Music by Lisa Miguez
projects far and wide
current projects


Hawkish 2.0 - September 2017 to present
It all began after a late summer encounter with a family of hawks. Which led to the creation of a video montage of the footage and photos. Which led to the composition of the soundtrack for the video. Which ultimately led to the release of the music from the video.

The video I posted with my music in it was actually the second version - hence the title Hawkish 2.0.

Hawkish 2.0 has become an ongoing, ever-evolving project. It is so much more than a video, or the music. And just getting to this point of releasing the music has been an astoundingly complex venture... I never knew how much was involved. Nor did I fully realize what would happen after the release. It has become a full-time job - I’ve been working at this project almost non-stop and am loving every single moment of it!

I’ll be working on this for a good long while.



making hawkish 2.0

MANY HATS
I’ve worn many hats during this project (I like wearing hats): composer, digital artist, font designer, video editor, website designer, copyright & licensing coordinator, agent, promoter... I expect there to be a few more hats to try on as things progress.

I hesitate to use the label “musician” on myself - I can read music but struggle with timing. I much prefer to use “artist” to describe myself as I feel it sort of encompasses everything I do: music, art, website design, and so on. I am starting to lean towards adding “composer” to describe what I do... creating, editing, recording music. Making music isn’t my job - life and my “day job” take priority at the moment. A hobby? It’s a little more than that... more like a passion I never knew I had in me. Finding the Music in Me.


VIDEO FIRST, MUSIC SECOND
I was really excited to make a video of my encounter with that family of hawks. Initially, there wasn’t going to be any music. I downloaded a free video editor which included royalty free music you could use. Wouldn’t you know it, right after I posted the video, someone made a copyright claim on one of the songs. I disputed it (as per the app’s recommendation) and won. Right then I knew I had to make my own music so I wouldn’t have to deal with any such nonsense.


MAKING THE MUSIC
Funny enough, I had no idea where to start, other than knowing I would use GarageBand on my iPad Pro. I sort of knew what vibe I was going for... some kind of background nature documentary soundtrack. My earbuds were not conveying the sound properly so I invested in a good set of wireless headphones - what a difference!

The first song I completed was Look Up - the first song on the album and the first in the movie, Hawkish 2.0. The album namesake song Hawkish was the second song I finished. Oddly enough though, it is the fourth song in the video and on the album - it just fit better that way. Then came the sort of “filler” songs Flight and Wings. I kept the order of the songs on the album the same as in the video.

By now I was short about 3 minutes of “soundtrack” with the length of video I had. Back to the drawing board and one of my favourites of the 6 songs, Mother Earth came to be. This whole time and everytime I open GarageBand, I was finding new ways to arrange and manipulate the instruments, and even made some bold choices like using the instruments in the Chinese Kit as fillers rather than keyboard or strings. This was originally the last song in the video.

Now happy with my background music and more or less satisfied with the footage (a lot of the video I shot was pretty shaky but I felt they were still important to the “story”) and photo arrangements, I posted the video on YouTube to show to friends and family. I still had an itch though. Somehow I went back to GarageBand and Freedom poured out in less than a week. Hm, now why didn’t I put that one in the video? For quite a while, I held onto that song, only playing it for a couple of people. I can’t seem to truly explain it but that one song IS this project.


THE DECISION TO SELL MY MUSIC
I would never have thought this would be something I would do, especially when my music background is somewhat limited to what I learned taking accordion lessons in my youth. But I had an epiphany one day - “why not try and sell your music?” I said to myself. “Get outta here,” I replied to that voice, “are you kidding me?” Apparently that voice was more convincing.

Little did I realize all that was involved with making this decision a reality. Very first thing I did was register a copyright on my album with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. OK, done, now what? Do I just send my songs to iTunes or Google Play or some other online music distributor? Whoa Nelly! Don’t you know you need ISRC numbers for all of your songs? Say what now? Lucky for me, I found just what I needed at Connect Music Licensing.

The decision to go through CDBaby as a partner to all music distributors really boiled down to one thing - having money earned deposited directly into your bank account. Though other sites offered pretty much the same services, most all gave you a credit to your account with them but you had to have a PayPal account to transfer it to to get your cash. CDBaby would do all the distributing to the stores of your choice and all the necessary artist and album information would be taken care of by them. Much easier than going through any one store independently.

