November 30, 2013
THE ‘HOLY’ ALBUM AND VIDEO ARE HERE!
Tada! The first single and video ‘Holy’ is now on YouTube. Click “Launch Related Site” below this update to watch it!
A few weeks ago I was busy shooting my first two music videos. I have been collaborating with true professionals: Hiroo Takaoka and Hazuki Matsushita. Hiroo Takaoka is a director of photography and has done many big brand TV commercials to Japanese markets as well as feature films and music videos. Hiroo brought a whole film crew with him and I felt like a movie star for a few days.
Hazuki Matsushita has worked as a make-up artist in film industry in Hollywood for years and is now spreading her wings in the fashion world in NYC. Hiroo and Hazuki worked very hard to make these videos (and me) look good and engaging and I must tell you they have succeeded beyond my expectations. I am so fortunate that they have wanted to be part of my musical journey.
On the first day we had to catch the sunrise at the Far Rockaway beach in Brooklyn and that meant starting the work day at my place at 3:30am with Hazuki coming over to do my make-up and hair. Some coffee went down. At the beach we were shooting in very cold, windy and raw conditions but we survived and the sunrise by the ocean was gorgeous. A shout out also goes to Haruto Imamura, my co-star in the video, a talented actor and an inspiring painter.
The CD Release Concert at the Metropolitan Room on Nov 21st was a success. The band rehearsals for it started with getting together with the new addition Nate Jasensky on guitar, then the full band rehearsals with Saku Nousiainen on bass and Stephen Purcell on drums. I have been used to doing gigs with just Saku and Stephen but now with Nate and his guitar the music was starting to sound more like the album. It was inspiring for all of us!
The show night was fantastic with a bunch of supportive friends, collaborators as well as complete strangers as guests. Hiroo got the video edited in time so that I was able to start the event with the video screening. I got such a warm reception. Thank you everyone who made it to the show! You can find pictures from the CD Release Show here on the site under the Gallery tab.
I am flying to Finland in two weeks – very exciting! I am going to go teach songwriting to music students, have another CD Release Show in Helsinki and promote my new album. Anyone who is on that side of the Atlantic (or the Baltic Sea for that matter) please come and celebrate with me!
The show is on Wednesday, December 18th at 9pm at Koko Jazz Club. I have a fabulous musician line-up, I am so fortunate to have them on board:
Antti Kokkola – guitar/violin
Karin Mäkiranta – guitar/voice
Marja Ahlsved – keys/voice
Ape Anttila – bass
Jaska Lukkarinen – drums
The Holy album will soon be available on iTunes and Amazon. Let your friends know!
Have a warm and lovely Holiday Season!
October 29, 2013
Final stretch – The album is almost here!
First things first:
This is an official announcement! The title of my upcoming album is “HOLY”. The celebration of it, i.e. the CD RELEASE CONCERT is on Thursday, November 21st at 9:30pm (doors at 9pm) at the Metropolitan Room in NYC. If you are in the city please come and join me. This is a one-time opportunity and I am going to make it extra special. Get your tickets in advance here!
A lot of passion, laughter, tears, creativity, hard work, persistence and patience has gone to this project. Everyone who has worked closely with me knows that this “Holy” album is a labor of love and dedication. It has taken practically a year for me to get to this point. This Kickstarter campaign started on November 12th last year! I don’t have the CD in my hands just yet so please be patient. All the audio and visual materials made it to the duplication place this past Friday. It will take a few more weeks. With no doubt I am psyched!
If you want to know more about what has been going on since the last update in early August read on my friend…
AUGUST – APE IN BROOKLYN, NY
The producer of my album, Ape Anttila, came to NYC in the end of August and we created a functional music studio out of my tiny Brooklyn apartment. He brought a sufficient amount of audio gear from Finland with him and I ended up canceling a professional studio space after Ape assessed my hallway closet and said it’s a perfect vocal booth. Well, maybe not perfect but would do just fine, especially when we are on a low budget. We got some help from my drummer neighbor David Ashkenazy who kindly let Ape borrow his acoustic guitar and electric bass. Thank you David! We worked on four last songs: Little Girl, In Your Eyes, Holy and Flutter-By. I finished all the needed vocals during this time. All the singing was done at this point. I was so relieved.
During Ape’s stay we also had a chance to do two gigs. One at the Haitian restaurant La Caye in Brooklyn and the other at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan.
One day we also went to meet Jacob Blumberg at Mason Jar Music in Brooklyn and worked on the final tweaking of the first 6 mixed songs. It was lovely to finally meet this talented mixing engineer who towards the end of the whole process exceeded our expectations with his patience and high work ethic.
Meanwhile I was also busy negotiating with the soon-to-be mastering engineer of the album and having meetings with the fashion photographer Erika Hokanson and the designer Arsenio Garcia to brain storm ideas for the CD cover.
