CD Release Party Wrap Up

October 19, 2009  

DSCF0233So, the CD Release Party is history. I can’t believe it’s already over, but it was such a fun night. It was such a treat to play with such talented musicians. And the audience was very attentive and very fun. I loved hearing you clap and cheer after the songs, I loved hearing you laugh (particularly during “Big Man On Campus”), and I LOVED watching you dance during “Sweat.” I have to give special props to Candace, who came up to the front to dance! Loved it! So thank you for being such a great audience and cheering me on the whole way…even though I forgot part of the words to “Stupid Stuff Like That.” I HATE forgetting words to songs, particularly songs that I wrote (!), but that’s all part of being human, right?

There were a few people I forgot to thank from the stage and I want to make sure to recognize them now.

First, the photographer who took the amazing images used in the SWEAT artwork, Jay Rickard, came down from Indianapolis for the show. As background, I found Jay online a few years ago.  He’s from the general area where all my dad’s family is from – plus he looks a LOT like my grandfather, so I wrote him a few years ago to ask him if we were related. We haven’t done the family search yet, but we are certain we’re distant cousins. We’ve become friends over the years and he told me he wanted to do the photoshoot for the new CD. Anyway, Jay stayed with us during the weekend and it was great catching up with him. Words can not express how grateful I am to him for his love and support, and it was a horrible oversight not to publicly recognize him from the stage. When I saw him at home after the show, my jaw dropped when I realized my mistake and I immedialely apologized. So Jay, I am deeply sorry.  I’ll share more about Jay, as well as outtakes from the Sweat photoshoot, very soon.

I also had several other folks from out of town – my cousin Karen came from Augusta, Dave came up from Ft. Lauderdale, and Ricky came all the way from Minnesota. Thank you for making the trip, for spending time with us at the house, and for making my CD Release extra special.

Danita’s mom also made the SWEAT pins that we gave away that night. That was an unexpected surprise, so I just want to send out a big shout out to them.

Finally, I have two friends who I shared my lyrics with during the writing phase and offered a lot of encouragement - and both of them were there that night. Janice and I have been friends for 13 years and she has been a constant supporter and encourager. Cathy, used to work in the office next to me before she became a mommy. I miss seeing her every day a lot, but am so happy for her.  They were both sounding boards as I was in the writing process.

To wrap up this post, I thought I’d recap the setlist and list the amazing musicians who supported me that night.  Oh, and be sure to check out the Pics page.  There are a LOT of pictures from the CD Release party, with more on the way.

Set List
Wild Blue Beautiful
Anything Of Nothing
Just Like New
When The Hot Cools Down
Only Love
Stupid Stuff Like That
Crawling
This Time Last Year
Forgot To Forget
Big Man On Campus
As If To Say
Natural
Who I Am
Lucky
Goodnight
Sweat (Encore)

Finally, here are the talented musicans I shared the stage with:

Dean Quinter – Drums
Michael Steele – Bass Guitar
Lee Davis – Keyboards
Peter Vogl – Electric Guitar
Dionne Osborne – Vocals
Carmen Ford – Vocals (It was Carmen’s first time EVER singing backup and she did a great job. Happy belated, Carmen!)

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Talk To Me Tuesday #8 – Practice Makes Perfect

September 30, 2009  

I’m in the midst of vocal rehearsals. We also had the first full band rehearsal last night. I’m going to be sharing the stage with a stellar group of players. I am SO excited for everyone to hear the new songs. But right now, it’s time for another Talk To Me Tuesday. 

A Few More Song Details
 
To continue with last week’s email, I thought I’d share with you some random information about a few more songs:
 
Stupid Stuff Like That - This song, like several of the others, went through several re-writes. In fact, I still had half of a verse to write a day or two before I recorded the vocals. I knew it would come, but that was a bit too close for my taste. But I’m so happy with how the song turned out.
 
