Making the most of a flopped pavlova

It’s interesting what ends one finds she will go to gather the funds needed to go on the tour of her dreams. Me! I’m talking about me, of course. I find myself lying with my eyes wide open in the darkest part of the night scemeing up no end of kooky ideas to raise the $20,000NZD I need to take myself, my husband and baby Matilda to America next year for my sustainable house concert tour. I have one year exactly. Here’s some of the things I’ve considered so far:

-Opening a fruit and vege stall at the end of my road. FAILED! (unless everyone just wants silverbeet and the tips off my baby broad bean plants I have nothing to sell. Why didn’t I think of this 3 months ago?) -Making necklaces out of buttons to sell. FAILED! Matilda keeps eating the few buttons I’ve managed to find, short of cutting them all off my own clothes -Hiring myself out as a music photographer for musicians that need profile and media shots taken. KINDA FAILED! I’ve done a bunch of shoots but all the musicians are my mates and I can’t bring myself to charge them.

Not all of my ideas are duds. In fact I’ve got a plethora of good ideas that are on the front burners. These include – starting a children’s music duo caled KID ROCK for 2-7 year olds with my good friend Georgia Urquhart. We got our first booking today -Filling in applications for local and national grants. -Good old fashioned gigging. I’ve been offered lots of local gigs recently -Mentoring teenagers in songwriting and music industry.

Song Writing Seminar
Songwriting Seminar
  • Writing a song about the NZ pavlova dessert for a radio competition. WHAT?

Yep! My sister-in-law Gabriel facebooked me a link to a Pavlova Song Competition in conjuction with NZ May Music Month with a 1st place prize of $5,000. Enough to buy our tickets to the States next year. The rules were that you had to write a song about how to make a pavlova. For those of you who aren’t aware of what a pav is, it’s a giant meringue with a fluffy centre and is generally covered in cream and decorated with kiwifruit and strawberries. It’s NZ’s national dessert and Christmas pudding. Wouldn’t you agree fellow Kiwis? Gabes reminded me about it on Friday as I’d totally forgotten. I got home and found that entries closed that day. Matilda had just gone down for a sleep and I knew I had about 1 1/2 hrs up my sleeve so I peeled out a song and cracked it out on good old Apple Garage Band. Here’s what I came up with:

Pavlova, I love you I woke this morning to discover they’d chosen a top 16 and i wasn’t one of them. Boo! I was so proud of my song.

Things are progressing awesomely for the tour. So far I’ve had a fantastic photo shoot with Terzann Elliott ( who is a super talented designer friend of mine. We grew up together and she went on to model internationally, namely for Zambezi in Sydney, before coming home to the tiny country town of Kingston in the deep South of NZ where she designs clothes for her fabulous brand Lady Knuckles and volunteers on the local fire brigade. She’s one heck of a lady I tell you. Here’s a sneak peak at our latest shoot. Whistle and Hum Shoot Whistle and Hum Shoot Whistle and Hum shoot Whistle and Hum shoot Whistle and Hum shoot Whistle and Hum shoot

I’ve also had countless supportive emails from exciting people around the globe including a Mr Brian Mosley from Portland who works for a green roof company ( Brian came to stay with my husbands family on several occasions and I was fortunate enough to meet his aquaintance some years back. We exchanged emails and needless to say he made it onto my mailing list. I was delighted to recieve his email after my last blog letting me know that he’d love to hook us up with some sustainable homes in Oregon to tour through. AWESOME!

I’ve been trying to get my head around how I can put together my pre-album demo which will be a rough recording of all of my songs so I can workshop them all before spending valuable time in the studio. If only I could get my hands on an Apple Mac and use garage band. That way I can work while Matilda sleeps. Someone must be upgrading….bing! Talk about putting it out there. One of my dearest girlfriends Sarah McGahan who lives in Sydney emailed me to say she had a new apple and would love to donate her old one to my cause. I cried with joy.

Me and Sarah
Me and Sarah

I’ve been booking artists gigs in return for their skills in audio engineering and design work. You can count on a musician to have a glutt of various and random skills. Musician and sound engineer Graeme Woller will be recording my new Whistle and Hum album while his music partner Liv McBride sits along side to translate all the geek vocab. Thanks Liv. Jo Little, who is currently on her ‘Till the Blue Skies Come’ NZ/Australia tour will be helping me to bring the tour together with a sparkle and a gleem. Totally her forte.

My other super exciting news is that I have found an illustrator for Alfred and the Racoon audible sigh of relief from around the globe. Melissa van Horen, my dear friend and new illustrator has taken on the task with fevour and passion. This chick is good. Lissy’s work is exactly what I always imagined my book to look like. Here’s a sneak peak at the new front cover.

Alfred and the Raccoon - New Illustrations
Alfred and the Raccoon – New Illustrations

I’m buzzing with all the activity. Matilda’s been wondering why I keep spontaneously leaping off the ground and fist punching the air. Weird mother! Matilda said ‘book’ really clearly this morning when she was holding one of her storybooks. It was so cool. And she’s pulling herself up to standing on anything she can. Wont be long now. She’s a total chatterbox. I guess she gets that from her father.

Thanks to everyone who has expressed interest in my tour so far. It’s such a huge encouragement. I had an utter self-doubting moment the other day where my inner dialogue went something like, 1st me: “What the HECK do you think you’re doing? A house concert tour? In America? Are you crazy?” 2nd me: ” Uh, Slightly, I guess. But it all seems like so much fun. It should be sweet…shouldn’t it???” 1st me:”Sweet? SWEET? What if this all goes horribly wrong and you totally fail and everyone rolls their eyes after feeling that you’ve let them down and…. 1st me: “Oh no! Oh no! Oh….hang on *slaaaaaaaaaaaap”. Snap out of it woman. You-can-do-this! Carry on!” 3rd me: “Any chance we have chocolate in the pantry?”

I don’t want to have ‘what if’s?’ in my life. I want to have cool stories to tell me kids and to inspire others the way I get inspired when I meet people out there living the dream. Like Gideon Irving and his Cycling NZ house concert tour and my friend Lynne Christie who turned our small town of Wanaka into a place where music now heralds due to her progressive work with her NZ music festival Rippon, not to mention all the amazing workshops she puts on for the greater community. I love stuff like that. It all just starts with an idea.

So, in a nutshell it’s all coming together nicely. I’ll be back in a few weeks with an update on how things are progressing with grant applications and perhaps whether my audition to be support act for NZ artist Hollie Smith is successful gulp.

We’re off to Matilda’s first dental appointment today for her 6 teeth. I hope she gets one of those buzzy bees made out of cotton wool. That would make a seriously good day. I hope your day is fabulous.

ìI can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.î Jimmy Dean

Love Anna x

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