch at the Mint in Los Angeles. The media have already fallen in love with this 30 artist cd and more about it written below. Next year we are doing a second compilation plus some touring. It's very exciting.
I've been doing a lot of writing. My online blog is filled with feelings and motivations, and then I usually keep my articles and motivational food for thoughts flowing. for all of that. I try and keep the motivation flowing for other artists who seem to battle it out in the music biz front. The times are a changing and we all really need to tackle it differently to get noticed. I'm constantly looking at new ways to do and see things. Below is my new podcasting article, which is definitely a new phenomenon that I'm loving.
As for Songsalive!, it's been an incredible year for this non-profit songwriters organization that's now 8 year's old. Here's what I can remember of it briefly, and I think it's good to take stock at how MUCH we have accomplished as a unified team (over 30 volunteers I might add who give their time freely and with passion). In 2005, we have developed 4 new chapters - Nashville TN, Austin Texas, Calgary Canada, and Byron Bay Australia. We now have 17 chapters worldwide in all four corners of the globe! We have developed an amazing list of partners with Songsalive!, the most recent being Unisong Competition,,,, and more. We have had exhibition booths in 2005 at DIY Los Angeles Feb, SXSW Austin March, Call to Arts Los Angeles April, IMC Philly Sept, Neme CT Sept, Nemo Boston Oct, Taxi Road Rally L.A Nov, Rockrgrl Seattle Nov,.. all of which we had the Songsalive! CD Samplers on exhibition. I also traveled to London and introduced us there in July. Lot's of travelling. Our Showcases and Workshops continue to happen every month and if any artists are interested check them out at where we are always looking for performers and attendees around the globe.
Finally, as you know, I'm in Australia. So keep close to the Tour page on my website for details on what might transpire down-under. Time for rejuvination and reinvention, some writing (a new book coming out soon) and summertime! There is much to do in 06, lots of creativity, being the explorer that I am with travel, and just loving the journey. I hope you are loving yours wherever you may be.
Meanwhile I wish each and every one of you a wonderful christmas, happy hanukah, merry quansa, fun holidays and anything else that might kick start your new year's resolution thinking so that 2006 will be an extraOrdinary one for you as it will be for me. Thank you for all your support, words, friendships, joy of creativity and well... just thank you. Talk to you all in the new year.
gilli moon
Read the Warrior Girl Music newsletter

Saturday, December 24, 2005

dispossessing the old, unimportant, reinventing the new, the NOW

The sky is an incandescent glow of luminous grey of the clouds, mixed with the blue of today's Australian beauty of a day. The wind is up. Which is a good thing, because it would have been over 40 degrees Celsius (110 F) today. It's cooling down.

It's so green here. Bright green in fact. We've had rain. Abnormal for summer. Might even rain tonight, like a hot balmy summer's tropical rain storm. Usually, it comes quickly. We see the bolt of lightening, and then, a minute later, hear the thunder.. deep and guttural. It tells us that mother nature is indeed in control. As it approaches, the lightening crack and thunder are closer together. Sometimes we get a crack of light in the house and a huge thunder, the sky goes green, as we are in awe of the magnificence of nature. Sometimes we lose a computer or television. These are the things we put up with living in paradise... the occasional loss of a possession. It reminds us of what is truly important in life, and what isn't.

I've spent the last year or so learning the art of dis-possession. It's an interesting concept... to simplify the clutter in our lives. Gaylah Balter, the author of "Clean Your Clutter, Clear Your Life", says that "Getting rid of clutter is not about letting go of things that are meaningful to you, it's about letting go of the things that no longer contribute to your life so that you have the time and the energy and the space for the things that do."

So I've spent a lot of time, in the two places I call "home" (Los Angeles and Australia), going through my stuff. From old diaries, paperwork, clothes, collectibles and, yes, even music CDs, I have put aside what I felt are no longer part of my current life. I've either sold the good stuff at yard sales, or on Amazon marketplace, or given the treasures away to people in need, thrift stores and even friends.

I have realized, through this cathartic effort, which takes time and is ongoing, that I have been a collecta-holic. I've clung on to things for that "just in case" time. Maybe one day I'll need this? Maybe it will be useful. How can I let this go when it provided so much sentimentality. Well, the truth is, so much of my possessions are a blueprint of my past, of what I was and not who I am now. Sometimes I feel I cannot progress, become anew, if I continue to be attached to the very possessions that way me down. I am not saying I am getting rid of everything. No. But I certainly feel it is a huge weight off my shoulders and my mind if I SIMPLIFY my life, and dis-possessing is by far the best first step.

