This page is developing into an overview diary. If you scroll down you will see where I’m coming from and/or you can visit my About page to find what I’m currently about! ENJOY…
Change is afoot. I have moved to a new land, where I was bought kicking and screaming. I am falling in love with this land – Canada. As a family we are stepping out, a house to move into, my faith being deepened and album one very nearly there. It is Epic. The search for identity and brand is a mountain to climb. How to get the songs out to reach the widest audience the task and to generate something back to pay bills part of the challenge. How will the next twelve months go?
Site back up – well done Nic Garnet for the rescue. I’ve just bought another, cleaner site so this will change soon as I move into the music with more focus.
A trip back to blighty, run done afterwards and only just getting energy back. Yet somehow things are in the air here in Canada. The snow is gorgeous, the sky is blue and I took my son skating this evening by the Lakeside. Interesting how one’s attitude can change even though one’s circumstances have not.
Something good’s coming this year I can feel it…
Goodness me. I have three Mastered music tracks. IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN (ITTA) – a Christmas song, DONALD AND THE BUTTON OF DEATH (DATBOD) – an epic question about The President Elect and GENTLE LOVE SONGS (GLS) – a jazzy gentle love song. I’m also completing two short films to accompany ITTA and DATBOD. Two Producers: Andrew Smith of Lakeview Studios and Bob Gabelhouse of Big Audio have worked with me to get these tracks done. Andrew doing ITTA and DATBOD.
More than this Christiane – my wife – is on DATBOD and Tiger – my son – is on ITTA. Family Slater at work and C took the ITTA photo. Team Slater in action.
Now I have to get them online and sort out the admin and artwork etc.. Moved to Canada then – that complicates matter’s. And it’s too late for this Christmas! But hey – there’s always ‘next Christmas.’ I’m thinking #DATBOD might have some traction – we shall see. Album also in production right now…
In Kelowna, Canada as Permanent Residents of this fair country. Beautiful scenery, lovely people an Entrepreneurial culture and getting some things done in a different way as my studio has been nuked.
So in some ways it seems progress is being made towards this musical vision I have. In other ways the harsh reality of leaving a place you love, a view over the sea and things that were sorted and safer is a big deal for me today.
Half full = opportunity – half empty = so much lost. A usual experience for an emigrant with a sensitive soul? So generating, from start up, once again, an act of will. Character building? Yes.
Perhaps the nearer I get to realising something the harder the final steps become – towards a summit, etc etc… Or maybe…
Hey ho – snow coming soon.
What a time of life this is. Eight weeks to go before we board a one way trip to Kelowna, Canada via Vancouver. I will loose the facility I have built and only used in part as a music/TV studio. No job to go to, no house to go to – a great school for our son Benjamin (8). An Adventure… Nothing like stepping out to shake things up.
And I am hoping to get some things finalised before I go – a video, a song or two. It has taken me a long – long time to get to being able to create and produce the song and yet… that is what I take with me and my family. A catalogue of songs and an ability I did not have in the past. How will that be in a different climate? What can be achieved?
A was speaking with Trevor who is a Vicar last Monday. He showed me a rhodendendrum. We had it here and it didn’t grow he said. We then moved it to here and now look at it. It was flourishing. He said no more. Struck me this weekend – it does takea while for things to sink in that a certain Jesus Christ told stories too. It also landed with this ‘sharp as a bowling ball’ mind of mine that perhaps he was suggesting different soil may enable growth. Ahh there you go.
Stepping out then. Lots to do.
I am building seventeen music tracks for production. We’ve created and staged fourteen shows to start to get me used to performing music last month. There were some Car Crashes and some lovely moments. I found it is very different performing with keyboards and vocals or guitar and vocals. An intense and profitable learning experience. I bought a new guitar for the shows, and it was lovely but had a smaller neck so I wasn’t comfortable with it. So I’ve upgraded and now I have a black one. Much more expensive. Not sure. For the money I should be loving it…
I am fighting deadlines and trying to get songs down. So much to do – all the time. And no output yet. Still. Still… I have songs, they are part recorded and when the vocals are in we can start to move on. Just need to learn the notes for Studio Recording as against playing with the instrument which I find easier. So I’m notating all the songs which – again – takes time.
So – apart from having Man Flu – again – and being overwhelmed with the amount still to do and having a filming deadline screaming towards me in April all is relaxed!!! Ah well some commentary to give me a respite. Oh but I’m hosting… so I’ll have to have my thinking cap on for technical.
At least life is not boring….
