Category Archives: Other Arts

Words I needed to hear from Ryan Kairalla

I shamelessly plug things on my blog that I like. I don’t get paid for it, I do it because I like something and think other might as well. I share.

So since when did podcasts became an art form? Well, we always viewed TV as an art form, we viewed radio at that as well. To me any result of a creative process is an art form. I for one find podcasts (especially good ones) very engaging and thought-provoking art form.

I am a big fan of the Break the business podcast, and in many ways the fact that I got to appear on one of the earlier episodes has contributed to that. You can check out that episode HERE. But this week one of the hosts of the podcast Ryan Kairalla started the show with a  beautiful section about the events in Paris and his own feelings. And then he continues to talk about the important role us artists play in times like these. And I would very much like to thank Ryan for this, as I for one, who also spent the past few days in a fog, needed to hear it. Thank you Ryan!

Also in the podcast Ryan interviews Ari Herstand, who runs one of the best modern music business blogs Ari’s Take, so a lot of great advice as well.

But the reason I wanted to feature the podcast here, is Ryans words to the artists. Inspiring stuff. Check it out.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Start working and inspiration will come to you

inspirationWhat if I told you that you are in control of your own creativity? How often have you put aside your creative tasks just because you didn’t feel inspired? I hear this all the time, “I need to wait for the inspiration to come.” What other profession could you just wait around until you “feel like dong something” before you get the work done? If I have learned anything from the past year and eight months of writing and releasing song a week and writing 650 blog posts, it is the fact that if you really want to get something remarkable done, you need to turn up and do the work!

Now don’t get me wrong, I do have days when I stare at a clean page and wonder what on earth am I going to write about. And the temptation to walk away and come back to it is overwhelming. Staring at a white page not being able to write anything is like someone reminding you constantly that you are failing. And if you can’t break past that initial few lines, your self-doubt starts to play havoc on your mind, and the rabbit hole just gets deeper by the minute. In other words, it’s a surefire way to jump head first deep in to depression.

And those of you who look artists from the outside wondering how volatile and moody we can be, well the above is very much the reason behind it. Don’t ever underestimate how difficult it can be.

But I still believe that you are in charge of your own creativity. The trick is to trigger it. I know you need to, or want to write about specific subject, but sometimes you need to go off the rails to get started. So if you are stuck, try this:

Choose one of the subjects below and if you are a songwriter try to write something about it in a song format (rhythm and rhyme), if you are a blogger, or any other kind of writer try to write about it in as descriptive way as possible. Describe the surroundings, sounds, smells, feelings. It’s a simple trick, but I find it to be surprisingly powerful. Don’t worry if what you write does not stand up to your usually high critical standard. I am giving you a permission to write rubbish here! What we want to do is just break past that mental barrier we have created in our mind.

So write me about:

– What you had for breakfast.
– What happened when you went for a coffee on your own in your local coffee shop? (Beer in a    pub will do as well)
– Pick up an item in your surroundings, for example pen, TV remote, phone charger… It can be
anything. Imagine it becoming alive while you are away. Now write about it’s adventure
around your house.

As you can see I picked three everyday scenarios, with different levels of imagination required for every one of them. So just get writing, don’t overthink. Remember no one needs to see it anyway. It’s just an exercise for you to break through your creative block, and take control of your own creativity.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Share love, music and art part 5

Drawing 1 by Carlos Ramos
I am very exited to share with you some drawings by Italian artist Carlos Ramos. Our paths kind of crossed by accident. Carlos came into the Porterhouse today, where I was playing a session with friends of mine Brian and Barra. Carlos enjoyed the afternoon of music with some food and beer, ad all awhile he had his small sketch book out, where he was constantly drawing.

Drawing 2 Carlos RamosSo what you see here on this page was all drawn live in the moment, and with a kind permission from Carlos I am sharing them with you. If you want to sent some compliments to Carlos, you can do so on Twitter @umhcramos. Tell him that J.P. sent you 😉

I think Carlos did a wonderful job capturing the session, which is just few guys playing music at the corner of a bar, no microphones, no stage. To me it is music in one of its purest forms, and the simple use of just pen and paper in the drawings seem to work perfectly hand in hand.

