Adventures A Midwest Crazy. Volume 2- Next To You

The Adventures of a Midwest Crazy

Volume 2.- Next To You

The holidays have come and gone! I hope everyone had a splendid Christmas and a very happy new year!  I am sorry for my delay in posts. Shortly after my last blog, things got busy with holidays, music videos, tour submissions, and it has just been crazy!  Probably the biggest news I can share with you is that on December 7th, 2016, I officially released “Next To You” as my debut single from the album. On December 9th, 2016, we finished the album “Danger”.

I can’t quite express my emotions on that day. I felt such relief. It was so cathartic to just have the album be complete.  I’m getting emotional just typing this. I had a story to tell and that story is now, I think, ready for you to hear. I didn’t know that when I started writing those songs, that it would lead me here.

“Danger” really is closing the door on one part of my life and opening another door.  Where this next door will lead, I’m not sure, but I’m curious.

I spent a lot of time thinking about which single to OFFICIALLY be my FIRST single. “Next To You” was chosen for many reasons.  The main reason honestly is hope. This song is really a ray of light in a journey that has been hard. It is, in my opinion, the most hopeful moment on the album.  It just made sense to have hope be the first introduction to the music.

Before we go any further! Listen to the song! ‘Next To You” is available on my music page!

Welcome back. I hope you liked the song.

To answer your questions: Yes, there was a person that I wrote this song about. Yes, we did listen to Lana Del Ray on a train headed to Pasadena. No, I won’t tell you who the song is about! The summer of 2014 was hard for me. For those of you who don’t know, I was living in Los Angeles with my friend Elliott. I have known Elliott since college and in LA, we wrote many songs together. We even decided to start a band. We were a vocal duo called The Sunshine. Elliott was like a brother to me. Towards the middle of 2014, Elliott moved back to the Midwest and I was left in LA by myself. The future of that band was unclear and to be honest, I had a lot of anger in that time. I wasn’t creating the art that I wanted to create and I was working jobs that I had no desire to work. I remember working at this restaurant, in this mall in Topanga, California. I would look out and watch the people walking by, so happy. I felt trapped in that job.

Something had to change.

I started seeing the person “Next To You” is about during that time. Have you ever met someone and you are just drawn to them like a magnet? That really was how I felt with Pasadena. I felt so whole again. I just felt so good being next to this person. When I think back on that time, I really remember the closeness of this person. I was clinging to them because out in this huge city, I felt really alone. Pasadena would take me to all these places and I saw so many places in LA because of our time together. I remember we went and saw the movie “Begin Again” at this little theatre in Pasadena and that movie really was a turning point for me. It was a movie all about, well, beginning again. No matter where you are in your life, there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. There is hope that you will rise up again. I began to smile again, I began to laugh again.  

I quit that awful job and I looked forward. I was offered a 9 month acting contract with a children’s theatre company in South Dakota. Funny enough, many of the servers I was working with were jealous that I was going to be a working actor in South Dakota. The time had come to move.

I had to say goodbye to Pasadena, the place, and the person from there, and that has been hard. I still talk to “Pasadena” to this day and sometimes I think that is the one who got away. I started writing the songs for “Danger” about a year later and while I spoke to Pasadena, I would constantly get asked, “Is this song about me?” Finally, I decided to write a song about that summer.  I sat down and the only thing that kept coming to me was the idea of how happy I was, just having Pasadena next to me.

Driving away from LA, was freeing. I was so happy to be coming home. I felt like my life was in front of me. But, I’m glad that I had the experience. I think of it, and sometimes, I do miss it. I miss the closeness of Pasadena, so many places that were unexplored, and I miss those city lights in the distance. 

Adventures Of A Midwest Crazy. Vol. 1- Danger

Danger

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Hello Everyone! Kevin here!

