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Whoa, dudes & dudettes!

Sooooo it’s been a bit – not that I haven’t been thinking of posting but I keep forgetting. Busy Mama K is busy. I’ve started a part time work from home temp gig. Bonus is money, work, and working from home. Negatives are….it’s temporary. I’m not giving up hope. I’m strong, resilient, brave, passionate, smart, and dedicated. Good things are coming, friends. I know that because I’m working on them. 🙂

This week is “plant the garden” week. I was taught to wait until Memorial Day but folks around here start planting on Mother’s Day. I figure if another frost comes (very likely here in NE Ohio) I can cover my plants. I’ve decided on eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes this year. We’ve had no luck with watermelon, cucumber, or some herbs. This will be my first year trying eggplant so wish me luck!

Running is going well. I’m slowly increasing my speed which is awesome. I’m taking a break because I desperately need new running shoes – I’m having back pain and knee pain when I’ve tried to run the past week. I believe it’s related to my shoes since they are older and I didn’t have any problems before. New shoes happen later this week! I need to train! I haven’t picked a 5k yet but I’m talking with a friend about a half marathon in 2017. Cause I’m hard core insane.

Me after today’s run:

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If you know me at all you’ll know that I’m not much of a movie person. I like movies but I prefer action or comedy. I am not a fan of drama. So it will surprise most of you that I saw The Revenant this weekend. I.Couldn’t.Even. I was glad I wasn’t in the movie theatre because I would have gone bonkers. I played a game on my phone. I messaged my friend Craig. I had to because that movie is hella intense and I couldn’t take it all the time. Splitting my focus helped. I will say it’s a great movie. I am not surprised it won Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio was incredible. The views were stunning. The movie was dark and depressing and amazing and powerful. I don’t ever ever ever want to see it again but I’m glad I did. Mostly.

I have been listening to new music, btw. Cause even if I’m not working in radio currently, discovering and sharing the music I’m passionate about will never stop.

I’m going to shake it up a little bit though and focus on Cleveland artists. Either ones who live here or artists that are from here. Cause NE Ohio has some incredibly talented musicians and everyone should know about them.

*Let’s start with Cleveland native Clarence Bucaro. He’s a prolific writer and I love almost everything he writes. But his newest offering is so incredible I’ve listened to it over and over – and then finally put it on my iPhone – if it makes it onto my iPhone you know it’s good! His new album “Pendulum” is flat-out gorgeous. Here’s the first single from the album (which releases May 20), “Tragedy”:

*Shawn and Shelby have an album coming out this weekend. While I’ll miss the concert (emergency trip to Chicago), I’m a lucky woman because I’ve already heard it. (score!!) This album is haunting and gorgeous. Shawn’s rich voice is the perfect complement to Shelby’s stirring cello. A match made in heaven. Here’s the title track, performed live at Beachland Ballroom:

*There are some bands I haven’t gotten to see live but love them anyway. Nights is the biggest. I love their sound. Pop and synth and edgy. Love! Here’s “Walkaway” from their album “Whisper”.

*I’m a mom. Unsurprisingly, my nickname is Mama K. Dan Miraldi is one of my boys. Not only because he’s a good man but also incredibly talented. He’s passionate and brave. And he’s never scared to follow his dreams. That’s why he’s in NYC currently pursuing those dreams. I believe in him. Rock, Americana, with a punk edge. Puts me right in my happy place. Here’s “Demon Baby” from his album “Chaos, Destrution, & Dancing”.

*If Welshly Arms has a new album coming out I don’t know about it. But they’re touring this summer with NeedToBreathe so I gotta plug them. This band? This band. OMG this band. I would travel many distances just to see them. Cause the word awesome isn’t awesome enough to describe their awesomeness. Here’s “Night Prowler”.

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A plan is hatched

I try my best not to be impulsive. Sometimes I fail (especially at the grocery store when I’m hungry!) but I really try to weigh options, talk to friends/colleagues, & fully analyze a situation before I implement. That can slow me down but at the same time I feel I understand fully what I’m about to embark on. After last week’s post, I’ve been talking with a lot of folks to get their thoughts on how to best accomplish my goals.

My dear friend Michael (who is an amazing life coach) summed it up well. He simply asked “what brings you joy? What do you want to do?”

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(My joy. Right there.)

My answer? I love talking with people. I’ve always been happiest behind a microphone interviewing people, whether it’s artists or local community leaders (like I did for my public affairs show Greater Cleveland Forum). There is something I’m working on along that vein but it will take a while to get it going (grant writers are amazing!) but I need to do something now.

