A lot of times, when someone asks me how everything is going with my music, I respond with "Oh, you know, living the dream!" and there's a lot to that phrase. Being able to make a living with my voice and my ukulele is a huge joy, and most days I feel inspired and proud to be living and working my dream job. Of course, there are also days when its a giant source of frustration or even shame. It is a constant push for me to keep my focus on being pragmatic, professional and confident when my overall way of being tends to be pretty disorganized, casual and self critical. But this is the choice I'm making in moving forward in my creative career. If I want to make it a real business, I have to treat it like a real business. If I want to get all my needs met (personally and as a member of my household), I have to level up my JOB game, become the CEO, and let go of the nay-sayer who feels slightly inadequate talking to strangers about what she does for a living. This IS what I do and I am proud to do it. It is good work. I am supported by it. I am doing what I love.
Last month, I had a job opportunity for a great position I'd interviewed for back in January. At the time of my initial interview, I was feeling ready to pursue full-time employment on a career track, but between January and April, quite a bit had changed for me. With the music video release as my top priority during that time, I was able to line up a ton of press coverage, more than I'd had in years. A lot of people were reaching out to me for performances and I was also filing my taxes and saying to myself : "Alright now- its time I put on my big kid pants with music and started saving receipts for music related expenses etc." I felt charged up and ready for action, on the cusp of a new chapter in my life's story. The job reached out to me again literally the day before we released the video online. At first, there didn't seem to be a question. Job=security=benefits=consistency= YES PLEASE. Then, the video came out. In a single day, I got dozens of personal messages from people telling me how touched they were by the video, how they cried , laughed, missed home or felt proud of Norfolk. I watched as hundreds of people shared my video and said kind things about it, about me. I was floored and literally moved to tears by the sweetness of everybody. It felt like the universe affirming that yes, I should make more things that let people feel good things! Even still, my heart was torn between stability and chance, working for someone else vs. working for myself.
It finally came time for the followup meeting about the job, and as fate had it, I got there late. Already a strike against me. My potential employers inquired about my professionalism (understandably), and whether I could meet the demands of the job. I guess I'd walked in unconvinced, and they met me with the same uncertainty. Even so, I kept my chin up, stayed focused on the goal at hand, and left with my head still spinning. On my way home, I wrote a poem for the first time in probably a year. Here's what I wrote.
My hand was hard against the wheel
I pulled and nothing moved
A click, but no relief
A pressure, but no release
A gull flew by so silent
That I almost missed it
But its wing span painted a shadow dash
Across my brow
And suddenly a choice came
A bell tolled somewhere far away
and I noticed
A boat passed by
A cloud formed
An egret called out to no one
and there I was...
Adrift on the river I was made for
Coasting easy in the breeze
Alight in the unknowing ripples
I told the wind my story that morning
and knew where I was bound
I figured I'd still gave myself a night to sleep on things, but the next day I went ahead and made my decision.
I choose music.
One hundred and ten percent. With that choice, I am taking my work more seriously and building my life around a new timeline and perspective of it. I realize that this may not be forever. I realize that there may come a day when I want to change direction or pursue some other goal. For now, though, my way is clear. This route is never going to be a simple one. It comes with a different level of responsibility, diligence and integrity that few on-lookers will ever truly catch. But I'm up for the task at hand! Bring on the challenges and I shall rise to meet them with raptor talons and a heart of love.
Just a couple weeks ago, I launched my Patreon creator page, and I already feel so so lucky to have found such a cool new platform of support. Check out my video (below) on how it works, and please consider making a pledge to support my creations, or sharing my Patreon page via social media. You all are so awesome and you make this whole crazy world make sense to me. Thank you for believing and for just BEING! I'm gonna go eat a Gluten Free Pizza now.
Oh HAI Y'ALL!
Its Springtime and I'm realizing I haven't written on here in 5 months! WHAT? The orchids on my windowsill have been budding again and one of them just popped open yesterday. I have never been so enchanted by flowers as I have found myself this particular year. I guess I feel aligned with them somehow.
