Wow...this week is the one year anniversary of keeping this blog active, and the end of one of the fastest years of my life. The year ended where it began, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii visiting my family.
A year ago, I started this blog as a way to document my development deal with ISLAND FILM GROUP as their in-house songwriter to see where I ended up in a year. Since then, it has expanded according to whatever projects I have been working on, as well as a way to talk to myself through certain things with you as a receptive audience. In the course of the past year, I'm sure there were a few readers who were in this for the end game result and since I'm not one who likes to disappoint, let's look back on what I felt I accomplished in the last year...
#1: SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM: This was my first outing as a solo artist and one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Not just because the whole thing was done in house (with the exception of a few guest musicians), but the act of putting my name on the front cover and having to take ALL the credit both good, and bad that comes with that was new for me. It was something I always wondered if I'd have the opportunity to do and I'm thankful it happened. The album was written for people who like good songs, not music critics, and it seemed to be received as such. This all led up to the debut of THE KYLE STEVENS BAND's CD Release @ The HIGHDIVE in November 2007 in Seattle. Surreal, and satisfying at once...
#2 GIGI EDGLEY'S Album, "...So It Seems" : I met Gigi when I was smack dab in the middle of writing my album, and was able to use some other songwriting muscles I had been neglecting by writing and producing hers in a different style than I normally use. Meeting Gigi allowed me to think a little different musically, exposed me to some of her wonderful fans that became my own, and led to the release of two albums before the end of 2007. Good stuff, but a hard act to follow productivity wise in a 3 month period...
#3 2008 RPM CHALLENGE: The RPM CHALLENGE is an annual social experiment put on once a year during the month of February that gives songwriters the opportunity see what can be produced FROM SCRATCH during a 30-Day period. "No previous ideas, no previous recordings" is the rule of the land and just about gave yours truly a cerebral melt-down. Suffice it to say I'm alive today with the required batch of 10 songs expected of me, and a sense of what is possible when I push myself to the limit. I LOVE the grouping of songs that were born as a result of the Challenge, and after slowly introducing them in the live set have found them responded to with an excitement I never would have expected given how they came to be...quick as hell. As I've said before, an exercise in letting go to be visited again. Look for a few of these tunes to say hello in the near future...
#4 Debut of COLLIDER: Before staring my development deal/solo band, my old friend Matt Edington (FORCEFIELDS) and I had months prior been laying the ground for our new band, COLLIDER. Since COLLIDER was sounding great, I felt no reason to can the idea and instead embraced the insanity of having 2 stylistically different bands made up of the same people.
Bizarre? YES. Convenient? Very.
The band was debuted at The SHOWBOX in Seattle on March 1st 2008, and was a success in the way a musical experiment would be defined as such (A.K.A. People LIKED IT.) I've found it myself at times confusing to describe/understand (as maybe you have), but maybe the concept can best be defined as how Matt differentiates the two by the following description.
KYLE STEVENS BAND = "Light Kyle"
COLLIDER = "Dark Kyle"
Could he be right? You'll have to be the judge when the E.P. comes out...
#5 "SPARKLE AND FALL" Video: At my All-Ages CD Release show in November 2007, I was approached my a nice soul by the name of Heather Canik. Heather directs stuff, and after getting know her over the next couple of months decided that we should shoot a video together for my single, "Sparkle And Fall". After taking a few months to script it out and a lot of back and forth discussion we took a weekend at the end of February to drag my living room onto a beach in the freezing ass cold with hope that Jack Frost would help us capture some magic. The end result is something that I feel turned out to be more personal than anything I felt I've done artistically to date. Heather and her team did their best to realize the vision and put a lot of heart into filming it. It's filled with things and people I love, and I hope I can apply what I learned and make my songs stronger by doing so.
Well there you go, a check list of what I felt were the mile-markers of the past year with a lot of fun stuff and a lot of hard work filled in-between.
The result at the end of "365 Days of Songs"? My employment has been extended with ISLAND FILM GROUP and things continue to move forward as planned. Nice. :)
I want to deeply thank everyone who has followed this blog, listened to my tunes, supported by attending shows, and has read weekly over the past year. Some weeks I had to cut back on what I wanted to write about being I was excited about so much, and others it was a struggle to type anything at all. Still, I made a commitment to put out a posting each week regardless. To those who cared enough to check back every week as well, know that I appreciate it very much. I plan on keeping that regularity up, so I hope you'll continue reading.
In closing, this past year has been one of much change for me. Putting out a solo album and evolving past my older works of LAYMANS TERMS shifted many people in and out my musical life as a result of the change in style and presentation. Not everything you do works for everyone, and anything rarely does. Industry contacts as well as fans come and go to be replaced with new ones when change is made and if you're lucky, those changes bring a stronger sense of self than you had previously.
I attended my younger brother Mateo's High School graduation while in Hawaii, and something was said by a speaker that I needed to be reminded of.
They said, "Through life you will find those who say there is only one way to do something, those who say that anything else is unacceptable by their own definition of what is. Your truth and success with be found only when you do it YOUR way, by listening to your heart and not being afraid to think outside the box."
Hi, my name is Kyle Stevens and I am a Seattle based musician that has been writing/performing since 1994. This is a blog documenting my experiences as an professional songwriter, as well as my adventures with in music with KYLE STEVENS BAND, COLLIDER, GIGI EDGLEY, and KIRBY KRACKLE. Thanks for reading, join my email list, and please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by!
Bringing you 98% spell-check accuracy since 2007...