Right then...I've begun the 3rd album (the follow-up to 'Speak For Yourself'). I'm going to write a more frequent blog as I did with the last one so you can keep an eye on me and make sure I'm not slacking! I wonder how it's gonna turn out? How exciting! You're very welcome to comment but please don't ask me questions on here or i'll never get any work done. You can email me with any questions you have and every month we'll pick 20 from the virtual 'hat' and post them. Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Much much more to come! Love, fluv x i x Wheeeeee!!!
Click here and here to see 360s of my cosy studio in London where I wrote and recorded the last album "Speak for Yourself" xxx
These 3 snips are part of about 30 mins of me, 1am at Honolulu airport. I found a quiet little space to stretch out (apart from a cleaning lady), check emails etc while I was waiting for my delayed by 2 hour flight to Fiji. I soon began to pass the time away by humming, whistling and typing to the music (the cleaning lady began cleaning further away from me now whilst throwing me funny looks) being played over the speakers, some of it I actually really liked...liking airport music? only in Hawaii.
Somehow I don't think any of these idea will make the album!
I've got so much more to tell you. This place I'm staying in now is just so breathtaking I can't even put it into words! Will update you on this place when i get to Tasmania as the internet connection is too slow here to upload some little clips i've filmed on my phone. YOu won't believe it! xxx i xxx
Love love to you all xxxx immi
p.s. This is what I typed for one of the qwerty jams. Really deep stuff man... mm...
xx xxxx xx x x x
x x x x x x
x x x x x
x x x x x
x x x x n gjgjjgkjgkjgkklksfjgjlkjsdfglkjsdfglkjdsfglkjsdfglkjgas
So...goodbye to Maui. She/he has been great to me. I almost but not quite finished "Little Bird" before I left the house today. I didn't because today I started documenting the trip on my DV camera. I don't know what i'll use it for but could be fun to see in time. I didn't finish it last night....well...let me tell you a story...
I was lying down on this lovely shag-pile rug, the fire crackling away with my notepad in the dark, as night descends pretty quick out there in the hills, throwing ideas down for another "cycle" for "Little Bird". I managed to do one I was pretty happy with. Got "touchdown smile" in there which i quite liked. Also..."like help in quarantine" with regards to not being able to do something for someone. Anyway...so there I was onto the 5th lyrical cycle when I noticed something moving on my top. I saw what I thought were two spiders legs about half in inch in length each feeling there way for the other legs to move along behind them. I'd heard spiders over here are pretty harmless but I still don't much like them. They have been known to make me jump across a room screaming like a 5 year old. I was reasonably calm (for me) when I got up (like a shot!) and frantically shook my top to get it off. What fell off me what in fact not a spider but a HUGE centipede! It landed feet (all 100 of them i guess) first and scurried across the carpet at quite a rate of knots. What I thought were two spiders legs were it's antenna! EEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!! I ran after it. It was heading for the patio doors but then it got there BEFORE me (it was a fast mover! I guess 100 legs is better than 2 really long ones!) It made a sharp left turn behind the TV into the darkness. I really wanted to see where it went A. so I could take a picture of the thing and prove to you I'm not exaggerating. This thing was 5 inches long at least. Thick and black...and B. coz I didn't want to find it on my face in the middle of the night!
Alas...it had vanished. I then spent the rest of the night seeing things moving from cereals bowls to a person in the leaves blowing in the winds outside. I was freaked out! I got a hold of the first person on ichat and splurged my story onto them. They didn't get a word in edgeways (thank you Josh!) but i felt better for chatting to someone about it. He said that it's probably found the outside by now...and I forced myself to believe him.
So...anyway...today...I was packing to leave and Cindy rang me up. Invited me to go round to her house with her before i left. We wondered over down the little road that connects us all out of the way houses up on the cliffs. A short way and then we came to the Cutest house on the planet! Ahh...so cute. Hexagonal. A big bed, kitchen, office all in one room but the uninterrupted view down to the ocean makes it a palace. There's a lovely outdoor shower and a bath she dragged over which she fills up with water from the kettle that sits among the vegetable patch. it's just so lovely. While we were inside Cindy gave me this necklace. She made it! She even made the string that goes around my neck that holds the pendant herself from a plant (that I can't remember the name of). So now i have this round my neck.
She took me out further into where all these fruit trees were. Name a fruit and I bet you it's there. Everything from Guava, bananas, Oranges, Coconuts, Avocado and this thing called Soursap? I think that's what it's called. I really like it. This is one i'd been munching on plus an orange that Cindy found. It really is amazing how stuff grows out here in the tropics. I was being careful where I was throwing my seeds coz she may not want a soursap tree outside her front door by morning!
