{Behind The Music} Zita Barbara on Remember When

painting-promo

I made up a song for the moment where two main characters reunite and find too many complications to truly reconnect. – @zitabarbara

Listen to the live Interview
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/10/20/episode-377-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW ZITA BARBARA
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

“Remember When” 

Talk about the process of writing,
recording and releasing your new single. If you have a new direction, be sure to tell us about your creative journey.

My new song is about the sweeping feelings of seeing someone again,
parting with them, and acknowledging the impact of the meeting. I cleverly tried to make each “Remember When” chorus take on a different meaning each time. The first verse is about running into the past. The second verse is about reuniting in the present. The bridge is about complicated emotions of a bittersweet goodbye. The last chorus, stays on the idea of progression, is about the future, taking the memory along as something to cherish, carrying it, and it is kind of an ode to the entire encounter. There are no bitter feelings, only memories.

I wrote this song for a romance novel, which I am currently writing.
I purposely intended to make it sound “cinematic” because in my dreamer’s mentality–I have always suffered with — I hope to publish my novel, land a movie deal, and use the song as the theme in this movie. With this romance novel in mind, I made up a song for the moment where two main characters reunite and find too many complications to truly reconnect. Like most romance novels, I separate my lovers by circumstances to create romantic tension and obstacles. That’s where this song plays in my story. I feel it aids the readers (or maybe the movie-goers in my fantasy million-dollar movie deal) in acknowledging the complicated emotions there. I was also inspired by Nicholas Sparks’ romance novel, “The Notebook.” The entire story is about the main character getting his love to “remember.”

Buy the music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/zita-barbara/id991497774

Right now, I am working to construct my 2nd music album…
around making sounds like “Remember When.” I want to display my voice and songwriting skills in a way I haven’t done it before. My direction is changing towards something a little more mature, real, and impacting. In fact, I got a review back that said, “Production is life experience.” I feel that is my direction now. I want to make music that feels genuine, heartfelt, and works like coffee to an emotionally-tired soul.

I have had many ideas run through my head…
for the “Remember When” music video. In fact, I even had a professional ballerina and choreographer for an opera company who wanted to collaborate on this project initially. We realized we lived too far apart from each other, among other issues, to “make it happen.”

So it is “back to the drawing board.”

I am a person that does well, sometimes invites,
creative road-blocks. I started thinking up other ideas and discussing planning with other people in the film industry in the San Antonio and Austin areas,. Ultimately I might just take on the project myself with a crew of people who I have worked with before on this album’s first music video project (the AVA Live Radio version of “Until We Meet Again.”) Currently, a ton of reviews came back about “Remember When” sound, which have described my vocals as “Angelic.” Since it is near Halloween, I was able to get some great deals on an angel costume. I may do something using the “angel” theme (which worked for the cover photo on my first album “I Need an Angel.” It might give my long-time fans something familiar to look forward to. It’s a good indicator of where my work is headed).

I happen to be versed on film production..
took it upon myself to “learn” film production while in college. I have an art degree with a “digital media” focus. On Youtube people can see my “first music video attempts” from school projects. One of my first productions was for a song called, “Here’s to You.” I was very proud of it because I got my own crew together of actors and camera people. It was my first “real production” that used a crew made of other film students in my class. Later on I made a full length video for “Don’t Stop-Remix.” I had an elaborate storyboard set up. I remember my main actors cancelled at the last second; for that reason, I went to a pool to cool down about it. On a whim I shot something off-the-cuff. To my surprise the people in this neighborhood pool volunteered themselves for my music video. I ended up editing something using this impromptu footage. I went home and made homemade animations to splice over the footage. The result was a colorful pool party type video.

For this next album..
I would like to post more video work as well as co-produce or direct my own projects. I would like to step outside of what people consider “a music artist.” Hopefully, my work brings more to the table in that respect. Obviously, I lack the big budget to go “Michael Bay” on my videos, but I hope to capture myself as an all-around artist.

First, my work is entertaining to follow along and watch.
The “value” that I give to people is a break from the day, a laugh, a cheerful moment, or a relatable experience to chat about. I feel many people also have “dreams” to be singers. For me, it took a car accident to step out and attempt to figure it all out on my own. I feel watching me gives people a chance to explore that dream through me.

remember

I am a versatile singer.
I studied opera under an opera coach who was a chair in the San Antonio Opera Company. At the same time, I would sing at school and have guys try to “rap” around my vocals. I have also been in “gospel” choir and belted out spiritual music. As a result I can sing in a lot of “styles.”

Third, I am a storyteller.
I saw the VH1 series “Stroytellers” featuring singer songwriters like Alicia Keys and other popular music acts. I stayed up watching it until the next day. I was inspired. I started writing books recognizing that lyrics won’t satisfy my need to “tell a story.” My work bleeds into each other, my art gets in my books, my books turn into script ideas, my “movie ideas” turn into songs like “Remember When.”

