Posts Tagged ‘musician’

Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times

September 17, 2020

For anyone who’s gone through a breakup, or the traumatic loss of a loved one during these tough times of COVID-19, forest fires, and other natural catastrophes, this nostalgic song by Colin Hay may move you to tears. That kind of cathartic experience, acknowledging and feeling the loss, may help in the healing of it, relieving some of the grief over time.

I first heard I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You in the Garden State soundtrack. A while back a friend posted it on her Instagram. I listened to several YouTube videos of him singing it, along with other great songs, and funny stories he shares with audiences during his shows.

You can see the lyrics and history of the song here. It was re-released on Transcendental Highway and posted on his YouTube channel. It has a softer, quieter feel to it, especially the ending, compared to these more powerful live performances on Paste, and more recently on eTown. I’ll embed it here, but I recommend hearing all 3 selections.

I discovered that Colin Hay had been part of the world-famous Australian musical phenomenon, Men At Work in the early 80’s. Their first massive hit, Down Under, was heard everywhere for months. Hay was their lead singer, guitarist, and main songwriter. After the band broke up, a few members at a time, and their label dropped him, a downward spiral into addiction followed. His wife left him. He would eventually seek help and attempt to launch his musical career as a solo artist with not much luck.

He moved to LA and became the first musician to play at Largo, a new club frequented by people in the entertainment business. He soon gained a following, was discovered and produced. What helped relaunch his career was when Scrubs star Zach Braff encouraged producer Bill Lawrence to see him perform at the club. Bill’s wife, Christa Miller, had already become a fan earlier on and was always raving about him.

After he heard Colin perform, Bill couldn’t understand why his songs were not more successful. He decided to feature some of them in his popular TV show. Colin is seen performing Overkill in one episode, while Waiting For My Real Life To Begin is sung by the cast in another. That song has been featured in eight different popular television series. The song is also heard early on in the soundtrack to the 2010 film Morning Glory and in the 2014 film soundtrack to Words and Pictures.

Zach asked Colin if he could use one of his songs for a movie he was making. The Garden State film and soundtrack would become a huge hit, which included, “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You”. The CD went platinum, which also put Hay’s music out there in a very big way. The TV show, movie and CD introduced him to a much larger, younger audience. It changed everything for him. He had paid his dues and humbly moved into one of the most stable and rewarding phases of his career. He also married singer Cecilia Noël, who often provides backup vocals at his shows. Noël has also helped with production on Hay’s solo albums.

Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life

In 2015, an independent documentary film was made about him, appropriately titled: Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life. Here is a comprehensive Summary posted on IMDb, followed by the official trailer. https://www.colinhayfilm.com

‘Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life’ is the story of singer-songwriter Colin Hay, former front-man of Men At Work. We follow Hay from his earliest days in Scotland, through his family’s emigration to Australia, to the massive, worldwide success of his band, to the depths of addiction and failure, to a slow climb back up the ladder seeking relevance, artistic freedom and ultimately, transcendence. Featuring interviews with Hugh Jackman, Mick Fleetwood, Sia Furler, Guy Pearce and many others, ‘Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life’ is the inspiring story of a true artist.

In the film Hay says, “Creativity is my salvation, and going out on the road.” Performing his music in front of appreciative live audiences feeds his soul. “It’s clean, it’s pure,” he says. “It has to do with connecting with people, you know.” He says he keeps touring because, “It makes me feel useful.” It also gives him a natural high, a healthier kind of addiction.

His artistry has staying power. One musician in the film says his music is intergenerational: his millennial fans don’t remember him from Men At Work, and the boomers don’t know him from Scrubs. American actress Wendie Malick says he’s the best living troubadour today. I agree. Plus, he looks like a man at peace with himself. Colin concludes, “Everybody has to find their place in this expanding universe. This is my place.”

