Category Archives: Vocal freedom

How To Stay Positive During Covid 19

It wasn’t fun, I can assure you, to have my entire tour cancelled, due to a tiny little virus. After having spent nearly a decade preparing the Finding Venus album to be launched world-wide, I can safely say, my timing sucked.

My whole, entire, plan for 2020 was about live shows, live seminars and touring. That was how I was supposed to make back all the money I had spent, preparing, producing and pre-marketing this product.

Needless to say, as the pandemic hit, I felt as if the whole rug of financial possibility, my one genius plan for getting out of production debt, got ripped from underneath my feet in one feel swoop.

But I didn’t give up. “I can always stream concerts and seminars via Facebook”, I thought. Since I had spent the last ten years, also building rapport with nearly 5000 Facebook fans, I now focused my attention on how I could reach my goal in a digital fashion.

As fate would have it, less than one week into my new resolve, someone managed to hack their way into my Facebook account. Before I knew it, my personal account and all related business pages, along with all my contacts and content, had been permanently deleted by Facebook.

At this point, you might be wondering what any of this has to do with staying positive during Covid 19. I am getting to that.

Sometimes, in order to appreciate what we have, it has to be taken from us.

All the things I have taken for granted; the ability to travel the world, the ability to perform live concerts and seminars, the ability to reach out to friends and fans via Facebook and the ability to visit my 96-year-old aunt, I don’t take for granted anymore.

What I have learned from this experience, after feeling all the angst and worry, disappointment and despair, from not being able to count on any future plans as I had imagined them, is this:

Being fully present in the moment, is everything.

There is nothing more important than who I am being, right now. As a result of this thought, I become more fully present in each moment and pay attention on a whole new level.

I appreciate my self and everyone around me. Talents, strength, vulnerabilities, differences, nuances, become so much more interesting when I am fully present and aware. What we appreciate, we also nourish. So, when I appreciate my self and those around me, I prepare healthy meals, exercise, rejuvenate and celebrate on a whole new level of being.

When I realise that every moment is precious, because I have no idea what will happen tomorrow or the next day, I fill each moment with what I value the most. For me, that includes catching up with friends and family over the phone, taking care of the house and garden,  singing, playing instruments, writing, composing, arranging, hiking, bike riding, taking care of paper work, updating web pages.

Every challenge that we face is an opportunity to grow and learn and appreciate.

When we can’t make money a certain way, we have the opportunity to let our creative juices flow, to surrender to divine inspiration and to let our talent organically flow towards the possibility of the present situation.

When we can’t travel the way we planned, we have the opportunity to deal with what is here and now and how to make the absolute best of our present situation. For me, right now, it means I get to take care of all those things I put on the back burner when I was busy being productive out in the world.

Now, that I have let go of trying to fix the future, of which I have absolutely no control, it’s actually pretty great. At this moment, I get to finish and record songs I almost forgot about. I get to learn things about my loved ones that I didn’t have time to listen to before. And, because many things that otherwise serve as a convenient distraction has become unavailable, I get to deepen my self awareness.

Because of the pandemic and all the restrictions that come with it, I get to sit with my discomfort and really feel it. I get to allow it to move me to a new level of awareness, where new concepts, songs and musicals are born.

My top 7 keys to staying positive during Covid 19 are:

  • Stop criticising yourself and others. It’s a brand new world.
  • Appreciate what the pandemic has to teach you, personally, professionally and globally.
  • Be fully present to each moment, to yourself and to each other.
  • Allow whatever feelings are there to guide you into the next moment.
  • Celebrate and Savor and Allow your heart to fully open.
  • Find fun, creative ways to express how you feel.
  • Nurture your body, mind and spirit in a joyous, non-judgemental manner.

Enjoy this time, as much as you can. Let it inspire you to create, relate and celebrate. And, please let me know if I can be of assistance to you in any way.

For those of you who wish to empower and enhance your vocal ability, I now offer Vocal Freedom sessions via Zoom. And for those who wish to access and process the emotional root cause of a current issue, I also offer Journey Therapy sessions via Zoom.

