Leslie Nuss

 
 

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Solar Flare?/Action Hero Superstar

So, this has been a big creative week for me, or rather 10 days or so. I was just told there was a solar flare (?) and so...that's the reason, haha. maybe. who knows.

I finished the self-portrait and it was super fun to do, so of course now I want to do another one. Frida Kahlo is a big inspiration to me, and I love all the self-portraits she did of herself. For a long time I wanted to paint myself as a tree, so that will be on the docket. But then I did buy 3 more 10 x 10 canvases for my Vexation and Veneration Portrait series. I'm not sure how many I'll do but have 3 so far. Would be kind of cool to have a very large amount, like 50. I also bought a large canvas, maybe 36 x 48. I'm not sure. But it will be my largest. 

Music. Back to music. Mixes for 1st ep are...done. Radio edit. Done. Now, set to Master in April, packaging-almost done. Need song order, but wrote the thank you's. Keeping it simple. Next ep, need to check status, but I know Ainjel is close to done there, too. Had my piano lesson, was good, working on learning the basic chords, the names, how they relate to each other. Like learning a new language, but with an older mind that reflects. Waz (my teacher) is a great guy, very relaxed, kind, gentle. I feel lucky to be his student.

Made a pair of sandals this week. Am wearing them now. (photos on instagram). They look great but the fit is not 100% where I'd like it to be, so...will revise and make another pair. The learning curve in any endeavor can sometimes be a stumbling block, but the goal is to get it right. Waz said that speed is a free gift that comes with mastery, and the idea is to not make mistakes, because otherwise you get good at making mistakes. So True! But then, how realistic is to get it right the first time? And, that can be spooky, too. But the thing to overcome is the fear of failure. 

I wrote my first ever guest blog this week for a Blog entitles A More Perfect Union. it's here:  try that link. Anyway, I wrote it super fast, as it was an "extra" thing to add to my to-do list. But such a great topic, i.e., what do you think would contribute to a more perfect union? And mine is Equality--specifically Equality for Women. Such a no-brainer. anyway, I could get stuck in a rut if I sit and contemplate the why nots and the how long will it takes and what is requires...

I've also been listening to my second cd, Action Hero Superstar in the car. What a great cd. Kyle Kelso did such an amazing job and the music holds up and sounds good and solid. It's pop and accessible and a bit edgy at the same time. The solo part from "Insane" (by David Weintraub) really is my favorite guitar solo on any of my records, and there are some good ones on other songs/cds too. I still hold out that it will still be "discovered" 

In the beginning of "Insane" you can kind of hear me talking, and Kyle had asked me to just talk about something. He gave me a hand held recorder (don't remember what it was) and I think I crawled under a desk somewhere, but when he asked me what was I going to talk about, I said that I had been thinking about what I would do if there was a fire in my apartment, what would I grab, and what would that experience be like, because I thought about the concept of starting over, no possessions, and it really went to the "who are you/who am I?" and would I change (or not) if virtually everything vanished. Don't know if he still has the original tape from that, but that's what I was talking about!

I had hired this cool guy named Robert Martinez to do an illustration of a super hero for the cover, but when I got the final art, I felt uncomfortable, because even though he was true to comic book female super heroes, I thought the boobs were too big. So I put it in the middle of the booklet, which sometimes I regret. Maybe that cover would have been better. I should re-issue it with the comic book on the cover. and "remastered" or something, right? (a girl can dream) 

(this is the artwork!)

Kyle knew a lot of great musicians so I was very lucky in that respect. Jon Skibic (who now plays with the Afghan Whigs) Vinnie Zummo (who played with Joe Jackson) and on and on. What I remember is they were so "game" and easy to work with. So open to doing whatever Kyle suggested.

A fun thing was when we did the chorus for "Scarlet Letter" I think Kyle and I did like 12 additional vocals to make the vocals really substantial. It was fun doubling and tripling a part, then doing multiple harmonies and doubling and tripling those. It's when you try to match exactly the vocal you just sang, sometimes easier by taking off one "can" (one headphone). And I had been taking voice lessons for months in preparation for this record so my voice was super strong. 

Ahhh, the good old days, as we joke around my house. But they are still good, recording is kinda the same except that I don't have the same amount of time to spend in the studio. For Action Hero Superstar I was at almost every session. Mostly listening, but very invested in the process and outcome.

The only thing or maybe the main thing that is different, is "back then" I had been taking some empowerment courses and had decided to "throw my hat over the wall" and live on my credit cards and only focus on the record as a way to success. And while that works for many people, it ultimately did not work for me. I had kicked myself for not continuing to work as an accessories designer (though to be honest, I had tried to negotiate a 3/4 time position with my boss at American Eagle Outfitters and he balked) because once my debt got to be around 30K, the level of stress I experienced in addition to other factors was detrimental. 

So, this time, things are different. For one, I am not putting all my eggs in one basket. I am painting, designing, so that if -nothing- happens with these eps, I am already on a path to something else. Plus, if -nothing- happens, I won't be destitute. My husband is doing well and I don't have to worry about my next meal or rent check. As Einstein is credited with saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." 

However, I will be playing at least one show in LA (not booked yet, but probably by the end of summer) and I'm super excited about that. I'll get to perform with some of the musicians who played on these eps and it will be FUN. 

I'll never fit into the industry concept of what a "Rock Star" is supposed to be, or so it seems. But I do like to paint. 

ok, busy day. gotta go. Love to you, keep on keeping on and xoxo. Leslie

 

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