The last thing I did was get all the songs professionally remastered through CDBaby and SoundLab. That last bit cost me a fair chunk but if I can make at least that money back, I’ll be happy. Designed the album cover, wrote up my artist profile on CDBaby and set the release date: March 9, 2018 - let’s just say, a significant day for me.


the videos

I’m going to give kudos to the video editor I used on iPad Pro - LumaFusion. Simply the best editor you can buy for iOS. When I first played around with making videos, iMovie was my go to app, and it was free. It didn’t take me long to realize I needed a more robust app to do all that I wanted to do with the Hawkish 2.0 video. LumaFusion is the closest thing to desktop video editing (and more affordable) that you can buy for touch platform. It cost a little more money but it is worth every cent.


july 20, 2018

A new YouTube video! This one is a montage of a few trips to Nose Hill Park in Calgary - check the news feed for details on this video. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please head over to my YouTube channel and like and subscribe.




july 4, 2018

My latest video. This is a practice run using some of the techniques I have just recently learned, in both taking videos & photos, and the post production of. When it all comes together, coupled with my song “Hawkish”, I was pretty pleased with the result. There are a few faults of course, and I did experience some issues with a couple of the slo-mo clips, but overall, it’s not too bad. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please head over to my YouTube channel and like and subscribe.




may 28, 2018

I put together a video of how I do my Instagram posts - just shy of 6 minutes long. Includes my songs “Freedom” and “Mother Earth”.




april 5, 2018

Another new promo video, featuring Freedom. This version was intended to be used on Instagram and Twitter with 1:1 aspect ratio:




april 4, 2018

I uploaded a new promo video, featuring Mother Earth. This version was intended to be used on Instagram and Twitter with 1:1 aspect ratio:



Watch the latest Hawkish 2.0 album promotional video, featuring Mother Earth:



Watch the Hawkish 2.0 album promotional video, featuring Freedom:



Watch the video that inspired it all - the newly edited Hawkish 2.0 video, with the remastered versions of the songs, including Freedom. Please note there are some “circle of life” sequences in this video, if you are squeamish, you may want to look away at some parts:



NOTE: Watching the videos also supports my music.
Please share if you enjoyed watching!

Click here for my YouTube channel
Please subscribe!



the website

I’ve owned my domain grafxbylisa.com since 2002. In the early days, I tried my hand at designing websites for other people. All the while, I was learning how to do things I saw on other websites, just to see if I could. That is my philosophy on almost every creative medium - if I like it, I’m going to try it. I think outside the box, a lot, and I love trying new things. Today, website design is something I do just for myself - from personal travel blogs to projects like Hawkish 2.0.


CODING AND MORE
I am 100% self-taught in writing HTML and CSS, and some javascript. Countless hours of reading, watching tutorial videos, and double those hours in troubleshooting why things aren’t working the way they should be has given me confidence in my knowledge of building a website from the ground, up.

In today’s day and age, you have to design for an almost inumerable amount of different devices. Your website needs to be accessible on a computer or tablet and on much smaller devices like smart phones. While I am partial to Apple products (Mac, iPhone and iPad), I do my best to make sure users of popular platforms and browsers will be able to experience my web presence as I intend them to. I am fairly confident that most users will be able to navigate without any issues. However, if you do have any issues or comments about the website, please let me know by using the form on the connect page, or message me on Instagram or Twitter.



the artwork

Digital art can be more forgiving than creating something by hand. Like this wonderful function called “undo”, whereby if you make a mistake, you can simply tap or click “undo” to take back what you just did (this can also result in an entire aspect of your work being lost). The process of creating physical artwork of course, cannot simply be undone, but there are often ways to work with the mistake depending on what you are creating. I can’t say for certain which medium I prefer (physical or digital), though I probably lean more to the physical. Sometimes the two go hand in hand - if you watch the Hawkish 2.0 video, you will see what I mean.

I’m always looking for high quality apps, preferably free, that I can use to create whatever piece of digital art I need at the moment. One of the very first apps I downloaded when I got my iPad Pro (2nd generation) in the summer of 2017 was a free sketching app with good reviews - Adobe Sketch. I was eager to try Apple Pencil and quickly fell in love with both the stylus and the app.

