As a Jewish woman, it is in my blood to nurture. I was surrounded by nuturing women my entire childhood and my teen years. Some might say, a bit too nurturing leaning towards bossy, at times. Whatever. The intent was/is always to care for those we love. The Yiddish saying Balabusta (Yiddish: בעל־הביתטע) is a Yiddish expression describing a good homemaker. And I was called that by my dad, during his final years on earth. He thought it meant bossy. Yup, I got a bit bossy with my dad (desperate times call for concise measures!) –I wanted to be sure he was comfy during his final years. Love.
I believe I started writing songs out of love, to nuture listeners or to bring a respite from everyday life, to express feelings in a song to those that might not be able to expess themselves as freely. To entertain. That is how I started my singing career, as Baby June in Gypsy, with the famed song “Let Me Entertain You.” Well I guess I took it literally! Thank you Jule Styne (music) Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) for the inspiration.
Now you may be wondering why the title of this blog is Matza Ball Soup, well here we are with the answer. Today I sent a sick friend in Los Angeles, Matza Ball soup, from Canter’s in LA and delivered feverishly by Uber Eats (Odi) and ordered from my West Village apartment. Nurturing has never been easier and if I could, I’d send a quart of Matza Ball soup to allthe people I am close to. It is good for the soul. We all need some nurturing these days!!
Songwriting is in my blood. I know exactly when it started, and how much I wanted to write songs as a young girl and play the piano. I taught myself how to play so that I could write songs. My songwriting continues and I am so grateful.
I explained to a friend, about this new song. I was standing in my bathroom a few days ago – mid-morning and a towel was hanging on this hook…and the first line came. “Your towel still hangs on the hook where you left it, the morning I told you my truth.” I rushed to one of the many pads I keep around, to write it down. Then I sat at the piano, with excitement and fervor, as if this song was bottled up in me for 6 years. It came out. As if I was just the vehicle. The song took shape, I fumbled on chords, notes, the melody, until it sounded how I wanted it to sound. After a few hours — it was a song.
The next morning I woke at 6:15 am and by 7:00 I was recording it with my home-studio equipment. By 1PM I had my first demo of “Either Way.”
And that is what happened…oh and after I listended to the simple, raw demo, with a few production elements added, for the first time, I began to cry. It was the 3rd time I cried for a new song.
It has been such a journey for me, and yet, the songs keep finding me. I guess it is my destiny to be a songwriter.
Think about what makes you happy. One of my grandest and certainly most long-term moments of happiness, which is thankfully on-going, is sitting at the piano and creating songs. I sing, I explore, I scribble words, and it feels like my soul and my feet, meet. Grounded and yet soaring.
I am reading a book and today’s segment refers to an old American proverb: “If you can’t be grateful for all the things you don’t have and want, be grateful for all the things you don’t have and dont want.”
That just hit a chord for me. Wanted to share. Major C?
And talk about sharing, a new song arrived, ALL THIS TIME ALONE. In production and will be released forthwith.
I wrote a song after my London premiere of THE PASS. YOUR VOICE. I had the first line of the chorus and the title, and posted that line on Facebook. It was there almost a year. “Your voice is the loudest.”
After London I was feeling so much, hard to explain. I had finally spoken and shared who I was. It was a very very long journey for me. The song is very special to me. When the song was complete, I thought maybe another voice could record it. Something I hadn’t felt before, especially right after writing a new song.
And I thought, who do I know that could sing it?
In THE PASS at the end of the show, we feature a song from a new artist Tobe Baer. He had contacted me to manage him, to help him with his career. And he sent me a few songs. Light the Way was the 1st song of his I listened to, it hit me and I licensed it. It’s now a part of the show. People hear it as they leave the theater.
And then suddenly I thought– Tobe could sing YOUR VOICE. And he does. We have been working on the recording with his brother JR in Germany for months. It’s in a good place for now. And we have played it for a few BMG labels, since they administer my song catalog it seemed liked a good idea. There seems to be some interest brewing.