Playing with Ringo Starr

Colin Hay met two Beatles and played with one of them. In 2008 he toured with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. Hay performed his classic hit Down Under with the band during a show at the Greek Theatre in LA. Be sure to watch the final 15 seconds where after the show Ringo says to Colin, “I really laid it on you on that song ‘cuz you thought you were doing it all. There’s a solo coming!” He imitates Colin, ‘Okay.'” Colin smiles and says, “I was good though.” Ringo exclaims, “You were great!” He laughs and repeats ‘I was good though’ to one of the musicians next to him. Colin laughs with Ringo who loudly claps his hands twice.

Colin performed on several tours with Ringo and his All Starr Band. Click to see another great performance of Colin Hay singing Down Under with Ringo and a different combination of his All Starr Band, including a flutist, and Sheila E as the other drummer!

Hanging out with Paul McCartney

In addition to being a great guitarist-singer-songwriter, Colin Hay is a very funny storyteller. The most fascinating and hilarious story is meeting his childhood idol, Sir Paul McCartney. He relates occasions when Paul and his then wife Heather came to hear him perform, once just himself, another time with his band. After the concert Paul was backstage at the bar and invited the whole band to join him. He holds court for an hour. Then it’s just Paul and Colin. After an awkward silence, Colin asks him what he’s in LA for, and Paul tells him he’s finishing a record. Colin remarks, “Oh, a bit different from the old days, eh, making a record?” And Paul proceeded to tell him what it was like in the old days. Colin tells the audience: “And I could have stood there all night.”

Paul would pick up John and together they’d finish the new song he played for him as they sat in the upper deck of the bus on the way to the studio. When they arrived, George and Ringo were already there. Paul would show it to them, George would figure out the chords, and Ringo would tap out the rhythm. Then a man in a white lab coat would come in and say, “Right, you’re up lads.” They’d record two songs, break for lunch and a smoke, then record two more, with few takes.

Paul then tells Colin he and Heather would like to come over to Colin’s house for dinner. That part of the story is priceless! The audience loved it, as did I. You will too. It’s the preamble to him singing the title song of his reissued 2001 album, Going Somewhere, which Paul and Heather loved, and added to their rotation of favorite songs. It also contains the bonus track, I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You, which prompted this now ongoing blog post. Enjoy!

How Colin Hay writes his songs

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin interviewed Colin Hay on the occasion of his 11th solo album, Gathering Mercury, which was partly influenced by the death of his father in 2010. The discussion came around to how Colin writes his songs. I found this part of the interview fascinating.

When writing songs he says he likes to have as empty a mind as possible. Time is important to give himself enough time to fail. He describes a scene where he’s all alone for 3 or 4 hours without any distractions just sitting around with his acoustic guitar doing nothing, just idling, coming up with musical ideas.

He uses the image of a revolving door in a hotel lobby. If a bunch of bags are stacked up and it’s chaotic, there’s all this noise and bustle, any idea that comes in would turn around and go out the door. But if it’s quiet, and there’s a nice fountain, it may stick around for him to discover and turn it into a song.

Brooke asks him where he was when he wrote, Waiting for my Real Life to Begin. She quotes a section of the song: “And you say, just be here now. Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin. Let me throw one more dice, I know that I can win. I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

He describes how his song-writing buddy and drummer, Tom Mooney, had come over to his house. He asked him how he was doing, and he mumbled that he was waiting for his real life to begin. Tom left to do something else and Colin said it sparked what he had been thinking about. “It opened up a door.” It was the catalyst. The melody came, then the words. He wrote the song in 30-45 minutes.

Colin had moved to California to leave his old life behind in Melbourne, where he drank a lot, hung out with crazy people, thought about the past, and worried about the future. “Very rarely do we be where we are.” Brooke asks him if he does now and he answers that he’s learning. But when he does, “it can be quite profound; it can be life-changing.”

Coming full circle

I’ll leave you with this beautiful song, A Thousand Million Reasons, from Colin Hay’s 2017 solo release Fierce Mercy, his 13th. On the Track-By-Track Colin explains the song is about not letting fear rule your life and how to find meaning in the fact that although we may be alone, we are all alone together.

I found this cool website with a timeline biography, and an alphabetical listing of the lyrics and songs of Colin Hay and Men at Work posted on http://colinhay.com.br.

Related: Don Henley and Lissie use the same approach to writing songs—don’t force it and wash the dishes!

Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation

May 11, 2019
Lissie at Paste Studio NYC live from The Manhattan Center
Streamed live on Feb 28, 2018

I heard an interview this week (May 8, 2019) on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa with Charity Nebbe. She spoke with singer/songwriter Lissie. During the conversation her connection to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and TM came up. Listen to Singer Lissie On Ditching The West Coast For Life On An Iowa Farm.

I had never heard of her and was impressed with her powerful voice and candid nature. She can sometimes sound like Stevie Nicks or Adele. Listen to this Fleetwood Mac cover of Dreams and you’ll understand why.

Around 9 minutes in she talks about a peace she found in Mt. Pleasant at her great-grandmother’s funeral. She carried it with her to California and always came back to visit family. Then she says, “I went to Fairfield and took a TM course, Transcendental Meditation.” We checked and verified that Lissie had learned TM in June 2014.

Lissie says the same thing in a video with this Des Moines Register article from Aug. 15, 2017: An Iowa musician was featured on one of this summer’s favorite TV shows. They’re referring to Twin Peaks.

They embed the video from Oct. 11, 2016: Folk musician Lissie escapes back home to Midwest. After leaving the Quad Cities area for the fast-paced lifestyle in Los Angeles, Folk-style musician Lissie discovered an Iowa farm was better for her soul than the fast lanes of Southern California.

I’ve been to Fairfield to learn Transcendental Meditation.

Lissie says: “I spent my time growing up in Iowa. I had this kind of romanticized dream or idea that some day I’ll have a farm in Iowa. I visited the Bridges of Madison County. My mom and I took a road trip and we went to John Wayne’s house. You know, like I’ve done some things in Iowa. I’ve been to Fairfield to learn Transcendental Meditation. And I’ve just always had this soft spot for Iowa.”

Lissie identifies as a Midwesterner from the Heartland and says how much she loves Iowa, describing all the reasons why. It’s where her heart belongs. Looks like she found her roots and is at peace with herself.

I mentioned this to Erin Skipper (The Light That Seeks You). She said, “David Lynch is a fan and had her be a Roadhouse performer on Twin Peaks.”

Dean Hurley, the show’s music director, and a collaborator since 2005, said she “is an incredibly emotive performer who completely embodies her music and gives everything. Lissie was definitely one of the acts that David wanted involved from the beginning. He’s been a big fan of hers for years and discovered her by a series of videos she posted on YouTube covering Lady Gaga, Metallica, etc.” (See others including Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan.)

In that interview, The Music of Twin Peaks: The Return: Lissie, Dean further explains what David looks for in a musical performance when realizing his ideas for the series. He blends intense music, emotion and acting, so the power of Lissie’s music fulfills that for him.

He said “David doesn’t attend a lot of concerts, but when she came through LA years back, he wanted to go. I can’t emphasize how rare that is for him to want to go out to a show.”

He added, “An artist like Lissie thrives in the live performance arena, she’s one of these people that almost can’t be contained on a recording because she’s the fullest realization of herself live.”

It was Lissie who suggested she sing Wild West, which fit in perfectly with an episode. See Lissie sing Wild West in Twin Peaks, Season 3, Part 14.

See the Update below where Lissie explains how she and David connected, how she learned TM in Fairfield, Iowa, then went to have coffee and talk with him in LA, and ultimately received an email from him asking her if she wanted to be part of the new Twin Peaks.

I enjoyed this short video profile on iHeartRadio: Lissie – Artist Stories – Interview (2016) – Part 1 and Part 2. It starts with her intention: “I would like to be successful with my music, but it’s about more than that, it’s about, like figuring out what my purpose for being on this planet is.”

This is an interesting description from that interview: With a career that has seen her open for renowned artist Lenny Kravitz an early supporter, Tom Petty, and even been asked to perform at Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s wedding, Lissie has had a wealth of incredible experiences that have made her the confident and determined artist she is today.

This is also worth watching: Lissie On Staying True To Herself At The Patch. From Cali to Iowa: Lissie keeps it Lissie. Join her at The Patch as she performs “Ojai” and “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and talks about giving in to her ambitions, not giving them up.

