GRAY MATTER #1 - The Mystery of "Long Hard Day"

Welcome to my second blog entry! I feel a little bad that I’m starting a new blog on a week that I didn’t have much going on!  And it’s holiday central.. which means the entire music business completely checks out.  If you ever have trouble with saying “things are a little slow” or “not much going on here”, this is not the right month to get motivated to join in on the music business!  Just a little tip:) 

All that said, I did have a show in DC last week that was so amazingly good for my psyche.  Such an amazing crowd and, boy what an opener!  I am so lucky to have people want to open up the show for me and this couple did not disappoint.  Check them out  So that happened.  Now I’m on a train to Boston for a show tonight.

Let’s get back on track.. I have a bunch of projects in the works that I want to tell you about in this blog.  The first one is a project that I have been working on for almost 2 years with my amazingly talented friend Marc Copely. I originally wanted him to play in my band, but he had too much going on and couldn’t make it happen…  I haven’t let him live that down as of yet and don’t plan to any time soon:)  His slide guitar playing is insane!  

We decided to meet anyway, just to jam and see how we grooved in the chance there might be a show he COULD play on.  I left thinking, we have to work on something together. The VERY next day, I got asked by my film and tv rep for a swampy, blues rock song for a “shoot em up” movie starring Robert DeNiro. (more on how that all works later) I knew I had to try and write something new to pitch since I didn’t have anything like that in my catalogue, and within 30 seconds I thought, I have to write this with that slide guy.  He was into it.

On the subway to his apt, I started humming a melody in my head.. When I got there, he said, I have an idea, and I was like, so do I… and mine’s better, just joking!  Anyway, we wrote the song, combining our ideas in about an hour, and it was the perfect fusion of my bluesy melody and lyrics and his americana/rock guitar parts.  We called the song “Long Hard Day”.  We recorded it in his make shift studio in his apt, as us New Yorkers do.. we don’t have large studios at our disposal, especially when it’s just a pitch and there’s no budget.  

The movie ended up not getting the green light, so that meant, our song was in limbo… sitting on my hard drive with the other lost souls/songs.  We decided that we would write more songs in the same style.. They all have a common thread.  A main character that is like a black widow spider who never seems to keep a lover and is reckless in getting rid of the bad in her life.  It’s not about me.

About 3 months later, I got an email saying that they sent it to the supervisor who works on The Fosters on ABC Family and she wanted to put it in an episode.  I had just had the good fortune of her using about 6 of my songs in one episode!  I was literally the soundtrack for an entire episode.. So I said, cool, it’ll probably be background noise and no one will know that they are listening to an aggressive rock song on a family friendly tv show.  

I decided to watch the episode as I’ve done every time I get a song on a show.  I get a kick out of how they use songs that I intend one way and then the visual makes them another.  Well, the last 5 minutes of the episode came and then “Long Hard Day” started playing.  Right at that moment, the main character looked out her window to see a boy standing there ominously staring up at her.  I didn’t even have to know the backstory to know that this was a big moment.  I was stunned… And that’s when the emails started coming…  “Where can I find it?” “I wanna buy it” “I can’t believe you didn’t release it!!”  SHOCKED.  Who knew this show had such a devout following; who knew the show would use it this well; who knew people would search this hard for it???  

My big dilemma was: As an independent artist, it can take up to 3 weeks or more to release a song to iTunes.  I missed my opportunity.. I was bummed… There’s no point in releasing something that no one is looking for.. As time passed, the emails slowed.. I thought to myself, maybe it’ll get used again and then I can throw it out there.  Well it hasn’t….. YET….  I have a feeling LHD has a place in the universe.. My husband has convinced me that it will do more good being released instead of sitting on my hard drive…. waiting for the right moment.  There’s never a perfect moment for anything!  Obviously, he’s right.  I wish I could compete with the major labels and throw a ton of money behind it, but that’s not my music business.. I have to think creatively and put my marketing cap on.  Hopefully the stars align and word spreads around organically about this super unique song that struck a chord with so many people.. myself included.  But I did learn a valuable lesson.  RELEASE EVERY SONG THAT GETS PLACED ON TV!  FROM NOW UNTIL ETERNITY!  Even if it’s just in T Killa’s Workshop on my website.

So here is my announcement: Shortly after the New Year, I will be releasing an EP called “Long Hard Day” under the name Toby Lightman and Copely.  Cause after all, it’s always better late than never! Learn from your mistakes people and think BIG! Every song is it’s own lightening in a bottle… ready to strike.  Be ready.