SEPTEMBER – GOING AFTER THE VISUAL LOOK
Ape was back in Lohja, Finland working on more tracking and editing the second half of the album after which Jacob started mixing the songs. September for me started with location and clothing hunting for the photo shoot. The locations were going to be Erika’s studio and a few rusty looking streets in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Erika and I ran around in stores on 5th Avenue looking for proper styles and I bought clothes worth $1,000 which were to be returned later. Luckily I didn’t tear anything up… Erika found me a talented make-up artist Jessie Sung who ended up doing a great job with my face and hair.
The actual photo shoot day was long but rewarding. Erika Hokanson did a fantastic job. She was very patient with me as she noticed I was nervous about the shoot: I had expectations for myself and I wasn’t sure if I was able to deliver proper looking “rock star” pictures. But I think we did it! The main photos on this website are from the session.
OCTOBER – BOB POWER MAGIC
All the mixes were done on the first week of October. Ape and I were very happy with the end result and could not wait for the mastering take place as that would switch the game to the whole new level. I was excited to have Bob Power master my album. Bob is a top level music professional, music engineer and a producer having won Grammys and received more than 20 gold and platinum records (Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, David Byrne, Miles Davis, you name it…). Just check his website www.bobpower.com and you get an idea what an honor it was to have him work on my humble project.
The process wasn’t as smooth as one would have expected. We had to go back to the mixes and bug Jacob for edited versions. This created major delays and some serious frustrations in all fronts. Ape was touring in Japan with 13 hour time difference being awake many nights so that he could listen to the updated versions and get the comments back in time. Technology was not quite on our side either and the communication was spotty more than a few times.
Regardless of high levels of stress and heart pounding anxiety the mastered music tracks started to sound really good and, you know, like a real record. I got some precious feedback from Bob who complimented my voice and singing style and who claimed that one of the songs on this album is one of the most beautiful things he’s ever heard in his life. Eh… excuse me, WHAT??? I should have gotten his comment on tape so I can prove it!
I am getting ready for my CD release concert. Lots of promotion work to be done + lots of other things that I am not going to list here as it is becoming a boring read.
I will most certainly get this piece of my soul (i.e. this album) from the oven very very soon. Will keep you posted!
Sept 9, 2013
I am one of the featured artists on a charity album
This summer I had the pleasure to take part in the special charity album project Action Moves People organized by the Grammy award winning producer Kevin Mackie. I was asked to sing a song There’s Always Tomorrow written by Micky Litt and Tim Gleeson. The legendary artists like Paul Simon and Ben E. King have given accolades to this album. I will soon have these CDs for sale on my gigs. Listen to the song by clicking “launch related site”.
ACTION MOVES PEOPLE is a collection of poems and songs that are an inspiration to people of all ages. A strong message of self understanding, self empowerment and global oneness are themes woven throughout this album with an acknowledgement that we are all one people, regardless of race, religion, age and lifestyle; that we can all endure the challenges of life, uplift ourselves and one another, and help each other through life’s easy and difficult moments. Within this collection, the artists deliver heartfelt and sincere performances of stirring poems and songs. All proceeds from the sales of this CD benefit the MOVE THIS WORLD charity, which is a global nonprofit that uses creative movement to address and transform conflict and violence in communities. In partnership with schools, community-based organizations, families and corporations, MTW is building and connecting more peaceful communities with over 10,000 individuals across 22 cities and 4 continents.
The album, it’s content and mission has been applauded by music luminaries such as Paul Simon, Billy Vera and Ben E. King. Produced by a team including Kevin Mackie, Krista Wallhagen, Whitney Peyton, Rave Tesar, Kevin Frank, and Bobby Susser, it will be released on August 27th, 2013 through Kevin Mackie Productions and distributed via CD Baby. It is also available online at iTunes and Amazon, or from the official website at actionmovespeopleproject.com.
“I whole heartedly support the producers’ excellent efforts that were put into the album, Action Moves People. I think it’s well done, promoting a better future for everyone and I’m all for that.” – Paul Simon
“Action Moves People is a very fine collection of work for a fine cause. That is, to improve the lives of young people. No one can disagree with that idea. I especially like the positive feeling of the track, ‘A World Made For Me And You.’” – Billy Vera, Grammy Winning Singer/Songwriter, and Music Historian
“Action Moves People helps the next generations, and that’s what it’s all about. When I was asked to help with this wonderful effort, I didn’t hesitate and said, ‘Yes, yes yes.’” – Ben E. King
Chairman and CEO, STAND BY ME Foundation
August 14, 2013
The End Of Summer News
There have been a lot of exciting developments regarding my album this summer. I am excited to share the news with you!
