Monday, 29 November 2010

On the Train Ride Home

The hills, sprinkled with frosty pastures and snowy brushes, zip past the window as I look into the distance. The gentle lulling of the train woos me as I lean over my notebook allowing my hand to feast the empty pages with inspiration.

At first I don't feel the gentle tap on my shoulder. I mistake the tap for the uncomfortable crease my sweater creates underneath my fur jacket. But then it happens again. A gentle nudge that I shrug off. It isn't until a third try, that the tapping turns into a pinch, where I'm torn out of my state of imagination. There is a moment of confusion as I turn my head towards the inquisitor and I blink my eyes into focus.

Seated next to me is a young bobcat, with a crew-cut and a face that looks like it's wincing. I follow his painful gaze where he's pointing at something caught behind the seat.

"My tail madam. You're sitting on my tail..." The bobcat boy says.

"Oh dear!" I say.

I lift myself and the young bobcat hastily gathers up his tail. The boy, with the tail now safely wrapped around his wrist like a coiled snake, looks up at me and grins, his fangs sparkling in the blue evening light.

"I am so terribly sorry." I say once again. The embarrassment fill my cheeks like hot jugs of mulled wine.

"Not a problem. It happens all the time. My father says I'll grow into it soon."

"I'm sure you will." I say and pull out a crinkly bag of sweets, shake the pack to get his attention and offer him some.

Tentatively, with claws poking through the fuzz of his paw, the young bobcat pushes the sweets around, until he decides on a large orange one. He pops the sweet into his mouth, his cheeks puffing out with delight, causing his whiskers to erect.

"Mmmm." The boy says squeezing his eyes shut.

For a moment there is silence and I watch the boy stroke his tail and suck his candy.

I lean in and just above a whisper say, "By the way, this fur jacket isn't real..."

The young bobcat looks at me for a moment, his pink tongue reaches out to lap up the  remains of sticky orange goo from his nose,

" I know," he finally replies with a wink.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Our Land

The Native Americans had the right attitude. When the French and the English settled on American soil, the natives welcomed them, because they believed mother earth was to be shared, not to be claimed.

I was born in Switzerland and I have a Swiss passport. However for as long as I can remember, I never felt I belonged to one particular place. That's probably mainly to do with the fact that I traveled a lot, lived in other countries and was educated in an international school. If you'd put me on the map, my country would be called 'Everyone & Everywhere'.

At first, when I was younger, having a lack of this identity of where my home was, had its moments of confusion and the sense of belonging was unsteady. But as I got older, I embraced the fact that I kind of belonged everywhere. And why not? Why do we feel we need identity? Why do we feel that a passport or even a job title makes us more 'a somebody' than if one is without those things?

In a recent interview for my band, I was asked what I thought was the worlds biggest problem and what I would do to solve it. A tough one to answer, but I had an inkling... The worlds biggest problem is greed and nationalism. I think they actually kind of go hand in hand. But to keep it simple, if we begin to take responsibility for our own actions as well as for one another, become more self aware, have greater understanding of others and stop seeing people for their passports, skin color, religion, I think the world would become a simpler place.

I am Swiss (by passport and no more). I am not a Nazi. I say this because Switzerland passed a law today that is incredibly controversial. This new law risks on losing trade with other countries, it literally can segregate the country's position within the EU's economic trade agreement AND this ugly law breeches the human rights enactment. The worse part? This law was passed because the majority of Switzerland's people wanted it this way, well the 52,9% of them anyway.

I have not been Swiss since I was three years old. I do not believe in belonging to anything else but to the people I love and these people come from all over the world. This does not make me lost. This makes me found. I am strong enough to stand here and be my own country.

I am my country.
I am my culture.
I am my government.
I am my boss.
I am my skin color.
I am my religion.

You cannot label me. You cannot tell me what to do. You cannot take anything away from me that I am not willing to give.

I give love. I give life. I give hope.

I am you and you are me and this is why I will always treat you the way I would want to be treated.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


As an artist, I go through a roller coaster ride of emotions. I'm either really high or really low. Sometimes I find it hard to find middle ground, this is even after all the reasoning I do, you know, telling yourself that you're exaggerating the negatives, that life really is good and so on. Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to suffer a bit, feel the unnecessary pain, give it 48 hours, then move on.

