August 8, 2022
Adam Lusch went deep with Nur-D.
“I tend to write songs fairly linearly, so most likely, the song is done when the bridge is written, because the final chorus is often a repeat of content that’s been heard. There’s still work to do in polishing the performance, figuring out how to end the song and all of that, but once the bridge is written, my heart usually feels done. Also, when I’ve recorded my song demo and posted on the Facebook group. Songs, in terms of lyrics, melody, structure, are minimally changed after that happens. So much of my writing is in the context of this Facebook writing group, and that has a specific deadline, which helps my brain so much. I’m here for a deadline.”
Ooh, most definitely both, but leaning much heavier on the inspiring. I found Nashville to be such a welcoming town. I was young, and had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do — sing! Write songs! — so the intimidating part feels appropriate. So many extremely talented humans in a place, many with razor-sharp visions on what they want to say, what they want to accomplish. I feel lucky to have spent that time learning and listening and learning and listening.
My husband was offered a scholarship to a law school in Minnesota. We had always intended to return home to start our family — near our own families, to the tune of five to 10 minutes away from each set of grandparents for a time — so the timing was just moved up a year or so.
Collaborating with other musicians is just about my favorite thing to do. I have always loved singing harmonies. In high school, my friends would tease me about how I could never just sing the melody when we’re listening to the radio. I first learned songwriting via co-writing in Nashville. Since returning to Minnesota, I have mostly solo written, but the last few years have given me more opportunity to work the co-writing muscles again. Thanks, pandemic? My interview series, “Hey! I Miss You!” is such a joy. I have learned so much from conversations with my guests. I also have a covers collaboration series on YouTube called “Toilet Tunes” — it’s goofy, but sweet. Musicians come to my bathroom and sing a hardly-rehearsed cover tune with me and then we put it right out on the Internet. It’s been on hold for the last few years, but I’m hoping to bring it back soon.
Wow, that is such a wonderful compliment. She is such an inspiration in terms of both vocal performance, and career longevity/creativity/multi-project/whimsy-following. In recent years most of my inspiration has come from writers, but I will go forever and always to Patty Griffin for vocal inspiration, as well as Lee Ann Womack, Alison Krauss. Recent vocal inspirations include Lydia Luce and Amanda Shires.
I kept performing. But it was live-stream shows from my Big Green Bathroom. I did a 12-week series of Tuesday night shows called “5 Songs and Big Love” and that was so special. The same crew showed up week after week and we grew into this sweet little community. After that run, I did more sporadic livestreams, and then as soon as possible I pivoted to outdoor shows. Back yards, front yards, porches, patios, outdoor venues. I don’t know that I ever had a week go by where there wasn’t some kind of performing. I feel really fortunate in that regards. I missed what things had been, and also felt a new depth of gratitude for any chance to sing for people.
I was participating in a songwriting group where we needed to record a video of our completed song every week. For the first year, I would record in our office/craft room, which is right off the kitchen and has just a thin pocket door barrier. At the time my kids were 2 and 5. I realized that if I recorded in the bathroom attached to our bedroom, I had two locked doors separating me from tiny humans, and pups. Bonus, my husband had just painted the walls my favorite shade of green. After I had recorded a few of these tunes, my friend Laurie asked if she could sing a song with me in the bathroom. And “Toilet Tunes” was born. I’m so glad I needed those locked doors.
I do not have to resist that urge. Maybe I should do more rewriting, actually. Or at least be less afraid of it. I tend to write songs fairly linearly, so most likely, the song is done when the bridge is written, because the final chorus is often a repeat of content that’s been heard. There’s still work to do in polishing the performance, figuring out how to end the song and all of that, but once the bridge is written, my heart usually feels done. Also, when I’ve recorded my song demo and posted on the Facebook group. Songs, in terms of lyrics, melody, structure, are minimally changed after that happens. So much of my writing is in the context of this Facebook writing group, and that has a specific deadline, which helps my brain so much. I’m here for a deadline. I work best under some kind of external accountability structure.
Lots of outdoor singing, and five more songs in the Summer Songwriting challenge, and time at the cabin with the family. I’m working on two recording projects at the moment, and lightly dreaming a third. I’ve got a few “Toilet Tunes” scheduled, and am looking forward to bringing that back in some way with the interview show for late fall. I’m also trying to figure out how to be more skilled at resting and having fun in between all the musical goodness. Stay tuned on that one.
Photo by Emily Isakson.