I spent a lot of time sleeping this winter, readying myself for a bustling sunny season- I have a harder time with the more extreme months of Winter and Summer. The high and low temperatures do weird things with my emotions, my eating habits and my energy level. But when its sunny and warm, or breezy and just a BIT crisp-those are my zones. Needless to say, I am right at home with myself right now. I have been walking outside a lot and noticing so many gorgeous things in bloom. Its really a treasure to get to mark the passage of time with pops of color and brilliant blooms. But then again, I guess for a lot of folks, this season is pretty lousy what with all the pollen and awkward allergy enducing mist falling out of the trees with each whisper of the wind. Blah!
What's been up in my world? I've been teaching ukulele and songwriting, breaking in some new shoes, working on being better at writing letters and MAILING them, writing some new things/editing some old things, hanging out a lot with my Best Friend (Lindsay/Said the Lion-she makes great music!) who just moved back home from Florida, using my new cocktail shaker to up my 31 year old mixology game, reading Saga (the comic) and Dance with Dragons (the novel), and um...perfecting the art of making pot roast!
Musically, I have big plans for this year. I'd like to have a new full length album completed this summer or fall. The songs have been ready for quite a while, but I'm always wrestling between pulling together a framework from random things that aren't necessarily connected OR writing a bunch of fresh things on a concept. I think maybe this year I'll do both. Next week I'm going to be launching a campaign on Patreon.com which I'm really excited about. The website basically provides an ongoing fundraising platform for creative professionals (like me!) to grow their business while their supporters watch and assist in accomplishing their self appointed professional (or silly) goals! Check out my friend Danielle Ate the Sandwich's Patreon page to get an idea of what its all about. And then take a peek back here next week to check out mine. I'll be sure to blog about it!
Oh wait, here's some more pretty cool news. As of April 24th...my music video for THE TIDE (by JPixx) will be LIVE on the web for your viewing pleasure!!!!!!! (Just scroll down to watch!)
Well, goodness yaal, I hope the pollen is treating you kindly, and even moreso-that you're treating yourselves and each other kindly! There's enough stuff to get ya down in this world, we might as well do the little sweet things when we get the chance to- like eating a cake pop or calling a friend you haven't heard from in a while! DO it now, don't wait for a next time! Love love LOVE ya!
Wuttup, peeps? Its chilly as all git out. My toes feel like round little icicles. See, the heat in our apartment is electric and runs up our bill like CRAZY so our method is to just use a space heater in the bedroom and then bundle up in the other rooms which usually works out just fine. Still, sometimes the angle of my plaid orange throw blanket is awkward and my feet stick out the bottom when I'm huddled on my laptop. Hence popsicle toes. Oh well. I hope that wherever you are, you are as warm and snuggly as can be and that your hearts are glad and full of happy things. And if not, I hope there are good folks around you to make you laugh a little when you're ready to.
So I just put out a new Holiday EP! HOORAY! Clicking on this cute Christmas Cat will take you to my bandcamp page where you can listen to the EP and BUY IT. The illustration was done by my super talented friend Zoe Doucette! Check out her Etsy store HERE.
So hey, more fun stuff in the world of Skye. I'm playing the West Ghent Holiday Open House this Friday evening from around 630-720ish at The Muse Writers Center. I'll have cds and T-shirts for sale and free hi-5's for anybody brave enough to ask!
But wait-there's more.
This Sunday I'm going to be playing a LIVE INTERNET CONCERT! Thats right, a show you can watch in your pajamas, without putting on any makeup or even Axe Body Spray to impress the ladies. You can just literally kick your feet up, turn your lap top on, chat with other folks watching from all around the world (WHO KNOWS!) and you can even tip me and win cool prizes! Its just $5 to watch, and I'm going to be giving away several copies of my new EP and some fun handmade special gifts to the top tipper!
Ready to get cho ticket? Here's a picture of me tangled up in lights, click on it to buy a ticket to the show! You can also direct other folks to the show by posting this funny link on your various social media profiles: www.tinyurl.com/snowhoho
Be good to each other, folks. These holiday times can be some of the trickiest, even though they spend all season telling us its the most wonderful time of the year! Ask somebody how they're doing! Make somebody some pie. It never hurts! :)
Day 6- Westminsterrrrr!
