LRLS: November 2017 [Sorry – Justin Bieber]

I was recently made aware of a novice triathlon training course that coaches newbies to train for and complete their first triathlon. I was intrigued. Triathlons have always been on my list of things to attempt, but I’ve always been scared to try. The timing of the course tied in well with another fitness-related goal I had set myself – to be *HAWT* by Feb 2018. Side note: I have a massive secret that I’m absolutely DYING to share with everyone but need to wait for a little bit longer to release the news… argh! E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G news will be announced in the near future!

Yep, I signed myself up. Triathlon training started last month, with my first race happening later this month. I’m definitely feeling excited and scared at the same time about doing this.

My usual excuses for not doing a tri were:
1) I can’t swim,
2) I don’t have a bike, and
3) I am too busy.

Over the last 6 or 7 years I’ve actively taught myself to swim by going to a pool on a Monday night. Basically, I’ve watched what other people do in the water, imitating their motions whilst simultaneously trying not to drown. Just like my running technique, I started out with a slow-pace-short-distance and then gradually increased. *Disclaimer* I am not a good swimmer… but I don’t feel like I’m exhausted after swimming a single lap anymore!

My second excuse (no bike) was quashed by putting a call out to friends, asking if anyone had a spare bike I could borrow for a few months. *Voila* – a bike was made available to me and I am very grateful – really don’t want to return it after the race is done!

The third excuse of not having time instantly disappeared when I left my long-term day job a year ago to focus on my music – I was out of excuses and knew that this was something I had to do.

I’ll be honest, I’m absolutely  aching right now. Training only started a week ago, though I have gone from doing exercise once or twice a week to doing exercise once or twice a day. It’s taken me a bit of getting used to, plus the morning sessions have been at ridiculous-early times when everyone should be sleeping not sweating. Is #sleepingnotsweating a thing?

Whilst doing my swimming training, my (awesome) waterproof headphones have been playing me the COOLEST version of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” I’ve ever heard. It prompted me to question one of my past song-choices with regard to the Lounge-Room Lounge-Series as I’ve never repeated an artist twice. Faced with a bit of a grey area, I wondered what to do in the case of a song that featured multiple artists – do I stop myself from doing a song by either of those artists?

Back in January 2014, I covered the Biebster for the first time in a song originally featuring another artist, Nicki Minaj in “Beauty and a Beat”. As you can tell, this fatigued wannabe-triathlete went for the more accepting approach of: “Yaassss! You can totally do it!”

Enjoy a GavJazz’d version of a Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” – while my body’s been feeling a little sorry for itself too!

Song Title: Sorry
Original Artist: Justin Bieber
GavJazz level applied: High

LRLS: October 2017 [Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison]

It’s been a great month! Between an end of term performance for Voiceworks, a big performance for VoiceworksPLUS, a two night show for Tone Deft Choir, a live radio performance with Madeline Delia Crofts and further preparation for the fundraiser performance at the Ellington Jazz Club (which happened today)… it’s been a great month!

Today’s performance was an amazing project to be involved in. It consisted of a huge number of talented performers who had donated their time and skills to put on a concert to raise funds for Beyond Blue.

I’m always fascinated when I work with music theatre artists – they really know how to have a great time while achieving a lot! I was given the opportunity to arrange a previous Lounge-Room Lounge-Series creation (TLC’s “No Scrubs”) for a full band – which was also a good experience for me – definitely something I should do more of!

We really put on an amazing show. I’m so lucky to have been able to work with such an array of artists in one day. I’m definitely interested to see what other things come out of this talented group.

There is absolutely no segue to lead into how this month’s LRLS song was picked – all I can say is that I was once again quite surprised to find that it was “only” released in 1996. I thought it was an early 90’s hit… if not late 80’s… I stand corrected – as always.

Enjoy a GavJazz’d version of a Mark Morrison hit you might have forgotten about.

Song Title: Return of the Mack
Original Artist: Mark Morrison
GavJazz level applied: High

LRLS: September 2017 [What’s a girl to do – Sister2Sister]

The most recent month took me back to Edith Cowan University (ECU) at the same campus where I was studying whilst at WAAPA (the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts). I was still doing music related things, although this time it was in the library.