I played Leo, the founder of Live Out Loud the song, as I was on the development committee last year. I thought the recording might be a nice addition to the award ceremony, as people were coming in to sit and watch the program. He asked us to perform it live. It was a very cool moment. Here is a photo of Tobe and I, last week at the LIVE OUT LOUD 18th Annual Gala in NYC. I did some back-ups, Tobe played guitar and sang lead. He brought it home.
With two new songs just completed since my return from London, my infatuation with songwriting continues. There is a way I feel before a song comes and then as it arrives and a way I feel when it is done and being heard.
Watching Paul Simon last night on Stephen Colbert and his admitting what may be for the first time to my ears, that he actually updated, changed lyrics in a few of his “older” released songs on his new release The Blue Light. He felt the songs did not get their deserved attention and and he changed what he thought might needed to be changed? Words. Interesting idea, songwriters going back years later and changing their songs. Recording them. Hindsight. “Understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.” What would you rewrite? What would I rewrite?
So I woke up this morning having had a very long dream that I wrote six songs with Taylor Swift for her new album–which of course I didn’t. What was so interesting was that within the dream while I was working with her, I was making sure I was mentally recording the ideas; I was putting them on my iPhone in my dream. As soon as I woke up I was able to record them on my iPhone for real! In the dream everyone loved these songs!!! What does the dream mean?
The psychological meaning of dreaming about music is that it’s the opposite of chaos. Music stands for harmony and order. Musical dreams almost always have a positive connotation. Ironically, one song I wrote in my dream is called “Crisis”! Another one is called “Wonder”. An old legend says that angels can send you messages in your dreams…hmmmm that feels nice and warm. I welcome all angels.
I wonder if Taylor Swift also dreamt of me last night?
Spiders get a bad rap. Consider their fascinating origin according to Greek mythology: Arachne, a talented but mortal weaver, challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. When Athena, who rules over crafts as well as wisdom, won the content hands-down she decided to punish Arachne by turning her into nature’s first spider. So spiders spend their days weaving endless beautiful and intricate webs, but are not always appreciated for their artistry!
As a songwriter, I also weave webs–from music and words not thread. This week I have been crafting a new song for “The Pass”, LIFEBOAT. It will be the penultimate song in the show, the second-to-the-last, an important position. I have been playing it for friends, whose comments have helped me to take it to new levels. All of my life I have told stories, in words and music, bringing vocal shape to the world I experienced. At some point I gave this ability a practical application, by using it to write press releases, attract clients and create a PR firm. But the need to use it purely creatively always comes out; throughout my daily life I tend to burst into song. By patient and skillful crafting, I have taken my latest song to a new place, a heightened place of pain and love and soaring emotion. I can only hope that even the goddess Athena would approve!
Fun Fact: According to studies done at the University of Miami, spiders respond to music. They don’t like techno or hip hop but, when Bach was played, the spiders began to spin webs closer to the speakers.
My one-woman show The Pass will debut this winter. It is a journey of self-discovery with original music and lyrics. Now that I am getting ready to advertise The Pass to audiences, I realize how hard it can be to find one image that depicts what the show represents. I knew I wanted my logo to feature the actual pass I obtained from NYU, an official sign that I was entitled to use their rehearsal room. But, just as a recipe cannot contain just one ingredient, I had to blend this image with others to create something that would be both eye-catching and showcase my identity. I vetted some ideas with my go-to company Frank Parker / A Creative Experience (LA) who came up with a silhouette of a woman wearing a red scarf. After emailing the work in progress to friends and associates, I solicited feedback; it was overwhelmingly positive re: the scarf, which added vibrant notes of movement and joy. Some people gave input to the text as well; there were 2 choices and the winning choice remains. I also altered a few other things because of comments that came in.
So, here is my logo for The Pass in its final form:
Please let me know your thoughts and if it inspires you to want to attend my show. My intentions are always to inspire. The songs featured in the show span my songwriting from the 80’s to now. The songs contain many real-life anecdotes, and the vignettes support those experiences. Perhaps they can help you and those seeking out their own path in life to overcome obstacles and come out singing.