'I promise I do not suck but you can tell me if I do' - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

‘I promise I do not suck but you can tell me if I do’

Winter time, a little breeze.

Windows open.

Tons of blankets.

A least 3 pillows.

Low heat.

Fan on face.

That’s the best sleep possible.  You dip into an overnight coma.  Occasionally, I wake up in a daze with a small headache.  You still feel rested.  I’m jealous of what the sleep was like in Inception.

I’m a big believer in fairness.  Things need to be right and fall the right way.  People who work hard deserve to be rewarded.  Don’t be a dick.  Don’t drive like you’re the only one of the road.  Hold doors for people and say thank you.

I’m terrified of heights, leading to an intense fear of flying.  I once almost got off a plane at the last second before a flight to Miami, for a wedding which I was in the party.  I was drunk at 10 a.m. to get over the anxiety, basically about to cry, when the flight attendant told me I need to get back on the plane immediately or they would take off without me.  I back on the plane, dipping my head and pulling my hat low to cover my red eyes.  I haven’t flown in 2.5 years, and drove 20 hours to a wedding in Florida last year.

Occasionally, I get lost in that pit of endlessness when I think about the inevitability of death, and can’t decide between either living forever, or dying and risking some eternal afterlife or nothingness.  I once heard a comedian ask someone who felt the same way if they remember being upset or scared before they were born.  That doesn’t make me feel any better.

All of this craziness formulates how I listen to, evaluate, and create music.  I over-think and over-analyze.  By the time I finish a song, I hate it.  I don’t want to listen for weeks.  I don’t want you to listen to my music in front of me.  If I know you personally, I don’t want to know what you think, because I’m stuck on the fact that you feel obligated to shrink and/or adjust the range of your opinion from “this is terrible…to…this is AMAZING” to “this is nice…to…OMG THIS IS SO GOOD!.”  Random people offer the best opinions, but if they don’t like it, they usually say nothing.  I’m not on the level yet where I get consistent hate.

I understand actors when they make the comment that “they never watch anything they’ve been in.”

My musical backstory:  Self-taught guitarist, pianist (sort of).  Singer-songwriter.  Began writing songs in the winter of 2002 with a good friend.  Over the next four years, we formed a duo, wrote and recorded about 11 originals, played around 20-30 shows along East Coast, was on multiple radio stations, had major label interest, and ended up being offered a contract from a Nashville-based Grammy-nominated producing team.

reed2

I got a backwards record deal.

We would be managed by the team, which included moving to Nashville, recording an album, touring, and hoping to get picked up by a label.  You could call this a backwards record deal – my partner and I would had to front 30k to make and own the album.  In the end, we would sell the rights to those songs to whoever may offer us a true record deal.  Back in the day, record labels would invest money almost risk-free in artists.  Eventually, the deal became a loan that needed to be paid back.

My partner had to back out.  It was too risky.  My parents offered to loan me my half.  I ended up buying a new car.  We stopped doing shows.  I sold my Taylor J-50 guitar in 2008 after I moved to California.  I needed money for my former partner’s bachelor party in Vegas.

I came back in 2010, and soon started dating a girl who showed me I needed to do music again.  I felt like ever since I quit music, I was striving toward nothing.  I had no goals.

So I bought a new Taylor, messing around.  I realized I was more into the beat/electro side, but still combined with soul and rnb.  I bought an iPad for the Garageband App, quickly realized the restraints of that, and moved up to an Apple and installed Logic Pro, a well know DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).  I began releasing original, solo music under the name REED in May of 2011 via soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/ReedZero) and YouTube and here at BPE.

I’ve made a lot of progress in the last eight months.  I’m working with producers out of Chicago, L.A., London, and continue to work on my own as well.   Hopefully, these songs turn into something big.

I promise, I do not suck, but you can tell me I do (or don’t) if you want.  Here, I’ll write about the creative process, people I work with, shows, problems, and anything else.  I’ll be posting various songs and videos to check out.  For this first week, please take a second to check out my most recent remix/cover of Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana.  The song has had about 1000 unique plays over on soundcloud, or you can see it on YouTube. See below.

I don’t sleep well lately.  It’s cold out, my fan is on blast, Mom’s quilts are on the bed, and I’ve got 4-5 pillows minimum, usually.  I’m on the bad side of 29 but I feel like I’m just getting started.

First recommendation:  he’s on the verge of becoming way too big to be “unknown” but check out The Weeknd (pronounced “The Weakened,” not “The Weekend).  He’s a young singer/songwriter out of Toronto, associated with Drake and the OVO crew.  Over the past few years, he released multiple free mixtapes of original songs, all to critical acclaim.  He’s now signed to a major label, and they recently re-released all of his original mixtapes totally re-mastered, plus  four new songs, for only 9.99 (30 songs, quite a deal).  I had all his stuff downloaded (legally) for free, but I still bought the re-release.  That’s what I want.  I want all of my music to be free until the day that people want to pay for it.  Everything I put out is free to download.


About the author

REED

REED is a songwriter/producer out of Philadelphia, creating haunting music with a heavy emphasis on the specifics. Ben Reed, born in Chadds Ford, PA, began releasing his own style of Electro-Soul earlier this summer, and continues to produce tracks that infect your memory with catchy hooks enhanced by relatable, detailed lyrics. Reed is a self-taught guitarist and pianist, who writes, sings, produces, and masters all his own material. Formerly of an acoustic songwriting-duo, Reed played numerous shows along the East Coast, and gained a respectable following nation-wide via local radio play and social media sites. In late 2011, after moving back to Pennsylvania from a 2 year stay for a job in Huntington Beach, CA, REED purchased a new Taylor guitar and began writing music again, but this time expanding to a newer, unique sound by combining electro, soul, rnb, and pop. . Contact the author.
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