CAROLINE WATERS, JAZZ ENTERTAINER, AUTHOR, VOCAL COACH
Caroline Waters Blog Posts
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Category Archives: Creativity
I admit it. I am petrified. Frozen with fear. Emotionally locked inside a deep darkness. The big fat void of avoidance, of all things postponed, is now staring me down to the ground. I am, literally, chained to the floor of my internal torture chamber, as the poisonous venom of guilt, shame and feeling inadequate works its way through my veins.
These are powerful feelings and I allow them all. “Bring it on!” I say, as I close my eyes and prepare for death, still unable to move or even brace for the impact. And as I allow the waves of distain, of self loathing and blame, of hatred and shame to wash right through me, to the very core… As I allow this nuclear explosion, this unhinged train, this blow torch, this torrential rain, to have its way with me, I am strangely okay.
“How is it possible,” I ask, “to feel okay in the middle of my very own, personal, Armageddon?” At the moment of asking, I don’t know the answer. I don’t have to. It is what it is and I accept it as is. I’ve paid my dues. I no longer need to prove myself, not even to myself. And herein lies the answer to my quest. I no longer need to prove a thing, not even to myself. From this statement alone, another revelation is born: When we surrender the ego, all ego-related feelings, such as guilt and shame and feeling inadequate, automatically falls away.
In the ten minutes it took me to write this, I have moved from feeling completely paralyzed to feeling completely energized. This, to me, is the power of surrender, of being totally present in the moment, in the body, letting whatever emotions are there be fully felt and pass through unobstructed, without trying to deny it, fix it, explain it or change it.
Bring it on and enjoy your day!
It’s been a while since my last post… and for that I am truly sorry. So much have happened and I haven’t been good at letting y’all know in any kind of timely fashion. Since my last post, I finished the concerts I had already scheduled for Spring and Summer in New York, Florida, Norway and Sweden. With flying colors, I might add, well, sort of, until my body said, “Stop!”
As some of you may know, I have been struggling with being a workaholic for most of my career. One of the problems with being a workaholic is that I often ignore the signals my body are giving me when it needs rest and rejuvenation. Long story short, I decided to take the rest of the summer off, completely, just to rejuvenate. And it has worked wonders for my well being and creativity.
I am now back in LA, working in a more sane tempo to finish my book and to come up with a plan for a new and improved album release for Finding Venus. Even though I finished recording the album already, I decided to put the release on hold until I got my body back in shape and a team in place to help me promote it, along with my story, in a most fabulous fashion. Here’s a sneak peak. Click on the photo below to listen.
If you’re in the hood, feel free to join me for a drink, a chat or just to listen to a super relaxed concert this coming Thursday at The Grafton on Sunset in West Hollywood. I’ll bring my guitar and some CDs and enjoy your company.
The magical power of joyously focused intention
As some of you already know, one of my dreams has been to play Carnegie Hall. Another to play with Yo-Yo Ma. And, just three days ago, this thought entered my mind: “Wouldn’t it be fun if I got to attend a concert with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall, so I could put my energy in that room, with him, on that stage?”
So, as I Googled that thought, I found that Yo-Yo Ma was, in fact, going to be performing at Carnegie Hall. One performance only. But it was sold out. And according to Carnegie Hall, it had been sold out for months.
My next thought was, “I could swing by, just for fun, and see if an opportunity presents itself. Perhaps there’ll be a ticket, just for me.” So, as I strolled in through the entrance doors of Carnegie Hall, my heart was joyously soaring and I was fully immersed in the fantasy of, not only being present at Yo-Yo Ma’s concert, but also being up close and personal with my hero.
Imagine my facial expression as the ticket person tells me, “We have one ticket available. That is, if you don’t mind being on stage with Yo-Yo Ma.” I won’t leave you wondering – here’s my facial expression:
Long story short, I had the extraordinary privilege of sitting on that stage, less than ten feet from Yo-Yo Ma, as he became one with his instrument and danced his passion, sensitivity and brilliance into each and every breath of Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas.
For three full hours, I got to savor every detail of Yo-Yo Ma and his performance, his amazing pianist, Emanuel Ax, the beauty and majesty of Carnegie Hall, filled to the brim, the awe and admiration on people’s faces, the standing ovations. I got to take it all in, as if I was the performer. It felt as if we, who were so lucky as to be seated on stage with him, were part of his orchestra that evening, energetically reflecting his genius in our listening and being.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that he smiled, small talked and flirted with me as he passed me to go off and on stage 😉 This whole experience, in itself, is a dream come true! And it goes to show that anything is possible when we put our heartfelt intention to work 🙂
What’s Happening Next?
