Monday, November 1, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kind of a Strange Musician

I'm kind of a strange musician. I listen to NPR or quiet in the morning. No morning playlist. Here's what you had to say when I asked for morning mix suggestions, in order to feel like a less-strange musician: 

"'Eye of the Tiger' played over and over until you defeat your lifelong nemesis in the final round of your epic battle." (YES.)

"Old Soul Music in the morning is just as good as coffee. Go with Amy Winehouse, john Legend or Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings if (you) dont like old soul." (This brought tears to my eyes. A kindred spirit, indeed.)

"I like Cake in the morning." (I love Cake in morning, too. Devil's food.)

"Toddler Tunes always does it for me." (Mothers among us, we salute you.)

"What's wrong with being an NPR-junkie??" (Nothing, I assure you. Not a thing. Just trying to be inclusive of other people and their customs.)

Still taking suggestions, sound off in comments section.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Overheard at DC Release Party: "They're kind of a short band." #maralevi

The overheards from the DC "We Listen to Fools" Release Party. Tweeted, upon request, with hashtag maralevi. This may be the best idea ever. Read on (editorial comments in italics):

The Pushovers do"Drink it Down"

  • "Woah! You took your shirt off! ....I was surprised." Another classy performance by #maralevi ;) What did you expect? It's like you don't even know me.
  • "she's the musical judy blume." A fan, on sarah maclachlan #maralevi Are you there, God? It's me, Sarah, and I want you to rescue this dog.
  • "we're drinking whiskey together for the first time as a band. It's important."--Mara, on bonding #maralevi
  •  When was the last time you heard a rock band sing in three part harmony? #maralevi
  • "she's like Tegan and Sara, only better." A fan, on @emilywhitemusic #maralevi Well...yeah.
  • "It's a bunch of lesbians who love reusable tote bags." @emilywhitemusic on her merch #maralevi Only fascists don't love reusable tote bags.
  • I kind of want to marry @emilywhitemusic. She's really lovely to listen to. And I do not shit abt music. #maralevi See above, reference Sara, Tegan and
  • "I'd rather be fat." --A fan, on running #maralevi I've been running before. I don't really want to do it again.
  • "They're kind of a short band." --A fan, on the pushovers' average height. #maralevi

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photo shoot results!

Meredith and I had a great time wandering around our neighborhood looking for colorful places to take pictures (of me).
Here are some of my favorite results. What do you think?

I am angry and I can fly

Mmm hmm, I'm cool

Go, horsie, go!

There are more on my FACEBOOK profile if you'd like to check them out.
Thanks to Meredith (and Beckham the dog) for being willing to take the pics for me, and for being my fashion consultants!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Photo shoot and errands day

Today is photo shoot day! I woke up having had my requisite 7 hours of beauty sleep, put on my grubbiest clothes, and spent 4 hours going to Queens and back to get things out of storage. Why, you might ask, don't you get a storage unit in the place 5 blocks from your apartment? Well, I respond, we didn't know it was there (they don't have a good web presence, I guess), and now we don't feel like moving all of our things.
Having survived Atlantic Ave in both directions, we are now ready to go out into the neighborhood and take beautiful pictures of me (it's time for new press pics). I'll post some here (and on my website) when they're done!
Sunshine and traffic,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 1 = crazy but fun

So, you may have noticed that my last few posts have come late at night (or early in the morning). It just so happens that grad school + working + releasing a CD takes a lot of time. I got a LOT done today, though, so we can all relax just a bit. Not ONLY did I spend all morning observing first grade music classes, I finished my homework for this week, I printed posters to send to NY and DC for my upcoming release shows, AND I got in my new shipment of t-shirts.
Now I'm ready for all of your orders, and I even have the right sizes!
I think the only thing I'm behind on now is sleep...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


That's right, friends, Album release day is finally here. It's 12:30 am, I just finished my homework for tomorrow, and just put up the buttons on my website so people can buy the album! You should also be able to buy it from CD Baby and iTunes, though downloading directly from me is WAY better (because I make more money).

I'm not sure if I'm giddy because I'm excited to know what you think, or because I'm exhausted. It's not all that often that I'm giddy though, and I'm tired all the time. So I think we can reasonably assume that I'm excited. Please let me know what you think!

