Learning from the Best

25 Jun

June offered a couple of unique opportunities to dive into some deep learning with some amazing folks.

First up, Imogen Heap came to town. It’s been 10 years or so since I’ve seen her perform – she played in Austin a couple of times at La Zona Rosa (RIP to that venue), and then spent a lot of time doing cool stuff like inventing the Mi.Mu Gloves and producing for Taylor Swift and writing music for Harry Potter. You know, normal stuff.

I’m on the fan email list, and last year they sent us all a note and said:

  • Imogen is touring the US in 2019
  • We don’t know where or when
  • Wanna buy a ticket?

Of course I was in. They planned the tour based on a lot of things, I am sure, but took into account all our location requests. I would have traveled for it but luckily Austin was on the list. There was also a workshop about Imogen’s Creative Passport Project, and that was really cool to attend. More about that soon…they’re doing good things with it.

The performance was, of course, insanely good. Aside from writing with Taylor, Ariana Grande is also a big Imogen fan and covered one of her songs on her latest album. It’s cool to see the pop stars of today respecting a real pioneer in self-produced electronic music.

Then it was off to a workshop with Jonantha Brooke at Blue Rock Studios in Wimberley. What a gorgeous place for a workshop. Jonatha is like a pop folk icon for the ages, so it was a no brainer for me to wrangle a way to attend. I think every so often it’s good to be a student, and the opportunity to study songwriting with someone of her stature was incredible.

Erin Ivey (a true badass) was also there and we were so inspired by Jonatha reading this obituary of Mabel Stark, tiger trainer, that we wrote a song for Mabel right there and then on the porch in the evenings after the workshop. Jonatha and Billy, fearless leaders they are, asked us to record it on Sunday morning. That was the fastest inception-to-recording of a song I have ever experienced, and I am proud of the result! It’ll show up somewhere for public consumption soon, I am sure.

I’d say it was hard to go back to real life after these experiences, but they are actually…really real life. Seek out cool stuff and it’ll seek you, too.

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