My new album “Friends with Benefits” and the movie “Begin Again”

I just got home from seeing the movie Begin Again, about 2 people coming together on a music project and how music can truly be a healing force in the lives of people who may be going through a down turn. The movie is truly amazing and I highly recommend it, not only because it avoids the predictability of most movies but it is truly authentic in portraying real life relationships and the songwriting process – plus, there are some hilarious moments in it as well.

Laying down some vocals for my album Friends with Benefits while up at Castaway 7 Studios
Laying down some vocals for my album Friends with Benefits while up at Castaway 7 Studios

I related to this movie so much because like the main female lead character played by Kiera Knightley, I just write songs from time to time. Since I do songwriting and singing as a hobby, it gives me the leisure of writing when inspiration strikes. It’s funny how some of the best music comes from trying times and Kiera’s character gets inspiration for a song about how her ex (played by Adam Levine) treated her poorly after a great night out with her producer friend and coming home and then collaborating right away with another musician friend of hers. The benefits of being friends, as my Friends with Benefits album alludes to, are clearly shown by the relationships Kiera Knightley’s character develops in this film. I’ve also gotten inspiration similar to how Kiera’s character did in this movie, at random times and you just have to stop what you are doing and jot everything down before it escapes you.

Another reason I love this movie is because it is so inspiring! The characters in the movie use interesting, clever, and low cost techniques to produce and market the main female character’s album. They record all the songs outside in various neighborhoods in NYC. Some of the musicians do the session playing for the album for free in exchange for album experience and a portion of the albums sales. Another low cost technique was that the producer was able to call in favors (from helping break another artists’ career) for more free production help with the album. I don’t want to give the movie away, but they ended up marketing her album in a very clever fashion, and was able to do so because of how the album was efficiently produced with little to no budget and help from friends.

JP Hesser (on the very left) - owner/producer extraordinaire at Castaway 7 Studios and the two other random dudes who dropped in while I was recording there!
JP Hesser (on the very left) – owner/producer at Castaway 7 Studios and the two other random dudes who dropped in while I was recording there!

I went a slightly different route for my album, Friends with Benefits. I was fortunate enough to have a little savings and some plastic (my old motto, when low on the dough, slap it on the plastic – trying to quit that motto though) to help me invest in producing my album with some amazing producers. I won’t go into all the detail here (you can find it in my discography on my song lyrics/stories page). However, I’m posting a few photos here that I snapped of some of the recording process I went through for this album and my first album as well!

Castaway 7 Studios - love the cozy and beachy vibe of the place!
Castaway 7 Studios – love the cozy and beachy vibe of the place!

Rather than doing a Kickstarter campaign, any of the sales of my music I will just be using to re-invest in more music/music videos, therefore any help you can provide, such as sharing my music, listening to it on Spotify a thousand times, or purchasing it here on my site or other places like iTunes & Amazon, would be appreciated in a way I cannot express enough gratitude! l will pay it forward indeed, just like Cee-Lo’s character did for Mark Ruffalo’s character in the Begin Again movie, if ya don’t get that, then just watch the movie 🙂

Hanging with Jon Berry after he produced a couple of the surfing songs (Surf with Amigas & Surfer Boys) for my Friends with Benefits album!
Hanging with Jon Berry after he produced a couple songs for my Friends with Benefits album!
Hanging with the musicians and producer/engineer at The Pop Machine studio who helped with some songs on my first album!
Hanging with the musicians and producer/engineer at The Pop Machine studio who helped with some songs on my first album!
Laying down some vocals for my first album, Finding my Own Way at the Pop Machine Studio in Indiana
Laying down some vocals for my first album, Finding my Own Way at the Pop Machine Studio in Indiana
Observing Mission Control at Pop Machine studios in Indiana!
Observing Mission Control at Pop Machine studios in Indiana!

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