While Adobe Sketch is a wonderful tool for freehand drawing, I really needed something for vector drawing, since I do a lot of layout work. I really wanted to be able to have the portability of designing on my iPad Pro rather than being stuck at my desk on my Mac. For graphics in the first release of my Hawkish 2.0 video, I found a low-priced app that at first I was pretty happy with but again soon realized I couldn’t do near what I could do on my desktop, and the export function was seriously flawed. Fast forward a few months and I found another app - Graphic for iPad. A bigger pricetag than the previous vector app I bought but once again, worth every bit! I’m discovering tools and alternate ways to use them almost every time I open the app - highly recommend it.



instagram

Oh yes, Instagram. My how I’ve progressed on the social media platform. I’ve done almost as much research about it as I do with things like web design - it’s like an experimental playground for me. I look at the top pages/profiles and try to do my own take on some things that really catch my eye. It is my main platform for promoting my music, as well as photography, my art and some woodworking. Not only that, I’m paying more attention to the photos I take now - with my iPhone, iPad, our Canon PowerShot SX240 HS and my Canon T2i 550D - and trying new editing tactics.


If you are following me there, leave me a comment or DM me on how you think I’m doing or if you like a particular post or group of posts. If you’re not yet following me there, why not head over here.



the future

Upon the completion of my song Freedom, I made the decision to get serious about making music. I purchased a bluetooth adaptor I can use on my dusty old Yamaha PSR-400 keyboard that connects to GarageBand on my iPad. I rifled through some music I had written back in the early 90’s - tidbits, and mostly incomplete songs - I’m both surprised and very glad I kept those handwritten notes. I sketched out a few ideas in GarageBand, based on these notes... and they have sat there since. Life gets busy, and commitments to the Hawkish 2.0 project takes up virtually all of my spare time. These “sketches” will get a second look soon.

My style of music and art may not be for everyone. But just like every artist - be they a visual artist or woodworker or musician - we create because it’s within us to do so, and every one of us has our own interpretation of how to bring that creation to life. If everyone painted like Michelangelo or composed like Beethoven, how boring would art and music be!

Keep it tuned here for all the latest updates and new projects as they come to be. Check the news feed at the top left of the page for any new project information. Did I mention you should follow me on Instagram?








@grafxbylisa   #grafxbylisa   #Hawkish20

Copyright © 2017-2018 Lisa Miguez
100% Canadian

or whatever I feel like writing
SEPTEMBER 4, 2018



INTRODUCING MY NEW WEBPAGE!

It’s finally here! A new way to see and learn about my photos, right here on my website. Watch the intro video below then visit my new photography page here: photos by lisa


I created the photos pages to focus more on the imagery, videos and designs I do, rather than hiding them deep within the news feed of my music pages. My projects - photos and music - are often combined so be sure to check both my photography and music pages often for the latest updates.

By the way, my Instagram is still one of the best places to see new things that I’m doing - check out my IG stories too:
grafxbylisa on Instagram



AUGUST 24, 2018



HAWKISH 2.0 - THE SEQUEL??

Ever since I posted the Nose Hill Park video on my YouTube channel (scroll down to watch it right here in the previous news post, or click/tap over to my projects page), I’ve been bursting with creative ideas. I have also acquired new creative tools since then that will help me achieve some of these artistic goals (one of which I write about in the Nose Hill Park entry). This is going to be a long post...


The burning question

Is there, or will there be, a sequel to the Hawkish 2.0 project? As I write this, I will tell you not to expect such a thing... at this moment... However, one of the exciting things that has been happening this summer is the return of our family of Swainson’s hawks including 2 juveniles, and near endless opportunities to capture those moments. You can check out some of the early photos on my Instagram: grafxbylisa on Instagram

New gear

When the hawks returned this year and I was stuck using our little Canon Powershot (because the optical zoom, and sometimes the digital zoom was better than my 55-250mm lens), I knew I had to get a proper lens. One of the most exciting things for me recently is to finally have upgraded my photography gear by investing in a new telephoto lens for my aged, yet very capable Canon Rebel T2i camera (bought it new in 2010). And now I own it: Sigma Contemporary 150-600mm telephoto zoom lens.

I did a lot of research and read some very detailed reviews before buying this lens. It wasn’t going to be cheap investment but it was absolutely going to be more affordable than a comparable Canon lens (3 to 4 times the price). And what do ya know, the sales guy at the camera store (Steve at Saneal Camera, Market Mall, Calgary - very knowledgeable guy, pay him a visit) owns and uses this lens, and so does the fellow I met at the Bird Sanctuary last weekend while we were photographing the osprey. Real world people using the same lens, and loving it.

