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I have a party to plan! My Type-A, organizational side (strangely not evidenced by the appearance of my kitchen) is going, for lack of a better term, apeshit.

I haven’t had so much of this type of fun since…well, that time I got married. You can’t imagine the lists, and you can’t imagine the spreadsheets. It makes me want to write a novelty song.

There will be plenty of time to share the details with all of you, just write January 28 on your calendar, and later, we’ll discuss the rest. Just know that this thing is going to be one rip-roarin’ good time and you’re not going to want to miss it. Save the date, man. Save. The. Date.

Oh!!! And you’ll see, off to the right, that there is a little linky-link that says something about subscribing to the mailing list. DO IT. (Please. If you want.) If you would also be so kind as to inclue a mailing address, you will receive mailings about the party, and a sweet merch table coupon for use while you’re there, happy, and full of booze.

In other news, I am supremely stoked today because Jordan will come back this weekend. He’s been gone a ton this month, mostly for work, and I am missing him! We have plans once he gets back to do our own “Christmas,” with a nice dinner and maybe a Christmas movie marathon, featuring classics like “Jingle All The Way” and “Santa Baby” (ABC Family) (Jokes! ) But the idea that I have a boyfriend who doesn’t openly hate “It’s a Wonderful Life” does bring a smile to my face, and leaves that portion of my holiday cheer unsquelched.

I do have a few Christmas gifts to buy, and must admit I haven’t even started my shopping yet.  Or my idea-generating.  So I’d like to rip off some of yours and pass them off as my own. (Cool?)

So then, what is the coolest non-traditional Christmas gift you’ve ever been happy to receive? I frame the question that way, recalling the year my sister told me she’d like the strangest thing I could find on eBay within a specific budget. I’m not sure she was thrilled when I got her two bags of rocks (which, upon much further scrubbing and mining, were supposed to reveal sapphires and rubies, as I recall…) I don’t know that I ever became privy to the outcome of that wild gravel chase, but I do remember that at some point, maybe even that same year, she repaid the thoughtfulness with a CD of “Opera’s Greatest Drinking Songs.”  Joke’s on her, though, because “Drink, Drink, Drink” and the “Anvil Chorus” have made it into the regular rotation on my iPod.

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying this holiday season with too much togetherness, too many calories, and the higher-than-average level of hilarity that can only come from being fat and surrounded. 🙂

Many lovves,

-Miss Dana

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So, my e-mail is finally working again! It is now safe to send to danajo@danajoforseth.com.

I hassled a lot of computer-geek friends with a lot of really odd questions, and little by little, untangled the problem. It took almost a month to get it squared away, just a series of simple things that are not in my repertoire of talents. Sheet music and spreadsheets, sheet cakes and bedsheets are all things I can do…but if we leave the world of sheets, I’m in a pickle.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who made themselves available for assistance. It was much appreciated!

Now that that’s fixed, please see the link on the right —> and sign up for my mailing list! I promise I’m not going to spam you, and what I send is likely to be rare, especially at first, but when I have details on the upcoming RELEASE PARTY, I’d like to have a way to let you know about them.

In the meantime, we have a date! January 28, 2012 at the Tap House Lounge. More details to come!

I am uploading the data for my CD to Discmakers as we speak. Cross your fingers that all goes well. I will keep you posted…Happy Wednesday!


Can I let you guys in on a little secret?

I am terrified of the guitar. It’s not entirely that I can’t play it…(although that’s a lot of it) but there is something that makes me reluctant to touch it.  At all. Maybe it’s partly that other people can play it so well. It’s almost like if I pick it up any more than I absolutely have to to get by, I will offend the gods of rock and be stricken with writer’s block that shall sentence me to the world of corporate accounting permanently. Like, even into the afterlife.*

I know that all I have to do to get better is spend some time and put in a little elbow grease. Where I am right now, the learning curve could be insanely steep, and with a little practice, I could at least be comfortable playing one. And not even be half bad at it. But for some reason, that first step–just picking it up–is a very, very difficult thing.

I played more years ago. I took guitar classes in college. And when I bought my first guitar…well, you can’t even imagine that glee. An instrument I could actually move around, and take places with me. Something I could groove on, and a new place for songwriting inspiration. And I hadn’t tried to play it yet–so I hadn’t failed then. I think there is some worry that I will try, and not improve, and put a lot of time into something where I actually get nowhere.

It feels like a guitar is the ideal instrument to be good at, for all of those reasons. It’s portable, it sounds great, it’s nice next to a campfire, and everyone can play one. Right?

Truth be told, I love the piano. That, I played for long enough to develop some real skill. For a few years, I didn’t have access to one, so my skills might have waned a little, except for a keyboard that my family bought me for Christmas one year. Even in the absence of a “real” piano, that kept me on the keys…and I’m ever grateful. It’s not that I don’t want to learn something new, it’s just that I want to already be good. And of course, don’t we all. Having a skill like playing an instrument removes what I see as a barrier to writing great songs. Certainly, being an instrumentalist, or even a vocalist, is not a prerequisite, but it certainly helps.

I went to the TAXI Road Rally with the intention of attending as many courses as I could about marketing my music. Using social media, using internet radio, using whatever I could and whatever it would take. By the end of the first class I took-the first class on the first day, I could no longer stomach the topic. That said, I’ve been reading books about it for several months, and it just sort of put my brain on overload. Mostly, it’s to the point where I have to stop reading and getting ideas and start following through on them. So, just prior to what I was fairly certain would soon be my head exploding, I opted for a topic change. And, I had a break from classes to attend a one-on-one mentoring session with a mentor of my choice…Jai Josefs.

Jai is not a record producer, or an A&R guy, or an indie artist–he’s a songwriter, and a top songwriting coach. I had him critique a song with a working title of “Memories Tonight.” He gave me a good mix of feedback–what I’d done right and what I could improve, and I left the session feeling very good about my existing talent, and about my ability to make the changes he was suggesting. I signed up for a separate, longer session with him and showed him three more of my songs that I’m hoping to put on my first full-length CD. I got great tips from him, specific to these songs and my writing style. I also attended two of his seminars at the Road Rally. (That’s a lot, considering how many highly skilled people are offering their expertise at a convention like this, and how few chances you really have to absorb as much of their knowledge as possible.)

Anyway, all of that leads up to one of the comments he made in one of his workshops. This man has had a number of successful cuts as a songwriter, and has taught high-caliber students who went on to write hit singles and win Grammys. He said that he isn’t much of a singer–but he took voice lessons for a couple of years, and as a result, his melodies got a lot more interesting. As songwriters, it’s natural that we’re limited by our musical abilities. And while I feel better, being a singer and piano player, that guitar in the corner is just sitting there, looking like another limit.

For now, I’m spending more time with my piano. I love the sounds it makes, and I love that I can play it, in any key, and that I understand its chord structure. I can do really awesome things on the piano. When I get serious about it and sit down, I find cool licks–all the time! But, pianos aren’t very portable or campfire-friendly, and I’ve gotten to be a little bit reliant on the piano “feel”–the weight of the keys and the timbre of the hammer hitting the strings. Not that any of my pianos at home actually have strings… I still hate that I’m limited on the guitar. But then, I also hate that I don’t get to choose how many hours are in a day. I could spend the time working with what I have on songs that I can be proud of, developing my writing and getting closer to that, or I can spend the time developing a skill that I’d also like to have, but is less important to me than the songs. It’s all about choices.

It’s like they say, though…time is the great equalizer. It’s the one thing everybody has in common. This week, I have exactly the same number of hours as Amy Lee, Reba McEntire and Ryan Tedder do. They just have 40 more to devote to their music careers. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

*The comments made in this blog may or may not at times represent the actual religious or philosophical beliefs of Dana Jo Forseth.


Are you ever glad to just have a normal day? I’ve been cleaning house and running errands, and it feels wonderful. No rush, no timeline, just accomplishing some things I haven’t had time to do in a while. And I finally got some sleep. Like 12 hours of it, more or less in a row. My body doesn’t know what to make of being rested.

So, on the list for today…servicing my truck. Or, paying someone else to service it…(Me with a wrench under a vehicle…there’s a disaster waiting to happen!) I’ve owned this truck for three years now and haven’t changed the oil once. (Don’t tell the guy I bought it from.). I haven’t put 3,000 miles on it, either, but that’s beside the point…anyway, it told me in the form of a dashboard light that I might oughta think about it. So I’m waiting in the automotive section of Sears while someone else takes care of it.

Earlier, I went to Herberger’s, where they’re having their semi-annual Community Day sale, which is typically pretty awesome. I bought a coupon book which I subsequently lost. I decided to come back a little later, when I have my car.

It feels SO good to not be rushing to this or that, or to meet a deadline. The only bummer is that Jordan (my boyfriend) is not here this week. He’s in Hawaii visiting family. I wasn’t able to go this time, but I saw the view from his condo, and it’s pretty fantastic. This morning out my front window I saw snow falling. That will teach me how to prioritize! 🙂

Anyway, here’s wishing everyone a nice quiet weekend of catching up and enjoying life before the holidays and the snow start…probably not in that order. I think a lovely beverage is in my future tonight…what about yours?


So, tonight, I’m singing in a karaoke contest. Yes. That’s right, a singer who considers herself a serious artist, is singing in a karaoke contest.