I was in Finland for two weeks this past July to work with my producer, Ape Anttila. We got a LOT done. We recorded vocals to eight songs, added bass, piano, keyboard, guitars, synths, cello, even ukulele and kantele to the tracks.
Check the home video that we recorded at Ape’s studio in Lohja. Click the link “launch related site” below. It’s me singing the song November. (Don’t pay attention to Ape who is busy eating “marjakiisseli”, i.e. Finnish berry soup).
After I left Finland Ape kept working more on the tunes and we were finally able to send the first six songs to Jacob Blumberg at Mason Jar Music who started the mixing immediately. We have gotten back the first drafts and they sound wonderful.
We have about four songs left to be recorded. The drummer Jaska Lukkarinen will do the drum tracks at the studio in Finland but a lot of the other stuff including the vocals will be done here in New York City! Ape will be traveling here in a week and we’ll nail down everything and send the other six songs to Jacob early September. I can’t believe it – this is really moving forward!
Meanwhile I am searching and contacting mastering engineers, photographers and looking for a graphic designer. There are still many phases left but there’s a great momentum going on at the moment. All of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for my Kickstarter backers’ support. This is quite a journey!
Along with being busy making this album happen I have been playing gigs more than ever. I have performed at Rockwood Music Hall which is one the hippest live music venues in NYC. I appeared at a cozy, popular space Caffe Vivaldi in the West Village a few weeks ago. This past Friday I did a double bill show at Somethin’ Jazz Club with Emma Larsson, a talented jazz singer from Sweden. We sang folk, pop and jazz songs from Sweden and Finland. I took a risk and sang a Finnish tango too. It was fun!
I have also performed regularly at a Haitian restaurant La Caye in Brooklyn with an inspiring Haitian singer/songwriter/guitarist Monvelyno. He writes great music and we have been performing his songs, my songs and a bunch of reggae tunes and groovy cover tunes. I have learned to play some Haitian rhythms with piano and sing a few words in Creole. A Haitian-Finnish music ensemble sounds like a really odd combo but it works miraculously. I bet there is no a such musical group anywhere else in the world. Or maybe there is…?
And then last but not least, I was recently introduced to a Grammy winning producer Kevin Mackie who is currently producing a new charity album benefitting the organization Move This World. He liked my voice and asked me to become a contributing artist to the album and do the vocals to a song “There’s Always Tomorrow” written by Mickey Litt and Tim Gleeson. I recorded the vocals here at my home with my simple but efficient audio equipment almost two months ago and now the album is having its release date very soon. Looking forward to seeing how this album will be received. It’s a good cause and I am happy to be part of it!
Enjoy the last bits of the summer. Will keep you posted on any new fun developments!
Link included: http://youtu.be/F76D1RAwB0g
May 30, 2013
Latest developments in the album land
I know, I know… I have been letting you wait for way too long for an update regarding my upcoming album. My sincere apologies. I go straight to the point. Here is what has been happening and will be happening:
For the past months I have been applying numerous grants from Finland towards my album project. Now it looks like there is no additional monetary support coming in. Yes, disappointing, but this won’t stop me from achieving my dream – the Kickstarter support from the backers was wonderful and we can still make this record happen. I just have to be creative in keeping the costs down as much as possible. The end result will be good no matter what, I assure you!
First off, I’ve got something for you to listen to. Here is a short sample from the December recording session – the song Road (it is raw, unmixed material): https://soundcloud.com/musicwithwings/road-teaser
I will be traveling back to Finland to work on the material this July. Ape Anttila, the producer of my album, and I will get the most of the songs recorded during this time. The remaining part will be recorded in New York towards the end of the summer.
The very exciting news is that I have been introduced to a great Brooklyn-based mixing engineer duo Dan Knobler and Jon Seale at Mason Jar Music. They will mix the album once all the 12 songs have been recorded. This is a perfect fit; Dan and Jon work with a lot of artists that do similar type of music as I do.
Big thank you in discovering and getting in touch with Mason Jar Music goes to Harry Allen – a radio host (Nonfiction on WBAI), a journalist/writer (“The Media Assassin”) and a hip-hop activist affiliated with the legendary group Public Enemy. As I told Harry about my “mixing engineer hunt” he reached out to a colleague, legendary producer & engineer Bob Power (Me’Shell N’degéocello, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu) for suggestions. He, in turn, connected us to Dan and Jon who are recent graduates of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU.
Someone might wonder how a Finnish singer-songwriter in acoustic pop field gets to know a rap guy? Well, I met Harry Allen several years ago when he interviewed the band that I co-led, Kaiku, on his radio show. No, I didn’t do hip-hop even then but I think Finnish music fascinated Harry and with no doubt he enjoys music very broadly. Since then he has been supportive of what I do, both with words and with actions. He has played my music on his radio show and made those few precious phone calls! I am very grateful for his generosity.
