I’ve recently come to the conclusion that when I do something, I do it big.
We had been looking for ideas for a video for my next single Iceland. It was a song written about my friend and her boyfriend who were going on a trip to Iceland in January. I was baffled as to why she would want to go there in the dead of winter until she explained that she just wanted to be in a magical land, cuddled up in a warm cozy bed while the dark winter raged on outside. And that inspired the song.
I didn’t really want to make a music video to the story line of the song. After all, it wasn’t my story, and I had never envisioned myself as the narrator. No, we needed a whole new approach. I thought a simple video of me in my backyard under my tree, with my bare feet in the grass, playing my piano (moved outside for the occasion) for a few picnickers might serve as a unique spin. The concert would be the video and so we brought in our director, Jeramey Johnson with whom we had worked before, and gave him our thoughts. Soon the ideas grew to include lanterns, a stage, epic lighting and a bar. Then Jeramey uttered the innocent thought “You should get some couches”, and with one look Joel and I knew there was no going back.
Yes, of course. Couches.
Due to some lucky coincidences, Joel had access to a 1 ton van and Craigslist had some very high quality sofas for free that week. In all I believe we ended up with 12 couches and a couple of wingback chairs. For those pieces with a print too bold for the vibe, we bought old white bedsheets at a thrift store and (once washed) we covered the them to neutralize their tackiness.
Anywhere and everywhere we could find lights on sale we bought them and wound up with over 6,000 white lights illuminating the corners of my yard. Joel spent a full day at least running string wire lights around the trunk and at least 5 – 6 meters (15-20′) up each of the 7 main branches of my ornamental plum tree. We found glass jars on clearance and bought over 30 of them which we hung from the outstretched branches and then filled with tea candles or small coils of fairy lights. Joel found 100, 3cm (1 inch) circular mirrors and one afternoon my daughter and I hot glued them back to back along lengths of fishing string. We hung these between the lanterns to catch the light and help fill the space. We even attached a string of lights to Ryan’s cello which made the instrument literally glow. Finally, Jeramey lit the tree from below with blue and green light and the overall effect was amazing! The deep blues of the tree contrasted with the yellow glow of the lights beautifully making the video dense with rich colors.
I had scrambled to get the set together for the concert. From inception to execution we had a little less than a month to make it all happen. What had started out as a video for one song blossomed into a concert of all my new material which was still very fresh. Most of the songs hadn’t even been performed live yet. One of my producers, Glenn Sawyer, had taken a day the week before the show and edited my show tracks to eliminate the drums, strings and piano parts. I hadn’t yet found a drummer for my project so Joel stepped up and spent several long hours in my basement practicing the drum part to the tracks. Ryan and I rehearsed three times a week and we hung lights when ever we had free time.
July 31 was a blue moon and we did our dress rehearsal, as well as shot a lot of the close up footage for the video that night. The following evening, August 1, was the night of what we decided to call The Secret House Show (SHS) I think it was a pretty stunning view when guests entered my yard through the back gate and on the far side of the tree. Guests checked in and then got to pick their couch and had the option to order a bottle of wine served couch side. We had decided to throw the event like a regular house party and asked that everyone bring a dish to share and we had a bar area and tables set up along the back.
My two Aramco Brat friends, Jessica Orlowski and Paul Allen had flown in from Vancouver and Dallas respectively just for the SHS and I put them to work with the finishing touches for the evening. For the concert my good friend and former bandmate, Emily Adams sang the back up vocals on Play For Me which was very awesome. Overall the crowd was smaller than we anticipated. Fully half the people who RSVP’ed yes never showed and we were left with more seating than I would have liked, but in the dim light of the night, 30 people still looks like a pretty full crowd.
We began at dusk and as the night deepened the glow of the light of the yard took over and it felt truly magical. I’ll let the video itself do the talking for the actual performance. Both the song and the video will be released on December 4 so you’ll be able to hear and see it for the first time then. The whole experience was really amazing and I’m inspired to do something like that again. Secret House Shows could be a thing in the future, if someone were to want to host one at their house. We’ve also talked about collaborating with a couple of other artists and renting a warehouse space which we could modify and have a really special show for just a select audience.
One thing I know is that the next show I host is going to be something worth seeing.
I’ve got ideas…