Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Birds fly over the rainbow, then why can't I?

The Valentine's Day show was a week ago today exactly. It was such a whirlwind of a day, I can't even begin to tell you. Ok, that's a lie...I'll certainly try to tell you. For some moments of the day, it seemed as if nothing more could go wrong! Yes, go wrong. I felt my faith challenged to the core. "Everything is working together for our good," I would tell Naomi as we'd laugh (to keep from crying) about the silly things that seemed to be getting in the way of having a successful night. Here's a quick timeline of the 24 hour craziness.

  • Monday, 8pm: Naomi is supposed to be arriving to my house at this time but instead calls me to tell me her car has broken down, she's in Maryland, and took the car to the dealer who just informed her it'll be $2000 to fix. (So Naomi ends up trading in her car that night, and gets a great deal on a newer car, and makes it to NYC at 3am)
  • Tuesday, 10am: Because we got a late start, we ended up not getting as much rehearsal time, but Tuesday morning (with groggy eyes and all) we get up, get ready, and rehearse. Meanwhile, some people who we were relying on to help us out with merch items, and so forth...end up bailing last minute, so the merch items were still to be finished, but we HAD to rehearse first and foremost, so that's what we did.
  • Tuesday, 2:30pm: Then before we left, I attempted to print some things out before the show, but of course I ran out of printing paper so had to scramble to find scraps...and it was a disaster in my apartment all the while, and we were now running late...
  • Tuesday, 3:00pm: We get everything ready and head in to the City to meet up with the band to do one last rehearsal. I get a text message from our drummer, "I'm not going to make the rehearsal and probably not making the show, in the ER, I'll explain later." What? First of all, are you safe, and second of all, I have no drummer. (Side note: medical emergency he and his wife had to attend to was a totally legit excuse though...for real, so no hard feelings). My stomach felt like I had a pit in it...but I continued to tell myself..."Everything is going to work out fabulously..."
  • Tuesday 5:26pm: During rehearsal, I got a parking ticket (Gotta love NYC parking police)
  • Tuesday 6:45pm: Then Naomi and I get stuck in Valentine's Day traffic (Yes, stuck. Meaning, the light would go from green to yellow to red and you haven't moved more than 5 feet)
  • Tuesday, 7:25pm: We decide we're better off just parking and walking the half a mile to the venue because traffic was so bad. So we carry all our crap while walking as fast as possible, and my arms feel like they're going to fall off.
  • Tuesday, 7:45pm: We get to the venue and head back stage. Guess who I meet there?? I meet Tony Lucca and Sarah Bareilles before my show back stage (Yes, that's right, I met them and had a quick chat before I went on stage...this is no lie. Tony had a show before and after our Valentine's Day show...I was amazed and frankly a little intimidated.)
  • Tuesday 8:05pm: Then while on stage, my acoustic guitar chord wasn't plugged in all the way, so it cuts out during my first song. (But we fixed it...don't worry) Still sucked though.
  • ...And then I played my set. I was really trying hard to shake off all the anxiety that had built up from the past 24 hours, and I was trying hard to stay present and really enjoy the moment of the songs. (Sounds kind of cliche, but I really feel that that is when I perform best...when I'm totally present.) So as the show progressed, I felt myself slipping back into that ease and into what I like to call, the "sweet spot" of the performance. Actually, the rest of the night was pretty great. Great music, great friends, and delicious cookies and treats. After all, what more could go wrong at this point, right?

Whenever I experience stress like that, I often find myself asking "Self: why do you do all this again? What's the purpose behind it all?" ...And I find that it's a really good thing for me to ask myself, so that I can focus and get even more clear on what it is I am doing and going after. I have to go back to the source, for me...that means going back to God...and asking Him, "What exactly is it that you want me to do, and why and how?" I don't always get an answer to the "How" question, because for me...that's where faith comes into play...but I do get an answer that comes in various ways as to the "What and Why" questions. Why do I do this?? Because it's in my heart, to share music with the world, to use it as a way to move, inspire and uplift. I can't let fear get in the way of that.

