Introversion in Music

This is a post that I can somewhat relate to: Introversion in Music.

When I attended my first award show I felt awkward when walking around all by myself. I wasn’t really sure what to do and felt stupid just hanging around since I did not know anyone there. Nobody really spoke to me or tried to get to know me so I was just trying to look like I had some kind of purpose…

I ended up going back to my hotel to be on my phone instead.

It is very artistic to be focused on the actual art that one is doing, yet there is no greater crime in show biz than to be boring on-stage or off-stage.

You’ll become one of the best by focusing completely and totally on your skills and music, but you might find yourself beaten in terms of attention and/or funding by someone who is dating whatever industry person or by some bimbo posing half-naked in a magazine.

It takes a certain level of geekdom to reach virtuosity level.

Art vs. Entertainment.

Seriousness vs. Circus.

The Most Important 10 Years Of Your Life – Part 1.

In January 2016 I started my blog year on a positive note linking to articles that I figured could help my readers.

One of the articles I linked to was this one: What are the most important years of your life?
The reason as to why I decided to revisit it now is that someone somewhere clicked on said article.
When reading it again I started thinking about my own life as an artist/musician and how that fits in with what the author/expert was saying.
I will break this blog post up into four individual ones since I’m trying to write smaller entries this year!
Support. 
According to the article it is crucial for kids to have support from their parents.
I agree.
As someone who started playing guitar late it wouldn’t have been possible for me to develop technically to the degree that I have without support.
I wouldn’t have gotten exposure and other good things either since they were/are the direct result of my mother’s work.
“Manager“ is in fact not a sufficient title to describe my mother’s involvement.
Self-promotion online, reaching out to professional industry people, not to forget self-educating about the ever-changing aspects of the music industry is a lot of work.
Building a brand, writing original music, acquiring technical skills; none of these things are easy, especially since different tasks require different mental wiring.
Few are genetically equipped to do it all, there is also a limit to the amount of hours available to a person in a 24hr day, not to forget individual needs in regards to sleep, etc;
There are so many aspects involved with being an artist that it can be dizzying. The clock tics, and you have to find out if you are placing your bets on the best project.
It doesn’t matter if you have lots of ideas for books if your brand is music and you are independent. There will not be enough hours to independently pursue both, because it will require reaching out to independent book-bloggers and people engaged in that field of work, rather than reaching out to music-industry people and brand a new release to an already existing fan base.
The network required to launch a fashion brand, several book series, art exhibitions, and music releases in several genres, would be nothing short of mad to build from scratch.
You would need many people involved with creating many different infrastructures.
Because of this, there are some pursuits that have to take the backseat, while the main focus is dedicated to one field, but even when narrowing things down, you’ll probably need help.
In the early years of my playing career I’ll admit that I was envious of those musicians who had supportive parents.
My dad told me that I would die of an overdose at the age of 27 and my mother was not exactly enthusiastic about heavy-metal or the idea of a woman playing the guitar.
Their reactions broke my heart back then and I seriously wondered if I would ever become a musician since parental support seemed a staple at the time when reading interviews with new up-and-coming rock-n-roll musicians.
The whole idea of rockers rebelling against their parents was a thing of the past.
Many Millennial rock-n-rollers got into the genre due to their parents being into it!
I felt like I was already beaten, but I still kept on going, and ended up being represented (and coached in opera) by my mother with my music turning into a family affair.
I wouldn’t be the musician that I am today if it hadn’t.

 

2018 – The Year In Review

2018 was a stable and good year overall!

In 2017 I wasn’t quite sure how my life was going to develop, if I would ever play guitar again, if I would ever eat a normal meal again, etc; so I’m happy that I’ve been getting back to work after suffering an incredible set-back due to health problems that were triggered by a parasite that I caught in November 2016; the following year I suffered from both post-infectious syndrome in addition to a shoulder injury, so you can imagine my relief that I’m both back to playing and exercising again in addition to recording.

The truth is that I’ve been incredibly ill and now find myself immensely grateful for every single little thing that is positive in my life.

The timing of my illness couldn’t have been worse; it would have been preferable if everything had just kept on moving forward, but I guess that life isn’t inclined to operate like that.

2017 is the only year where no music was released from me at all since starting the whole “Commander In Chief” business with Elisabeth back in 2008, I did release an illustrated Lyric Book however (that charted), in addition to writing a lot on this blog.

