Category Archives: Music

I’ve Just Finished Recording A New Album

For the first time in ten years, something got a hold of me and I set foot back into a recording studio to record some of my own music. I guess a large part of my motivation was that I was starting to forget who I was and music has always been a huge part of who I am so I decided to fully embrace it and set aside time for it to ‘rediscover myself’. I pulled some old songs out of the cupboard that I have been meaning to do something with for years and so it began.

I bought a Groupon for recording studio time and went in to record. Originally I had 2 songs I wanted to lay down piano, ukulele and vocal. But the more I listened to the ukulele the less I liked it and decided to get rid of it. And so the process evolved itself into something else entirely. My engineer helped me start to laydown drums, strings, bass and a plethora of other instruments through a keyboard and the result was something I never expected. In some ways I have felt quite proud of what it is that I have achieved.  I have been challenged both musically and vocally because my ear and my voice muscles are not as well exercised as they used to be. It takes me a while to get things right. What I do know is that I have felt like I have been walking on air every time I have left the studio to walk home and so I have been trying to schedule a couple of hours there every 2 weeks or so.

Recording the vocals to See Ya Later

One morning on the bus stop I was thinking about life and things that had happened recently and for the first time in a very long time I penned a song that I felt worth of laying down in a studio. It felt really good to get back the mojo of writing something that wasn’t totally cliché and shit. A month or so later another song followed.

On my last trip home I pulled out my printer and designed and printed the labels on my CD’s. I have gone to work to investigate printing the covers and had the photos taken also on a super cheap Groupon. It is all coming together nicely….

Production – getting the mix done

However there are also reservations that one has when doing such a project. Despite the fact that I started it to ‘rediscover myself’, I am in some ways semi hysterical about not getting support for it. It is hard to pour yourself into something that expresses so much of who you are to others when they just simply don’t seem to care. I am afraid in some ways that it will fail from a complete lack of interest or that people just simply don’t like it. It is in times like this that I have to remind myself that it is for me and not for anyone else. It was worth it for the floating feeling of the high down the street every second week. It was worth it to have a hard copy of something that I have created all on my own. And if it does fail and people aren’t interested, then at least I have these things. I guess in the long run time will tell.

Printing the labels on the CD’s.

We have now done the mix. And we have done the master. We’ve burned CD’s and uploaded to the web for distribution. The music is out into the world and see where it winds up. Hopefully somewhere it can be enjoyed!

If you want to check it out, go to  https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/DanniThomas

 

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Things I Have Done To Make Money

As I approach the first “grown up person job” in a while, I thought it might be fun to look back on some of the crazy different jobs I have worked and other things I have done to make money to fund my travels…. Some of it is pretty funny so enjoy!

  • 14  years old…. 1st job… KFC. Did it so much some nights I would come home and dream of putting chicken into a box with tongs… nuff said!
  • Singing in pub bands. First pub band was Freefall and some of the best times of my life. Started at 17, still somewhat ongoing. On and off I have played more gigs with bands such as Alphanumeric, Platinum Datsun,  Multigroove (Melbourne) and quite a lot of acoustic duo work.
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Typical Friday evening pub gig at the Royal Oak Hotel in Launceston, Tasmania, with my good friend Andy.

  • Driving a 50 ton suspended crane in an aluminium smelter. 12 hour rotational shifts in the baking furnace baking carbon anodes to be used in the electrolysis process. Dirty and hot work.
  • Farming… cabbage harvesting, poppy seed harvesting, broccoli harvesting, organic farm work, more poppy harvesting….
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Eastport Organics Farm, Newfoundland, Canada where I gardened and weeded for a week or so for food and accommodation.

  • Laboratory technician for a biotech company. Mostly sterilization, chemical solution preparation and dish washing.
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Hanging out with my good mate Cyril the Skeleton in the lab.

  • First Year Chemistry Department at Monash University. Fingers in so many pies here…. Laboratory demonstrations, tutorials, exam marking, practical design, preparation of chemicals, troubleshooting, the one on one help centre.
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One of my lab classes at Monash University in the First Year Chemistry Department.

  • Folding children’s clothes at a kids clothing shop.
  • Selling watches and handbags
  • Selling hair and make up products at Aveda.
  • Singing in the drag bars of Toronto as support for Drag Queens or as a part of ensemble shows. I swear this was one of the most fun jobs I have ever done! Too good!
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Another Christina Aguilera number in Crews and Tangos, one of my favourite Drag Bars to sing in.

  • Medical testing…. I have written a blog post about this. I spent a lot of time doing non invasive brain function tests for the hospital research centre.
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Chilling in the the medical research lab with my EEG cap on ready to do some testing on perception of musical tones

  • Walking flyers and posters around the neighborhoods.  I have done this for at least a good 3 months every day.
  • Online reviews of cities and hostels.
  • Driving forklifts, doing crop reception and sweeping and shoveling for poppy harvest.
  • Substitute teaching and short term contract teaching involving every single subject you can possibly think of including kindergarten music.
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A surprise some of my year 7 students left on the board for me on my last day of teaching them for 3 weeks.

