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So if you’ve been a truly consistent reader of my blog (and I’m not sure I’m talking to anyone outside of my immediate family here), you’ve perhaps noticed a few reoccurring themes. For instance, one of my favorite things to do is to set super ambitious goals for myself, fail or fall short of those goals, and then rationalize my failure. In fact, I’m trying to trademark that as a tagline for my website: “Lucas Murray Music, rationalizing failure since 2013!”

Its got a nice ring to it no? Now let me show you how its done.

A couple of weeks ago I started a paid internship at a wonderful music production company called Man Made Music. I’m incredibly grateful for this and excited to learn from the many friendly, intelligent, and talented people that work there. The trouble is, on the days that I work there (Monday and Thursday), I’m left with very little time to fulfill my goal of writing and recording my daily songs. So this week’s post, which actually represents two weeks of songs, has only 8 songs instead of 12. Don’t worry too much about the math— the point is that I’ve come up a little bit short.  However, I think its reasonable for me to give myself a break on the days that I need to commit to working at Man Made Music. Don’t you?

And that’s how its done.

Overall, between my final semester of grad school, performing and recording with my band Kangaroo, and now my new internship, I simply don’t have the time and energy to keep up my original pace of six songs a week. Having thus failed at my original New Years Resolution of writing and recording a song everyday (except Sunday), it is indeed tempting to just scrap the whole project and move on with my life. I would certainly have more time to watch Breaking Bad if I did.

Yet I’m not letting myself off the hook. I don’t ascribe to the all-or-nothing philosophy. Personally, if I can’t have it all, I’d still like to have a little something. The practice of writing six songs a week was meaningful to me, and it would have been a wonderful feat of willpower if I had made it the whole year. Yet the practice of writing four or five songs a week (if thats all I truly have time for) will still be meaningful, useful, and satisfying. So instead of quitting, I’ll just adapt.

 

Enjoy the songs.

March 27 — Beaver Creek 

March 28 — Picking Up the Pieces 

March 30 — Bleepin’

March 31 — Hard to Be Human

April 3 — Dream State

April 4 — Cartoon Quest

April 6 — The Great Wave

April 7 — Cyber Woods

Hey gang. So I didn’t post my songs last week for no other reason than last Sunday I was like “nah, I don’t want to.” I was thinking I’d do it mid-week, like on Thursday or something because that seems like a better time to post things on the internet based on a vague memory I have of an article I once read about peak social media posting times. But then Thursday rolled around and I was like “nah, I don’t want to.” So here I am again posting on a Sunday. Only this time around, I’ve got two whole weeks of songs tailor made for your ears to enjoy! See you next week.

March 12 — They Grow Up So Fast

March 13 — Glyter Musik

March 14 — Elephants Rolling Deep

March 15 — Cupcaking in Los Feliz

March 16 — No Sleep (Don’t Listen)

March 17 — You Can Change the Words

March 19 — Accidental Compliment

March 20 — Night Driving

March 21 — Neptune’s Ferry Ride

March 22 — Nerdquest 2000

March 23 — Pleased to Meet You

March 24 — Saturday Slipping

 

So Thursday evening I was all set to play a show with my band Kangaroo when I learned that the venue double booked the stage that night. They had recently moved their weekly drag show from Friday to Thursday and somehow that fact didn’t reach the ears of the guy who booked us to play. And apparently the drag show has a little more clout than four unknown Brooklyn rock bands because they got the spot. I wish I could say that this is the first time one of my bands got bumped for a drag show… but its not.

The good news is this gave me more time to work on my daily songs. Hope you enjoy them!

February 5 — Fine Wigs

February 6 — Space Peyote pt. 1

February 7 — Space Peyote pt. 2

February 8 — Postcard Shopping in Barcelona

February 9 — It Will Probably Be OK

February 10 — The Grand Sand Temple

A couple weeks ago I predicted that my biggest challenge as I tackle this goal of recording a song everyday would be to overcome the discomfort of sharing work that I’m not exactly proud of. Well, you can call me Nostradamus because my prediction came true. I flat out do not like two of these songs, one of which I considered playing completely in reverse, because at least that would be artsy and cool instead of bland and lame (but I chickened out of that). If I wasn’t so stubborn I wouldn’t share these with you. But I am stubborn, and so I’m sticking to this goal I’ve set for myself.

