10 Things I learned in 2011 by Emm Gryner
Welcome to my last post of the year......10 THINGS I LEARNED IN 2011 by Emm Gryner, 3 -time Juno nominee
10. A MARCHING BAND IN AN IGLOO: NOT A GOOD IDEA
...but a songwriter's dream! I played Snowfest in Sarnia and invited the very sportsmanly St. Clair Colts Drum Line to play with me on Hello Aquarius and the OK GO cover I've done. They are so bad-ass I want to adopt all of them. But despite my creative indulgence, the look upon soundman Will's face during this part of the show was one I can not replicate through words or jpgs.
9. EAST STREET STATION IN GODERICH IS A BITCHIN VENUE
L-R NIcest bassist Steve Clark, Ashley Anderson, me, Royal Wood and Jenna Kiyoko-Ujiye. Jenna introduced me to East Street Station in Goderich.
inspired by Jack L who tours every nook and cranny of Ireland, I've been increasingly intrigued by all the corners of Ontario there are to tour. So many towns are overlooked by most touring artists. Especially as a new momma, it's been key for me to stay close to home. I know loads of moms who can fly all over the place with their kid, but it's just not for me right now. Great to discover such an amazing place and amazing people nearby.
I decided in March, close to the time my son was 1 that I would start blogging about motherhood. So I started MUMHUM. I had a pretty good pregnancy and an amazing labour I thought, hey let's share some of this info! Despite my zingy quips and Turner-Prize-winning Face-in-Hole pictorials, BLOGGING ABOUT MOTHERHOOD WHILE BEING A MOTHER IS A TOTAL NIGHTMARE. DO NOT DO IT. i began to get panic attacks, anxiety overload and I felt it was time to clear my schedule. I let go of a few things, the blog, my board membership with Songwriters Association of Canada...just things that I couldn't really do justice to with my new role. And man, life got lighter. I encourage anyone going through crazy anxiety to just start quitting stuff. But not the things you truly love. Don't quit those things! It's all about balance.
7. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO UPSET YOUR PARENTS
I was desperate to do something a little new with my live show come summertime, so I collaborated this year with Shvrs Bros, an electronic duo made up of Bryce Kushnier who SPIN mag called "a laptop wiz" and my long-time friend, guitarist and producer Jordan Kern. We launched our show at the least optimal venue, the outdoor stage at Home County Folk Fest in London. I hadn't prepared by soundman Darryl for the onslaught of noises that were about to come from the stage, AND we didn't get a soundcheck. So in hindsight, it was a bit mad and we probably should have launched it at The Drake or Aeolian Hall or something. But hell, I think we vibrated a few macramé lawn chairs, for better or worse. And for the first time in my life, it was great to upset my parents and people who might clap at any old thing. Shvrs Bros guest with me this January 2012 on a session for Radio2Drive.
6. IT WAS TIME TO START A NEW BAND
Me and two other lasses are starting a new band which we will tell you more about when the music is done in 2012. I've been inspired by a host of things lately - my trips to Ireland, the film The Last Waltz about The Band, the music of Joel Plaskett, of Woody Guthrie, of Alice DIckens and Hazel Gerrard, of Steve Earle. I've been inspired by Dayna and Miranda who are in the band with me and we've all been inspired by this great country of ours. We gonna slay like Slayer!
5. A SHITLOAD ABOUT RECORDING
My producer on Northern Gospel, Stu Brawley, kicked my ass Oshawa-style into learning protools and trying out mics and pre-amps. He got me out of my techno-cave and i think the results really show on my new record. (Universal Audio make great mic pre's!) He inspired me to enunciate better (bad habits formed by loving Brit pop and Tori Amos!) and brighten up my voice. What a producer that guy is. From day one, he did what a producer should do. Dissected songs, changed keys, changed tempos, mapped stuff out and when I freaked out he let me freak out. And he didn't hit on me! Producer of The Year!
4. IF ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS BECOMES A KICK-ASS FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER, FLY HER TO YOUR TOWN AND DO AS MANY PHOTOS WITH HER AS YOU CAN
Jessica Weiser. Jessica Weiser. Jessica Weiser. Enuff said.
3. (RE: TRYING FOR NO.2): SLEEPING WON'T MAKE A BABY
2. SARCASM WON'T MAKE A BABY
and the #1 thing I learned in 2011...
1. HOW TO KILL THE DREAD AND EMBRACE MY OWN SCHIZOPHRENIA
Always learning how to open up. Me on the CBC elevator doors.
It's been a pretty bitchin couple of years. I didn't think when I had a baby I'd be able to put out 2 records back to back. I didn't think I'd become inspired to try a bunch of new things musically. While I learned the same old things I always knew: 1. corprorate radio is a bitch. 2. I am my best manager (Been through 5 now, done with that.). 3. Industry parties are STILL whatever. The things that excite me are my fans, my friends, all the great music I keep hearing...Dan Mangan, Arkells, Adele, Bjork, Oh Land, Deep Dark Woods and on and on. And i realize, as I make plans for all sorts of crazy shit in 2012 that ...that's me. I grew up loving Iron Maiden AND Hall and Oates, Guns n Roses AND Willie Nelson...so what's gonna come out of me is never going to always make sense. And that's okay. And it's okay for you to be schizophrenic too. And to all those new moms and rock n roll moms and dads, nobody talks about how terrifying it is to raise a human. It is a gift, it is a gorgeous experience but there are truly mornings this year when I woke up thinking, can I get his little guy through the day in one piece? Can I get myself through? It turns out that a lot of 80's music helps. The voice of Jian Ghomeshi in the morning helps. A whole lot of blind faith helps. Remembering as my hypnotherapist Meredith says, that kids are meant to leave you, helps. Sometimes it's better to stop reading the internet. No, it's ALWAYS better to stop reading the internet. It's always better to breathe. Deeply.
Happy New Year and thank you to those of you who always buy my stuff and cheer me on. Thank you to the folks who ask me to play in their theatres, their homes and their dirty bars. You keep me and my family alive and kicking.