That's how I do it anyway.

Things have been going real well for me lately. With all the chanting I do to my gods and working hard, playing hard and thinking of all the things I want to achieve in my life, things are turning around, quite quickly as well.

My band seems to be getting the recognition it deserves and we're getting some real decent gigs in Germany. We're heading down to Berlin for one month in January to record our Album and I thought, hey, why not book some gigs whilst we're there. And so we did. On top of that, this guy whose been having an eye on us, also offered us some pretty decent gigs, one's even in Munich.

This is what I dream of, that after a while the chasing people that I do comes to an end and in return they start coming after me. I've also been sprucing up my CV this week, sent it off for a couple of intern positions, and barely a day later, I get my first telephone interview.

So what does all this good stuff mean? Is it really my fancy CV, the great band I'm in, the positive attitude that good things suddenly appear? Maybe it's really all about having the right mind set. I know we can't always be positive and think things are dandy and we shouldn't feel we have to be perfect all the time... that maybe it's good to feel like shit from time to time, just to remind yourself that things will only get better from there on out.

I come from a privileged family and with that privilege, besides the perks of support, comes a lot of responsibility and tons of pressure. I never quite felt like my parents were there for me, they were always off doing things for themselves, leaving us kids to figure life out on our own. I ain't feeling sorry for myself, but I gotta say, for them leaving me to figure things out in life, also gave me the benefits to try out everything and anything I've ever wanted. However, although I've had the enjoyment to fulfill my artistic dreams, I can't help thinking that some people in my family might wonder when I will decide to "grow up" that maybe my dreams as an artist are frivolous and are headed towards doom.

What does 'doing well' mean to you?

Success is relative in my opinion and I'm sure most people would say, having lots of money is a sign of success or fame or friends or the perfect marriage… But for me (and this is something that I have to tell myself everyday or else I drown in the pressures put upon me) success is feeling happiness everyday. Success is my spiritual development, the escape I can feel during a live show when everything goes well. Success is finding love and putting my heart and soul into those people and those projects that I truly believe in. Money and fame are the outer shells, the result of a chain reaction that usually begins from within. Of course I want these things, but if I had those things without the internal happiness, fame and fortune would be meaningless.

A good girlfriend of mine said, those musicians who didn't care about having a successful job and used music as an escape, were the ones who lasted. Do you think Kurt Cobain ever had a fall back plan? Those musicians who believed so much in what they did, others around them believed it too, because the music was pure and it reached out and moved people. Art needs to be pure. Art also needs to be daring and provoke reactions. Most artists were ousted because they changed something traditional, but were then thanked for it later. Those artists who achieved such reactions, sacrificed themselves.

My point is this, if you really want to make a difference, it needs to begin first and foremost in yourself before people begin to notice your work. This means freeing yourself from traditions you were brought up with. You have to be ready for the implications your art could have on your life and the remarks others will give you, positive or negative. Being an artist is not comfortable, it's not glamorous. Being an artist is finding the truth, the purity within the truth that can change people's lives, that can also be daring and frightening to most people. When Klimt changed his painting method, his Austrian community ousted him, until of course people began to catch on.

A true artist sacrifices. The meaning of this is in the sentence alone.

I Couldn't Care

I couldn't care,
I couldn't care,
My heart's dead in my sleeve.

I couldn't share,
I couldn't share,
I'm naked to the bone.

It's been a while
It's been a while,
since the last time we held hands.

You were like
You were like,
A termite in my hair.

And now I've grown
And now I've grown,
From a worm into a bird.

I should have known
I should have known,
It's the last time I get fooled.

I could have cared
I could have cared,
But my hearts reserved in my sleeve...

Monday, 22 November 2010


Check out this new music video from The Unkindness of Ravens!

Thank you for watching!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fear = Adrenaline

There will always be a day or two but no more than three (if you're clever) where a little niggle comes to giggle. The giggle in itself isn't much of a friend because the giggle seems to be a little bit condescending. So there will be a brush or two from the thigh, as I push the little niggly giggly away from me. But usually by this point, the niggly giggly has already latched its fangs into my flesh, sucking at my blood, turning what was ruby red into black tar.