I was initially planning on starting my entry with a new section called “my personal highlights,“ but me being a musician and the world being the way that it is, I will start off with career-highlights instead…

  1. Getting back to work and actually being able to play again. After losing over a year of my life to health issue this is undoubtedly this year’s highlight. It has been an uphill struggle getting back to work again but I’m very happy that I’m better. I started off 2018 working because I knew that I had to bring music back into my life again even if it meant just working for some minutes or some hours every day. I experienced set backs and sometimes struggled with motivation. I found it saddening that my energy was so greatly reduced. The skin on my fingers also had to get used to playing again.

  2. Starting a Patreon page. We’ve done two successful crowdfunding campaigns in the past through Pledge Music and finally signed up to the subscription model this year. This is obviously the best was to support talent as the aim is to create a monthly salary for artistic individuals. There have been many start-ups and trends aimed at the ever-changing music industry in the aftermath of the digital tech-revolution; the Patreon model seems really cool to me.  Needless to say: this is the best way to support me as an artist! Every month this year, since I started the page, I’ve released 2 video updates and offered album previews and downloads to my Patrons. I also created a 30 min. 10$ guitar lesson, in addition I’ve also sent out care-packages with exclusive content. Make sure that you sign up if you like my work!Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 18.30.37
  3. Finally releasing my 3rd album! I buzzed about it & teased about it; in November 2018 I finally released “Berit-Vol.1.“ In my opinion it is the best music that I’ve written so far. The first music industry person to review it has called it “a masterpiece.“ I’m very proud of my 3rd album which I’ve co-produced with my manager/vocal coach/promoter/mother Elisabeth. I look forward to pushing it extensively in 2019. So far we’ve sent out signed physical CDs to 19 different countries! We did a successful independent pre-order campaign despite not having optimal reach on Facebook (and other social media websites) and without any major press outlets covering the release. We had to order another batch of CDs which is always good news and what you want as an artist, especially as an unsigned, independent one. I’m very excited about the feedback that I’ve received and once again find myself in the situation of having created something that people are willing to pay for! My hope for 2019 is that we’ll be able to get a marketing budget for my album, so that more people all around the world can get to hear my music! So far we’ve released 4 music videos for it and a teaser video, we’ve also done live streams on YouTube to promote it as well. More music videos will be shot when the new year kicks in. I can’t wait!
  4. I passed 3 million views on my YouTube channel! If this had happened a couple of years ago I would have marked it with great fanfare, I just posted a little post on my Instagram page, but I was very, very, very, happy still! I’ll drink some extra champagne on New Years and celebrate retroactively.
  5. The release of the rehearsal tapes from 2016. Since things did not play out the way that I had expected regarding the major label that I worked with in 2016 on my “secret project” it made me very happy that we actually had lots of videos from that period. Hopefully I’ll complete what I started in 2016 in 2019.
  6.  The making of the physical version of my “Lyric Book.” Nothing beats having a physical copy of something you’ve created in your hands. It made me very happy to hold the very first physical copy of my Lyric book. I think it looks very exclusive and nice. I’m very proud of it. IMG_6035
  7. I had my music aired on a major Norwegian Radio Show. This was the first time that several of my recordings and the scope of my talents actually received Nationwide attention by a major broadcaster in my home country . My cover version of “Paranoid” was aired once in either 2011 or 2012 by a Metal show, but this year I actually did an interview and had both my metal and classical work covered, which I’m very grateful for.
  8. Getting on the digital front cover of Classical & Crossover Magazine. It has been a quiet year in terms of press with only one outlet mentioning the release of my Toccata video, and only two mentioning my return to music and the release of my first single and video from my upcoming album. So far since the release of my album last month I’ve done one interview and received one review of it. It made me very happy and grateful to see that I landed on this front page this year, it was also funny to get yet another reminder of how small the industry actually is. classical & crossover magazine
  9. My debut as a classical singer. While I’ve been working on Heavy Metal and classical crossover virtuoso guitar playing I’ve also been studying bel canto opera singing; I’m actually a coloratura soprano. This year I finally  showcased this during a benefit concert that I did in order to raise money for the crumbling churches of England. It was an enormous luxury to be able to just show up to rehearsals with only a bag containing sheet-music and drinking water. I would absolutely love to do more concerts and hopefully also recordings as a classical singer. It makes my life way more easier than dragging my guitar around. Also when I sing classical I keep myself to music that has been written for my voice type, rather than doing all sorts of crazy stunts like I’ve done on my guitar and in my original music, where I’ve consistently picked pieces not written for my instrument or written extremely high notes and vocal runs combined with equally challenging guitar playing. Singing traditional classical music is certainly not a suicide mission and I enjoy it tremendously.
  10. Being in the Norwegian Grammy jury once again. My involvement with the Norwegian Grammys this time around started in the fall of 2017, I was still not quite there in terms of my health and managed to miss out on some phone conferences, but managed to listen through all of the material handing in my points. If I had had the energy then maybe I would have broken my back trying to get to the show in order to walk the red carpet and get some press, rather I chose to lay in bed.
  11. “2 Guitars: The Classical Crossover Album.”  The album I recorded with Craig Ogden and released in December 2014 has continued to haunt the Amazon bestseller chart! This makes me extremely happy and proud! It is a great concept indeed and something that I’m aiming to get back to next year since I want to release a second album in the spirit of what I was working on before I got ill. The fact that this album keeps on selling on its own account makes me so happy that I don’t have words. It makes me incredibly happy to feel valued as a musician and that all of my efforts are taken seriously!
  12. Getting a piano again. We finally got back a proper piano in the house this year, which made me really happy. I’ve written so many instrumental songs for piano and now I can finally revisit those and compile an album with this sort of material as well. IMG_8792
  13. The release of my 3rd book. In March this year I released a blog book featuring entries from my first two years of blogging. The book has not been successful, I don’t know if this was due to all of the pages that were made available for a preview or if people just don’t care too much. Considering that this has been my most popular blog year so far, I’m not too sure what to make of it. It is still out there though and I will eventually make the entries I’ve published between 2017 & 2018 private as well when I release book nr.2. blog book cover