Today, I wrote in my journal about all of this (because I get the day off from work, and am sick at home with strep throat), and I realized that the urge to quit playing, writing and performing can at times be very tempting. Even still...I learn from the set backs, I continue moving forward in directions that pull at me so hard sometimes, in ways I can't deny. The thought of giving up, it's even worse that the thought of failing. And the things I learn from the supposed "failures" are priceless. 

So I get back up, and try to fly over the rainbow, because why not? If birds can do it, then why can't I? Somewhere over the rainbow, there's a land where the dreams that we dare to dream really do come true. 




Here's a clip from the night..."Somewhere Over the Rainbow," one of my favs...hope you enjoy!


Xo,


Bianca

Monday, February 13, 2012

Finally...day 11 of the 12 days of Valentine's Day!!


This is it...the show is tomorrow. After this, I promise to go back to talking about normal things, and not so much about heart candy and love songs. For the time being though, it was fun. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night. I can't wait to either see you there or tell you all about it!

Here's our last reminder video about the show...just in case you forgot.

Much love- Xoxo,

Bianca

90's love songs...why do we not listen to them more often? (Day 10 of the 12 Days of Valentine's Day)

video

This was supposed to be posted last night, but seeing as to how we finished these cookies at 2 in the morning, it was too late by then, and I decided to post them Monday morning instead.

These cookies happen to be my specialty...and we made a double batch for tomorrow's V-day show. You'll have to come to try them I'm afraid. Also, we were considering singing this song for our show, but unfortunately it's too late to throw it together with the band, so maybe another time...maybe.

Xoxo,

Bianca

Merch item making (Day 9 of the 12 days of Valentine's Day)


This post was supposed to go up on Saturday night, because this is what Amy and I made on Friday night...made cute little buttons, heart candy bags, and little download cards in heart shapes. (Awww) It was a fun time, although a we got a little too happy on the sugar treats. Here's a little sneak peek of our merch items for our Valentine's Day show in this photo. We're putting a lot of love into this show. Seriously, it's true...each bag of goodies was made with love. It's going to be such a great night, and these little babies are just the cherry on top. Only a few days away!

Xoxo,

Bianca


Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm addicted...(Day 8 of the 12 days of Valentine's)


(My nephew...cutest kid ever.)

So I've fallen in love with a few blogs as of late. And since I've been posting every day about things that I love before Valentine's Day, I figured I'd go ahead and post about these blogs that I'm loving so much.

First one you must check out is Weeds to Wishes.

This blog is actually my lovely sister's blog. But I'm not kidding you, her blog is amazing, and especially if your a mommy a kiddies. This blog has amazing photos, amazing insights and, my sister is a counselor as well so she gives great giveaways and tips for parenting, etc. Check it out.

Second blog I love is appropriately titled Love and Photographs. This blogger is so real to me, I feel like we're friends even though I've never actually met her in person. We're both 26. We both have cute husbands. We both live in cool cities. We both are members of the same church. And, we are into creative things. I love catching up on her vintage clothing line, and her adorable life. She also has been kind enough to share my music on her blog which is so awesome! I love her blog- you must read it.

Lastly, a blog I LOVE! Is also appropriately called, A Blog About Love.  This blog has been so fascinating to read because not only do I know the couple personally (we lived in Mara's rental apartment when we lived in Brooklyn), but I relate so much to her posts, it's amazing! I feel like her life discoveries are things I'm just discovering now as well! I love this blog. Seriously, if you've ever been through something hard (who hasn't?) then read it.

And that's all I have for you tonight folks. Happy Friday! See you in a few days at the V-day show. Xoxo!

B

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is what helps my ADD brain function (Day 7 of the 12 days of Valentine's)


"To Do" lists. This is what my "To Do" lists have looked like as of late.

(Side Note: Just a few more days before the big show on Valentine's Day at Rockwood Music Hall! How exciting.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I heart the husband (Day 6 of the 12 days of Valentine's)


This month is already flying by, and it feels like a whirlwind because both my cute husband and I have been crazy busy. (And it wont be slowing down anytime soon yet- the rest of the month feels pretty swamped as well) In fact our weekends that used to be full of watching movies and snuggling together (ok, they're rarely full of watching movies together, I exaggerated...but we've usually been able to squeeze in a show or a movie here and there)...are now full of sitting in front of the lap top with 20 different windows open on the screen, while eating dinner at the same time, and trying to talk about how the day/week has been. All right, it's not that way every night...but even still...It's pathetic really. My hope is that March will be much more relaxed.