Good Cheese, Good Folks, Good Times.
After a lovely drive through the New Jersey Countryside, and over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, we made our way to Maryland. We stopped just outside of Baltimore for Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee and a quick trip to the liquor store to aquire our pirate themed adult beverage...Kraken Spiced Dark Rum. We arrived in Westminster just before 5pm and were greeted by Ivy, Steve, Harris and their dog Jasper.
This show was really special because it was my first time coming to Westminster at a time other than July, as I teach every summer at a music, arts and humanities camp there called Common Ground on the Hill. A lot of my friends from Common Ground came out, and we were super excited that Jacki from our Round Hill show came out for a second time! OFFICIAL FAN STATUS! Diana Ray, one of my very dearest friends, came out and wrote out an entire list of song requests, which made my job so much easier!
The other magnificent thing about Westminster was that SO MANY PEOPLE CAME DRESSED UP! It was a Pirate Soiree for sure, and everyone was keen on growling “ARGH” with me after each song, singing along at the top of their lungs and giving themselves Pirate Personas for the night. We gave away 3 prizes during the costume contest because there were just so many doggone cool looking pirates! There was also some really good cheese at this show, and for me, good cheese means a good show.
We slept in Ivy’s daughters room. And the Little Mermaid sheets on her bed made me feel like I was floating in the depths of my 6 year old dreams! It was perfect. This was also a household with several sweet cats, and thus, Annie and I were pleased as punch! I slept like a baby, and in the morning we met up with Becky at Birdie’s Cafe for some breakfast, conversating and internetting.
We slept in Ivy’s daughters room. And the Little Mermaid sheets on her bed made me feel like I was floating in the depths of my 6 year old dreams! It was perfect. This was also a household with several sweet cats, and thus, Annie and I were pleased as punch! We slept well, and in the morning met up with Becky at Birdie’s Cafe for some breakfast, conversating and internetting.
On our way out of town, we stopped by Five Below to stock up on a few more prizes for our last couple shows, and were out the door before we could buy a Unicorn Poop shot glass OR 12 different kinds of Haribo Gummi Candy.
Shoutouts: Popeye the Sailor Lady, The Baptismal Octopus and Lil Bit
Days 4 & 5- Philly and Shiloh!
(Had no internet access yesterday so I couldn’t post my Philly blog! So here are two blogs in one! BAM!)
Steps, Pets and Pizza.
Philly was gorgeous, sunny, and full of artwork, people and animals! We met up with Andrea, Annie’s BFF from elementary school who showed us around and took us to an amazing Brunch spot called Honey’s where I ordered the most gigantic platter of County Fried Steak, Green Bean Casserole and Potato Latkes. It was a delicious beast, but I dealt with it accordingly ;)
Then we went thrifting in a wild store where there was a strange altercation between a homeless man trying to return a shirt for $25 and a very polite clerk who gracefully declined his attempt. It was weird. However, Annie and I both found fun outfits for the Nerd Party, so all was well. After that, we grabbed some cold afternoon beverages at an adorable cafe called Rocket Cat, and headed over to the house where the show was happening. Brooke and Gal invited us in and showed us to our SUITE of a room, and on the way we met Cash their very excitable puppy, Maya the very large kitty and Charlie the playboy cat. We made instant pet friends and had a great time setting up and chatting with our hosts. Dan Collins came out and played a beautiful first set that I was able to sit in on for a couple songs. During my set, I noticed that our show attendees were a bit underdressed for the costume theme, so we had a spontaneous dress up contest, and there was a tie between Andrea and Najwa, who both made very convincing declarations of their alter ego superhero powers!
After the show, we ate pizza and took a little trip down the street to a very loud bar where some of Andrea’s High School friends were bartending. This meant that we got free drinks and, upon Andreas persistent pleas to the DJ, we got to hear some fun 90’s dance music. The night ended after we all got sleepy and so we headed back, but on our way out I had a very odd interchange with a fellow who, after I introduced myself to him, asked me “What were your parents thinking??”. WOW! Apparently, some Philly boys be BOLD and RUDE.