I call this niggly giggly, The Fear.

We all have it from time to time. When life seems rough or you feel lonely or you don't know where you're going... The Fear comes swooping in. At first he seems gentle and kind because there's something rather comforting about him and his elegant grace... But once you give in, your heart speeds up, your blood feels thin and your skin turns pale...

Fear isn't only a vampire that sucks away your energy, Fear changes the way you think and see the world... Sometimes even a sunny day may seem dark with clouds.

How to get rid of The Fear.

Most think Fear is a negative trait. On the contrary! I remind myself that it's a positive feeling to have from time to time. Fear is positive. Fear is survival. Nature would not have given us Fear if it weren't a component that would help us survive through the sticky times.

When my heart speeds up, my tummy turns, my sweat glands burst and my mind races, I know there's something I need to do and FAST. I need to change something FAST, before I become paralyzed.

So the next time you feel The Fear in your life, don't think it's something that's holding your back...

Think of Fear as the Adrenaline that's trying to push you forward.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Alone With You?

I had to ask and see if it's true,
if I could
always be,
alone with you.
Always and forever,
just you and me,
in the morning,
lunch and dinner,
just you and me.
I had to ask,
if this is what you want to.
And with a nod,
a sweet smile
you said yes.
All the time before
you and me,
were on trials
to discover our
own worth and values.
And now,
alone with you
I ask again
to see if it's true,
that forever you and me
always be,
alone with you.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Quality VS Quantity!

Quality VS Quantity! Who wins?
This is something that I am sure concerns most generations as we gradually evolve into the "modern" times of mankind within the music industry. What is quality? Where is the truly "good" stuff? And what is the "good" stuff really?

I am sure what I find legit now regarding music, is something that my grandparents could never understand, however, we are to understand that as times evolve and we evolve with the times, that what we might find "good" now, most "old timers" find crap.

The Unkindness of Ravens had an interview this evening with, a very well respected online music magazine, and after chatting with our interviewer on skype, interesting subjects were raised which got me thinking about a lot of things, one subject in particular was regarding sound quality in MP3's, CD's and Vinyls.

Ben and I come from a background of quite reasonably classical music, that's Beatles, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and anything to Vivaldi and Mozart and so on. What influences us and what we find quality now, is most likely lost within the young generation of our time. However, this begs the question, is it really for us, us "old timers", to say what quality is and what isn't? 

Maybe, if you want to remain bitter, I can see an "old timer" rocking in his chair saying things like 'back in the day we believed…' But I see it differently. I know where my influences have come from, I understand how I have evolved and where I have managed to create my identity through my nature and nurturing. But in this time, all I can really do is make sure that, somehow, I can set some kind of example to the younger folk, of where all my 'goodness' has come from. 

Yes, I could worry about the next generation, that they won't know what true quality music is or even where great music originates from… But like I said earlier, my grandparents were probably equally concerned for the generation after them. Fact is, things move forward (or downward or sideways..), either for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons, but surely that's for the individual to decide. If you are self aware enough to know what is out there, what has been out there and its prior influences, surely you're a little bit ahead of most people.

True, we are in a time where information is produced fast, super fast, almost light speed; today's news was yesterdays, the pop band you see on NME today is already a year old blablabla... And where's the end? Supposedly studies have shown that the attention span of the majority of folk in today's time has, indeed, shortened. YIKES.

So what do we do? I doubt any corporation will ever step up to change, after all they're saving enough pennies and want to keep it that way, so really it's down to the individual to make the change; the change within themselves not to be tempted, not to be seduced by whatever is lurking in the shadows that seems sweet.

I ask you - which would you buy? An MP3 Album from iTunes that's 5quid? Or a CD for 10quid? (or best yet a Vinyl version for maybe 15quid)… although an MP3 Album on iTunes is cheaper, the sound quality is seriously so low and compressed that comparing it to older mediums you would be surprised at the sonic difference in quality…

Which would you choose?

I already know what you would say - your heart will say CD or Vinyl, but your wallet will say MP3. 