Goodnight - I wrote the first notes/ideas of this song while in Wichita on a pad from the Hotel at Old Town - and I still have them. In fact, I keep every note on every scrap of paper that helps create or becomes part of a song lyric. The first line of the song is, “It’s been such a very long day / But I didn’t do all that I needed to.”
 
Just Like New - This song was a result of our buying a 1920’s bungalow. Although it is a great house, it was a bit intimidating at first. There was a HUGE list of things we wanted to fix, renovate. Then, every problem or renovation was harder, more complicated and cost more money than we initially thought. I often said, “I would really like this house if it was new.” I’m much more relaxed about it now than I was when we first bought it. It’s really the same way with the people who come into our lives. They bring their own set of problems, issues and “baggage” with them (just like we do!!), so the house worked as a great relationship metaphor.
 
This Time Last Year - This is one of the only ballads on the CD. I wrote it as a tribute to my grandmother. She was a wonderful, sometimes proper, sometimes salty Southern woman with a wicked sense of humor. Every time I gave her a card (birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc), she shook it like she was checking to see if any money was enclosed. One year, I put a dollar bill in the card, which thoroughly surprised and amused her. One year, I put a dollar bill in the card, which thoroughly surprised and amused her. That became a joke of between us and she would often return the favor. One card I gave her came in a bright pink envelope. I mailed it to her with a dollar bill and a note that said, “Hold on to this. I’ll take you shopping the next time I come home.” That card plays into the song.
 
CD Release Party
Just a reminder - the CD Release party is at Red Light Cafe on Saturday, October 10, 2009. Doors will open around 7:15 p.m. Admission is $8 per person at the door, $7 if you buy them from my website. I am asking/encouraging everyone to buy their tickets ahead of time because I expect we will pack Red Light.
 
SWEAT Pre-Orders
SWEAT is available for preorder for $12. If you preorder a copy, you can pick it up at the CD Release party, or it will be shipped to you free of charge.
 
VERY IMPORTANT: To get free shipping, enter PARTY into the discount coupon field at checkout. Shipping charges will automatically be deducted.
 
The Store page can be found at www.mikerickard.com by clicking on Store. Or you can access it directly at www.store.mikerickard.com.
 
THANK YOU to everyone who has bought tickets to the CD Release party and/or pre-ordered SWEAT. I really appreciate it.
 
Weekly Contest
 
I’m holding a free contest and you have the opportunity to win an autographed CD before it’s released. To enter, all you need to do is send me a question (click on the Win Free Stuff tab on www.mikerickard.com). The best question each week will be entered into a drawing for a free autographed CD and is included in the newsletter. The remaining questions are posted on my website. This is the LAST week of the contest, so you’ve got one more opportunity to submit a question. I will announce the winner in next week’s email. This week, I received 5 questions. The winning question was submitted by JH in Farmersville, CA. He is entered into the drawing.
 
Q. Bars and get-togethers are noisy places where people like to talk and laugh. Does it bother you when you are singing and playing the guitar if people at those places are talking and making noises during your performances? (JH, Farmersville, CA)
A. No, not anymore. The first of my solo gigs were in listening rooms and they were great. It’s easy to get spoiled. So the first time I played a bar and was more in the background, it freaked me out. But in time, I felt much more relaxed, more free to experiment and mess up than I would in a listening room. In fact, I was really nervous the first time I played a listening room after being in a bar environment. From my perspective, the more - and different - types of environments I play, the better musician I will ultimately be. But I have learned a few lessons from playing in bars:
 
  • Adapt your show to the setting. If youre in a bar, do more up-tempo and sing-along cover songs.
  • No matter how much noise, there will always be folks in the crowd who will totally listen and get what you’re doing. It is my responsibility to communicate in spite of the setting.
  • It is a GREAT feeling to capture people’s attention and bring the noise to a whisper by doing a really quiet song during the right part of a set.
 
Here are the remaining questions, in no particular order.
 