Luckily this week also produced two of my favorite songs I’ve made during the course of this experiment, so I think it all evens out in the end. Now I’m not going to tell you which songs I love and which I hate, because you might love or hate a completely different set of songs, and I don’t want to sway you in anyway. However, I do want to introduce a simple new element to this project of mine: I’m going to start naming the songs. Because who wants to listen to a boring old song called January 31? Not me. But do I want to listen to a song called January 31st — Bumpin’ Gumballs? You bet your britches I do.

January 29 — Faded Photos

January 30 — Snowy Forest Sunrise

January 31 — Bumpin’ Gumballs

February 1 — Impromptu Underwater Lounge Party

February 2 — Ichabod’s Return

February 3 — Vanillappropriation

I was at the Comedy Cellar over the summer when one of the comedians (I wish I remembered his name) told this joke: “So I saw a girl crying on the subway recently. Whenever I see someone crying in public in New York I always think the same thing… Why aren’t more people crying right now!?” I thought about this joke a lot this week. Because in addition to the usual high levels of rats, rabble, and rent, it was also just painfully cold. But come to think of it, the question “why aren’t more people crying right now?” is probably valid anywhere in the world. Life is hard man. It’s ok to cry about it. And at the same time, it’s ok to dance about it. So watch this video if you need some bodily inspiration, and be sure to check out week two of my daily song project below that! See you next week kiddos.

Daily Songs

January 8

January 9

January 10

January 11

January 12

January 13

 

 

Last week my roommate Anna came home and alerted me to a recent article in the New York Times column Modern Love. For despite my being a perpetual bachelor, Anna knows that I love to talk and gossip about relationships. In the article Mandy Len Catron (author of the 2015 viral article To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This) talks about her practice of drafting a yearly relationship contract with her long term boyfriend Mark. She writes that the contract covers everything from “sex to chores to finances to expectations for the future.” The contract even has an overarching mission statement for the relationship, which for her and Mark is to “aspire to help each other be more ethically-minded and generous friends, community members and global citizens.” While a relationship contract might sound like the antithesis of that spontaneous kind of love and romance that Hollywood likes to glorify, the author found it to be an incredibly helpful practice in her relationship, and one that helped her and her partner grow ever closer while protecting what was personally important to each as an individual.

Lacking a romantic relationship, I currently have no way of testing out this exact practice, yet even in my bachelordom this idea resonated with me. For a contract or mission statement is not only useful in our relationships with romantic partners, but potentially extremely powerful in helping us navigate our relationship with life at large. Without exactly knowing why, I have at times adopted a mission statement for my own life. Just look at my outdated About Me page on this blog site where I talk about practicing the Art, Craft, and Critique of music. For about three years, I have operated under the assumption that if I consistently pour my effort into these three endeavors, my musicianship would grow and my musical career would benefit. Luckily this has mostly been the case. Yet since starting this new chapter of my life in New York, I’ve become aware that my personal contract needs updating.

I confess that this move to New York City was not the byproduct of a crystal clear vision for my life. Instead, I moved here in large part because I felt like many elements of my musical and personal life in Arkansas were either stagnating or diminishing, and thus I needed a change. It has been somewhat uncomfortable to find that an obvious path to career success and personal contentment has not magically unfolded before my eyes since moving here. Overall I am happy to be here, yet I’ve often found myself drifting into self-doubt and confusion. Many a morning I wake up and wonder what the hell I’m supposed to be doing.

It would be great if someone would just tell me what I’m supposed to be doing, but one of the most beautiful and simultaneously uncomfortable things about my life is that I’ve largely been afforded the freedom to choose for myself what is right for my life. I’m aware that not everyone has this privilege— ultimately it is something I am extremely grateful for, and something I certainly do not want to take for granted. Lacking a magical spirit guide to tell me what I should be doing and also wanting to take full advantage of this freedom of choice, I’ve recently been interrogating myself about what it is that I truly want for my life. As a result of this process, I’ve come up with a three year plan for myself incorporating short and long-term goals I have.

Now I’m not going to tell you what my plan is. I’m a little self conscious about how lofty the plan might sound, and I don’t want to give my haters (do I have haters?) a chance to cast doubt on my goals. I’m not Tom Brady— I do not thrive on proving people wrong. I’m Lucas Murray— I thrive on encouragement from others.