And you know what? I won't fight against you or your wallet or your principles. But you have to tell yourself this, that time is money but time is also made up of quality time… that is, if you use it wisely...


you care.

Monday, 1 November 2010

My Positive Mind

My mother told me when I was a kid, that when I fall off the horse, I gotta get back on it. I don't mean figurativly, I mean literally. I'd fall of the horse jumping, galloping, bucking... I'd hit my head, scrape my arms or get dragged a few meters by the stirrup... Yea, those experiences would shake me, but once I dusted the sand from my boots, I'd look up at the beast, grab the reins and swing my legs back onto it and try all over again, no matter how much I wanted to vomit with fear.

I think by nature I'm a woman of comfort and wellness and relaxation. And my mother's a hard ass who'd staple a busted lip together before going to the hospital. So I think I was very fortunate to grow up with someone who pushed me to my limits. I think this is why I'm rather bitter sweet. I've got a sweet soul, I love with every ounce of myself at all times, but I had to learn to be a 'hard ass' at times.

One of my ways to maintain stability in my life, is to keep my home clean and my relationship with my loved ones healthy, pure and honest. If this is all in order, I won't be distracted from my ambitions in life. And being an artist, I learned that I needed this stability, or else I'd get distracted and wouldn't get anything done.

I wanted to write today about positive mind sets. Thing is, this is important, to everyone, to have a positive outlook on life and to constantly remind ourselves of our strengths.

There has been some recent hype and success with one of my projects, my band The Unkindness of Ravens. This is good news, but in the past, even good news only lasted for some moments and then it was back to working our butts off. This is ok. This is normal in the entertainment business. My point is, if you're doing this for yourself, you will realize that being an artist is a life long commitment, there is no end. Some people end once they've had their first major role, some end once they've hit their first million... for whatever reason, some artists stop, but I won't, because I know I am a hungry little lady and I don't ever see my appetite dying.

Having a positive mindset by reminding yourself of the good things, helps you stay rooted, keeps you focused and squeezes out adrenaline, which helps to stay motivated and continue to strive for more. Something I see the opposite of this happening is in football - the minute a player is payed a sickeningly large sum of money, he becomes cocky and loses his focus on being a great player and/or ends up injuring himself, turns fat and/or cheats on his wife. As much as I wish money wasn't a motivator, you have to learn to rise above it, that the real success are the learning curves, the gained skills, the wisdom you've nurtured... however I also understand that I need to eat and pay the bills...

I remember when I was maybe 14 or so, I was in the gym throwing hoops (basketball term when shooting balls into the net). It was a bit of a hit and miss, sometimes it went in, sometimes it didn't. I couldn't figure out how to stay consistent. An older kid, who was pretty much the equivilent to a basketball pro back in the day, had been watching me and came up to help me. He said, that I needed to visualize the ball going into the hoop before I threw the ball, then once I had a clear picture in my mind, I could throw it. So I closed my eyes and saw the ball travelling through the air and sinking itself into the net. I opened my eyes, and lunged the ball forward, and SWOOSH, the ball went in. I tried again and again, and didn't miss once... that is until I got so excited, lost my concentration and the ball stopped going in...

This is life. You gotta see what you want clear as day in your mind first before you go charging through life. You got to believe in what you see. Don't wish things for the sake of it, or because everyone else is doing it, your heart will always be honest with you. And once you're on your way, down the path of good things to come, you will have questions from time to time and answers will appear...

And sometimes there will be obstacles in your way that might bring you down, but like my mom said, when you fall off that horse, get back on it!

Because what's the worst that can happen? You'll feel a bit of pain? Yea, ok, but it's a little bit of pain for a moment versus happiness for the rest of your life.

Because I'm telling you - once you're over that needle prick of pain and you're back on that horse, you won't forget the addictive feeling you get in your tummy when you kick that horse to move faster. You'll become addicted to that feeling, like a crush for the very first time, as the sensation of wind blows through your hair and all you can hear are the rhythmic thuds of the horses hoofs beating the earth as it gallops through an endless green field. And as you kick the horse to go faster, the taste of freedom builds inside your mouth, you're hooked because now, you will always want more...