The ECU library was launching an exciting new service – the “Curiosity Studio”: providing access to new and emerging technologies. The studio contained gadgets like 3D printers, virtual reality headsets, mini-robots and also a multimedia station – which are all available for use by the ECU community. I helped demo the multimedia station by recording and mixing a short soundbite that they’ll hopefully soon be able to use as promotional material.

Whilst I was there, I also mixed part of this month’s song (that I’d already recorded earlier in my lounge-room). This meant that a few lucky people from the launch got to preview this month’s song before it went online.

Enjoy a GavJazz’d version of that song that was big in Australia in 2000 (I thought it was big in the 90’s, but have since had to google it).

Song Title: What’s a girl to do
Original Artist: Sister2Sister
GavJazz level applied: High

LRLS: August 2017 [Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland]

As a kid, I always wanted to be able to play “Over the Rainbow” and was very excited when I taught myself how to play it. I’ve now been playing it for many years – and been lucky enough to perform it at a few different public events just this year – I never grow tired of it.

It should be said that my arrangement has continually been tweaked over the years – even in the process of recording it for this series. (Chords have appeared that I had no idea were in me – and I love most of them!)

I originally had plans to record a different song for this month, but have recently been pulled in a different direction. On 27 July 2017, a large portion of the Perth music community and I came together to say goodbye to a talented musician/entrepreneur/academic (among other things). Speeches were interspersed with beautiful music – Eva Cassidy’s version of “Over the Rainbow” was played after the last one… It’s been stuck with me since then.

Enjoy a GavJazz’d version of that song from “The Wizard of Oz”. I have recorded it as a tribute and thank-you to Graham Wood – someone whom I have respected and appreciated for a long time.

Song Title: Over the Rainbow
Original Artist: Judy Garland
GavJazz level applied: Low

LRLS: July 2017 [Brick – Ben Folds Five]

Some time ago – possibly between five and ten years ago, I sat down with my sister and brainstormed a massive list of songs I needed to try covering. Brick, by Ben Folds Five, was on the list! Jump to July, 2017: although I haven’t tried playing the song since it was added to the list, it has been at the back of my mind for a long time.

It can be challenging to decide which song I can make my own without completely mutilating it. Whenever I tackle a song that already contains a signature piano/guitar line, I always have to ask myself a tricky question: “Do I have to do that line too, plus will the song sound more like me without it?”. While I do understand why so many pop songs have an easy/catchy hook, I can’t say that I usually really like listening to (or playing) them.

I think that Brick was one of those songs that I kept leaving on the list – specifically because of its signature piano backing and me not wanting to have to make the decision of how to handle it.

One day, I wonder if I’ll cross paths with any of the original artists whose work I’ve GavJazz’d up – who will then proceed to tell me off for scrapping a melodic line idea that they spent hours/days/weeks honing to fit their song perfectly? Oh well!

Enjoy a GavJazz’d version of Ben Folds Five’s 1997 hit, “Brick” – sans standard piano bit!

Song Title: Brick
Original Artist: Ben Folds Five
GavJazz level applied: Medium

LRLS: June 2017 [Chandelier – Sia]

I’ve been working as a pianist for an additional choir since the start of 2017 – and I love them! They go by the name “Tone Deft” (YAY for musical puns!), are a women’s Show Choir based in Perth – and consist of a talented group of people who are a pleasure to perform with.

I’ve got to admit, I was excited when Amanda Johnston (choir Musical Director) pulled out her arrangement of Sia’s “Chandelier” for the choir to learn. It’s an epic song – that I’ve always loved; I had tried it myself in the past – but was never happy enough with what I was doing to it.

I was really looking forward to hearing what Tone Deft would be able to do with Chandelier. They had, unfortunately (for me), planned to perform the song as an a cappella number – so I was only really needed to help teach everyone their parts. While we were in “note learning mode”, I’d add in my own accompaniment so everyone could follow where they were and maintain correct tuning/timing. The piano sounded so good with the vocals that it was quickly decided we HAD to keep the piano part in – I was happy to be officially included in the arrangement!

