THE PASS LONDON 2018

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At the end of 2017 I was busy wrapping up a hundred details, tying loose ends as if they were bows on packages, ensuring everything was tidy and pristine. Now 2018 has come and a whole new year lies ahead, a wide-open expanse of time like a prairie covered in snow–it’s beautiful, exciting and scary. It’s the season to leave details behind and to concentrate on the big picture.

I’ve set amazing goals for 2018. One goal is to bring my show THE PASS to London. I’m setting my sights on performing my live show in theaters throughout the UK (where I have a fan base from my hit “Lucky Stars” with Dean Friedman), then throughout the USA. Obviously this goal will have to be broken down into little pieces, like a disassembled stage set, to make its achievement manageable. I’ll do that next week. For today, a day of freezing temps, (NYC) bright sky, brilliant sun and impending snow alerts, I’m going to savor the driving ambition, the sheer audacity of my idea. I can see my name and THE PASS in lights across a large white billboard–and it looks good; it makes my toes tingle.

As we formulate our New Year’s resolutions, which will have to be carried out with sweat, sacrifice and discipline, let’s all take a moment to savor how wonderful it is to dream, and to appreciate the future stretching out before us, fresh as snow, just waiting for our footprints.

 

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Racing Through The Snow

snowWinter is often seen as down-time, a season to lie low and rejuvenate while waiting for warm weather to return. But as the cold comes and the year turns, I am feeling invigorated and living for new challenges.

One thing I’m concentrating on is the promotion of my one-woman musical production THE PASS. As 2018 is the 40th anniversary of the release of my and Dean Friedman’s hit song, “Lucky Stars”, I’m especially eager to bring THE PASS to London next fall. So I’m actively seeking a theater and professional representation. Can’t wait to cross The Pond again–I lived in the UK for four years and have nothing but stellar memories.

I’m also planning on how to feature songs in my music catalog, administered by BMG, on film and TV. We all know how just the right song adds spice to a drama or enhances the best moment in a love story. So I’m eager to lend my voice, and the voice of artists I represent such as Nicole Berke, to exciting new productions.

Another endeavor I’m undertaking is the formation of a special book marketing division for my PR company, KeyMedia Public Relations. I’m designing a very affordable package with first-time struggling writers in mind, to get their manuscripts into agents’ hands and READ and PUBLISHED in the quickest, most efficient way possible. In mulling over names, I’m leaning towards “Push The Book”–reflecting the fun, no-frills but high-quality aspect of this project.

So bears may hibernate and geese may fly south, but there’s no rest for this weary but inspired businesswoman/singer/songwriter and all-around “athlete” this December!

Pinpointing My Dream

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After basking in the afterglow of my first performance of THE PASS, my one woman show including original songs, I now say: What’s Next? A dream is a pure thing, beautiful and nebulous as a cloud, filled with light. But to successfully mount a show a dream is unfortunately not enough. I have a vision; I need a plan. To an artist, making the vision concrete can be the hardest part. Luckily, over the years I have formed and developed my own production company, and have handled the careers of indie musicians (and other artists) whose work I respect. Now is the time to apply the same concentration to my own show that I’ve applied to dozens of other careers.

So, today, I have been starting the submission for a new musical festival, here in NYC.  If we get it, it will help with the funding needed to take THE PASS to the next level and around the country, hopefully even around the world. Oh dare I dream that big? Why not!! So this type of working on a dream,  involves dealing with all the tedious parts of an application such as finding documents and filling out information fields–the exact opposite of bursting into song. Setting my sights on the goal, the end results of entertaining people for a 90 minutes of songs and stories,  I am doing it, while running my PR/Production company as well! That is also a part of me, helping others! www.keymediapublicreations.com

I can break through into a life that is better and where I can be my best self–the expressive songstress me. I can see myself traveling to cities and sharing THE PASS.

It’s right there…

Reigning it in: Staging a Production

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As a musical performer I’ve been told I often use sweeping and dramatic gestures and move about a lot on stage. What I’m learning now is that being a singer with a band is a lot different than doing a one-woman show. As I rehearse my show THE PASS it’s been brought to my attention by my director, Gretchen Cryer, that I need to stand still–at least once in a while! During my rehearsal yesterday I was pacing around the stage, thinking and moving spontaneously as I would in life. But this can be distracting for an audience, even off-putting. I’ve been advised to block out all my moves so that when I speak and sing I will be standing in pre-arranged places–no more wandering around! I’m a free spirit who enjoys making each performance different; I even sing my songs with slight variations every time, to keep them fresh. It’s just the way I roll.

However, for THE PASS, the first run-through, which is September 28th, is an invitation-only performance and will be trying out a new style: one of stillness. I will perform my anecdotes and sing my songs according to a pattern that I’ll have pre-determined, as much as it is within my power to do so. Varying my act a bit, by tweaking the way I usually perform, will be a big challenge. But it will also keep me aware of both myself and the audience in a fresh and exciting new way.

