Leslie Nuss

 
 

Blog

Late. hmm

 

Well, last Friday was a busy day. I had to clean the house so my husband could show it to potential clients (and get the job!) and then I had to clean our guest house and then I was exhausted. 

My son had not been doing well for a few weeks. He has epilepsy and was "seizury" and it might have been from giving him tylenol-because I just found out that tylenol can do weird things when it's being digested and so that was a major damper on my spirits. But, I'm trying different things/amino acids and such and he seems to be improving, so I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll return to his old normal. We had gone to the neurologist who seemed rather unconcerned about his deteriorated state, which was a drag. It's hard to treat a child who is non-verbal, that's for sure. But, whatever. Information abounds and all is not lost. 

So what is on my mind? Not much, haha. In a holding pattern for my recordings, but still going to the piano and trying new ideas and working on new songs. I'm grateful to be in a quiet house for the moment. What's weird is that even though I love love love music, i actually love love love silence. So I am cherishing this silence, which still has the humming of the refrigerator and the tick of the clock and whatever buzzing is in my ears. 

I volunteered to make three things for Thanksgiving. A sweet potato pie (a Mark Bittman recipe) a jello dish with an Asian flair (my sis-in-law is hosting and has assigned Asian-themed dishes) and then I asked her if she was going to have a special cocktail and she texted me one, but the two stores I went to didn't have exactly what the recipe called for, so I'm going to see if I can make some substitutions. It called for Cognac, so I got a bottle of D'usse, which when I got home, I thought I'll just put an N over the D and then cover up the e. Hahaha. N'usse or maybe keep the e. 

Time seems to fly these last 6 weeks of the year. Mrs. Claus must get busy-she usually gives the kids some custom made something (because Santa doesn't sew! duh) and I find it sort of adorable that my 11 year old is sure that Santa is going to give her a phone (MOM-all the kids have one!) Well, she did have an old phone, but got it wet. I let her sign me up for music.ly and she wants to make videos on it. 

I'm playing a gig Dec. 8th at the Hunt & Gather again. Maybe in the Spring I'll have a booth there, too. I brought 4 wool wraps to the organizer's store last Sunday and she sold 2 the same day. So I made some more and made some pins and brought them there this week. I posted a few photos on my instagram account...

Well, I hope you have a great holiday. Don't eat too much, but eat a lot, because it's tradition!

xo

 

Early

 

so, this week I'm going to be early, because I'm in LA and awake and going to the studio in an hour and when I get home on Thursday, I'm sure I'll be pretty busy on Friday.

So, it's great to be here/be back. I'm so thrilled to be working with Ainjel-her studio is gorgeous and has a great vibe and we are doing well. I always worry about my voice. I'm no opera singer, and yet, it "is" my instrument and as such needs to be babied, cared for, used. When I got on the plane yesterday, I felt a slight something in my throat and that's a worry. Who wants to book days into the studio to not perform well? But, then I got over it and we started working and I think I did 3 songs. I resang When I Wake, Swing for the Stars, worked on a little of Glory Days (we had done that last time) and then...she suggested I resing Shook Me...which was done, I thought. But then, yesterday, it got better. What a relief! So exciting! 

We will try to work on Subway today, and then I'd really like to work on Building's Move, though that might need to be put on a 3rd ep. (I mean 3rd of this series-I have those two other eps that I'm working on with Josh). So, that's 5 eps. 

It's cooler in LA than a few weeks ago-got a bit chilly last night and of course since I'm only wearing the clothes I make...will have to improvise. I might need to cheat and wear a long sleeved uniqlo shirt under another shirt today. 

It's such a complete luxury to be able to sit in bed and not worry that...someone will interrupt me, like a family member or animal. I've been up for hours but still will probably have to hustle to get to the studio because I'm on such a slow burn right now. 

Did I mention that I downloaded 17 hours of Voice Memos that I'd been storing on my phone? I use Voice Memos like I used to use portable cassette players-to record song ideas. Some of those 17 hours have full songs from band practice, but...wow. Got to get this sh*t out the door! 

alright. time to get ready. have a great day!

 

good news

 

So, super excited here. The producer who has taken over the "Chicago Tracks" got his liver transplant (for auto-immune disorder) and now recuperating at home. Big Yea. So glad. So, this means that eps 3 and 4 will get done sometime in the winter/spring of 2018. 