Recording a GavJazz version was a different experience for me – it was like I’d already done a lot of homework on the song and just had to tweak it a bit more. A very big thank you to Amanda Johnston, who kindly gave me permission to base my version on her arrangement – which I have loved using for the big vocal harmonies.

If you’d like some more info about Tone Deft, check out:

Enjoy – a GavJazz’d Sia ditty!

Song Title: Chandelier
Original Artist: Sia
GavJazz level applied: Medium

LRLS: May 2017 [Stitches – Shawn Mendes]

This most recent month has involved quite a few more catch-ups with friends that I haven’t seen in a while. We dined – we talked – it was great!

As it turns out, I love creating. Not only do I love creating music, I also love creating culinary delights. My sister made a baked cheesecake for me once and inspired me to spend the last month perfecting my “Baked Cheesecake” skills.

It’s gone deliciously well… apart from having been told that cheesecake is a “sometimes” food. Seriously? No! I don’t think I can do this. Cheesecake makes me so happy. I’m actually eating tasty homemade cheesecake whilst typing this.

It probably would be a healthier choice to slightly reduce the amount of cheesecake that is in my life… maybe?!

Whilst cooking, I had a lot of music going in the background and was reminded of a couple of Shawn Mendes tunes that I like. It was hard picking one to do, but I decided on this one (“Stitches”) as I thought I could really get into it.

Enjoy – a slightly GavJazz’d Shawn Mendes tune!

Song Title: Stitches
Original Artist: Shawn Mendes
GavJazz level applied: Low

LRLS: Apr 2017 [Let it go – James Bay]

This month I lunched with a family friend that I haven’t seen in years and had an amazing catch-up. It had us both recounting stories and filling in each-other on what had been happening over the years.

Talking about these great (happy and sad) memories was quite therapeutic – especially when I haven’t thought about some of those memories in a very long time. I was brought up to speed on a first-ever relationship break-up and my heart really went out to them.

Whilst looking for a song to work on this month, I came across this beautiful one from James Bay – “Let it go” – and wish it had been around when I had my first break-up… I would have had it playing LOUDLY on repeat whilst I ugly-cried.

Enjoy – Once again, I didn’t really have to do much to this song – just a dash of GavJazz dust!

Song Title: Let it go
Original Artist: James Bay
GavJazz level applied: Low

LRLS: Mar 2017 [Drops of Jupiter – Train]

What a month! Managed to move house AND left my day job in the same month! It’s been a pretty hectic month, but I absolutely know I’ll always look back at this month with happiness as it has been the best decision I’ve made.

I now have more time in my life for music – which I’m so excited about. Funnily enough though, there has not been that much time in-between the numerous trips to Ikea, increased meetings for other musical projects I’m currently involved in and catching up with friends that I haven’t been able to see in ages!

This month’s addition didn’t really follow my usual “creative process” of hours and hours of listening to music to decide on a song to attempt – including trying many of them out on the keyboard to see if they “work”… Basically, I just picked this one and made it work for me! Very efficient really!

Enjoy – I don’t feel like I’ve changed it much – it was pretty cool to begin with. It’s just had a little bit of GavJazz polish applied to it!

Song Title: Drops of Jupiter
Original Artist: Train
GavJazz level applied: Low

LRLS: Feb 2017 [Rubber Duckie – Ernie from Sesame Street]

I grew up in Port Hedland, studying classical music (outside of school) under an extremely multi-talented teacher and performer – Jangoo Chapkhana – who is ridiculously talented as a classical AND jazz musician.

My sister was also studying under him, and so we both learnt the melody together to “Rubber Duckie” to perform (sing) it as part of the annual Pilbara Music Festival.

We were about 7 and 11 years old at the time – and to be honest – neither of us were amazing singers as kids – but we could hold a note and were crazy cute! That – in conjunction with being accompanied by jazz pianist extraordinaire Jangoo Chapkhana – we won whatever section we were entered into and received cool trophies which were promptly displayed on our shelves at home.

I think it was because of this great experience that I’ve always had fond memories when I hear/play this song, so couldn’t wipe the smile off my face whilst recording it! Enjoy my take on Rubber Duckie – probably heavily inspired by my childhood music teacher!!

Song Title: Rubber Duckie
Original Artist: Ernie from Sesame Street
GavJazz level applied: Medium