Sunday, November 24, 2013

MY MEASURE OF SUCCESS



I've learned a lot since I embarked upon this goal to become a professional musician three years ago. It was a decision that I made fairly late in life, and I wonder just how much more I would have accomplished up until now if I had stayed focused on my music career from a much earlier age. It's the only thing I've ever really dreamed of doing, other than writing prose. 

There are many different groups of performers who hang tight with each other in this town, and watch each other's backs, and hire each other. I have never been called to work by anyone other than the venue owners/bookers who I have made the effort to connect with. Not even agents seem interested in what I have to offer. I haven't given it much thought however, because I am extremely happy with the amount of work I have within the professional music world, and even happier with the friendships I have formed with those who hire me to provide entertainment. 

The support I receive from those who believe in my original music is far more valuable to me than money and gigs, and all of that seems to fall into place perfectly these days, without compromising my self-worth as a professional :) It wasn't always like that, I worked hard to build up my professional relationships, placing priority on providing the highest quality entertainment possible. 

I've learned that it's not important to play in every venue I possibly can. It's more important to build up consistency and loyalty with fewer local venues that believe in what I do, and trust that I will offer them more than what they expect in terms of quality, sincerity and integrity. This belief has lead me to some great relationships based on hard work, professionalism and humility. Yes, I saturate my social networking feeds with shameless self promotion, but I believe in what I do, who I do it with and who I do it for. It seems that water has indeed sought its own level and I am thankful to be surrounded by my colleagues, fans and bosses.

It's a personal journey, this music thing that I do.. and as much as I get frustrated and disillusioned at times because I don't get invited to be in the other musician 'clubs,'  I couldn't quit even if I tried, simply because of the amazing personal relationships I have developed. I have to remind myself that although 
I've been performing musically since age three, I've only just now encountered 'the scene' of where Vancouver music professionals have been busting their asses for decades to hammer out a living. For this again I am grateful and humbled by the success that has come my way, and I measure this success based on the incredible new friendships this journey of love and music has brought me :)

I'm proud to have performed regularly this past year at,

The Heritage Grill
The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar
Cory Weed's Cellar Jazz Club
The Fairview Pub
Falconetti's East Side Grill
Rockamole's now Villa Toscana
Kingfisher's Waterfront Grill
Murrayville Town Pub

God help me if I have forgotten anybody..

Looking forward to 2014.. The Dirty Swing Band will be bringing in the new year at Ginger 62 on the Granville entertainment Strip in Vantown :) one day at a time!! 

This biscuit is over and out.





Friday, July 26, 2013

INWARD BOUND OUTWARD EXPRESSION





Time to reassess my direction and my goals. I have fully come to the realization that I need to stop trying to be in one particular genre and simply focus on offering my own brand of original music. Which doesn't REALLY fit in anywhere, (Jazz? Blues? Rockabilly? Country? Roots? all and none of the above)but that's rather prophetic and almost predictable isn't it? 

When I first came to bat it was Blues that brought me to first base. Ultimately I am not truly a blues singer.. If i'm going to remain interested in the hustling my ass off to keep my head above water in this business, I need the passion that derives from my personal journey into original music. I feel like a dud sometimes, never leaving the house unless its work related. Torn between wanting so badly to support other artists (NOT just musicians) and going crazy trying to rip the radio out of my head that won't shut off. 

Desperately not wanting to find myself 'competing' with other talented individuals.. and most of all being true to the creative muses that drive me to write, produce and learn more everyday. Practise practise practise. Who are my real friends? Stay home stay safe. 

Looking at my calendar, i clearly won't be taking a break while I do some shifting.. and who knows? Maybe it won't be that different to what I'm already working on? 'Follow your heart' my trusted peers tell me. My heart tells me not to focus on making an impression, but providing and sharing a lasting and memorable moment in time, with genuine connection and honest vulnerability.  

I love watching the dancers when I perform..I am a little envious (i'm a terrible dancer) but my role as musician is my way of being involved in the expression of movement..that has been the impetus behind the two latest originals brought to the band members. Rooted in blues, one ridiculous funk tune, one auto-biographical shuffle. We'll see how they go over at the Heritage Grill this Sat. 27th. Hopefully the good folks get moving on the dance floor. 

NO COMPETITION NO COMPARISON

HONOUR RESPECT CREATIVE CONTRIBUTE SHARE 


Friday, June 21, 2013

GRAVY!



Two and half years have past now since I've started this little project. It's been such an incredible journey to date, and I so look forward to what the future brings.. I never expected to meet all these incredible new friends. I never thought I would have the honour of performing with such amazing talented musicians in such exciting venues! What a grand experience and how much fun it continues to provide. 

