Little Paperballs – the Idea behind the Song Title

Today, Colleen Spencer of Smooth Groove Phoenix asked, how the title of the song Little Paperballs came about upon receiving the file. Since there is a little story to that, I decided to share it with all of you:

In the summer of 2009 I happened to have a writing job for Apple Inc. that took me downtown Munich. When the interview with the General Manager of the venue was completed, it was about time for dinner. As I have to watch certain food allergies I usually find me some place Asian (preferrably Thai) when eating out. As I stroll along river Isar in Munich in the vicinity of Deutsches Museum, I spot a restaurant with stickers in the windows, indicating that the place had just opened about a week ago. It looked inviting and wasn’t too crowded yet, as I was early, so I went inside. Upon ordering, I got into chatting with the person who turned out to be the owner of the place and we had a nice conversation about her business concept etc. At that time I had just (again) begun writing my own material and from the quality of the conversation I felt invited to let her listen to some of my just recorded stuff. The bartender from Florida, John, joined us and got very interested in my music. Long story short: I had a gig for some weeks later! The gig was supposed to happen on one of their event nights, following a certain theme for the day. “My” night was set for Lantern Festival, which is a Chinese tradition going back to the times of China being ruled by an Emperor and ending the Chinese New Year celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns. Families get together and eat rice balls called yuan xiao. It’s a family gathering under a full moon-lit sky, at the end of which thousands of softly illuminated paper lanterns are being released into the nightsky!
Lantern Festival

I was inspired by that idea and merged the idea of the yuan xiao rice balls and the lanterns into the title “Little Paperballs”. As a special gift to the venue owners, I wrote and recorded the song only two days prior to my gig in order to perform it on my opening night.

P.S. Originally the song sported vocals and there might be a version with vocals somewhere down the road. For reference, here are the lyrics that I wrote:

On the fifteenth of the first month
in the Chinese Lunar Year
You see children carrying paper lanterns
And a full moon just appeared
The lantern shows a riddle
of an ancient mistery
up to you and me to figure out
what the answer just might be

So turn your eyes to the night sky
See a million lanterns fly
Now join and sing it with me
we’re celebrating harmony

We’re gathering in circles
amongst our families
and pass around some rice balls
yuan xiao for you and me
There are fireworks and music
for days and nights to come
the emperor throws a festival
our people become one

Turn your head into the night sky
See a million lanterns fly
always know where you came from
so you know who to become
We all turn our eyes into the night sky
And see a million lanterns fly
the riddle has been answered
we are one big famil

Come meet me at the temple
and bring your sweetest song
our story goes in circles
it goes on and on and on
goes on and on and on
it goes on and on and on…

And we’ll look into the night sky
paper lanterns soaring high
as they vanish into darkness
and their light blends with the stars

Let’s turn our eyes to the night sky
See a million lanterns fly
Now join and sing it with me
we are one big family


WAGTi Member of the Week!

WAGTI Front Page

I am this week's WAGTi member of the week! Thanks April!

I have recently joined WAGTi – short for “we are greater than I” – network created and operated by April E Sims. WAGTi is a social media platfrom created by indie artists (April) for indie artists and targeted at giving indie (independent) artists some added exposure, which they are often denied by the established media and publishing outlets.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to April when calling in to blogtalkradio, another venture of hers, and came to know her as a warm-hearted, yet capable and determined artist and entrepreneur. I am honored to have been accepted to WAGTi and now to be made featured member of the week. Thank you, April, for creating this platform and for supporting us so diligently and able!

Collaboration with Brian O’Neal

For the past months, I must admit to have become like an online-addict – on any regular day I spend hours on MySpace and Facebook. On one of those days, I came across a profile reading ‘Brian O’Neal’ – changing the world one ear at a time. This claim immediately caught my attention and I took the tour around his virtual home(s) – and LOVED what I saw, read, listened to. So I left a comment on his wall status and continued my daily online trip. I later found, he had commented back and noticed that I was a musician myself. This is how a more frequent communication started.

Let’s fast forward: As of this morning, I find a new message in my inbox with a download link to an updated version of one of Brian’s songs named ‘Dreams in Color’ and him asking to check it out and come back with feedback. While I had LOVED this song before, he had asked me a few weeks ago, whether I’d add an acoustic guitar track to it. At first, I wasn’t all sure what to make of it, since I thought the song was perfect then with his virtuoso piano performance and more so, as I hadn’t even TOUCHED an acoustic in years, if not decades, let alone really played it. However and so far, I think I can say I haven’t backed out of a challenge and so I started practicing and recording – it was TOUGH, but rewarding, as I noticed some progress from day to day (most aspiring musicians, whether for fun or for making a living, will remember this sometimes painstaking process of learning the building blocks of your instrumental chops).

Eventually and weeks later, I sent Brian some files, which I hoped I wouldn’t get shattered over… (which, b.t.w., is Brian would most certainly never do :-)). You can’t imagine my joy and fulfilment, when he replied in a most positive and appreciative way – I think, I might have even gotten a little ‘misty-eyed’… :-). He told me, he’d do a little bit of editing and adding one or two tracks of his own and send me a made-over version – which is the one I’m talking about.

I’d like to say that I feel honored to have crossed paths with Brian, whom I believe to be the archetype of the “New Millenium Artist”. I am grateful he has made me a part of the song. I am hoping for this collaboration to grow and continue and appreciate everything coming from it. To those of you, who are here for the first time: Thank you for visiting my page (minimal material, yet – I’ll be working on that, too… :-)).

Here’s to eventually meeting the real people behind the (online) names, faces, pictures and blog entries. Have a blessed day, may music spread and flourish in every way it is supposed to!


DiC Recording Session
Recording session at Justmusic, Munich for Brian’s song ‘Dreams in Color’.

P.S.: I would like to thank Roland Köhler at Justmusic Munich for supporting the recording session at the guitar booth – awesome, many, many thanks!
Please check out the store:
P.P.S:: I would also like to thank Wolfram, my high school buddy and friend since then, for letting me borrow his acoustic guitar – thanks, man!

Chain Reaction – or: Watering down the original Web Idea

According to this article, today’s artist appears on a number of social networking sites, such as Facebook to name just one, and creates so-called “social objects”. These can be behind-the-scenes videos of the artist at work, yet unreleased songs, images of course, blog posts and so on. While I’ve only started – again, after a 10+ years hiatus – the process of building a collection of original songs, I have begun using the times of missing inspiration or patience or both 😉 with building exactly that kind of presence on the web. The idea is for one to remain productive in that area, when I’m not productive in the other (the music), and second to build myself a kind of framework to be filled with the material later. Also, I guess it helps to gradually attract some of my existing contacts and friends from other social networking sites to my new endeavour. And last, I simply enjoy dabbling in web technologies and trying this or that hosting site or blog platform. Also, it allows me to create outlets for my varied creative activities, which are music (first, always first!), photography, writing.
Read on

Artist’s Work Redefined

W.N. alias wes'bound

W.N. alias wes'bound

According to a brilliantly observed and well-written post by George Howard over at TuneCore the artist of the modern day doesn’t create albums any more, but singular social objects. I found this astutely observed read to be very inspiring and had been intending all along to do what Howard suggests: Make your potential audience a part of the entire “making of the artist”-process.
Read on…