Musically Yours,
Caroline

Overcoming Procrastination and Finding Venus

Roughly seven years after the birth of the idea to create a musical, based on chapters from the novel-eh-thriller-memoir that took a half a lifetime to dare to write, I am finally ready to release the double album, Finding Venus.

I am both excited and absolutely terrified. Not that the album itself is so dangerous. But the emotional content that is attached to each of the songs, brings up a world of issues for me. They remind me of times in my life where I have felt utterly powerless or deathly buried afraid or wanting to kill myself.

The songs, in themselves, are tremendously empowering, full of hope and strength and courage and humor and powerful expressions. Yet, for me, they bring up all the hidden passages of what it took for me to overcome the fear and pain and uncertainty of the trauma I lived through.

In addition to working hard to have it all come together, the book, the musical and the album, I must confess that procrastination techniques have been at play. Techniques such as, nitpicking, delaying making a decision, constantly debating the pros and cons of each decision made, beating up on myself for not being slim enough to present it, etc.

Now, that I have made the decision to move forward with the release, I realize the amount of fear that has been holding me back. I realize the kind of self doubt that I have carried with me for so long. In spite of the fact that I have been a great promoter of Vocal Freedom, I have held myself hostage, in a way, to my own fear.

The fear that I now have surrendered completely, in order to move forward with this release, is connected to a very old message, launched deeply within my younger self. This old message is about Not sharing personal stuff, about Always smiling to the camera, about Appearing strong and happy, even when I feel vulnerable or sad. Serendipitously, herein lies the core of the new message I wish to relay with my music and story:

Don’t be afraid to Be and Share who you are. There is tremendous power in opening to the inner wisdom of your being, allowing it to move you and expressing it powerfully in words, music and action.

All the songs for Finding Venus can now be enjoyed and purchased via www.carolinewaters.com and we’ll be super happy if you can make it to the Release Party at Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood on May 4th.

3 Keys to Communicating With Ease

Have you ever experienced feeling like you expressed yourself with such immaculate clarity, but for some bizarre reason, most of your intended communication got lost in translation? I have. Many times. In fact, over and over. It’s really frustrating.

So, here’s the deal: We receive 400 billion pieces of information every second. Of these 400 billion pieces, only 2000 gets delivered to our conscious mind via our brain’s filtering system. And, this filtering system is continuously formed by our emotional experiences, which of course varies greatly from person to person, depending on our DNA, our upbringing and our surroundings at any given time.

This explains why we perceive things so differently and why we can experience the same event, but observe completely different aspects of it and thus tend to give entirely different accounts when we reiterate said event.

Seeing and hearing and feeling things so differently from one another can make it difficult to communicate. Here are my three keys to making it easier:

1 – Listen with the intention to learn where the other person is coming from and how they experience what they experience. Ask them to clarify if anything is unclear.

2 – Resist the urge to offer an opinion, unless specifically asked. And, even then, I often find it more useful to ask more questions so that the other person can arrive at their own understanding first.

3 – Let new information sink in before jumping to conclusions. Recognizing that we are only perceiving a small part of the whole picture at any given moment opens the door to more playful, curious and exploratory communication. When we resist the urge to judge, we open for the possibility to expand our vision. This, in turn, expands our ability to collaborate and co-create.

For those of you who are interested, I am designing new Vocal Freedom seminars that include fun and empowering processes for expanding our self awareness and enhancing our communication skills. This, in addition, of course, to finding, freeing and exquisitely  expressing our voices.

If you want me to stop by your town for a Vocal Freedom Seminar and/ or House Concert or to give a concert at your favorite venue, feel free to shoot me an email. Many choose to book a seminar/ concert as a one- or two-day event.

Email booking@redheadrecords.com with any questions or booking inquiries.

Vocal Freedom via SKYPE/ FaceTime is also an option.

