News & Musings

News & Musings

The Story Behind "Dream Another Dream"  

I'm so happy you are here, reading this post and supporting the music.  It means so much to me to share this with you!   Today I want to share about my song, Dream Another Dream, which will be on the new album, The Heart is a Persistent Beast. 

I've told you a bit about the themes of the album.  This song coincides with the theme:  The Ultimate Quest of Finding Your True Nature. 

It's a straight forward tune about cell phone use.  More specifically it addresses how cell phones affect our lives, keep us from living our dreams, and contributing positive things to the world.  You can hear that in some of the lyrics: 

 

"Have they stolen your affections, 

from the treasures you hold? 

You were gonna share with the world." 

 

I have first hand experience with this.  I'm one of the last people I know to get a smart phone.  I finally got one because there are so many promotional tools and apps for sharing music.  Eventually it became something I thought would be dumb not to do. 

But as I'm on the phone, posting stories or sharing videos about my music, I get distracted. I want to keep checking social media to see who recently liked my post, etc.  Do you do that also?  It's draining, time consuming and a total waste of energy.  (Tik tok is the worst.  Just don't do it!  Haha) 

The attention it takes zaps my creativity.  I find if I don't keep an eye on it, my cell phone could take all of my spare time.  But I'm committed to other things.  Like enjoying nature, writing and recording new music for you! 

So many of us are just in a daze, being distracted by our phones constantly.  In the song, I encourage the listener to Dream Another Dream, and what this means to me, is a world where we reclaim our independence and clarity. 

(If you're on your phone right now, I understand if this is making you want to put it down.  It's totally ok if you do.) 

Unlike the last song I shared with you, Dream Another Dream came to me all at once.  I often hear the words and melody at the same time.  Then I need to find a journal or my phone (coincidentally) to record what I'm hearing.  In this case I grabbed my journal first, since there were too many words to remember. 

After that, I grabbed my phone to capture the melody.  I have two great phone recordings of this.  There is one from when the original idea struck me.  And there is a second from after I did tons of editing and also worked out the chords. The original idea was extremely rough, and you can tell the lyrics are a bit awkward. 

In the second recording you can hear all the edits.  The first verse was swapped out with a completely new one.  In the chorus I actually use profanity which is very unusual for me!  I use the word, "shit", a few too many times in my original recording. Lol.  So in the second recording you can hear that I refined the words greatly which very much enhances the song, in my opinion. 

I wasn't sure if this song was a keeper, but after the edits, and making the arrangement I absolutely love it!  It's the only song on the album with acoustic guitar and it will also have upright bass, piano, a string quartet and a bazillion harmonies.  I will be singing most of the harmonies myself and it uses my full range.  Some of my notes are above a "high C" which use my whistle tone sounds.  What does this mean?  It's like when Maria Carey hits those crazy high notes, but less ostentatious.  😉 

Before I go, I'd like to share with you my favorite verse from the song.  This verse came to me easily and freely, like I pulled it out of the air.  I love it when that happens. 

 

"Are you looking at your phone right now? 

Can you see your own reflection, 

in the screen they sold you? 

Their promises of plenty 

I'm telling you... 

They're empty 

They're empty 

They're empty" 

 

And with that..   Please go Dream Another Dream.  I'll be in touch next week with another story. 

~Amy

The Story Behind "Flowers" 

Each week I will be sharing a story about one of the songs from the upcoming album: The Heart is a Persistent Beast.  Enclosed is a story about Flowers.  This song is very dear to me. It came to me in pieces at first but eventually took an unusually solid shape in my mind. 

It all started with my garden.  I noticed some unusual flowers in my backyard that I had never seen before.  They came out of nowhere and they were beautiful and strange.  I thought to myself, "Flowers I've never seen are rising from my garden."  Quickly, I went to write it down. 

I loved the metaphors that came to me along with those words.  As we grow and evolve we see new things about ourselves:  Blossoms unfolding, if you will. Flowers rising... 

At the time, this was just a sentence written in my journal and nothing more. 

Months later I was walking down the street in San Francisco.  I was feeling heart broken, yet resilient, when some lyrics along with melody came to me all at once.  "Hearts sometimes hurt, yet we can’t live without them".  I took out my phone and recorded it.  (This later became the chorus.) 