Love and giddiness,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fleas and Fools

I know that sometimes people set unrealistic expectations for themselves and then are constantly upset that they are behind schedule. I am generally one of those people, but let me tell you:
THIS time, it is NOT my fault that there has been a delay. I had anticipated sending advance copies of "We Listen to Fools" to everyone who ordered them this week (before I start grad school on Tuesday). I had also anticipated having time to burn DVDs and sort t-shirts this week. Instead, I arrived home from a relaxing vacation with my fiancee to find that our house was inFESTed with fleas. They were everywhere. It was frightening.

Luckily, the t-shirts and most of our clothing were in the trunk of my car (we took everything on vacation so we could do laundry and get set to mail), so they remained flea-free. Still, taking everything out of our house, getting it sprayed, and putting it all back together took many many hours that could otherwise have been devoted to mailing music out.

I think it's a good excuse.

And, the GREAT news is, if you ordered an advance copy of the album, IT IS ON ITS WAY TO YOU! Check for it in the mail early next week.
Can't wait to hear what you think,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Progress! Hear some final mixes!

Well hello, blogosphere, how are you today?
I am fine, though getting antsy to have this project finished. You too? I'm sure! Here are some updates for you since my last post:

In mid-June, I went to Gardentone Studios to spend a late late night with Steve Wall. We spent about 6 hours going through each of my songs and fixing some key elements, discussing how I wanted them to sound, and starting to put effects on the bass and drums. When I left that night, things were already starting to sound FANTASTIC, which is a great feeling.
Since then, Steve has been working on his own, and a LOT, and has been sending me updates of the mixed songs. We're down to the final set of tweaks, and then it will be off to Mastering for our fair CD. I thought I'd post a couple of samples for you next to the UNMIXED samples so that you can really hear the difference that Steve is making. If you have headphones, I'd suggest using them to get the full effect.

Here is the most recent sample of What If We Try which I posted a while ago:
What If We Try
HERE is that same sample as mixed by Steve:
What If We Try MIXED

Pretty awesome, huh?
Here's the last sample I posted of Gotta Get Out:
Gotta Get Out
And, here is the MIXED version of that same bit of music:
Gotta Get Out Mixed

I hope these teasers can tide you over just a BIT longer. T-shirts and download cards are all designed and I'm ordering them tomorrow. All that is left is to get the finalized mixes in my hands, then to send them on to mastering and get them uploaded to the digital distribution sites - and to YOU!

Thanks for being patient. I can't wait to share more with you,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Dream Is Alive

I'm done recording and editing.
Maybe with a little more feeling this time:

This morning I redid a couple of final vocals and edited the bad fades I had heard in my listen-throughs, I erased some superfluous files on my hard drive to make room (since somehow, 2 songs before the end, I filled my 160GB hard drive), I consolidated files, and called the studio to make an appointment for mixing.
THAT is what I did today.

The process is far from over - I'm still finishing T-shirt design, website design, and digital distribution research and I have to start promoting and mixing and mastering (or having those things done). BUT, friends, the end is in sight! Thanks for joining me on the journey - I'll continue posting as mixing goes on. It will be really fun (for me - for you too, I hope) to hear the difference between samples that were NOT mixed and samples that ARE mixed. Yay!

Here's a final UNMIXED sample for you all:

Tired Lonely Fools (The DREAM IS ALIVE)


Monday, May 31, 2010

Yay! Still not done. But closer.

I'm working through all of the songs alphabetically now, condensing tracks that are edited and making sure all of those edits are clear and precise, fixing little annoyances in vocals and other parts, redoing guitar solos, and generally finalizing things.
Last time I posted, I couldn't decide whether or not to record the vocals for Gotta Get Out late at night after a long day of recording. I did record them then, and they weren't perfect enough. So today, with no warming up (sorry voice teachers and students), I knocked that vocal out in ONE take. Sometimes belting high notes works best for me without a warm-up. I know, I know, it does more damage. I promise it's not an everyday occurrence.
ANYWAY, I'm fully edited and ready for mixing with
Friends and Fools
Gotta Get Out
Happy Song
She Says She Knows
So Long (my love)

The list from my last post was slightly inaccurate because I have since listened and decided to edit a few of those parts. BUT, I think one more day of editing will be all I'll need.