So thanks again Cindy. She just dropped me off at the airport where I am now writing this all down. Just about to get on a flight to Honolulu to transfer to Nadi (in Fiji) to get a flight to Taveuni where I'm staying for 4 days. I think there's internet there but just incase...thought I'd fill you in now.
I took a quick shot of the piano infested with my gear....
and also of my much adored little blue suitcase that I refuse to trade in for a new one. I just love it. We've been together for a good 10 years now. Ooh...must buy Maui sticker for it.
Right then. That's about it for now. Goodbye Liam, Luis, Cindy and Bobby. Many thanks for a wonderful time. I will be back! Love and kisses....and to all of you lot too.... byeeeee. xxxxx i xxxxxx
Hello you lot. So i've been doing some fun things about Maui over the last couple of days. I have also come up with this idea for a song I really like. It's called "Little Bird". Kind of nursery rhyme style of writing. One continuous melody over a chord progression and then the same again with different lyrics. Kind of "She'll be coming round the mountain" but not at all! I've written about 3 cycles. Going to try and finish this one before I leave Maui on Sunday which will give me 3 songs. Whoopdedoo!
The day before yesterday, the lovely Liam and Luis took me down "The Road to Hana" (from Huelo, where I am). It's a really beautiful, twisty ride along the northern cliffs, through rainbow eucalyptus, waterfalls and the odd coconut stand. Here's a clip of Liam manfully breaking into a big nut. We all had one each and drank up the coconut water then opened it further to eat the flesh inside. mm mmm.
Arriving at our destination, a beach in Hana, Luis and I promptly got our kit off to put some smaller kit on and went body surfing. Liam, chilled on a towel. The waves were pretty large. We got "boiled" quite a few times by them. Basically slow spun about in the wash of the wave before it was ready to spit me out. When you got it right though it was hard not to gulp a load of water from laughing at how much fun you were having! It was lovely being on the waves as they upped and downed around us. It felt like being lifted up as a small child by an adult over their heads. There were these kids on the beach with their boards doing something called "Skimboarding". They launch off the beach into the waves and skim for a bit then, somersault off in mid air as the wave hits them. Looked great fun. I'm sure I would have broken my neck trying it though so i just watched.
Small interlude...If none of you have heard this...it's bleedin' great! I really like this guy, he's called Back Ted'n'ted. He did this fantastic remix of Goodnight and Go that i just love. Please listen and send him kisses.
Yesterday, my new friend Bobby, took me out on the ocean kayaking.
We headed off into the blue and very soon, in the distance, the dark specks of mammal, protuding out of water before splashing their way back in. We kept on kayaking. A wave took us by surprsie and we capsized. It was pretty funny. Slow motion action. Nothing we could do but go with it. We managed to save everything but a bottle of water. So if someone on the nearest beach, clothes optional it turns out off Turtle point discovered a floating 2 litre water bottle, that was mine. Please, go ahead. It got us into the water which was lovely and warm. After a couple of chewy snack bars and a tuna wrap we continued our search. This time...we could hear them breahting through their blowholes. Pshhhhhh....in the distance. We paddled up to get closer. Bobby said "You want to get go in and swim with them?"...erm....YES! So flippers on, snorkle tight, check. Slip into the water and off I go...paddle paddle paddle...hmmm....where are they? Bobby's signalling me from the kayak, over there...with a paddle action from his arms...off this way I went...this time I was pretty darn close. The waves were a little choppy so it was hard to get a good look from the water. Then I lost 'em again. I went under and tried to hold my breath for as long as possible. The Whales! You could hear them "singing". Amazing sound. Here...listen for yourself! This website have them coming through 24/7 from pretty much where I was in the water. Go searching in the archives and find the one recorded at full moon. Who's going to be sampling this!? I wonder...So once i'd attempted to sing with the whales, Bobby was signalling again. They were really close this time. I swam as fast as I could to catch them. A baby and it's mum. 20 feet away from me! This is I was so out of breath I couldn't go under for long enough to see them swim about ahead of me. I'm definitely going to be doing this again. Beautiful creatures. Incredible to be right there with them. Completely at ease.
This is Bobby doing a much better job at getting down there with them a couple of weeks previous. Great shot!
Big thanks to the guys taking me out here. It's really so nice to be shown about by people who live here rather than being on a boat with 100 other people scrabling for a glimpse of a whale or going to a busy beach from not knowing where the little cute ones are.