I have not been Blogging – been getting on. Focusing on being able to perform. I realise I have been ‘skimming’ my songs and not really being able to perform them. I am told that performing on guitar or piano at the same time as singing ‘really well’ is very difficult. Super challenge. Been Busking and now some Open Mics to come. All to get those performance muscles attuned in this new realm of music performance. Coaching from Pete = awesome, lessons on guitar all great – Stay in time! A show video that is turning into a potential James Bond epic film (well not quite but not far off) is coming along. My Christmas Song misses Christmas again – she is waiting… Next year:)
Complete the song – that was a strand on a Mind Map I dug out last week dated 2006! That is what I am doing today. As I reach each new level of production, composition, mixing, singing na playing all the parts and arranging etc etc I am breaking through those challenges that I have put off and shied away from. Always making new songs but never completing one for publication.
Step by step I go. It takes me time and ‘time IS money!’ But… I though my life was over when I finished skating as I had no purpose, now everyday I have purpose and I am creating a piece of music that, when it is complete will, for me, be an equal achievement to when I skated and garnered audience applause as Charlie Chaplin back in 1984. Now that will be something…
Hmm – interesting – so nothing’s happened since Jan 2014 then? And deadlines missed.. again? Hmmm… Indeed. Well time rolls on and things are procrastinating and yet not. I came to the conclusion that my performing skills were not up the level I want them to be. So I have set about focusing to improve these. And they have improved – and are improving. So I work away with Songs coming and lyrics abounding developing on the mission of delivering songs that are performed and produced professionally. It takes me a while! And yet, starting from where I was, it would probably take anyone a while too. Wise to be spreading myself across different disciplines? – A mile width and an inch deep one chap once said. Probably not and yet… stubbornly I continue on this track.
Right now it’s establishing ‘The Pipeline’ to production. From creation to production and promotion. Then the plan is to use that same pipeline to deliver products I have created…. So little by little, step by step things come…
The year has started with stepping out of my comfort zone by doing a mud run – Hellrunner. Did it, learnt lots. I have, probably prompted by this created a plan of action for the year. Now – sticking to it will be the key. LOADS TO DO – A book for June scheduled as well as a music single to be released.
I am still on the journey to complete a song. This involves preforming, recording, mastering. Currently on vocals. The goal is to learn the process so that this can be applied to all other songs in the future. It’s a bit daunting, especially vocals! But progress is being made and success is to the brave as they say. An Epic Track being created… Nothing like starting with an esy one then Slater! Love N
Since loosing Jon Freddy I have, I think, been trying to catch up on what i doing to develop music and film. Perhaps striving too much – A disastrous trip to Paris and a 55th!!! birthday don’t help. Time is passing and I haven’t produced anything. So I have an ‘End of Term Project’ – Complete a song. That is what I am embarked upon. It would probably be easy for you and I guess, looking in on this the question would be – well just do it. But… well I find I have loads to address as Producer Artist still. And the artist needs to grow…
So I work away, with distractions and with other lyrics and songs coming and pray for wisdom and competence to produce something of value… A bit scary at times so tough gym training keeping the ‘Demons of Doubt’ at bay to a degree… What a journey this is…
Something has shifted for me with Jon Freddy. Something about THE NOW being the race, the acting on my promptings and somehow that’s very different. My studio is working in a much tighter way, piano much better and guitar too, singing getting better as well. I am writing loads and starting to write songs with music. My feeling is I need to be able to complete things quickly – otherwise they don’t get completed as I move on to next… That has always been the goal – to facilitate the artist me in doing lots…
I had a full week of studio last week for the first time in ages. It was wonderful. Another one to come. Rock n Roll…
It’s not the happiest of New Year’s as Jon Freddy has left us and gone to that party in the sky. I am prompted to write… They say in all the songwriting books that being in a comfortable space makes it difficult to be creative. !!! Maybe one day I’ll find that – but not right now.
Christmas is upon us. I am in a place of writing perhaps stimulated by the War Zone , with the challenge we face with our unborn son Jon Freddy Slater we find oursleves in. No one pays me to write presently, they have done in the past, but – somehow the words and music flows and to stop it would be wrong. I stand in hope that, when compiled and produced there will be value there for people. We shall see. What is great is that I am not dry… One day perhaps I may have a dry spell, but I can’t see it at the moment. I continue to develop skills in Music Production and I’m excited about the possibliities in that area. Lots to do so not bored!
If you read this I wish you a peaceful and happy Christmastime.
Time flies. My challenge right now is that I am being ‘A One Man Army’ for much of the time as I seek to develop my artistic skills alongside my production capabilities. It all takes time if it is to be done well which is the only way for me to do it. So opportunities for TV shows or anything else are on the back burner. The main thing being the main thing is in developing artistically and as a Music Producer for me.
Much has been done. My competence in areas I could not perform in before has been increased. But / and ‘The Proof of the Pudding is in the eating’. Show me the song Nicky. I know I know.