During the same walk, I remembered the line about the flowers rising from my garden.  And a melody came to me with those lyrics.  Again I took out my phone and recorded that part while still walking.  (This became the bridge of the song which I also affectionately refer to as "the flowers section".)   😊 

Like I said, it came to me in pieces over several months.  Eventually I sat down at the piano and started to hash out the chords, and that's when I wrote the verses. This line is very true to me and I'd like to share it with you: 

"I recognize the risks of passion, but the dampening of my senses is a waste of my time." 

I finished the rest of the words, melody and piano. But soon after, the song really began to grow and take shape until the entire piece from beginning to end had a life of it's own that was all in my head.  To get it out into the world I would need my voice, harmonies, piano, drums, bass, string quintet, electric guitar, and a wurlitzer piano.  And it's happening!  We start recording next week. 

Flowers is a song about love, heartache, and how all the challenges within each relationship force us to grow. 

I'm so thrilled to be sharing this story with you.  And I hope you've enjoyed it.   If you'd like to receive these stories in your email please sign up for my mailing list!  

Take Care, 

~Amy

The Heart is a Persistent Beast - Album#7 Revealed 

I'm here to tell you more about this album I've been pouring my blood, sweat and tears into.  I've been calling it "Album #7" but it's time for that to end.  It is so much more. 

Yes, people tell me seven albums is impressive. I get it.  But this one feels like my first real album: One that is purely "Amy Obenski".  And I'd like to tell you more about what that means to me so I'm going to get real personal.... 

The album is entitled:  The Heart is a Persistent Beast 

It's about the ups and downs of love, wanderlust, and the ultimate quest for finding your true nature.   I'd like to tell you a little about how those three topics came to the surface and made their ways to the album. 

Let's start with the ups and downs of love.  In the last five years I found myself single for the first time in my life, and in my forties.  Love came and went many times.  I'm not even sure how many times I had my heart broken to be honest.  The pandemic in 2020 was tough for me.  I had a whole lot of alone time which in many ways was great (I miss all the hiking!) and in other ways was challenging.  I still managed to get my heart broken at least three times that year.  And how can I help it?  In one of my songs I start off "I fall in love with pretty much anyone.  That's why I keep my distance from you."  And it's totally true. 


That brings us to wanderlust.  At the same time, in 2020, as I mostly was home in San Francisco, I was also lusting for other places.  I was obsessed with Montreal for a while even though I've never been there.  But alas, we weren't allowed into Canada and traveling was "iffy" then anyway.  I did manage to drive up to Portland, Oregon, to visit my friend, Ian Webb, who took this lovely and evocative image of me in Astoria.  It's kind of a funny accidental photo but I really love it. 

I also have had a pull toward traveling for a while, or relocating entirely outside California.  But there was something within telling me to stay put. I thought to myself "I really want to go, but I need to record this album first." 

 

And that brings us to the ultimate quest for finding your true nature.  I felt I hadn't yet given an album my best shot.  And this is the time.  Something about those few years of singledom and pandemic alone time helped me find my way toward myself.  I started embracing my value, my unique style, and my musical ability. 

I'm protecting my sound and musical style, as if it's my child.  First I spent time thinking about the artistic direction of the album.  Then I arranged and composed parts for each song, including string quartet.  I composed harmonies and strategically chose my harmony vocalists for the sound I want.  My musicians all know my vision.  And they show up and are inspired by what I'm creating.  This blows my mind. 

I value all of my band members and collaborative musicians from my past greatly. But in the past I gave a lot of my power away and let many others make the choices for me. But that's not what I'm doing now. I want these songs to come out with only my expression and how they feel and sound in my body. And I'm using all of my ability to make it happen. 

So there is the story:  The ups and downs of love, wanderlust, and the ultimate quest for finding your true nature. 

The Heart is a Persistent Beast, indeed.  What does that phrase mean to you?  I'm curious where your mind takes it.  Feel free to email me with your thoughts.  

In the next few months I will be sharing song lyrics and stories from the upcoming album with my mailing list. Please sign up if you'd like to receive these in your email box.  I will eventually give you a release date and imagery.  Coming soon......

Album #7 in the Works 

I will be updating you weekly on how Album #7 is going.  Coming soon is the title and the theme as well as some interesting stories.  I'll be in the studio much of April!  It's happening!  Sign up for my email list to stay posted.

 

Coffee with Amy One-Year Anniversary! 

I'm giving away an MP3 album to one person who pre-registers for my Coffee with Amy One-Year Anniversary show via Eventbrite.  The event is this Sunday at 10am!  Mimosas, coffee, pajamas and party attire encouraged.