Every so often as I catch myself in the busyness of running this Kwerky business, marketing, budgeting, booking, songwriting, planning, strategizing, and all the fun stuff that goes along with the behind-the-scenes work of The Kwerks, I get a flash of the bird's eye view. My brain zooms way, way out, away from the minutiae that I get caught in for hours (how to write that post in the best way, with the best photo, which has been edited to suit our quirky style, the caption being under the magic number of characters, the clickable link being easy enough to locate, the timing of the post just right....) and I remember that we're living the dream.
It's still early. It still feels like we have a long road of this dream-living ahead of us, and it feels like we're still learning and growing and experimenting, but it's amazing. Dropping my career as a childbirth doula, to diving in head first, no holds barred, into pursuing music, our own music - what a rush.
Not only that, but as we began performing and connecting with our audiences, as we listened to what people were saying after our shows, as we read what people felt when they watched our videos, read our blogs, or listened to our songs, we started to see a bigger picture unfold. And we are leaning heavily into that bigger picture now.
There's a lot more story to be told about the path we've been walking than just the Kwerk part of it. There was a little video app called VINE that we very thoroughly became obsessed with for a couple years, which led to a huge transformation for Ryan first, and then me following. The transformation had everything to do with realizing we were holding ourselves back from the world, that we were putting on masks and pretending we were a certain way, not really allowing our true selves out, not really feeling like our true selves would be acceptable. But that darn app, that little screen on our phones, and more importantly, that community of caring people that lived all over the world and who engaged with us, encouraged us, and saw us emerge with our weird senses of humour, our weird dance moves, and our weird selves, gave us permission to really let go of those masks. One of those rather caring and influential people's VINE alias happened to be "Kwrky". Hmmm. But that's a story for another day.
VINE wasn't the only catalyst. Sometimes it seems that when you're being pushed down a path, all sorts of things line up to accommodate it. Books we were reading, people we were talking to, messages we were hearing everywhere, they all lined up. They all kept telling us to let go of our inhibitions. Be real. Be yourselves. Let loose.
There's a lot more to the story, and those who are close to us know the journey well, and perhaps we'll tell more of that story another day, but today, the story halts at a rather unpleasant pit stop.
It's an interesting thing, hate mail. Really, it's astounding to read something that is full of anger and disdain that someone actually went and sat and wrote, on purpose, seemingly for the sole reason of hurting.
We got one such email recently. It was directed hatefully at Ryan. And it hurt. But it also opened up a lot of discussion, and ultimately made way for MORE goodness, MORE authenticity, and MORE determination in the right direction.
You see, the thing is, the writer was slamming Ryan for doing exactly what we set out to do. This person was hating him because he was doing EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO. Someone missed the memo. Someone wasn't hearing the message.
When we get on stage, we aren't up there to impress an audience with our musical prowess. Ryan proudly proclaims he HASN'T HAD ANY DANCE TRAINING, and his maniacal moves are truly self-taught. Bahahaha! And I'm not even that good a guitar player! Sheesh! I've got rhythm, sure, but I'm still learning, and teaching myself, and if you ask me what key I'm playing in, I'll usually panic and turn to ask one of the amazing guys that play with us and know way more about music than I do. And I've made peace with that.
This is the thing. We are just simply bringing ourselves and offering what we have, and we are loving it, every moment, and that's it! It really is a nice surprise that people seem to like it, and tell us after shows how much they loved certain songs, and tell us that they're inspired to go and live life a little differently now. One of the most tear-jerking memories for me was after a show when a woman came up to me and said, in the most heartfelt way, "Thank you SO MUCH for quitting your job and doing this. Thank you." It was one of the earliest moments that I realized that this is a gift not only for Ryan and I.
And so when an email comes in that picks Ryan apart and tells him that he should stay backstage, and that he's a horrible distraction to an otherwise great band, it really seems like that person is missing the whole point.
The other day, we went to our kids' fine arts school to watch the year-end grade 4/5 show. Now, I'm a weepy mom like all the others at these kinds of things, but when the banners came down revealing the theme of the show, I was floored, and had rather leaky eyes through most of the show. Be free to be yourself. Have the courage to choose freedom. There is no better theme for us Kwerks to be dwelling on and leaning into at this time. Nothing better. And we will keep going. And Ryan will dance like a maniac and I will break strings from playing them so hard and the band will be there to back us up. And that's all.
Oh KwerkNation. Oh loyal army of voters. We have SAD news!
This morning we learned that it was very close, but we didn't make the top vote in CBC Searchlight, which we were aiming our hearts towards.
Without hanging our heads too low, we want to express to you, our rather amazingly loyal army of voters and supporters, how incredibly supported we felt throughout the competition. The CBC took note of how engaged our audience was (yeah, that's you!) and we got some good tidbits about them quite liking our stuff, but in the end, there were a great many excellent artists in the competition, and we didn't quite make it there.
Thank you for voting, and for putting your heart into hoping for our success. So many of you told us you were checking facebook hourly for updates, so many of you mentioned you were holding your breath (which I truly hope didn't cause any fainting because THAT WAS A LONG WEEKEND TO WAIT THROUGH!!). Thank you a million times for your support.
