January 2021 Newsletter

Hello, folks! Because I haven’t released a newsletter since October 2020, I thought it was probably time for us to catch up. So here’s what I’ve been up to since the last post. . .

Shows

With Tanner Carlton accompanying me, I played shows at Mountain Run Winery, Cider Lab, Old Bust Head Brewing Company, and The Farm Brewery at Broad Run. In December, a couple of those shows were decked with bluesy Americana versions of beloved (and lesser known) Christmas tunes. I also played bass with A.P. Project at Bald Top Brewing Company, Iron Pipe Alewerks, and Prince Michel Winery & Tap 29.

releases

Since May 2020, I’ve helped my fiancé release three singles. I did the cover photography for all of them. On “Free Leaf Vinyl,” I sang some backing vocals, played lead guitar, and added that super bizarre recorder solo. On “As Long As I’m With You,” I laid down a fat guitar solo. Listen to all three of them below.

My 2020 release Quiet Corners has been quietly stacking streams in the background as well. You can check out how well the album did in 2020 via the Spotify Wrapped stats below.

Since the Spotify Wrapped summaries came out, the record has made even more progress. The screen grab on the right is from my Spotify for Artists page on January 22, 2021. It shows a total of 78.3k steams for the record as a whole, with “Here Right Now” at 42.7k streams alone.

Thank you to the folks who keep coming back to these songs, listening to them deeply, and sharing them with friends and family. Making a record is such a major investment of resources and of soul, so it’s good to see the songs continue to serve a purpose.

Opening Sound House

One of the biggest things I’ve been working on over the past few months is opening my own music lessons studio called Maddi Mae’s Sound House. It’s a cute little building with a red front porch located at 107 East Main Street in Remington, Virginia.

I’ve been teaching music for 10 years now – at three different private schools, at someone else’s lessons studio, and at my students’ houses (which required lots of exhausting hours on the road). Finally having my own space to teach just feels right at this point.

Although the pandemic still limits what I can do with this space right now, I’m already teaching here a few days a week, hosting band practices, and putting together a decent recording studio for cutting better quality demos.

You can read more about Sound House at SoundHouseVA.com, and you should definitely follow the Sound House Instagram account as well.

New Year’s Mantras

To inspire my own personal growth, I usually pick a word to focus on each new year. Past words have been “prolific” and “magic.” Last year’s word was “open” – which is ironic considering the very closed circumstances that resulted from a global pandemic. But that word still helped because it kept my eyes open to alternatives.

This is what I wrote about 2020 on a recent Instagram post: “For me, there was so much more joy than suffering this year. I’ve survived so much darkness in my previous years. As the rest of the world went through darkness, I could suddenly see how much light I have learned to make for myself.

In my career life, I released a record, played about thirty shows (despite the pandemic), started playing bass for a band of people I genuinely enjoy, wrote a couple dozen songs, transitioned my students to online learning, put on two recitals, successfully taught an in-person high school band class without any COVID-19 infections, and finally made the move to open my own music education studio.

In our personal lives, we got engaged, learned to work through my C-PTSD and EDS much better as a team, got to spend so much time with our precious angel goblin, learned more about how to embrace pure joy in ourselves and each other, and spent lots of time loving on our bigger family. We really worked through some setbacks together this year, and I feel like we’ve grown closer because of it. I love my little family.

I can’t possibly recap all of the ups and downs of a year in one caption, so I’ll just finish by saying that I’m actually thankful for 2020. It was a good growing season.

For 2021, I ended up chosing two mantra words:

“Build”

This word is all about momentum for me.

I have a music education program to expand here at Sound House. I have a dozen or more songs that I want to demo in preparation for a second album. I have shows to play (at least fifty this year, please). And Tanner and I might actually be able to have our wedding this year.

I’m ambitious though, so my list of things to “build” is actually longer than I’m sharing in this newsletter.

“Breathe”

This word is all about the pause for me.

I want to balance all of the building with long moments of presence. My existence is full of goodness at this point in my human life, and it’s fulfilling to just stop and breathe in the joyful magic of being awake in it. I guess it’s meditation.

I’ve worked hard to climb up this mountain and now I just want to make sure I pause to appreciate the views and suck up big lungfuls of fresh air before taking on my next peak.

Oh, And I Wrote This Article

This article I wrote on “What A Music Career Looks Like In 2020” was published in the November issue of the Gainesville/Haymarket Lifestyle Magazine and in the December issue of the Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine. It features interviews with my friend Kyle Miller from the band Tow’rs, my fiancé Tanner Carlton who is part owner of Rixey Records in Culpeper, and my friend Dan Barrett who books music over at Old Bust Head Brewing Company.

Thank you for reading! I’ll send another newsletter out in a couple of months.

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