I should also mention that the Sigma lens is a beast - it is solid and heavy. I had it less than a day when I realized that Steve wasn’t kidding when he said the tripod I had wasn’t going to cut it when using the lens (which is so big it has it’s own tripod mount). I went back the very next day and bought the Manfrotto Element tripod he recommended.

Ever since I’ve been seriously researching photography in general and trying to understand the different types of lenses and accessories you can use, one of the things I didn’t quite have knowledge of but realized I would absolutely be able to use (thanks again to Steve for clearing that up for me) were extension tubes. They can be used with the new lens but for practical purposes, I am probably just going to use them with my 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. In 2 days I spent a little over $2000 CDN but I know I made the right purchases.

Learning, always

In order to use any tool, there is a learning curve. Not only do I have to learn about the lens but photography in general. I’m just now finally learning, and thankfully understanding how to use a DSLR - aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure, etc.. It only took me 8 years to understand the potential of the tool I already had. Practice, practice, practice, and having fun doing it.

Speaking of tools

Capturing the moment(s) with a camera is one thing... knowing how to make those sometimes not quite perfect images really shine is another. The first way to do this is to shoot your photos in RAW vs JPG/JPEG. While shooting in RAW won’t help you fix a photo that is out of focus, it will certainly give you much more flexibility in post, especially if your image is slightly over or underexposed. The downside to shooting in RAW - file size. On average, the file sizes are around 80mb... your standard JPG is around 5mb. Needless to say, I’m on the hunt for a decent external hard drive to store all of that RAW goodness.

Another purchase for my iPad Pro (2nd gen) - Affinity Photo. Since I want to do as much as possible on my iPad without having to be stuck at my desktop doing any editing or design or website-related work, I really really wanted an app that would truly be comparable to Photoshop. Affinity Photo for iOS is exactly that - a robust image editing tool, for RAW images too! Just another practical tool in my creative arsenal and worth every cent.

Streamlining my Instagram

I had this great idea not that long ago, that making “big pictures” on my Instagram profile was a pretty awesome thing. I realize now that it isn’t such a great idea after all. For one thing, when you do that constantly, as I was almost daily, you are essentially spamming your followers with partial, incomprehensible images. For nearly 2 months now, I have limited that big picture concept to a 3 image group post.

But some of those posts still had partial images that unless people know to tap on your profile, they would never see the full image and would simply pass on it. And so, for the last 2 weeks, I have created single image posts that are still part of a more subtle big picture. Even during these 2 weeks, I have been experimenting with different ways to “frame” those images so that if someone does tap on my profile, they will see a pattern of continuity. Two days ago, I settled on a framing style that showcases that image layout in an individual but connected way. I’ll be tweaking that as I go along.

I’m considering an updated video version of how I create my Instagram posts and other design ideas. Starting with taking the picture, to post, to creating the framed style layout, to researching the subject of the image, to posting on Instagram, or elsewhere. A lot has changed since my last “how I do it” video. Do you want to know how I do all of it?

WEBSITE UPDATE

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for an additional section on my website dedicated to photography and my creative process.

Music??

What about new music? For now, I’m using my current released repertoire in my projects. Will I make more? As I’ve mentioned previously, I do have a few unfinished songs to work with. My biggest hurdle to further music creation is time. I am working to make / edit / post a better line of Instagram and video projects and this takes up a lot of my spare time. This however, is not my day job. I have a life and responsibilities outside of creating. Making music will have it’s moment and this is where you will learn about it.



JULY 20, 2018



NOSE HILL PARK - NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO!

I admit it, since my last video montage of our garden, I’ve been hooked on trying to get better slow motion video footage and just better photos, of anything really. This video’s subject is Nose Hill Park in Calgary. A note about that... the park covers over 11 square kms but all of the footage shown here was acquired within less than 2. Therefore, the potential for another instalment(s) is definitely there!


The photos and video footage was obtained during 3-4 visits to the park in roughly the same areas. Many of the slo-mo video clips were captured hand-held on my iPhone 6s (including the bee footage) so there is some noticeable instability. However, during the last trip to the park, I used my recently acquired Zhiyun Smooth 4 handheld gimbal for my phone - so excited to use that! Though I still need some practice walking & moving like a ninja, some of the more obvious smoother video clips were done using the gimbal.

