Tonight's open mic was back at the Sidewalk Café! What a great place that is. Instead of signing up with you arrive, the method of choosing is the 'pick-your-name-out-of-a-hat' method. You all arrive at around 7:30, and when you get up to the stage, you tell them your name, and they pick a number out of a top hat. You can go first, second, thirtieth, fiftieth, or anything in between. I got 40. Soooo we were there for a whiiiiiiile. It's was a fun night though. James was there, Elliot was there, Israel was there, and Quincy was there. We also made a new friend, and her name is Dawn. She's really chill! She's lived in the City for about 20 years, and has been doing music ever since. During her undergrad, she studied Music Education, so we were able to talk about the similarities within our majors. There was A LOT of talent tonight. There was a man who played piano faster than I've EVER seen anyone play (sometime later this month, I'll post a compilation video of people who have blown me away with their performances), and there were other people who were oozing with talent. Israel, who usually raps, is starting to do this new thing, where he sings his raps, and they are accompanied by the Quincy or Adam on the guitar. It's a really cool acoustic take on his style. James debuted this new song that was FIRE. He makes electronic beats, and then plays guitar and sings over it. Quincy sounded smooth as always, with his soulful voice. Elliot left before he could perform!! He has this song called "Lucky Guy," where he either plays it on piano, or is accompanied by Adam on the guitar. I may like the piano version a little bit more, only because that's how I first heard it haha, but personally, both versions are pretty dope. Sometimes he seems shy and down on himself and his talents, but this cat is the youngest of us all, and is silencing crowds. There was one open mic a couple Saturdays ago at a place called The Bitter End (where I met Elliot), and there wasn't a lot of talking, but there was small conversation going on during performances. When we all went up to perform, it was mostly quiet, but when Elliot started singing and playing the crowd was silent. At open mics, there is usually a house guitar, and a piano. 98% of performers, if not comics, will walk up with their guitar, or they will grab the house guitar. I've only seen a couple of times where people bypass the guitar, and sit at the piano. When that happens, I get a little bit anxious haha. I guess the anxiety comes from insecurity, because my piano playing is not anywhere near I think it could or should be. In short, it's a fear that they'll show me up. Long story short, at The Bitter End, Elliot's turn came, and he went to go sit at the piano, and began to sing. (Keep in mind, I hadn't met him yet) He started playing, and in my head, I was like, "NOOO HE'S GOOD" but after you sit and enjoy their performance for a little while, the jealousy goes away and you begin to appreciate their art. But, yeah, he left tonight before he even performed! That sleeze. Well, he had a job interview the next morning, so, eh, I guess that deserves some cutting of slack. As the night reached the time of 1:20am, I performed. Although I had intended to go up and sing an original on piano, I decided so sing something a capella. I sang a cover of "Once Upon Another Time" by Sara Barrelies. I was pretty nervous, but people received it well with their comments afterwards. After I performed, Dawn performed. She has a great voice! She performed an original on guitar called "Wish."
What Did I Learn Tonight
Tonight I learned that when covering songs, you don't have to just find a popular song. You should find a song that fits well with your vocal skill. Tonight, James performed a cover of "At Last," and it was GOLD. Nobody would really think to cover that song, but in his high voice, and with how quick his voice can move, it was the perfect fit. In covering songs, I am trying to find songs that sit in my tesatura, and don't have that much vocal movement. It's not that my voice doesn't move at all, but instead of trying to emulate the runs of a skilled artist, I would rather create simple ones that are unique to my own style.
Sorry folks, but my last link wasn't working. I wouldn't let me post it to other sites, or even Facebook for that matter. I had to change this website URL from davidmarcuswebbjr.weebly.com to dmwjmusic.weebly.com. Sorry for the confusion, and I hope that people are still able to find the site! I'm going to post the link change on YouTube and Facebook, and hopefully I won't lose too many of you in the process! I wish my old URL redirected people to my new URL in some way, but alas, it won't. Thanks for your patience!