 

  • Can collecting and bottle return… (may or may not have stolen cans from campground recycling bins throughout eastern Canada to fund our accommodation and petrol bill.
  • Online surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Cleaning and managing the front desk at a backpackers hostel.
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Cleaning at the hostel was dirty work. The “Friendly Morning Cleaning Lady” left lots of interesting notes, like this one with regards to the handsoap in the mens shower…..

  • Promotions and marketing…. now this is a big one because each of the jobs I do are different. Many many sampling programs for things like milk, shampoo, icy hot packs, cans of Nestea and Quakers bars. There is also lots of hustling different contests. Below we will specify some of the more ridiculous jobs.
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Looking like a Ghostbuster while distributing free hot chocolates to the masses in winter.

  • Driving a popsicle van for 3 weeks.
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Chillin’ in my popsicle van and distributing the joy of flavoured ice.

  • Dressing up in ridiculous costumes such as Shaun the Sheep or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
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Dressed as Timmy the Sheep and trying to hide from all the kids during break that were pulling on my tail and grabbing at me. Hard and hot work.

  • Placing stickers on men’s urinals in pubs so they can pee on teams they don’t like.
  • Filming a commercial for Edo Japan as the Edo Elf.
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Out on the streets as the Edo Elf. This guy told me all kinds of fun stories about his days in the Masad…. ummm… yeah right…. not quite sure about that one.

While this is a non-comprehensive list as I am sure I have probably forgotten something, it is still pretty ridiculous and funny. What is the worst job you have ever had? And better yet, is there anything here you’d like to know more about? Happy reading and I look forward to your input! 🙂

Keys to the Streets Vancouver

I arrived in Vancouver approximately ten days ago really flat and a huge part of my turn around has been all of the pianos that I have found from one end of the city to the other. The Keys To The Streets program has been running for the last two summers in Vancouver and has bought much joy to the locals,  myself included.

The first I saw of this was when my friend took me to a park in Coquitlam and there was a piano on the dock for people to play. Small children gathered around and thumped on it gleefully. I sat down and played a couple of songs and then was on my way. This was the first time I had sat down and played at a piano in many years given that they are not very portable for travel. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the piano. While I love my ukulele, there is something within my soul that awakens when I sit at a piano and I play and sing.

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Science Centre Piano

So when I got to Vancouver and found my first piano in Chinatown I was super excited. I sat down and started to play a few songs and felt immediately calm and happy. People crowded around from the surrounding businesses and stopped along the street to watch me play and for the first time in a long time I felt the performer within me coming back. And thus began my quest of the ‘pianocrawl’.

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Piano along the river walk. It got wet one day in the rain and the keys expanded and got stuck. After a couple of hot days it was back to normal

Along more of my walks, I found a piano at the Science Centre, a piano along the river front and one underneath the Cambie Street Bridge. This piano was my favourite and the best sounding by far. While sitting along the waterfront, I observed some of the most amazing musicians sit down and play this piano. From classically trained pianists, to jazz pianists…. there were some amazing talents. Not only was I fortunate enough to witness some of the magic, but I was also granted the ability to play music with some of them.

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My favourite piano under the Cambie Street Bridge. Many an awesome musician was seen playing this piano, even in bands.

The first time this happened for me, I was playing for a while and when I was done a guy asked if I wanted to jam. He was a piano player and we tried to figure out what songs we both knew and harmonized and ad libbed things. It was a whole lot of fun and I remembered how much I loved jamming with other musicians.

The second day this happened, a group rocked down to the waterfront to use the piano with their other instruments. While they were getting things organized, I played a couple of tunes with the drummer and double bass player. People crowded around and were excited about the music in their streets. When they were ready, I relinquished up the piano to one of the best jazz pianists I have ever seen sit down and play music with the band. I sat and listened happily. The music had gotten into my body and my soul and I felt alive.

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Sitting under the Cambie Street Bridge playing the piano.

Over the course of the week I was in Vancouver, every time I walked past a piano, I sat and played it. I played five pianos in total and I made videos of many different songs that I have played. You can find them on my Facebook music page at following link. There will be more uploaded over the coming weeks.


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Danni-Thomas/319464336076 Danni Thomas Musician Page


This whole activity has inspired me to find a band and start working again as a musician in the coming months when I have settled into my new life. It has also inspired me to start writing more music again. For more updates, join and follow along with the music Facebook page, otherwise I am sure there will be more updates coming about through the blog when it starts. To check out some more of what is happening in Vancouver check out the hashtag, #keys2streets. There have been some incredible musicians recorded around the city!