Drawing 3 Carlos RamosTo me this was one of those magical moments, when someone gets inspired by music to do some other form of art. As an artist it is one of the highest rewards. Too often I see artist treating art as a competition, where as we all should aspire to inspire each others. I felt very much inspired by these drawings. It’s moments like these that get me very exited. Hope you enjoy the results as much as I did.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Share love, music and art Part 2

Bert Jansch hailed from Scotland. This quiet performer had a massive influence in the world of acoustic guitar playing far beyond folk music, but still even with his success, he never seemed to got the recognition he deserved. So today I will share with you this beautifully filmed black and white video of him still doing what he loved, before his early departure from this world due to lung cancer. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

These short-form posts are me just sharing with you music and art I love. If you know something I might like to share here, drop me an email to jpkallio@hotmail.com

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

How to boost your creativity

Boost creativityI get messages through email, social media and also in person people admiring how I manage to release song a week, and write so many blog posts. To explain this, I thought to use the opportunity to give you some tools to be able to do something similar, and not only in music, or blog writing, but art in its every form. You can also use this in many other aspects of life. This is my guide into how to boost your creativity.

So lets start with the songs. How do I write regularly? Don’t I suffer from writers blog? I have written about this in the past so I’ll keep this part of the post short. You can teach your creative mind a routine. If you sit down and write regularly, you will come up with more and better material. Before I set out to write the 52 songs in 52 weeks in 2014, I put to my songwriting to a test by writing wife days a week. In a space of month and a half I wrote over thirty songs. Sounds like a lot, but it was like writing a one song, just repeating the process over and over again. The trick is to learn to look for inspiration from as many places as possible and to finish every song. Even if half way through the song you are not feeling it, still finish it. Some songs will never get any further than that. Some need more time to grow on you and some you just know straight away they are great. So give every song a chance.

The blog posts are bit similar, in the beginning it took me long time to write a post. I had plenty of ideas, but it always took me a long time to write them. But the more I wrote, faster I got at it. And once you get up to speed, it is much easier to find your voice. As a result the writing process has sped up a lot more. Now the trickiest part is to come up with the ideas. And again the solution is learning to look for the inspiration, not just wait for it to turn up. Staring at the white page rarely results in anything good. So reach out to the world and look for articles, books, other blog posts, news, Ted talks, material specifically related to your field of interest. And once you have even the smallest idea, the words start to spill on the page like tea pouring form a pot to the cup.

And once you get used to doing these things regularly, then it is a time to turn them in to a routine. Set your self a schedule first for one week. Set out to write every morning, or evening, which ever suits you the best. Do this for one week, no matter what. Don’t let your mind trick you with some excuse why today is not a good day. If you struggle on one of the days, good! There needs to be an element of struggle along the way, and you need to learn how to beat it. In the long run you need to beat it regularly. Once you finish that first week, set your self a schedule to do a full month. The same rules apply. And make sure this is at the top end of your priority list. Just because the American Idol final is on does not mean you can skip your new routine. You had a busy day, you worked hard and you feel like you deserve few beers as a reward? Fine, just get your writing done fist! Just because all your friends are going out is not a valid excuse. If you know there is something that will get on the way, then do your writing (or what ever it is you want to apply this into) earlier on the day. Set a different time aside for it. But under no circumstances let you say to your self “ah sure, I’ll do it tomorrow”. You do this once, and you will fail.

Once you have turned it into your everyday routine, you then need to make sure you also get through the holidays, or other times of your life when the daily routines get disturbed. You can either amp up your work the weeks before you have holidays coming up, and make sure you have material written for the days you are on holidays. Or what I like to do is have few spares written in advance in case things occur that are out of my control, but keep writing while you are on holidays. I always write something on flights these days, I often work at airports, I have written blog posts in hotel rooms, while at beach (usually on my phone) and in a numerous coffee shops all around Europe. I regularly sacrifice 45mins of sleep at the end of a long day to write another blog post. I have written lyrics of songs while on a drive across Germany ( I wasn’t driving). I have written blog posts on my phone while waiting for my food order between a rehearsals and a gig. The trick is not to let the excuse of being busy get on the way of your art.

I know this sounds rough, and you must be thinking I am very disciplined person to be able to do this. But you might be surprised to find out just the opposite is the truth. I am useless at getting things done 😀 That’s why I needed to come up with a way of making these things into a routine. In other words, if I did not have them as a part of my routine, I would never get them done.

And along the way I heard other people “advising” me to take it easy, to not burn out my creativity. I have found it to be the completely opposite. The more I write the more creative I am. And if I take a break, for holidays or touring, the hardest part is getting back into it. But once I get past the first few days, I am back in the routine. Don’t believe creativity is some commodity we will run out someday. This is a lie built on a fear of other people who are not willing to work as hard as you are.