I don’t even consider it a guilty pleasure. I LOVE karaoke. Thousands of songs at your fingertips, in any key you like, and you don’t even have to kick your crappy guitar player’s butt for messing up. (Exceedingly difficult for me–as I usually AM said crappy guitar player.) Tonight, I get to sing songs I love, with a “band” that will do exactly what I expect it to, in costume.

Oh, costume is one of my favorite things, ever. I love making an elaborate outfit to sing one song in. I have to admit, I get a little charge out of finishing up some sort of crazy dress just in the nick of time to wail out some Evanescence or Juice Newton. Never mind that for the several days preceding, I am a giant mess of stress. The crunch timeline requires a lot of very quick decision-making, and sometimes you end up in a getup that looks more like a Christmas tree than haute couture. But, it’s all about entertainment. It entertains me to practice the songs repeatedly in my car, and to put together something weird to wear as if I need to distract the audience from my butcher’s interpretation of Celine Dion. (Note: I would never attempt Celine or Whitney–not my kind of voice.) And hopefully it entertains the audience to spectate as the crowd-friendly version of this (sans swear words) materializes before their eyes. I get a lot of enjoyment from trying to bring something different to the table.

So, wish me luck, even though winning money isn’t on the table. I have cute outfits, and hopefully my best singing voice will show up tonight. And hey, if you have a chance, I’d love to see you at the Beacon tonight. 🙂


Hey, everybody, how did the weekend treat you?

First things first: The e-mail address on my business cards isn’t working. So, for the time being, if you need to contact me via e-mail, please use danajo79 at gmail dot com.

I’m hoping I can solve the problem when I’m back on my home internet. That address was working before…

Well, I’m sitting in LAX with about an hour to go before my plane leaves. Got up at a ridiculous hour this morning (I’m going to have to give my travel planner a serious finger-waggin’ when I get home) and am debating whether the benefit of coffee would outweigh the accompanying misery of sitting on airplanes, wired, full of coffee. I’m thinking not.

I’ve heard there’s a power outage today in Great Falls that they haven’t been able to figure out yet. Not sure how much of town is affected, but hopefully when I get home, the problem will be fixed. If not, at least I can say this: Nothing warms you like gas. And you don’t need power to power nap. 🙂

I will talk about the Road Rally at some point…right now it’s all a little fresh and big and un-sorted-out. Was a great time, though! But there are too many applicable adjectives to use right now while retaining some appearance of coherence.

But I will tell one story now. Yesterday in the final session, there was a panel of record producers listening to random members’ CDs, to see if they could be “hits.” I was fervently taking notes on my phone (best shot at legibility) and a fellow sitting a couple of seats away leaned over and said to me, “You know, that’s really distracting. We’re here to do business.” Curious how any of you would have responded to that….

Anyway, happy Monday! I will be back sometime after I meet with some sleep and a hairbrush. 🙂

❤ -Dana Jo


Five of the eight songs that will be included on the upcoming Driven EP.  Official worldwide release will be in January, but there may be a few exclusive buying opportunities before that.  Stay tuned for ringtones and other fun stuff, coming soon!

 


So, like I said earlier, I’m getting ready for a trip to Los Angeles.  I’ve been there before…in November of 2008.  I was there for the same reason I’m going now–the TAXI Road Rally.

When I went before, I had some homemade CDs with labels and jackets printed with my inkjet, with a few of my latest songs on them.  I think they were Melt, Beg, Get Outta There, and the special ones also included From Here to Her and Something Worth Doing.  I gave them out to everyone I could think of…which probably amounted to about seven people.  I was not the biggest social butterfly in that huge spectacular hotel conference room.  But it was easily one of the coolest things I had ever done in my life.

Usually, conferences are something I attend on someone else’s dime.  And usually, the impetus to go is to get a few CPE hours and maybe get out of Great Falls for a few days and see a big city for a nice change.  But this–this is my passion, and worth every scrupilously-saved penny it costs me to go.

This year, I will be taking a nearly-complete collection of my early work, either to pitch to opportunities, or just hand out as teasers for my upcoming release.  But, I’ll have something REAL, and tangible…and well-done, for a change.  Not that I put subpar recordings on my CDs last time, but by myself I hadn’t been able to do anything like what we’ve done in the studio this year.  I feel like this time, I have something to be proud of–and that I’m not just going there to take it all in.

In some silly way, it helps that I didn’t set out much to build upon last time, because my name has changed anyway.

I’ve been thinking about what to take with me aside from CDs.  Last time, I hardly left the hotel.  I didn’t really know anybody…I didn’t know where to try to go.  Now I know several people who live in or are at least familiar with L.A., and my buddy Mike Beeson will be there as well, so the outdoor temperature may actually have some bearing on what to pack.  I don’t think I should take my guitar…too risky.  I might accidentally break out into the Freebird solo in the lobby if I have too much to drink.  (And boy, would THAT be embarrassing!)   I also shouldn’t need a guitar, unless inspiration strikes in the middle of the night (which is likely) and I find myself needing, desperately, to chord out a song before I lose it.  But then, that’s what iPod apps are for.