Musically Yours,
Caroline

3 Keys to Resolving Conflicts

It was recently suggested to me that I displayed classic symptoms of Battered Women’s Syndrome. My symptoms were as follows: I felt verbally paralyzed, unable to speak out or take a stance in fear of what consequence may follow.

I don’t remember being battered, but I have experienced near death accidents that have caused post traumatic stress reactions and I have experienced other forms of suppression, such as verbal abuse, scare tactics and withholding.

Some of these experiences are still affecting my life from time to time in the form of fear. Fear of conflict being the most energy- and time consuming. In the spirit of Vocal Freedom, I am going to share 3 key elements that I have found to be the most useful in terms of regaining my confidence and ability to resolve conflicts:

1 – Being Fully Present

My automatic reaction to stress is to dissociate, to leave my body. Dissociation may be an affective tool to handle stress in the moment, but is not conducive to being effective or productive or resolving conflicts. So, in order to move into a better feeling place and a place of power, I first need to become present in my own body, to ground myself in the here and now, to feel my feelings.

2 – Identifying the Most Ideal Outcome

It is easy to get wrapped up in other people’s words and actions, to take things personally. And to respond from a place of feeling wounded and needy. So, in order to counter this victim-based reactive behavior, I step back and try to see the situation from a higher perspective, by identifying the most ideal outcome. In order to do this effectively, it is vital that I don’t act from an emotional charge, but wait until I have identified what I really want to get out of the situation.

I recently stepped into a difficult conversation with a group of people I didn’t know. And, because my initial engagement happened as a knee-jerk reaction, I fell flat on my face. It took almost a day and a half to untangle myself from the emotional defense I had gotten myself into and to see my carefully drafted ignorant BS for what it was. This can be a tricky thing to identify, since the ego automatically will come up with a number of self-glorifying justifications for our behavior, as long as we remain emotionally charged. Stepping back and identifying the most ideal outcome, helped me see clearly how to untangle myself and proceed in a more constructive way.

3 – Humbly Embracing the Opportunity to Learn

It takes a great deal of courage to be humble. It requires enough personal strength, confidence and wisdom to see the value of such a receptive state of being. For me in particular, being humble is something I have fought, tooth and nail, every step of the way. Why? Because I mistook it for weakness. Fortunately, I have come to realize that humility can serve as a most wonderful tool to discover what is possible to achieve and receive. When I humbly embrace the opportunity to learn from a situation, however triggering, confusing or challenging it may be, I put myself in a position of optimal reception. Being humble and unassuming enable us to see and receive what we have to offer each other with greater ease and precision.

Here’s a song I wrote that expresses the magic and beauty of being fully present, identifying a most ideal outcome and humbly embracing the opportunity to learn: Dancing In The Nude. It features Jennifer Leitham on bass, Katisse Buckingham on sax and programming, Tom Zink on keys, Chris Wabich on drums and Caroline Waters on piano and vocals. Enjoy!

Back On the Inside

I’m back in Los Angeles, after an intense few months in Sweden. I gave only three performances this time around, all well received and the last two sold out. One of them in concert with Norwegian country-artist extraordinaire, Tove Bøygard. In-between concerts, I took time off to get knee surgery, physical therapy and go on a week vacation to the Canary Islands to recover.

Looking at it from a neutral perspective, I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Being on my way to recovering completely and getting in good shape for the upcoming Finding Venus album-, musical- and book release feels really good. The possibilities that lie ahead as a result of what I have accomplished so far are numerous and exciting. Producers, directors, film makers and bookers from both Europe and the US are showing a real interest in the book, musical and album. An expanded journey of traveling and broadening the horizons for Finding Venus lies afoot.

Yet, my mind is beating up on me for not having everything figured out already for the upcoming release. “Show me the money,” it says. “You should have had it all strategized, financed and in motion by now.” This is of course my workaholism at work, telling me that no matter what I do, it’s never good enough or fast enough or enough, period.

So, I try to sit back and just breathe, in the California sun, and remind myself that just for today, it’s enough just to be. Just for today it’s enough to appreciate where I’m at, how far I have come and to be excited for the journey that lies ahead. I tell myself that it’s okay to focus on getting fully back in shape before attempting another quantum leap. And it’s okay to take the time it takes to organically arrive at the most delicious solution to my dream building.

I realize that in and through all of this, getting back on the inside, looking at the world around me from the power that resides within me, is the most important course of action I can take. As I realize this, my shoulders drop and I am able to fully exhale. The moment I allow myself to just be, my mind opens wide to attract exactly who and what I need to proceed. Funny how that works 😉

Back On the Inside is on my Venus Envy album, which I co-produced with Greg Matheson and Katisse Buckingham. You can check it out by clicking here.

A Call to Action for you, my dear friends and fans:

Many of you are eagerly awaiting the Finding Venus album release and tour schedule. In that process I’d love to get your feedback!

– Where would you like to see me perform and in what setting?

– Do you have a favorite venue that you can recommend?

– Do you know producers and directors in your area that you’d like for me to get in touch with?

– Would it be of value to you if I offer Vocal Freedom seminars in conjunction with the Finding Venus performances?

Let me know your thoughts and ideas. I have a feeling it’s going to take the whole village to get this ball rolling as fabulously as I am feeling it.

Musically Yours,
Caroline

From Workaholic to Finding Venus in West Hollywood

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.

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.

Caroline Waters LIVE at The Grafton on Sunset

Love Always,
Caroline

On Stage with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall

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:

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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 🙂
Yo-Yo Ma

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!

Join us on Facebook!

Love Always,
Caroline

 

 

 

The Key to Sanity, Productivity and Creative Expression

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.
Per_Caro_900
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.

FindingVenusEnsemble
Click here to stay tuned for upcoming shows and release dates 🙂 

Musically Yours,
Caroline Waters

Angels, Bandits and the Power of YES

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.

Engla & Banditta

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 in Action

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 booking@englaogbanditta.com. Chances are, if schedules allow and the price is right, we’ll say YES!

Click HERE for a video teaser from one of our shows in Oslo!

Musically Yours,
Caroline Waters

Letting Go

It’s not easy to let go. Not for people like me. I am so practiced at fixing things, maintaining equilibrium no matter what, taking the higher road and reaching for the good in everyone and everything. These are useful habits, but sometimes they keep us at bay.

Sometimes anger is good, as it propel us forward and help us take action. I have found it extremely helpful to acknowledge the contrasts that clarify my desire. Accepting people, things and events for whom and what they are, without trying to fix, change, belittle or make excuses for them, can release a tremendous amount of energy, – energy that is otherwise bound up in denial or repression.

I have found that, when I allow this anger or dismay to simply be what it is, an uncomfortable feeling, a gage, if you will, that helps clarify my preferences… When I allow this feeling without resistance, it changes form quite quickly. Resisting my feelings, resisting change is what causes me to feel pain. When I let myself go with the flow and allow the gage that is my emotional meter to simply clarify my objective, I can rise to my own occasion with surprising speed and elegance.

This year is a year of tremendous change for me, personally and professionally. I am letting go, physically and emotionally, of people, places and things that have held me at bay. And in doing so, I am stepping up to my own plate in a way I have never done before. By letting go of that which no longer serves my creative vision I am opening my heart and soul to new dimensions of being. It’s very exciting!

The most effective way for me to let go of people, places and things are by acknowledging the awesome gift of their being in my life. I am eternally grateful for each and every experience that has led me to this place in time. No matter how joyous or sad, not matter how pleasurable or painful. Each contrasting experience have served to clarify my vision and enhanced my dream building.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, it is not easy for people like me to let go. As a matter of fact, it has taken me half a lifetime to get to this point of feeling okay with it. But I can tell you this much. The joy I am feeling at the core of my being as a result of my resolution to let go of the old and embrace the new is beyond words. I highly recommend it!

Here’s to celebrating the Now, by fearlessly releasing the ghosts of the past and embracing what is to come with no holds bar!

Love, Blessings and Cheers from Caroline