These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens; baritone uke with its 4 lovely strings; these are a few of my favorite things!

Okay, I don’t care about copper kettles but I do love kittens. I wanted to share some of my favorite things today! I’ll start with music stuff but at the end I’m going to add books and shampoo because I love them :)

FIRST UP: UKULELES!

1) Lanikai Spruce Top Baritone: https://amzn.to/2JOgs53

This is what I use in many of my videos! It is not electric. I don’t think the electric ones are available on Amazon, but you can search for a dealer at https://lanikaiukuleles.com/product/flame-maple-baritone-ukulele-with-kula-preamp-a-e-ukulele/. That’s the page for the electric baritone I play.

2) Lanikai concert uke in the LOVELIEST BLUE: https://amzn.to/2VPamsq

I don’t play this one but I think it’s gorgeous and if you’re looking for a classic ukulele sound, concert is a good size to get.

Next up: STANDS!

These are all Hercules stands that I use for various things. I use this guitar stand (or a close variation) for my baritones at home, while the small stand is portable for performances.

Hercules Guitar Stand: https://amzn.to/2YxY9VG

Hercules Uke Stand: https://amzn.to/2VOnJsL

Hercules Mic Stand: https://amzn.to/2Hr3LeY

Hercules Music Stand: https://amzn.to/2YzDO2l

And now for… MY AMP!

I use a Fishman Loudbox Mini. It has a quarter inch input and an XLR, ie. instrument and microphone input. It’s small, super portable, durable, and has worked for all my solo performances, regardless of room size. I have a heavy, old set of speakers I use if a room is HUGE and I need speakers to face two directions, but I use my Fishman amp 10 times more often than I use those.

1) Fishman Loudbox Mini (w/ tuner + cover): https://amzn.to/2LTuV2g

This is what I actually use and highly recommend for solo performances.

2) Fishman Loudbox Black +XLR: https://amzn.to/2VU9AdO

This is something I saw when searching for the one I actually use. This one is black and looks awesome. Just for fun.

WANT TO LEARN SOME SONGS?

A huge number of the jazz standards I learn are ones I’ve read out of the Vocal Real Books (low voice edition). No, I don’t have a low voice, but the keys in these books are much better for me than the “high voice edition”.

Vocal Real Book 1: https://amzn.to/2Qbfktr

Vocal Real Book 2: https://amzn.to/2Qba88O

Vocal Real Book 3: https://amzn.to/2Hrf1Ys

Disclaimer: The chords in these books are not always 100% “accurate”. There are some songs that I don’t agree with their changes BUT these books are incredibly useful and mostly have solid changes. I highly recommend them without hesitation. Just keep an open ear for chord changes you might disagree with.

FOR MY VIDEOS

I use this light. The first link is the light I actually use. The second link is for a set of two similar lights. I often wish I had just gone for two lights, but I have no personally used the lights in the second link.

Softbox Light (1): https://amzn.to/2EiQS4K

Softbox Light (2): https://amzn.to/2YEbr37  

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

Here is a link to my EP “Forgettable” (which I like to think is pretty good): https://amzn.to/2QfcdAO

HERE ARE A FEW BOOKS I LOVE

CS Lewis Space Trilogy: https://amzn.to/2YCtvdQ (did you know CS Lewis had a space trilogy?! It’s WEIRD and AMAZING!)

Lord of the Rings: https://amzn.to/2Q9Qg60 (fun fact: my second tattoo was the Tree of Gondor)

Scary Close: https://amzn.to/2HrmBlV (Donald Miller talks about being bad at relationships and getting better. I love it)

AS PROMISED, SHAMPOO

I know you don’t care how I wash my hair, but I started using this brand a few months ago and I love it and I think often about telling my friends and then I forget.

Conditioner: https://amzn.to/2YDc25e (it says Hair Mask but I use it as conditioner and my hair doesn’t get greasy)

Shampoo: https://amzn.to/30sGMaK

African black soap: https://amzn.to/2HqNpCR (smells like cherry candy)

What is Blossom?

I have spent a lot of my life feeling like a musical outsider. When I was in school, I was always in the ensemble of the musical. In college, I felt like “jazz” was for a certain type of person, and this certain type of person was smarter than me. After my tonsillectomy at age 20, I had to start from scratch and re-learn what my singing voice would sound like. It turns out that my new voice couldn’t belt as high or do as many runs. I tended to hang out in the shadow of “stronger” vocalists. As an adult, I’ve been rejected American Idol, The Voice, local wedding bands, and local every-other-kind-of bands.

But 3 and a half years ago, things changed. I got hired to sing jazz standards at a hotel in Michigan with a group of amazing musicians. Getting introduced to the Great American Songbook changed my life. And so did the time I spent with musicians who were confident enough in their own abilities to encourage me in mine. I came back from that experience with a renewed sense of passion and purpose. Despite being told “no” a fair amount in my career, I realized that I have unique skills that are worth pursuing. So I quit my full time job 18 months ago and have been a freelance musician ever since.

At first, I thought that other jazz musicians would look down on me for playing ukulele. And to be honest, they probably do. And to be more honest, I don’t give a crap anymore. Baritone ukulele is my favorite instrument to play. I think the ukulele is special because it’s so accessible. ANYONE can play ukulele. But there’s always more to learn; it’s not too small of an instrument for great musicians. It’s truly a fantastic instrument for any skill level. And I think music is an essential part of life. Anyone with an interest in music should be able to feel confident in their abilities, even if it’s just a hobby.

So Blossom is a place where I want to share my knowledge and encourage you on your musical journey. I want to share the ups and downs of my creative pursuits and help you feel fearless in yours. Everyone can be a musician. And everyone has room to grow. Let’s blossom together.