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Carmel Dean

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Project: Song Blog #4 -- OR -- Being a Composer in the City That Never Sleeps

Posted: 06/12/2012 3:15 pm

People outside of New York ask me all the time what it's like living in The Big Apple. The answer varies depending what mood I'm in -- and that often depends on what's happening outside my window! I live in Union Square, home of a wonderful Farmer's Market, artisan stalls, a Whole Foods, Sunday night tango -- and a plethora of musicians. When I sit at my piano, I look out at the Andy Warhol monument, and that provides a backdrop to dueling electric guitars, bucket drummers, a traveling honky-tonk piano, and more. You can imagine the challenge that brings anyone trying to have some "quiet time" at home -- let alone someone trying to write songs!

Quite often it is the energy and life of the city that inspires me to write, but sometimes it's just too hard to invent a new melody when "Oh Danny Boy" on the bagpipes is the only thing you're hearing. I'm sure there are many writers in the city who feel the same way -- and we all have creative ways of dealing with the challenge. I have some heavy-duty headphones, and I've also mastered the art of having white noise or talk radio playing in my living room as I compose, which is much more preferable to competing with and 8-year-old playing "Fur Elise" (way too fast) on a Casio keyboard. I also often wait until the other musicians go home, and write late at night.

Ultimately, it is the feeling of living in the middle of everything that keeps me creative -- and keeps me loving life in New York. This week's Song Blog is an homage to Union Square -- subway hub, destination for tourists and locals alike, and my home. Please enjoy Michael Winther singing "Travel," with music by Carmel Dean and lyrics/poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

 

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