Verse 2 of Ojai is pure poetry; so succinct yet says so much!

I miss the seasons, I miss the land
I miss them for reasons I don’t understand
I took it all for granted
I bloomed where I was planted

She sums up her approach: “You know, I’m not trying to do anything. I’m not trying to be cool. I’m not trying to ever have a fresh sound or a cool look for an image. I’m just singing songs about my life in the most heartfelt genuine way I can, and I’m gonna be moving on to more songs very soon. And it’s as simple as that.”

I wonder if some of these developments may have come about after she learned TM? Lissie had the courage to trust and act on her inner yearnings and is happier for it. She followed her heart and is now living her life on her own terms.

Lissie has a new album out: When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective: https://lissie.lnk.to/WIATW. Here’s the title song with lyrics.

Lissie – When I’m Alone (Piano Version) [Lyric Video]

Here are 3 examples of the first song on the album—Don’t You Give Up On Me—the official video with her band, a live version with her guitarist in the studios of 89.3 The Current, and on this new album as a Piano Version. Listen to her on Spotify, YouTube and VEVO.

It’d be nice if she decided to visit and play Fairfield one day. Some of us are reaching out to her. She’s on tour, so we’ll see if anything happens.

Update: Now that I’ve been finding and listening to more of her performances and interviews on YouTube, I noticed Lissie mentions again her learning TM in Fairfield, in last year’s BUILD interview, and also says it’s where Maharishi University is located in Iowa.

Further into the interview she’s asked how she got into Twin Peaks, and extends what Dean Hurley had mentioned about David Lynch going to see her in concert. “We ultimately ended up talking on the phone and he came to my show. He’s really into TM, so after I had been in Iowa to take this TM course, I had reached out, and ended up joining him at his home and drinking coffee and catching up on life. And so we just stayed in touch over the years and he’s just been very supportive and kind to me. So I think it was 2015, I got an email, ‘Hey would you want to be on the new Twin Peaks?’ So of course, like yes, that’s amazing, like this legendary status. Ya, he wanted me to be a part of it, and I performed in episode (14) for Twin Peaks!”

Further Update: A little over 7 months later I would finally get to hear Lissie perform in person. A strong supporter of Bernie Sanders, Lissie had posted on her Instagram that she was going to open for him at the Steamboat Senior Center in Burlington, Iowa on Saturday night, and then at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa the following night, Sunday, December 15, 2019.

I drove with a friend to the Ottumwa event. We sat up close to a makeshift stage in the lobby area surrounded by rows of chairs. When she sang, I felt my head tingling! Wish fulfilled. After she left the stage, I introduced myself, that I was from Fairfield, Maharishi University, mentioned her TM teacher, her meeting David Lynch, what he thought of her as an artist, and that I felt the same way.

I asked her what it was like when David invited her to perform in Twin Peaks, The Return. She was driving at the time and had to pull over to the side of the road to read his message. What an unexpected surprise!

Lissie said David’s friendship and support did a lot for her self-esteem. David’s like that. He recognizes talent when he sees it. He’s given several unknown artists a chance to shine, drawing out their best performances that would launch their careers. Naomi Watts comes to mind.

Of course in Lissie’s case, she was already a fully formed exciting artist, as Dean Hurley explained in his interview. What David did was offer her a legendary venue to perform in and be heard by a much larger audience!

None of this fame seems to have gone to Lissie’s head. She’s very down to earth, accessible. I found her to be very friendly, quite lovely actually. She introduced me to her sister Annika, who took our picture. Here is a cropped closeup of one of them. Looking forward to Lissie visiting us some time next year.

Meeting Lissie at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa after her opening for Bernie Sanders on Sunday, December 15, 2019

New addition: Don Henley and Lissie use the same approach to writing songs—don’t force it and wash the dishes!

Grammy Award winner Omar Akram says TM brought him closer to his source of creativity

June 26, 2013

Enjoy this great interview Christopher Caplan conducted with Omar Akram, published June 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm in RYOT Reports. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how Transcendental Meditation freed the creativity of this Grammy award-winning composer and recording artist, and the respect he has for David Lynch and the David Lynch Foundation.

