3rd album, released in 2012.
I wrote my first poem in 1999, at age 23, on a whim after watching a documentary that included a poem at the end. I thought to myself, "I can do that!" I had written stories in competitions as an elementary and middle school student, and had always considered myself to be a writer. If, during my childhood, I had any dream in the direction of a particular career, it was as a writer. So, I began to write many poems, along with journalling about my experiences.
Much of my teenage years were spent listening carefully to my favorite classic rock artists, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Rush. I studied their lyrics, their sound, their aesthetic choices in musical composition. I had taken three years of piano lessons before I was eleven years old and played alto saxophone for another three years in the school band through ninth grade. I didn't want to keep marching on the football field at halftime, and instead wanted to be soley a part of the orchestra, but my high school required students to join both or none at all.
So, I quit playing music all the way until age 20, when, while selling electronics on straight commission at Sears, I purchased a cheap keyboard. I didn't remember how to read musical notation, but I had retained the enough finger dexterity to keep a decent improvisational melody going.
Once my habit of writing poetry had grown significantly, and I started singing with a informal choral group, a new desire arose toward writing my own tunes with my poetic work to accompany them. The problem was that I really didn't know how to construct a song. I didn't remember much music theory or know many chords. I had to start from scratch and I was stubborn. I refused to read any music books and barely took lessons. When I did take lessons on piano and guitar, I didn't complete most of the homework. I spent my time making up my own stuff through hours metaphorically (and sometimes literally) in the dark, feeling out the sonic possibilities for these instruments. I recorded myself on any cheap handheld or computer device that I had access to. I was very fortunate to live with a revolving crop of about a half dozen roommates, from 2003 up until now, who graciously shared their musical instruments with me, including acoustic guitars, electronic keyboards, drums, pianos, microphones and computer software. I bought my own equipment as well, often spending far too much on software and instruments, when I was really a beginner who was not ready for professional level gear. I eventually learned this lesson years later and found that I could use free software (Audacity) and basic instruments, as long as I repeatedly worked hard on technique and quality of the recordings.
I had a vision in my head and I was impatient. From 2002-2005, I struggled to improve my singing, learn guitar, relearn piano and learn drums. I have always maintained a veracious hunger for new music. I checked out hundreds of CDs from multiple libraries, read tons of critical album reviews and studied the lives of an extensive array of musicians (through books and documentaries).
All of this paid off. Now I have over eighty songs at some stage of development, sixteen of which are included on my first album, "Earthly Transcendence", and twenty-eight more on the next album, "Nebulas Of Creation". Another album, "Mental Atlas" is coming up. In meantime, I regularly edit and add to old tracks and compose new material.
Thanks for sharing this adventure with me. I hope you enjoy the music!
Andy Rhodes (Rhodesian Poet)