I am thrilled (and nervous) to be preparing for my first showing of THE PASS and will be sure to let you know how it goes.

BE YOURSELF – INDIVIDUALISM IS THE NEW TREND

chants-field-mirror-4-by-alex-baker-photographyFor several decades now, since the highly individualistic 60’s, people seem to have gravitated more to group dynamics than to self-expression. Until recently that is. With the election of Trump, and with corporate politics being constantly questioned, people are again realizing the value of forming their own opinions, instead of having their ideas dictated to them via peer pressure.

Too often we put ourselves into boxes and then stick labels on them, so we are stuck with whatever judgment or perceptions these labels have generated.  In time we may need to get out! Staying fluid, we may come off as wishy-washy. Is there a way to keep your opinions fluid and on a personal level? Leaving the generalizations and stereo types aside and hence allowing more diversity in our lives.

My show, THE PASS, is very much an individual journey. I have always seen the value of following my own path – listening to my own voice even when there were others doing everything they could to convince me otherwise – was often a challenge especially when I first got started. I titled my first CD SELF and the front panel (a sticker made from Mylar on which we printed only the word SELF and inserted into the package; we went to great lengths to find these!) acts as a mirror when people pick it up.  Self-awareness when you pick up my music was the intention.

SELF Denise Marsa

Be an individual, stand out from the crowd and listen to your own voice. That way you’ll always be sure to be heard.

My Own Barber Pole

As I continue to prepare for my one-woman show, THE PASS, in which I tell stories about my life & career, I have been thinking of my past successes. This has led me to ponder the nature of success in general. Some people experience success as one straight line like a rocket vaulting into the sky; for others it is winding, a fluid motion like the stripes of a barber pole that can lead them from top to bottom to top again. I feel this pattern is most apt in describing my own music career.

 My brother David and I recently found cassettes of my music from the 80’s and he wanted to transfer them to CD! We did at a studio in NJ – here’s CHEMISTRY- a very early song of mine.  The song resonates with the rousing vibrations of youth and an interest in a new love. 

Larga Vida el Paso – Meet Marta Sanchez

After months of searching, I am happy to say I have found a great pianist Marta Sanchez to help me launch my show THE PASS. Marta is from Madrid, Spain and is currently living in Brooklyn.  She has an impressive background with degrees in both classical and jazz composition. Marta has toured the US, Europe, South and Central America and, among her many accomplishments, she was awarded MacDowell Fellowship in 2017.

I’m particularly engaged by the energy and commitment she brings to my songs. Rhythm has always been a big part of my composing and I have felt that through the years my recordings have not always reflected that ingredient. I like what she brings to the music!

You can check out Marta’s website at: www.martasanchezmusic.com 

 

Stop Creating Limitations

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For whatever reason I’ve had this stigma about raising money online for my projects–like I’ve had some success: publishing deals, hit records. It makes me feel like I’m starting from scratch. Then I look and see all the amazing artists who are doing crowdfunding and I realize I have been limiting myself by judging myself.

So I’m shedding my old self and my colleague Maryanne and I are working on my first crowdfunding campaign. We’re researching, creating content and preparing to raise funds for my one-woman show THE PASS.  We applied for a grant from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and we’re waiting to hear, should know sometime in February. In conjunction with the grant, we are starting the crowdfunding part we spoke about in the application.

I am trying to come up with a fun concept for the video. There are many aspects to being creative–certainly it has its pain and challenges. However, I’m now looking at things from a different angle; my new mantra is “focus on the fun.”  After all, creating is my chosen path. No one is forcing me to write a new song or write a show; it’s coming from me naturally. For me to do anything else would be unnatural.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day; I hope we all reflected on his profound ability to make a difference in the world. My goal for the show is to entertain people and to bring them enjoyment. With my work in PR and with my mentoring I have made a difference in a handful of lives. Now I’m focusing on the fun.

To Weave a Web of Song

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Spiders get a bad rap. Consider their fascinating origin according to Greek mythology: Arachne, a talented but mortal weaver, challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. When Athena, who rules over crafts as well as wisdom, won the content hands-down she decided to punish Arachne by turning her into nature’s first spider. So spiders spend their days weaving endless beautiful and intricate webs, but are not always appreciated for their artistry!

As a songwriter, I also weave webs–from music and words not thread. This week I have been crafting a new song for “The Pass”, LIFEBOAT. It will be the penultimate song in the show, the second-to-the-last, an important position. I have been playing it for friends, whose comments have helped me to take it to new levels. All of my life I have told stories, in words and music, bringing vocal shape to the world I experienced. At some point I gave this ability a practical application, by using it to write press releases, attract clients and create a PR firm. But the need to use it purely creatively always comes out; throughout my daily life I tend to burst into song. By patient and skillful crafting, I have taken my latest song to a new place, a heightened place of pain and love and soaring emotion. I can only hope that even the goddess Athena would approve!

Fun Fact: According to studies done at the University of Miami, spiders respond to music. They don’t like techno or hip hop but, when Bach was played, the spiders began to spin webs closer to the speakers.