Thank you to EVERYONE who has purchased advance copies of the album - I'm going to be able to afford to mix, master, and release the album with your help!

As a thank you, HERE is a full verse and chorus from Gotta Get Out!
Can't wait to play it for you once it's mixed and mastered!!

Gotta Get Out Sample

Friday, May 7, 2010


My girlfriend just finished law school and is out of town for a week. I am waiting to set a date for mixing, but hoping to schedule it for later this month. What does that mean? I have LOTS of work to do! The nice thing is, I'm at a point where each song just has a few finishing touches left. I'm getting VERY excited. I've been working for about 10 hours so far today, and I have finished 5 songs including 2 with LOTS of editing work.
Songs that are now done:
Happy Song
So They Say
Tired Lonely Fools
Wind Will Back

What If We Try (Falling Down?) - need to decide on the title.
For the record, this is the FIRST sample I'm posting that has the final lead vocals on it! Yay! Of course, when I go to the studio for mixing, we'll compress it, add reverb, and make it sound a lot cooler. Still, at least it's in tune now.

I'm trying to take good care of my voice so that I don't overdo the singing, but I think I have one more song in me tonight. Should I go for Gotta Get Out tonight? Maybe something a little more low-key. It's the age-old conundrum: Singing the tough song early so my voice can handle it, or saving it for the end so it doesn't ruin me for other songs. What would Renee Fleming do?

Should have more recording time tomorrow evening. Hope to post another sample then.
Love and back to work!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yay for percussion!

Hello again, my friends.
Today was by far my most productive day since I went to the studio months ago. Perhaps the common denominator here is Ashley Baier, the fabulous percussionist who paid me a visit today to add percussion tracks and listen through to my drum edits. After she left, I did a ton of editing work and am getting VERY VERY close to being done recording these songs!

The first song we tackled together is one that I only began recording YESTERDAY. I had been wanting to add another track to the album the whole time, but hadn't gotten time to sit down and finish writing. Once I actually sat down and worked on it, this song came out in about an hour - not bad considering how long I had been thinking about writing it. Here's a sample of the beginning of the song, complete with Ashley's expert tinkering on various percussionary instruments. (DISCLAIMER: When I recorded the vocal for this yesterday, I was very stuffed up. Sorry!):

Happy Song Sample

I haven't yet posted anything from last weekend when Nancy and Liz were here to record backing vocals. We didn't get through all of the tracks I was hoping to have them sing on, but we did get through several songs in our limited time. Today I had time to sort through those tracks and edit them together. Here's a sample of So Long with backing vocals (and perhaps too many guitars). (DISCLAIMER: STILL not the finished lead vocal. Don't mind the squirreliness of my part):

So Long Sample

The major stumbling block now may be that all I have left to do for most of the songs are the LEAD vocals, and obviously I want those to sound good. So I need to be over my current cold, I need my girlfriend to be done with finals for law school, AND I need tiiiime to record. When the stars align, I'll finish the vocals and move on to mixing. From there, it should be a QUICK snowball to completion.

Happy spring,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Almost done!

Helloooo, world. Once again, I have been working furiously to make incremental progress for weeks now, but after yesterday I had no excuse - I HAD to post my progress. For the last few weeks I've been editing parts, adding little electric guitars here and there, and doing a lot of planning for backing vocals. Yesterday, the Pushovers came to Brooklyn and we spent all day recording backing vocals. Nancy and Liz started out the day with Is This My Life, singing the parts we always sing live. We then moved on to Sing So Loud and Tired Lonely Fools, both of which involved adding new parts to the existing vocals they were familiar with.

In the afternoon, several of our friends and girlfriends were able to join us for two group-vocal sessions. Jessie, Mandy, Zena, and Meredith all joined in for Tired Lonely Fools and Gotta Get Out (a-woah!), both of which sound fantastic now.

After the band left, I got to editing, and then had a very special treat - our two 10-year-old neighbors came down to the studio and added their expert voices to Tired Lonely Fools!