For us, this is disappointing, but we know there are so many other fish to fry, and so we are already moving our gaze to other challenges and adventures, all of which you'll be on with us if you so choose!
So, much love to you, our dear KwerkNation. Thank you for everything. We were nearly there. :)
It's TODAY!! February 14th is day one of the 2 week voting period for our entry in the CBC Searchlight Competition. Will you help us by casting your vote daily for the next two weeks?
(If "YES" is your answer, and you'd like daily reminders, contact us and let us know - we'll send you daily emails to remind you to vote!)
HERE'S THE VOTING LINK: http://www.cbcmusic.ca/searchlight/452
And here's our audition video for your viewing pleasure! (We were asked to submit a music video as well as an audition video...!)
The Kwerks have entered and been accepted into the CBC SEARCHLIGHT competition! We are tickled pink and so excited!
But we need your help. We need VOTES. Daily votes. From a lot of people.
Will you help us?
We will be posting the info and voting link on the top of our website as soon as the link is available. The voting period begins on VALENTINE'S DAY (Feb 14) at 3PM, and continues until Feb 27 at 2:59PM. The public can vote DAILY during this period.
Do I need to be Canadian to vote? A: NO WAY! Anyone can vote!
Why should I vote for The Kwerks? A: Because we're great peeps, and make good music!!
What's the contest all about? A:Well, it's a Canadian national competition to search for a yet undiscovered musical artist. The winner is selected on a live broadcast on CBC TV and gets a great prize package, including co-writing a song for Canada's big 150 anniversary this summer!
Would you like daily reminders to vote? Here's our FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE. If you select "GOING", we'll do our best to send out daily notifications/reminders.
Hey friends! It's been a while that you've been asking, and we're happy to announce, we're finally getting into Vancouver to do a show! It's a rather intimate venue, and tickets are limited so act quickly! $15 advance, $20 at the door.
*This event will be recorded and filmed live.*
Get your tickets HERE.
And HERE's the facebook event - tell us if you're interested or coming!
Hope to see you there!
Friends, this is such a big month for The Kwerks! We've just found out that we've made it through to ROUND 2 of the Recording Festival! That means they're down to the top 150 bands, and the top 3 win the grand prize - a trip to Ireland to the Grouse Lodge Studios for two weeks!
Cross your fingers and toes - we're eagerly waiting for the next steps!
COMING UP ON FEB 3, you'll find us busting a move and having a load of fun at THE STAGE in Mission. Food trucks, live music (of course), DJ, and your ticket gets you $5 off a drink!
This is going to be lots of fun. Get down there and join us, will ya? $10 at the door
For more info, check out SeaWest Entertainment: http://seawestentertainment.com/
While we Kwerks are working on booking ourselves up in the new year, we've also got some juicy holiday live music offerings for you! For those who haven't been to Pacific Theatre's extra special Christmas Presence shows, you are in for a treat! This delicious collection of musicians and actors put on a nearly improvisational show full of readings, song and acting that pleases crowds to no end. BUT, tickets are few and sell out quickly.
We Kwerks have FOUR (count 'em) dates to choose from for Christmas Presence.
Dec 11th - both the matinee and evening performances
Dec 13th - evening
Dec 17th - special Abbotsford show
It's that crazy time of year when we're just about to tip ourselves into the holiday mayhem and be inundated with tinsel, jingle-bells, and crafty snowflakes plastered to storefronts everywhere we look. There's something I can't stand about it all - the tackiness, the consumeristic mentality, the constant pull to spend loads of money to make others happy. But pushing that all aside (with all my might, because it's a heavy, foggy mess to work around) there's the other side of the season. The side that peeks out from behind the glittering shop fronts and shouts with all its might "THIS IS A TIME FOR LOVE! FOR GOODNESS! FOR GENEROSITY!"
This is the side of the holidays that I connect with. Keeping the bustling madness at bay (to unabashedly use a lyric from my "Lights" song) and keeping my eyes and mind set on things that are better, more meaningful, and more life-giving, like the experience of piling in the car on a dark, rainy night (wish it was snowy, but we live on the West Coast...) and slowly driving through the lit up neighbourhoods full of light displays, or waking up each morning and peeking out the window to see if by some magic the rain turned to snow overnight, or lighting candles at dinner and telling each other what our "highs and lows" of the day were. These are the things that make it really special to me.
The season is also a time when people somehow become more open to love and connection. There's a willingness in people that isn't there during other seasons to smile at one another, and get together for hot drinks in a cozier way, and think about giving to each other in a tangible way. There's a human connection that happens.
This human connection between people is at the crux of The Kwerks' goals. When I set out what my plan was for my music, what I was aiming at, what I hoped for, it had little to do with fame, or money, or recognition, or even wanting to be on stage. What it did have to do with was connecting with people in a meaningful way, in a way that is beyond words and conversation and chit chat and "what's new". I had, and have still, a drive to offer an experience of connection with music, through music, with oneself, with others around you, with me as the musician. Music, for me, is a tool used to connect people. And it really does do just that. The ways we are finding connections when we're on stage, when we're off stage, with other musicians and industry people, or with audiences and individuals who are affected in some way by our music, they are many and diverse. It's really amazing.