Virtual instruments, templates for music production, sonic dimension study for my Music Producer hat along with piano, guitar and singing development with my Artist’s hat on are all moving ahead. Exhausting and full on focus but brilliant too as thimgs develop. (Just wish it was quicker and praying for team to come at the right time…)
The words and music continues to come – over 500 lyrics and many melodies. The challenge then comes to pick which ones to develop to production!!!
Keep on keeping on. As every Olympian knows, now is the time to put the work in, it’s the studying alone, the in the gym getting/staying in shape, the focus on being the best you can be out of the spotlight. That’s where I am right now head down working as wisely and hard as I can praying that I’m using my time wisely.
We shall see…
Focus is STUDIO READY – which is in creating a space to all me AS ARTIST to create music, visuals and audio products. It’s a mountain to climb and I’m near the summit…
MARCH 2012 > MARCH 2013
I am working on ‘Making Lots of Pots.’ This is a metaphor for ‘Learning By Doing’ which I read recently. Pots to me are: music, lyrics, videos, writings… Daring to make squiggly pots, pots that are not perfect and lots of them. In time I hope that I will be able to make great pots. To enable this I’m completing a studio to facilitate this process.
I find it a challenging journey that is building on what’s gone before that you can read about below….
I have completed ‘A YEAR OF LEARNING’ Reflections are posted here. I am now looking at ‘What’s Next?’…
I am on a journey to create music and film and, as of February 2011, I am taking a year off to pursue this.
I now see this Chapter of my life as a progression from everything I have done in the past. My past? I’ve competed and performed on ice as a dancer, acting a part as a dancer in the round. Worked as a presenter and broadcaster. Written and designed many things that have never been published and some things that have. I’ve created and produced shows including in my own ‘little’ shows and had one 9 to 5 job along the way. All this has lead me to this point.
Truth is I have been stopped on many occasions by what people may say or have said about what I do or plan to do in the past. I abruptly finished an ice dancing career – announcing it was over on National TV in Britain – and then didn’t have the courage to put my hand up and ask someone to skate with me. One young lady many years later, when I skated with her (the best ice dance moment of my life by the way) said. “Where were you ten years ago?” I was stuck, down and lost. Sad perhaps but true, or I was fighting to find my way but never sticking at anything. There have been an awfull lot of ‘Doing something in order to…” get somewhere. That was a long time ago but still there are lessons for me that I will never forget.
I still find it scary somedays in daring to take time off as bills continue to come, as they do for all of us, and as I learn to step further than I have done before in the music. I see and feel I have something to contribute and have been profiled to have musical abilities. But how will that pan out for me and my family in the future? I have hope and an overall plan but I am learning more and more that to truly play full out requires courage and risk.
It will definitely be scary to ‘come out’ and sing in public that’s for sure. I’ve done it few times – the pub, the rugby club, the charity gig, church and the old people’s home, being Frank Sinatra for the ladies and gents – only one person dropped off! But to really sing properly. This will be a huge deal for me. I’m aware I could keep putting it off if I’m not careful! I need a deadline to really make me do stuff. The last ten minutes always create energy for me. But at the same time all of this lights up my heart and feels like I have a purpose. It’s akin to that of trying to be a World Champion that drove me forward in my competitive skating days.
I am in training and I am learning: vocals, piano, guitar, songwriting, composition, music and video production and about what it takes to create and direct film. It’s a mountain from artistry to technology!
Maybe you read this and think... Focus on one thing at a time, master of none Jack of all is a danger for you Nicky. It is true and you are right, I am being very ambitious in not focusing on just one area. I only have so many ‘energy hours’ as Margarita Sweeney Baird (a former coach) once told me. I do hit overwhelm on occasion – weekly. However, right now I feel this is the right track. I am broadening my palate and my appreciation of the art and craft of being a Songsmith. I am learning about ‘being artist’ rather than being sportsman or producer.
Perhaps I will be 93 before I publish anything? My beautiful wife Christiane will be expecting results far earlier than that – as do I. The plan is for 2011 to be a year out to be learning. 2012 producing…. It’s a risk to take a year out, bills don’t stop and perhaps I could get more TV work and stay in that field but, from experience I know I need the time to focus. In past years I’ve moved things forward but not fast enough, it’s time to get serious and literally put my money where my mouth is!
I am developing more of an understanding of the crafts I am studying. Writing with different instruments gives me different frameworks to reference and as my skill develops I’m excited by what’s possible, although just having a few chords does have it’s benefits. I am aware that knowledge can take away the rawness of ‘just doing it’ and bear this in mind. But I love learning of the links between composers of yesteryear and present day singer / songwriters. ‘The Magic is in the Music’ for me and I love learning about it’s structures, relationships and quirks.