These are my personal highlights from the year that was:

  1. Confirmation. Last year I read an awful lot that had to do with politics in Norway before I registered to vote for the very first time, this year I finished reading The Holy Bible in its entirety and was confirmed by the Bishop of Tewkesbury! The service was absolutely amazing and my mother cooked up an incredible feast for all of us who gathered in our living room afterwards to celebrate. It was a wonderful evening that will stay with me forever.
  2. Performing Together With My Family. After my mother had repeatedly been saying that we ought to do some classical singing together I just added her to my Christmas Concert as Berit Hagen & guests. That certainly changed things as I notified my siblings that they were going to be my guests as well, all of a sudden we had to get something ready for all of us together. My mother was of course behaving like the popular depiction of an opera singer not knowing if she wanted to do it going back and forth with all sorts of reasons. To cut a long story short – we did it and it was both great fun and well received. It was wonderful to share the stage with my family. I really enjoyed it and so did everybody else! 🙂
  3. William’s conversations. My brother & I have never been closer! I appreciate this a lot!
  4. Nicole’s Debate Club. Now I know how it feels like to be part of the cheerleading team. Nicole and her partner were one of the three teams that won and went to the next round representing their school in a debate competition. It was great to be invited and to get insight into (once again) the best of England.
  5. Helping Eric with homework. I’ve practically co-raised my two younger siblings & I have to admit that I really enjoyed helping Eric with his pop-up book project this year. You really bond with children when you build and make things with them. I really enjoyed it, just like it was fun to  cheer him on when he was learning how to balance on his bike! 🙂
  6. Successful Fundraising. Back in high-school in the U.S.A. I was involved-ish with issues that concerned me but I always felt that I fell short. Once I moved to London to pursue my rock-star dreams charity was certainly not on the agenda. After moaning around on my blog about issues that concerned me (from 2016 onwards) I figured that I could try to raise money for my local community by doing a fundraising event; since I know that the local church (and churches all around England) are struggling. I had no idea what would happen but managed to raise lots of money and be of genuine help by using my musical talents! I repeated the success in December 2018 by doing a Christmas concert where I was able to raise lots of money for the local Village Hall! The fact that I could pull off two successful fund-raising events in a small village in The Cotswolds really made my day since I now can say that I was of genuine help and could contribute in a noticeable fashion! This was my first go at fundraising and I can say that I pulled it off! 🙂 Thanks a lot to Rev. Colin Randall & Georgina Oldham for promoting the events.

This has been my most popular year of blogging! 

