My Thoughts On That
Last night at the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music club was an amazing evening for so many reasons. Sharing the stage with Christine Lavin, Rob Carlson, and The Whispering Tree was inspiring and just downright fun. It was an honor to support Ron Olesko and his long running radio show, Traditions on WFDU-FM, and wonderful to meet so many music lovers who tune in to hear what he has to share every week.
The cherry on top was seeing dear friends, Debra Sperling, Adrian Tridel and their beautiful daughter, Logan, and watching them meet the woman who wrote the song that is the reason they are together. Musical magic for sure!
This is the story of my breakfast with Dion: a story of taking responsibility.
Do you know someone who is stepping up and taking responsibility for creating and nourishing kindness and humanity? I’d love to hear about them. Please share your stories here with hashtags #takingresponsibility and #meghancarymusic.
Last weekend in DC, a stranger changed the course of my day – and many others’ as well, I’m guessing. Dion works at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Downtown/DC serving and cleaning up after the breakfast buffet that comes free with every stay. Midway through the Sunday rush, he stood in the middle of the makeshift dining room and asked for our attention. We settled surprisingly quickly for a room full of hungry strangers. Dion introduced himself and welcomed us to the hotel. He introduced the other server and the chef, and told us to ask him or them for whatever we might need. He explained to us that while we were there at the Marriott, we were “family”, and would be treated as such.
He paused for a moment, and I figured the rather unique and pleasantly personal plug for the hotel was all he had. But then he asked for our attention once again, and went one meaningful step further. He asked us to consider something more important than whether we needed another pat of butter for our toast. He asked us to consider what we (the collective “we”) really need in life.
Dion commanded our attention with his warmth and vulnerability. He looked me in the eye and spoke directly to me. I’m guessing everyone in the room felt the same. “We’re all family. That’s why it’s important to be there for each other.” He went on to explain how easy and important it is to be there for even the strangers we pass on the street. He asked us to meet a stranger’s eye today, smile at them, say hello. “You could really make someone’s day just by doing that.”
Dion finished, thanked us for our attention, and went back to work. We went back to our steam tray eggs and turkey sausage, but the room was different. Dion had, in those few moments with those brief remarks, changed the energy of the room. We were no longer strangers sitting uncomfortably close together in a hotel lobby trying to eat our individual breakfasts without interruption. We were now a room full of folks sharing a meal. I found myself talking music with the young woman and her mother from Shreveport, LA sitting at the table next to me. Conversations bubbled up in pockets all around the room. The energy lifted. The shift was palpable.
What Dion said about connection resonated with me profoundly. It was in such harmony with what I say every time I introduce, “Responsibility”, the song I wrote about the homeless crisis in our country. So, I got up and found Dion by the lemon poppy seed muffins, and told him about my experience when I first moved to New York City, how I was overwhelmed by all the people living on the street, and felt like I couldn’t do anything “big” enough to help. I told him about the “ah-hah” moment I had when I realized that we as humans need to and find joy in connecting, and that I can make a difference in the lives of the homeless in my area by acknowledging them, speaking with them, connecting with them on a human level, even if I can’t find homes for or feed each and every one of them.
As I told him about “Responsibility” and why I wrote it, Dion began to tear up. When I finished my story, Dion shared his with me. “The people here at this hotel saved my life”, he said. He went on to tell me that he had been homeless, living on the street with his wife and kids when he finally got a job at this hotel as a valet. After a few months working outside, management came to him and said they’d notice that guests and employees alike gravitated to him, and they felt they needed him working inside. So they promoted him to the job he has now. In the spring of 2018, he moved his family into their own home. Now it was my eyes that misted.
Dion’s story stayed with me as I stepped onto the crowded elevator to go back up to my room. When the doors closed and the box full of strangers began to climb, a woman near the back piped up: “How’s everyone doing today?” And to my surprise, we all piped right back: “Great!” “Really good!” “Just fine!” She asked us each where we were from, and the conversation grew from there. This was not, in my experience, a common occurrence – 10 strangers on an elevator talking, laughing, connecting – it was a direct result of the words of wisdom Dion took the time to share with us. We reached the 5th floor and I reluctantly left the party.
On our way out to explore DC, I found Dion once again to thank him for making such a difference in my day, and in the world in general. I gave him a copy of “Sing Louder”, and he introduced me to his wife. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Dion and Evelyn again, but my breakfast with him changed the course of my day, now my week, and I expect my life. I will carry Dion’s story with me always.