Another thing I did with this video, besides taking (trying to get) better photos and videos, was to use filters and colour grading to enhance and sometimes completely change the overall look. I used to think that using filters or any other enhancement was a cop-out, but some of the most accomplished photographers and videographers use filters in their work. This is something else I will definitely be doing more of (both in my videos and on Instagram). And as always, 100% of my editing is done on iPad Pro (2nd gen).

There are still some things that need to be worked on, not just by me but also by LumaFusion (the outstanding iOS video editor I use). A true masking function is not currently available, however... Did you see the transition in the video where I attempted to fake the masking, covering it up by both blur/shadow and speed? It could be done even more precisely the way I did it but would take way too long to accomplish.

More videos? Yes, most definitely! When will that be? At the moment, life is the priority but when I have the chance do post more, you will find it here in the news feed on my website first, so be sure to check back once in awhile. I will post notices on my Instagram also.

By the way, you can see an extended version of the slo-mo bee closeup on my Instagram (posted July 19, 2018):
grafxbylisa on Instagram



JULY 4, 2018



ANOTHER YOUTUBE VIDEO!

I’ve thrown a quick video together that I feel kind of shows what I’ve learned very recently about taking videos & photos and the editing thereafter in post production. While I absolutely appreciate your input, please keep in mind that, #1, this is my first attempt at such a video, and #2, not everything went according to plan.


I absolutely want to do more of this type of video making. When that will be, I cannot yet commit to a completion date. However, keep checking this news feed, or even better, hop on over to my Instagram for the latest photos and video/music spots:

grafxbylisa on Instagram



JULY 2, 2018



UPPING MY GAME

In my last news post, I mentioned some of the things I’m doing on Instagram with regards to ‘how’ I’m posting, not necessarily ‘what’ I’m posting. The how is always going to be something a little different and I really am trying to stick to 3-post image groups... and finding new ways to do that.

I got a little sidetracked one day awhile ago... can’t even say how I came across it really, but there I was, watching YouTube videos posted by an amazingly talented Canadian photographer/cinematographer/creator by the name of Peter McKinnon. Seriously, if you haven’t heard of this guy, you really should look him up on Instagram but more importantly, on YouTube.

This brings me to what prompted the subject of today’s post - upping my game. Oh sure, I’ve watched plenty of videos and read numerous tutorials on everything from website design to Instagram posting to now, actually taking better photographs and videos. Peter’s tutorials and recommendations (including plugs for his equally talented friends and his favourite gear/apps, etc.) are top notch and presented in a very professional way. His vlogs are fun to watch also.

So over the last week or so, I’ve dusted off my Canon Rebel T2i camera and have been actually seriously experimenting with the settings, taking the plunge into taking a chance with photography. After all, that’s what Instagram is really about, isn’t it? Great photography. What I had been posting are mostly older photos, with auto settings... I’d like to catch up to the present a little more with a throwback here and there.

But wait, what about my music? No, I haven’t abandoned that, not at all. In fact, I’m using and reusing my music as much as I can in as many creative ways as I can muster up. And yes, one day, there will be new music. And this is where you will find it.

In the meantime, head over to Instagram and check out some of my new posts... Tuesday’s post will be a little different yet again, but I think you will like it:
grafxbylisa on Instagram




JUNE 28, 2018



WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING ON INSTAGRAM?!?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been posting mostly “big pictures”, using the grid format. Each daily “post” usually consists of 6 or 9 individual posts that show a bigger image when you go to my profile page. Sometimes it’s only 3, and rarely 12 or more. However...

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with a couple of new (to me) ways to post. One of those is creating a seamless multi-post where in each individual post you swipe left to see more of an image. It really works best with a good wide landscape shot, and of course, I can’t do less than 3 posts at a time to keep my loose Instagram “theme” intact.

Taking it a step or two further (‘cause that’s what I do), for some I have incorporated words on the first image of each multi-post, then you swipe left to see the image that word is telling you about. For others, I’ve been uploading not only multi-posts but “big picture multi-posts”. If you think that’s confusing, you should see it from my end... I gotta upload the images in the right order (reverse for a big picture, but normal for the multi-post itself)... and if there’s video and music involved (insert cross-eyed stunned emoji here)...

Why am I doing it? I like it. I like pushing the envelope to see what else I can do. I am trying to tone things down to 3 posts vs 6 or 9. I don’t want to spam anyone with too many posts, which I do realize happens. I’m still trying to find the right combination of images, video, music placement, and method of posting that works for my page.