Q. Loved Stirred Not Shaken, I have fallen in love and fallen out of love listening to it. But after 5 years it is starting to sound a bit “dated”. What new influences have come about to make your new release have a fresher & more contemporary sound? It does, right? (RS, Atlanta, GA)
A. There are several. From a songwriting perspective, I didn’t genre hop on SWEAT like I did on Stirred. The songs on SWEAT are much more up tempo. SWEAT is straight ahead pop with rock and blues influences. Lyrically, the lyrics are more positive, “in the moment,” and less reflective - they’re more about action and squeezing the most out of every moment. While there are numerous musical influences (Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Rob Thomas), one CD really challenged me as a writer. That CD is Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. I thought it was a very fun, energetic record, but it still had a very strong, positive message. “Unwritten” is one of my all time favorite songs. Musically, I used a live band on all instruments rather than using programmed instruments. There are still keyboards, but they are used more for accompaniment, not foundation. There’s a LOT of electric guitar on the record. I think SWEAT cracks with energy.
 
Q. I imagine with October approaching you are becoming filled with a lot of anxiety and pressure with the CD release coming the 10th. How has this been on Eric? (DP, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
A. Right now, I am living the “tyranny of the urgent” with a million things to get done. I have been practicing, lining up press, scheduling vocal and band rehearsals, etc. One of the most pressing is to finish a total overhaul and relaunch of my website. I need Eric’s help to do that. Eric has been incredibly patient and supportive. The most frustrating thing for him is solving some of the website issues, but I’m confident we’ll figure them out.
 
Q. Why did you wait so long between your 1st album, Stirred Not Shaken, and this one? (SS, Cincinnati, OH)
A. That was unintentional, but there are a few key reasons. Financially, I am my own record company, so I had to pay myself back through CD sales in order to fund a new project. Musically, I wrote several songs, some that I have performed and some only partially written, that I didn’t feel would fit this record. I wanted to make sure that I had the best/right songs that worked together as a complete project. I accomplished that with SWEAT. I love the songs on it and am so pleased with how the production honored, yet improved, them. I’ve made a goal to be ready to record again in TWO years. That commitment is now in print. I hope I can live up to it. :-)
 
Q. Ok… so what were your favorite books growing up and why and do they influence you still today at times? (L, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
A. When I was in elementary school, my mom did a wonderful thing. In the 3rd grade, I wasn’t very interested in reading and my grades reflected that. So she bought me a Hardy Boys book to encourage me to read. I read it and couldn’t wait to read the next one. So every Friday, my reward was a new Hardy Boys book. I read the entire series and my grades improved. Through high school and college, I didn?t do a lot of reading other than what was required for homework. I do remember being very moved by a Tale of Two Cities in school because it was such a tragic love story set in a very bloody period. As an adult, I read a lot, at times voraciously, and am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. I’ve also become a fan, of sorts, of amateur fiction.
 
Have a good week, and I’ll talk to you next Tuesday!
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Talk To Me Tuesday #7 – More Song Details

September 23, 2009  

As we get closer to the CD Release, I thought I’d share with you a little bit of random information about a few songs:

When The Hot Cools Down - I wrote this song in Chennai, India. I had been in a bit of a songwriting dry spell and was determined to end it while there. I woke up early one morning and wrote the first draft of the lyrics. I shared it with my friend Sridevi later that day. By the way, it was HOT in Chennai.