Thank you Dion for taking responsibility.
Four Session Workshop at the Philadelphia Folk School Starts Tuesday October 9th!
In the moment coaching on the stage with an audience of your peers. Identify ticks and tricks that aren’t serving you on stage. Connect with your story and draw your audience into it. Step out of your comfort zone and Continue reading
I love it.
In pretty much any shape, size or consistency as long as it’s dark. The darker the better. I’d eat the raw cacao bean if I could. Why is this challenging in my life? Because as much as I love it, and as much as the experts say dark chocolate is actually good for you, I know I can’t eat it day in and day out and at the exclusion of anything else. Oh but I’d love to.
And so it is with music. I love making it. I love writing it, performing it, recording it. I even like practicing it…some…not a whole lot…but I digress. And the challenge there is the balance thing again. Because the dishes still need to be done, the kids need to be fed, the dog needs to be walked, and there’s even the stuff that sounds like music, but really is just plain business: booking, promoting, arranging kid care and puppy care while on the road. It all has to get done. And what I’ve been finding (and sorry for taking the winding way to get to this…waxing philosophical and perhaps managing a bit of a chocolate craving at the moment) is that unlike chocolate, which I indulge in regularly and perhaps more than I should, I tend to deny myself music making in lieu of all the other stuff.
Why is that? I mean, I know it all needs to get done. But the reality is: it will. And it will take whatever amount of time I allow it. So if I start with the music making, sit down to write the song or record the idea before checking my email, or scheduling those promo posts, or writing that press release, or even before I do the breakfast dishes, well, then I’m guaranteed some music making in my day. And the other stuff will still get done – in whatever time is left after the music making – instead of the other way around.
Maybe that’s my summer goal: indulge in what brings joy. Savor it. Go back for maybe a little more than I think I should be allowed. Bring on the fudgesicles and s’mores…summer is upon us!
Hope to see you somewhere along the sunny summer road!
Another Thing I’ve Learned on this Adventure
White Space. It’s an idea I hadn’t considered until the other day when Peter told me about Warren Buffett’s calendar. Apparently, his little black appointment book (as noted by Bill Gates in a meeting a few decades back) is full of empty. Buffett credits his creativity and out of the box thinking to that emptiness, that white space.
Well, wow. My calendar has always been anything but white. It’s a beautiful rainbow of colors from kid stuff in violet, to music stuff in green, through grown-up fun in yellow, all the way to healing and exercise in red. But very little white space. Packed…pretty…and pretty overwhelming. But I put my nose to the stone and grind through each technicolor day, finding joy in all the bits, but also managing a subtle anxiety that maybe I’m missing something. And when something falls out – 3rd grade family fun day cancelled for snow, online seminar rescheduled due to illness – I’m ecstatic. The gift of unscheduled, unowned, uncategorized time, time to just “be”…that’s it. That’s the thing I didn’t even know I was missing until I got it.
So, as I’ve begun to rebuild my schedule, restructure my daily routine, and revisit what are the essentials in my life after my surgery-imposed step away from the game, I’ve decided to include more of that blissful white space in my day. I don’t always succeed. But when I do…wow. It’s amazing what can come of an hour of nothing. Nothing can lead to so much more than moment after moment of something: songs, stories, organized drawers, silly games with my soon-to-be-too-cool-for-such-silliness 12 year old, masterpieces of magnetic engineering with my never-before-into-it 9 year old. Given a moment to breathe, life presents truly magical moments. Moments that I could have never imagined, let alone scheduled into my day.
So…white space. Something to contemplate. But I will resist the urge to put that on my schedule.
P.S. We got a puppy. Not sure how that fits into my white space plan. I’ll keep posted!
I love stepping on stage, connecting with my audience, and taking them for the ride. It never gets old, and it never ceases to lift me up. I think every artist can and should have the opportunity to experience that joy, freedom and confidence on stage. That’s why I coach privately and offer workshops in performance, songwriting, and managing the business of music while living a full and fulfilling life. To claim that joy and freedom for yourself, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll create a coaching series that works for you.
Join my mailing list to find out about upcoming Workshops and Shows.
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
– Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille –
It’s amazing how something so all-consuming will eventually fade into the background. I think it was when I was first able to tie my own shoes again. I think that’s when I knew the story of this last 7 weeks was ceasing to define me, and this whole adventure was on it’s way to being a memory.
Then last Thursday (with Brooks neatly tied) I picked up my full-size Taylor for a vocal rehearsal. Bigger and heavier than the GS mini I’d been noodling with from my chair for the last week or so. Peter was laying down a rich bed on the keys, Linda Waverka, Marion Halliday and Lisa Jeannette were creating beautiful harmony, and before I stopped to think, Continue reading
…and when it’s all over, I get to sing with you and play for you again!!
The last month for me has been challenging and enlightening in ways I hadn’t expected. In mid-February, I stepped away from my everyday routine to have that “wee bit of back surgery”. All went well. They took a few things out, put a few things in, sewed me back up and sent me home a few days later. And from here forward I’ll set off the metal detector every time I pass through.
Three days in the hospital were a blur of sleeping, waking, rolling over (which took a good 5 minutes and intense mental effort each time) and sipping water through a straw. I was very dehydrated, and I remember trying at one point to eat a graham cracker…not a good idea when one has absolutely no saliva. Continue reading
Critically-acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Meghan Cary is taking music lovers behind the scenes of the recording of her chart topping single “Sing Louder” with her new video “Sing Louder – Raising Our Voices Together.” Filmed at MorningStar Studios, this uplifting video showcases the 48 fans who came together to lend their collective voices to the chorus of Cary’s smash single, which debuted at #2 on the US / International Folk DJ Radio Charts.
According to Cary, the track was written to inspire and empower her audience to find joy in their lives and share their stories – to “sing louder” and make their voices heard. That’s why it was important that her fans be included in the recording process and in the video. To further her message, the singers held up signs with words of love, hope and community to unite the chorus as one and add emphasis to the song.
“This video captures the joyful, empowering energy that went into the recording of ‘Sing Louder’,” said Cary. “It puts a smile on my face every time I watch it.”
“Sing Louder – Raising Our Voices Together” can be viewed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1_NhpRwhe4&feature=youtu.be
To learn more about Meghan Cary, visit www.Meghancary.com
Visionary Folk Artist Meghan Cary’s New Album SING LOUDER Lands In Top 25 Charts For Second Consecutive Month
Jan 22, 2018
After debuting at the #6 spot in November, acclaimed singer/songwriter Meghan Cary’s latest album Sing Louder continues to make waves at radio as it, once again, finds itself in the Top 25 of the US / International Folk DJ Radio Charts in the month of December.
Her first official foray into the Folk DJ music scene, despite making music for almost 20 years, Cary is grateful for the support she’s received for the album – especially throughout the month of December when most DJs are playing more “traditional” holiday songs.
“Songs like ‘Sing Louder’ and ‘Responsibility’ – songs celebrating community and social conscience – might not be considered ‘go to’ songs for December, but I thought the folk DJ community would make the connection, and they did. I think at the holidays people are especially receptive to the idea of coming together and reaching out to help others less fortunate. I wanted the songs on SING LOUDER to put that idea front and center for them,” said Cary.
Those quick to embrace this concept throughout December include such radio stalwarts as: Acoustic Peace Club Playlist with Jeanne Holton on WMNF, An American Sampler with John Sillberg on CKOL, Artie Martello on Mostly Folk and Power Folk, Doug Lewis Endless Music Mix with Douglas Dick on WQCS, From The Joshua Tree Inn with Kevin Elliott on WEFT, Grassroots with Jenny Flux on 2AIR-FM, Hudson River Sampler with Wanda Fischer (WAMC, WAMK, WOSR, WCEL, WCAN, WANC, WRUN, WAMQ, WWES, WANR, WANZ), It’s for folks with Ken Nagelberg on WHYR-FM, Modern Troubadours with James Rogers on WIUP-FM, Music You Can’t Hear on the Radio with John Weingart on WPRB, New Hampshire Public Radio Folk Show with Kate McNally, Small Time Radio Show with John Sillberg on CKOL, Sunday Coffeehouse with Greg Schatzmann on CJLX, and Sunday Supper with John Platt on WFUV.
“These times require songs of compassion and commitment, and Meghan Cary has several, especially ‘Sing Louder’ and “Responsibility,’ which inspire us to reach for our higher selves. And she sings them with such infectious joy you can’t resist joining in,” said John Platt, host of “Sunday Supper” on WFUV Radio.