I've always wanted to start a blog and now, I think I will! Welcome to Adventures of a Midwest Crazy! Let's see what trouble we can get into! It's almost Halloween, I hope everyone has fun costume plans laid out. I want to share with you my journey of writing the album, "Danger". I think the story behind the songs can be quite interesting. This is my journey across South Dakota and I hope you find some of it intriguing. I sure was intrigued! I mean, I wrote an album. Or rather, the album forced itself out of me! 

I have always considered myself a little off. Quirky, perhaps? I remember quite early on having a love for music. I was about five. I had bright, bright blonde hair. My lips were always a little too red. I used to get embarrassed because people used to ask if I wore lip stick. I honestly just had really red lips. I was pale, and shy. I discovered at 5, that I loved to sing. My dad had got me a little red, and blue cassette player. The first tape I remember having was Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits! I remember really loving her cover of Bill Monroe's Blue Moon of Kentucky. I knew then, that I wanted to be a singer.  My dad was a mechanic, a hard working man. He worked hard to provide for his family. He used to take me to these out of the way junkyards to search for whatever part he was looking for and then he would make me sing to the greasy guys who worked there! It was horrifying, but honestly, looking back, it was great practice. I knew I had to sing someday.That voice inside me, has never left. I lost my dad when I was 15, and something inside me urges me to keep going! My dad keeps me going. I won't stop. I want to make him proud.  

Last fall, I was working for a wonderful children's theatre company called Dakota Players in South Dakota. I got to travel with my great friend Megan and together we taught hundreds of kids a new play every week.  Each Monday, we would have auditions for the play, and by Friday, we were performing alongside 50 students who we had taught throughout the week. It was always a mad dash to the finish line. I always had a coffee and sweet tea in hand. Megan had a green tea! We liked the job so much, we decided to tour together a second year. On that Sunday, we would travel to a new town. We liked the job so much, we decided to tour together a second year. The first year was quite smooth, and beautiful. The 2nd year, like any good sequel, was more complicated. The job was fine, but personally, I really changed a lot as a person. It's almost a year to the day actually that I had this story I'm about to tell you happen.

Megan and I were in Hoven, South Dakota. The people of Hoven are truly, truly lovely. If you're ever in South Dakota, stop in Hoven.  That week, we got to stay in a cute little house. I loved it because it had a little porch out front. I love writing on the porch, it just feels like home. The weather was really starting to have that autumn chill in the air. 2 weeks before we got to Hoven I had a pretty rough breakup. It was one of those break ups that really forced me to stop and just reflect. When I really am reflective, I write, A LOT. Pages and pages.  

There is something about break ups in the fall! The cold air, the weather changing. It just adds to the change that is happening in your life. On Thursday, October 8th, 2015, I quickly and desperately wrote a song called Blue Eyes, in honor of the person that broke my heart a few days before. I really just wanted to say goodbye and this song was my way. I had no idea at the time that this breakup would propel me to write a whole album of songs. The relationship itself wasn't that significant, but for me, I stopped and really looked in the mirror on what I wanted in a partner and what I wanted in myself really. Blue Eyes is a love song that is about an unexpected relationship, losing that person, and gaining their love back. It's about realizing what you had. 2 weeks later, by the time Megan and I got to Hoven, I had a completely new melody in my head. This time, the song painted the other side of "Blue Eyes", the wild side. The dangerous side. The not so pretty side.   

The song was called Danger. 9 months later, I was deciding to call my new album of songs, Danger. It's funny because I totally almost abandoned this song. I have a few funny stories about when I was writing the song. 

The students Megan and I taught were truly a highlight in our days. They were so funny, and honest. Megan and I loved spending time with them. There was a particular student who played Pluto in one of our shows. He was SO talented and funny. Him and his buddies were like right out of The Sandlot or Stranger Things. He came up to me during one of our breaks and asked, 

"So, where are you and Megan staying this year?" Pluto asked. It's more fun referring to him as Pluto.

"Well, I can't tell you that because I know you will hunt me down and find me!" I replied.

"Pretty much. I bet that I can find where you guys are staying". 