Wow...I was just outside in 40mph winds with no clothes on, lying on one of these sunbeds on my deck. The sun pouring down, listening to Avril's "Power" from his "members only" album. That was so exhilarating! I think i can count the number of times on one hand I've been outside, alone, naked...well with knickers on coz I'm still a bit shy, even if it's only lizards. Something about really crazy wind and nakedness I've decided. wow. Anyway....I know that was really baring all with you there but it was a real cheezy "I'm Alive!" moment.
Last night however I was with my new Mauian friends (pictured below this one). First however I'm going to post this picture as I look better in it, (I'm not vain, honest!) and want you to see this one first when you read the blog. haha :)
This was taken by Liam at the restaurant Cindy took us all out to last night. Thank you again Cindy! It was Yyyyummy. Would you define that outfit as Hippy? I was wearing it on the plane from London and a guy said he liked my "hippy get up". I think of Tie-dye and jesus creepers. Anyway...he was very nice. We chatted for a couple for hours.
Most of the pics I send you on this blog won't be of me...coz I'll be taking them...but...look! I think that may be a tan forming! I'm not sure I've ever had one of those before. I've been burnt, and had brownish patches but never this. It is possible! That was my first proper outing from this house. I went as far with my 2nd song as I'm going to go on this trip so felt like I'd earnt a good nosh and chat.
This one is of... from left to right...Some bird with a really shiny face and a bit of a crappy smile (everyone else's is really nice). Then Liam, his boyfriend Luis and Cindy. Our waiter took this one. So these are my new friends and tomorrow we're all going to the beach to look at colourful fishies in the sea.
Talking of sea. There's is quite a lot of it round here. more than any other place in the world. Have a look at where it is in the pacific if you don't believe me. And...it has whales in it. I saw some! Last night, Cindy was driving us to dinner, when she pulled over to a lookout point. We waitied about 20 seconds and out of the blue (literally) a HUGE whale jumps out. I'm not sure what kind of whale but big enough to be a humpback. Maybe it was. Anyone know? Near Paia. I've never seen a whale like this before. There were quite a few of them out there. Hopefully we'll see more tomorrow. Cindy told me a story of a boat full of whalewatchers round here that was out at sea and all these whales came up for a nose about. A little baby whale jumped up to see what all the action was about and landed on a woman in the boat! She had her knee broken. How random is that? I don't think i'd mind getting my knee broken like that. Pretty amazing.
Sooo..... In my last blog I said that I'd email the guy who asked me to write this song for a movie whether I was allowed to say and he said..
"Of course. I listened to it like 5 times last night.
Cooooooooool. I'm all excited about it. So this is Zach Braff. He emailed me about this new film he's directing on the day I was leaving the UK for this trip. He wanted me to write a song for the movie where the lead character will be singing it. I'm sure a lot of you guys reading this came about me through "Garden State" so I kind of have a soft spot for the guy. He scrubs up quite good too don't you think? ;) I got the script delivered to the hotel I was going to stay at the night after in LA. On the plane from LA to Maui the day after that, I read it. I jotted a few things down and the next day....I began to write (for the first time in about half a year!). A couple of days later the song was complete. not bad going I thought. If I was in London that would've taken me about a month to get round to doing.
It was perfect to have something specific to write for. The vast endless possibilities of an open canvas with no edges is terrible for the creative juices! I always thought I wanted complete freedom to write but actually, it's the limitations that force you to be your most creative. Like with "Hide and Seek". Only vocals. That was my box to work in. Anyway. I'm really happy with the song. It's called "Wait it out".
Here's a picture James (our friend and masterful webmaster) took of me once in Birmingham. I was thanking his for the Garden State soundtrack. It seems quite apt again.
So the next day...I was so excited about writing this song that I wrote another! I've now decided this one is called "Swoon" now, not Pit-stop. it's completely chalk and cheese with the other one. Everything I do on this trip will be pretty much only bare bones instrumentation and vocals for now. I don't have that much gear with me, purposefully. The plan for writing this album is to get the songs done first. Well most of them at least. Then do the fun geeking out bit when I get back. Going for a swim in my little pool here or being blown to bits on the deck sure beats staring at a wall in my London studio (which is what happened on the last one) when I can't figure something out. The fact that this one for Zach came about gave me a real boost at the start. My dread was to arrive and not be able to write. Sometimes when your setting is too perfect, the last thing you can do is write. In this way there is something about being on an industrial estate at 3am, with the rain pelting it down against the window in my studio. You want to write something that helps you go somewhere else. For now though. This is great. it's also the perfect excuse to come out here again!
Well. that's about it for now. Thanks for reading. Be in touch soon with more musings. xxx
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 you Christopher 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 :)