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What a great open mic this afternoon! Today's open mic was at The Bitter End. This open starts at 1:30 pm, as opposed to starting in the nighttime. It was my second time going, and the vibe there is just great. Everyone's so kind, and they have this beautiful, baby grand piano. I played a cover of "Chandelier" by Sia, and then one of my newer originals, entitled "Release." The afternoon started off with this African American man who sang two a capella songs. He was elderly, but his voice was beautiful. It sounded like had had some classical training under his belt. There was another guy who played a Billy Joel cover with piano and vocals, and then performed an original with piano and vocals. Usually I get jealous when people go up to play piano and sing at open mics, because I'm scared that they will be better than me, but oh my goodness. This guy was so talented, that all I could do was record his performance. He was a little bit cocky, but man, he wrote a pretty amazing song. All in all, the open mic was pretty cool. One thing that was really cool, was that my homies were there! It was Elliot, Adam, Israel, (and a couple other people whose names I can't recall at the moment. It's pretty terrible, actually, because I shake their hand, we have conversations, and they remember my name, but I can't seem to remember theirs. I know, I know, pretty pathetic). One of the highlights this afternoon, was Kayla, who went up to sing with her friend Soe. She sang this song about relying on God, and it was so inspiring. To be honest, I have not been in my Bible lately nearly as much as I should be. I get so lazy. It's not an excuse, but it's the truth. Her original song was about her reliance on her faith, and the importance of it. I love seeing signs, and people talking about, and people singing about the Gospel. It's really inspiring. After the performance, Kayla and Soe asked me if I wanted to play piano accompaniment to a song that they are in the process of writing! Even though I told them that I have only been playing for a couple of years, they said to could and jam with them. Yay! Made some more friends! After the open mic, while we were waiting for the rain to stop, Elliot and Macchiato and I chilled and talked for a while. I don't remember what we were talking about, but I haven't laughed that hard in weeks. Gosh, friends really do make this journey go so much smoother.
What did I learn today?
Today I learned that NYC rain is not like Colorado rain. It's not coming from one big, passing rain cloud, that releases drops into the dry air. It is this day-long, depressing drizzle, that, mixed with the humidity, causes every inch of everywhere you walk to be wet. NYC rain don't play.
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What a JAM PACKED day we had today!! My Uncle took the day off of work, and he took me to places in the City that I had not been yet. We left at around 11am, and walked pretty much all day. We went to the 9/11 Memorial, Madison Square Garden, Wall Street, Korea Town (No, not China Town. They actually are different places), the High Line, and so many other places.
What did I learn today?
I'm excited for this one! What did I learn today?? Well, I learned a lot about the High Line! So, the High Line is an elevated walkway for tourists to walk on. It sits over major roadways in Manhattan, and twists through a portion of the city. Back in the day, it used to be a very famous railroad.
Being that it is (or was) the NYC, commute got hectic, and traffic became bad. To solve the problem, engineers created railways that could carry people, products, food, and other material at a much faster pace from point A to point B in Manhattan. Since people were not careful, and the locomotives traveled fast, there was an actual area near the tracks called "Death Row," because so many because would die from being hit by the train during the train's commute. To stop these deaths, men on horseback were hired to ride in front of the train, to shoo people out of the way as the train came down the tracks.
As time went on, builders had the genius idea of not only having a train, but elevating it above traffic. In other words, create a bridge that hovers over Manhattan traffic that the train can travel on. This, was called the High Line. When the High Line was created, commute across Manhattan was much, much less hectic, because there was now a method of transportation that could transport things at not only double the speed, but out of the way of traffic.
Once the interstate was created though, the trains saw less and less use. In the 1980s the High Line made its last trip transporting some frozen turkeys (or something). Since then, builders have converted the tracks into a historical walkway for tourists, which feature informational plaques that have all of this information (and MUCH more) on them.
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Tonight I had my 5th show at a place called The Greenhouse Cafe! The vibe was kind of older, and had a older crowd, but it was a really cool night. Once again, I didn't have to lug my piano through the city! Thank the Lord! They provided a keyboard that I was able to play on. There were maybe about nine people there listening, and the vibe was pretty chill. I went first, and then I was followed by a couple other singer-songwriters. When I went up to play, though, the keyboard pedal wasn't working! For those of you who aren't following, a pedal on a piano or a keyboard holds out the duration of a played note. It helps add flow to a song being played, as opposed to notes simply being plunked in a staccato style. I went up to play my set, pressing down on the pedal as hard as I could, and the sustain would go in and out. To me, it sounded like I did horribly, haha. But hey, I feel like my voice sounded pretty nice on one of my newer songs, so I wasn't that upset at all. To my surprise though, these two people (who looked about my age) came up to me, and told me that my music really inspired them. I was so glad!! Yes! I connected with someone in the audience! Score :). They found me on Spotify, and I told them where they could find me. One of the other featured singer-songwriters did such an amazing job! He's a teacher, and his original songs are not only lyrically impressive, but to me, he had the vocal power and movement of Jack Black. It was pretty amazing.
What did I learn tonight?
Tonight I learned that things don't always go the way it is planned to go. Sometimes, you can't assume that the pedal will work. Sometimes, you can't assume that a keyboard may even be working. I learned that, in the case of a broken pedal, I need to be flexible, and be able to substitute arpeggiations, or moving notes, in the place of the chords that I would be holding if the pedal were working correctly. I also have been practicing some a capella songs, in the case that either I am using a broken keyboard, or I am just not able to bring mine. Road bumps happen, but I'm trying to make my vehicle ride smoothly on any and every road.
