Category Archives: Music

All About the Music

Prince Tribute – Purple Rain

When I learned of the recent passing of music icon and creative genius, Prince, I was more devastated than I expected to be about the death of someone I’d never met.

Why did I feel this loss more profoundly than the recent passing of others I’ve admired?

I think the sudden and unexpected nature of his death contributed greatly to my shock at hearing the news.

If someone has a terminal illness (David Bowie), has struggled with substance abuse (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston), or is older (Maya Angelou), you may expect their passing… not so in this case.

Another reason for my deep mourning: realizing Prince’s music represents the soundtrack of my youth (and that a lot of the double entendre and innuendo went way over my head when I was younger!).

Prince represents uncompromising creativity and a steadfast refusal to be placed in any one artistic box.

Not only did Prince create music at a dizzying pace, he also brought others along for the ride—introducing us to a bevy of other artists and generously showcasing their talent.

As someone with music firmly sewn into the fabric of my soul, I have a deep appreciation for his extraordinary songwriting ability, his gifted mastery of the guitar (and ALL of the other instruments he played) and his transformative showmanship in live performances.

To me, Prince represents living out loud. I feel galvanized by his determination to push back against the expectations of others, and truly inspired by his dedication to artistic expression.

Also, I have a collection of instruments that I’m determined to teach myself to play, and I’m inspired and encouraged by Prince’s self-taught musicianship.

After hearing Purple Rain on repeat for the past few days, I was no longer content to just listen to the beautiful melodies… I wanted to teach myself to play it!

Having never picked up an electric guitar in my life, I knew I needed to start small and the Purple Rain outro seemed like a great starting point.

I’ll admit, I was quickly caught up in delusions of grandeur, as I envisioned myself learning Prince’s guitar solo as well.

All it took was watching a few Purple Rain Prince tributes on YouTube to realize that guitar solo was WAY out of my league! The phrase “walk before you run” comes to mind.

The skill level required to play that solo would take years, and I wanted to learn to play Purple Rain in hours, so I opted for a simpler goal.

Because I’m inpatient in my learning pursuits, I searched for easy beginner chords—nothing that required tricky finger placement or complicated barre chords.

After a day of practice, I’m proud to say I’ve learned to play Purple Rain well enough to feel good about my efforts! ☺

Singing along while playing would have stretched my capabilities to the max (and thrown off my rhythm), so I chose to play while humming the song instead.

Here’s my Purple Rain Prince tribute… imperfect, but inspired.

Enjoy your day!

Sounds of the Season – We Three Kings by Earl Klugh and Stefan Dickerson

A Jazz NoelThis is one of my favorite Christmas songs of ALL time!

It’s the wonderfully mellow, smooth jazz version of We Three Kings by Earl Klugh and Stefan Dickerson.

I find it both relaxing and festive.  :)

When I’m ready to take a break from rushing around… I make myself a cup of tea, get comfortable and play this amazing song. I hope you enjoy it too.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!  Warmest regards,  Dayo Lanier

New Music: Flight

I made this song a while ago, while delving into the use of music software.

Once I finished the music and sat down to write lyrics, a funny thing happened… the song decided it wanted to be an instrumental recording.  :)

As I listened to the song, I enjoyed the music on its own and the lyrics were getting in the way so… I left well enough alone.

It’s inspired by my love of jazz and house music. Still needs a bit of mixing, but I hope you enjoy it. It’s called “Flight.”

Drink More Water- Acoustic Version

Much respect to those who can play an instrument AND sing well, at the same time!

I found trying to do both to be challenging, but I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me. I discovered that focusing on the joy of singing and playing the guitar, versus aiming for perfection, allowed the song to flow more smoothly. Staying in the moment forced me out of my head (where the potential for criticism lies), and into my heart (where the music lives).

Could I have recorded this video 100 times over until I no longer heard that sharp note or that bungled chord? Yes, but that may have led to procrastination. As a recovering perfectionist, it was important for me to post it anyway and not allow perfectionism to keep me from taking an important step on my creative journey… sharing what I’m working on!

I believe we are all creative. Acting on that creativity is a joy, but sharing what you’ve created with others, be it a song, film, painting, manuscript, beautifully decorated dessert, or well-designed room, seems to complete the artistic circuit.

Sharing your art, without a need for approval or a fear of criticism or judgment, occurs when you’re clear on your purpose and comfortable in your skin (or at least on the way to becoming more comfortable in it)!

I think Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, said it best: “Creativity is an act of faith, and we must be faithful to that faith, willing to share it to help others, and to be helped in return.”

I hope you enjoy the song. More importantly, I hope you’re encouraged to step boldly into a creative journey of your own!

Shout Out to ASG and the Songwriter Symposium

ASG logoI promised a shout out to the Austin Songwriters Group (ASG) and the 2013 Songwriter Symposium held here in Austin last weekend… so here it is!

My first thank you has to go jointly to Rick Busby (Singer-Songwriter, ASG President) and Lee Duffy (Singer-Songwriter, ASG Executive Director). The Symposium was my first time meeting them both, and it was truly a pleasure. I watched them work tirelessly behind the scenes, as well as present on panels and perform in showcases. Their efforts were greatly appreciated! Check out the ASG website.

The focus I had going into those industry panels, songwriting and performance workshops, and mentor sessions was like a throw back to my medical school self: intensely acquiring knowledge like someone’s life depended on it! :) I learned a great deal in all of the sessions, but the workshop leaders that I wanted to give a special thanks to, are Chuck Cannon  and Matthew Santos.

If you are ever at a music or songwriter conference and Chuck Cannon is presenting… run, don’t walk to attend! He’s such a gifted songwriter and engaging performer, and I learned a great deal from him about songwriting as an art.

Matthew Santos, who you may know from his collaborations with Grammy-Award winning hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, is an amazing talent! I enjoyed his songwriting and performance sessions (he brought cool music tech-toys) and the song circles he participated in.

Other special mentions from the sessions I attended are: Chris Oglesby (music publisher); Marvin Dykhuis (singer-songwriter, producer and amazing guitarist); Debby Throckmorton (singer-songwriter, performance coach); Danny Wells (singer-songwriter, producer); Jim Photoglo (singer-songwriter); Sonny Throckmorton (singer-songwriter): Kimmie Rhodes (singer-songwriter); Mike Tolleson (entertainment attorney); Robert Cross (KUT/KTX Radio); Kevin Benz (CultureMapATX); John Mullins (SESAC); and Valerie Femin (Valerie Fremin Photography).

It was wonderful to be around so many positive, like-minded, creative people! I can honestly say I left the Songwriters Symposium inspired and energized. Looking forward to future ASG events!

Happy 2013!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sure, as we near the end of January, you’re well into having a happy and productive new year (I sure hope so)! I’m just getting back into the swing of things after attending an amazing songwriter’s conference (my very first Songwriter Symposium), hosted by Austin Songwriters Group. To say I had the best time, would be an understatement! :) I plan on doling out insights and shout-outs over the next week or so. Stay tuned!

Dr. Dayo’s Dance Party

Special thank you to Ms. Robillard’s 3rd grade class at Clayton Elementary for their participation in “Dr. Dayo’s Dance Party” last Friday! Thanks for the wonderful thank you notes as well. I’m so glad you enjoyed the music (especially “Drink More Water”), the presentation, and the dance/exercise moves! :)

Dr. Dayo Lanier