Make it a routine and stick with it. You will be happier person, your fans will love you for it, and you will make many more along the way. You see at the end of the day, it is your content, music , writing art that has to be the basis for everything you do. Before you have it nailed, all the promotional tricks, he best manager, record label or PR company cannot help you. You are the artist, so make art.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Everyday art

art in everyday lifeArt for many of us is a lifeline, it’s what make our mundane everyday life’s just that little bit easier to deal with. Good art can let us escape, make us feel things through the art, we might not be able (or allowed to) feel otherwise. Art can be a window to our world from a different perspective than ours. It can broaden our mind, make us think.

But art also has negative connotations. Sometimes we call things, or people “too arty”. This usually means something that we find hard to understand, or we don’t see the purpose of it. And artistic value can be very different to all of us.

I make it my job to make everyday art, not something exclusive that only selected number of people will “get.” Still, my songs will not resonate with everybody, and that’s fine. I have long-lost the desire to try to please everyone, I’ll leave that job for the major labels 😉 But you don’t need a higher education in the arts to enjoy my music, you just have to have lived. Most of my song subjects are something many of us have experienced and can relate to, and this is very important to me. I try to inspire people to realise that no matter what they have gone through, there is life still left at the other end of the tunnel.

I think we need more everyday art in to our lives in all of its forms. Art on the streets of the cities, pages of magazines, in the public transport, parks… Art should not be limited to its performance or exhibition space, it should become integral part of the world around us. And to some extent I have seen this happening already. We see temporary art installations on a side of a derelict building, we see humble sandwich bars turning their sandwiches in to culinary expressions. We see every day people taking pride in creating something magical with limited resources. Colours, sounds, textures flavours, smells, anything to wake up our senses and shake us wake from the half a sleep zone we function in.

Art can make this world a better place, it can connect people from all walks of life. It can tell unspoken stories, that otherwise would not be heard. So let’s support it. Let’s nurture it and let it bloom.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Art is not just for the artist to create

everydayartWe have been living in a society that like to put every one of us into a box and give us a tittle. We have been expected to have a task, a role to play. Educate our selves, get a job, build a career, retire. The less questions you asked, the better 😉 But something is changing. Now we ask questions. The lines of the roles we play are getting blurred. The new job market values people with multiple talents, problem solvers, those of us who ask the hard questions. Starting your company is now seen as a viable career option even at a young age.

Also the same thing is happening in the arts. Being an artists used to be considered as a hobby, apart of few lucky individuals, who became the superstars. Now we have whole underground of successful artists only known in their niche market and making a living out of it. I have friend in Germany, who resigned their very successful day job in a pharmaceutical company, and now they are playing well over hundred shows a year all around Germany. I have similar friends in Czech republic, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, USA and Canada and of course here in Ireland. It is becoming a global phenomenon. And it’s not just the people hoping to quit their day jobs, many people do music as a part time job.

Now we see the art and creative process as not only limited to the arts. In the past few decades we started to view chefs as artists, architects, graphic designers, landscape gardeners… And now we have a startup culture, where we see the company creation as creative art. And I for not am not surprised. We used to have a structure how new business was got off the ground, but now as most of us work on a global market, you need to get inventive and creative how you run your company.

And here’s the thing, we have gone a full circle and the exactly same thing applies in the arts and music business. You need to be creative how you conduct the business side of your career. Many of us musicians could benefit from looking into the way some of the new startups run their business. And also understand how the listener is part of the process. You know that magical concert you’ve been to? It would not be as magical if the audience were not there, willing to participate in the moment.

But we can take all of this even further. Just because you might feel your job is not “creative”, try to see the creativity in everything else you do, whether it is cooking a meal at the end of the day, decorating your house, some of us see even how we dress as an artistic creation and a reflection of something we want to portray. Most of all, accept the fact something you create is artistic expression, even if you do not see your self as an artist. Art is all around us, even in the most simplest everyday tasks. Art is not just for the artist to create.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

It happens to the best of us

writers blockThere are days I am full of ideas. Songs, arrangement ideas and blog posts just ooze out of me. It’s like sun is shining, even if it’s not, nothing can keep me down. Surprisingly it seems these days come more often, the harder I work. Then there are those days where I just get by. I get the stuff done I need to do (just about) and that’s it, nothing more, no fireworks. But that’s fine as well, you can’t rock the world everyday. Then once in a while I get the days that I just hit the rock wall… No matte what I try to do, nothing gets done. And it’s not for the lack of trying, I don’t give in easily.