Sweat - The first verse contains the line, “Throw up your hands and let yourself scream / Let’s get on the dance floor and blow off some steam.” Inspiration for that line came from a rainy Saturday night in Chattanooga, TN. Eric and I drove up for a friend’s birthday party. We checked into our hotel, met up with our friends, and then went to the party, which was booked as a private function at a downtown bar. The DJ played a lot of older songs and one side of the bar became an impromptu dance floor. Eric does NOT dance. As a joke, I often ask him, “How would you dance to this in the club?” to almost any song. But after a few/several drinks, we hit the dance floor and danced and sang until we were soaked. In all of the years we have been together, that moment is one of my favorite memories because of its simplicity and spontaneity. As a side note, our trip ended rather abruptly. We had asked a neighbor to watch the dogs for us. But Eric woke up in the middle of the night because he realized the neighbor had the wrong key and wouldn’t be able to get into the condo. So we got up, got dressed, checked out and drove back home, thereby cancelling our plans to sightsee the next day. We haven’t been back. :-(  

 

Crawling - I wrote this song several years ago and only performed it once or twice. I really liked it but felt that it wasn’t quite “there,” so I put it to the side. But when it came time for final song selection for SWEAT, I had such a strong feeling about this song - I just couldn’t let it go. After a bit of editing/arranging, I knew it would work. The finished song absolutely blows me away - it has also been a favorite of the folks who worked on or have heard the CD.

Stay tuned for more song details.

Bonus Item 

Take a look at the attached picture. What is its significance?

 Mike_2 (160k image)

 CD Release Party 

Just a reminder - the CD Release party is at Red Light Cafe on Saturday, October 10, 2009. Doors will open around 7:15 p.m. Admission is $8 per person at the door, $7 if you buy them from my website. I am asking/encouraging everyone to buy their tickets ahead of time because I expect we will pack Red Light.

SWEAT Pre-Orders 

SWEAT is available for preorder for $12. If you preorder a copy, you can pick it up at the CD Release party, or it will be shipped to you free of charge.

VERY IMPORTANT: To get free shipping, enter PARTY into the discount coupon field at checkout. Shipping charges will automatically be deducted. The Store page can be found at www.mikerickard.com by clicking on Store. Or you can access it directly at www.store.mikerickard.com.

THANK YOU to everyone who has bought tickets to the CD Release party and/or pre-ordered SWEAT. I really appreciate it.

Weekly Contest 

I’m holding a free contest and you have the opportunity to win an autographed CD before it’s released. To enter, all you need to do is send me a question (click on the Win Free Stuff tab on www.mikerickard.com). The best question each week will be entered into a drawing for a free autographed CD and is included in the newsletter. The remaining questions are posted on my website. This week, I only received 4 questions. The winning question was submitted by Candace in Atlanta, GA. She is entered into the drawing.

Q. When we first met you had a friend. A friend that I did not like and I told you he was no good for you and you should get rid of him! What is his name? By the way where is he?… lets make this more interesting… where did you meet him? (C.B., Atlanta) 

A. Okay, Candace, you totally stumped me, (I had to call her on the phone to ask for more info because I had NO CLUE who she was talking about), so you have this week’s winning question. And here is your update.

My friend’s name is Templeton. Templeton and I met in 1996 in Denver. Templeton is a big rubber rat (with a squeaker) that I found on a Denver sidewalk. I was there for a computer software conference at the same time the Colorado Avalanche competed against the Florida Panthers for the 1996 Stanley Cup. Apparently the Miami arena had a reputation for having rats (at least that’s what I remember hearing), so the Colorado fans started throwing rubber rats on the ice. When Colorado won, Denver became a big street party scene. The next morning while walking to the conference, I found Templeton on the sidewalk and we’ve been friends ever since.
 

Through the years, Templeton had a habit of coming out of his normal resting spot to sit in the chairs or under the desks of various co-workers and employees. He meant no harm and was often surprised by the shocked, and often loud, reactions from the folks he went to visit.

Templeton is well, but alas, in a resting place. Should I bring him to my CD release party? I’m sure he’d like to see you again.

QUESTION FOR ALL OF YOU - where did Templeton get his name?

Here are the remaining questions, in no particular order:

Q. I love the [CD Cover] jacket, smooth, clean, your name standing out over the title, a very good shot of you looking all firm and fit, very smart package. Now the question, Was this all your idea and doing or did you have some professional help putting it together? I know you went for a photo shoot right after I saw you in June. Did they formulate this with you or did you have the idea and title in your head already. (D.P., Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

 A. The CD cover has two main elements: the photo and the artwork, which were done by two different people. Here’s how they came together.

