NECN's Morning Show will feature my music tomorrow (Tues, 3/19)!

I am emerging from the land of green fog, also known as the day after St. Patrick's in Southie, to let you know I was selected as the "Best of Local Music Feature" for tomorrow's NECN's Morning Show.  My songs "Just Rain" and "The Fantasy Me" will be aired sometime between 7-9 AM.  If you live in New England and have cable, please check your local listings and set your DVR or VCR.  (It's channel 6 in Downtown Boston.)  I hope you'll be able to tune in and catch a tune or two!

The airing is a nice treat since I'm waist-deep in recording new material.  It's an excuse to come up for air from my GarageBand indentured servitude- I mean the miraculous world of new technology available to musicians.  Sure.  ;)

An artist needs switch between vulnerability and a tough skin without missing a beat

Like a lot of musicians and music lovers, I was fortunate enough to visit NYC for the CMJ Music Festival just a week before Hurricane Sandy.  I spent a week prepping for a headlining gig at Ella Lounge on Ave A, schlepping my guitar on the subway, making every elevator pitch I could and self-medicating with baklava in Astoria each night.  ;)

This was the first year the powers that be decided to take the bold step of combining on-the-spot career counseling and performance in the form of a Pitch Party, a first-come first serve musical melee moderated by professional song publishers, music supervisors and A&R reps that are otherwise quite hard for a girl from Boston to access!  They were crazy enough to offer it, so here’s my story of being crazy enough to go for it.

“I’ve been here for three days and I already have a nemesis.  Or maybe I should say rival, that sounds nicer since we’re in the same field.  Regardless, she wants to steal the spot in line I’ve earned for myself by waking up earlier than she did and the tension is building while we try not to stare at each other in a small hallway.  The only other person with us is a kid from Jersey who wants to borrow my gear and complains when I am protective of it.  The vibe is far from comfy but I’ve done my share of cattle calls that stretched around city blocks and I’m prepared to hold my own with two people who seem like compilations of dozen of ahem, “characters” I’ve met over the years in the industry.

When small-talk boundary setting doesn’t work and the girl simply tries to rush the door I’m camped out in front of, I get through it first.  I’m not sure of how this is physically possible given everything I have with me and her head start but where there’s a will, there’s a way and sometimes being shorter (and insane) has its advantages.  I snag the prime location: directly in front of the moderator and position my guitar so it is clear I am ready to play.  There’s exactly one hour during the festival they are picking people to sing on the spot and I plan to make the most of it.  Forty minutes of tension pass as the room fills and I reflect on just how bonkers the scene at the door got so quickly but console myself that people have done far more ridiculous things at Black Friday sales.

The reps everyone plans to circle and throw demos at take their seats.  One observed me camped out in the hallway and tells the rest he’s picking me to begin the session.  And just like that, I’m now standing up in the middle of a room full of people who wish it was them at the mic. 

I sing and play “Just Rain” like my life depends on it.  I know I nail the vocal and my guitar playing is solid despite being able to feel every muscle in my arms react to each time I strum.  It’s either a strange side effect of the flu-like bug I’ve been fighting off or sheer adrenaline, but I don’t let it stop me.  The reps are stone faced but no one in the crowd talks and a photographer begins taking pictures with a flash.  I finish the song and take the deepest yoga tummy breath I can while the room generously claps.  I take one more deep breath as the feedback begins.

The critique is surprisingly short and sweet: am I aware that I have used a non-traditional form as a songwriter?  Could one or two lyrics be altered or sung differently?  How different is my live version than the recorded version?  The panelist who volunteers to address me is wearing her sun glasses inside and sounds like she’s been out closing rock clubs four nights in a row, which is probably the exact truth.  The other panelists echo her feedback.  There is nothing said about my performance, vocal or even guitar playing for better or worse.  I take another deep breath and thank everyone for listening before reclaiming my seat.

No one else in the room has the guts to sing live.  The people selected stream professional music videos their record labels have paid for or promotional material they’ve talked young film makers into creating on spec.  A few people play something from a CD.  One turns out to be a minor hit from a few years ago played on prime time television.  I’m familiar with the artist and am surprised to see she still has to pitch her own work.  She’s toured internationally and has played the Paradise in my hometown.  She's worked with people I idolize.  This is not amateur hour.

The first moment I have to feel vulnerable again is a few hours later when I have lunch alone outside.  I feel like a bit of an old Folk foggy for having actually developed my live musicianship instead of video budget until I come to my senses.  I observed the panel critique every single thing they didn’t like for others even if there was studio magic involved, so if they had nothing to say about my live performance then it’s probably one of the biggest compliments I could get from them!  I’m the only one who had the nerve to get up there.  I make some mental notes about the songwriting tweaks they suggest then watch a pigeon dive bomb into a neighboring table, stealing someone’s hero.  Maybe it’s my lucky day after all!”

I can fit my life's work in one envelope

A slightly terrifying thought, but fairly convenient.  This is my odd way of thanking everyone who was kind enough to vote for me to perform on the E! TV show "Opening Act".  I greatly appreciate the time it took for everyone to create logins, vote multiple times, write me encouraging notes and even plug my music to their friends.  While in-person cattle calls can be brutal and battles of the bands aren't my style, I was very touched by the outpouring of support everyone offered for this particular contest.  Although I wasn't selected, it was super fun to hold my own little raffle to select the fan mail prize pictured above, carefully drawing a name of a fan who voted out of a large box.