Well tonight I feel exhausted and have vowed to get to bed right after I finish this post. Joseph is currently still at work (he's been really swamped!) so I decided to buy him his favorite snack and leave him a message to get when he gets home. We used to write each other notes a lot...that's one of the things I loved about him when we were dating was how considerate he was with always writing me notes and thinking of me. Unfortunately, since things have been so busy, we've really been slacking on the note writing traditions, so tonight I decided to get back into it. And it feels good.

 Any other note lovers out there? I'm a total sucker for them. I am making a promise to myself to write them more often from here on out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I heart this new recording... (Day 5 of the 12 days of Valentine's)

We're just a week away from Valentine's Day, and here you have it...the track Amy Vachal and I wrote and recorded together, "I Couldn't Lose You."Available on Bandcamp in a few short moments. Enjoy and see you next week!




 This song was produced and mixed by Jeff Haynes, and mastered by Devon Johnson.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I heart kiddies (Day 4 of the 12 days of Valentine's)

During the day, I am blessed enough to have an opportunity to work with children with developmental disabilities at a preschool here in the Bronx. I really do love my job although it can be quite exhausting at times.

Today I found myself tired (Monday mornings tend to be that way), and as a result, I went to my music therapy sessions with an attitude of "Ok, just 10/20/30 more minutes until the session is over," and I was basically just enduring the half hour. I went to write down some notes on the sessions shortly after I had finished the first three, and I wrote a note to myself...I decided I was going to change my attitude from "Ok, just 20 more minutes, I can endure this!" To..."Ok, only 20 more minutes, I better make this 20 minutes count because that is all they're going to get of me today..." And it was amazing how that small shift in my perception, and the way I decided I was going to look at the day changed how the sessions went, drastically! This is my goal for tomorrow as well...be present and purposeful in all you do- enjoy each moment.

(This photo is of one of my music therapy sessions- 
although I blurred out the children's faces for confidentiality reasons.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I heart NYC (Day 3 of the 12 Days of Valentine's)

I'm getting this in right before mid night because I want to stick to my goal of a post per day.

It's been such a busy weekend, I hardly know where they go. Although, I must say I'm grateful to be busy with such great things.

Last night I had a show in the city at one of my favorite spots, Cafe Vivaldi. It's a small little restaurant that is a primarily a music venue. They have music every night, and every Monday night there is an open mic that is always (usually) packed to the max! That's where I met most of my dear singer-songwriter friends, and it's become a place that I will forever remember and love. I have a special place in my heart for Cafe Vivaldi as do many others.


I am grateful to all who came out last night, and most especially because I had expected on a Saturday night at 10pm, people would be a bit chatty (which would be expected...no big deal) and I was surprised to find that I had a full room of eyes and ears attentively listening to us. And yes...I say "us" because Naomi Steckman was playing with me on cello, and Johnny Finn joined with us on drums. It was a magical night, and the best part about it was that toward the end of the night we hit that "sweet spot." I don't know how else to call it, so lately I've been defining it as a "sweet spot" that you hit as a singer-songwriter and performer where you are just totally in the moment, and your audience is right there with you. It's a little hard to explain, but I'm beginning to find that that is when a night feels "magical," it's when you reach that "sweet spot," which is just being totally present and engulfed in the music. Look, I know that sounds a funny, but trust me, if you've felt it, you know what I'm talking about. So, it was a really great night and reminded me that I do heart New York (even on a cold February night).

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Love Languages. (Day 2 of the 12 Days of Valentine's)

("Quality time" = chillin on the beaches of El Salvador)

This has been on my mind lately. I was just reading my sisters blog post on her Weeds to Wishes blog about Love Languages and then had a conversation with a good friend about them today when she was telling me about her relationship with her boy friend, and how she's discovered what their love languages are and how they differ. Discovering this difference has really helped them understand how to show love to each other. Joseph and I have taken the Love Language quiz before, but it was years ago. I kind of knew what my love language was, but I decided I'd head on over to this site to find out what my love language is now just in case it's changed over the years. Some of the results I had expected, but some were a bit of a surprise to me. I didn't realize how much I appreciate words of affirmations. Hmm...so interesting. Now I just need to get Joseph to take the quiz to find out if I'm showing him love in ways he understands. Have you taken this quiz before? I'd recommend it for anyone because it really does apply to all relationships (whether it be a romantic relationship or not) and the quiz only takes 2 minutes online.

