Monthly Archives: January 2012

My terrible morning, and Tahiti.

I can't even begin to explain to you the disaster of a morning I had. It was straight out of a movie! It's very 'blog' worthy though, so I'm going to try and describe it anyway. 

Last night I stayed over at my friend's house because I'm taking this French class every Saturday at 10am. (I love French - took it all through high school & I don't want to forget it) ...Anyway my friend's house is super close to my French class so it's convenient! I woke up with my heart set on getting some Starbucks before class because I have a gift card. And it's always nice to have a big hot apple cider when you're going to be studying for 2 hours on a Saturday morning. I figured if I left at 9:30am I'd definitely have time to get my Starbucks and arrive early. I was wrong evidently. My friend had told me the nearest Starbucks was just past the station. Now, you have to keep in mind the fact that I'm terrible with directions. TER-RI-BlE! So I walked passed the station and realized I clearly didn't understand where the Starbucks was because I didn't see it! I asked 3 people if they knew where it was & I finally found it 2 blocks away. Just-past-the-station-my-a**! It was ten to 10am and I was waiting  in line behind a guy who ordered about 20 drinks and 4535 snacks! And time was ticking away. Finally I got to order my Venti steamed apple juice with a squirt of that amazing cinnamon syrup. By the time I left, I had 5 minutes to get to class. I was going to be late! 

Luckily, when I got into the subway station, I caught the train right away! I sat down and put my hot drink beside me for a second so that I could get my hat out of my bag. Bad idea. Never put a hot drink beside you on a subway seat while the train is in motion. The Venti cup fell over creating a massive pool of hot apple cider on the seat... which in the space of like half a second, spilled onto my butt area. My first thought was "ouch!" cause it was really hot and it hurt! My second thought was "get up!"  because it's going to spill onto more areas if you don't get out the way of the spill.  So the man in front of me  helped me move my purse & everything. I tried to do something about the mess but it was hopeless. Then I realized I had a giant, very questionable wet stain on my behind. And the train was arriving at my stop. So my third thought was  "how the heck am I going to cover this up?" So I took my sweatshirt and tied it around my waist. It was the only other layer I had besides my leather jacket which isn't very warm by the by. I knew I'd be cold walking to class, but what's a girl to do? I barely stumbled off the train, then threw out my empty cup, looking ridiculous with this sweatshirt hanging over my butt. 

Even though I was already late, I really wanted to get another apple cider to cheer me up about this unfortunate situation. So I asked someone where the nearest Starbucks was. I got to order my drink once again, and waited for what felt like a million hours. While the barista was making my drink, I decided to tell him about what happened to me on the train. I had to tell SOMEONE! He was very nice, gave me my apple cider and wished me luck with the rest of my day. I started heading to class. Little did I know I had gotten off at the wrong stop! I was nowhere near my class. So when I got outside, nothing looked familiar. I just started walking hoping I'd find it. Bad idea. This nice man saw that I was really lost and helped me out, but then I still ended up going the wrong way!

You should know it was freaking freezing and I was wearing a skirt. And I really wanted to get my hat but it was still in my bag, and I had no hands. Plus, the new apple cider was getting cold and spilling out of the little hole at the top, onto my gloves. Bummer. I was 15 minutes late now and completely lost. So, I went into a Holt Renfrew and the fancy 'concierge' told me where to go, said it was 3 blocks away. Except it was actually about 5 blocks away and felt like 10. I kept dropping stuff on the wet pavement which was not a bonus. And this whole situation was so nuts, that I started talking to myself. And I was laughing too, because I felt like I was in  some comedy. So people were looking at me like a crazy person. 

I finally arrived at my class 25 minutes late, freezing, wet, apple-cider smelling, sticky, fashion-ly challenged and very bummed out.

Oh...and to top it off with a sweet cherry, I got lost on the way home too! = This is the kind of clumsy, bad day for which I wrote my song "Tahiti"! And if you've had a  day where too many things went wrong, I promise you, you'll relate! :) http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_10477329 

Love,

Maddy

 

Ps. "Tahiti" recently got placed on a popular American TV series called Army Wives (produced by Mark Gordon who also produces Criminal Minds, and Greys Anatomy!) Pretty cool eh? 