I can’t really believe it, but it is true! My top 3 countries are: U.S.A., U.K. & Canada! Norway is no longer in the top 3 but now finds itself on the 5th place with Australia on nr.4! These have been my most popular blog entries this year:

  1. My Skin Care Entry has become my most popular entry of all time! Lots of people are clearly searching for the various skin-care ingredients that I mentioned in this post; some of the searches are for allergic reactions! It is obvious that there is a great interest in this topic since I wrote this post back in September 2016.
  2. Self-help is a popular topic! This 2017 book review of Dominique Loreau’s “L’art de la Simplicite“ tops the list. People are clearly in need of spiritual guidance and motivational assistance.
  3. This simple summer update is my top entry of everything that I’ve written this year! There isn’t really much content in the post, but there are summer-pictures of me!
  4. A brand new addition to my site, this is my home-page which I created not that long ago when I changed my blog design. The front page is only dedicated to music so that this is the 1st that people see.
  5. Pedophilia, Cannibalism, Prostitution & Racism. Yes, that is quite the title I’ll admit! Grotesque and troubling topics that were all addressed back in December 2016.
  6. This unflattering documentary about  Chinese expansionism into the African continent tops the list once again which was what I predicted once I made it public again.
  7. This was a total joke meant to troll my fans & followers.
  8. Diversity – Why it is a complex issue.  I don’t know if I should feel alarmed that these type of entries are becoming increasingly popular. Trust me, I don’t like division, hate and instability; I’ve written what I’ve written since I don’t like these things, yet I think we are heading towards dark times indeed. It’s all due to bad political management. It’s totally unnecessary as well.
  9. How to fix your apple wireless keyboard! I’m glad that I can be of help!
  10. This is the 2nd mental training/self-help book  to make it into my top. 10!

I feel like I’ve covered a lot of very important topics this year, so it is hard for me to boil it down to only 10 entries; I’ll try:

  1. 30 Reasons to be grateful and/or things to look for. The civilian population is ill-prepared to deal with survival. Nobody really talks about the general preparedness level, I chose to do so this year after the village that I live in lost its tap water.
  2. This is Evil. The most sinister document I’ve come across so far suggesting ways in which to artificially create a fertility crisis in the U.S.A.
  3. When You Think You Are Healthy… even eco-friendly, over-priced, politically-correct food comes wrapped in plastic.
  4. The downward spiral of curiosity & honesty, I think this sums up my blog & my writing perfectly.
  5. The greatest weapon of all = us.
  6. What is the end-game of NATO’s foreign wars?
  7. What is the end-game of political activism?
  8. When you lose your headquarter while fighting a conventional enemy.
  9. Why I support the right to bear arms.
  10. Immigration is a heated topic worldwide & nobody really respects anyone’s Sovereignty unless forced to.

These were my top 9 on Instagram:

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My personal top 9 were these ones:

View this post on Instagram

We shot yet another #musicvideo yesterday! Single & #video nr.2 from my upcoming #album will be released ON THE 18TH THIS MONTH! DON'T MISS OUT! If you want to unlock my #videoblog you can do so for 1$ 😇 Click on the link in my bio to support me on @patreon 👍🏻 This is the best way to support me as an #artist 👍🏻 #piano @yamahamusicusa @yamahamusiceurope #pianoplayer #pianist #guitar #guitarist #multiinstrumentalist #belcanto #soprano #coloratura #operasinger #independentmusic #independentartist #indie #unsignedmusic #unsignedartist @mudya_mustamin @music.phanatics @pentatonemusic @classicalmusic24 @music @whisper.music @theviralmusic @rollingstone @brandongeist @nmemagazine @qmagazineuk @mojo4music @bbcmusic @guitarworldmagazine @totalguitar @ibanezuk_official @officialibanezguitars @drstrings @audixmics @jimdunlopusa @presonus @presonusstudioone @kerrangmagazine_ @kexp @radiofm4 @universalmusicnorge @universalmusicnorge @warnermusic @deccarecords @sony

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I hope 2019 will be a good year! Fingers crossed!

 

21 Reasons I Rock \m/

Sooo, I’ve made fun of myself, made a list of my shortcomings, complained about my Mr.Bean moments, drenched by blog in self-deprecating humour….so maybe it’s time to give myself some praise and write why I rock \m/ If I could find “21 reasons” as to why I suck, I’m sure I can find 21 reasons to be happy, 21 things that are positive about myself.

Oprah Winfrey apparently used to say that everyday you should think of 3 things that makes you happy, so when I grew up my mom would ask us around the dinner table “What are you happy about today?”. This was something I brought with me wherever I went apparently….something I find quite sweet 🙂

So what are you happy about today? And why do you rock?

