This is my view! Taken 5 mins before I started this blog (which is probably going to be a couple of hours by the time I finish this blog!). I am having a whale (apparently you can hear them from my "home" sometimes) of a time. This is a very relaxed whale. One that's writing songs, cooking food (ah, the novelty of being in one place long enough to cook, buy groceries), learning Japanese (very very slowly in it's own time) lapping the little pool about 50 times each morning and braving the extreme undulating nature of this island's land mass on my rented bicycle. It's made up entirely of 2 volcanos. So quite hilly. Well, half up half down.
Yes my lovelies, I am in beautiful Maui where I shower with toads, play piano with a little mouse (I'm calling Percy) sniffing at the window and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with the odd lizard. Here's one that seems to enjoy coin collecting. I didn't take this but was trying to find a lizard/gecko for my blog but these ones have decided though not shy they are in the camera dept.
This one here's a Mourning Gecko, though I've seen them at all times of day. Sorry, it's still comic relief
day in Hawai, I had to squeeze one bad joke in here somewhere!
While i'm here
Two fish in a tank...One fish says to the other
"So how do you drive this thing?"
I'm at the beginning of a 60 day trip to some places I have and some I haven't been to. My studio's in a right mess from a year of touring and taking it apart, London always seems to get me doing things other than those I should (i.e right now, writing the new album) so the week or two before I left I spun my world round a little bit with google earth
and zoomed into the place which seemed furthest away from anywhere. It turned out to be Hawaii! Then I Googled, Hawaii, "grand piano" self catering, and eventually found this place I'm in now. My goodness is it cool, hot whatever. Did you know I grew up in round house? Well now you do. I really like being in round spaces and Octagonal spaces come a close 2nd. Well this one's 6 interconnecting octaganol rooms, on a cliff, over looking the sea, with a waterfall about 100 yards away in full view and most importantly a gorgeous grand piano. We are getting along famously. It's been sooooo long since I've been able to play and play and play for hours on end whenever I want!
Here's a couple of pics I took. I love that panoramic feature where you join up 3 images in the phone. A little tricky with perspective to get it right on curve...anyway...here y'are.
For the last album I wrote a blog pretty much everyday for about the last 6 months out of the year it took. Well, it was so useful for me to do it that I'm doing it again. It really kept me on my toes. Funny how you get more done when you're being kept an eye on! So expect regular blogs, through the ups and downs in the making of the new album. I hadn't written ANYTHING for it before 3 days ago. So you are right here at the start. I would have started blogging earlier but I just couldn't keep it in anymore. The 2 songs at the moment are called "Wait it out" (for the movie) and "Pit stop". Completely chalk and cheese and I'm sure you'd expect nothing less.
So I'm here for 2 weeks (5 days in now), then to Taveuni, an island of Fiji, then to Sydney for a night to see a couple of mates before heading down to Tasmania for a couple of weeks. Then.... to Japan. I LOVE that country and have been dying for an excuse to get back there. 5 days in crazy Tokyo then up to Hokkaido for the rest of the fortnight. I'm going to meet Coppe
too so very excited about that! I love that girl's music. Then after this...to Hong Kong for a couple of nights, then to Koh Samui, Thailand for a couple of weeks. I'm going to catch up with Milosh
and his girl, Yen. He's out there writing his much anticipated new album. Hopefully we'll do a I'll show you mine if you show me yours little play off session. :) I think our Zoe's
going to try and get out there too. Then for the last 4 days, i'll be in Bangkok. Phew! I can't bleedin' wait!
I have never been away and done anything like this before. I'm still winding down. I know this coz I've written nearly two songs i love already (one for a movie...but I can't tell you about that yet...mmm....I'll ask him and see if I can...), getting up at the blur of dawn, learning Japanese, emailing like a dog...I haven't really been out the house yet! I kind of feel like I have to earn my keep as it were. Write a couple of good'n's then go and explore. I've got some new friends here. Liam, who's been taking me around a bit, teaching me the odd Hawaiian word and taking me to the grocery store, his boyfriend, Luis (who so far I've only met up a ladder) and Cindy who looks after the place I'm staying in and also takes me into town a bit. We're all going snorkeling at some point too. Gotta be done in Maui. Will fill you in of course.
Goodness me...there's so much that's gone by and I haven't blogged on. That's part of the reason for my non-blogging of late. I started..did about 2 hours and only got about 1 week in! It has been mental.
In very short...(will update as I remember)... in memorological order...