Share

‘Me’ in 15 seconds = James Taylor and Carole King’s grandchild… and cabbage soup.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I'm participating in a blogfest/challenge with fellow songwriteers from the Songwriters Association of Canada and the lovely Ariel Hyatt (of Ariel Publicity). It's helping me be disciplined about writing tweets & a blog for y'all to read every week! It's also a chance for me to get to know all my fellow Canadian songwriters better.  So here's my post for the 2nd week of this blogging party :) ...

In the music business, they have this term called "The 30 second pitch." It's what you do when you meet other people in the bizzz. They'll usually ask you: "So what's your music like?" That's the part where you confidently describe your music. But most artists will say: "I don't know. It doesn't really fit into one genre." or "It's just me - you've never heard anything like it." Maybe that's true, but the person talking to you is still wondering: "what's your music like?" Think of a blind date. I can't say I've been on many. But I know that there are certain questions you ask... "Where did you grow up?",  "What's your favourite movie?", "Are you looking for a relationship or just looking for fun?"  Can you imagine if your date couldn't answer those questions? It would be so hard to get to know who they are, and if they're right for you. And you'd immediately get the impression that they were unsure of themselves, unsure of who they are. That's why it's good to have a 30 second pitch, a short but SPECIFIC description of yourself that sums you up in less than a minute. Even if you're not an artist...this is good for job interviews, or scholarship reviews. It's good to have for dating too because you'll probably get that annoyingly vague request: "So, tell me about yourself."

Since y'all are my fans (or future fans), I consider you my friends. And I consider my friends, my family. A family is supposed to know one another super well. So, it's only logical that I share my 30 second pitches with you, so you get to know me better! (Actually, I think they're around 15 seconds!! Unless you speak slowly.) 

Music Pitches:

"If James Taylor and Carole King had a baby boy and he grew up and married Taylor Swift, and if the two of them had a baby girl and made Carlos Santana her Godfather and the baby girl grew up to be a singer-songwriter, That would be me."

Or if I'm in a more serious mood - "I'm a singer-songwriter and my music is based on steal string & classical guitar. It's New Country: Zac Brown slash Taylor Swift. And it's very influenced by songwriters from the seventies and Latin music."

 

Dating Pitches:

Me in a nutshell: "I'm Latin like Shakira, smart like Steve Jobs, strikingly beautiful like Jessica Alba, huh-larious like Russel Peters, wonderfully silly like Katy Perry and adorable like Selena Gomez." ...KIDDING! I wouldn't say that. I'm not cocky like that! And those statements are only 98% true. ...I'd let him figure out my awesome qualities on his own. haha."

This is actually what I might say - "I grew up in Toronto - still growing actually. But I've always had a fantasy of living in some place like Spain. And then one day I'd like to have a house in the country - maybe on a ranch even though I don't know how to ride horses. My favourite movie is curently the original Arthur. I also love The Notebook because I'm a romantic and all romantics love The Notebook. I wouldn't say I'm looking for a relationship. I would say I'm looking for the right person... Oh and I love music more than I'll probably ever love you, no offense. I also love to cook. I make really good soups!" etcetera, etcetera.

On a completely different note, I just thought I'd remind you that my song "Don't Play With My Heart," the first single from my debut album is coming out this month on iTunes Canada and in February on iTunes worldwide. Check out the lyric video.

Back to soup!!! It's been a while since I posted one of my recipes. I think it's time. Here is my original cabbage soup recipe:

- 1 tbsp of butter

- 1 Spanish onion

- stock left over from cooking a chicken

- 6 cups of water

- chopped carrots, potatoes and a couple tomatoes

- half a head of cabbage, shredded

- shredded chicken

- 1 tbsp dried basil

- 1 tbsp of lemon juice

- 1 tsp of sugar

Heat the butter over the medium heat & sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables (not the cabbage yet), then the stock and water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat & simmer for half an hour. Add the rest of the ingredients including the shredded cabbage & cook for another 20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper! Voilá, you're done! Mmmmm.

Your music and soup loving friend,                                                                                   Maddy Rodriguez

 cabbage soup

Share

Successes and GO-ALS

So, in my New Year's blog post I gave y'all an idea: to write down all the memorable things you did or accomplished in 2011 (because it'd make you feel good about your lovely self)... Well, this week, I started participating in a blogfest/challenge with fellow songwriteres from the Songwriters Association of Canada and uber publicist Ariel Hyatt, and I learned a new thingie that also makes you feel good about yourself. Basically, you take 5 minutes at the end of the day to write down 5 successes you had that day.  If you're an extremely fast thinker & writer-downer you might just take 5 seconds. You do this every day for a whole entire year. It's great for artists because it trains you to focus on the positive things you achieve, whether it's a good performance or a genius lyric idea... instead of beating yourself up on what you did wrong, or worse, what you didn't do at all. But this is truly valuable for anybody. We could all use more positivity and recognizing your daily successes really helps.