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I guess I could have come up with a better title, huh? My titles be LACKIN lately. But hey. Anyways!
Today, the Supreme Court ruled the gay marriage is legal in all 50 states in the United States of America. The reaction from everybody shocks me a little bit. Please keep in mind, readers, that this is simply a blog, and these are simply my opinions. Since people are entitled to their opinions, you are entitled to agree, or not agree with me. Either way, I don't see why all of this is being done in such hostile manner.
First, I want to address the Christians:
I have seen a good number of Christians who have handled this SCOTUS decision with love, and with maturity. I have also seen a handful who are claiming that this marks the end of the world, and are lashing out at homosexual couples with hate. Jesus did not call us to hate. He called us to love. He called us to love our brother. I don't get why this decision on gay marriage suddenly flips some switch. The God of the Bible is a constant God, and the God of the Bible is unchanging. Yes, the God of the Bible does not condone homosexuality. But the God of the Bible, regardless of what someone does, loves us, ALL. Regardless. We as Christians may not be called to encourage it or promote it, but I believe that it is no one's place to try and ban it. A man wanting to marry another man does not affect my relationship with God. A woman wanting to marry another woman does not affect my relationship with God.
-Point #1: Practicing What We Preach/Setting Examples
There are some Christians, stating that gay marriage is wrong, and stating that by allowing gay marriage, our country has fallen into this irreversible downward spiral. I have heard and seen Christians attack homosexuals ruthlessly, saying that they are sinning, and that the promotion of sin is bad. HOW can we as Christians say anything like this, when there is an overflow of hypocrisy in the religion itself. People have lashed back at Christians saying, "Well, doesn't the Bible say that getting drunk is wrong?" "Well, doesn't the Bible say that cussing, or having a fowl mouth is not promoting the spirit of Jesus?" "Well, doesn't the Bible say that having pre-marital sex is wrong?" And Christians are stuck with the response of "Uh.." Our religion is so quick to judge the "hot-topic" sins, but the "every-day-ones" are just small, tiny sins? A sin, is a sin. If we want to even begin to call out a sin, we cannot be so hypocritical, and be blind to the plank in our own eye. We cannot just pick and choose from the Word of God. If we believe it is a sin, then we can't put them on levels of "You're going to hell" to "Eh, I'm in my 20s. Yolo."
If you want to take back your religion, and begin to defend what you believe, at least embody it. Don't pick and choose. I, am not exempt. I need to embody it too. In no way am I "perfect," by any means. My goal, though, is to try and live the Christian life that is extensively and beautifully drawn out for us in Ephesians and Philippians. I sin. Everyday. But I strive to make myself better every day, and try and cut out things that would lead me away.
-Point #2 - Complacency
Another big topic that has risen since the legalization of gay marriage is the topic of complacency, or compromise. We as Christians know that God would rather a person worship the devil, than have them be a lukewarm Christian. Lukewarm, meaning, accepting this and this, but rejecting that other part of His word, or meaning that you're kind of accepting God. In short, He tells us that you are either for Him, or against Him. That being said, a big debate has grown, within the Christian community, saying that Christians should not be just shrugging off the legalization of gay marriage. That they should be up and arms, that they should speak out, and that they should not be okay with it. I disagree. I believe that a Christian can be alright with a man marrying another man, without judgment, and without hate, while still holding to his belief of the Bible. I might get some backlash from my Christian friends by saying this next point, but there is separation of church and state for a reason. To this, someone may say, "Wow. That's arrogant. Are you really saying that our God has no place in the government?" I'm not saying that God has no place in our government. Personally, I believe that following Biblical laws, as opposed to the laws of the land, would be better. But, in a secular country, where there is a countless number or religions, church should be separate from the state. It isn't our place to make marriage between a man and a woman in all the land, just because we believe it. Does a Supreme Court ruling change what the Bible says? No, it doesn't. The Bible has, does, and will always keep constant with it's Truth, and that Truth is spread by the spreading of the gospel. I don't believe that truth should be spread through the oppression of specific orientations just because we as Christians believe something different. In short, I don't think that it should have had to come to "being for" or "against" gay marriage. If you don't agree with it, then don't promote it. Nobody is saying that you have to cheer or advocate it. Suppressing it though, and making it illegal, might just come off as us imposing our views on a community that may believe something different.