I have one rule to my songwriting.
When it comes into my head I don’t “record it” right away.  I sing it a little. If I find over the course of three months I sing the same phrase a lot, and it sticks, then I start writing lyrics. I do this so that I know that the melody is a catchy tune by itself. If I can’t remember it, I am pretty sure no one else will. Once my melody passes this step, I add lyrics. The lyrics normally have to do with things that come straight from my heart. I do that because when I sing I have to “feel it” or else it won’t come out of my mouth like I truly mean it. Also I love writing things that I won’t normally say in real life. I don’t think any of these sentiments would be expressed in my life if it wasn’t for music. I feel the things that people are afraid to say or admit make the best writing because artists are just the type to “say it,” and have the rest of the crowd respond with, “It’s about time someone brought it up.”

The last step in my process,
when I have both my music and lyrics, is to lay out a skeleton with my producer. We collaborate to build it up from there. When I sat down with Taylor Kroff, the producer for “Remember When.” he has proven himself so skilled in many avenues of music that it is easy to communicate the ideas I have. He is an accomplished pianist and graduated with a degree in commercial music. We have worked together for a good year know and found a good creative language. He pushes me as an artist and performer.

I have always created and lived out a creative lifestyle.
It is “extra work” to be a creative person. Once I asked my company to give me the first shift of the day. I would be the first person at work for a 5:00am to 1:00pm shift so that I could use my afternoons and evenings to take art classes. I lived miles away from the company so the first shift meant I had to start my day at four in the morning. I also took classes until ten at night sometimes. I took all the evening courses I could. That meant the classes that went until 9:45 p.m. at the university. I would get home late. Do my homework and eat. I didn’t sleep. I graduated with an art degree on this ridiculous schedule. I don’t think that’s what most people would consider “balance.” I am moved by a greater power. To me, I feel like “I have to do this.” I have this vision in my head and a need to see it out as if it is “a calling.” I will feel “unsettled” until I see it out. It’s not easy to live like that. I watched “Walt Before Mickey” and recognize the same attitude in Walt Disney. He wanted to be the greatest animator. He went bankrupt several times and never had money for his grand vision. People didn’t believe in him. People quit on him at critical times. He never gave up.  For me, I was starting to “give up on the dreams” thinking normal and “balanced” is what I wanted. I was getting exhausted balancing life and my big dreams. I was also being discouraged to pursue art by some people around me who didn’t share my vision. At that point, I was in banking doing a full time job and going through art school hoping all the hard work would do the trick. I was starting to feel like the days were running together and I didn’t understand where my life was going as a banking-artist with no sleep. I had to “make a choice” that all real artist have to make eventually…I had to stop trying to live out two lives. I chose to feed my art. That choice was made when I got into a car crash. I decided to “get up one more time and try again” despite of everything because I felt I was given a second chance by not getting hurt in the accident. This time I wrote out my bucket list and I didn’t hold back. I wrote out all my impossible dreams. Little by little I am accomplishing them. I find the phrase, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” to be helpful. Deciding to stand up just one more time made all the difference. Yes, I do run into set-backs at times, but it feels good when something pans out, like developing a clothing line. A company called, “VIDA” invited me to be a designer after seeing my butterfly art online. The invite came out of nowhere. I think for every “set-back” an artist faces, something unexpected like this happens. This is the link for my “VIDA VOICES COLLECTION:” Zita Barbara – VIDA

Anti-Bullying, Clean Eating, and Art Therapy. 

The way I “help” with bullying is letting people know I was bullied for my voice in choir.
People who are bullied don’t like to “admit it.” There is so much weight placed on “trying to fit in” at certain ages that when a person is bullied they will suffer alone at times. I feel sorry for bullied kids because I was feeling alone with it too at the time. I feel music is a good place for all people to find acceptance and wait-out a hard time. “This to shall pass” applies to getting bullied, I wasn’t popular as a singer in one choir. I also went on to get a music scholarship in college and pursue my music dream. Getting bullied actually helped me stay motivated in the long run. It gave me something to prove.

It’s is no surprise that I believe in art therapy.
I volunteer with an organization First-MD. This organization promotes the healing power of the arts. It helps raise funds for research on PTSD, mood disorders and art therapy. The organization helps a lot of veterans with PTSD in San Antonio (because we are a military town.) I was drawn to working with First-MD for these reasons. I have always turned to arts to get through the set-backs in my life. Art is a place where people can understand themselves better, to take a break from all the noise, to regroup and face the world when they are ready again.

Clean eating- I started a “clean eating” page after my accident.
Taking care of your soul also means cleaning it’s house…the body. The problem is that these days people are pressed by marketing to eat wrong. I read a book called, “Start Here Diet” by Tosca Reno (a clean-eating guru.) I knew that I needed to take action and I wanted to try, for myself , for others, to combat bad marketing about foods with my own promotion of healthy eating.

