My song 'Love @ 25' got some love & airplay from Heritage FM radio's on their International Women's Day special program .
Today I went to the Guitar Lair in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to look at an incredible collection of acoustic and electric guitars. I am proud to announce that I have been endorsed by Lindsay Marcus custom-made guitars! I get to take a beautiful 600 series OM model on my travels now!
December 21st It's almost Christmas & I've been back in Australia 7 weeks now catching up with family, doing some substitute teaching & recovering from an awful flu that knocked me out for well over a week. Musically, I played a couple of shows & I'm gearing up for a little busking this weekend. Other than that, I've been laying low but have an exciting development under way: a new project in the new year! That's right: in 2017, solo Spykey will become a duo. Keys, acoustic and electric guitar with some sweet effects from some gear I bought in Canada. I will also be releasing some new tracks, traveling a lot for fun (maybe I'll do a few shows here and there too!) & moving to Europe for awhile after that to continue my projects.
I received an email today from Amrap (The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) that distributes new Australian music to community radio stations nationwide. In one month, I have had tracks played from my EP on 25 different radio stations across all states (except NT), with 5 stations adding my tracks to their station library! Woohoo!
More radio airplay: 2 stations on the same day! The Rock'n Downunder Show in Nevada City, California (PDT) from 10-12pm The New Grooves program 96.5 Inner FM in Melbourne, Australia (GMT) from 1pm (and repeated at 10pm).
September 6th My music debuts on Australian radio on the Uncharted Wednesday Nights show, 97.9FM, Forbes, NSW Australia (AEST) 7pm.
September 2nd First Fridays in Bixby Knolls, Long Beach, is a community event that happens once a month & is hugely popular. Musicians perform in various locations on the street and there are vendors peddling their art, food, political agendas and such. I didn't have an amplifier, but I belted out my stuff in front of Aura Thai and then sat in with the Dave Williams jazz group!
August 28th I was invited to sit in with the Dave Williams jazz band and sing some Nina Simone and blues standards. This is such a treat for me given I mostly perform solo these days. The additional cool factor was that the gig was at a Long Beach thrift store called the Tithing Closet -- we sat on furniture that was for sale! Chef Sarah Lim provided a delicious vegetarian supper & after my set, I enjoyed the immense skills of Orange Peal Vibrations (vibes & marimba -- must be seen to be believed).
I was contacted by New Zealand digital label Unearth Records who offered to distribute one of my tracks 'I Ain't Over You' as part of a compilation. So now I'm a part of Unearth Music with a bunch of really great artists worldwide!
July 8th The last 6 weeks were really busy. I traveled from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland to Seattle to Minneapolis to LA to Long Beach. Phew! I played lots of gigs as well as attended lots of blues jams. Oh, and I finally I got around to releasing my debut EP today on Bandcamp!
June 26th Many of the gigs I do are solo cover gigs (although I always add some originals too). This cover gig at the Lakewood Golf Club was pretty special because it was with my very good friend and multi-instrumentalist, Rebecca Lynn. I played piano or guitar and she played guitar or violin while we both performed lead & harmonies on tracks such as 'Space Oddity' and 'Karma Police'. Wish I was sticking around longer to do more work with this talented musician!
June 24th House concerts are another one of my favourite types of shows to do, as there is an audience who are actually there to listen to you! This show was hosted by local music-appreciators Jody & Judy Timmerman & the evening was shared with local style queen & blues vocalist Shy But Flyy, who is making waves with her band in the LA/Long Beach area. Mutual friend & shredder, The Whereabouts guitarist Chris Vella, joined both of us to impart his tasty blues solos.
June 12th Had a gig at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles. This market has some cool vintage goods & collectibles for sale in the grounds of a high school. I'm honoured to play here as the market books some really great acts. I generally make some decent tips out there too on the cute corner stage. I love lunchtime outdoor gigs! And I got this:
June 7th Today I released my self-titled debut EP on iTunes, Spotify and a bunch more! I chose this date because it's my father's birthday, and he is the greatest human being I know.
June 4th My first show in Long Beach since I left 2 months ago was at the Gina Woodruff Gallery with up and coming singer/songwriter Chelsey Sanchez. We both showcased an hours' worth of originals (and some covers) to an attentive audience. These kind of gigs are rare -- I'm so used to playing noisy places! As well as solo versions of the songs from my EP, I also performed 3 songs I had recently written in Vancouver.
May 13th Last July, I met Jason Lawrence (the presenter of The Medicine Show CiTR 101.9FM) while busking in front of Granville Station, Vancouver. He invited me to come on his show & play some songs as well as talk about the health activities I engage in (lemon water in the morning, turmeric and ginger, using products without chemicals, exercise and more).