-Point #3 (And Probably the Most Important): Homosexuals Going to Hell
The Bible states that there is only one way to Heaven, and one way to God's heart. Through Jesus Christ. When we believe that he died for our sins, we are saved. Romans 10:10 reads: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Not through the things we do. Not through who we love. Not through anything else. Only through Jesus.
To Those Who Are Attacking Christians:
Not all Christians are the same, so please stop generalizing us. If we are sending hate comments, and spreading hypocrisy, for that, I am truly sorry. There really should be nothing but love. I have though, seen some people attack Christians for their fundamental beliefs. That, is so wrong. If a Christian is calling you a sinner, and attacking you, then that is different. If you though, are going out of your way to tell a Christian that "their view is full of bigotry and intolerance," nobody gave you the right to attack somebody because of what they believe. If they are just living their life, and holding to their beliefs, there's no need for hate. What I'm advocating here, is no hate from Christians to you, because we are supposed to spread love, and respect everyone. I'm also advocating no hate from you, because, as you have experienced first-hand, it really sucks when you're attacked for a cause or belief that you believe full heartedly. Sorry if you find our Bible hateful. Don't attack us because we believe what we believe.
We all. Need. to. Love. One. Another. Christians, you don't have to agree with homosexuality. But don't judge, or hate, or treat anyone any differently. People who are attacking Christians, you don't have to agree with the Word. But don't attack us for what we hold to as our Truth.
Tonight we went to The Blue Note! The ever-so-famous, Blue Note jazz club! It was a really cool night. Robert Glasper is a pianist, who has skills out the ying-yang. He is probably one of the fastest piano players that I have ever heard. All in all, the night was pretty cool. The music was great, and the scene was so fun. When I went home though, my mind brought me back to conversation that I was having with myself last night. "What am I doing here?" I thought for a long while about this. I thought back to all of the open mics and shows thus far, and I couldn't think of a time where I actually sounded decent. I then thought about my future, and if I was working towards an actual future, in any way. I thought about my album, and about if any of this is practical. I concluded that I'm not sure if it's practical.
So... what. am. I. doing.
After I finished with all of these thoughts of "What am I seriously doing with my life?", I came to the conclusion that I wanted to remove my music from SoundCloud, and Facebook, and YouTube, and everything else. I did the math on how long it would take to delete everything, and how worth-it it would be to cut my losses. I just felt embarrassed that I had put so much energy and advertisement into all of my music, only to realize that it's a farce that I have bought into. I don't sound half-way decent, and there hasn't been one live show where I have felt that I have done a decent job. That there's no practical future in what I'm doing, and that I'm not furthering myself in any way, chasing this dream. Let me tell you the bigger lesson I learned tonight, though: Friends are not only invaluable, but are people who believe in you when you no longer have the strength to believe in yourself. Before I left for the Blue Note tonight, I saw on Facebook that my friend Caleb had posted a status that said "Go listen to David Webb on Spotify!" accompanied by a picture of him listening to me underneath the status. That, made my day. It's not the attention that made my day, though. It was the fact that somebody was listening to my music, and that it had an effect on them. My biggest goal with my music is to connect with people.
So, when I opened up my Facebook, after I got home from The Blue Note, I had at least 15 notifications. People had not only liked and shared Caleb's status, but shared my Spotify photo, made new statuses, and it just didn't stop. And these aren't all close friends who were sharing my music; these were acquaintances... people who I haven't talked to in years. Yet, they were all so supportive. Having no clue what I was thinking about doing, they all pulled through, unknowingly, and brought my self-confidence up to such a high level. After seeing this, I thought to myself, "Well, you're doing something right I guess. Just keep going." They saved my music, and I'll always be grateful for it.
Thank you, friends. Thank you to everyone who's been so, so, supportive. I've learned how genuine performers are when they say, "I would like to thank my fans, friends, and family. I could never thank them enough!" Because, well, it wouldn't be possible.
I love you all :)
Tonight there was an open mic at Supercollider! I have officially done one week of Open Mics here in the City! How awesome! It was a pretty chill night. Great thing about tonight, was that instead of having to bring my keyboard across town, I was able to use the Yamaha they had. It worked beautifully! It was pretty powerful, too. I performed an original, "In the Rain," along with a cover of "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men. Tonight, my friend Myles (and his friend) were able to come and see me perform! Myles is from Kansas City, and his family is family friends with my family. Our parents have known each other since they themselves were children. The live in Kansas City, Missouri. For the past couple of weeks, Myles has been in New York doing research on Art though a fellowship that he received, and it just so happens that we both ended up in the City this summer! After I played, I headed home, and pretty much hit the hay. To be honest, today was kind of so-so. I mean, we all have those days when we are on our own, and we sit in think, "What. Am I doing. What. Am I doing." Sometimes, there really isn't an answer. Sometimes you just have to sit and wonder. This probably stemmed from the conversation that Myles and I were having. He explained to me that he is currently visiting New York on a paid internship for his Art History major, and from here he'll go to graduate school, and so on and so forth. It made me wonder: what am I doing? Sure, I'm following my dreams, and I'm in the NYC for the summer, but sometimes my thoughts silence me, and I wonder if any of this is actually benefiting my future. Tonight's one of those nights where I just sit and think.