And I really love it. And I won't stop doing it for a long time to come.
May your holiday season be rich with love, and goodness, and friendship, and family, and good music, and connection with others. And you should probably get our Lights CD too. That song, "Lights" is exactly about what I've described here. Listen to the lyrics! :D
When I took up my guitar back in June of 2015, I had a plan. It wasn't a lofty plan, or full of soft-focus dreamy expectations of fame, or hopes of being signed by a big label (does that even happen nowadays?) and busting out my songs at Rogers Arena.
Nope, this plan was small. It was born out of a conversation with a sister who wasn't interested in allowing me to continue my life without diving head first into music. (Can you guess that she was my older sister? Kind of bossy, hey?)
The plan, as I saw it, was simply to start writing music, and start sharing it with people.
And believe it or not, that was a big deal for me. I grew up loving, LOVING, making music, but sharing it with people? Performing? Exposing my own art? Yeesh. I still get nauseous thinking about how I used to hyperventilate at the mention of an upcoming piano recital.
But I made that plan, and eventually the plan morphed into a firm goal. I would share my music, come hell or high water, with anyone who would listen, and try my best to offer an authentic piece of myself, my interpretation of the world, in hopes that they would experience something good. You know that feeling you get when you're listening to live music, or watching a play, or engaging with someone's art, that makes you feel overwhelmed, or emotional, or even just more connected with the people around you, yourself, or humanity? THAT is my goal. To give people that experience.
And so with that goal in mind, Ryan and I set out into the great wide world of the performing arts.
And the thing that baffles me.... is that it is working.
I still struggle to get my head around the fact that if I offer myself, my craft, as imperfect and inexperienced as I often feel it is, it seems people respond. How? Why? Who the heck knows, but my plan is to keep on this path, keep going, keep writing and performing, always keeping that one goal in mind, and see where it takes us.
So far, we're scaling some pretty big hills. Maybe one day we'll start climbing a mountain.
Thanks to you all for your encouragement and support. It means the world.
xo - Laura
Hey hey Kwerky friends! We've got a handsome giveaway for one lucky ducky out there.... and here it is!
We're giving away a VIP Kwerky Night Gift Package with the following included:
- a handsome gift card for dinner out before the show
- 4 tickets to the BIG OLD BARN CONCERT (Oct 15th)
- a Kwerkily signed copy of our EP
- a free pre-order of our holiday EP (out in November)
(This is over $150 value!)
Entering is SIMPLE.
On either Facebook or Instagram, like the post and tag a friend you'd share the winnings with in the comments! Click either button below to enter now!
AND THE WINNER IS: STEPHANI SHUMEY! CONGRATULATIONS, STEPHANI!!! LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT THE BARN!
It's time to celebrate fall with a Big Old Barn Concert!
The Kwerks will be there with the full band and a whole lot of energy for a fun evening of juicy musical goodness.
Come out with your friends, bring a blanket, and cozy up under the hay loft sipping some home-made chai! Getting cold? Kick off your inhibitions and get down and boogie with us! (You know Ryan will be....) Feeling like taking something home? We'll have our EP available, and a fancy surprise offer for those who are thinking of getting into the holiday spirit...
So go forth and tell the world (or at least your friends), and invite them (!), and get your tickets for this one quickly before it's sold out!
TICKETS: $20 ($5 for kiddos)
Kingfisher Farm - 512 172nd St, Surrey
Saturday, Oct 15th, 7-10pm
See you there!
xoxo The Kwerks
Hey Kwerky Friends!!
We have a few shows coming up that you might be interested in! The most imminent of which is our being the GUEST BAND at the Mission Coffee House Concert Series at the Cafetorium of the Clarke Theatre in Mission - Oct 8th, 2016.
It will be a fun night of music, an open mic, followed by an hour of fun times with us Kwerks. Come out, have some coffee, and enjoy the evening with us, will ya?
$5 at the door.
Clarke Theatre - 33700 Prentis Ave, Mission.
Oct 8 @ 7PM, and we play at 8.
See you there!
The Kwerks got some pretty spectacular news this week!
We've been nominated by the Fraser Valley Music Awards along with 4 other bands under the POP category!! This is pretty dang exciting, friends!
What's more, we've been asked to come and play at the Awards Night, so mark your calendars for July 16th.
Details will be released through CIVL Radio. Check them out here.
Hey hey hey, Kwerky friends! Hope your days are sunny and warm and full of good things.
We've just booked a great event in Chilliwack! Party in the Park 2016 is a FREE event, running all day in Central Park. Come on out and see THE KWERKS performing on the evening of July 8th. Time TBA.
More more info: Go here.
Hey Kwerky people! We've got some live music events coming up! Check out our events page for the complete list, but here are a few of the latest added:
May 28th - Tractorgrease Cafe in Chilliwack
June 4th - Cafe Deux Soleils in Vancouver
June 22, July 20, Aug 17 - Langley Community Farm Market @ Kwantlen University, Langley
July 9th - Watershed Cafe in Langley