I was sort of thinking about packing all my clothes in a guitar case, just to be misleading.  I could roam through the airport with nothing but a “guitar,” looking like a weary troubadour ready to sing for my supper….if not a nun-turned-governess who might turn your linens into play clothes.  Then if someone stole my luggage, expecting to find a bright shiny Gibson (something I don’t have anyway), they open up the latches, and *poof*….out pops a bunch of underwear.  If I could only see it happen, that in itself might be worth being without my underwear.  But, let’s be real here, I can’t pack 4 days’ worth of clothes in a guitar case.  A cello case…possibly.  A string bass case….well, maybe.  The cowboy boot count would have to go up, though.

I also need to record at least one song I would like to have critiqued by a successful songwriter–like Pat or Pete Luboff or Jason Blume or Jeffrey Steele…as if Jeffrey Steele will have time to sit at TAXI critiquing no-name writers’ songs.  But…it might help to get in line early, just in case.  🙂


So, the past month has been a little crazy.  This has kept me off my blog, and for that, I apologize.  I was in Fort Worth for a few days, learning about utility accounting, which I’m sure will serve me well in my musical career.  I also made a semi-expensive stop at the Justin Outlet.  Now that I know such a place exists, I may be in trouble.  I’ve never met a Justin I didn’t like.

Aside from the day job, I currently co-host an open mic night once a week with my pal Joe Ryan (the guy I’m dueting with on the EP).  Last week, I had a gig with the ever-popular Mike Beeson/Miss Sloan, and, as always, I’ve been recording.  This week, I ordered some sound equipment so that when the time comes, I can play a few gigs around the area.  The plan for now is to set everything up in my living room, and carefully select and repeatedly play my set list over and over for my dust bunnies.  Once the lot of us agree that my show is ready for public consumption, I will start looking for some public to consume it.

The EP project is taking a little longer than intended.  We’ve had some issues with equipment and tracking people down.  But, we have the last few sessions scheduled, Chuck is all over the layout and graphic design, and I should have something ready to send the printers and pressers by the end of the month.  Thanks for your patience!  (Please don’t lose interest in buying my CD…..)  🙂

I’ve been reading a lot about marketing, and trying to decide which artists I am most similar to, so that I can try to get the EP into places where people who like it will look.  Not an easy task for anyone who writes their own material, unless they are purposefully and successfully emulating someone specific.   Come to think of it, to make my life easier, I will make sure the next album sounds as much like Nicki Minaj as possible.

Right now, I’m spending some time preparing for another trip I have coming up.  I’m going to the TAXI Road Rally in Los Angeles a few weeks from now.   I’m pretty excited about it, but right now, at the top of the list is choosing the appropriate luggage.  More on that later.

Happy Thursday!

-Dana Jo

Who’s That Behind the Curtain?


There are some great musicians on this record.  I’d just like to take a moment to mention them.

Acoustic guitar – Ryan Horn

Mandolin and fiddle – Dale Ellis

String Bass – Chuck Fulcher

On fairly short notice, all of these people have taken time from their already busy performing schedules to spend a few hours with us in the studio.  We put them on the spot, asked them to learn multiple songs very quickly, and they gave us solid, heartfelt performances that are really, really making the record.  I am blown away by the instrumentals I get to sing with.

Michael Gilboe, who is producing the record, is tracking some piano and percussion as well.  There are still a couple of string arrangements and cello parts in the works.   A high point for me will be singing a duet with Joe Ryan on a song called “Everybody Wants to Fall in Love.” He gave us a little time at the end of his EP recording session last night to learn the harmonies and record the scratch track.  Word on the street is his 2-year-old twins dig it.

There are a few other people involved in this project that I’d like to mention as well.  The music is important, but so is the packaging!  It will be the first impression for a lot of people, so great photography and design are critical to the process.  These folks came highly recommended, and for good reason.

Monica DeShaw – Lilli’s Studio – The professional photographer responsible for the EP photos, many of which you will eventually see here

Chuck Fulcher – In addition to his mad bass skills, Chuck’s day job is actually marketing and graphic design. He’s also an accomplished artist, which you’ll see on his website. I’m very happy to say he will be designing the EP’s cover as well.

One thing I am really enjoying about this project is that I get to work with so many other talented people in Great Falls.  There is so much inspiration here, and I’m so fortunate to have a circle that allows me to find other artists and musicians to work with.   Everyone whose help I’ve asked for has shown so much enthusiasm and willingness to help with the project.  It’s so encouraging.

So, thank you to everyone who already is or will be involved–your contributions are incredible!  We couldn’t do this without you!