Dis-possessing works with any attachment we have to anything, and it's not only with objects. I started cleaning out old letter and diaries which harboured negative energy on past issues, past relationships and experiences that hurt. So then, by removing those pieces, I felt so much better. But then I also have used this methodology with people, with tasks, with food, with thoughts.

I've written in my book "I AM A Professional Artist", how people in our lives can be energy zappers, and create negative impact on our lives and our evolution. Dis-possessing any friend that no longer provides a positive impact, or gives back, is an amazing feeling. Why continue to allow someone to pull you down? Friends are not always lifelong. I know it's hard to believe that sometimes, but just because we label them a "friend" doesn't mean you need to take on all their crap. If you feel that the balance of give and take is not there, or you feel a heaviness in your dealings with this person, over and over again, you know it's time to dispossess. I don't mean to say you must cut off that person from your life, but certainly you can set parameters to only allow a certain relationship and certain communication in your life that empowers you, nurtures you as much as you've nurtured them. It's really hard for artists to acknowledge this, as we are usually very giving, and gullible (we are the innocent creatives on this planet... wanting to give so much.) Finding that barometer in reading people will be a first step in avoiding and dispossessing energy zappers.

I had a to-do list a mile long. I have gone from my Outlook Tasks list to huge scrapbooks of lists, to now a tiny notebook that fits in my purse. I have reduced my list. I have started to cross off what is no longer important to me. Being busy is not the goal. Achieving the task should be the goal. But if we have so many tasks, how on earth can we achieve them all? We are not super human. (Some of us think we can be though?!) So i've started to eliminate tasks that are superfluous, that just spin the wheels and don't accomplish anything of substance. I've learned that I can't do everything in life, in this month, this week, this day. I just have to do what I can and do it in the best way. So my task list is now in a tiny notebook, and even that has become too big. I want to bring it right down. Maybe, if I can't remember what to do, I shouldn't do it. The old timer down in the valley, who takes care of his farm, with his cattle and horses, doesn't have a task list. It's all about his memory.

I've been taking a strong look at food. My diet is usually good, but I know I slip now and then. I believe in "everything in moderation", but I also believe our world eats way too much. We consume so much food. Our society is filled with disease, overweight problems and lethargy. I go out to an American restaurant and my plate is so full that I could eat the same dish for the whole week and be satisfied. Most people discard so much food and it all gets thrown away. Do you know we could cure the entire world's hunger problem by feeding the hungry with what we leave over on our plates? It's totally messed up. So I am a vegetarian, with an enormous respect for animals and our plant life. I don't want to begin a discussion on that right now but pick up a copy of Vegan News in your local community and you'll get it reading one article. I am also learning, within my diet, to eat only what I need. When I'm full I think to myself - don't be gluttonous just because it tastes nice. Eat for need, and yes surely for taste. God I love food. I love the smells and taste sensations of cooking a beautiful pasta sauce or delicious guacamole. But Stop when you are full. Dis-possess the mind-set of needing to eat for survival, and needing to eat because your parents told you you had to finish everything on your plate. Cook less. Prepare less. Understand ecology and the lack of resources in the world. Enjoy eating with another. That's where it's truly at. Sharing a meal. A meal is all about sharing your life, in that little moment. Really appreciate that moment of eating, like it's the only meal you'll eat for the rest of your life. Don't rush it. Enjoy it. Savour it.

Moments are meant to be savoured. Each and everyone of them. Living in the moment is the largest lesson I've learned in these recent years. I used to look so far beyond into the future I didn't even know the present existed.

What a powerful thought - enjoying the current moment. It has a lot to do with our thoughts, how we perceive things. Being a born-again moment lover, I am really inspired by the idea of living in the NOW. Another wonderful author, Eckhard Tolle, lives by this motto. He has written a book called "The Power of Now" where he expounds on a simple notion. "Much of the fear, anxiety and guilt that all humans experience can be traced to our inability to live in the present." Really, the NOW is the only thing that is important. For me, time has stood still. I feel time is irrelevant in my journey. The past, present and future have become all one. I am who I am, ongoing, living my destiny, in a creative and communicative world. I work hard to keep my thoughts positive. When I have a negative thought, I meditate on it and work on - dispossessing - that thought, that reasoning, that logic, that reality. Any thoughts I think are real. Thoughts are creative, as Edward de Bono says. If you think something, it becomes reality. Therefore, any thoughts we have that are negative or take us away from who we really are, and who we want to become, we need to dispossess. Let go. Don't harbour them, or they will become us.

Remember that movie, "American Beauty"? The boy next door's favorite home video he made was about a plastic bag, blowing in the wind. "Be the Bag" was the voice over. I invite you to be the bag, go with the wind, enjoy the moment, however that flows, ... and keep life simple. Simplicity is the spice of life.