Feel free to join us this coming Tuesday, April 19th, as we are celebrating my new album, Finding Venus, in concert at Caffe Vivaldi in Greenwich Village. Incredible Russian cellist Anastasia Golenishcheva is playing with me and singer/songwriter Katelyn Richards is singing backup vocals. There is no cover charge, but reservations are highly recommended! Click here for more info!
My Papa was an annoyingly positive and persistent person.
In the summer, he would wake us up in the wee hours of the morning, by singing and dancing and ushering us down to the ocean for a swim in annoyingly enthusiastic manners, no matter how cold or windy it was. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I realize now, four decades later, how his attitude of joy combined with great discipline, work ethics and creative expression, has given me an incredible foundation to live, work and create from. It wasn’t always fun back then, to be subject to someone so intensely dedicated to absolutely everything he focused his attention on.
As a matter of fact, it has taken me years in therapy and self development, to fully appreciate and utilize the amazing gifts I received. And I try to remember the feeling of the not so fun moments when I feel myself mimicking his less elegant methods in my own desire to empower myself and others to greater productivity and expression.
The key to sanity, productivity and joyous expression.
In order to keep myself from crashing, burning or acting out on others, I strive every single day to maintain balance, between work and play, productivity and relaxation, creativity and reception. This balancing act requires that I allow myself to be less enthusiastic and joyous at times. It requires space and time to listen to myself and others and to simply be, without trying to move, fix or change anything.
In order for a tree to grow big and strong and fruitful, it needs ample time to grow and stretch it’s root system to ensure a rich supply of water, minerals and vitamins. In today’s society, so filled with lights and sounds and demands, it is easy to forget that we need the darkness, the aloneness and the silence to deepen and expand our root system.
Embracing the darkness, going deep into the soil of our subconscious, allows us to also discover and extract the gold and the diamonds that exist there.
The process of Finding Venus.
I’ve spent the last four years producing an album for Finding Venus, the musical thriller. In addition to the small village of brilliant musicians, actors and sound engineers who has blessed this project, it has taken all that I have had to give of my enthusiasm, talent, time, heart, listening and going deep into the soil of my emotional being to see it through to the finish line. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Amazing things happen when we open to receive the good that abounds. Last summer, I said YES to perform at a music festival in Brønnøysund. It took three days to drive there with my sweetheart in a super cool electric Nissan Leaf and three days to drive back, across the beautiful mountains of Norway. And, as I thoroughly enjoyed the whole festival experience and appreciated all the aspects of the journey, I received another proposal. A group of extraordinary women musicians asked if I wanted to join them in a band. Again, I said YES.
Our band name is Engla & Banditta, which in English means Angels and Bandits. The name itself is significant for many reasons. In addition to our music being incredibly expressive, deep, joyous and diverse, ranging from Bluesy Rock to Jazzy Pop, we have a fierce social engagement and a soft spot for the underdog.
Banjo- and guitar playing Tove Bøygard, who sings in real Halling, is improving the lives of drug addicts and prostitutes as a social worker. Bass- and castanet playing Venja Ruud Nilsen and sax tooting Bente Mari Mortensen are improving the lives of women prisoners as music therapists. Swedish singer/songwriter and electric guitar player Sara Andersson teaches and performs with extraordinary depth and compassion. Legendary drummer Metch Johannessen fights for the downtrodden with every beat of her heart and drum. And I, in addition to sharing my own personal story of overcoming adversary in Finding Venus, give seminars and teach Vocal Freedom for anyone and everyone who wants to heal from post-traumatic stress, find/ strengthen their voice and let their heart sing with no holds barred.
Engla & Banditta recently completed our first concert series, with performances at Iris Scene in Odda, Bredtveit Women’s Prison and Herr Nilsen in Oslo, Norway. The audience response has been amazing and we are now getting ready for a delicious summer of joyous expression in both Norway and Sweden.
If you would like to book us for your event, party, club, stage, TV or radio program, let us know via email@example.com. Chances are, if schedules allow and the price is right, we’ll say YES!