I’ve been doing voice over work on the side for a long time but never made it my focus. That is about to change. My demo is in the works and then I’ll be shopping myself around for work. Having a studio at home makes things awesomely easy to do this. Thanks, CG! 😉

For those following along at home – I’m now up to Week 6, Day 1 of the Couch to 5k program. I ran that today and got my longest run in yet. 1.81 miles. Which makes me feel like a snail (pace-wise) but I keep reminding myself that it’s 1.81 miles most people aren’t running today. So go me!

I promised I’d talk about new music in last week’s blog so without further ado…..

*Mariachi El Bronx is one of my favorite bands. The song “Wildfires” came out 9 months ago but I’m betting most of you haven’t heard it, or of them. Time to change that!

*Most of the bands I highlight here are one listen bands. As in, one listen was all it took to fall in love. That’s absolutely the case with Big Thief. One.Listen.

*Ermagerd have you heard of Skating Polly? Time to rectify that if you haven’t. What do I love about them?

1. They’re sisters. That’s so bad ass it’s amazing.
2. Punk influence. Also bad ass.
3. I have a weakness for gritty and raw music. Music not “smoothed out” or made to sound pretty. Just the band, the microphones, and the engineer. Perfection.

Here’s their new single “Pretective Boy”:

*I keep a pad of paper next to me at my desk. As I hear new music I want to blog about, I jot down the name of the artist and song title. I must have really really really loved Kevin Morby because his name was on my list twice. That tells you a lot. So here he is with his single “I Have Been To the Mountain” (and OMG this video. Wow this video!):

*Tom Odell has a new album coming out in June!!! This guy – wow, this guy. Love his voice. Love his vibe. I met him at a convention in Boulder and he’s so fucking sweet and nice and then rocks the fuck out. How can you not love that? First single from the new album is “Magnetised”. Love!

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Intelligent, vivacious, passionate, strong woman seeking……

A company that desires an employee like me.

The job hunt has been rather frustrating. Many resumes sent out and many rejection letters received. I was getting bummed out but then my positive nature took over and I decided to turn my problem on it’s head. If you do a search on my name one of the first things that shows up is the Huffington Post article about the letter I co-wrote with Blake Morgan.

The vast majority of places I’ve applied to are the sorts that most likely don’t want an employee who questions the status quo. I realized last weekend that I’ve been going about my job hunt completely wrong. It’s time to find a job somewhere that embraces my strengths. I don’t have a darn clue where that is but I’m extremely excited about what will come.

In other non-work hunt related news the 5k training is going well. I’m up to week 5, which puts me at running for a total of 16 minutes. I won’t say it’s getting easier but I will say I look forward to running 3x a week. I’m mixing elliptical work and running in the current channel at the pool to keep active every day. Bonus is more energy, which is always a good thing.

Me after my latest run:

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No music today, instead I’d like to share a video by SoundExchange that features Blake and I. We went to Washington D.C. in January to meet with some Congressional Representatives and discussed the I Respect Music campaign. And I was thrilled to stop by the SoundExchange office while we were in town. There are some incredible folks there working hard for all artists.

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Two kids down & Momma needs to run

Today is a run day for me. Unfortunately, I have two kids who aren’t feeling well at home. Girl child (who turned 17 last week, OMG what the what!) seems to have the stomach flu. Boy child (age 10 for those following along at home) didn’t sleep well because thunderstorms blew through last night. He’s not scared of them but the lightning strikes were so close and loud it kept waking him up. He woke up grumpy AF and I wasn’t going to torture his teachers with that attitude. I sent him back to bed.

So I need to figure out a way to run today. I’m thinking I may have to wait until later, hoping the rain passes.

I like running. I always have. I don’t want to jog with anyone though. It’s all about being alone listening to great music and simply putting one foot in front of the other. Just typing about it makes me want to throw on my shoes, storms be damned, and just hit the trail right now. Is this insanity? Maybe so…..

I’ve been working on my running music playlist. That means more music listening and more happy discoveries. Yay, new music! 🙂

*Wild Belle: I’ve been a fan for a while and their new single “Throw Down Your Guns” is stellar. Their album “Dreamland” comes out in April. Booyah! <3

*Mumiy Troll is a Russian rock band. Seriously. I can’t even remember how they came to my attention. One listen grabbed my attention and then I happily spent an hour down the rabbit hole called SoundCloud exploring their music. Love!!!