 

Here's the list I wrote yesterday:

  • Finished a verse for anew song
  • Made dinner for myself - fried kale & mushrooms & couscous... A little dry, but overall quite delicious
  • Invented a quote: "Don't complain because the food is dry. Give thanks because the food is there." and then I tweeted it ;)
  • Perfected a guitar part for one of my songs
  • Wrote a nice blog post
 
You know what will be fun? Reading all of these lists on the last day of 2012. Hey!! Then you won't have to struggle to remember everything you did. See? this is wonderful, don't you think? I do. 
 
Another good thing is writing down your goals. Obvioulsy. Without goals, your chances of accomplishing your dreams, whether they're big or small, are not as good. That's why they're called GO-ALS, they help you GO and make things happen. I don't know about you but I couldn't live without my to-do lists. It does stress me out though, to come up with goals for an entire year, or my whole life. I guess you could say my bucket list is like a giant list of random goals, so at least I've got that. But in terms of concrete things I want to accomplish in 2012, I don't normally think past next week. So even though it was a little overwhelming, today I challenged myself to put goals into categories (thanks Ariel).
 
Here are some:
 
 
Music career goals for 2012:
 
  • Write at least 20 new songs
  • Release my debut album, "Don't Be a Stranger" in March and bug my best friends to tell all of their friends to tell all of their friends to tell all of their friends to buy it (let's get it on the charts!)
  • Get my first single "Don't Play With My Heart" into the top 10 in Canada
  • Become good at Photoshop so that I can design my own graphics
 
General goals for me & the fam this year:
 
  • Learn how to make Paella (a really complicated Spanish dish..but so yummy
  • Make my Dad quit smoking by March
  • Join a gym this month, in addition to the Tae Kwon Do gym...for strength training
  • Do something special for the Sick Kids Foundation like go there to play a set for the children (I used to be more involved with them when I was younger)
 
Lifetime Goals (taken from my bucket list:
 
  • Be an artist on The Ellen Degeneres show withing 2 years
  • Play at Madison Square Garden (because my name is actually Madison) by my 25th birthday
  • Write & record a seriously awesome rap
  • Write a cookbook by the time I'm 40
-
Your more-positive-and-more-organized-than-yesterday friend,
Maddy Rodriguez
Share

My ‘CD listening party’ and brie cheese

When I was recording my debut album, "Don't Be a Stranger," there were a few things I promised myself: 1) I would not compromise on the songs - they had to be my songs. 2) The only acoustic guitar player I would work with was Alan Kulka, my musical soul mate, 3) I would have a 'listening party' for my closest friends and all the people involved with it once it was done!...I promised myself this because I wanted it to be a sort of ceremonial experience. And I didn't want to miss their reactions when they heard everything!

Now, making a record is a long process (especially when you're still in high-school) and, once the record is done, it's an even longer process just to get it mixed, mastered, pressed, manufactured and then released. So I thought I was going to have the listening party last October, but it ended up being delayed until now (last Sat, Jan 7). For the longest time, my friends were dying to hear the CD, but finally, they got to hear it past Saturday!

Maddy Rodriguez "Don't Be a Stranger" Listening Party Jan 2012

I was so excited to play the album for many of my wonderful supporters - producers, fellow musicians, and friends. They've all helped me in some way throughout the last couple years. Know how every CD has big, long 'Thank You' (or at lest it should)...well another reason I wanted to have the party was so that I could read my Thank You out loud to these people - say thanks personally.

After that, we listened to the songs. It was cool for me because I hadn't actually heard the record back-to-back yet...We took a break halfway through to talk & eat some deee-lectable snacks (like crackers with brie cheese, which I'm obsesses with...give me brie, and I instantly love you). And then we listened to the rest of the album. Everyone seemed to genuinely love it. I can't tell you how joyful that made me.