Hola! Hola mis amigos! Last night I performed at the Sidewalk Cafe, which is the most popular, longest running open mic place in all of New York. The amount of talent last night . . . the a.m.o.u.n.t. of talent folks... from spoken word, to singer-songwriters, to showtunes, to bass solos, to jazz, it was quite a breathtaking night. Tonight I came across of a good number of the guys! Tonight it was James, Adam, Elliot, Kwesi, and a couple of others. There's also this woman who cracks. me. UP! She's probably around 65, and she is a hoot. She always is gracious enough to come talk to me, and she is the awkwardest, sweetest, most paranoid woman that I have ever met. The Sidewalk Cafe, in short, blew me away! It was packed! Instead of signing up at the door, you had to walk up to the stage, tell Bill your name, and he would draw a number out of a hat (between 1 and 42). Thankfully, I got 12! I was able to perform at a relatively early time during the night. There was one girl who went up, who played this song, and her voice was amazing! I never got to talk with her, but I get did a video so I could share it with you all! There was also a guy who played a bass solo to an instrumental backing to Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud." Throughout the night I was also able to talk more with friends that I had met previously. After talking for a while, I found out that James works as a PA for the second TMNT movie, and also for the Sherlock Holmes show, "Elementary." He gets fed 3 meals a day, and is given some pretty cool pay. How cool is that! After talking with Elliot, I learned that he was born in New York, but is from Canada! What a great night, and what a great vibe.
What did I learn tonight?
One of my new friends, Adam, showed me how he plays guitar. His originals are AWESOME, and I asked him where he gets his style from. After taking me through the chords that he does (open/octave jazz chords, and then muting the strings and strumming the same pattern right after), he told me this: "Forget the basics. Forget learning this first, and then that second, etc. Every time somebody gives you advice, or shows you something really cool, take it. Just take everything that everybody tells and shows you that you like, and start to form it into your own style. Thanks, Adam! I'm really hoping that this can help me to get better and to start to form a style on guitar!
Why hello, readers and listeners! Instead of being at night, the open mic today was during the afternoon! It was a different feel, but just as cool! Sign-up was at around 1pm, and then it started at around 1:30. What was cool, was that, with the exception of about one or two people, the SAME group of guys showed up, that had been at every other open mic! It really cool being able to make some friends up here. But yeah, the open mic was so chill. There weren't a lot of people there, but it was at a place called The Bitter End, and the management (the owner, in particular) was amazing. Everybody was personable, and everybody was genuinely kind. Instead of a raised floor that was in the corner of a bar, the stage at The Bitter End was an actual stage! It had a baby grand piano (which means for once I did not have to lug my 5 foot tall, 40lbs keyboard through New York City), and it also had a guitar if anyone needed to use either instrument. Also, the crowd was pretty responsive.
So! I'm trying something new. If you know me, at all, you know that I am forgetful. Over the past couple of days, I have met some really amazing people, with some really unique sounds, and these people also have some really amazing stories. My goal is document the people that I have not only befriended, but people who have impacted my trip, let alone my outlook.
The first person I'm going to start with, is Moha.
Moha is one amazing dude. He's genuine, he's down to earth, and when talking to people, he really connects with them. He is Senegalese (which means that he is from a country in West Africa), but he just moved to New York from Paris, France. This afternoon, at the open mic, I sat down with Moha. I asked him, "Why do you like music?" After asking that question, I had not realized that I was opening a pretty big box (A very insightful one, nonetheless).