These days can be really a big struggle. They can even knock down your self-confidence pretty bad. Some people might say it sounds a lot like writer’s block, but the thing is, I don’t believe in writer’s block… Well, kind of… We all get these days, when the creative process just does not happen. The thing is, you CAN work through it. I have two tricks that rarely fail. The first one is a simple one, just go for a walk. Fresh air and change of scenery always helps. The trick is to make sure after the walk you sit down to write again and not let “the writer’s block”, which I by the way believe is just a mental block, to get the best of you. Show it that you are in charge!

The second trick is my favourite one and it has completely turned around things for me several times in the past. You see, as you might know I write a lot. I write songs all the time, I write blog posts every day. And to keep up with my schedule, I cannot afford to have “writer’s block”. So what do I do if I can’t come up with anything to write about? I write about the fact that I can’t come up with anything to write about 😉 Sounds silly, I know. But it really works!

You can start by trying to describe the situation where you are and why you can’t write. How does it make you feel that you can’t write? Write about it! Sometimes these things will be enough to get you writing, and once you are back writing things start to flow out of you again. And on other times the writing about why you can’t write might actually turn into something great on its own 🙂 For example I wrote a song called Compulsive songwriting disorder. This song was all about me trying to write a song and nothing was coming out, so I started to give out to my imaginary “muse”. I’ll Include the song here for you to hear, it was on my first album “Northern Boy” that came out March 2014.

Also what you are reading right now, is a blog post about me breaking out of that mental block. And guess what, as much as I stared at that empty document on my computer, once I decided to write about how some days it happens to the best of us, the words just started to flow 🙂 So go for it, write a song about how you can’t write a song, paint a picture of what it feels like not to be able to write. Write a chapter about the desperation of when the words just don’t come to you. But what ever you do, never give in to your mental block. Beat it!

Do you suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

The Influence of music

musicismylifeI listen to music every day, I play music every day, I talk about music with people all the time. Sure, it is my job, so I need to, but I still do it out of love. Once in a while I come across people who say they don’t care for music. I try my best to understand where they come from, but I find it hard. It makes me sad to think that some people live without music. I know this is very narrow-minded of me, but I just can’t imagine my life without music.

To me music is so many things. It’s the substitute for the sun in a dark winter morning. It is my soundtrack while I travel. It’s my lullaby when I go to sleep. I find myself even unconsciously more attracted to establishments that have music I like, whether this is a coffee shop, bar, or even a shop. If they play music I don’t like I get an urge to leave the place. Most of this I don’t even notice in the moment, but it has a profound effect on me.

I admit that due to the fact that my life is build around music, it might affect me more, but it still has an affect one way or another on most of us. And even that some companies use it to their advantage, I believe it is very much under estimated in business. As I mentioned before it has an effect whether I would like to stay in your establishment or not, so I am sure it will have the same effect in most of your customers.

It actually amazes me that more companies have not partnered with musicians. Even though it happens to certain extent, the possibilities and opportunities are endless. But this is not only the fault of the people in the business side, but also musicians seem to be more hesitant to commercialize themselves. There is always the fear that you would sale your self…

But what if this was done independently, a direct deal between the artist and the company. Not by some record label executive who will dictate what the artist needs to do. Us musicians need to be more innovative in the modern-day market place, we need to offer more value to survive. Musicians are influencers, whether we like this or not.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

Dublin

Sunny Summer's DayLet’s make it clear, as much as I have been criticising the current politics in Dublin and in Ireland, it is only because I love this town. It has been my home for the past 18 years. It has been the backdrop to my life. it has been the base where I have traveled far and wide to play music, but always return. And when I return, I take a walk along the Liffey to the docklands, a walk I have enjoyed for a many year now. From the docklands I head up the canal and eventually turn back to town.

I drink my coffee from the cafes along these streets, I enjoy my occasional pint in the corner of the pubs that has been the centres and social gathering places in the Irish society, almost a living room. I listen to the music played live in so many bars, it brings this town alive. With the good and the bad, I love this town

Check out this wonderful poem and video, it explains it better than I ever could.

Poem written by Louis MacNeice and recited by Stephen James Smith.

J.P.

The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get three of his free songs go HERE and click Download