Tag Archives: Pursuing dreams

Vivid in the Valley

5 Jun


On this blog (and most everywhere else), I talk about dreaming big and having faith in those dreams.  I believe in this, and I try my best to walk the talk, but sometimes my faith wavers and the dream feels like it’s too far out of reach as unexpected detours take me miles away from where I’m headed.

It’s usually at that moment that someone or something presents itself as a hopeful sign of  Steve Jobs’ sage reminder that “…you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

This week I discovered the debut single from the ambient pop group Silvery Ghosts, and as I began to learn more about the band – and the singer/songwriter behind it – I realized that this was yet another sign that sometimes the long way around is the only way to get to where you belong.

In the past five years, band founder Hank Kim has been through what he calls “an amazing, humbling journey.”  Kim, a native of Dayton, Ohio, released his first album, Blue Alibi in 2005 after having been introduced to New York indie rock mainstay, Mike Daly.  According to Blue Alibi liner notes, Daly, on the rebound after having disbanded his group Whiskeytown, “…became intrigued with the singer’s raw, idiosyncratic voice and melodic hooks, chronicling the jagged tales of misfits, rebels, and other bruised souls, flailing at the ghosts of redemption, in turns that are both comic and heartbreaking.”

At the end of 2001, in the wake of destruction, Kim and Daly walked into Soho’s Magic Shop and began the hopeful process of recording what would become the base for the rest of the album’s tracks.  Over the next two years, they worked with “…Dan Rieser (Marcy Playground, Norah Jones), drummer Alan Bezozi (Freedy Johnston), keyboardist John Deley (Dido), bassist Joe Quigley, and Sir Tim Bright, the renaissance man of Avenue U, who lent his distinctive touch to everything from the guitar and 6-string bass to the harmonium…” to produce an album that cleverly combined acoustic storytelling traditions with the yearning ache of Kim’s vocals and gave it a musical backing that transcended eras planting him squarely in the center of the power pop movement.

If you think I’m overstating the case, give “May/December Girl” a listen and you’ll see what I mean.

For various reasons, the album didn’t get the attention it deserved, but Kim was undeterred and set about working on his sophomore effort.  It would take him nearly four years to record Notorious Rainproof Smile, which moved Kim’s vocals away from the acoustic crooner style toward an edgier, indie rock sound.  The effort took its toll, and by the time it was ready for release he felt lost.  According to Kim, “I didn’t even bother to give the record a proper release.  I thought I was done as a musician and a songwriter.  I felt like the biggest fake – that I didn’t really have anything to say that anyone would want to hear.  All of the old demons were barking real loud.”

At that point, Kim let go of the music and began to reinvent himself by enrolling in acting school and starting his own business.  It wasn’t until 2010, after a failed relationship, that Kim felt the reemerging urge to create music.  In the spring of that year, he sat down at his computer and let loose the river of raw, uncensored thoughts and emotions that would become the basis for Love & Other Ephemera.

Finally hitting the studio in 2013, Kim tapped Nate Martinez (formerly of Pela and Theiving Irons) to produce the album.  According to the band’s website, together they worked to capture musical ephemera, a sound that Kim calls, “music without boundaries…the sense of searching for truthful expression that may or may not be relevant years from now but captures the emotional essence of a given moment in time.” They combined elements of modern electronic music and programming with traditional tools like piano and acoustic guitar as well as touches of Eastern sounds including the Saz (a Turkish 7-Stringed instrument with the intonation of a mandolin) and the sitar. Kim also brought gifted vocalist Kelli Scarr (who collaborated with Moby on 2010’s “Gone to Sleep”) on board for eight of the albums ten tracks.

In Silvery Ghosts’ first single, Vivid in the Valley, the combination of Scarr’s ripe, sultry voice languidly wrapping around the sophisticated ache of Kim’s trademark croon fans the embers and makes the song positively burn.  The official music video is currently being edited by director, Jeaneen Lund.

The release of Love & Other Ephemera on June 9 signals both the rebirth and the return of an artist who has embraced the pain of the past, recognizing that “All the twists and turns of the past were necessary for me to find my voice as a singer and an artist.”  As he looks forward to what is next,  Kim explains, “Silvery Ghosts is an opportunity to finally assert myself.  I feel like the training wheels are coming off with this record.  I may actually know what the hell I’m doing.  It’s a great feeling.”

Once again, I’m reminded that it’s the journey that matters. All of the twists, turns, and detours that create our rich, memorable lives are what we carry and, ultimately, leave behind.

The destination is simply the satisfaction of knowing we’ve finally connected all the dots.

Updated June 10: Lund’s video was posted, and all I can say is that this better come with a fire extinguisher because it’s SMOKIN’ HOT!

Silvery Ghosts will perform on June 23 at Rockwood Music Hall in New York.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SilveryGhosts
Website: http://www.silveryghosts.com


Dreamer Profile: Laura Heineman

1 Dec

Detroit Night - Photo by Laura Heineman

(Editor’s note: Laura is not only an aspiring med student, she is also a talented Graphic Designer and photographer who writes the blog DetroitByBike, which details her bike trips around the Detroit area. She is also a true artist – as evidenced by the way she reshaped the questionnaire – and I love that!)

NAME: Laura Heineman

WEB ADDRESS/BLOG SITE: detroitbybike.com, lauraheineman.com


You gave me this questionnaire to fill out. But I’m just not to good at filling out questions. So… here is my dreamer profile:

I don’t believe in regret in life. But I also believe that you need to be able to recognize when higher powers are trying to tell you something. About 2 months ago I randomly told a Doctor that if I could live my life over again I would have gone to medical school. I then told her that I was too old to go now. Her response was, “Just do it. I was 28 and a single parent when I went back to school and I did it. It’s hard but it’s worth it.” I had already committed to going back to school so I started looking into it. It turns out medschool was only going to be an extra 2 years of education when I broke it all down. Not a huge difference in the long term view of life. I talked with a few other doctors that I knew and they all told me the same thing. It’s hard, I’ll be putting my life on hold, but in the end it is worth it and I should do it. (It’s funny because I got exactly the same speech from all 3 of them, they also weren’t focusing on money, they all seemed to be happy and fulfilled in their careers.)

Detroit Lives! - photo by Laura Heineman

The things I would tell someone in this (especially if they were your students) are below:

-Get good grades. It sounds so trivial and stupid at the time but grades are a way of tracking your success and work ethic. It’s your proof to people. I didn’t always focus on my grades because I knew that I knew the topics so I was ok with working just hard enough and getting B’s. Fast forward to 10 years later and those B’s may be the thing that stops me from getting into medschool. Even though I believe I am smart enough, I didn’t put in the effort into the “society approved” way of saying that I’m intelligent.

-Believe in yourself. When I first started telling people that I was leaving a good job to go back to waiting tables so I could go to school I got a lot of really bad looks. This isn’t something we do in our society. Especially in our parents society. You sign onto a job and you work it for the rest of your life. Hopefully you work your way up. But since I have left my job, many random things have happened that I cannot believe are just chance. I like to believe this is life’s way of telling me I’m on the right track.

-Lastly, surround yourself with intelligent, inspiring people. Spend your time with people that lift you up. When I first told my family that I was going to attempt medschool at 31 they basically didn’t talk to me. I’m lucky that I have such good friends that pushed me to go for it. They gave me the little boost of power I needed to be able to believe in myself.

Detroit night park - photo by Laura Heineman

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