*As I type up these posts I listen to the music I’m going to share. I’ve not typed in 5 minutes because I was pulled into the gorgeous sound of Joon Moon. Their EP was released in 2015. No word yet on when the full album will hit (sometime this year). I.Can’t.Wait. Here’s Apple Day…..we’ll have to make due with that and a few others until the album is released.

*One thing I miss the most about working in radio was working with IMC. It’s a spot called “Across the Pond” where American programmers share up and coming artists with radio listeners in the UK and the American audience is introduced to new UK musicians. I made some wonderful friends. And heard some great music. Paul Knowles, who heads IMC and the brain child behind Across the Pond, is kind enough to still send me music from the UK. That’s what gets us to Hollie April today. Impressive songwriting, beautiful voice, and crisp production puts Momma K in her super happy place. Here’s “Father”. Listen, love, and share.

I finally met Paul face to face last May. Here’s our selfie. 🙂

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St. Patrick’s Day, 5k, and music

I’ve never understood the love of St. Patrick’s Day for those who aren’t Irish. Which I’m not. But I do love Irish music (traditional and new). I’ll just pass on the green beer!

I’ve taken the running leap and have begun a Couch to 5k training program with a group of friends. I’m running 3 days a week, the other three I walk or hit the pool. I feel great and love it! Today I completed Week 3 Day 1. That involves walking for 5 minutes then jogging 1.5 mins, walking 1.5 mins, jogging 3 mins, walking 3 mins, repeat once, then cool down. I was a bit unsure about my ability to run for 3 minutes straight but I’m glad to say I did it!!! Here I am after completing the workout:

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I’ve not blogged in 2 weeks so the list of new music is rather long. Let’s start with two Irish bands I love.

*I have been a die hard fan of Flogging Molly for many years. I love their sound, their passion, their energy. That and their mosh pits are the bomb – I’ve never seen a pit so polite!! One of my dreams is to go on the Flogging Molly cruise. I love seeing them live – if you can, definitely do it!

Imagine my delight when they released their first new song in 6 years. So.Much.Love.

*When I first heard Enter the Haggis, I was delighted. These talented fellas from Toronto are brilliant musicians AND businessmen. I love their new single (and can’t wait to hear the new EP!)

*If you haven’t heard of Hozier at this point, then I’m sad for you. Time to crawl out from under your rock and join the rest of us because he is Da Man. And Irish. This isn’t a new song for me, but it’s my hands down favorite song of his. It’s getting a huge surge of love after it was used at the end of a Walking Dead episode. Here’s “Arsonist’s Lullabye”

*Frightened Rabbit is NOT an Irish band. They’re Scottish. And brilliant. The single from their new album “Painting of a Panic Attack” shows incredible growth from them which makes me doubly happy.

*Finally we come back home to the U.S. and the artist Sierra Hull. I could babble on and on about her but there’s no need. Close your eyes and listen. Gorgeous!

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Struggling to see daylight

It’s been rough these past few months, so I’m doing everything I can to focus on the positives in my life. My kids are number one. My family. My SCA family. My pets (ermagerd sweetest dog evah!). Music.

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Now that I’ve been out of the radio biz for 2 months I’m finding I miss it less and less. As I continue to search for work, I’m focusing more on the non profit sector. To know that I use my energy to help others in some way would fill me with joy. I’m still doing voice overs and slowly prepping the office for painting – need it to warm up a bit more before I can paint.

Girl child and I have started training for a 5k. I’ve survived so far so things are looking up! And I’ve lost 3 pounds, so bonus!

I read a study somewhere, years ago, that NE Ohio actually has more cloudy days than Seattle. I don’t know if it’s true, yet on days like today when the sky is cloudy and it smells like more snow, I can believe it. I’m finding my own daylight lately. That means snuggles with the kids and pets. Running outside instead of at the gym when I can. Clementines. Seriously, clementines are small little balls of happy.

And yes, music. I wasn’t sure if I was going to focus on music today but there are a few new(er) artists that have made me smile.

*I’ve always admired Bob Boilen and the Tiny Desk Concert. They announced the winner of their yearly concert a few days ago and I don’t wonder why. Give a listen to Gaelynn Lea and her song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun”.

*I’m known for being down on twangy music. What folks don’t know is I was like that for the last station I programmed. In fact I enjoy quite a lot of Americana music. The single, “Your Story” from Distant Cousins new album has a definite twang and I love it.

*I don’t even remember how the band Mynth came to my attention. I don’t care. Listen and love.

*Icelandic bands are huge right now. Here’s an Alt-leaning band that’s getting a lot of attention – Agent Fresco.

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Cover letters and more new music

When we last saw our heroine (that’s me), she discussed new music and promised more. It’s coming, promise.

This is my procrastination break from applying for jobs. Cause you know, work. And cause you know, cover letter.

Cover letters are the bane of almost everyone’s existence. When I was part of a hiring team, I read them and sympathized. Now that I’m on the other end, I find I can either churn them out like a pro or I get frustrated and start writing mock letters. That I end up changing slightly and sending. Hmmmmmmm

But I digress. Cover letters. I’ve looked at numerous sites that have examples. I’ve done my best to highlight my experience and general awesomeness. I’ve had lots of feedback from amazing folks on my resume. On the last cover letter, I seriously wrote:

“I’m hard working, dedicated, smart as heck, a team player, and a fast learner.” We’ll see if I get any nibbles….

Now on to the music!

*The Moth & The Flame: I adore the heck out of this band and am trying to decide if I want to road trip to Detroit to see them next week. Oh who am I kidding? They are awesome and I’d be silly to not go! Here’s the second single from their album.

*Moderat: dooooooooooooods. Check out “Reminder” and then wait impatiently with me for their album “III” which comes out in April.

*Charles Bradley: When a blues/soul singer covers a Black Sabbath tune, I have to sit up and take notice. When a blues/soul singer does an amazing cover of a Black Sabbath tune, I have to share the awesomeness with the world. Enjoy!

*White Denim: I’m totally doing a happy dance around my home office about the new forthcoming album “Stiff”. This is me right now:

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New music and the joys of snow shoveling

School was canceled on Tuesday for my kids because of snow. I like snow days because I can spend time snuggling with my kids watching movies but I also love shoveling the driveway.

Now before you start calling me names, hear me out.

I am a regular at the gym. Five mornings a week you’ll find me there either on the elliptical or in the pool getting some hard core exercise. But there is something to be said for productive workouts. I get frustrated with my workouts to nowhere. The joy of being productive and burning calories makes me happiest. Which is why I love tasks like chopping wood or shoveling the driveway after a good snow. I know how to do it right – the snow we had Tuesday was very wet and heavy so I took regular breaks to rest and hydrate. All told it took me almost 2 hours and I burned over 1500 calories. That’s what I call productive!

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Plus, I get to see beauty when I’m out there.

Speaking of productive, I’ve been keeping myself busy. Slowing cleaning/emptying the home office for a paint job and reorganization. Working on my voice over demo has also kept me busy. I’ve done a few voice overs already so yay gigs!

It’s also time to start planning the spring garden. Every year I have such high goals and never manage to follow through. I’m going to keep it simple this year – tomatoes and peppers I think. I’ve not had any luck with anything else. Plus you can’t go wrong with those two – oh the possibilities!

While those listed above have kept me busy, I’ve also been enjoying a lot of new music. It’s a long list so I’m going to break it down into two posts.

Oh, and the Grammys? Yeah, I watched some of it. It was mostly uninspiring and bored me, so I watched Return of the Jedi and caught highlights the next day. Kendrick Lamar was awesome, as were Andra Day, Tori Kelly and James Bay. I felt bad for Adele but as she said, “S&%t happens”….

Now on to the music!

*Dorothy: Who is this band and where have they been all my life??? What the what the what? Love!!!!

*DMAs: I’ve been a fan for a while. With their new album coming out next week, I knew it was time to spotlight one of the songs. “In the Moment” is gorgeous and highlights what makes this band stellar.

*Mass Gothic: I gotta be honest, it’s a rare SubPop band that I don’t love. Mass Gothic highlights how sometimes walking away from a project is the best choice you can make. Noel Heroux walked away from his band Hooray for Earth and found himself again. I’m so glad he did. Mass Gothic’s self titled album released February 6. Give a listen to the focus track and let yourself fall in love.

*Trixie Whitley: OMG Trixie Whitley. I first heard her when she was with Black Dub with Daniel Lanois, a project that blew me away and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t get more notice. Sometimes it happens (sad!) but I’ll be gosh darned if I let her incredible talent slide by again. Just listen and you’ll learn why I want the world to hear her.

*Lettuce: A recent discovery for me, here’s the second single from their delicious album “Crush”. Funk, blues, rock….dudes, listen and love.

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I went to LA and came home inspired

That’s what happened when I went to Los Angeles last week. I was inspired by the incredible people I met at the California Copyright Conference dinner and panel. Their passion and enthusiasm was contagious and I came home even more fired up to get the Fair Play Fair Pay Act passed in Congress. I’ve been told the video will be released soon(ish) – as soon as it is I’ll post links here.

