Desired Things

“Desiderata”
Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore A.D. 1692

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Music Talk

I wanted to give you a heads up!

I’m going to be streaming full tracks of the new Skipping Stone EP on January 24th at www.alexzjohnson.com.

You will be able to purchase the EP digitally and physically along with other merchandise via Kickstarter.com as well as alexzjohnson.com shortly after.

This EP is part of the steps toward reaching my goal of performing this material for you live, wherever you are. So, around this release, I decided I’m going to be launching a Kickstarter campaign to tour in 2012 to hopefully help get me closer to that possibility. Kickstarter is a really great funding platform for independent artists. It’s powered by a unique all-or-nothing method and if you reach the goal amount your project becomes a reality.

Writing these songs and watching them come to life exceeded my expectations. Through these songs, I found a drive to try and make a tour happen, regardless. I had help from some amazingly talented friends to make this music possible and I’m thrilled to get this out to you now.

I’m humbled by the views of the Skipping Stone music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdTgIm_Ar8s

I guess the real point of this blog is to thank you for being a part of the journey and for listening…. thank you for listening.

I look forward to seeing you from the stage!!!!

xx Alexz

Open Windows

Well, this week has sort of jingled my bells in a fancy way (ya that’s right) and it was completely unexpected.. I’ll have more details as things unfold, but I definitely feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be..

Tonight, I wanted to get my feelings down about the Skipping Stone EP. I’m excited to get it out to you. It was such a passion project for me and I was so lucky to have the help and genius of some wonderful musicians and friends to make it even happen. It started with a couple of songs, and turned into something really authentic and special for me.

James Lewis in London who graciously offered his genius hands and mind on mixing. As did my dear friend Greg Wells, who did the same of course. James, also introducing me to the mastermind Robin Schmidt who fittingly mastered the album. Jimmy Robbins gave so much space for me to write everything I was feeling inside, without judgement or ego whatsoever. Mike Shimshack brought the track Walking to exactly where I heard it in my head, and beyond. Drew Leahy and his bright ideas and honesty helped me through the details and my brother Zak, his artistic eye and talent is beyond measure and I’m blessed to be his sister.

The Skipping Stone video is at 50k views I just realized!! …That was a fun day.

I’m releasing the EP on the 24th and look forward to playing these songs for you live.

I’m heading to Miami this month to start shooting a film on the 30th. It’s not a long shoot, and I have no idea what to expect or how it’s going to be when I get there, but I thank the heavens as it gave me the extra green light on my visa which I needed to pursue my musical endeavours here in the US this year. Which, in hopes will potentially lead to more, amazing work as well! I’ve never been to Miami, but…..

More to come, la de dee dum.

xo Al

Happy Holidays

I’m visiting my family here in Toronto for Christmas and it’s unbelievably healing. Although the entire clan isn’t here this year (some brothers and cousins are back in Vancouver) being able to spend this time is very precious to me. I saw my little brother perform with his band at the Christmas concert today and I got goosebumps watching him have that same fire in his belly as I always had and continue to have.. regardless of what happens.

While floating in the bliss of bon bons and sweet potatoes, it occurred to me that I should share what my plans are for the new year. I keep seeing tweets hoping I release my ‘tour schedule’ soon and I wanted to make clear what my goal is so no assumptions are made ahead of time.

I’m releasing the Skipping Stone EP and I’m going to be starting a Kickstarter campaign at the end of January in hopes to raise the funds to be able to tour in 2012. I am definitely going to need as much help as I can get as I’m more than aware that this is a bit of a shot in the dark. At this point, what do I really have to lose? It’s been so much waiting and relying on companies up until this last year, that I feel to stay in line with the honesty, integrity and genuine support around this new Skipping Stone EP, it’s only fitting to involve those who really want to help support and make this a possibility.