Here was his response : "I mean, music is cool, and I like it, but it doesn't control me. A lot of people put all of this work into their music, and get so serious about it, but to me, it's just truth. Music is just another way to tell your story, or tell your truth. When I go up and play the audience an original song that I have written, it would be no different than me sitting down with each of them, one on one, and simply telling them the same thing in words. You know? It's just a means that you can tell your truth with. And I've realized that you can do that with anything. Say that I wanted to be a doctor. As a doctor, I could do this exact same thing. I could connect with my patients, and I could tell them deep things about me. Just like if I were to tell that same truth to an audience, through song. I could put that exact same love and passion into saving someone's life. It's not about "getting big" or "being a superstar" . . . people do this because they are passionate about it. And what I'm saying, is that you can put that passion into so many other things along with music. If you think about it, everybody can sing. Seriously. If you take the lessons, and you put in the effort, and you commit yourself, anybody can do it. [He points to the stage] With a good amount of hard work, anybody can be up there performing. And what would they be performing? I, would be performing an original song. And again, I can tell people the same exact thing, that I'm saying through song, sitting down, like I am with you. For a living, I perform my original music. With no side-jobs, I support myself playing music around the City for a living. And . . . I don't like it. Sometimes I wish I could stop. I wish this, because I believe that there is so much unnecessary hype associated with it. Many years ago, Paris Hilton released a song. It wasn't half bad, but everybody hated it because, well, it was Paris Hilton. Now imagine. If Rihanna had released that exact same song, it would be number one. Why? Because it's popularity. I know that there are people who are genuinely passionate about their art [he points to all of us performers], but still. I don't want to be caught up in some big popularity contest, when all I'm doing is telling my truth. If I ever saw my face on a billboard, or if I ever started to get "big," I would stop. I would stop right then and there. You know why? It's not worth it. I could tell my truth so many different ways. There are so many things that God offers us in this life, and I want to try a lot of things. For me, it goes God, family, and then music. Yeah to be honest . . . music isn't that important to me. Sure I enjoy performing at these and everything, but I don't want it to be what controls me. It's just another way to tell who you are, or spread your truth."
Here is Moha performing an original:
Tonight I went to The Path Cafe for my third open mic! It was so cool, because when I showed up, guess who was there? The same 5 who I had made friends with last night!! How cool! And even funnier, it wasn't like they do this regularly. Like I said in my last post, last night was pretty much one of their first, if not their first time open miking in the NYC. It just so happens that we all started at the same time, and ended up traveling to shows together! Instead of signing up on the sign up sheet when you walk in, the process was done by picking out of the hat. In other words, everybody lines up, and then you grab a number, which lets you know when you are up to perform. Instead of three songs, The Path Cafe gives you two songs (or eight minutes, whichever comes first). Thankfully, they had a piano there, so I didn't have to lug my keyboard across New York City for once haha. I played an original, "In the Rain," and then a cover of "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men. For some reason, after I finished, even though I guess it sounded alright, I felt terrible. Sometimes that just happens when I perform. I leave the stage, and something inside me tells me "Oh my goodness, they hated it. I bored them." Even with the clapping and the whistles and the "good-job"s, there are some performances where my gut just tells me, "That was not a good performance." To my surprise, though, there was that awesome musician that I met named Abby D! She came up to me after I was finished, and she was so sweet! She told me good job, and she told me that my voice was "so smooth." I thanked her, and then complimented her on HER material, because her stuff was so great! She had originally written music, and I loved it!
What did I learn tonight?
I learned that when you sign up with a record deal, you have to payback an "advancement." An advancement is the amount of money that you have to pay back to the record label. Let's say that the record label gave you $700 to produce your album, to cover some tour costs, and to cover some promotional material. After all is said and done, you now have to pay it back. What's suggested, is getting a distributor. A sub-label that will not necessarily own your music, but will distribute it and provide you with exposure.
Tonight I went to my second open mic in the City! It was so amazing! The venue is called Paddy O'Reilly's Music Bar. It was a great venue, and I met so many talented, down to earth, and personable musicians. Coincidentally, for a lot of the people I met, this was their first time at an open mic in the City, too! They were from Paris, Jersey, Philadelphia, etc. It was a nice, intimate venue, with a very attentive, and responsive crowd. The lights were dimmed, and the mood was beautiful. It started at 7:00 pm, and I was number 16, so I went at about 10:15ish. I set up my piano on the stage, and started to play. Once again, the crowd was SILENT! (For two of my pieces). It's looking like my cover of Sia's "Chandelier" is doin alright! After I went off, I continued to watch the other amazing performers. There was one guy named Graham, who played guitar, and had this R&B/Soul/Justin Timberlake/Rap type of feel. It was amazing. Another guy, who's name was Numa, who is from Paris, had this really smooth Jamaican sound. There was another guy, named Isreal (his stage name is Itz Real) who rapped and did hip-hop. He had a pretty nice vibe! There was also a girl named Rachel who went up towards the end of the night, and sang some awesome originals to some siiiick background tracks. All originals!! What amazing talent tonight. I got to meet about 5 of these guys personally, which means that I have about 5 new people in my network! Right after I performed, though, it was Rachel who made my night. After I finished performing, she asked me to tell her my name once more so that she could look up my material. I was so excited that she enjoyed it! I looked up her original stuff too, and she is off of the chain! It's crazy how many talented musicians I am meeting up here!