Chat later.... from down-under
gilli moon

Saturday, December 10, 2005

arriving in australia, time for regeneration and reinvention

I don't profess to know too much right now. I'm a little mind numb. All I know is I've been working steadily towards a date to get on a plane, and then got on the plane and arrived in Sydney, without expectations, plans or any consciousness of doing. I'm here. On top of my mountain. For now, that's all that matters. I'm normally a very head strong go-getter with many projects and plates spinning, lots of emails flowing, artists and interests surrounding me, plans, strategies, empires, creations, constant flow of in and out. Right now, I sit and contemplate nothing except a little bit of self-expression here on the blog.

I am knee deep in fog about who I am. Neale Donald Walshe (author of "Conversations with God") will probably send his newsletter to me that i get once a week, very soon. It will be timely. He poses the question constantly of Who We Are and knows how to deconstruct every piece of that so we can start anew. I am feeling like I need to start anew. I feel like I've lost part of my way and that's not because I haven't lost myself, it's because the "way" has changed.

We are living in times of enormous change, of revolution, and of growth. My personal growth used to be somewhat dependent on my circumstances, my creative path, the opportunities that came to me, doors that opened, or closed. But now my personal growth has become less dependent on the obvious, and more about my inner sanctum. I don't feel beholdent to outward distractions, modes or challenges right now. That all tires me.

For instance, when I normally planned a trip to Australia, I'd plan a tour, a media campaign, lots of gigs, lots of doing, lots of phone calls, lots... I was hungry for the exposure, breaking a new record, meeting new people, getting out there, getting noticed. I have always wanted to "make it" in Australia, my home land. Wouldn't you want to be accepted in your home? Everyone would. We travel far and wide and seek the holy grail, only to want to return it home and put it on the mantle piece right? Don't we want our old peers and family to pat us on the back and say "ya done good, luv". Or do we?

I am not in to self-flagulation. I can say that I've earned a modicum of "success" (whatever that is) down-under with some good press, radio play, even MTV video play. Cool gigs, a nice reputation for helping other artists. I'm in good stead here. But I also know that my music is not the Australia mainstream variety. I don't get JJJ radio play and the mainstream stations find it hard to find the single off my records. Even my new record "extraOrdinary life" while receiving lovely feedback on it's concept, musicality, songwriting, performance yaddayaddayadda, doesn't seem to fit into the Aussie mold of "let's try and break it within the first week". Doesn't have that about it.

And so I'm left with... well what now? Do I go into the studio and record pop hits just to satisfy the market here? I am kind of perplexed as to what "they" want. Who's "they" anyway? Why do I feel like I have something to prove here? I've established myself enough everywhere else to not have to impress. I shouldn't have to impress anyone.


And that's what I'm arriving at, in my contemplation. I've spent 9 years. Count them. 9 years pursuing the American market only to now realise that I have nothing to prove anymore. What for? The "way" that tantalized me in the first place, is no longer the same. When I first started my journey, I had Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, George Michael, Seal, Hot House Flowers, Elton John, even Alanis Morrissette... to guide me in making albums with concepts, strong songwriting and artist stories. Now I have digital downloads, the itunes frenzy, one hit singles, corporate mega-bucks, Clearchannel monopolies, merging Majors and a jaded mindset to contend with.. as i still try and make what I feel are great concept albums.

My music industry is not the industry I signed up for in the beginning. But then I also was in love with a glamorized version of it: I dreamed I could be on Top 5 radio, a non 1 song, MTV video play (yep that's me visualizing myself dancing in the videos and doing the whole thang), world tours with a full on stage and light show.. and more... let alone the money to produce great records, live in comfort blah blah blah. What is THAT? That is an illusion. That is not reality. Even back then in my dream land, what was really going on was payola, corruption and conflict. It reminds me of "Syriana". If you haven't seen that movie you should. It stars George Clooney and is about the oil deals in Iran in the eightees and nineties, and implicates the CIA and the U.S Government in all these behind the scene deals versus freedom of the people and liberation of the Iran government, all over satisfying the American demand for oil. This stuff might be in movies and in books, but it's also life, and we live it also in the music business. Oil, music, soap, whatever you are selling... it's all the same.

And I don't want any part of it.