As self-educating and eye-opening it can be to write about your stinkers, take some time to write or think to yourself  about why YOU are awesome \m/

I shall give it a go 😛

1- I care about what happens in the world and gave away all the money I got for my 18th birthday to an organisation that protects wild life 😛 I’ve never repeated extreme charity such as that, as I need to live too, but the bottom line is, that I believe that we should all help others. Not in order to increase our popularity, but because it is what is right. I’m also an Amnesty International Member and have been so for years. I was trying to raise awareness about Darfur when I went to high school among other things, but didn’t have much luck. I started a zine with a friend of mine when I was a teen that was supposed to raise awareness concerning social injustice where we lived in our local area. We didn’t have much luck with that either. I almost went to India to do charity work when I was in my late teens but ended up not being able to go.

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2- I’m always there for my friends and family. At the end of the day I’m very loyal and  I love to surprise people!

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3-Dedication. I had to learn how to speak Italian when I was six as my family moved to a foreign country. I also had to wrap my head around French when my family lived in France for a year and I also had to teach myself English as I went to high school in America :0 When I started playing guitar I would use an English-Norwegian dictionary to figure out the explanations in guitar magazines since my English sucked 😛

4-Humble. That’s right! Why else would I put myself in the situation of “student” again, when learning classical music on the guitar 😉 I was already an internationally acclaimed musician, but I never let this get to my head as I believe that this will stifle your growth as a musician. I feel lucky that I always get feedback and constructive criticism about my performances and/or writing. This way I keep on growing.

5-I’m flexible and therefore have a good reputation when it comes to working with others in a studio setting for example. I’m as far as you could possibly get from being a dictator. I believe you will only shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t listen to others.

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6-I write my own music. That’s right. I’ve always been insanely creative. I always wanted to be a songwriter and even though I gave up a couple of times as a kid, I always came back to it.

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7-I can sing opera 😛 I’m classically trained and even though I’m not done with my opera education I’m really proud of what I can do already and excited about what I will be able to master one day 🙂

 

8-I taught myself how to play the guitar 😉 That’s right! I didn’t get guitar lessons until I was working on “artist-development” in L.A. 🙂

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9-I had my first art exhibition when I was 13 😛 I didn’t sell a single picture :/ but whatever, the bottom line is that I did it 😛

10-I had something that I had written published by a newspaper when I was 17. This was my first go at writing. I had to have a guitar break as my hand was all messed up after too much playing.

11-I used to draw fashion drawings. I wanted to be a designer. That was my dream from I was 6 years old. I kept on switching between wanting to be an archeologist and dreaming of owning my own “fashion house”.

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12-Even though my visual arts is in the shadow of my music, I love to draw and this is what I’ve done the longest. I even  wrote and illustrated a children’s book. I have plenty of other quirky characters I’ve come up with as I love “designing” characters, if there ever was such a word. If I wasn’t a musician it would have been cool to to have an arts degree and create graphic novels or maybe story boards for movies.

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13-I co-direct my music videos as I “see my music ” when I write it.

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14-I did theater once and loved it. That was the moment I figured that I wanted to be a performer.I love to play the “villain” or be “crazy”.

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15- When I was a kid I was a goalie \m/

16- I also used to do Marshall Arts!

17-When I was 11 I got my first “studded” belt with proper nails, not the flat plastic ones 😛  So no wonder that my current purse looks like this \m/

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18- I love to read and have always been a book-worm 😛

19- I always wanted a Doberman called Lucius and a Westie called Truffles. I don’t have either but I have a bearded Dragon I’ve named after Severus Snape. I would also like to have a white bunny, who I would probably name Draco 😛 I always wanted to own a snake, but after holding several different types I was shocked to see how strong they are, snakes aren’t very social either and try to hide away and escape. I figured that snakes probably aren’t that keen on “being owned” by anyone.

#WorldsCoolestPet

#WorldsCoolestPet

This is my guy \m/

This is my guy \m/

20- I have a very varied taste when it comes to music and there are plenty of things that interest me that have nothing to do with show-biz. I’m obsessed with space for example.

21- My hair looks like this. I cut it short in 2005 and coloured it green 😮 I decided to let it grow to see how long it could possibly get! I’m still curious to see how far down it will go \m/

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I wrote this entry as a contrast to my 21 reasons I suck! entry, something I wrote as a counterweight to my 22 hopeless musicians, when you are a soloartist! entry 😛 I got 3 more “Top List” entries, you can check them out here: 20 Practise Tips For Guitarists,5 Horrible People,20 Badass Women.