And eps 1 and 2 will probably be done around the same time. Who knows. What weights off my shoulders. Then...I can think about recording the next ones. 

I've been also working on the fashion line, which is cool. First, I'm trying to use up my supplies-which are considerable...I have fabric, leather, metal, paint, etc. Fits in with the Marie Kondo-ing of my life. For some reason I think empty will be better, more peaceful.

Not so much to say today. 

xo

 

 

songwriting

 

so, something that really bugs me is the lack of respect women artists get in the music industry besides those in certain genres, mostly pop. It's bugged me for a very long time, and my angst was validated by a recent article in the New York Times where the author listened to the top 150 albums by women and wrote an article that basically reaffirmed what I've long thought: that we are not heard, marginalized, harassed until we drop out, denied entry, etc. 

There are losers all around here when we are denied a say in the popular culture that is music. I think of all the men who helped me, making my records, playing in my bands-they lose too. The listeners lose out, the culture loses out. Equality loses out. It's been a hard battle, vying for relevancy in a field that is so hostile to women. When I was young, I wanted to be The Beatles! They were so cool, and I realized there weren't that many women who got the same respect/attention/etc. 

I have not even been able to read another article also in the New York Times that was about songwriters-because, while they featured 3, they were all men. No women. No doubt those male songwriters are great. But....there are no women who could join that group? 

++++++++++++++++++++++++

There have been so many articles recently about harassment and for me, what bothers me the most, is that when you are harassed, you realize how hard the deck is stacked against you. You realize that no matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how talented you are, how many long and hard battles you've already fought to get where you are, you will only be viewed as a sexual object, only worthy for men's amusement, for the gatekeepers to use and cast aside (unless they let you through). It is demoralizing and debilitating and misogynistic on a level that shouldn't be. I agree with the assertion that harassment is about humiliating the victim and that it is about having power over another. Then throw in some narcissism, entitlement and patriarchy for a fuller picture. 

When I listen to the radio, what I hear is a lot of mediocre male voices. When a female voice is heard (I'm talking about genres other than pop) her voice is just so exceptional, it's an A+. And that definitely sends the wrong message out into the world. I'm actually tired of hearing about life from the male perspective. Cool songs, sure, but...time for some changes. 

And I realize that probably only a few people will hear my music. And I do it anyway. I'll play the chili cookoffs-I think no one is listening, but...people are.

++++++++++++++++++

Apparently making and wearing only your own clothes is going to become a thing. A friend just told me of another one who started doing this in 2016. (I knew of another women who did it a few years ago and blogged about it). I got out a pair of lasts (the form you need to make shoes) with heels-not ready to make some shoes yet but really want to because I got a pair of dead stock heels a few weeks ago. I need to make some more clothes to wear now that the weather is turning but I'm ok. Most of the stuff I've made in the past is a little bit on the weird side, so it's sort of timeless. So far the only desire I have is for some long sleeved t-shirts and I've worn a few I didn't make because I'm cold. 

I visited the Donald Judd house in SoHo a few months ago and was struck by how little was in this preserved residence. It was mostly art. For me, the struggle is getting the things to the right place/people. Recycle/trash/donate/give to a friend/sell/keep. Everything I get rid of, though, feels like a bonus. 

ok, I'm going to end here. It is a beautiful day and the fall colors are really lovely. xo

 

I'm late.

 

Right. So I'm writing on Fridays, but this past Friday I had to drive my son to Indianapolis for a Dr's appointment. It takes 8 hours to make the round trip, then you get back and blah blah blah. "Don't go to a surgeon if you don't want surgery," is how I'd characterize that day. We need to explore some more options before I will let them go into his skull. (Auto-type just put "soul" for skull and that's probably true, too)

This time, I didn't tear up, but then I had just spent 3 days in LA recording vocals. It was so nice to be there and work with my first female producer! Her live room had a super cool vibe-walls were painted black (why does that seem to be a novelty?) She could write the guide on "vibe" 

Got to stay with a friend, too, and check out her super beautiful and very cool apartment. She has impeccable taste. Every object was something I wanted to look at. I want to be her when I grow up!

