Friday, December 30, 2011

Be Present

My "oh-so-zen" yoga instructor told the class that the year is coming to an end, and rather than focus all of our thoughts on the future or the past, focus on the present. "Be present" he said. "I'm not saying that you need to ignore the past. Learn from the past of course. Also, don't avoid the future. Plan for the future, but BE in the present."

He said that we spend so much time, especially with the new year just around the corner, setting goals, which is great, but "It is so important to stay focused on what you are doing now, and enjoy the moment."

I focused on my breath, ignoring the incredibly painful "pigeon prep pose" I was twisted into during his wise speech. (Hey, although I was focusing more on the "pain" of the moment, I was still in the moment!)

Later that Day, I applied what Mr. K had taught us to my life and music.

I walked through the halls of our practice studio's building, silently admiring the shiny guitars on display behind glass on the walls. I looked up at the pictures of Buddy Guy and more pictures of some band wearing gallons of makeup and platform boots. Kiss maybe?

I pushed open the door to our practice room noticing flooding spotlights on the grand piano center stage with Dia tinkering around on her smart phone, approving merchandise designs, and waiting for another song to begin. Carlo and Jonathan were over by the tech box rummaging around for guitar strings, and Nick was behind the sound board, chatting technical terms with our intern who will be going on the road with us. 

It would be too easy to revert back to wondering what "might have happened" if Meg and Dia made another record…or wasn't able to make another record.

Be in the present.

Or, think about what Dia's future, and in the process our future, might look like with season two of The Voice premiering soon. What's going to happen?

Be in the present.

I delay my solo during our cover of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" to really listen to how the changes in the chord progression make me feel. Then I launch into a sad and powerful bend up on the higher portion of the guitar neck. I then launch, with a surprising amount of confidence for me, into an almost feverish and passionate run of notes. I hear Dia squeal, "Yeah!!!" 

"That's what I'm going for." I think to myself. I want to make people jump out of their seats with excitement by something I'm playing and feeling!

After a five-minute break, Carlo makes an inside joke about something or other that I can't hear from my side of the stage. Dia and Carlo have become a lot closer as friends. We all have.

Mr. K says, "If we're too busy planning or remembering, it is difficult to enjoy the present moments we have."

With all that the future holds and all that happened in the past behind us, life is good.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photo by Sofi from Holland

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Hearts Out to Dry"

I co-wrote a bonus track on Dia's new record "Red" called "Hearts Out to Dry". You can hear this song when you download her album on iTunes.

Thanks Olivia!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


"Hold on, Hold on! Stop!" Our instruments screech into silence, and I glance nervously first back at Nick behind his kit, and then at Jonathan just behind me on stage left. Surly, Billy can't be referring to me. Then I look straight into our "music director's" eyes, and it's true: I was the cause for our band rehearsal disruption. "You've got to look like you're not concentrating so hard Meg. Use wide motions like this!" he exclaims as he jumps off his conductor's couch and snatches the tambourine from my startled hand. "Now, are you right or left-handed?" he inquires. "I'm left…and right handed" I stammer. Billy shrugs his shoulders and guffaws in despair. "Left and right handed?! "Well, yeah… You see." He holds a hand up and I am silenced.

We start the song over. I try to slap a silly grin on my face and force my brows to separate and lower back to their normal positions. We continue on for a few moments. I'm finally getting the hang of a percussion instrument. "Wait, wait!" We stop again after another 15 seconds. "Now, on that measure toss the tambourine on the floor and play the second half of the chorus on the guitar. Then…" He swiftly flies across the stage, rescues a lonely floor tom off in a corner and plunks it down on my left side. "Can you play this tom with your left hand and smack the tambourine on your right hip with your right hand on the off beats?" One never says "no" to Billy. He has those piercing sky-blue eyes that mesmerize you into immediate obedience. (You know the ones.)

"Start at the beginning" he shouts from the the back of the room as he makes a twirling motion with his right index finger. I'm doing fine during the intro when I'm just whistling and playing tambourine. "I can do this. I can do this." I think to myself. The chorus comes. I focus with all my might on playing tom with left hand, tambourine with right, singing, and maintaining a look of peace on my face with a gentle smile. My first beat was a failure since I couldn't seem to locate my right hip, and the tambourine slammed into an acoustic guitar on a stand behind me. (Good thing we have a deal with Fender right now, huh?)

It got better. Dia backed me up with a comment, "The only thing Asians are good at doing with sticks is eating rice." 

Not to worry, by the time we go on tour next year, I'm going to be twirling drumsticks and playing my guitar with my teeth! Also, as much as I've been painting Billy like a bully, he's really the best thing that has happened to us as far as rehearsals go. I shudder to think what we would sound and look like without his expert advice and direction, and it helps that this music director of ours comes complete with a witty sense of humor and unflinching support and faith in us.You're the bestest Billy!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yoga and Cowboys

I'd have to say my favorite moments being in L.A. rehearsing thus far, have been the conversations that Nick, Jonathan, and I have whenever we get lost driving around Silver Lake in the band van. Eager to escape from an exhausting practice for a few hours, we zip around searching for a Trader Joes for example or an Amp Repair shop. We immediately become enraptured in "geeky" conversations such as Stevie Ray Vaughn's death by helicopter crash, which just so happened to be on the same day his father died three years earlier, or Iceland's economy failing a year before the United States' economy failed for the same reasons. While discussing the true merits of flotation tanks, we find ourselves yet again disoriented somewhere in the streets of Los Angeles, searching in vain for familiar street names like "Vermont", "Cahuenga" or "Sunset".

We've been practicing six to seven hours each day, every day. We took one break yesterday because Dia's voice box was about to explode. I think we are finally becoming comfortable with the music. There are only three songs we have left to analyze, tear apart, and put back together again. I am not afraid. Bring it on I say.

In the meantime, the main activities keeping me sane with our hectic schedule are my daily yoga classes (when they don't conflict with band practice) and delicious warm caffeinated beverages. I drag Nick to yoga classes with me sometimes. I think he's finally starting to enjoy them. The trade off was I had to play star craft with him and our bass player, Jonathan in the evenings. Lord, save me along with the Zergs!

As you have probably figured out, since I'm in L.A. practicing with "Dia Frampton" and my jewelry studio is in Austin, I haven't been able to make new jewelry creations. I did bring some of my tools and some extra clay and copper with me to Utah were my folks reside, so I will be working on a few projects for Chandler the Robot when I'm home for Christmas, but other than that, I can't say that there will be more jewelry up in my shop until next year late March. No more "First Thursdays" until after the Blake Shelton tour is over until then as well. 

However, I will be thinking about future Chandler the Robot designs constantly and incessantly of course. (Chandler is my baby.) I keep a pencil and sketch pad in my purse at all times for jewelry design ideas that pop into my head. I will be constantly "instagramming" and "blogging" while we're on tour and promise to keep everyone as up to date as possible. 

I believe I've explained this before: With Chandler and music, my life is going to be like a teeter totter, and right now I'm tottering into the land of tour busses, arenas, country music, and jolly drunk cowboys. I'm not complaining;) 

Sleepy time. Yoga class starts early tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2nd Batch of "Winter Chandler" Now Available

I love driving around Los Angeles and watching all the wreaths and lights going up! So excited to take a brief break from Dia's rehearsals to visit the fan back home.

I was hoping and crossing my fingers that I could have these Winter Robots ready before Christmas. Luckily, this busy Holiday Season is still giving me a little time to work on Chandler the Robot projects.

I only have about 45 Winter Chandlers left!

Happy Holidays!

I Dreamed a Dream

On those career cards that the elementary school teachers give you, Dia wrote "Singer" in the blank at the top of the page. Ever since we were kids, I watched her chase that dream, helped her chase that dream, and chased a somewhat similar dream myself. ( I think in that space I would have written: Professional Touring Musician, Independent Jewelry Designer, Boutique Desert Cafe Owner or maybe just…"happy".)

She was a "Singer" in our first pop-punk band when we were kids. She was a "Singer" in Meg and Dia. Now, she's really a singer as "Dia Frampton from The Voice". I think the day you know you've made it is when you see your name up in lights, and well, her name is pretty lit up.

Today she walked into band practice humming the tune to Les Miserable's "I Dreamed a Dream" and announced that she was trying out for the part of Cozette with a sheepish grin and sparkling eyes.  (She has fantasized about playing Cozette and being on broadway since she was old enough digest solid foods.) I thought to myself, "Here is a girl who just a few months ago was working in a cupcake shop in New York, struggling to pay for her next fish taco, and now she snatches up her dreams so quickly, all you have to do is blink and she fulfills a dozen more. 

I usually have so many obstacles that I place in front of my dreams to decrease the chances of me fulfilling them, a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will. I think Dia's secret is actually believing you have what it takes and then TAKING IT of course!

Watching someone ride ocean waves into their sunset, really helps to inspire oneself. Do ya'll remember how nobody could run a "4-minute mile" until one person did it? Then all of a sudden dozens of runners had accomplished that "impossible" achievement.

When my other little sister Jade came to support Dia with me during the first few episodes of "The Voice", after watching Dia's performance of "Heartless" from the audiences seats, Jade leaned over and whispered to me. "After watching her sing in front of all these people like that, I feel like I can do anything. Is that corny?" I told her, yes I thought it was, but I understood what she was saying.

Success is not a matter of luck (well, maybe a little). Success is really a personal perspective and attitude adjustment.

Have you ever thought that maybe you ARE good enough? Because you probably are. It's all a matter of convincing yourself and the rest really falls into place.

I dreamed a dream. Did you?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Perfromance of "The Broken Ones" on Jay Leno with Dia Frampton

What a professional staff they had. I wish every venue was as "on top of things" as the Leno crew was.

Saturday, December 3, 2011