What did I learn tonight?
I learned that befriending people, networking with people, and talking to people is key. Not only do you come across some great people, but you can never know who is connected with what, or who has expertise in what area. I also learned to either lean away from the mic and sing stronger, or commit and sing into the mic, regardless of if it feels loud or not. I have a problem with hearing my voice through the monitors and softening my tone too much
AAHH!! I 'm going to an open mic tonight!! Honestly, it really isn't that exciting. It's exciting to me though, because let me first start off by addressing the differences between a show and an open mic. A show could could have a plethora of people, or it could have nobody. It really depends on if the show was advertised well, or if the person playing has a good draw (number of people that they brought to their show). At open mics, there are usually a good number of people there (I'm generalizing. Every place is different and every night is different). There are usually a good amount of people because at open mics, people all go up to sign up for a 15 minute minute slot to play for. That being said, if the night lasts for three hours, that is a guaranteed 12 performers (add possible friends and family of said performers) in the audience. Not only is there an audience listening to you, but you also have the opportunity to meet, and network with other musicians who may be doing exactly what you are doing. Truth be told, as always, I'm pretty much terrified. I have no clue how open mics work here in New York, and I have no clue what high level of talent I'm throwing myself into. But, here's to new experiences! Cheers!
What did I learn tonight?
I learned that laughter really is the best medicine. Although I went into the night with one of my lonely-spells, I got to talking to about 3 guys, and I laughed so hard. When I say "hard," I mean the amount of laughter that is only brought out by the company of my friends Nolan, Skyler, Alex, and Mariah
After sitting yesterday for about 6 hours, I began to write a new song. Lately, I have been attempting to try and write something that sounds a little different than material that I have already written. I think I succeeded! (A little bit?) I went about this by trying to use different chords progressions (succeeded), omit any minor cadences (failed. Miserably.), and I also tried to write it with fast-lyrics. Some of my best friends/fellow musicians/homies, Skyler Choice and Nolan Smith (GO TO FACEBOOK OR YOUTUBE AND CHECK OUT THEIR PAGES. I'll leave links below), play covers and write originals that feature a fast-speaking/rapping/spoken word feel to it. They're pretty much pro's at it. Being that a good majority (like, all) of my songs are slow and melodic, I decided to emulate their style and write something that's fast paced
Nolan Smith Skyler Choice
Hey readers and listeners! Sorry for the time distance between now and the last post. Man! It has been quite the adventure. Instead of making 5 more Vlogs and 10 more Blogs to recap what has happened this past week, I'll just give a general impression so far, along with a PLETHORA of pictures.
Show #4 was at Pianos tonight! What a great show. There were only about 5-7 people, but I think I had a couple of people who were listening. I played in their upstairs lounge, and it had a nice space with a lot of reverb. Tonight, I also premiered my cover of "Chandelier" by Sia. When doing covers, I've been trying to make them sound like my own style. I started putting it together the day before yesterday, and it went very well tonight!
Man, where do I begin. This first week here has been quite the adventure. I have had four shows so far, and although the turnouts have not been large, I think I have succeeded in connecting with at least one or two people at some point during the performances. The other bands that I have seen perform before and after my performances are AMAZING! Some are jazz, some are singer-songwriter, some are rock, etc.
Although this City is an such an awe-inspiring place, my biggest struggle comes with being okay with being by myself. Hands down, I am completely obsessed with this city. I spend hours walking the streets during the afternoon into the night, just gawking. Other than that, I realize that, topographically, New York is pretty much like any other place. People here are still people, and function the same way that other people do from any given state. It's just that there is a lot more of them haha. Again, I'm LOVING it, but it's the 'being-with-the-self' that is a bit difficult. Being that I am dysfunctionally extroverted with family and friends (or if I'm in my element), my biggest challenge is having to enjoy scenery, or a show, or my joys, or thoughts, alone. Instead of a friend to crack a joke to, to talk with, to politic with, to have deep discussions, or someone to take in the same beauty I'm taking in, I'm learning how to be able to do that, for once in my life (ironically, among hundreds of millions of people), by myself. It's a process, but for about an hour last week, I was able to sit in Rockefeller Plaza, and be alright with the fact that it was just me. It's a process, but I'm thankful that I'm able to further learn this lesson in such a cool city.
EXCITING NEWS! I am thrilled to say that my CD, "We Tell Stories," is finally finished!!
A big thank you to everyone who made this at all possible, because this most certainly could not have been done alone. We started the recording process in summer of 2013, and through hoops, and leaps and bounds, my homies showed up like none other in helping me to make this a reality. ( Skyler W. Choice , Nolan Smith , Cody Fricke, Josh Stevens, and a countless amount of others).