Jason asked me to come on his show again this year to talk about my upcoming EP release.
One of my recording highlights has been working with RnB Hall of Famer & grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/producer Dutch Robinson -- one of the original members of the Ohio Players from the 70s. Dutch added some vocals to a few of my tracks & gave me a lot of support and encouragement, which I am so grateful for. Thanks to Curtis Marta for all his patient engineering skills too!
April 26th Participating in charity events is a great way of meeting new musicians! CalaBLAST #15 Music Showcase at the Calabash Bistro, Chinatown Vancouver, is organised once a month by a cool guy called Ian Is who runs a lot of open mics around town. The charity this month was Mission Possible, an organisation that provides opportunities to people challenged by homelessness and poverty. I'm glad I was invited to contribute to this one. Gastown, Vancouver (where I'm currently staying) has a huge amount of homeless people & addicts in an otherwise affluent city. I also recently did some volunteer shifts at The Dugout soup kitchen where I met many disadvantaged people in the area that this organisation is attempting to help.
Airplane horror stories involving musical instruments... Be VERY WEARY of Air Asia. They are in no way helpful & destroy instruments in hard flight cases. My guitar got cracked and my flight case was mangled traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne. Below is my new case. I am happy with the amount of decoration it has received from donated stickers!
I was interviewed on a local radio station in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo with friend and Indie musician Shaneil Devaser. I have now been on radio in 4 countries -- Australia, Malaysia, the USA & Canada!
After weeks of organising, and recruiting various people to help me with the gig promotion & raffle prizes, tonight was the night for a (mostly) female line-up benefit show at the Gaslight Cafe, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! There were 7 acts and the evening ended with an open jam session. Tonight, we raised over 1700RM (over $400USD) for the WAO (Women's Aid Organisation) in Malaysia. We reached beyond capacity & had over 100 paying audience members throughout the evening! The night was filled with an assortment of female vocalists and instrumentalists (and a few male too!) and new friends were made with some local musicians meeting each other for the first time!
Back in October, I shot a video clip in Long Beach with Vaughan Risher (camera/editing) and released it on YouTube today. It was filmed at the home of local music supporters Jody & Judy Timmerman and features me playing their lovely baby grand piano. The song is a cover of Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'.
What happened tonight was typical of what happens here in Long Beach & why I love this place so much & why I call it my home (even if I can't live here permanently). Tonight we put on a Refugee Crisis Benefit gig at the Wine Bar on Ocean Blvd, Long Beach. There was amazing energy in the room. 'Magic' is a word I would use to describe it & all the hard work putting it together was worth every minute. I loved watching all the smiling faces & people making new connections & just having a great time. It was truly beautiful.
We raised $205 just from the raffle tickets! Big shout out to the Wine Bar LB with their generous 20% donation of $200, raising a total of $405!! I love you all so much xxx Below is a video of everyone singing a rather funny version of 'We Are the World'.
October 2nd I was invited to participate in College Radio Day at Long Beach City College; one of many campuses participating across the USA. I was the opening act at un-musician hour of 10am & then later appeared on keyboard with rock band Natural HiFi! We were given commerative t-shirts and a free lunch too. Below is a letter from President Obama wishing all participants a great day!
I rescued some roses that were thrown out (because they were in full bloom -- still looked beautiful though!) and decided to give them out while I busked. Most people walked by with confused looks on their faces & were quite shy to take one. Reiterating 'they are free' helped, but I guess people are just not used to receiving gifts from strangers...
I tried a little social experiment while busking. I wanted to see how people reacted to this sign. I also wanted to see how I would feel about it. In two hours, only $2 was taken out. I was surprised. The $2 that left was taken by a well-dressed girl eating an ice cream. One guy warned me that the homeless folk in the area would take all the money. They didn't take a cent. Belmont Shore, California.
A homeless guy stood outside Granville train station with his hat as he held the door open for commuters. I busked opposite him. He was making more money than I did (which wasn't much). After a little while, he unexpectedly dumped the contents in my case and said "I wouldn't have given it to you if you weren't good." Wow. Vancouver, Canada.
A few weeks ago, I struck up a conversation with a lovely fellow who happened to be at a gig I opened for at Pisco bar in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (for Indie act Mystery Tapes & international touring band Kyoto Protocol -- it was a really cool gig too!). He was intrigued with my story & my many anecdotes of loopy & sometimes arduous experiences. After a long chat, he asked me to write an article for a wonderful website for female travellers called Zafigo. Having never done something like that before, it took me a few days to figure out what would be the most useful thing to contribute, but I got there & came up with this: '7 tips on how to survive KL as a travelling musician'.