Q&A: Omar Akram, first Afghan American to win a Grammy, talks Transcendental Meditation

Omar Akram, 2013 New Age Music Grammy Award Winner

I recently sat down with Omar Akram, the first Afghan American to win a Grammy award to learn a bit more about his creative process. He has been referred to as a cultural diplomat by many, and the musical equivalent of Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, in that he is (gradually) mending cultural differences between war-torn nations through art. His recent article on The Huffington Post bespeaks of a well traveled life in which he has mingled with Cuban dictators and contributed to peace in the Middle East. What’s particularly interesting about Omar is the way he uses Transcendental Meditation in his creative process, as well as his support and admiration of the David Lynch Foundation.

Q: When and how did you first discover Transcendental Meditation?

I began using TM about 5 years ago. I was going through some creative blocks, so to speak, and a friend of mine suggested it. I’d known about it for years, but I had never taken the time to try it. I started to meditate slowly, and after doing it a few times, I got hooked.

Q: How has TM helped your creative process over the years?

I think it definitely brings you closer to the source of creativity. I feel this way almost every time. I remember David Lynch was talking about it. He said it was like “searching for the big fish,” or in other words, reaching deep down. I can reach deep down inside of myself and get to the big fish — that big creative idea. That’s what it’s all about, the big creative idea, and TM helps me find this.

Q: Have you tried other forms of meditation?

Yes, I’ve tried straight meditation, on and off for many years. But five years ago I became a lot more serious about it.

Q: How do you feel about David Lynch’s recent advocacy of TM?

I think what he’s doing is fantastic because he is really trying to get it out to school kids and to people that have never been exposed to it before. I think that once people try it, I mean really try it, they realize how beneficial it is.

Q: How do you think TM can help children and students?

One thing that I know is that kids sometimes have a hard time focusing on anything. Especially nowadays because they are being bombarded with so much media. I think it’s really helpful for kids once they give it a chance. They learn the value of meditation and focus. It will be hard in the beginning to understand what they’re doing, but with proper guidance they’ll learn. I think that not only will it help them become more creative, but they will improve in all aspects of schooling and self-esteem.

Q: Do you use TM when you are in the recording studio?

I try to do it a couple of times a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. It has been really helpful both with creativity and dealing with the stress and deadlines of my upcoming album, “Daytime Dreamer.” It kind of sets the course of my whole day. Once I’m in the studio, I like to take a few minutes, but it’s hard to do it during the day, and that’s my routine. When I do it the morning it helps me focus for the whole day, and shift everything so I have a clearer sense of what I need to do. In the evening I can absorb everything that I’ve done, and refresh my mind all over again.

Q: What do you see for the future of TM and its continuing acceptance in the mainstream?

I think the more people are exposed to TM the more they’re going to realize the benefits of it. A lot of people are not aware of TM, and that’s what David is doing, he’s going around and introducing it to a lot of people that otherwise would never be exposed to it. The more people are exposed to it, the more practitioners there will be, and I think it’s going to be huge. Guys like David Lynch are pioneers in that. I have nothing but respect for him, especially with what he’s doing in schools. I think it’ll make a huge difference.

posted by Omar Akram. Check out his blog: www.omarmusic.com.

RYOT NOTE: Transcendental Meditation not only helps to reduce stress, it also helps with clearing the mind and allowing people to be more creative. The David Lynch Foundation provides millions of dollars of free services every year, implementing these scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities for at-risk populations and communities. See other related articles on David Lynch from RYOT posted at the bottom of this article, and click the gray box to learn more, donate and Become the News!

You can read more about Omar Akram’s background and musical influences in this PRWeb press release: Grammy Award Winning Artist Omar Akram Becomes Latest Entertainment Client to Join YM & Associates PR Marketing Firm at Beverly Hills.

UPDATE

In an April 29, 2019 interview in Thrive Global, Omar was asked:

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

What helps me is meditation. I would highly recommend it to my colleagues. I’ve been doing Transcendental Meditation for many years and it has had a big difference in my life.


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