In the morning, we had coffee and scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar and kale, care of Brooke and Gal. Before leaving town, we checked out the Magic Gardens, this amazing huge scale mosaic art installation/structure that one really just has to see to believe. It was magnificent, utterly other worldly, and totally unique to any art experience I have ever witnessed before. Scroll down for a video of me playing a song there.
Then we got tarts and road snacks from Whole Foods and ran back to our car in the rain. And drove to Shiloh, NJ.
To Grandmother’s House We Go!
We spent our day off with my Grandmother in Shiloh, New Jersey. We watched old home movies, listened to her stories about being a young girl in England during World War 2, and we ate like queens or dinner. She made us baked Mac and Cheese with Stewed Tomatoes and Trifle for dessert! We slept like babes and had a lovely long morning before leaving for Westminster
Neato Burrito and the Wendys of the Future
Today was our first day off (no show, but we still drove.) We spent a good chunk of our morning sitting around the dining room table with the Littlehales, eating pancakes, laughing and having great, deep conversations before we left Blair County. Also, had a wonderful opportunity to sing for Brian's Mother, Marie, who is living with MS. The whole family joined me on Somewhere Over the Rainbow, You are my Sunshine and Where Have all the Flowers Gone. It was a beautiful moment to share with all of them, especially Marie, who really perked up and glowed during You Are my Sunshine. We took off hours later than anticipated, because, again, we just felt so at home with these folks.
Had a bit of a rainy drive at first, through more gorgeous mountains and scenic overlooks. Stopped for lunch in Harrisburg at this MAGNIFICENT Burrito place called Neato Burrito. The interior design totally wow'ed me and I LOVED the weird vintage record sleeves on the walls in the bathroom. BUT THE FOOD. OH MY GAWD. THE BEST burrito bowl I've ever eaten.
We also stopped to use the restroom at the craziest Wendy's we'd ever seen. Seriously, it was so futuristic looking that Annie and I felt we should be preparing for a board meeting or to deliver a power point presentation inside. Digital Menu Screens, a Modern flameless Fireplace, and very loud hand dryers in the bathroom. It was nuts. So nuts it made my brain hurt a little. (See Photo!)
Then, there was a target nearby, and again, it was our day off...so no rush....so....I GOT SOME AMAZING BOOTS but I can't show them to you yet because I'm incorporating them into my outfit for tonight. We got to Dan Collins glorious woodland tree house in Media, PA around 7, ate some dinner, caught up, and headed downtown to the Irish Pub, Sligo's where we heard some great live music. On the way back to Dan's, we sang Beatles songs and showtunes, and eventually we had to quiet down so as not to disturb potentially slumbering neighbors. We stayed up talking and listening to music til way too late. Which is such a good thing and we all need to do that from time to time.
This morning, I woke up, looked out the window, and felt the sun give me a pat on the shoulder.
Fun and Folly on Turkey Valley Rd!
What a fantastic day today! We left Loudoun County a bit later than expected but we wound up meeting up with my old buddy Wes Nease, who I hadn't seen in SO MANY YEARS. We met at this adorable Farm Market Store that served coffee, food (I had the Lambwich (as a platter, not a sammich) and locally made goods that I didn't buy and now wish I had. One item I wanted was an organic mint scented "penetrating rub". Just sounded so scentual. Yes, I know I made a new word just then.
After some caffeine and herbal tea, respectively, we hit the road for a splendid little mountain journey through Maryland and into Pennsylvania. We stopped at Walmart for toothpaste and to use a very awkward one stalled women's restroom. (Target has spoiled me with their spacious multi stalled luxury restroom experience) After nearly getting lost on Turkey Valley Road, and passing (several times) by a crazy property with large eagle statues on either side of the driveway and having NO CELL PHONE SIGNAL, we finally found the house!
Our outdoor stage was lovely. Decked out with paper lanterns, spotlights and a full size lit christmas tree! The Littlehales were such gracious hosts, had prepared Grilled Mushrooms and asparagus for us when we arrived (SO TASTY!) and made us feel super welcome in their glorious space. Biz and Bailey, the adorable Boston Terriers of the household were also amazing instant friends! The view around the house was positively gorgeous, rolling hills, lovely pond, gotta love visiting a home on the grounds of a Nature preserve!