I want to say something, as there has been a lot of talk around #MeToo. Speaking from experience, sexual harassment is never fun. Neither is sexual assault. Flirting is fun. The ends do not justify the means. The pain is real.

So, anyway, I've been listening to The Cars. So good. It still sounds so good. Now I have a dedicated music space, so, I need to set myself up to finish more songs. 

And in fashion news, still pushing on all fronts. For me, songwriting is theoretical, and fashion/accessory design is more scientific. I started teaching my daughter about sewing/making/designing and...I realized...I actually know a lot! Teaching was never something I thought I could do/would be good at, even though I come from line of women who did. It really is about being extremely patient. 

However...I did think about teaching a songwriting class. That, I thought would be fun. 

Ok, time to get back to work. I hope you are having a great day!

Leslie

 

Where was I?

 

So, it's incredible what has happened in this world since last week. I'm glad things are finally starting to come to light and maybe, just maybe women will. Women will-be seen and taken seriously. Maybe that's it. I still don't think we are taken seriously. 

I just tore my art studio apart this morning and set up a nice music corner for myself. Finally I got a PA system so now I could do solo shows anywhere. I got out "The Complete Leslie Nuss" a notebook I made years ago with all of the songs from my releases plus other ones and am going to run through them. There are about 20 that I could probably play at any given time without much practice, but there are others that would need a review. 

My friend Mike Shimshack got excited about the idea of doing an acoustic recording so I'm thinking about that, too. Do I need another project? Probably not, but I have the songs and why not? It's really a matter of scheduling and well of course finance..but I feel compelled to get this stuff out there. I'll probably try my hand at fb or google live after I catch my breath.

LA bound, looking forward to working with Ainjel, my first female producer. Found a place to stay on Heliotrope St, didn't know the street until I booked-could not believe it! And I guess Uber will cart me around town. 

Last week's wedding went really well-the couple ended up getting married in the barn as it was raining and it was a nice, casual ceremony. They had been together as teenagers, but her mom didn't like him so she was whisked off to Nebraska! and they were reunited 14 years later. So, the marriage was a real union. They all wore converse black for the guys and baby blue/mint green for the ladies. 

Since I moved my art studio around, on the other side of this music space--it looks like a cyclone hit. Sometimes I feel like I'm living the book, "Who Moved My Cheese" or whatever it was called. But, this way you do end up reviewing your possessions and can more easily discard what doesn't serve you.

Next Friday I have to take my kid to the Dr. to review the results of an MRI-not sure how I will post, but fingers crossed I will. I do like having a routine-every Friday, I put something down. I should have some exciting news about how the recording sessions went. 

Keep your head up! Slow and steady is better than crash and burn.

xo

Leslie

 

Friday. Blog.

 

So. Rainy day. Wearing my clothes. The top from the cover of AHSS, pants I made for a show (but wore jeans instead) and the cowboy boots I made as a student at FIT (by request). 

I had a brainwave this morning to make a video of the song "She Has Gone to Heaven" that is on AHSS. Many people probably have not heard it who might own the cd because it's 2 minutes out past the last song which is called "Love Song." SHGTH is about my Great Aunt and it's something I like to play at shows to honor those who have come and gone before us. 

Anyway, I'm trying to update to a new phone-super excited as the new one has a better camera! Then = better videos and pictures! And, in keeping with my "Marie Kondo-ing" I think I will erase all the photos on the phone (they are on my laptop) and start over. I had like 5,000 photos. Who needs that many?

Tomorrow I marry Jason and Melinda. We practiced last night and it should be a fun wedding. I told her, "It can't be a snooty wedding if you are wearing camo (her dress is apparently white camo). So. I read through some wedding vows online, "cut and paste" and then personalize. Hopefully, the rain will cease, otherwise, it's either in the rain or in the barn. Either way would be cool. 

I'm going to start making my own jewelry. I am excited to melt down some old chains and try something new. I have some ideas, but it's just getting the time to make the wax. 

The state of the world is. And, for me, when I venture to have those conversations about my desires by explaining how my past experiences shape my requests, I find that I am taken care of. If I explain to people why I don't want guns on my property--even gun-loving people understand. I'm not ready to type out the whole story, but close. 