Because I haven't finished editing yet, I'm posting a sample of Is This My Life today. As soon as I have another few minutes, I'll post a sample of Tired Lonely Fools so you can start practicing to sing along with the final version.


In OTHER news, I have gotten some samples of logo designs from MY DESIGNER, and I'm really excited about the direction that's taking.

Love to everyone and happy spring!

Monday, March 22, 2010

What a weekend!

OMG, people, I had 2 days off from work, PLUS I worked the closing shift on Saturday which meant I had until 2pm to work on recording. This was, indeed, a busy busy recording weekend (see the picture of my living room, which stayed that way until about 5 minutes ago). I would say I went from being 45% done with recording to 90% done in just 2.5 days. I also went from being extremely stressed that I'd never finish to feeling confident that I'm nearing the end. SO, now the good news!

I finished bass, acoustic guitar, and MOST of the electric parts this weekend. For all the songs! I have a couple of half-finished maybe songs (maybe they'll make it to the album, maybe they won't), and I haven't worked on those yet. BUT, the following songs are ready for backing vocals, lead vocals, and finishing touches:

Friends and Fools (needs a new name)
Gotta Get Out
Is This My Life
She Says She Knows
Sing So Loud
So Long
Tired Lonely Fools
What if We Try
Wind Will Back

This weekend also featured an interesting near catastrophe wherein my 25-year-old Casio keyboard ALMOST went kaput. Somehow, while I was on the phone with my mother (who gave the keyboard to me as a gift when I was 8), it got better. I can't explain where it went, or why it came back, but I'm grateful to the Casio gods for having created such a fine piece of MIDI equipment in such a compact and resilient package. I used the keyboard today to work on Sing Hallelujah. It's a very simple song, and I thought it would be fun to add some electronic sounds to it. I think the sounds I found are OK, but not exactly right. But here's an idea of how it MIGHT sound when it's done. What do you think?


After so much productivity, I can't just give you ONE sample, so I thought I'd give you a bit of Tired Lonely Fools too since it's one you have probably heard if you have seen me (or the Pushovers) play live in the last year or two. I think this still needs a bit more, but it's going to have tons of vocals so I don't want to overdo the instruments. They say you can always mute them later, but I tend to get attached to the way things sound, and have a difficult time letting them go. I find it's best for me to edit early.
Anyway, Tired Lonely Fools:


It is now time for me to drive to the airport to get my girlfriend, whose absence this weekend may or may not have facilitated a great deal of the work I got done. Not that she gets in the way, only that I tend to want to play (and eat) instead of working. Maybe I should erase this sentence.

Happy listening!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Almost done with Acoustic!

And my fingers show it! As I type this blog, my left fingers are feeling the computer buttons. Why doesn't Mac make a computer for guitar players where the keys your left hand types are cushiony and covered in lotion?

I digress.

Today I added Acoustic Guitar to Gotta Get Out and Sing So Loud. Both are songs where the acoustic part is going to be largely covered by the electric guitars, but I wanted the texture and added rhythmic specificity that only an acoustic guitar can provide.
Here's the same sample of Gotta Get Out that I posted earlier on the blog (I think), but now with Acoustic guitar mostly in the right ear.

Gotta Get Out with Acoustic Gutiar

Off to work now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Two days in a ROW!

Can you believe it?!
THIS is what I INTENDED to have happen with my blog. It is entirely possible that I will have MORE to post TOMORROW!
I'm excited about it.

So today I am reposting a similar section of Is This My Life because, after listening, I decided that the guitar wasn't punchy enough. I spent this morning redoing that guitar and also adding acoustic guitar to So Long My Love. Just a few more acoustic tracks to add and then I can add ELECTRICS! I'm excited about that as well.

So, for your listening pleasure, Is This My Life with fixed up guitar:

Is This My Life


Friday, March 12, 2010

More work today - and more coming!

Yay, finally some time to record!
Unfortunately, the two hours I had this morning were not as fruitful and productive as I had hoped. I had a long drive last night to think about backing vocals and electric guitar parts and other exciting additions, but instead I decided to focus on the Bass part for Is This My Life this morning. I thought I could knock it out quickly and move on to something else, but the part I have been playing with the band just does not sound right to me here. Either it's the drums that are different, or I'm just finally listening with a critical ear and realizing that paralleling the guitar part for the whole song is kind of boring and not particularly idiomatically suitable. So I decided to try to change my bass part, but now I'm worried that it sounds strange. Maybe it doesn't sound strange to YOU, but only to ME because I'm used to the old part.
What do you think?