I am so thrilled by the response of Skipping Stone and the music video. It was such a treat to hear people connecting to it so much.. you can only hope that what you feel and write will reach others in that way. It was nerve-wracking taking the bull by the horns with these new batch of songs, but I felt I just had to get it out regardless.

I thank you for being on this journey with me however it may unfold, and I wish you a wonderful holiday season wherever you may be. It’s such a gift to have this time, as we never really know what’s around the corner.

God bless and here’s to an amazing 2012.

Alexz J.

Me and my baby niece Ellie

Me and my baby niece Ellie, Dec.21st 2011

New EP and other events

http://www.alexzjohnson.com is getting a facelift. It’s not a trick website or anything. I’ve been in the process of putting together an EP (that I’m really excited about). I want things to match.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazingly talented people in my career, and with their talent and participation, I think something really special is formulating. I also have been mapping out my “2012 live shows” plan – ie: making it happen, doing it legally, and getting people to come! I’m one girl, but I’ve got to tell you… in moments of being overwhelmed, I look to Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart and Tina Turner. I think I’ve got this covered…

I shot a video for one of my new tracks entitled “Skipping Stone” in NY last weekend. I feel so lucky that I’ve surrounded myself with such brilliant, creative friends – it was a really special experience to feel so much trust and fearlessness amongst them.

For those who connect to my music, I’m going to be involving you to help me get to you live… but I’ll explain more when I get to that bridge.

I just had a wonderful birthday. I’m 25 and a quarter short.
Be well.

Stout.

Transitions.. a passage from one form, state, style, or place to another..

I am probably in the biggest transition of my life. One of the most important things we have on this planet, next to love, is the power to change. It’s exciting, but also incredibly terrifying. I decided to take a leap and allow anything to happen. Hey NY.

I bring up my music here because for me it’s one of the closest things I have to understanding who I am and what I’m feeling. On the music end, when I listen to the new music I’ve been writing, it almost feels as though I’m letting go of myself. Painful for me to listen. I’ve always felt authentic in my writing, but never have I had to dig less in getting to the core. I’m not sure why, but ok… I’ll do it. I’m trying to listen.

In all honesty, majority of the time it’s not even me. I feel like I’m being driven by something outside of me to do this… still.

To push through closed doors like they’re weightless. To sometimes forget I’m a sister, a daughter and a best friend. I have too much to say.

Don’t stop.

I have dreams. Sometimes we’re given so many dreams we can’t breath..  if you’re like me, than you know what I mean.

How can you walk away from something that’s apart of you because you’re struggling?
Do you leave someone you care about at their worst of times??

I get so many questions regarding my acting journey. I do audition, I’ve not closed any doors. This past 5 months I’ve been writing songs and enjoying that much more than auditioning. I think there’s light where you’re having fun.
I want to make another record. I have some meetings, maybe they’ll hear.

I can’t play shows in the US.. yet, but I can release music. Which brings me to recently releasing the basement recordings. This was a huge letting go for my brother Brendan and I. We didn’t even flinch. To think only a few years ago we hung on to these songs for dear life! No regrets because their coat tails swung us from Coquitlam BC, to London via NY and LA… we thought it best to finally let them be heard. Also, majority of them had leaked anyway. It’s just something we chose to do.

On that note, it feels like a new chapter. Not just a new page, but a whole chapter.

I’ve always had this comfort with having my ducks in a row.

For the first time in my entire life I have no ducks.
I have a little stout though… Stout: bold, brave, or dauntless: a stout heart; stout fellows. (I like this one)

I do wish things…

I wish the musical journey thus far hadn’t been as messy as it’s been.

That being said, I’d rather make a mess than let someone else do that.

The Good, The Bad, But Mostly the Great..

This last week was completely unexpected and up there with some of the most un-real weeks of my musical life. I was trending for close to 4 days worldwide on twitter because Pretty Little Liars aired an Instant Star song on their season finale episode.

Top Ten Twitter Trends Of The Week

Top Ten Twitter Trends Of The Week

http://mashable.com/2011/03/26/top-twitter-trending-topics-chart/

I didn’t have any clue about this song placement as I didn’t write “Time To Be Your 21”, so you can imagine my genuine shock when a friend from LA called to tell me I was trending in the US. I didn’t know what this meant immediately and figured he may have been drinking. As I watched my name float up beside Rebecca Black’s on the “trend list”, I also thought this could have been a bad joke on my behalf. But, I soon discovered to my surprise, it’s a pretty cool thing to be doing. Trending, not drinking.

Seeing others tweet their genuine positive response to my music felt like everything in my head made sense for a minute. It was memorable and amazing. As many artists, I’m sure, you tend to spend quite a bit of time in your own creative bubble of a reality, wondering what the hell you’re really doing. Is this just me? Either way, you just keep doing it… It’s out of your control. You must create and pray it connects. It seems to come through you from some distant and unknowable source. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talk speech on Nurturing Creativity really resonated with me..

Watch around 6:10 for what I’m getting at – watch it all if you have time.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

As wonderfully loyal as this creative spirit is and has been, it tends to often abandon you, leaving you in some precarious and vulnerable situations. You can’t help that either, because you need to share and expose things that others are welcome to take or leave. It’s how you survive and feel some sense of belonging, I guess. Getting exposure and trending is exciting but really scary at the same time because a lot of people wonder who you are and why you’re there. I understand this completely…. along with a few questions and opinions to digest.

Exhibit A: Comment posted on “Lost That War” blog.

March 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm (Edit)
are you really surprised at your recent short comings?
you treated your fans like shit while you were working on your first album, you wouldn’t do live shows for instant star to help promotion, you never were an active communicator with your fans until your album got shelved, and you have a sense of entitlement because you’ve been on a tv show.
get over it. waaaaaa waaaaa.
get your ass out there like every other musician and starting making fucking youtube videos. what you’re above that? you’ve done everything you could to get voodoo out there? B S ALEXZ.
you said it yourself; you’re not a star. you could have been. but you’re not.
i hope and pray that you get it together and build a following like everyone else has to.
and for christ sake, get new management.
stephen’s idea for boogie love being the single was the worst idea in the world.
worst idea.
i wish you well.
i dont apologize for the reality check, but move on girlfriend.
MOVE ON.

 

At the end of the day, and throughout the journey we’re all on, let’s try not to forget that artists are human beings. And, Computers can give you a false sense of bravery.

People ask me if it’s scary being in music because you’re having to “promote yourself” and be “fearless.” I’d hope to tell them this part of making music comes with the territory – opinions. Some audiences feel entitled to share things, no matter how negative. It’s really not so bad though… the good always out-weighs. Plus, with all the positive lately, there’s got to be some balance, right?

Daily Dose of Rejection

Hey Alexz,

[Casting]‘s feedback is below.

—— Forwarded Message
From: [Casting]
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 12:15:38 -0800 (PST)
To: [Agent]
Cc: [Agency]
Subject: Re: Alexz Johnson – [ _____ the Pilot]

Nice job and natural. They have a first and second choice now. I think Alex
missed the humour in the scene though. There is a fair bit to be found
there.

Sent from my iPhone

……I have only two things to express.

Often referred to as deadpan, dry humour is a form of comic delivery in which humor is presented without a change in emotion or body language, usually speaking in a casual, monotone, solemn, blunt, disgusted or matter-of-fact voice and expressing a unflappably calm, archly insincere or artificially grave demeanor. This delivery is also called dry wit when the intent, but not the presentation, is humorous, oblique, sarcastic, or the effect is apparently unintentional.

Fetal position is a medical term used to describe the positioning of the body of a prenatal fetus as it develops. In this position, the back is curved, the head is bowed, and the limbs are bent and drawn up to the torso. Usually displayed alone in the corner of a bedroom or living room space.

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