Yes, you can now support my musical journey on an ongoing basis via Patreon! Pay as little or as much as you like! There are no levels of access, just a donation upfront that will then recur monthly. You can also cancel at any time! I’m currently working on what I hope will become an album of musical settings of some of the poetry of Emily Dickinson. If you become a patron, you can get lots of interesting insights into my process of creating and recording music, as well as early access to new music! So check out my Patreon page at: http://www.patreon.com/sarahillismusic and enjoy!
Author: Sara Hillis
Live Interview and Performance This Friday on AMI Audio!
I’m proud to announce that I will be taking part in an interview and performance segment in the Music Corner portion of Kelly and Company, an afternoon lifestyle and chat show, this Friday on AMI Audio! AMI stands for Accessible Media Incorporated and is a service which is dedicated to bringing both audio entertainment and information as well as TV programs with descriptive video to Canadians who are blind and visually impaired as well as to anyone else who might want to partake.
On Friday, I will be joining hosts Kelly MacDonald and Sharon Caddy at 4:30 Eastern to talk about the music that I do and to sing a couple of songs as well. Who knows? You may get a special holiday musical treat just for tuning in!
Find the show on the AMI Audio channel on your TV or else at this link.
Support the Canadian Red Cross one Song at a Time!
I’m proud to introduce a new and very special song: my setting of “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae (1872-1918.) A dollar from every purchase of this song will benefit the Canadian Red Cross. Every sale of this song will go to support their efforts to relieve suffering both here at home and around the world. I will not take tax deductions for these donations and there is no catch. Of course, if you want to donate on your own behalf to the Red Cross, I encourage you to do so, but perhaps we can make a difference, one song at a time.
Purchase “In Flanders Fields” and support the Canadian Red Cross!
Album Update: Reflections on the Recording Process
I had hoped to bring you weekly updates on the progress of the new album, but as you can see, that was not to be. However, after a spring and summer filled with activities other than recording, I am now back at it and am recording vocals for The Peregrin Heart.
I must say that, as compared to the last album, this recording process is much more of a pleasure, because I am deliberately leaving my inner critic at the door until I get three reasonably good takes for each song. All I’m interested in is getting those three takes done for now, and then later, I will put on my Producer hat and be as ruthless as I can be. For now, however, I am the singer and the engineer, and for now, that’s how I like it.
Now that I am singing along with an already-recorded piano track rather than playing and singing simultaneously as I do in performance, I’m finding that I’m able to go more deeply into the songs I have written and to really think about the poetry that they are bringing to life. I have also discovered a surprising thing; I really enjoy these songs in an objective way. They are worthy works in their own right. As I am singing, I often have to stop myself because I have been thinking so hard about how another instrument might fit into the mix that I have flubbed a lyric or forgotten what comes next.
Now that the vocals are being done, the album is entering the realms of reality. It’s beginning to take on a life of its own, and this, as always, is amazing! While I still have no firm deadline for its completion, I know now that it will be completed, and as soon as I know, you’ll know.
I hope to share more about the creative and recording process in the coming weeks. Till then, stay tuned!
Album Update: Art and Images
Well, the recording has not gone so speedily as I had hoped due to several noisy repares going on in the apartment building where I live. However, I have not been idle. Last week was spent in doing research for the art which will represent the album, and I am soon about to enter the world of actually licensing an image from a gallery. It’s very exciting. I also have a designer who is willing to help me to take that image and turn it into an album cover.
I have often resented the need for imagery to go along with an album. All I ever want out of a good album is great music, but for most people in the world, the cover on the CD or on the download site is the first thing they’ll see. I can’t imagine that a cover would make that much of a difference, but then, I don’t live with a visual frame of reference. So, onward and upward. I hope the design will be finished long before I actually release the album.
As for recording, I hope to get back into it with a vengeance this week and to continue it through the month of March. Wish me luck and stay tuned for further updates!
New Album in the Works!