Let me know what you think about my latest posting frenzy. Are you diggin’ it? Does it drive you absolutely bonkers? Are you or have you unfollowed because it’s just too much to take every day? Love it or hate it, stop by and let me know on Instagram:
grafxbylisa on Instagram

PS: I’m also trying to develop a writing style to suit my posts... should I write more? Less?



JUNE 20, 2018



WEBSITE OVERHAUL!

This is something that has been neglected since I launched my music page in March of this year. A complete redesign to help you find what you need, quicker. Also did some text edits on all pages and added a more comprehensive contact page. Now all content and overall look is more inline with my vibe on Instagram.


If you have any comments on the new look, let me know by stopping by on Instagram and sending me a direct message.

grafxbylisa on Instagram



MAY 29, 2018



NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO!

Watch my new YouTube video right here in the news feed or on my projects page or on my YouTube channel:


I’ve been asked how I do my Instagram posts, so I put together a video covering the basics from planning to execution. This is more or less how I do it, the majority of which is done solely on my iPadPro. Obviously, if you use a computer (PC or Mac), the tools for doing this will be different, and cost may vary. I only hilight the basic methods and apps I use here.

Chances are pretty good as I go along that my methods will change and I will find new and more efficient ways to create unique Instagram posts. But for the most part, the video shows how I get started. If you aren’t following me on Instagram, why not stop by and say hello: grafxbylisa on Instagram



APRIL 28, 2018



What I’ve learned...

It’s not at all easy to find your way through the plethora of posts on social media. Nor is it as simple as posting something relevant to your music, art or whatever it is you do and expecting likes and followers to swarm your post (unless of course you are a celebrity). I will focus mostly on Instagram. Since I started using it near the end of March this year, every day has brought forth either disappointments or wonderful feedback. Most of either was due to luck or lack of understanding - moreso the latter.

I pay attention to what others post, both in the way of content (photo/video/audio) and its presentation and what they say about it. I can’t say it enough, if you’re just getting started there, you need to use smart #hashtags, hashtags that are both relevant to whatcha want people to look at and what will keep people coming back. And this is what else I’ve learned...

Post often. If you can, post at least one thing every day - on Instagram and Twitter, and whatever other social media outlet you use. Some days I post two things but it is becoming more challenging to do that since I am now trying to keep my streak of at least 3 individual posts to make the “bigger picture” appear on my profile page. Today was the most I have ever posted on Instagram. The first post(s) was a group of 8 images and 1 video (9 posts total) to promote my album Hawkish 2.0. The second post(s) was a group of 3 images showing a rather blurry but relevant photo I took today of a Swainson’s Hawk - so excited that they are back! And the last post(s) was a group of 6 images showing some pictures I took of a Robin today. Total = 18 individual posts.

Post something other than. Yes, I am a fan of hawks, raptors, robins and birds in general... and animals (RIP that rabbit that got run over on our street today though). Hawks are what started me on my musical journey but I am often sidetracked by other birds when they are around too. Yes, I post a lot of pictures/video of my hawk friends - but that is all pertinent to promoting my music - have to do that. I am also planning to post pictures of some of the artwork I have done as well as other random things, just to stay relevant. Some of the top bloggers/tweeters/IG’ers all say the same thing - let people know you are more than, for example, just a musician. This also applies to your website if you have one too.

Speaking of my website... I want it to be as easy as possible for anyone to visit, first and foremost - I read something recently about not making your website visitors have to think. Secondly, I want it to be relevant. I want people to read my news feed but I’m finding it tricky to gain those readers without actually having an actual blog that they can engage with, comment on, etc. I need my website for several reasons: it is the main destination for people to go to learn about my music, listen to my music, link to digital stores to buy my music, watch my videos, learn about me and the process of making Hawkish 2.0, and find the links to my social media. I can’t do everything on Instagram - I can provide so much more on my website... it will be an ever-changing place and when I have the time to do it, more interactive than ever.

A quick note about Twitter... I’m almost ready to throw in the towel there. I’ve posted a few things over the last couple of weeks, without one like other than from a friend of mine on a couple. I will get a new random follower here and there when I haven’t posted anything in a few days - not sure how that happens but I’ll take it. For now, I will keep it open and try to post something a little more frequently. My Twitter feed is also on the desktop version of my website. I’d like to add Instagram but I honestly don’t know where I would put it... at the moment anyway.