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Beware!

There are very real “sharks” out there only trying to make money out of people’s dreams.
You can spot a bad producer most of the time if they try to gauge how long you’ve been doing music recording and how much you already know. In this industry “what you don’t know hurts you.” I have had a producer call me into a studio when I was sick. We did absolutley no work together. He then attempted to bill me for just sitting down with him. He then yelled at me that he needed to pay his bills and couldn’t do it if artist like me waste his time.

Wow. Yes, that’s what you will face if you are not careful.
You will also face “trolls and haters.”Don’t let it get to you. Listen to your fans!

Someone left a three posts long tirade about how they are sick of the music industry
trying to force another “sexy blonde Britney”( plus a word that is inappropriate) down people’s throats.  It took a lot from me to work up the courage to upload it to Youtube in the first place. I remember thinking to myself, “Hey, that’s great he thinks a record label is backing this.” I spun it around to a “positive” in my own mind. I took all the mean comments and decided to be flattered that someone thought I was being “groomed for stardom.”

Discouragement and no-activity
You will feel discouraged starting out as an artist (especially at first.) The year or two “starting out” is hardest because no one knows you. No cares to “look out for your work.” That’s just how it is when you start out! Don’t worry…believe…just believe in you. You will attract people if you are being “real” and pushing yourself to do better work. Let your inner-voice guide you. Don’t get “down” when people leave your page or don’t like one song. It is “one song” and you are capable of making more, better ones. Everything is a learning experience. Be patient with yourself.

Working with a good producer.
My first song “Run” was produced by fellow music students while I was in school. I sang accapella to a metronome in one of the music rooms at school into a borrowed old microphone. I sang the song completely through two or three times. A week later, my voice was placed to a background I had never heard before. I graduated from that experience to work on “I Need an Angel.” The producer there worked with a popular rapper in town. He was accustomed to working with “loops” and beats, we attempted to “fit my vocals” to the “beats.” The first album has that sort of feel to it as a result. This 2nd album I am working with a good producer who is sure to capture my voice, my songs, my “sound” in a way I have not been able to before.

“Until We Meet Again” is a song that resonates with a lot of people.
It describes an incurable ache of missing someone who you will never get back. There is a lot of feeling in that song and something for everyone. The music, the lyrics, the voice is all heartfelt.

I like Facebook. I was never a “social media” person until recently.
My Facebook was the first social media account I ever had. Someone in Germany or Austria started it for me as a way to keep in touch after a school trip. I have had my Facebook account for a longer time than all the other platforms. I am most comfortable using my FB page over other platforms for this reason.  My second favorite is Twitter because so many new people get to see my work and fan me! I am working on setting up a painting show for Periscope.  I also post all my new music to Reverbnation and Sound Cloud.

I have improved dramatically after my first show with A.V.A Live Radio.
In fact, I feel I may have started my Twitter account as a result of being selected. I started my Periscope account in order to do a live-steam interview to show off the butterfly paintings I mentioned during my radio interview with Jaqueline Jax. I have learned so much with Jax’s help. Every day now I get a new fan.

Many people have contacted me to “book” shows.
I am still recording inside the studio and putting together my 2nd album. It has been interesting to see how many people pop up and ask me to come to a party to sing. Right now I am like “Sia.” I am a songwriter mostly. My next “show” is in November, I have been asked to perform at a fashion auction and showcase my fashion work. It is happening this fall. The number one socialite in San Antonio is hosting this auction. She is planning to use one of my original designs on the cover of her fashion calendar, and my art in an inspirational journal. I will possibly perform a couple of my latest songs at this gala. As far as all these requests to “book me” I still need a manager and I am holding off until I finish my 2nd album. I will perform if the conditions are right for it. Since, I am getting so many requests I might not see something in my messages. For example, I almost passed up an opportunity to be selected to compete into a songwriting competition because the way to get a hold of me gets mixed in with other messages. If you are a “music business type” trying to get my attention I will be making an “official site” soon with a good way to get a hold of me.

“Music is words that cannot be expressed.”

Going back to my original point.
“Remember When” is trying to capture a feeling. If feelings can be explained using words alone then there would be no need for music. We would all write out some dry explanation that has a measured amount of love just like anything else humans do. Like, “I have exactly one cup of love when I see you.” There are feelings, deep feelings, that cannot be adequately described using plain words.  So many people say “love” that it is hard to know exactly what it means. Music makes feelings “felt.” It makes “love” powerful again. It says, “this is exactly what I felt when I saw you again.”

Social Media Links:

Periscope: http://www.Periscope.tv/zitabarbara1111
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZitaBarbaraSanders
Twitter: https://twitter.com/zitabarbara
Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/zitabarbara
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/zita-barbara/i-dont-wanna-fall-in-love
Shopvida: http://shopvida.com/collections/zita-barbara

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