I would also like to encourage you, whoever you are, wherever you are, to set goals for yourself and really go for them. I don’t think there’s any surefire, scientific, foolproof way for you to achieve your goals. This isn’t The Secret! And I’m not Tony Robbins (it’d be cool if I was though; I’d probably have a few more blog followers). The truth is, you might not achieve your goals. Yet the benefit of having a goal is immediate— it gives your life order and direction, and it gives you the personal peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are working towards something. Plus, hey, you might achieve your goals— and wouldn’t that be great.

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Well, I live in New York now. So far I’ve spent most of my time lazing in Central Park, exploring the NYU campus in Greenwich Village, or piecing together my tiny bedroom in my Upper West Side apartment (pictured above). All summer I’ve been excited about this move and proud of myself for taking this leap, but I confess I didn’t (and still don’t) know what I was getting myself into. I suppose a naive part of me expected that I would arrive and immediately begin walking down a clearly paved road to musical success. In reality, I’ve just been trying to figure out how to properly feed, clothe, shelter, and transport myself in this enormous city. I’ve been here for just over a week, and every day I oscillate between being a giddy tourist and a homesick child. I walk around stupefied by the iconic streets full of hip beautiful people, I constantly screw up on the subway, and I miss my family and friends to the point of tears.

And still, I’m so happy to be here. I know that eventually I am going to figure out the subway, I’ll learn where/when to go to the grocery store, I’ll make great new friends, and I’ll start to feel like my tiny closet of a bedroom is a cozy home. Many of my now effortful actions will change into natural routines. What will not change is the fact that I am living in one of the most exciting cities in the world, surrounded by rich culture and a talented, driven, diverse population. I have every resource I could hope for to help me fulfill my dream of musical success: world renowned instructors, innumerable venues, plenty of talented collaborators, and a potentially vast audience of music fans. I have a sense that if I am not successful here, it will be my own fault. This city is full opportunities for me and I believe that I’m going to be rewarded if I only work hard and consistently choose to step out of my comfort zone. Frankly, my dream is to write, record, and perform music all over the world, and I think I’m in the best possible place to make that dream a reality.

This is where you come in precious reader. I’m going to document my musical life and thoughts once a week in this blog, and I need you and everyone else to read it. Sure I could try to hold myself accountable to my goals on my own, but I’d likely end up frequently binge watching any of the brilliant shows available in this golden age of television instead. I wish I were entirely self-motivated, but the fact is, if I know I have an audience, I’m going to try a lot harder. In exchange for your readership, I’ll offer you delightfully useless observations (e.g. New Yorkers won’t make eye contact with you until they are slowly rolling out of your life forever on a subway car— and then it’s nothing but blazing eye contact), as well as priceless nuggets of wisdom (sometimes). You’ll also have a candid look at my life as I rise from Lucas Murray levels of obscurity to Kanye West levels of international superstardom and egotistical delusion.

Finally, I’m going to cap off each weekly blog post with a playlist. I’ve adopted the city-wide habit of walking around with my headphones in— I put all of my music on shuffle, and am consistently delighted by the synchronicity of the random song I’m listening to and my outside environment. Thus, the songs that I’ll include in each playlist are the songs that were most significant or enjoyable to me that week as I roamed the city. And like New York itself, this playlist is going to be diverse, including both old and new songs from a variety of styles. You can find each playlist at the bottom of my blog posts, or follow me on Spotify and find the weekly playlists there if you’re interested in hearing the songs but don’t want to read the blog (you lazy so and so), or if you you like, I can even burn it on to a CD and mail it to you because I’m cool like that (just shoot me an email).

So if you believe in me like I believe in me, please follow this blog, share it with your friends, family, and rich patrons, and don’t be afraid to contact me with any questions, comments, or words of encouragement. Also, if you don’t believe in me or just plain dislike me, please follow this blog, diss me often in the comments section, and judge me as I shamelessly try to pursue my foolish dream of musical success. Whether friend or foe, WordPress user or not, if you would, please go push that follow button at the top right of this post, drop me your email, and then tune in each week for a new post. Thank you!

And here is this week’s playlist: