I have 2 jobs. Or. What success means to me.
When I ‘retired’ from musical theater in order to focus on writing and recording songs, I also needed a job. A real job. Not a “job between shows” job. I applied to work at a religious non-profit after I saw an employment posting in my church’s bulletin. When I saw the posting I thought “Oh, I could do that while I make a record.” I wrote to the guy in the ad and included no resume, just emailed him, “I’d be really good at this.” Turns out I was and I am and I have worked there ever since.
This summer I’m going on tour with my friend, the brilliant singer-songwriter Kelly Jones. Since leaving the musical theatre scene I haven’t performed outside NYC for a long stretch. I do shows mainly here in the city and go out of town only for solitary gigs that last up to a few nights. Because of this rhythm I have been able to juggle both my dayjob and, well yeah, my night job.
biz. (photo credit Parker Young)
Some of the people I get to work with everyday. I love all of them. (photo credit Tim Cox's instagram)
What is the dayjob? I provide a lot of creative direction, messaging and events oversight for an organization called City to City. I love it. I love who I work with. I love who I work for. I experience joy there. I am encouraged and I grow as a songwriter there – strange as that may sound. In an age full of homemakers who write bestsellers, day-traders who open restaurants, computer programmers who produce films, and small business owners who are college professors who also build homes (that last one is props to my dad) I want to be counted in this group of professionals – totally committed to two careers and not quitting until potential is maxed out in both.
Will one eventually squeeze out the other? I don’t know. I hope not. They are both in my bloodstream now.
I look forward to being on tour this summer. I love that I will be able to work from the road (thanks internet). I look forward to coming back to my job in August. This is success to me.
Hope Tonight. Almost to you.
I’m done with my 2nd record, Hope Tonight, and will release it this fall.
A lot of the same team was involved with this one – people you may know, like Ben Shive, Shane Wilson and Joe Spix. This time around Bob Boyd did the mastering for us.
This space on the web will change, I’m touring this July with my friend Kelly Jones, and soon I’ll start the promotional campaign for Hope Tonight. In fact, here’s Track 1 from Hope Tonight. It’s a song called Turnaround, and I couldn’t be more proud. I hope you like it.
Announcing the Summer Share House Concert Tour – July 2013.
Hi friends. My amazing friend and fellow songwriter Kelly Jones and I are doing a series of private concerts this July with the express purpose of playing acoustic, new music in homes, offices, garages, restaurants, wherever. We are starting in the Vancouver area on July 1 and by the end of the month we will be in New York City to end the tour with a homecoming show for both of us.
I’ve known Kelly since we both lived in the East Village – way back in the 2000s. She lived on 6th Street, I lived on 7th Street, and between our mutual friends, mutual neighborhood and mutual love of writing songs and singing them we became the best of friends. If you don’t know her music, you can check it out here – she’s got a new website, too and has a ton going on.
Please go back to the Melanie Penn homepage & sign up to host a show if you live in LA, NYC or somewhere in between. And we got more details that you can check out here. Or forget signing up & just email me at email@example.com. I want to come see you.
No seriously. Where have you been? For real now.
That’s actually the question I’ve been asking myself.
What has been going on the last few months? For starters, I experienced a big NYC living situation shakeup which derailed me … more than I expected. I am settled now, for a time, and have been able to breathe a sigh of relief … for a time. But questions about how sustainable Manhattan is for me as I grow as a songwriter – and pursue more opportunities in music – remain. There is only one thing that makes NYC potentially unsustainable for all of us: the overhead.
But how about the beautiful stuff? I have a new record that is just a couple of finishing touches away from being finished. I head south in November to sing on a record for a friend – and while I’m in Nashville Shane Wilson, Ben Shive and I will finalize the mix for my record. It will be titled Hope Tonight.
Meanwhile, I am figuring this thing out. How to pay for a tour? Do I hire a new publicist? Do I give up my apartment? Live in my car? Pray for a miracle? One thing I know … this new album is good. The songs are good. There was another chapter in the story to be written with Ben Shive as my producer — and together, he and I wrote it.
From midtown Manhattan,
Last night at Rockwood 2.
Last night we were thrilled to support our friend & fellow songwriter Zach Williams raise funds to get his band to Florida to open for the Civil Wars. As usual, we played Rockwood Music Hall … everyone’s favorite venue in New York, and it was soooold OUT.
My dear gal Alice Callahan snapped these photos. Many thanks to all who came out.
January 5, 2012 … playin Nashville.
I met Sandra in the spring of 2011 in at Gospel Coalition in Chicago. We sang together with Brooks Ritter and Matthew Smith … and the whole concert itself was directed by my dear friend and amazing guitarist Mike Cosper. I have enjoyed getting to know Sandra and her husband Derek better … such funny, great people and beautiful artists.
Excited for this show …
Ordinary Day video ….
Ordinary Day … official video … IT’S OFFICIAL Y’ALL
I had so much fun working on this video with my friend Danny Miller who owns Studio Say So. He’s phenomenal. I hope you like it …
Happy June 1st. Things to look forward to ...
So excited to be back at Rockwood later this month with Andrew Gregory. Andrew & I played a joint show in March (we both wrote albums inspired by Song of Songs!) and it was a great night. Would love to see any NYC peeps there … and YOU WILL LOVE IT TOO. I’M NEVER WRONG ABOUT THESE THINGS!
Adele, success, placements, doors.
Have recently been following Bob Lefsetz and last week he tweeted out this article: The Secret of Adele’s success? No festivals, tweeting or selling out.
I’ve grown increasingly obsessed with the business of music business and thinking deeply about how to be an authentic business person while remaining an authentic artist. There’s not much difference between art & business after all — they both require passion, commitment and most important, personal integrity.
Bob Lefsetz is brilliant on this topic & I enjoy everything he has to say. When he tweeted out the article (though he didn’t write it) I read it immediately, and man was I bummed out.
I expected to read that “selling out” meant lowering your artistic standards or watering down your musical taste, but was surprised when Adele was quoted as saying that selling out is pairing yourself with a brand or allowing your songs to be placed:
Adele says that, despite huge commercial offers, she refuses to “sell out” and despises artists who exploit their fans for financial gain. Rule number one in the singer’s plan is no advertising tie-ins. “I think it’s shameful when you sell out,” she says. “It depends what kind of artist you wanna be but I don’t want my name anywhere near another brand. I don’t wanna be tainted or haunted.”
I wonder why she thinks this. Not everyone gets a record deal when they’re 19 (like Adele did) … if you don’t have a record deal, how do you get your songs heard? How do you get music out there? I also wonder if her comments lack compassion for artists who yearn for doors to be opened in other ways. The current relationship between music (indie music especially) and television / film / commercials is something to be celebrated in this age when making money as an artist is difficult.
Not mentioned in the article at all is what I think is the true reason for Adele’s amazing success – she’s good. She’s sooooo freakishly good. So talented. A true singer who doesn’t push too hard, try to be someone she isn’t, or sound like someone she isn’t. She is just herself.
But is pairing with a brand “selling out” ?? No, I think it’s simply good business … Just thinkin out loud here,
Rockwood Music Hall on March 8.
Delighted to be back at Rockwood in March for a full band show AND new songs. Have lots to update — for anyone who is reading this and hope to do that in the next couple of days. Much love to everyone. MP