Hey all, Ruth here from New Portals & The Jepettos. I've written about the last month or so being a songwriter/musician and also a mum. Thanks for reading ;-)
Ok so for starters, I wish I'd journaled or made a note of feelings and a better list of things because we just had the most eventful few weeks and I mostly only have shameless blurry selfies to remember a few moments by.
LESSON LEARNT- I will do better.
In July my good Canadian friend, Leanne Wood, invited my twin Rebekah (Lines & Current) and our bestie, Catherine, to hit up NYC with her in the 1st few weeks of November. I was interested but with my mad obsession with New Portals / The Jepettos at the minute I couldn't give up the time for such wholesome indulgences as meeting up with the greatest of friends in a fabulous city. No way! I would never drop off the music momentum mid term for such pleasures!
NEXT DAY..no jokes..Sofar sounds NYC invited us over out of the blue for a string of Sofar shows THE SAME WEEK as Leanne's invite and it was all meant to be.
Awesome band mate and husband Mike aka band manager- alter ego (Mitch) got the ball rolling in his usual style making awesome things happen and things got booked for myself, Mike/Mitch and Drummer Dan Laird. Everyone needs a Mitch I say.
NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT..
This was really running through my mind as we left. We have been hard at work for the past year in studio, writing, recording, making videos, PR campaigns (trying to get noticed let's face it). This opportunity was a good one to show who we were and what we were made of but we were leaving our 2 lovely girls at home. We said goodbye at the IKEA car park (they were staying with my folks not in the carpark).
Heartfelt distraught tears from our eldest.. I think she was mostly afraid that we may never return from some sort of Trump-related World-War, and also just plain old- she will miss us. She also knows her mum (me) suffers from extreme 'caged bird' tendencies which is something I never really hear other mums talk about.. am I alone in this I often wonder? So my eldest is gracious and let's us go. Youngest is in total shut down. Emotionless .. built up protective layer...ice queen... Wee pet.
See ya in 2 weeks girls.. NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT!
(We leave them for London weekends quite a bit but this was a different kettle of fish)
Arrived.. met awesome friend Leanne and fun friend Catherine joined the NYC posse. Twin was on a busy design week for her extremely chic label (Lines & Current) and doesn't make it this time.
1st show was "real good feel good vibes" - our band’s morale tag line curated by our awesome friend Pete and we just can’t shake the motto when we experience good things.
Sofar sounds is this new gig movement taking over the globe. It exists in most major city's in the world with the idea that the audience shows up, shuts up, turns their phone off and has the performers' max attention.
A performer's dream- WE ALL WANNA BE HEARD PEOPLE.. but EVERYONE wants to be heard too. That's why you update you status- don't hold it against us artists!
Hit Sofar up on your next city break- they choose the HIGHEST quality of artists..a Sofar night never disappoints. I walk into a show and think "oh this experience won't be as good as the last show" then the night throws its own individual magic and charm. The Sofar phenomenon!
1st show (pictured above) was mesmerising- on a rooftop in a venue on the Hudson in Manhattan. Overlooking the most impressive skyline.. I was overwhelmed while singing our track Skyline.. it was cool to share my passions of skylines and sunshine which is mostly about what I write about in my songs. Pretty obsessed since Belfast is lacking in this arena.
We had made the right decision..
You see being in a band is a high risk investment. We make little money in the early years. It can also take its toll on you psychologically. The nature of the beast is that when we play outside of Northern Ireland we get approached by key players in the music industry quite regularly, and sometimes they cancel meetings with us at the last minute.. oh i could go on for days with the brutality of the industry.
You learn to shut off from any hopes and just enjoy the fact that when you get a room of people that care what you are doing it feels great and we are so used to playing in rowdy Belfast.
We had other bucket list moments in the *somebody pinch me* NYC Spotify office where we put faces to the names of the staff and peeps that help us get on the countless playlists our songs have been on etc. (we are so grateful!)
We marvelled as we learnt more about how the industry works and how many apple macs there are in all the weird state-of-the-art rooms. Then we finally lapped up the free lunch- yes there is such a thing as a free lunch.. when you’re at Spotify NYC!
Here comes that cheesy round off-
In a world where most of the time our efforts are a heartbreaking waste of time (I realise it might not look like this from the outside..and yes our bio reads great but we just do what we can and we are not living off this thing yet) this trip was different. From best friend prosecco cheers on rooftops and hilarious dinners with old friends to gloriously grungy college radio sessions and piggy-backing our 6ft 5" drummer a block on my back and doing cowrites with Manhattan's finest up-and-coming muso Miranda (check out our cowrite here) to having drinks with the Foy Vance’s tour manager, it's nice when high-risk investments start to pay off.
O dear.. I could get used to this.. I was hoping the artist in me would get this outta my system.. oh no ambition - please don't multiply, I can't take any more of your hunger!
So.... see you again USA at SXSW 2016!
Oh, and our new single, WinterSkin is out on December 2nd, accompanied by a music video made by our oldest daughter, Freiah-Beth. Check out the audio now on soundcloud below...