Film? Christiane (my lovely wife) has a vision to do film and I have adopted it. Actually I have always seen film as the biggest show and I love creating shows. I find I am naturally the Writer / Director, she is naturally ‘the eyes’ the cinematographer. So as things develop I see we can be a great team. She also sings like an angel and I plan duets and to write specifically for her in the future. A vision of working together like John and June Carter Cash did is always in my thoughts. I love creating the concepts, storyboarding and realising visuals that go with the music.
I have always had an ear for music. I sat on my father’s knee with him editing the 1/4 inch tape on his Ferrograph reel to reel machine. Using Logic (my music editing programme on my Mac) reminds of that time as I cut and paste musical sections. I used to say to the people editing my skating music, “Just take it from there and cut it back in again there.” “It won’t work.” I was often told. I’ve listened to that line too many times in my life. But on those occassions I would ask for it ‘To just be tried out.” It always worked.
In the mid eighties a gentlemen called Mike Batt agreed to write some music for me and Karen Barber to skate to. It became Dragon Dance. We stood in the control room of Wembley studios the assembled throng of the London Symphony Orchestra below us with Cliff Richard’s backing band there for good measure. The recording was done. Four minutes eighteen seconds. Sounded wonderful but – “Mike, it has to be ten seconds either side of four minutes. Those are the rules. You will have to cut it down.” I said. He pondered. We could remove the violin bit. But the orchestra moaned, partly because the lead violin is a very important person in the orchestra, and partly because they were winding Mike up I think. “Mike how about you cut that bit from there to there? If you take those bits out, it will work.” I suggested. It all went very quiet in that control room. Apparently telling the composer what to cut was not normally what was done. But I didn’t know. There was a hesitation then Mike put a line through those bars and the orchestra played through again and it was four minutes eight seconds. Job done. At least this is how I remember it! Teamwork. I like to think that these two examples show I have a ear and aptitude for music – but then I may be delusional which, in itself can sometimes be a help when writing songs. Discuss.
Anyway Mike (Batt) is an inspiration to me in what he has done and does today. I sent him a hastily, and ‘searching for my way’ demo several years ago. He wrote back, the gist being …”You’re a really nice guy and a very good ice skater but PLEASE don’t continue with the music…” I have hidden out ever since and continue to do so looking to develop my skills little by little until I dare to share the results… It was great advice. I’ll never send a demo like that again!
I am, at the time of writing fifty two years old! Goodness. David Grant said to me, when I shared my baby dream of songwriting a few years back, “Writing now, you have a wealth of life experience to draw on,” as I sat in their home hearing music flow from it. Carrie saying “I’m just writing a song.” She was choreographing a skating solo I did for Songs of Praise! How I wanted to be able to do that – the songwriting not the skating. He is right, I have a back story and David is always encouraging, a rare and beautiful gift. And you know what, however it sounds I can do this. I just need (1) people around me to do all the engineering and marketing stuff whilst I concentrate on being artist or, as is the case right now (2) I do the majority myself and bring others on board later. There is a bit of me hidding out until I’m good enough going on too! But maybe I shouldn’t share that? Oh, by the way I’ve had lessons and now work from online and David and Carrie’s ‘You Can Sing’ book is part of my training! Small world.
My bottom line is for me to do everything I can to be the best I can on this singer/songwriting journey. I have always loved entertaining and this is taking ‘Being Entertainer’ to a new place for me. With a wife who is backing me, a space to grow into what could be, I am sure. If I got to those pearly gates and haven’t given my all to making this work I’ve missed something important in my life.
I think it’s about ‘Being vulnerable’ at the end of the day for me. Music is about emotion and the artist needs to be open to fully express what the emotion is for him or her. Or course this might mean something else to everyone else but as long as it reaches the listeners/watchers heart then the job is done. Finding your voice, finding your sound is, I read, a part of the journey too. I’m not completely there yet. It will come. Of course having a thick skin to cope with feedback and disappointments and deal with the business is also needed. A juxtaposition for the artist and something I find challenging. I tend to hide away as I develop things.
I was in France the other day and I noted the difference in how ‘The artist’ is treated – maybe it was my imagination. My romantic notion of the French. I do love Mont Maitre though and have loved to hang out there in the evenings in the past. It reminded me that if we don’t go for what’s on our hearts. We are missing something… Perhaps not the teutonic stiff upper lip ‘get it done’ mentality perhaps a little more laid back – that used to drive me crazy when working with French people in broadcasting – a little more of that French insouciance is coming out in me. But then, I do have some French blood, along with some Irish – so I may be talking blarney?
Anyway this is my journey and I’m going to share it here. The net being my home. The book is opened, the pen ready, the guitar and keyboard tuned, the website here so onwards looking upwards I go.
I hope you are able to follow your heart and your dream too. If I can do it, anybody can!
Photo © Copyright 2010 Christiane Elizabeth Slater