"I bet that you can't", I replied, playing along with Pluto's little game. 

"I bet you 4 dollars that I can find you", Pluto said.

"Good luck", I said.

So, a few nights later, I was frantically writing in my journal. I decided to get some fresh air and write on the porch. I was fiddling with a little guitar hook that I thought was fun. It was dark. It was dangerous. It was blue eyes, but the other side of the blue. 

Danger.

I scribbled some words onto the page and continued to play this guitar part that was just chilling to me. I put my journal down and looked at the deep blue sky. It was getting dark, and colder. I looked across the street and something I saw made me just stop and smile.

Pluto was standing there with his buddies. He had found me! He won the bet! He put his hand out. He wanted his four dollars. I took some cash out of my pocket and paid my debt. When I think of this song, I will always think of this silly kid who went up and down the blocks of Hoven to find Megan and I. 

A few weeks later I was in Sioux Falls, SD. I had recorded Blue Eyes and my friend Devin and I were gearing up to record 5- 6 songs over Thanksgiving Break. Devin was my vocal coach and backup singer on the album. If you are going to record, get Devin there! He's amazing! I needed to get into the studio and get these songs off of my chest. I figured, if anything, I could release a short collection of 5 songs. At that time I was going to record Danger. Dev and I were practicing. The chorus went a little something like this.

Danger, when I looked in your eyes

Danger Danger, I wanted those lies. 

"Umm, Kev?" Devin asked. I could tell he didn't like it. 

"What's up Dev, do you not like it?"

"Did you just say stranger danger?" 

We both laughed until we almost peed. He was right, it did sound like stranger danger! My love for the song immediately stopped and I decided to put the song on hold.

Fast forward to May 2016!

I had recorded the first 5 songs, but something felt incomplete! The point of the album was missing and I knew there was something missing. What was I trying to say?

My contract with Dakota Players ended and quite suddenly I was rushing home to Illinois. My mom had a massive heart attack and we found out she had breast cancer. Today, October 20th, Mom got the call that the cancer is gone! So, everything is good with Mom. She is on the road to recovery. But, in May, we were all scared. 

I felt really lost. I felt like I was on the ground. I started to sing a new phrase. 

Rise Up, I'm gonna beat you at your game. 

Rise up, Yes, I'm gonna rise. 

This was the missing piece of Danger! This was what I was trying to say! I had had a rough few months. I felt lost, but I WOULD rise above it. I had faced danger and you know, I liked it, but I like taking the high road more. I still have a journey to complete. I still want to be the performer that my father wanted to be. I still have to rise. 

In July, Mom and I returned to South Dakota to record the rest of the album. This time, Danger was going to be recorded! This song honestly reminds me of a 50's and 60's song, it makes me think of a Patsy Cline song with the strong male back up singers and stirring strings. Devin and my friend Eli sing on the song with me and Audrey Graber plays the cello. Audrey was a blast to work with. Her addition to the song really adds another urgency to the song.  

Probably the most exciting addition to the album happened pretty last minute. With my mom's health this summer, I made a big request of Mom. I asked her to come to the studio with me and watch me work. She had never seen me be creative like this before. Literally building a song from nothing with my producer! I then asked her to perform on the song "Danger". 

"ARE YOU CRAZY?" she asked. My mom is at that glorious age where no f**** are given. She is honest, and abrasive, and witty and I love her.

I wanted her to say the word "Danger" at the beginning of the song. She represents that person that we all have. The voice of reason. Don't do this! This is dangerous! Bad idea! That is why she whispers, "Danger".

My mom is a chatty Kathy. She will TALK YOUR EAR OFF. She literally talked for the whole 9 hour drive to South Dakota. We got her on the microphone and the funniest thing happened. Mom got scared and wouldn't talk! We had to beg her to speak. It took her 3 takes and she was done. Mom, I am so grateful that you are the album. I will always have that! 

Please take a second and listen to Danger on my music page! 

Talk to you soon!

Kev