Is This My Life with new bass

It was frustrating not to get more done, but hopefully on my way to work this afternoon I'll listen to the new bass part and love it a bit more. My plan is to spend a few more hours recording tomorrow morning, then use Sunday morning for some other design work I need to do.

I also have been in touch with Sarah Gensert ( about starting the design process for the t-shirt/website. THAT will be fun.

Thanks for listening,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ever have one of those days that is as frustrating as spending 2 hours in line at the DMV only to find out that you don't have the right papers and you have to come back and wait in line again another day?

Yesterday was that day for me. I actually DID have the DMV experience, followed by a return home to find that the dog had made a mess of the house (again). Feeling defeated, I decided to scrap my other homework and do some recording. I had been wanting to get rid of the scratch electric guitars on several tracks, but hadn't had time to set up the mics for the acoustic.

So, I did the setup, changed my guitar strings, downloaded an update to ProTools so that it would actually start playing from the MIDDLE of the song instead of only the beginning, and then got to work.

By the time I started, I only had about 4 hours left of good recording time, so I started with Tired Lonely Fools. For some reason, I was really happy with the first several takes, but when I went back to edit them together, I couldn't find a take I liked for the beginning of the song (which is probably just going to be guitar and voice). I proceeded to spend the next hour trying to perform those first 15 seconds well, and I finally SUCCEEDED! Somehow, even after my frustrating morning, I knew that it would be worth pushing through and coming up with a take I was happy with.

After a bit of editing, I moved on to the acoustic guitar on a new song (tentatively called Friends and Fools, but I think that's 3 songs on this album that talk about fools, so clearly I need a different name) and Is This My Life. Props to Nancy Eddy who has been playing guitar on that far more often than I do. I had forgotten how hard it is on your forearm and shoulder! I had to do it in 2 separate takes, going about 1 verse per take, then going back a bit and starting the second take so that they overlapped a bit, but so that I got breaks for my arm in between takes. I believe that's what the French call time-to-get-off-of-your-butt-and-work-out-Mara.

SO, by the end of my 4 hours, I had comped together all 3 of those guitar tracks AND was feeling far less frustrated than when I was at the DMV earlier in the day. For your listening pleasure today, here's something from the middle of Tired Lonely Fools. Sorry most of the sample is a fade-up. I was in a hurry. The fun of this section of the song is that it's going to have LOTS going on - this is just the skeleton. I'm excited to add bass, lots of backing vocals, and probably some other silly instruments to this section. But here's the foundation:
Tired Lonely Fools Sample
**note: It takes a couple of seconds for the sound to start bc the fade up was long for some reason (some reason is that I accidentally made the fade too long).

Feeling energized and hoping to have more recording time tonight. Maybe it's time to add bass to a few of these.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I HAVE been working on things

I have been working feverishly to learn how to make every coffee drink under the sun this week, and have also been polishing my SAT-taking skills, but in my free time I HAVE done some great editing work on some of the songs on the album. I spent a big block of time working on the drums and bass for Sing So Loud, the song that is in 5-4. The drums came out so so well, but I needed to edit a couple of takes together (the engineer laid out the session so that each take was NEXT to the one before instead of creating new playlists. I know this is faster for him, but it made it really hard for me to cut and paste between drum tracks!).
I'm happy with the drums now, but am having trouble getting the bass to be an appropriate mix of pop, funk, and background. As a bass player, sometimes I want it to be fancier than it should...

ALSO, I got in touch with my friend Sarah who is a fabulous designer, and is going to help me with the icon/t-shirt/web design for the project. The goal for the T-shirts, since they are going to BE the album art, is for them to be informative, but also something people really want to wear. Any suggestions? Ideas? Know of a great deal on awesome bulk t-shirts?

In other news, there really IS a blizzard in New York tonight. It has been threatening to blizzard for days and days, but the snow gods have finally delivered, and there is about a foot of snow piled on top of everything outside. I was walking to work at 6 this morning, and found the city quite peaceful (if a little chilly).