I hope you are doing well and thank you for reading. I have a show outside next Saturday, October 14th at the Farmer's Market in Valparaiso. 11-1 I believe. It's free and there are tables and benches to sit on. 

love,

Leslie

 

 

woah. Here I am again

 

So, I used my phone to remind me to do this. I feel like Kristin Wiig in the Target skit-"It's a Match!" I fear I will begin to set alarms for everything. But so far, just a few. 

I was contacted by a female engineer this weekend whose parents live by the shore (Lake Mi). Maybe I could record something here in my barn and she could engineer. Sounds kind of cool. Why not start a new project, hahahahaha.No, but the other one is going. Illustrator/graphic designer. Check. Trip booked to finish 4 songs. Check. Inching toward buying my own PA so I could do solo gigs, house concerts, etc. Check. 

The Marie Kondo thing is a bit messy. Luckily, I'm not worrying about it today. When you want to purge/organize, you need to pull a lot of things out and my studio does look like a cyclone hit it. My dogs are freaked because their path to the door is now a labyrinth.  For some reason Mr. B (dog) is guarding/protecting something I spray painted outside. He is guarding it. These dogs have trained themselves. I'm unpacking and things are going in several directions-use, give, sell. Then I'm pulling in supplies from my shed so I can see/use them more easily. A few years ago I bought a tremendous amount of supplies from a woman who made backpacks, etc. for Patagonia's "Made in USA" products. She could make anything! Amazement. 

I got to see Brent Shuttleworth and The Push Stars this week at Shuba's in Chicago. What a great show! I didn't know TBS, but the producer of my LESLIE NUSS cd (who now manages Brent) said that Chris Trapper is a genius songwriter. There were some really really good songs-the Irish Drinking song? Loved it and a few others. The crowd sang along and was super enthusiastic-Chicago crowds are really awesome....so all good. 

Brent and Mike got to stay with us and now want to put together a songwriter in the round in our barn. He thinks I should do  songwriter's retreat as well. We certainly could house a bunch of people tucked here and there all over the property. 

I don't want to take the time to go to an estate sale today but I might. It's a drive, but there were some cool things in the pictures. I don't need more stuff, sigh, but...."We shall see" as my brother ominously used to say. 

Back to it, 

as always, thanks for reading!

Leslie

yeah, ok, once again: follow me on instagram or twitter, or fb. If you have room. It gets a little dizzying at times. "These people!" xo

 

Blog Started, officially.

 

 

 

Delays and Changes

 

So. luckily a few people in the music biz have told me to keep the faith and that delays are inevitable and it's not really that hard to do, but it does require constantly refiguring out a game plan. The goal is still to finish the music, but the how changes. The why or why not is there and sometimes is a factor.

What I'm trying to say is that the "Chicago" tracks are on hold now, after spending some really wonderful days in Nashville working with Pat Sansone from Wilco and producer Josh Shapera. Josh has an auto immune thing going on and needs time to rest. He's an incredible producer and our only lament was that we hadn't met before the "Chicago" tracks began, but what can you do. 

And then there's twitter, which I've been spending too much time on, though it has sharpened my focus and fed my head. I really resonate with the phrase No fks left. To give. It's powerful. What I'm saying here is that since Chicago is on hold, I decided to go back to finish the "New York" tracks with a female producer. It was shocking how easy it was to find one! And she seems really cool. And even the hub was getting it when I read a message from her. He said, "She's working twice as hard..." (not as Josh, Josh works like a maniac.) But she's on it. So wow. 

My other challenges are to only wear clothes I've made.....from here on out? Who knows. But I've been making my own clothing since high school and often it just sits in my closet. Today I'm wearing the dress from the cover of my 3rd cd with a slip underneath. It grew out of a desire for a closet cleanse. And another challenge that I've given myself which is to start a very small clothing collection for Spring 2018. 4 pieces and maybe 2 bags. I think that's doable and not too nuts. 

Then of course there is album artwork (barely started) but it's all eps so basically I'm looking at 4 eps. 

Show tonight in Crown Point. I was going to do a Facebook live, but I don't know if it will work due to wifi/4G concerns. 

In other non-type of news there are flowers and weeds everywhere around me and I'm trying my hand at making beautiful arrangements. Sometimes the weeds make the best additions. 

xo

 

The state of the state

 

Updating my website, thought I'd write a blog post, too.