And then somewhat unrelated to the album:
I had a chance to collaborate with a good friend of mine Erin Molitor who is a multi-talented artist – a jewelry maker, a painter and a photographer. She took new promotional photographs of me and they will soon be spread out all over social media and on all promotional materials. Some of them are posted here on my website. Go check it out under the Gallery tab. You find her website info under the Links tab.
Have a sunny, joyful summer!
I am featured in a Japanese newspaper
This is quite exciting and coming from the left field but I am one of the featured singers in this Japanese newspaper article that talks about a talent showcase that I am doing at the Metropolitan Room in a few weeks (see the article by clicking “launch related site”).
If you want to attend the showcase please see more info under the “performances” tab.
New interview article out
First Indigo blog just posted my interview. Take a look by clicking the “launch related site”.
The New Year Brings New Challenges
The Kickstarter campaign was definitely a challenge – nerve wrecking but extremely rewarding. This new year is about making the dream come true. The making of my solo debut album is bringing a lot of joy and hard work on my way. I can’t wait to share this music with you.
So, I am back in New York from Finland. I spent four days in Lohja in December with my producer Ape Anttila tracking instruments to three of my songs. Jaska Lukkarinen came to do the drums and percussion and Marzi Nyman stopped by to lay some guitar tracks. It is exciting to hear how these songs are coming together as these talented musicians are adding their unique voices to the mix. Within a few months we’ll pick one from these three songs and make a music video of it here in NYC. The journey has only just begun. There is a lot more to be done and the ultimate goal is to get ready for the CD release in the fall 2013.
I will keep you posted on all of the developments so keep checking the updates here on the site and/or on Facebook (link below – go and like me there). If you are in NYC area, come and hear my live concert at Somethin’ Jazz Club on February 1st.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Thank you to all my backers
My Kickstarter campaign got successfully funded and I am now able to start this exciting journey and record my solo debut album. In fact, I just arrived in Finland and the first sessions are beginning this Monday. My words cannot express the deep gratitude I feel for all the people who believe in me and who backed this project. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
HELP ME REACH MY GOAL!
I am almost there. My Kickstarter project has been going really well but the time is running out. Only 5 more days to go and I need to raise about $2,000 more to make it happen. Help me to make my debut solo album! Choose a reward and make a pledge.
Click the link “launch related site” and see more info about the rewards and how to become a backer.
Thank you for considering!
HELP ME TO MAKE MY ALBUM
I am so thrilled to say that I am finally starting a process of recording my first solo album. I have found talented people to help me in this creative journey. Now I just need some back up. I have created a Kickstarter project to raise funds to cover the expenses of this album and I need your help!
Click the link “launch related site” below on the right hand side and check the video and look at the rewards. For a donation you get something in return, being anything from signed CD’s to private concerts, Finnish lessons and beyond.
Come aboard on this exciting ride, get updates on how we are making it happen and receive neat rewards.
Thank you for considering!
Fall 2012 shows in NYC
Two shows now booked for the fall season! I am singing at a lovely intimate space Googie’s Lounge on the upstairs space at Living Room on October 27th. There will also be a guest appearance. On November 25th I have a pleasure to have a concert at Somethin’ Jazz Club with Saku Nousiainen on bass and Stephen Purcell on drums. This will be a celebration show for the Kickstarter project that I am launching for my solo album during the month of November. To honor my Finnish heritage I will also include some Finnish numbers in the program. It will be fun. Please stay tuned!
SHOWS COMING SOON!
I am in the process of booking NYC shows for the fall season.
Please, check back soon for more details!
Check these links out!
I KNOW, it’s been forever since I have written anything here. Shame on me!
The latest news are that you will start seeing some new pictures here on the website. Yes, it’s about time. These pictures have been taken by the fabulous, talented photographer Claudia Christen.
Please, check her out here: www.claudiachristen.com
Also, I just opened a facebook page. Please, like me there if you like my music and want to be updated by my upcoming shows and know about the latest news.
New songs posted under the Listen tab
Happy New Year everyone!
New songs are coming. I have started recording demo versions of my recently written songs. Two first ones, Holy and November are now up. Go and hear them under the Listen tab.
A new film music video posted
The latest film music project, Sarna, a book promotion video that I recently finished is now posted under the Videos tab (Music For Films)
Three Sunday nights at Rue B
After some months performance hiatus I am resurfacing. I am singing and playing on three August Sunday nights at the quaint, mellow restaurant/bar Rue B in East Village. Three sets of jazz standards, pop classics as well as some original songs. Maybe some special guest appearances. Come to one or all of them!
More info on the Performances page!
Hope to see you there!