If you wish to listen along to the album, I'm streaming on Spotify. If you wish to either download, or purchase a physical copy of the album, here is the link to the (amazing!) site, CD Baby, that also helped make all of this possible --> (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidmarcuswebbjr2 ) (Click the blue button for download, and the green button for hard copy)
I'm also on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play if you would rather go through those sources, and I also have physical copies of the album in my possession if you wish to be given one directly. Please message or e-mail me for questions, comments, criticisms, slight remarks, inquiries, one-liners, or what have you.
Again, THANK YOU to everyone. As a stranger yelled to me in the rain the other night, while I was leaving a show and lugging my piano behind me, "Keep the music alive!" To all who are making the music, or any piece of art, keep going, and never let it die.
Show #3 - This show was in Harlem, NY, and was a really nice venue. I played downstairs, in their underground spot. I played after a jazz quintet (who were great!), and began my set with a cover or two. This show, I really focused on crowd communication and involvement, so between songs, I would ask the audience jokes, make a quick one-liner, or tell a personal story. Unfortunately, nobody was really paying attention, so when I would talk, it would sound like rhetorical questions to myself through the microphone haha. At least I got practice. As the show went on, there were many highlights! One of the highlights was made by these two ladies who were sitting at the back during my set, and then got up to leave. For a second, I was sad that they had been watching me intently, and then decided to leave. I assumed that they were assessing my sound and then decided that that was not what they were looking for. (Which is completely understandable). Instead, they left their table, just to move to the table right in front of the stage. How nice! The second cool part of the night, was that I received a $35 tip from the crowd! I did NOT expect that, but I got it! After the show, I was trying to find my way back to the subway to Brooklyn, but my GPS was not working. I was frustrated, caught in the rain, and checking different subway terminals to see which one said "Downtown Brooklyn" on it. There was one moment, after about 15 minutes of lugging around this 45 pound keyboard case around the city, trying to find where to go, at 11:00 at night, I just posted the case, in the middle of the sidewalk, rested my arms on it, and laid my head down on it. You know, that moment when there's not much you can do, so you just have to stop. Not that stopping will do anything to help, but you don't know what else to do. Thank the Lord I eventually found the subway station, carried the piano down the steps, hoisted it over my head when walking through the turn-pipe, and sat there and waited for the train. Now, here comes the last highlight of the night, which, to date, has been the high point of this entire trip thus far. A woman comes up behind me, and says, "Excuse me? Hi. I just wanted to let you know that you did a great job tonight. You sounded gorgeous. I tried to find you, but you had left, and I was happy to see that when I came down my my subway stop, you were standing right there." I was blown away! I didn't think anybody was really listening intently. But she was, and she enjoyed it. We got to talking for about 20 minutes, until her stop came. It turns out that she is an SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) and is a Speech Therapist for the city! I went on to inform her about my instructor, Dr. Beeman, who is also an SLP, and how we have re-worked my speaking and singing voice this past year, because a year ago, I was not able to sing due to a number or reasons. I told her that I would be playing at the Shrine at July 14th, and hopefully I would see her then. That makes 2 friends that I have made in the City! Yay!
Show #2 was at a hostel! What a great, hole-in-the-wall, chic venue. It was part bar, part coffee shop, part lounge, and anything else that you could think of when someone talks about a "chill spot." Although I had called in on Thursday, and also gone to the venue in person on Friday, my showing up on Saturday (the day of the show) was a surprise to the man who was running the shop at the time that I showed up to play. I showed up, and no one had told him that I was playing a show at eight that night. Shout out to this gentleman though, because although he was not informed that I was playing, (and he usually doesn't even work Saturdays), he was nice, flexible, and was completely open to helping me in any way he could. A highlight of the night, was setting up the PA system. I've never fully set one up myself before, but that night, I had to do it, and thank the Lord, somehow I figured it out. The crowd turnout was maybe about five people, which isn't much, but a it was nice to see that a few were listening every now and then. The highlight of the evening was a compliment that this young Asian man gave me after my set. I had seen him at the bar during my set, but I was not sure if he was listening. Turns out he was! He loved my songs and my words. The band after me was amazing too! She sang and played guitar, and he played the jimbay.
I've heard of having a dream, and fulfilling it, but I've never heard of doing something so amazing, that it immediately becomes a dream, during the process of doing the amazing thing. In other words, fulfilling a dream, that you, in the moment, are creating. I had that for the first time today! I played piano in Central Park, and goodness . . . how beautiful of an experience that was: