DIAMONDS IN THE COAL
first promo for Cassidy Haley’s sophomore album, The lovers, featuring @ritualfashion gear; armour jacket, chainmail gloves. shot by Jean Renard

first promo for Cassidy Haley’s sophomore album, The lovers, featuring @ritualfashion gear; armour jacket, chainmail gloves. 

shot by Jean Renard

ritual-fashion:

http://www.makelifearitual.com
Ritual Fashion 
Model Jillian Ann

ritual-fashion:

http://www.makelifearitual.com

Ritual Fashion 

Model Jillian Ann

THE LOVERS…two years later

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Hello my faithful followers! Those of you who are left anyways. It has been so long. I have been rather quiet and so its hard to tell who still even remembers me. Part of why i have been a bit reserved over the past year is that I have this lingering promise to fulfill with many of you who donated to my album. I feel I won’t be able to feel right about the world until this album is done, and out in the hands of those of you who have supported its birth.

I am realizing it has created a rift in my connection to you all because whenever I think about communicating like I used to; freely and constantly about all the wonderful and absurd things I was doing…there is that looming feeling that I have promised something that has not been delivered.

We are at the two year mark now. literally today. The songs were all written over a year ago. I have so many new songs just waiting for THE LOVERS to be completed. It haunts me. I never wanted a record label because I didn’t want to be beholden to anyone, especially old rich guys who care only about the bottom line. And yet, ironically, with this album, I am now beholden to 200 generous folks who were crazy enough to follow me on this journey and care about the art, not the bottom line. In a way I would almost prefer the old rich men running a record label because I don’t care about disappointing them. The people that donated to my album, I care about very much. And what haunts me is the fear that I will not provide everything I promised. That it won’t be good enough. That ill forget some reward I cleverly came up with at the beginning of this whole thing which now seems like so much more work than I imagined.

Granted, things did not go as planned. I did not plan on being left heartbroken and bewildered by someone I should never have let into my life right before starting this album. A breakup that would leave me literally broken, wondering how the hell I got there. But starting this album saved me. when I was left all alone. It gave me something to live for again.  

I also did not plan on finding my soul mate mere months later. I did not plan on her inspiring me to become everything I’ve always wanted to be. To not settle for mediocrity. To fight for the life I could create. Which caused me to reconsider the level of quality i was prepared to execute with THE LOVERS. The “good enough” mentality with which i had released the last few singles before starting this album was just no longer..well…good enough. This caused me to abandon the mixes i finished within six months of the kickstarter. they just were not good enough.

I also did not plan on building the project of my dreams over the course of these two years…a multi-media lifestyle and entertainment company through which I could do all the art i ever wanted, under one entity. RITUAL. A band, a fashion line, a performance troupe. Everything I’ve ever wanted to do. The songs we are writing together are so magical. And the shows we are planning are so fun. And doing fashion again is so fulfilling creatively.  I have never been able to collaborate with anyone like this. And yet, this album is still there, looming ever more in my future. Sometimes it seems as though it will never be finished. At other times I convinced myself that you all don’t believe it will happen either. Sometimes I almost want to throw it all away. but a promise is a promise. And these songs are very dear to me. And you all are very dear to me. And so I continue.

I did not plan on realizing that i just don’t have, and maybe never will have, the skills to engineer the album I heard in my head.  I valiantly struggled to find the right sound even while spinning in circles and never getting much farther. Jillian tells me I don’t have to do everything. That my promise was to use the funds i raised to record and produce THE LOVERS, which i have, and that letting someone else engineer the album is not a failure. It’s like having our factory in Bali produce a perfect sample from my prototypes..and I agree with her. But it still feels like giving up. Because I had set my mind on doing it myself. And I don’t give up easy. And yet…I just got off a plane from Pittsburgh where I played a show for a wonderful fan and her friends. Just me and my guitar. I had forgotten what that was like.

Under the haze of computers and drum loops and reverb and compression I had forgotten why I am even doing this to begin with. It is not to prove i can engineer an album. That is the ego. It is to take all the struggle and pain and arduous journey of self-reflection and growth and turn it into something beautiful. To give it purpose. So that it might make a difference and justify its existence in my life. That’s why I do this.

So now, I am declaring to all of you who will listen, it is time. It is time to finish THE LOVERS once and for all and take care of all those rewards ive promised..to paint those god damn paintings I promised and record those god damn cover songs I promised and print the god damn t-shirts I promised and get this god damn album done! hahhha. I say all this with so much love. I am very excited to make the rewards for those of you who have contributed. I cant wait for you to hear my album, THE LOVERS.. I can’t wait for you all to hear the music I am making with my girlfriend as RITUAL. And to take our show on the road and come to all your home towns and share our magic with you…Our love…

I am in love…I am so happy with what I am creating with the love of my life. It is my dream come true. I want to include you all in the process. But I need to get this album done before I can be free to create what’s next. It feels like I’m cheating on you all to focus on a new project before THE LOVERS is complete. Which I know is a bit crazy. I’ve always had side projects. I had CASSIDY HALEY AND THE SUNSHINE REBELS…I had the next iteration which I just called THE SUNSHINE REBELS, I had my Boyband summer of 2011which was a BLAST…and now I have RITUAL. A project I can sink my teeth into with the perfect person as my partner. A clothing company. A band. A performance troupe. Everything I could have ever wanted. And all I have to do is finish THE LOVERS to fully embrace this destiny. And now, i am ready to pass the baton on to an engineer who knows so much more about the technical aspects of mixing and mastering an album. It is time to let go of the idea that i have to do everything myself.  Thank you for understanding. For your patience. And for sticking through two years later and for the next few weeks or months, as the case may be, as I finally complete and release… THE LOVERS.

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recent email to a concerned friend regarding manufacturing leather

hello!

jillian spoke of the lively discussion you two were having about the impacts of leather manufacturing. 
i wanted to chime in as this is a topic i have thought about for years upon years.
As a conscious individual who sees the most for humanity, the leather and veganism debate is very close to my heart. 
through all my research i came to the conclusion that in order to manufacture garments right now on this planet, someone has to get screwed somewhere. 
there is no ethical option, at the level we are operating on now, for an impact-free manufacturing process.
as much as i do not like the tanning and dying process and the slaughter involved in leather, i do not like the petroleum-based economy that is destroying civilization as we know it even more and absolutely any synthetic fabrics such as polyester or pleather is petroleum based. as far as im concerned these fabrics are a part of a much larger problem than leather. our petroleum based culture is suffocating us. obviously we live in it and cant avoid driving cars that run on petroleum or using plastic derived from petroleum, but i personally do not want it on my body or to sell anything made from it. 
So for outerwear and jackets that pretty much leaves you with leather. leather is the most durable, breathable, warm and protective substance because it is literally skin. there is nothing else like it. for generations it meant survival. it lasts extremely longer than other fabrics and moves and conforms like nothing else. i would love to find a sustainable way of procuring it. a system where the animals are treated with respect and the impact is minimal and i plan on developing this as soon as our company grows to the level it can afford the effort to do so. but for now we are stuck with what the industry has provided, like it or not. its like being a part of our culture means driving cars and using petroleum based plastics even though it is worst idea in history and we are burning from the inside out. there is no way around it right now in our society as it stands today. 
and PETA can suck my left tit because as far as I’m concerned they have done more damage to the perception of animal rights than any other organization. im so sick of celebrities all up in arms about fur on billboards and then they go eat a fucking cheeseburger wearing their leather heels. isolating the issue to just fur is really dangerous because it ignores the impact we have on animals everywhere else in our life. our entire food industry is based on horrible practices regarding animals. but the vegan debate is also something i have thought long and hard about. ive gone from full on vegan to full on carnivore and everything in between. last year i wanted to have a relationship with the death of the animals i ate. i have that now. i eat clean deer burgers and do it with honor. ive come to the conclusion that the death of animals and the consumption of life is a necessary part of being alive on this planet. 
research like the secret life of plants:
Exhibit D:
shows us that plants are just as much alive as we are, and even react emotionally to emotional stimuli. you only have to look as far as the forest to see life consumes life. each tree is clamoring for the sky and for each tree that has found a way to claim its little piece of sunshine there was another tree that was deprived of that light. there is no other way for life to exist. we have to consume life.  animal or plant makes no difference, we are still taking life. that does not mean that the horrific practices of our modern society are acceptable, but it does make me realize that honoring the life you take is more important than isolating and justifying one form of life you consume over another form of life you have decided not to consume. the life that is taken for our clothing can be treated in the same way. 
 
During my research i also found that “natural” plant-based fabrics like cotton are not any better..the agriculture around these mainstream fabrics is atrocious. from the toxic pesticides of the growing process to the huge amounts of water it consumes, to the human concerns of workers being exposed to chemicals and toxins not to mention the bleaching and dying process. its fucked.  and the so-called “organic” cotton is just as fucked because there is no regulatory institution that certifies that it is truly organic. usually its the same cotton sold at a higher price by cotton growers looking to make an extra buck on the “green” fad. so ya, nope. basically all big business plant-based fabrics are fucked up. 
here is a little review of the impact of modern fabrics 
Exhibit A:
so we are left with the only two sustainable fabrics im aware of, hemp and bamboo, which are cool. and expensive. and right now the offerings are limited and we would have to compromise our aesthetic so much that our company would not be what we want it to be nor would it generate the necessary enthusiasm to become profitable. it is not outerwear. it wont keep you warm really. and it is not sexy at all. besides our ethics around human rights and the environment, there is our artistic ethics to consider. our brand and it’s message about sex and love and spirituality are extremely important. there is an aesthetic that goes along with this. and that cant be sacrificed. so while we may do some t-shirts out of bamboo at some point, neither of these options is really viable for RITUAL at the moment. 
recycled leather can work for one of a kind items, but this is not scalable. we want our company to be able to grow and that is impossible using recycled leather.  
the whole thing is a huge catch 22 up the ass because no matter what we will be screwing somebody somewhere. whether the environmental considerations of the manufacturing process or the humanitarian considerations of workers in garment factories around the world… there really is no way around it given the manufacturing industry as it stands today. 
my brother-in-law works for a sustainable farm that raises cattle and sheep and is looking for a vegetable dye tannery and sales opportunities for the leather that comes from it. they sell organic meat at their own stores. that would be awesome. i would love to use vegetable tanned leather. if that goes through i am all in! but the time or energy to develop it is beyond our current scope.  
i also have huge ideas for a tree sap based rubberized hemp canvas which would act as leather and be totally sustainable.  i have high hopes for this tree rubber as leather idea. but again, the time and energy to develop this and make it cool enough is beyond our current scope as well. 
Exhibit B:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/rubber1.htm
also, here is someone growing fabric from a bacterial culture similar to kombucha which is soooo cool!!!! 
Exhibit C:
http://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_lee_grow_your_own_clothes.html
its so awesome! but we dont have the resources to develop this either. i wish i could hire a team of scientists to make this a working reality. but alas, we are but an embryo of a company and not even close to being able to do that.
and so, our only hope is to compromise as little as possible until we are powerful enough to reinvent the industry itself. with enough money and power we could do it too. we could divert huge resources towards inventing new sustainable fabrics that are grown in vats out of bacteria…we could do our own research, source our own materials, hire our own workers and invent a working environment that works on all levels for everyone. 
once our company gets off the ground. 
but to get it off the ground we have to choose our battles and the battle we are choosing is focused on the apathy and inhibitions of our culture. By seducing our followers to love freely and fully, embracing and cherishing their flaws and finding spirituality in their sexuality through our fetish and fantasy inspired high fashion we will be doing as much good as anyone can expect to do on this troubled world. at least to start. its a good start. there is time to add integrity to the manufacturing process. and someday there may even be resources to evolve the manufacturing industry itself through ecologically inspired science and research. but for now we must go down this path with what we have in front of us. and that path consists of extremely tight fitting leather corsets, harnesses and jackets that pull and push in all the right places. 
so, please excuse the length of this rant I just have a strong opinion about this and wanted to share it with you fully. it feels good to get all these thoughts into writing. in fact i may turn this into my latest blog post.
and i would love to continue this dialogue with you further if you have any ideas on how we could pursue a more ethical path with our manufacturing. 
-c
Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
Cloud Atlas 

my show from a few months back. as many of you know ive been experimenting with all sorts of ways to present my songs from just me and my guitar to a standard rock ensemble to what you see here, me and some back up dancers living out my gay popstar fantasy. not sure if i will continue this road or find something else, but it sure was fun! the dancers were amazing and have become dear friends,. thanks reggie and dennis! my friend suze q did the choreography and i was so grateful that she did. even if i never do this again im glad i did. 

i need to kill a chicken

and videotape it and post it online.

because i eat them. and they are dead. and over these past few days i realized that if i am going to eat something that once was alive i need to know what it is like for it to die so that each time i eat them i can honor them. also i watched my friend patrick wolf’s new music video and he has some cool taxadermy and the top comments were people crying in outrage over using these dead animals and i was like “do you KNOW what you fucking eat every day people?” how many of them were vegetarian? probably 1%. and yet here they were crying and hollering about some beautiful dead animals turned into art. and it got me thinking. so now, i need to post a video of me killing a chicken. i have never done this before. i may cry. i may become a vegetarian, or I may just take the life of the food i eat much more seriously. because death is serious. and something to honor. they would have us believe that it is not so serious. that it is more serious to show love. that love is a bigger crime than death (censorship of sex, etc) but they are wrong. love is something to celebrate. and sex as an extension of love is the highest form of that celebration. death is something to celebrate too, but only if it is done with honor. today not many deaths are handled with honor. and especially not the death of birds. and so, one of my goals for 2012 is to kill a chicken. and eat it. and film it. and post it. here is patrick wolfs video: i think its beautiful: 


laundry list 2011

just a short list of what i want to accomplish in my spare time in 2011. you know, i thought becoming an international pop-star wasn’t quite ambitious enough this year, so i figured id add a few things to my list. hmmmm, where to start?

oh yes:

1) separate church and state-

time to call our country’s bluff! a true separation would mean a neutering of the institution of marriage into a religious formality and instituting civil-unions for everyone who wishes to become partners, gay or straight. time for EQUALITY.

2) reform the EPA-

this environmental protection agency is anything but! corruption and antiquated concepts of environmental safety mean that this brilliant idea has become a joke. time to accurately measure environmental protection based on today’s science.  this agency COULD actually be enforcing sustainable practices across the country that would ACTUALLY save us from turning it all to shit. Its clear that humanities survival instinct is defunct and we really DO have to rely on some sort of enforcement agency to protect ourselves. YOU COULD BE THE ONE EPA!!!

3) reform the FDA-

why the hell is poisonous ass shit like aspartame allowed into our food? that’s some fucked up shit! why do we even have the FDA if they are going to lie and be bribed and let us poison ourselves unaware. did you know that these guys were recently BULLIED into allowing toxic shit like aspartame to be called “natural flavors” on our oh-so-friendly and informative packaging?? WTF??? if you are going to try to feed us fucked up shit at least tell us about it! and how about stopping us from eating pesticides, hormones, GMOs, and hostess cupcakes (recently had one, sure wish the FDA had stopped me, i gotta say) anyways, these guys gotta go. time for an overhaul folks! 

4) universal health care -

i mean COME ON. the rest of the progressive world has caught on that privatizing EVERYTHING doesn’t really work when humans are involved. we are to easily swayed by greed, not swayed enough by compassion. so our health insurance is a joke. Most of the modern word has realized that healthy people are productive people. And that companies wont ever put people before profits. i mean, I’m all for deciding where my money goes, but if we take private insurance companies out of the equation we can take care of everyone for a fraction of the price. because what do companies do? turn a profit. that’s the whole point. so the more we spend, the more they make, the better everything is. right? WRONG. ya as corrupt as our government is, id still prefer an entity that was at least created under the idea of supporting its communities. companies were created to turn a profit, nothing more nothing less. they are incapable of altering that initial reason for being. insurance companies are no different. and don’t get me started on the fucking pharmaceutical bitches we call doctors. so so many of them are on the fucking drug companies payroll. WTF?? that should be illegal. it is technically called a conflict of interest i believe. anyways, universal health care is entirely possible especially if we ( segue please..)

5) end the USA absurd global priorities -

get our military out of the fucking whole worlds ass! i mean come on! billions upon billions of dollars go into some fucked up petroleum based agenda that CERTAINLY doesn’t reflect my interests. short on cash for making people healthy? simple answer: stop making people dead! i mean we have enough bombs to destroy EVERYTHING, so do we really need to be sending kids all over the fucking world fulfilling god knows what secret agenda? NO. We need to be investing in infrastructure, education, and innovation. time for a nation is like a snake eating a mouse. what we do takes a long time before finally coming out the other side. so 50 years ago we had a few good priorities that are still allowing us to be the top dog, but in 50 years? when all our kids are uneducated, untreated, and malnourished, when our car-based road systems are crumbling, and the rest of the world is light years ahead of us..where will this great nation be then? and oil? come on folks get with the times! which brings me to my next item:

6) micro-solar economy-

sure the big solar grids are great, but if every single person owned a few solar apparatuses (which are getting better and better everyday!) we would need to rely a lot less on the huge Goliath of a national energy grid. ironically this SEEMS like it would fit the right-wing’s independent, every man for himself sort of mentality, but hey, that’s a different story. so lets just slap a shit ton of solar panels on EVERYTHING and where we are not slapping solar panels lets slap some air-filtering peace lilies and trees and BAM everything is looking a lot better, right? right!

7) national clean-tech transportation grid-

ya take that old-world power grid and turn it into a solar-run high speed light rail system! can you imagine zipping across the country in a day? watching the happy, clean skies and fresh blue waters of our country as we rush by? ya me to. sounds AWESOME! so why are we lagging so far behind the rest of the world in this matter? urban centers with high-speed rails connecting them is SO the future. and its sexy. and clean. a few have been started. but the resistance to this is..rather confusing..

8) REAL campaign finance reform-

here’s an idea. how about an even playing field for presidential nominees? give them each the same amount of money to work with and THEN see how the country votes? the whole idea of buying your way into office just STINKS and goes against everything our forefathers had in mind. plus did you know each election there are like 10 people running for president? can you imagine if each of them had the SAME funding as the other. our two party system would finally crumble and allow this gridlock to disappear. maybe we could actually make some real change. so on my list for 2011 is no private fundraising for competing political figures, the same allotted campaign budget for EVERY candidate and then i’ll just WATCH the elite squirm as the people finally get a clear and comprehensive look at who is going to be running our nation. making money and doing what’s right should NEVER be collapsed on top of each other. and yet, that is EXACTLY where we stand. its broken! lets fix it! campaign finance reform FTW!


ok well that shouldn’t be to hard! I’m putting this on my fridge.

champagne or suicide..

last week i reached a breaking point. some of you may have seen my tweet (@cassidyhaley) about my breakdown in MACY’S. it wasnt pretty but it wasnt quite as visually interesting as one might expect from a breakdown in MACY’S. it was very much internal. and it was the culmination of something ive been struggling with for the last month or so.

every year around this time i reflect on how far ive come and all the mistakes ive made. the successes and the failures….and this year was no different. but what was different is that it was such an intense rush of finally doing the things ive always wanted to do that this end of year wrap up was equally intense. i had to really come to terms with all the things that didnt go right. the plans i made that never happened, the goals and aspirations that fizzled out.

Ive learned so many lessons this year about how to do this thing called a music career. i just jumped head first into an industry ive always desired but never really experienced, and from day one it was one lesson after the other. And here i am, more than a year into it..and for a moment it was hard to see where i was going. i felt like giving up. i felt the challenges in front of me were too great. and in that numb and empty place, i wandered into a department store. now this may not seem out of the ordinary, but for me it really has huge significance.

department stores and mall mentality are representative of everything i resist about our culture. mass appeal, consumerism, conventional thinking. conventional clothing. plastic wrapped EVERYTHING. fake smiles and perfume and tranquilizing music sedating you into submission. ya. you dont find me in those sort so places very often. But here i was..so confused..so alone..grasping for some kind of grounding, familiar, safe environment..and it came in the form of MACY’S.

as much as i resist that culture it is as much a part of me as anyone in our country. department stores meant excitement to me when i was young. forgetting the world for those few minutes and BUYING something..being with family..so there i was, in this monolithic representation of our culture, of my childhood.

"why am I here?"  i asked the pretty rows of bath towels. so soft and matching to the hand towels, the soap dishes, and the myriad of other bath accessories..they seemed to be beckoning me into a world i knew nothing about.."iVE NEVER PURCHASED MATCHING BATH TOWELS..” i thought to myself, suddenly feeling like id done something terribly wrong in life..

"whats wrong with me?" i mourned..but the towels gave no answer. they simply plumped and preened enticing me with thoughts of impressing house guests…so i stumbled on…

"where am i going?" i asked the technologically savvy luggage that had FOUR wheels for ease of movement as the lady on the picture so clearly illustrated with her smiling, high-heeled (but not to high) brisk walk..SHE was going places. oh yes. somewhere exotic with an equally charming perfect husband..but alas, she gave no answer. 

"IVE NEVER PURCHASED MATCHING LUGGAGE", i thought…suddenly feeling like i had failed life because of that fact. i was reminded of a time when everything i owed that was meant for moving or carrying stuff was the same color blue. that was nice. but alas, the luggage had no answer as well. i stumbled along..

sipping my iced latte..my last graps on reality..there were toys and cleverly designed suit garment bags..and appliances..appliances for EVERYTHING. “how could one person fit ALL these appliances in their house?” i wondered..but again, no answer was given.

and so, with only questions gained from my expedition, i dejectedly wandered out into the streets. wistfully brooding on the life ive chosen..the path ive lived..the fierce determination to be free, independent, to make my own way, to fight for what i believe in…”was it worth it?” i asked the tall tall buildings of downtown LA..(violins SURELY playing melancholic overtures somewhere just beyond my ears..)

but all these grey giants gave me was enticement for a robust and epic journey of flying off the top of them. they seemed to mock my very will to live.

"what the hell is it all for?" i leered back at them..tempted, but determined to find answers before making rash and deadly decisions..

this startled me more than talking to towels and jet-setting luggage..even my uber-angst filled youth awash in acne and loneliness never brought even the passing thought of suicide… yet here was, an adult. living my dream. healthy and otherwise…lamenting life itself.

it all just seemed to much..the weight of the world and all its follies were so loud in my head i couldn’t see clearly..all the mistakes and hurdles i had yet to cross just pounded into me like some cruel madman lover..

so naturally i went to the gym.

and there, finally, i found solace.

WHY I HAVE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES AT THE GYM:                                                        1) my phone dies underground, leaving me unclouded by the outside world.

2) i am stripped of my identity by wearing the uniform of gym shorts.

3)i regain control of the one thing that i always can…my body. no matter how far out of control everything else is…i can always control what i do with my body. and that has been my saving grace time and time again.

so, here, among the strong and strong minded of downtown LA’s gold gym..i discovered what was missing. 

YES, i had contemplated suicide. I realized it was a natural reactionary thought to tmy first thought of the day which was to become a dentist. or a waiter. to leave this life of uncertainty and risk behind for something safe, albeit boring.BUT,  i realized, as the treadmill carried me along to some far off destination, that THERE IS NOTHING ELSE for me. i realized that i would rather die than give up. THAT if the weight of everything i faced was too much to handle, then I might as well be dead. DO OR DIE, as they say..

and with this melancholy epiphany, something shifted inside of me..a dawning of a realization, the stark reality that there was no turning back. that regardless of my immediate challenges,  ive come to far to turn around. i couldnt just give it all up and become a dentist. or a waiter. i literally would rather die than give up this journey. 

and suddenly i felt free. the weight was gone. no longer did the challenges seem life-crushing..suddenly they seemed liberating. like a rope hung from an impenetrable tower just within your reach when you are running from molten lava. these challenges are ACTUALLY the perfect thing that i need to experience in order to achieve my dreams. 

 and that my friends, is where i chose champagne. to celebrate. to succeed. to LIVE.

dying to live folks, i wrote it and believed it, but i didnt really get how much it was a personal declaration as much as call to others. now i get it. i am going to fuck LIVE. im gonna DIE LIVING. and im fucking DYING TO LIVE. 

and there you have it. everything changed in an instant. I strode home with a new confidence. a sense of purpose. my mind made up, and the fierce determination to succeed simmering in my veins. 

The funny thing is, that with this new perspective, i look back and as many mistakes as i made this year and as much as some things didnt turn out exactly as i had planned, i did a whole shit ton of a lot. I just was so blinded by the mistakes, i couldnt see the magic or the beauty. same thing i used to do in high school when i had one freakin pimple on my face and thought my life was over. it looked HUGE, but when i put it into perspective, it was such a small part of me..yet controlling so much of who i allowe myself to be. and this was doing the same thing.

this year i fucking produced and released my first album completely independently and made it into the top 100 on the rock itunes charts, developed a clothing line at the same time, started a magazine that is going stronger than ever, did two seasons of a reality show on my terms, played lots of shows around the country and the world with the help of an incredible and devoted following of rebels and lovers who are also a HUGE success and reason to celebrate. 

and of course, i didnt do it alone. i had the help of an amazing team. a team that continues to amaze me with their dedication and perseverance. And so im blasting into the new year. sailed blazing through the sea of possibility. the road behind me smothered forever by a tidal wave of molten lava called NO TURNING BACK. so i look forward. i cant wait to do it all over again with all this juicy experience behind me..


the cork has been popped. its time to celebrate! pass around the bubbly we’re gonna make it just fine!

in conclusion:

 you may notice some shifts in me. ive been clearing out the old and making room for the new. i gutted my youtube channel…including my music video, whiskey in churches. I know alot of you love it, and i still of course love it as well. its my first music video! but i needed to do it for my own reasons.

 that video was fun, but as i start over and rise from the ashes and i need to let some of the past go. i am ready for the next chapter and its time to make like madonna and reinvent myself!

now those of you who found me through that video and fear this change as some sort of sign that who i will someone you might not like, dont worry. i will always be devoted to you. this last year will be our special intimate time. lots and lots of new people will be finding out about me very soon, but you and I will always have this year as our own. it was my magical little fishbowl from which to experience what is REALLY involved in this career. i learned what it is like to have fans, to have a public eye watching and giving opinions..I learned about the harsh reality of record labels, of the joy in meeting people that just love me and my music so much. i learned how to properly execute a record release through the successes and failures of THE FOOL, how to focus time and energy around a campaign to get the most bang for my buck..how to actually produce my own music (YES, still learning but loving every minute of it!)

and also got to distinguish exactly what is the art i am sharing..

ive stripped away my costumes. i want my music to tell the story..and i dont want anything to distract from that dream that i am weaving with my songs. part of me used the gimmicks of all the costumes to hide insecurities about being a good enough performer. So ive decided to strip all that away and really hone in exclusively on my craft. the epic costumes will be back. but for now this is important for my development as an artist.

so as you see these changes, i want you to know its not me abandoning my past, or selling out, its really me evolving as an artist and finding the essence of what i am doing here. i am a story teller. and i will be telling my stories in many, many ways for a long time..

and the next one is coming sooner than you may think…

so thank you for sitting through this ramble of a blog post. you all are very special to me and i hope you will follow me into the future…bottle of champagne in tow…the ivory towers waiting in the distance..driving you to never give up..

champagne or suicide.


gratitude and the freedom of music

this is a letter of gratitude.

When i started pursuing music last year i was well aware of the turmoil the industry had gone through. we all know what has taken place over the past ten years with the introduction of the digital music era and I knew that in order to be successful in this modern age of music i would have to offer more than just music. because music is free. the game has changed. Music was once defined by the package. but now the package is irrelevant to the listening experience. And what is left after the package is obsolete is something amorphous, something intangible that one doesnt really have to pay for. like air or water. So i made my merchandise and my t-shirts and started developing my new clothing line..and all that is fine and dandy, and definitely subsidies my business.

but after all is said and done i am here for the music. to tell my stories with a song and hopefully connect with folks on a personal and emotional level that makes a difference for them. As much as i work with other mediums, in the end i am most proud of the songs i write and how they touch people. 

This is where my gratitude comes in. Because knowing that music is free means that every time one of you purchases one of my tracks what you are really saying is that you believe in me. that you are willing to spend that extra dollar to show your pledge even when you dont have to. And i am so thankful that you do. because i know you dont have to. i know you could easily rip the song from the bandcamp website, or have one of your friends email you the track, or any number of other ways that music is passed back and forth. believe me i do it all the time. its just a part of our culture.

but YOU buy it.  this proverbial donation towards my career is a gift far beyond the dollar amount. On rare occasions i buy the music of independent artists simply because i want to show them my support. and i know that each time you purchase a song, that is what you are doing. you dont have to. but you do. 

so thank you. for buying my music. i sometimes cant believe i am actually doing this business of music after so many years of being afraid to take it on. but i am. and You make it possible.

And just to be clear, i dont resent people that get my music for free. go for it! pass it around! i want lots and lots of people to hear me and if sending someone a downloaded track via email or burning someone a cd is going to introduce a new fan to my music then by all means share it. I am a product of the modern world and have a very clear awareness of this freedom of music (and the need for a new artist to share their music freely as a promotional tactic).

but when and if you do buy it, know that i am deeply and forever grateful. 

I look back on what i’ve accomplished with my fans and i am just amazed. Daylight breaks was the first fan-funded and produced video i ever did, and it is now in the running to be one of logo’s top ten videos of the year!

( VOTE FOR IT HERE. AGAIN AND AGAIN: http://bit.ly/ac1UFN )

 that is incredible! it is along side videos from artists who have huge industry support and millions of fans, and yet there it sits, side by side.  a proud symbol that i can pave my own way and create a career without the huge capital injection of a major label. So thank you. for every song you have downloaded, for every donation to my various projects over the past year, and for the continuing support in all its forms. music is free. and that makes each song you buy ever so much more meaningful. i dont take that for granted and i never will. thank you.

TEXAS HOSPITALITY

this weekend I flew to Galveston, Texas to perform at their annual pride festival. with no expectations, I found myself among the sweetest, most fun-loving community of people EVER! They were so excited to have me there and the whole experience was so freaking enjoyable. the event producers started it off right with an AMAZING seafood dinner on friday night, followed by a dynamic duo chauffeur team who drove me around in one of their MANY classic Rolls-Royce:


yes! the event was well attended and so much fun! alot of fans were there which was awesome! this is my Dallas street team who drove 6 hours to see me! I was floored by their dedication. they were so cool!
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the Houston street team was so cool as well! led by my houston captain at arms, Courtney, they came in and set up and were just so professional and effective. they handled all the merch and one them, shira, even jumped in to be my stage hand.
I felt so supported and in good hands all around. the show was something new for me. I wore jeans. yes jeans. I’ve been having some realizations recently about developing my stage presence and what I realized is that it is time to really hone in on the essence of what I  doing. the ballgowns and the bodypaint and the leather coattails and the underwear are all fun but as an exercise I decided to leave all that behind and just focus on the songs and let the stories will stand on their own. this proved to be a really effective way to get to the root of what I’m doing. o had so much up there and connecting with all the fans in the audience. I may wear a ballgown or bodypaint again, but for now I am loving the simplicity of this presentation.
Picture 5

after the show the real fun began. the party went until 2am and I just had a blast dancing with all the fans and, um, experiencing the local culture.

I gave these two a private chest signing backstage: 

and that’s enough about that..hehe..


Another highlight was that I finally got to meet my pal @joeyguerra from the houston chronicle!  hes written a few articles about me starting last year and we have stayed in touch via twitter and such and it was great to finally meet him! he did an amazing job as the entertainment organizer for this event and it was a complete success!!

congrats joey!


so in conclusion,  and too cleverly tie this final paragraph into my title, I will reiterate that the hospitality of this town was just amazing!! 
I kept getting shot after shot handed to me! almost as if people were TRYING to get me drunk. why ever would they do that? well, anyways, things got a little blurry at that point..but I did wake up in my OWN hotel room without TOO much of a hang over and all my possessions and limbs intact. 

which is surprising after i woke up to THIS picture on facebook:
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guess it must have been fun!
SO i can safely say I love Texas and cannot wait to go back for another show with my awesome fans there!

here is a few i got to share the camera with:


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stereo to mono and back again…

i want to share with you my recent breakthrough. it is slightly embarrassing, but i think it illustrates a poignant aspect of life that is always good to remember so i will allow my pride to suffer.

I am in no way an expert in electronic music, but i have been producing electronic elements for my music for quite a few years. i consider myself well versed in the programs i use and pride myself on my skills. i always work with a producer for “official” tracks, but usually do my live stuff (for performing to, etc) myself. However, for quite some time ive been dealing with a feeling that my final tracks just sound muddy and a bit lost. this drives me crazy because when i mix the track it sounds awesome but as soon as i bounce it down (meaning take the 30 or so tracks to the song and make them one file, like you find in itunes) everything just gets lost.

this has frustrated me to no end and ive tried everything to figure out what is wrong. well the other day i discovered something. as well versed as i am in ableton live, there is a little button in the settings that says “convert to mono” i look at it everytime i bounce down a track, and yet somehow i never noticed or it never registered that it was selected. this means that all the lovely panning (panning is when some sounds come out of the left or right, at different levels, to add clarity to a track) was lost EVERY time i bounced down something. i created all sorts of systems to compensate for this during my period of ignorance. i would bounce down tracks 5 times listening intently to each part, trying to find what wasnt working, never realizing that one, small setting was creating a HUGE crutch to the entire process.

well the other day i figured it out. Ive been focusing on clarity of mind recently and i guess its working, because all of a sudden i looked down at that little settings bar and BAM. there it was. “convert to mono-ON”. i was shocked. i felt foolish. and i was also so extremely elated to have found the answer to this epic saga of frustration. Suddenly, with that little button un-selected, the tracks i bounce down sound EXACTLY like what i work with in the program. this occurs like a miracle to me. its a revelation! like 100 tons have been lifted! all due to one small blindspot that was right in front of me the whole time.

I am sharing this story because this is the perfect little analogy for so much more in my life, and perhaps yours. we all have these blindspots that slow us down. the struggles that, when we discover them, make us feel so foolish for not seeing it sooner. But you know what? the months and months i was struggling to figure out what was wrong, pouring over each aspect of the software, I learned so fucking much. i may not have discovered the answer that way, but the lessons for the software as a whole have left me with a new level of competence and skill that i did not have before.

So let my story be your story. breath a sigh of relief my friends. the answer will come the moment it is supposed too and not a minute before. the only tragedy would be to NOT take all the lessons you can from each situation along the way. SO trust. and relax into the process. you WILL figure it out. sometimes all it takes is one small shift in perception ( and the press of one small button) and BAM, your whole world is altered forever. Now im gonna go make the sickest track ive ever made and perform it all over the fucking world.

you are amazing. i love you so much, and you really inspire me. thanks for being so incredibly talented and awesome
<3

you’re welcome!

senseless fear & the contrasting harmony of god

so as i sit here in my fate-induced solitude for one more night i contemplate how i ended up here. you see i am constantly on the move. constantly working. always reaching for that next step, the next level of success. This habit has served me well up until this point. but what this string of physical ailments has shown me is that i cant force this path, no matter how much i push.

i didnt share this before, but a week ago i threw out my back as well. in the interest of not showing weakness i chose not to tweet about it…but yes, my friends, its true. as if the flu and a sprained ankle weren’t enough, i also hurt my back. ive realized that what ive been trying to do is beat the system (the “system” being of course the universal law of life. of fate. the perfectly geometric plan that exists in every fiber of all of us and everything on this planet…) but the system is perfect and cannot be overcome.

 I sacrifice sleep and rest, i wind up sick. i sacrifice community i sink into loneliness. i sacrifice occasional silence and loose my voice.  each new trick i try just thrusts me right back to the beginning. im trying to force an outcome that cannot be forced and ive sacrificing the journey for the perceived destination. depriving myself of the pure enjoyment and excitement of being alive. only god knows what is planned for me. and I trust that plan.

the universe has never let me down before. everything has led me to this perfect moment and call me a hippie and feed me a ganja cookie but i trust this life! i trust the plan! I know that what is in store is perfect.. because to believe otherwise would be to give up.

if the mistakes I’ve made and the failures I’ve experienced  were not the perfect things for me to experience well than I’ve already lost it all. and I know its a choice. I know life is what i make of it..merrily, merrily and so forth down the stream…so why not make it perfect? a sprained ankle becomes the perfect self-imposed meditation. and the flu becomes the necessary purging of fear and frustration.

I have my infantile ideas of what is possible and what i am capable of..but I know that god is vastly more equipt to move these chess pieces around until my destiny is revealed. and thats just how i want to look at this life. it satisfies me. and so…having been given this amazing and wonderful gift from god in the form of a sprained ankle, the flu, and a hurt back, i step forth into the world. refreshed and ready to accomplish. 

Vancouver day 2/3

God i love this city!!! people are chill, happy and friendly. met some great folks this weekend. saturday was spent indulging in the super new high-tech gym they have, running around looking for a hoop skirt to complete my outfit for my shows, and then heading to J-lounge for performance #2. J-lounge was a beautiful swanky lounge in the heart of gayville…I performed with this great San Fran band called “fans of Jimmy Century” http://www.myspace.com/fan

 sofjimmycentury

 who blew me away with their show. they were great fun. My team continued their AWESOMENESS with handling merch and helping me run around all day and i met another of my street team, Shawn Nielsen, who has been working his butt off up here with Janet and the rest. He was a charming little fellow wearing a feather boa and the brightest smile. it was a fun fun night! 

got a decent amount of sleep and awoke to cloudy skies. luckily my faithful interwebs informed me that it would indeed clear up as it does in this lovely city so i bravely left the hotel in an outfit more fitting of the tropics than this coastal fog. and as always the interwebs did not let me down. clear skies were the backdrop for this beautiful festival. right on the water and a great stage and crowd and sound system..HUGE success! at this point my little team of McCullochs were pretty much my favorite people on the planet. They ran the merch booth ALL DAY in the sun and pimped me out to everyone. they even sold a number of CD’s before i even went on stage! Fans of Jimmy century were performing on sunday as well so we got to hang out for a bit and discuss future collaborations (YES TO NETWORKING!) that night i frolicked around w/ them for a bit and, having completed all my shows for the weekend, allowed myself to, ahem, let loose at ye’ ol nightclubs de la gay. great time, great folks. I WILL BE BACK. Vancouver !leave you a substantial part of my heart…