The grammys (I sat 2 seats back from Prince!) Poor James Blunt was behind me and didn't see much past the garden patch of my hair. It really did just seem like a natural extension from the feather mohawk... and of course, the dress. Fantastic Pinar
who pulled it together with Jackie in 5 days! Pinar got in touch with me through myspace about 8 months ago. She'd made a dress for me before (that I've worn for pretty much every gig since coz I love it so much) and when i heard I was nominated (the day before my birthday) I asked her if she'd make it. So..a couple of month's worth of emailing back and forth on ideas and this is what we came up with! We went and bought flowers and grass for my hair, fitted the outfit, chose the fabrics, bought shoes, fixed the parasol, named the frog (gary)...not bad and then they made it! All in the nick of time. Believe it or not, it didn't even cross my mind until I stepped onto the red carpet that I may be wearing something a little too adventurous for some. On a catwalk it'd be quite at home! People loved or hated it. Much like "hide and seek". But I sure loved wearing that outfit. It was so much fun. It's going into the soon to be opened for it's 50th anniversary, the Grammy Museum! haha...forever! Except Gary-the-grammy-frog stays with me. I even got to wear some rather fancy jewellery worth....wait for it....one necklace and one watch came to $600,000 on the form I had to sign for insurance reasons! My GOD! I had no idea. I went to this thing the day before that everyone who's nominated gets to go to. You get to wear really fancy stuff, they get it on TV...now because I was gonna be on TV with "best new artist" (giggle) I was important enough to wear all these glittery diamonds. So thank youChristopher Designs
, I felt like a princess and maybe the prince was Gary! One mag who didn't like my outfit (there were quite a few...not that it bothers me in the slightest) said something about "let's hope for the frog's sake that it doesn't turn into a prince" I thought that was pretty funny :) I may never be a Bond girl but I've been a Pond Girl. Ah...anyway. I had a great time. needless to say the people that came up to me for a chat weren't the super slick, celery stick, can't think where's my lipsticks types but people I'd actually like to spend an evening with. I made some friends that night. So again Pinar. Thank youuuuuu!Joshua Radin
....who I toured with on the Hotel Cafe tour, asked me to remix a song from his latest album. It's called "Only You". Apparently it was played by Chris Dohridas on the wondefil KCRW the other day...More news on that when I get it.
The US tour. Wow...what a trip! My birthday that we celebrated here! Some friends popped over to see me, we drank, soaked (all 20 of us) in the hot tub, looked at the stars, ate lovely home cooked food. Marble, where we stayed in this lodge, was pretty much inbetween Salk Lake City and Denver. Another google earth find! Thankyou for all the birthday love everyone and also for those of you who wrote me messages in the birthday book that Sam and Lisa from Map the Music
put together for me. Really lovely to have that xxx
Ok...4 "i Megaphone" shows. They were just after the Grammys. I played them the way it used to be done. Piano and vocal only. 2 shows in LA and 2 in NY. I really enjoyed them. We had a little question and answer session too. It was great to play the old stuff (10 years on!) with my new improved voice and piano playing. I used to sing so differently. Tried to keep as much to the original way of touring the songs back in the day. I even got to play on Liberace's piano thanks to Pete at Baldwin pianos.
Wow I think about 10 lakes worth of rain just fell from the sky!
Then in Jan, the European tour which was totally different from the States and UK shows. Much smaller clubs. nice to shake it up a bit. See the white's of your eyes and all that.. Zoe was on tour with me again. Always nice to hang with her. In fact we were 4 ladies 2 men on that one. We kept 'em in check! Hooked up with the Nemo
boys in Berlin. We went on to a club afterwards and ended up getting so drunk we didn't say goodbye! Sorry guys. We all had a great night though. You have got to large it up in Berlin.
Then I spent a few days in Bern after the last gig at the end of the tour to see my friends, and my God Daughter Nalini. I went into her bedroom and there on her bed in pride of place was the stuffed elephant I bought her when she was a wee baby. Ahhh...I do love that town. If you are ever in Switzerland promise me you'll go. Go in the summer and float down the River Aare. The club is belons to my mate Gert. It is a very bijou little place. Underground. And the entrance was too small to fit my mammoth perspex piano case in...so...with a non-gig looming...Gert asked the shop people above him if he could take it round the back of his club via thier french windows one floor up! haha. I just found this on my phone. I wouldn't enter it into any film festivals or anything...click here to watch it!
New Years...I went to Tanzania to bring in the New Year with the Flamingo film guys. We were sung to by a local Masai tribe. Heaven is on earth. It was so beautiful. Of course the guys egged me on to sing something back. I said I would but only if we'd all sing something together in return first. Out of all the song's on the planet the one we sand was doing "London's burning" in cannon. Goodness. It was quite awful! I wonder what they thought of that! We ate goat and ungali (kind of like Polenta). A great New Year's Eve. This is from Camp Natron, where it all goes on.
It was SOO unseasonalby (which seems to be the norm) rainy while we there. I had immense fun in the land rover while the guys slid accross the mud fields. We spent about 5 minutes going sideways coming out of Camp Manyara. Also with Sophie navigating through a mammoth puddle or two. There were a lot of safari goers who weren't going anywhere fast in that mud but I was in good hands.
This is some of Sophie's expert land rover maneoverings, going through a typical puddle post downpour. You'd need more than wellies to defy this one: "Megapuddle"
This is my virgin hovercraft flight on lake Manyara! It just glides over and between land and water. Again, rubbish camerwork. I'll leave that to the experts (who is flying the machine). His name's Leander. There were of course many much more beautiful things I could have taken footage of but... i didn't. You'll have to wait for the film to come out :)"Mzungus on Lake Manyara"
Phew. Well drat. I've just 2 mins past midnight. Took me a lot longer than I thought.
Love to you all. I'll be checking in soon with more stories.
I've left all kinds of things out like frog noises, hot tub in the garden, how lovely it is here at night with fire on and a cool breeze breathing through the house.