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How it's sounding WITH bass

I have actually figured out both the technology to record the bass AND the technology to upload songs successfully. For the sake of comparison I'm uploading the same section of Gotta Get Out, but with bass today. See what you think - this is without any effects or compression or fanciness. Still, I think it sounds lots cooler.
I'm about to add bass to a couple of other songs as well - it took 2 hours to do Gotta Get Out, but I recorded AND edited the bass part, so now it's all fixed and perfect and ready to go. So if you don't like it, keep it to yourself!


note: if you are listening on the crappy speakers that come on your laptop, you may not be able to hear the bass. Try headphones, earphones, fancy speakers, or blasting it in your car.

See ya soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

How it's sounding!

I'm hoping this works.
I'm feeling particularly technologically inadequate today, yet I KNOW that somewhere on the Internet, there is a sample of one of my songs for you to hear.

You should be able to hear it if you click here.
Here's the info on it:
This is a sample of Gotta Get Out, one of the new songs I recorded last week. What you hear:
Drums (final version)
3 guitars (probably not final versions)
vocals (DEFINITELY not final version)
Piano (final version).
If it's not the final version of something, that means I'm planning to edit, redo, or replace that sound with something else. Just thought you'd all like to know that while I'm not blogging every day, I'm WORKING on things!

My plan tomorrow is to add bass to lots of tracks. I'll start with this one and upload it so you can hear the difference!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Recording in the studio. Mmmm....

FINALLY, after years of writing, months of planning, and weeks of arranging, Ashley Baier and I headed to the studio today to record drums and extra whatnots.
We headed to Gardentone at 11:30 with a full bag of bagels and snacks and OJ, and a car full of drums and guitars. I picked Ashely up at her place, we loaded her gear into the car, and navigated our way to Williamsburg to the studio.

Steve Wall met us at the studio and immediately we started setting up drums and mics. Believe it or not, this part of the day took about 2 hours, and that was an extremely fast setup. Ashley used a good deal of Steve's drum set which was already in the studio with mics already mostly arranged. Still, we had to get everything set perfectly, put up sound barriers in the right places, and also make sure that Ashley could see me through the window into the control room.

While Ashley and I both made sure we looked superfly for our day at the studio, it only took about 10 minutes of working to give us both earphone hair, one of the many dangers of recording. Of course, at some point early on, I had to change out of my stylish shoes and into my comfy comfy sandals...

Once we had everything set up, we started going down our list of songs with drums. We had rehearsed each song approximately 2 times together, and Ashley nailed them ALL. I wish you could have heard how great she was. The songs have such energy and drive now - I'm super excited. While we recorded the drums, we also recorded guitar and vocals. Since we were doing both at the same time, we couldn't use acoustic guitar, so we focused on electric guitar tracks. Here I am enjoying Steve's fancy new Fender.

We had a break for dinner at 6:30, then back to work. Around 10pm our friend, Melissa Li came by (WITH homemade sushi!), providing a much-needed morale boost as we started getting a little goofy. Once we finished drum tracks, we started in on some other extras. We took advantage of Steve's beautiful piano and I started tracking a brand new song. Ashley did some extra percussion parts, and I had some fun with amps and feedback. About 11:30pm, we were exhausted and even more goofy, and decided to pack up for the day.

I drove Ashley and Melissa home, came home myself, walked the dog, and went to SLEEP. As soon as I have a chance to go through the tracks, I'll post a sample of one or two of the songs as they currently sound (probably on my website). For NOW, enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

So. Life got a little crazy on Monday, and my scheduled got twisted around. I went to Whole Foods for my first day of work to find out that I couldn't start until after my orientation, which was scheduled for Wednesday (that's today). Realizing that it would mean I would not be able to make the trip to DC over the weekend to rehearse, I quickly called Liz and Nancy who were super sweet and flexible, and I drove to DC to meet them Monday night instead!
Good news on the CD front: That meant I had 8 hours of car time to listen to my demos and start making notes about tempos and possible backing vocals. I also started listening to my favorite CDs to pick out sounds I want to include on my album.