I am excited to announce finally that a new album, to be titled The Peregrin Heart, is now officially underway. As with the previous album, I am recording and producing it myself and it will be available as a digital download from this site as well as from iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and other stores. It will also be available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.
As usual, the album will contain musical settings of lyrical and interesting poems, some well known and loved by me and some which I discovered in the process of finding material for this latest effort. Returning once again are favourite poets such as Tennyson and Yeats, while joining the group for the first time are others like Walter de la Mare, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, William Earnest Henley and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The album deals with the longings of the human heart and the inevitable losses which attend those longings while we dwell here on earth. From the choice between two diverging roads (The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost) to the all-consuming need to climb higher (Excelsior by Longfellow,) to the sadness of unrequited love (Tennyson’s haunting tale of “The Lady of Shalott”,) all the songs on this album are about the journey to find our true heart’s desire and perhaps our soul’s consolation as well.
We are all pilgrims in this life, exiles from home who follow the glimpses of the sun between the ancient boughs of life’s tangled forest, seeking that place where light is all there is. Along the way, we meet joys and sorrows, beautiful dreams and terrifying nightmares, and all the while we hear the calling of that nameless voice which we know will bring us to unending bliss if we can but keep it clearly before us. So come with me on this journey. I would love to have your company as I travel.
Stay tuned for updates as the album progresses. I hope to provide a weekly bulletin as to how the recording is going. AS of now, I can tell you that I have laid down initial piano tracks for all ten songs this week.
Till next week then, go well and may the road rise to meet you!
Music Featured in Podcast!
“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” was featured in a recent episode of the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. Check out the eposode at this link
Also, be sure and check out the entire web site and consider becoming a patron of the podcast. Click here for the main web site of the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast.
Upcoming Concert! January 31, 2015
If you’re in the Brantford area, come out and join me on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 2:00 PM for a free concert at the Brantford Music Centre, 422 Colborne Street, Brantford, Ontario. I will be performing as a part of their Acoustic Cafe series. For more information about the store and its Saturday afternoon concerts, check out their web site at: http://www.musicentre.com. I’ll be performing some of my own songs as well as other celtic and folk music, and who knows? There just might be a new song or two which I have not yet recorded! I’d love to see you there, so mark your calendars and come on out!
New Year, New Process, New Music!
Well, a new year has begun with all its hopes and challenges still head. I spent last year largely in taking stock of the ways in which I was handling my music, and I also composed several new songs which culminated in the release of my most recent album, “In Ten Thousand Places: Where Hillis Meets Hopkins,” just last month. So far, it has been well-received and it’s available from this very site in digital format if you wish to purchase it. You don’t even need to have iTunes or Google Play! However, if you do use these stores and other online digital music retailers, you can of course purchase my music from them if you like.
During the process of recording this album, I realized that I thoroughly enjoy the work of producing and editing music, and I am eager to do more of it as this year progresses. With the help of a new microphone which is almost a tiny recording studio in its own rite, I think it’s a safe bet that more music will be available for sale before the year is out. I have decided to adopt a process which I hope will see recording of some sort almost always occurring, as well as leaving the time necessary to create new music. In this way, albums will simply appear over time, and there will hopefully be no more long lapses between new projects. Instead, the music itself will be an ongoing project and will produce albumes and possibly singles in a more organic fashion which fits my personality and my desire for simplicity and an ongoing flow of creativity quite well. My new philosophy is: music begets music. So, whether I’m recording or composing or performing, it will all feed into itself and will hopefully allow me to stretch myself as a musician with every new experience.
IN closing, I hope that 2015 will be a year filled with song and joy, and I hope you’ll come along with me on this new journey, which I hope will be made up of equal parts creativity and productivity. May all the best be yours in this new year!
New Album is Now Live!
Yes, it’s true! “In Ten Thousand Places: Where hillis Meets Hopkins” is now available for digital download. You can get it at many of the leading digital music stores such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify, or you can also purchase it directly from this web site. CDs will be coming in the new year and I’ll keep you posted on further developments. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I have enjoyed every aspect of its production.