There were delicious chocolate chip cookies, so many pillows on the bed and an amazing shower head that made me feel like I was bathing in a gentle waterfall. And everybody was SO willing to play dress up with us, which was super rad. Even the dogs!
Shoutouts of the day: Poo-Poo, Ms. Candy Cane shoes, my new cat friend and the licking machine!
Stay tuned for more updates! And if you've got friends in Philly, send em' over HERE for our show tomorrow night!
Tour Diary: Day One- Round Hill, VA
The 90s, Sandy the Malibu and Ambition the Rapper
Tour Diary Day 1- Round Hill, VA
What began as a rainy rainy morning turned into a beautiful drive, with only an occasional spurt of raindrops popping in to remind us that, indeed, the windshield wipers work just fine! We started off using my Dads GPS and burst out laughing when we heard Yoda's voice as the navigator. Also available as voices on my Dad's rad Tom-Tom: Darth Vader and 90 yr old Hungarian Grandmother. Oy Vey!)
We named our rental car Sandy, who is a white Chevy Malibu, snacked in the car, stopped once in Fredericksburg for coffee where a young man approached us with a stack of his cds (called "Finding God") and asked if we wanted to "try it". I politely declined. He continuued to not buy things at Starbucks but to literally walk around peddling his album to every single person in the cafe. Annie and I cracked up and I mentioned how this was probably a brilliant business strategy and I should go grab a few cds from the car and try selling them too, since this is clearly a viable music marketplace. As we left, I decided to get his name so I could google him and its this guy.
This show was hosted by my old friend Brian James. We met in 2004 or so when he was working at Starbucks and I was working at Fair Grounds, the independent rival coffee shop across the street. Needless to stay, our friendship overcame the obstacles and we never had any sort of barista coffee war. Though, that certainly sounds like good songwriting material. We had a great time, a few good 90's costumes, I made up a song from crowd suggestions about the best things from the 90s. (Those things were Magic: The Gathering, Being a toddler, and Hanson). I have decided that I am going to do this at every show on tour for the theme of the night. Hopefully, some of these will be filmed and we can all laugh at them together. The people last night were wonderful, and after the show some of us stuck around playing music, sharing stories and eating lots of chips and dip. This supremely talented gal named Jackie had us jam behind her while she layed down a righteous spoken word piece which she filmed as well. (Link forthcoming)
All in all, a great evening and a terrific day one to kick things off right!
Todays Shoutouts (people from tonights show, and my secret code names for them that they will understand):
The guy with the Funyun, Lady Gaia, Mr. Funky Jazz Flute AND Hanson Sweater Boo.
Tonight we will be in Holidaysburg, PA for the Christmas in September Party! Bring your Holiday Best and you just might win a prize! If you live nearby or have friends in the area, send em here:
Thanks for the memories, Loudon County!
Pictured: Me and Hector, who won the 90s costume contest!
Hitting the road for the second autumn in a row, Norfolk VA soulful folkie, Skye Zentz, is packing up her ukuleles and dress up clothes, and bringing her tunes to a living room near you.
This year, Skye is putting a new spin on getting up close and personal with her audience by booking all private house shows. Each show will have its own "dress up" theme and Skye will award prizes to the most creative costume at each show! Guests are welcome to bring snacks to share. Come out for an acoustic show, jampacked with joy, singalongs, and good looking people in funny outfits that they wouldn't normally wear!
(RSVP to your show of choice underneath the photo below. Skye will contact you directly with the address of the show you are coming to!)
(Each date links to the corresponding FB Event)
Tues 9/9- Round Hill
Wed 9/10- Holidaysburg
Christmas in September
Fri 9/12- Philly
Nerds & Superheroes
Sun 9/14- Westminster
Mon 9/15- DC
Oh so Retro
Tues 9/16- Charlottesville
~*Be sure to follow Skye on Twitter and Instagram @skyezentz*~