Since branching out as a solo artist as well as 'bandleader' (I use that term somewhat reluctantly, do I deserve that title??) I have made even more friends and carved out a whole new path within my creative infrastructure. Now more than ever I open my musical destiny to the powers that be and continue to learn, perform, share and entertain.

Still entirely INDIE! I am open to representation.. but it seems more than ever I am destined to be on my own..and I am comfortable here. I am blessed with support from many sincere individuals and God help me if I ever lose sight of that gratitude. 

I absolutely love playing my original BISCUIT music as a solo/duo/trio, and will continue my love for swing and Blues music as an ensemble with THE DIRTY SWING BAND.



The new website is launched and FRESH*HOT*SWING is available for purchase on CD Baby. What's my next step? I have some goals to focus on but mostly I'd like to work on putting my American Passport and Social Security number to work and start looking for venues south of the border. Also, another original album... okay, so! Now that my intent has been offered to the universe I will put my nose to the grindstone and hope for the best. 

wendybiscuit.com

Not too concerned about failure at this point because even small accomplishments feel like major victories and simply add gravy to this l'il biscuit.... 




Monday, April 15, 2013

triskaidekaphobia VS. FRESH*HOT*SWING






For as long as I can remember my Father would find me on the morning of every Friday the thirteenth and ask, "Biscuit, do you have triskaidekaphobia" It got old after a while. But I'll never forget that word. My answer was always no. I was never afraid of the number 13. It's an outcast number, shunned upon avoided, but seems to possess some kind of ominous powers. Thirteen never seemed like much of a threat always remaining aloof, yet standing out 

My Dad's birthday was January 13 1932. He died of Cancer 13 years ago. Jan. 13, 2013 I had a recording session and made an album of 13 songs. Not on purpose, the CD's were delivered March 13th. 




So thank God I don't have triskaidekaphobia. Like I've said before my father is the reason why I play and write music. He died the year 2000 Victoria Day weekend and I've got a performance on that weekend at The Cellar Jazz Club with Dave Webb and John Nolan. I have met some of my father's old friends there from time to time (he used to teach Russian literature at UBC) and am looking forward to the show. I'm digging the trio. lotsa room for fun and expression. 




Missing you Dan Le Van, think of you often!





Monday, February 18, 2013

RANDALL CROW'S BACK !!





Hey! I've got exciting news.. after a couple of years off, Randall Crow is starting up a rocking Blues Jam in Maple Ridge again!

Randall is special to me and here's why- when I first started performing my original music with my friend Trina after 10 years of taking a break to raise my kids, Randall gave me a stage, encouragement and listening ears. I didn't know much if anything about blues music.. so it's fairly safe to say that Randall introduced me to Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Albert King etc...... He was also one of my first friends in Maple Ridge, in a time when I felt very displaced.




(this pic was taken the very first night trina and i met randy)


He's a genuine Bluesman on all accounts. Born and raised outside of Stockton California in a settlement he called Okieville (His grandfather was an Okie and an entrepreneur who traveled from the midwest during the great depression) A pillar of strength, Randall's grandfather taught him how to plow a straight line, love the land, raise cattle and work with the highest integrity. Randall has raised cattle most of his life and worked on the railroad before he moved out to Maple Ridge.

Randall bought his first guitar when he was 15 for $0.50. It was cracked and only had two strings. After learning just about every bass line he could on those two strings, he found himself hungry for more. Over the years Randall absorbed everything he could to fuel his obsession with the blues. He recalls the first time he saw a Blues concert in Toronto. It was the fellows from Chicago such as Luther Allison and Buddy Guy that blew his mind and then he knew that there was no end to exploring and expressing oneself through Blues music. 

Here we are very fortunate to have some of the greatest live music venues in the lower mainland such as Kingfisher's Waterfront Grill and The Billy Miner... 

Randall's Blues Jams are famous in Maple Ridge and beyond.. there's no doubt WE HAVE MISSED HIM. He offers something that few else can.. his own unique brand of heart and soul and belief in what he does and says. He speaks his mind and will shake your hand with a smile and charactor. His jams have always been successful, entertaining and unlike any other Blues jam you've ever been to. Anyone who knows him will say the same thing.. "never been to Randy's jam? can't explain it.. you just have to come see for yourself."





And indeed you must!! He's starting up with a four piece band.. keys, guitar, bass and drums... come early and sign up to play .. The venue is.. 