Conclusion: My favorite CD of all time (right now) is Whitechocolatespaceegg by Liz Phair.

NOW I'm going to Whole Foods.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sundays are hard

Today slipped away. I slept in (had a great show last night and then dinner with my DAD, who was in town, but didn't get home until 1:30) and then got swallowed by errands. And I got convinced to go to yoga and grocery shopping. So, with a house full of delicious food, a lengthened spine, and a heavy heart, I report that I did NOT do any of my music homework today. Tomorrow I start working at Whole Foods, which I'm REALLY excited about, both because I'll get to learn a ton about beer, coffee, and cheese, and because it has been more than 6 months since I have made money doing anything but playing music. It will be nice to be able to go out to dinner once in a while.
TOMORROW, I will get lots done. Don't worry.
And today I DID confirm that I WILL be recording all day on Friday. With Ashley.
Here's to getting more done tomorrow...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Two days worth of posts. Oops.

After making a big promise to my mailing list about how I'm going to blog every day, I missed a day yesterday. I blame PMS. It's a very difficult 2 weeks of every month for me. But yesterday I did lots of work practicing my new material since I have a show tonight. Still haven't learned all the words to my new songs, but hopefully I can muddle through.

TODAY the big news is that I finally know my schedule for next week, and it WILL include studio time at Gardentone on Friday! I'm super excited. I have lots of work to do now to prepare - have to get all of the tempos for the songs set, and make sure I know all of the forms. Once the drums are laid down, it will be much more difficult to change my mind.

OK, time to memorize words!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So many new songs!

I've had several people ask me which songs are going to be on my new album.
I'm taking time today to go through my list and finish writing the last few songs. Here's my list so far.
- So Long My Love
- Is This My Life?
- She Says She Knows
- So They Say
- What if We Try
- There Rose a Rose
- Hallelujah
- Gotta Get Out
- Tired Lonely Fools
- Sing So Loud
- Friends and Fools
- new song (not done)
- new song (not done)

I have some really really rough demos done - not good enough for posting, but I'll try to polish one or two of them up so you can get your ears on some previews.
Now, back to writing!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm making a new CD!

After years of pressure from friends to graduate from my dinky myspace blog, I have decided to start a real live actual blog to help document the process of creating a new CD. Especially because I have asked for so much help from you (my fans - hi!) to create the CD, I thought it would be nice of me to give frequent updates about my progress.

So, here's a brief history to bring us up to speed:
- 1977, Tamara Levi is born
- 1977, no one calls her Tamara
- 1981, Mara takes her first piano lesson
- 1991, Mara plays in her first jazz ensemble
- 1995, Mara joins an a cappella group AND sings in her first choir
- 1996, Mara forms Kid Sampson with Jeremy and later with Mike
- 1997, Kid Sampson releases "This Is A Real Album"
- 2000, Kid Sampson releases "Last Chance Soda"
- 2001, Kid Sampson breaks up but in a nice way
- 2003, Mara releases her first solo album, "Life's a Ball"
- 2007, Mara releases "What Are You?"
- 2009, Mara begins fundraising for "We Listen to Fools"

And here we are. We Listen to Fools is the name of the new CD I'm working on. I have 11 completed songs, and 2-3 more to write. I have big plans for this album - I think the songs are really radio-friendly, I'm not planning to print CDs - just T-shirts with album art and then digital music that everyone can download, AND, I'm planning to work with some FABULOUS musicians, engineers, and designers.

Rehearsed with Ashley Baier, the fabulous drummer who will be recording with me! We played through a FEW of the songs more than once, but she's so good, that's all we needed to do. Also, she has a huge house and 2 cats. What's not to love?

I went to Gardentone Studio today and met with Steve Wall. We talked for about 45 minutes and he gave me a small tour of his studio and some of his recordings. It got me SO excited to get back in there!

A note about the funds:
As of 1/13/2010 we have raised $1500 for the production of the album. THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed! If you haven't, but would like to, please go to and contribute whatever you feel you can. At the very least, in exchange for your contribution, I'll give you a copy of my new CD. If you'd like to give more, there are other goodies in store. More about that later.

Now I'm off to a job interview because this computer doesn't pay for itself!
Can't wait to talk to you more,