Photo.  Long before I started recording, I was 99% sure that the title of the CD would be SWEAT. I also knew who the photographer would be. For months, I kept a file of pictures that I liked. I sent them to him, along with an explanation of what I liked about each picture. I then asked him, “What does this say to you? Do you see any themes?” We discussed several theme, clothing, and location options - and indeed, we shot many photos in the studio and several other locations. As far as the image selected for the cover, we were near the end of the shoot and I held out my arms and said, “Take my picture like this.” He did and I asked if it looked stupid. He said it actually looked pretty cool. We played around with the pose a bit and at the end, he told me to put my head down and lift my eyes to the camera. A little while later while reviewing some of the photos he said, “Oh my gosh.” I asked him why, and he said, “This photo.” My first reaction was, “Wow.” The other people who saw it also had a pretty immediate reaction, so it became a pretty easy choice for the cover. If you notice, I haven’t said who the photographer is or provided any details about the photo shoot. I’m saving those details for an upcoming “Talk To Me Tuesday.”

Artwork. I narrowed down the potential photos before we began the artwork. I worked with the art director from Stirred Not Shaken, an extremely talented guy named Doug Chatham. I wanted to approach the artwork for SWEAT differently than Stirred by using bold logos and fonts, nothing too swirly or “artistic.” In addition, I wanted the artwork to reflect energy and action and not look too reflective or “artsy.” Other than the cover photo, I gave him creative control on which pictures to use for the back cover and in the CD booklet (I selected more photos than would fit in the artwork). Doug chose the location of the SWEAT logo and also tilted the image, which really gave the cover a punch. The idea to “wet” the SWEAT logo and put my name on top of it was a collaborative decision over lunch one day. I can’t wait for you to see the rest of the artwork. Doug has the soul and sensitivity of a true artist, plus he’s one of the nicest guys I know.

Q. Did you invite Eric Himan to your CD release? Is he coming? (J.H., Farmersville, CA)

 A. No. While our paths have crossed several times, I would never expect him to come to my CD release. Plus, Eric travels a LOT – I think he does about 150 shows a year. Recently, Eric turned his solo act into a band, Eric & the Adams and is currently touring the west coast. You can find out more information at www.erichiman.com. For those of you who may not know the context of the question, I loved Eric?s most recent CD, Resonate, which is how I discovered his - and now our - producer, Mike Ofca.
 

Q. Which song on your new CD does your boyfriend like best?  (J.H. , Farmersville, CA)

A. At this point, I would probably say, “Only Love” - and probably not for the reason you might think.

Keep the questions coming - man, I had to work HARD this week. Check the blog for the rest of the questions.

Have a good week, and I?ll talk to you next Tuesday! 

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SWEAT CD Cover Image

September 15, 2009  




provided by flash-gear.com

 

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Talk To Me Tuesday #6 – The Pieces Are Falling Into Place!