My Scores:

7 Words of Affirmation
10 Quality Time
2 Receiving Gifts
7 Acts of Service
4 Physical Touch

What's your highest love language preference?


Bianca

Friday, February 3, 2012

The 12 Days of Valentine's

Big news...in 12 days from now, it will be Valentine's Day. Why does this matter? Because. In honor of this, I will be posting each day for 12 days on this here blog (maybe about love, about relationships, about chocolate, about love songs...who knows?)

I know some people love Valentine's day, some people dread it like no other, and I frankly have felt both ways about it in my lifetime. But this year is different for me...and that is because I will be playing a show that night that may be the biggest show I've had up to this point in my career as a singer-songwriter. Since the first week I moved to New York, I've had a dream of playing at this little place in New York called Rockwood Music Hall. I went to see and hear people play there right after Joseph and I moved here, and fell in love with the space. People sat/ stood, ordered a drink of sorts and...listened. That is something that I've found to be quite rare at most venues. As a singer-songwriter, there is nothing else quite as exquisite as having a show where you and your audience connect. So when people sit to listen to your songs, and get lost in that moment with you, it's one of the best feelings ever. It makes all the time promoting, emailing, rehearsing, and writing seem worth it! 

Well I've had the privilege of playing at Rockwood Music Hall now a few times, and I love it. This show, however, will be slightly different because I'll be playing STAGE 2 for my first time ever, which means that there will be triple the space! And I couldn't think of a more exciting way to play my debut show on stage 2 than to do it on Valentine's day. To add to that excitement, a dear friend of mine, Amy Vachal who is a ridiculously talented singer-songwriter is going to do a set right after me. We decided to do a show where we could play our own sets, but also play a few songs together, including a love song we co-wrote called, "I Couldn't Lose You." 

Amy and I recently recorded this love song we wrote, and will be posting it in the next few days for your listening pleasure. I know I mentioned it in a blog post earlier, but seriously...it is sounding so awesome, and especially thanks to Jeff Haynes who produced it. I can not wait to share it with you.

So as a recap...the show on 2/14 is at 8pm and it's FREE (21 and over though). What a fun and cheap date night?! Seriously. The song Amy and I wrote and recorded will be released shortly, so keep posted. And if you come to the show, Amy and I have some limited time only merch items that will be for sale that I think you'll enjoy as well.

So here goes day 1 of the 12 Days of Valentine's. Be back tomorrow...


Bianca

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some people have asked..."Where shall I find it?"

Recently, a good friend of mine came up to me and brought it to my attention that my new album was difficult to find online. I was so glad he told me this!! I then took some time to figure out what else I could do to show people where it is and how they can get it.  So this post is for those of you who want to listen to and/or buy my new album but don't know where to get it...or maybe you haven't heard it yet, or maybe you'd like to buy some as gifts for your friends...whatever the case...here it is- my instructions.


1.) First of all, I'd suggest buying it directly from my website if you're debating between my website and iTunes. However, iTunes is great as well! So feel free to do as you please. On my website http://www.biancamerkley.com you will find this page you see above here. Feel free to hang out, browse around the pages, or click on the links that are listed at the bottom of the web page.



2.) Next, click on the "MUSIC" tab at the top of the site where you will be directed to the page you use to help purchase music.


3.) Then it'll take you to a page that looks like this where you can then choose if you want to buy a physical copy of the CD or if you'd rather buy a digital download. And that's it!!


Now as for iTunes...


1.) Search my name in the upper right part of the screen.


2.) Then it brings you to this page where you can choose if you'd like to purchase my newest album or my older one.


3. And after you click on the album you'd like to hear and/or buy, then it will take you through the purchasing process which is pretty self explanatory so I won't go into details on that (but feel free to comment with any questions if you have any.)

Anyhoo, I hope this information was helpful. And most of all, I hope you know that the songs were written and recorded with LOVE.

So enjoy!!

Bianca