Mermaid Overseas: San Francisco

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: San Francisco

When: 01/04/2015 – 05/04/2015

Lesson: Never feel like a prostitute

Achievement: Recording session with Arnaz

Lyric: The secrets I want to scream out loud, write it all down.

Quote: “Pineapple, pineapple” / “Clur”

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1. Suzanne Vega – Luka

“I guess I’d like to be alone, with nothing broken, nothing thrown”

The musicians I have met post performances in San Fran have all been really helpful with advice on good venues to play and music I may like judging from my sound. Mario at Ireland 32 told me to listen to this track saying I sound like her. Other comparisons have been to The XX and Adele (pretty sure just because i’m English).

I have to revise my notes on my phone each morning or when writing this which often make no sense at all as I’ve just written down random words. These include such phrases as “510 Bad Smut”, “Mighty”, “Hop Munk” and many more. Considering I also use my phone notes to write lyrics they are all getting rather jumbled.


2. Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

“I’m walking down that long, lonesome road, babe. Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
but goodbye’s too good a word”

Arnaz, who I met when he played at Green Tortoise Hostel, performed this track and I sang along loudly with red wine teeth, probably ruining his lovely rendition. This is one of my Dylan faves and relevant to my soundtrack as I am ultimately chilled, not thinking twice and definitely alright.

Mario was introduced to me through Arnaz who I recorded some backing vocals for in a session for his current project. It was great to get back into a studio environment with Mike engineering, both fellas oozing creativity and professionalism. I loved listening to Arnaz talk about the intention of the lyrics relating to the intensity of using the voice, as I felt we think about music in a very similar way. My favourite day in San Francisco with a nice balance of music, pizza and giggles. I also got to listen to Patrick recording violin for a couple of tracks which was a blessing. This is a video from the day, I’m really looking forward to hearing the finished tracks in July!

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3. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

“Got to kiss myself i’m so pretty”

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In the hostel we formed a crew for a few nights of a mixed bag of nationalities. The longest standing members of the boozey crew were myself, Ben (Australia), Kinden (Canada) and Pia (Argentina). Pia is the greatest girly and I was so sad to say bye as she headed off on an adventure down the coast with some guys she met in a shop who bought her a funky jacket.

We partied at a Motown night full of locals where me and Pia had a bit of a wild one and the notes on my phone written to her in the back of a car recall the events and form some very amusing lyrics for a song coming soon. We went on a bar crawl with Leafy from China, both the girls having the boldest personalities in the best way. One American lady did not agree with my loving admiration for Pia as when watching a band in The Saloon she kicked off an argument and called her unspeakable insults, trying to kick her out the bar.

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Me and Pia jammed in the hostel after a few too many vinos but here is a snippet of the result.

On Ben and Pia’s last night we went to a bar where Uptown Funk came on and we head bopped and discussed how Pia would like nothing more than to have an English accent, be pale with freckles and have ginger hair. Pia is insanely beautiful with dark olive skin and dark hair so that is the most hilarious wish to pastey me and ginge Ben. We sat for hours repeating the word ‘Pineapple’, comparing the intonation in accents and creating a dance beat tune. I now send Pia voice notes on whatsapp when I get good enough WiFi so that she can be reminded of my accent.

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4. Patti Smith – Gloria

“My sins my own, they belong to me”

Easter weekend Saturday I sat reading Patti Smith’s book in Dolores park, listening to some great jams. It was paradise and the combination of the city’s ambiance, the music and Patti Smith’s words filled me to the brim with inspiration and I managed to get a lot of writing done.

This song takes me back to secondary school when I starred in Return To The Forbidden Planet, a musical version of The Tempest. I panicked before making my entrance trying to work out whether my radio mic was on or off. I managed to switch it off and sang half of this song with no amplification. I wasn’t embarrassed because of the audience but more so when telling the music technician that I had turned it off myself seconds before entering the stage. I had an unbelievably large crush on Ross, the music technician, and one night in San Fran I had a vivid dream that we finally got together and woke horrified to find it wasn’t true. Perhaps a touch ridiculous to be dreaming about him on the other side of the world five years out of school.

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I recorded some demos in my room and also met Florian a blogger from Switzerland who interviewed me (on the same Zoom recorder I have!) and gave me my 300th like on Facebook. Here is a new demo and I think on my return to this fabulous city I will try book in with Mike to get a proper track down.

5. Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

“It’s always times like this when I think of you and I wonder if you ever think of me”

I met Elicia when I first arrived at Green Tortoise Hostel as she is working there, although she is from New Zealand. I spent a lot of time with her and she is one super angel. One night we went out with the other people working at the hostel and her three Kiwi friends beginning their month trip across the states. As all the bars in California shut by 2am I was very happy to hit an underground club and party till 6am, the  kind of party I am used to. I spent most the time learning about peoples lives in the smoking area and having some really interesting conversations about music.

Fortunately, this track was not playing in the underground club but one of the crappy choices blasted out in the hostel ballroom by an incredibly irritating group of skaters who took over the place for Easter weekend. This was one of the better songs they played compared to the other crap.

Pia agreed that you need a daily dose of music in life and one of my days exploring San Fran with my soundtrack blasting was spent around the Castro district listening to Prince and looking at all the pretty rainbows.


One thing I am surprised not to be missing is television, although growing weary at the thoughts of not being able to easily laze with Gub watching new Game of Thrones. I did watch the majority of Mrs Doubtfire, if only to look at street names and know where they are in San Francisco! I have noticed Robin Williams to be stalking me a bit the past few weeks, RIP.

Spur of the moment I decided to head out of San Francisco with Elicia’s three Kiwi friends Mitch, Latty and Ross. Currently in a car commencing a road trip to Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas… I shall be back San Fran…

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