September 15, 2009  

CD Cover

So far, you’ve learned the CD title and song names, and you’ve heard the first song. Now…it’s time to see the CD cover. Go to www.mikerickard.com and click on Journal. You will see an entry called, “SWEAT CD Cover.” Click on the entry and the pieces will fall into place?
Don’t forget – the CD has a 12 page booklet, so there will be several more pictures to come. Email me and let me know what you think of the cover.
CD Release Party
Just a reminder – the CD Release party is at Red Light Cafe on Saturday, October 10, 2009. Doors will open around 7:15 p.m. Admission is $8 per person at the door, $7 if you buy them from my website. I am asking/encouraging everyone to buy their tickets ahead of time because I expect we will pack Red Light.
SWEAT Pre-Orders
SWEAT is available for preorder for $12. If you preorder a copy, you can pick it up at the CD Release party, or it will be shipped to you free of charge.
VERY IMPORTANT: To get free shipping, enter PARTY into the discount coupon field at checkout. Shipping charges will automatically be deducted.
The Store page can be found at www.mikerickard.com by clicking on Store. Or you can access it directly at www.store.mikerickard.com.
Weekly Contest
I’m holding a free contest and you have the opportunity to win an autographed CD before it’s released. To enter, all you need to do is send me a question (click on the Win Free Stuff tab on www.mikerickard.com). The best question each week will be entered into a drawing for a free autographed CD and is included in the newsletter. The remaining questions are posted on my website. This week, I only received 2 questions. The winning question was submitted by S.N. in Atlanta, GA. He is entered into the drawing.
Q. Tell me the inspiration for the soul patch that you are so prominently displaying in your media photos? (S.N., Atlanta, GA)
A. Okay, so your question made me laugh out loud. And the explanation is fairly simple. I have no piercings, no tattoos. I’ve never worn my hair too long for work. I’ve always been mindful of having an “acceptable” appearance in a professional environment. I’ve never been outwardly rebellious. Also, I can not grow a full beard, I can’t even connect a goatee. I can, however, grow a soul patch. So it’s there to make sure I don’t look too “white bread” and to assert just a little bit of individuality.
Here is the other question:
Q. When I listen to the song "Sweat" on your website it reminds me of a song Madonna would record. Is Madonna your biggest influence in your music? (R.M., Minneapolis, MN)
A. There’s no denying that she has been a huge influence! While I have never tried to copy her style directly, there are elements of her music that I have incorporated. For example, in “Who I Am” from Stirred Not Shaken, I wanted to include elements of “Like A Prayer” such as the grungy electric guitar intro and the gospel sounding back ground vocals. I also referred to “Vogue” when it came time to adding the spoken word section, specifically on how to incorporate them into the song structure. There have also been a few times when I’ve been tempted to water down what I would really say, and her fearlessness has certainly been an inspiration to me to NOT do that. The first time my mom heard the song “Sweat,” she referred to it as the “Madonna song.” That surprised me because I don’t think it sounds like her style at all. But I’ll take that, nonetheless.
There are also a number of male singers who have influenced me: George Michael for his vocal ability, John Mayer’s Room For Squares CD, and Rob Thomas for his songwriting ability. During the last few years, I’ve been completely in awe of Jason Mraz. He is a great songwriter and guitar player, and he’s a PHENOMENAL singer, and he puts on one heck of a live show.
Keep the questions coming – and let me know what you think of the CD cover. I’ve got lots more exciting stuff to tell you.
 
Have a great week and I’ll talk to you next Tuesday!

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Talk To Me Tuesday #5 – Oops!!

September 9, 2009  

Keep reading for details about the CD Release party and SWEAT pre-orders.

(more…)

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Talk To Me Tuesday #4 – CD Release Info

September 1, 2009  

In the last few weeks, I revealed the title of the new CD (SWEAT) and the track listing. Now it?s time to tell you how you can get your copy before anyone else.

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Talk To Me Tuesday #3

August 25, 2009  

I am really enjoying the Talk To Me Tuesdays! I hope you are, too.

More CD Details

Last week, I revealed the new CD title, SWEAT. Now I?m going to reveal the name of each track:

(more…)

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Talk To Me Tuesday #2

August 18, 2009  

Last week, I gave a lot of fun facts about the new CD. This week, I?m going to reveal the CD title. It is called:

SWEAT

What do you think it means? What do you think about it? Do you like it? Let me know!

(more…)

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Talk To Me Tuesday #1 – New CD on the Way!

August 11, 2009  

Let’s Talk – Me First!

Last week, I told you a new CD is on the way, and introduced “Talk To Me Tuesdays.” For the 1st official “Talk To Me Tuesday,” I thought I?d share some fun facts about the new CD.

(more…)

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