I managed to steal time with friends while I was in town as well. I stayed with my dear friends CA and EK. Stopped in at a local AAA station. Had lunch with David Sloane (check out his band Feral Vinca), and coffee with another friend. And on my last day stole time for breakfast with Roze.

I didn’t see any Los Angeles “things”. No Hollywood sign. No Walk of Fame. No Chinatown. Instead I saw people I care about and that’s a lot more important to me than doing the tourist thing.

I’ve had a few folks ask me how the CCC Panel went. I think it was fabulous. I felt like all of our stories were heard and respected. I feel like those who attended walked out fired up, ready to help with the #IRespectMusic cause.

One woman asked me how to be brave and I didn’t know how to answer. I babbled a bit but it mostly comes down to just doing it. When my father died (1997, age 58 of an aneurysm), my mother told me people told her over and over how strong she was. My mother told me she didn’t have a choice. She saw that fork in the road – she could lay in bed, pull the blankets over her head, tell the world to F off, and slowly die. Or she could honor my father and their marriage and keep going. She chose to keep going.

Did I know what I was in for when I co-wrote the letter to Representative Goodlatte with Blake? Nope.
Did I understand the ramifications of the Huffington Post article? Nope.
Was I prepared for where I am now – unemployed and unable to work in my chosen field? Nope.
Would I do it all again? Fuck yes. Without a doubt.

I’m just one person fighting this battle. Everyone is needed. Sign the petition. Call your Congressional representative. Let’s get this bill passed.

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Time For Radio to Play Fair

I love music. I was lucky enough to grow up in Cleveland during the time that WMMS ruled the airwaves. Their promotion of new and upcoming acts, and their support of the local music scene, set an example for me to follow when I started working in radio.

It was my honor to use my position at WJCU/The Heights to help launch musicians such as Mumford & Sons, Bastille, American Authors, Hozier and Walk the Moon.

‪In October 2015, I co-wrote a letter with Blake Morgan, a musician and founder of the ‘I Respect Music’ campaign, to Representative Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to express our support for H.R. 1733, the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act. That letter and the Huffington Post article about it have helped bring focus to the plight of unpaid musicians in radio.

In short, terrestrial radio stations don’t pay recording artists a performance royalty. They never have. The United States is the only democratic country that doesn’t. In fact, there are very few countries in the world that don’t pay royalties to musicians when their music is played on AM/FM radio. Some of the other countries? Iran, North Korea, Rwanda, and China.

‪While radio stations reap the revenue from broadcasting a recording artist’s work, the life of a ‘starving artist’ is no joke. For every mega-millionaire pop star out there, there’s an army of struggling musicians, pursuing a dream while trying to make ends meet. The life of a touring band isn’t easy. They spend months on the road. Their vans are usually held together with duct tape and prayers – breaking down, missing a gig and missing out on the revenue of merchandise sales is the stuff of nightmares.

These recording artists scrape together money for food and gas on the road, sleep at rest stops, wash up in the bathroom, and spend time away from their families while they pursue a dream.

We had a three-member band visit the station a few months ago. When they arrived, only two members came in. I asked about the other band member and they told me she was feeling pretty sick and they were going to take her to urgent care after the interview. I offered to let them skip the interview, but they were determined to go forward.

That night at their concert I found out she had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia. But there she was on stage, performing her heart out. They couldn’t cancel the show. And she couldn’t give a performance that wasn’t 100 percent even though she knew it would delay healing.

‪I’ve helped bands load their equipment and run cable for them. I’ve worked their merchandise tables. I’ve run them to the store because they needed the basics. I’ve washed their laundry for them. I’ve fed them. And even one or two have slept on my couch because I couldn’t imagine them sleeping in their tour van another night.

I’ve seen firsthand how hard these musicians work day in and day out. They are no different from any other American, deserving of fair compensation for the service they provide. Without the constant flow of new music from up and coming artists, radio stations would not have a product to offer their listeners, and the music world would be a lesser place.

I find it unfathomable that terrestrial radio thinks it is entitled to profit from the work of others without offering them a slice of the pie. This is why I support the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act.

I love music, but I don’t love what’s happening to musicians. It’s time for radio stations to play fair and support these hard working American artists. It’s time for music fans everywhere to speak up and demand that radio does the right thing.

*Note: This piece first appeared in the Music Technology Policy blog.

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