Starting SAT. Feb.23

The Army, Navy and Airforce Club 
22326 North Ave -Maple Ridge

just south of Lougheed Hwy 
and runs every Sat. from 6-10 pm

The kitchen is open, and the beverages are very affordable! This one's about the music.. and about my special friend Randall Crow.. I hope this jam takes off and continues.. I will be there right after my songwriters circle/ open mic at Falconetti's on 2nd and Commercial in Vancouver. It ends at 6pm so timing is perfect! Come support local music! If you can make it out, spread the word. There's no one like Randall and those who know him well know this without a doubt... 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

FINGERS CROSSED EYES WIDE OPEN





I'm chomping at the bit here.. staying busy, playing as much as I can as a solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet.... and now armed with enough material that every show is a little different... focusing on my guitar chops.. and what a great treat it is to play onstage again after these past two years of exclusively singing. Can I call myself a pro yet? I decided that yes I can.. because I am consistent.. because I am reliable... because many of the venues I play regularly at now call me for last minute gigs and in less than 12 hours I can pull something together either by myself or with any of the incredibly talented individuals I work with and provide the highest quality entertainment. Sometimes, it feels like work.. and I'd rather be home sleeping or knitting with a glass of red wine.. but as soon as I step on stage and hear the first note and see the faces in the room and begin to banter I fall in love my craft all over again. 

Being a working musician is certainly not as glamourous as i thought it would be. It means driving a lot, smiling when you feel like scowling and hauling heavy gear into crowded clubs and giving away 100% of your heart and soul on a nightly basis in hopes that maybe a handful of folks in audience will really believe you and feel what a gift live music is.. for the artist and the audience. I LOVE ALL OF THE ABOVE. 

I don't get nervous anymore.. haven't for a long time.. but I always worry just a little that someone simply won't like what they hear. All the old timers I've been running with tell me that fear is a good thing.. it's good to be a little worried because that edge keeps you acutely focused on a solid performance which is what I try to accomplish with CONSISTENCY.

I'm waiting impatiently to hear the first mix of my first album. The suspense is driving me crazy!!! Recorded at Blue Wave Studios with BRILLIANT musicians and engineered by Ken Burke,
it's all my own original compositions inspired by my obsession with various types of swing.. bossa nova, patsy cline style swing, blues, train, roots...fast med slow....except for two beautiful old swing blues tunes that I feel in the deepest part of my soul when I perform them. I produced the tunes, will publish them myself and also designed the cover art.. which is another fearfully exciting reason why I am anxiously awaiting the outcome... DID I DO A GOOD JOB????? who knows? I can only offer to the community what I have in my heart and hope that it will be well received.. keeping all dreams and hopes in check for now.. and moving forward with faith that this is what I am meant to do. It HAS to be more than just OCD ..lol....The working musician in me says.. well.. at least you'll have something to sell off the stage. Now when folks ask "Do you have a CD for sale?" I don't have to stomach the look on their faces when I mumble..no....sorry..... 

Stay tuned! the projected release is sometime in Feb or March...  

In the Meantime.. here's my show schedule for Jan/Feb (so far)

Jan. 25- Heritage Grill w/The Dirty Swing Band featuring Double D
Jan. 31- Trees Coffee house w/Sandy Bone
Feb. 1st- Falconetti's w/The Dirty Swing Band
Feb. 14th- The Haney Pub- SOLO BISCUIT
Feb. 22nd- The Heritage Grill w/The Dirty Swing Band featuring Jack Stafford on sax 
Feb. 27th- Cory Weed's Cellar Jazz Club w/Paul Pigat

and lots more yet to be confirmed.. 
believe me I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MY FRIEND MARTY





Meet Marty Bernard.


He's the nicest guy in the world and a crazy good guitar player. He writes his own music and can really play anything in any style. I love his country licks that come from years on the road with 'Diezel.' Marty also has an inner headbanger probably from playing with the heavy metal band 'Catfish' for years and opening for the likes of Iggy Pop. I'd like to say his playing is inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix but really what's so special about Marty's style to me is that it is completely unique and his own. He can play whatever you need him to play and will, but when he's given the freedom to express himself, his sound is entirely his own and that's why I love working with him and respect him so. 


He's got his own band called 'The Bloo Zebras' and freelances when he's available. He's really quiet and shy so this blog will embarrass the crap out of him but I don't care because the world should know more of Marty Bernard. I'm looking forward to hearing his upcoming album which is in the works and ready to be completed. 

This is a song from his last album.. he wrote it about his wife.. she's got a beautiful head of red hair. 





Marty plays the Kingfisher in Maple Ridge every third friday of the month with The Bloo Zebras.. and has other gigs around town too. He's a Dirty Swing Band member, and I'm proud to share the stage with him, and call him a friend. It took him over a year to say more than two words to me :)