I don't want any part of greed, corruption, corporations screwing the little people. I don't want creativity stifled by beaurocracy, stakeholders, industry. I just want to express myself in an artistic way, to create peaceful change, thought and process and live a peaceful personal life that is filled with laughter, joy, partnership, family, trust and, yes, art. I am a humanitarian. I'm not going to go saving rainforests by chaining myself to the trunks of trees. I'm not going to paint "No War" on the Sydney Opera House, although I commend Dave for doing that. I'm not going to encourage sending men and women in to foreign lands to fight the corporate wars. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to write songs. And I'm going to create concept albums. And I'm going to play meaningful parts in Film. And I'm going to write books that encourage healing, self-empowerment, education and community. I'm going to perform and entertain and take people's minds to a place of beauty, self-healing and joy.

But I cannot do all that if I get constant backlash and blocks. There are many road blocks on our journey of life, that's for sure, but sometimes you just know that some of them are SIGNS to lead us to a better "way". As Walshe would put it, it's time for me to "use my past to empower my future" to continue to be and become even more authentic and creative in Who I AM. Authenticity is the key here. So much of the music business is inauthentic. This creates a connundrum. How can we be true to our creativity and our purpose when we are surrounded by so many untruths, selfish, materialistic parasites and monopolies over the market?

I went to Los Angeles to create a career, to explore my talents, to be inspired by greatness in order to be great. I have an A + type personality. I seek the highest form of expression and believe we must always do our very best as human beings. It's my own path to so-called enlightenment. But I haven't had an easy path. In fact, it is constantly reminded to me by the universe that I am meant for the path least travelled, that warrior spirit to show the way. Well I can keep showing the way for others, but what about the way for me? Shouldn't I get some joy in it? I'm not here to matyr myself in order to make sure everyone else has fun.

None of my accomplishments were handed to me on a silver platter. I had to create them from scratch. There's no luck in this model, just sweat. But through the years I've managed to navigate pretty well, and end up smiling. But I smile today not because of an eighteen year old's grandeur of fame and success. But because I have understood that my "way' is no longer the way I originally sought. This "way" is far different, and not readily tangible or explained.

I spent the majority of this year developing things I thought I was going to cut down in so I could spend more time on me: Songsalive! (the non-profit organization supporting and promoting songwriters with new chapters, presence at music conferences and programs and an impactful, educational website; speaking at music conferences to encourage and provide tips for other artists to get out there; producing music for other artists; putting on shows showcasing other artists; created several CD compilations of artists, and offering services, advice and counsel to more artists than ever before... But I do all that because the universe calls me to be this person, this humanitarian, as this is my path.

Amazingly, I still recorded my album, released it, toured 2 continents, landed a 4 page spread in Newsweek Magazine and kept my rank up as one of the most discussed independent music artist there is out there in the world today.

I am not complaining. I know I can do all of this. It's quite impressive to some. To me, this is all part of living life, the art of doing, the doing of art.

But I will not rest on my laurels. Because these laurels are all an illusion, to the real stuff... the Who I Really Am part of it all. It's in this part that I explore, deconstruct, reinvent. NOW. The time is Now. For all the stuff above is just stuff I do, have done, and can easily do again.

Here's my connundrum: I skirt around the borders of the music industry, below the radar, highly involved in what I constantly refer to as the new music revolution, receiving a modicum of success for sure, but I can't sit here and rattle off soundscan Cd sales to you, and record heights of radio play. I can't do that. I don't live in that tangible realm, although some feel that I still need to prove that with numbers. It's a numbers game, the music business, and I cannot reduce myself to numbers alone.

I live in the intangible world of lateral creativity, thinking outside the box and dabbling with human spirits. How can you quantify success based on how many souls you touch?

I am sitting here on top of my mountain in the Aussie bush lacking incentive to partake in anything associated to the music business. I have a beautiful album in my hands (extraOrdinary life) that is an opus, a gift, a wonderful year's worth of producing and a lifetime of stories, that deserves to be out in the world, playing in your radio and itunes headphones, on your CD racks at home.. and I can't even be bothered to contemplate what it means to market this album right now. I am already feeling resistance with various music reps here in Australia. It costs money for a media campaign, and worst still if they tell you radio won't play it even before you even try. I can't even get my agency excited about touring, because I'm not excited. I KNOW what needs to be done, and it's the KNOWING of what it REALLY means to push a record, ANYWHERE, that turns me off. I've been doing this for 9 years and I'm asking myself, "IS THIS MY "WAY"?

We know where I am. I know where I am. Again, I'm not complaining. I get people emailing me daily on how inspired they are, how they love my music. I sell records. Yes I do. And books, and downloads and and and. I'm a professional artist. I don't have a day job.


It's here that I vascillate, between the glories, the stories of my past, and now reinvent for my future. We are all in unchartered territories, and the mystery of it all is definitely where IT'S AT. So I leap empty-handed into the void, and wait for my own deliverance.

Come back soon.

Gilli Moon