Now, I hope you're not feeling too jealous right now. I realize it's totally unfair that my friends hot to hear the record first (before the release date) and I wouldn't blame you if you saw them on the street and gave them a dirty look. But, remember the longer you wait, the more awesome it will be once you hear it. So, really I love you guys just as much (if not more - shhh, don't tell the guests of the listening party).

Your brie loving friend,

Maddy Rodriguez

 

Share

So Long 2011and Hey There 2012!

My gosh. Can you believe it's2012? I can't. I'm still having trouble getting used to saying "twenty-eleven" or "twenty-twelve" or "twenty" anything. Before it was just "two thousand and eight" you know? Anyway my point is: time is passing by so quickly! At least it is for me. 2011 was an intense ride. I was signed to a music publishing company, Nettwerk One Publishing or NW1 (technically we signed at the end of 2010, but started working really in 2011). I also went to Nashville and wrote with some incredible songwriters (Anthony Smith, Alissa Moreno, Mark Selby and The Stellas). I recorded my debut album Don't Be a Stranger, I opened for one of my favourite Canadian duos: One More Girl, I endured grade 12 Calculus, I graduated from high school and said goodbye to a few of my best friends who went to university. I also started my first part time job and I worked with MuchMusic to create a documentary (called "Signed") about my experience with all of those things! Oh, and to end the year, I went on Holidays with my extended family - a rare thing - it was the best vacation ever!

It's funny...I didn't realize how much actually happened this year until I typed it out just now! You should write down everything you did in 2011 too. It'll probably surprise you. You'll be like: "Hey, I experienced some pretty cool things and achieved a lot more than I thought. Good for me!" ...or you'll be like "Man...I guess I didn't do that much. I feel crappy." Hopefully it's the first one. I truly don't mean to bum you out if it's the second one. But I'm sure it's not. You'd have to have sat on a couch the entire year to feel bad on New Year's. Even sitting on a couch could be something to be proud of if you had made a resolution the year before to sit on couches more often. I'm really digressing. I read Ellen Degeneres' book Seriously I'm Kidding over the Holidays, and her rambling is rubbing off on me.

Even though I had an amazing year, it was not easy by any means. The things I got to experience came with many challenges. For one thing, I had to manage school with all my music work, which, when you take calculus, is pretty difficult. I spent many days at the Coalition Music studios trying to fit in homework during breaks...Another huge challenge was money. The sad truth is that the music business is extremely competitive, and if you don't have a lot of money, you're at a disadvantage. Many people think that just because I'm a singer and I'm signed to a music publisher, that I'm rich somehow. I'm not. And there's so much to pay for! Hiring musicians costs money, studio time costs money, videos cost money, travelling costs money, instruments cost money, and even though I received a grant from FACTOR (the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), for which I am so very grateful, making the album still cost us a load of money... the list goes on. It was tough dealing with this part of making music and it will continue to be hard - hopefully not forever. But despite the challenges, I'm very thankfull that I even have the chance to pursue music as a career. Some people, for whatever reason, don't have that chance at all. I am blessed to be able to work with talented writers, producers and musicians like Ryan Stewart, Greig Nori, Johnny Simmen, Josh Ramsay, Marc Ganetakos, Jeremy Kleynhans, Ryan Boisselle, Alan Kulka, Matt Brann, Chad Davis, Alex St. Kitts, Mike Cohen and Annabelle Chvostek. It's truly a blessing to have created such a wonderful album with these people - an album I am extremely proud of.

I am very happy to be starting a new year. It is most likely (at least hopefully) going to be even busier than 2011! That's because my album Don't Be a Stranger is coming out in March...the first single will be released this month of January! We're going to have a great CD release party / show which I hope you will attend (details coming soon). It would be magnificent with a capital M if I got to meet you in person.  The official release, I hope, will be early in March, the same month Canadian Music Week and Canadian Music Fest take place. I will be showcasing at CMW for the third year in a row! And of course, we'll be very busy promoting the album. I am so excited for the next 12 months. But I am most excited for you to listen to this album that I've had in my pocket for some time now (well, not actually in my pocket, but you know what I mean).

So it is with fondness that I say So Long to 2011, and with excitement that I say HEY THERE 2012! To you, my lovely friend, fan, listener: I wish that all your dreams come true in the New Year. I wish that you be blessed with adventure, love, friendship and the joy of music! Twenty - twelve, here we come!

Hugs and besos,

Maddy Rodriguez

 

Share