The date is almost here! I am so excited to announce the release of my new album, The Dreamer & The Dream. The full album is now available on iTunes and all music retailers on April 14th, and you can snag a copy here:
For the release show on April 27th at Amplyfi in Hollywood, I will be joined by my wonderful band, with Jesse Silgero on bass, John Uhrig on electric guitar and Trevor Anderies on drums (and me on guitar, piano, and vocals). I am also super excited to have friends and fantastic singer-songwriters Steph Meyers, Rachel Toups, and Coyote Run open the night.
Grab your tickets here:
If you can’t wait for the show check out this playlist I’ve been putting together of live videos and lyric videos from songs on the record:
I have a LONG list of people to thank who contributed to this album, which was a long time in the making and covered many geographies: Barra Brown, Ayal Alves, Patrick McCulley, Victor Nash (Portland, Oregon); Fung Chern Wei, Ken Thomson, Ben Brock, Carmen Rothwell, Zubin Hensler, Rocky Gallo, Max Johnson, Don DeNicola, Rick Bates, Diane Moser, David Roushe, Alex DeTurk (New York). And my family and every single friend and teacher and astrologer and random person at the airport who said they liked any part of this record and encouraged me to keep making it, even though “albums” are now so old-fashioned. This album is a chronicle of the last chunk of my life/lives, and it feels right to group these songs together and present them as a group. Here’s to making stuff!
I hope to see you at the show! xo
‘Be A Child’ is the first single off of Kela Parker’s upcoming album, The Dreamer & The Dream, premiering Jan 19th on Northern Transmissions.
Click to buy the track or pre-order the full album via iTunes:
Subscribe to Kela Parker on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF-6GfP8Eh-2RpRj2iYcx2w
Be a child, be a child
Now you retrieve
This life again
You forget yourself
You forget yourself
The past retreats
Your path release
Here again, back in time
A master who forgot yourself
You forget yourself
Let go your fear
The path made clear
And round and round and
round and round we go
And round and round and
Music & Lyrics Composed by Kela Parker, ASCAP 2018
Videography by Kevin Eikenberg, Fourten Media
Video editing by Valerie Indira & Kela Parker
Piano practice has always been the back bone of my life structure. It is foundational and usually comes before all other types of practice, and sometimes before breakfast. But of late, with my living situation in continual flux, my practice has shifted from luxurious focused solitude with the instrument to:
Where can I find a piano, and for how long?
In April I moved out of my studio in the SE industrial district of Portland, an idyllic situation where I shared zero walls with neighbors, where I could more or less play whenever I felt like it. That building used to house La Luna, a venue of the Portland of old, where I saw Fiona Apple (among others) play in the 90s. The building has that sort of spooky, Old Portland energy, despite the increasing presence of condos and New Portland everywhere. (A few years back the space was included in a piece on Portland practice spaces in 1859 magazine).
But the really amazing thing about that studio was that I was able to fit my 7′ grand piano in there. If you have visited my blog before you may recall that a while back I was fortunate enough to acquire a totally killer 100+ year old Baldwin vintage grand piano. I went into mighty debt to obtain it (recently paid that off and it felt great). That piano really has my heart–like instant, love-at-first-sound, magic-of-music, to-be-wed-forever, heart. The Baldwin was part of many house shows and piano-focused soirees. Two piano technicians sang its praises as one of their top 10 pianos–EVER.
Having a high quality instrument you really, really love is like having a therapeutic biofeedback machine in your living room; you input your thoughts and emotions and experiences into sound shapes, and they get fed back to you as highly-refined musical energy. It’s like taking high quality vitamins. Or getting lots of hugs.
And now I am living without.
I literally spent an entire 60-minute therapy session processing and crying about living without that piano.
After leaving the studio I moved through various temporary arrangements, one for a month, one for a week, and the current one for four months, with the final goal of moving to NYC at the end of the summer.
During my last slow goodbye to Portland, friends have been generous with their pianos. I’ve played an old upright out in the Gorge at the Hobbit House, and friends at the Pink Palace shared their tired old gal donated by Piano Push Play. My new routine has helped me realize that while it is good to create a private, focused environment for music practice, there is also something good about learning to adapt, musically and otherwise, to different situations. Like a band tracking drum parts downstairs; a toddler running back and forth and seeming to stomp very deliberately directly above me from the upstairs apartment; an electric bassist practicing in another room while I make do with a piano with no music desk and a broken key cover; and an alarmed cat staring directly at me from another room for the entire two hours that I was playing. (It was highly distracting).
All of this auditory distraction is especially important to learn to deal with considering that I’m moving to NYC!
As much as any technical skill, adaptability is paramount as a pianist. When you’re locked away in your apartment with a dream piano all the time, your playing is more easily thrown off by a nice-but-quirky piano at a venue or rehearsal (and pretty much every piano at any venue is nice-but-quirky). As my classical pianist aunt Julie always says, regularly playing different pianos is “part of the tradition.” As an example of extreme adaptability, my friend Thollem McDonas does not “live” anywhere, as he’s literally always on the road, and he maintains a regular piano practice nonetheless. “Everywhere becomes home,” he said, and every piano is just part of adapting your overall self to each situation. The mobile Zen pianist.
For me, the borrow-a-piano routine is a bit too irregular for getting much real work done, so the type of practice I’ve been doing on Other People’s Pianos is more maintenance mode–just keeping alive what I have already written, and making sure to fit in some sight-reading. On a day when I have extra time, I do some improvising, and maybe gather some ideas for composing.
Also, when you have to go without, you make do with alternatives. When I was such a junkie for the loud, emotionally intense feedback of my acoustic piano, I didn’t have much reason to spend time with my Nord 73. But over the past few months I’ve come to appreciate all the fun things I can do with pedals and effects; I went in a new direction with a song I would have otherwise recorded as an acoustic piano tune, because the keyboard was the only thing available to me.
I don’t know what the future holds for my Baldwin piano. Space is of course ridiculously limited in New York City, and a 7’x5′ grand definitely won’t be fitting in the one bedroom apartment I’ll be sharing with another musician.
But there is a chance that through a piano technician friend I can luck out on a cheap shipping deal. If I do, I’m hoping to find a school, venue, church, or private residence where a piano would be welcome, and where I could also come practice. A mutually-beneficial piano-sharing scenario. Better that than having it wrapped in blankets and going unused in a warehouse.
But for now, I’ve got a keyboard, and Other People’s Pianos, to keep me going.
If you have any leads on available pianos in the NYC area, please message me in the comments or through the contact form!