Those three CDs are my life's work.  They represent years of struggle and sacrifice and a whole lot of teaching voice lessons to pay for studio time, at least to me.  Hopefully, they represent good driving music or a favorite ballad to everyone else.  But to me, they are the manifestation of everything I've learned about music, sung and written- and they're small enough to fit in one envelope!  What an unnerving thought- especially considering how digital copies would be even less tangible.  Facing this reality is probably a veiled way to ponder my mortality... OR AN EXCUSE TO START A FOURTH RECORD ASAP!  ;)

Music played on 100th station!

Alright, this blog is pretty special. ;)

Just last week I celebrated a very special anniversary: my music turning 100. Yes, I know, my music seems like it's practically a teenager, or at least an semi-dramatic undergrad a la Felicity, but my music is actually 100 stations old. It had been hovering around 98 stations old for several months, perhaps slowed down by winter, but thanks to an early spring (and a gangsta week where I played on both WinCAM and BNN) the big bday came last Friday. I celebrated with a cake, some wine... and then some more cake and wine! It felt so good to pause and feel grateful for how lucky I've been... and then the sugar high set in and I just danced around like crazy! ;)

Meanwhile, I'll be stepping far, far away from computers (well, once I finish typing this, lol!) to play at TT the Bear's this Saturday night with a full rock band. We're opening for Grace Woodroofe, an Australian artist on Universal Records on her international tour. (Yup, you read that right. It's a pretty sweet gig!) The show starts early, with doors at 7 PM and me on a few minutes after that. There's no late night cabs or snow involved and it's a GOOD bill. I hope you'll join us!

2nd printing, TT the Bear's & OWN TV... thanks to you all! :)

I'd like to thank you for helping me make 2011 such an awesome year for my music. I got to play live on the radio for the first time, hear my songs on new radio stations *and* TV shows, and take goofy risks recording- including trying to sound like Kanye West while messing around with intentional auto-tune at midnight! You can hear the craziest example of that in my song, Wingwoman.

The biggest news is my new EP "The Southie Chanteuse" moved to its second printing. If you'd like a copy, you can order a physical CD for $8 from http://laurenflaherty.bandcamp.com/ (CDs are $5 at shows- including tomorrow night's set at TT the Bear's in Cambridge.) You can also order a digital download of the album by naming your price at the same site. (Earlier albums are still on iTunes, with physical copies available at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LaurenFlaherty )

My back catalog has been doing very well and was recently played during several episodes of "Breaking Down The Bars" on the OWN network. I haven't been able to find any online clips to share yet, but if you'd like to listen to my song "Just Rain" and read true crime stories about women, you'll have some of the effect they've been going for. ;)

Some random updates: I didn't get to play at Occupy Boston because the power grid was destroyed by rain earlier in the day. I'm sad to see the tent city gone but I am relieved that no one was seriously hurt. New England is a hard place to be outside in the winter!

I was lucky enough to get some amazing feedback from labels and publishers when I was in NY for CMJ. Since a lot of people who enjoy my music are artists in their own right, I'd like to share their top tips in the hopes they will light your creative fires:

- social media is great and selling lots of tickets and drinks is fabulous, but the quality of the music is essential, otherwise your "art" is disposable.

- the best way to attract the interest of the music industry (or probably any industry) is to build on what you have in your own backyard until it is so big you can't keep up with it.

I'd like to add to that by saying, at the end of the day, businesspeople are just business people. They don't make the music and it doesn't sound any different if they leave the room. If the musicians leave the room, the music stops. Let's never forget who makes the music happen- musicians and fans!

Post CD Release Awesomeness!

Things have been pretty crazy for me since I released "The Southie Chanteuse" (now on iTunes and Spotify!) I got to open for Rebecca Loebe at Cafe 939- you may know her from NBC's The Voice, but I know her as my friend from Berklee. I am thrilled to say that she is still 100% a sweetheart, now with killer chops to boot!

To promote my new EP, I also played live on WMFO's The Dweezil Show, hosted by DJ Phil Fleming. I've never played solo on the radio before and was worried the July heat would make my brain melt and forget all my lyrics and chords, but amazingly, it didn't! (The heat did get to me when I managed to get lost in Somerville afterwards... yeah, that's right, it was the heat's fault...)

I've been enjoying a great reception to the new material and was played for the first time on WFNX's Boston Accents and WZLX's Boston Emissions. Host Anngelle Wood was even nice enough to ask me to play her MONDO Thursday Showcase this week at the Plough and Stars! As far as I'm concerned, anytime you are invited to play a showcase by a big DJ in your city, you are doing something right! ;)

If late nights in Cambridge pubs aren't your thing, two of my older songs "Show To Me" and "Wake Up" will be featured on NECN's morning show this Friday, sometime between 7-9 AM. (I'll be setting my DVR and hitting snooze!)

I want to thank everyone who helped get me to this exciting point. There is no better feeling than having your hometown's support for doing what you love. Over the next few months I'll be playing more local shows and FINALLY returning to NYC. I'm also testing the waters with possible mini-touring, internet performances and winter recording. My plan is to just keep going since music feels more fun than ever.

Free song with email list signup!

JOIN

VISIT