Last thoughts for today... I should be using this news feed to promote my music and talk about it, right? If you’ve read this far, you should have by now at least had an opportunity to listen to my music. I have mentioned that I am in fact working on a new song. It’s a little more to what I want my sound to be... so far only through about 30 seconds... really want to focus on that... more songs, another album... stay tuned.



APRIL 24, 2018



When music is everything

Oh I’m having so much fun on Instagram lately. If you follow me there (I hope you do!), you will know I’m focusing on the “big picture” with my posts lately - a series of smaller pictures that show the bigger picture when you visit my profile page. I realize it’s not a new thing but I’m figuring out how best to use the gimmick to garner new likes and follows. I think it’s working, but I’m not 100% sure some of the likes are from those who have seen the “big picture” or not. Smarter hashtags are definitely working.

Today’s subject is “when music is everything”. For me, it is everything I am doing to network, share and promote not only my own music but also that of other local and Canadian musicians. You may have heard me say it before: I’m spending a lot of time on social media to do just that. Ergo, music is everything I am doing: social media, my website... and gosh, even working on new music... that last bit takes the most time.

I have been using the hashtags #DoWhatYouLove and #LoveWhatYouDo consistently in the last week or so. Let’s face it, I do love this whole music thing that I’m doing (when I can give the time to do it). And no doubt, for every other musician, band, artist, songwriter, singer... it is the same for them. It is a passion. For some, it is their full time job. For others, like me, while it has not yet earned me the respect of thousands of followers, nor the money to show for it, it is definitely something I will continue to do, if for nothing else, for the love of it.

Don’t forget that you can contact me anytime on Instagram or Twitter and here on my website on the “connect” page. I look forward to hearing from you!



APRIL 17, 2018



Newly Inspired

It’s been a good week or so in life (despite the persistent winter) and on social media. I’m appreciating more and more the likes and new followers I’ve been getting, on Instagram mostly, some of whom are up and coming and some are established award winning singers/composers/bands. I’m both thrilled and humbled by their simple actions of pressing like or follow. And I’m pleased to say, I’m very much enjoying their music as well.

I was recently chatting with someone about something off topic and I threw (not really) a business card at him to change the subject. A few minutes later he came back to tell me that he had been listening to my music and it reminded him of some musicians called Two Steps From Hell. I was taken aback at first because I thought he said “two-step”, as in the dance - it’s not country music, I said. He clarified that by telling me they were very prominent composers who make music for movies, video games, etc., and that I should check them out.

OMG. If you have not heard of Two Steps From Hell (aka tsfh), you have very likely heard their music if you watch movies at all. I am just beside myself - this is exactly the type of music I love to listen to. Epic. Soundtracks with an orchestral and rock mix. Just wonderful. I was up very late last night/this morning and created a new YouTube playlist of their music, you can find it here: Two Steps From Hell. Check it out, you might just like it... and I will be adding to the playlist when I get time to listen to more. And FYI, I don’t believe my music is comparable to that of these astoundingly talented musicians but I do believe I have finally found the genre (or at least a sub-genre) that I can label my music as (I have struggled with this bit from the start). I am aspiring to make more and better music in the days, weeks, months and years to come. A new song is already in progress...

”Music Makes You Braver”
~~Two Steps From Hell~~

I am also working on a playlist of some of the great Canadian talent I have had the good fortune to listen to, just by being on Instagram: Music to Follow



APRIL 12, 2018



Where to now...

I’ve been spending a lot of time on social media lately - mostly Instagram - I think a lot more people are there looking for something new to look at and listen to and they’re finding me. Funny enough, I’m realizing I’m getting lost in my own Twitter feed - whenever I tweet something, I have to scroll a long way to find my tweets - that’s what happens when you follow a lot of people I guess.

What I really need to do is get back to making some new music, without giving up promoting my current music - a delicate balance. Not only that, I have a “day” job (and life) that really limits my time and how much energy I can pour into all of this. While I’m getting likes and a few followers, mostly on Instagram, some on Twitter, I’m still figuring out the dynamics of self-promotion and getting folks to go further than a like, share or follow... and getting the right followers.

I almost feel like I’m posting the same thing all the time. Sometimes changing up the photo/video but almost always reposting the same couple of songs - ‘cause that’s all I have at the moment. And as always, trying new hashtags to reach a new audience. Happily, I’m finally getting likes and followers from Canada - fellow creators/musicians/artists.

One more thing... am I doing this for a career change? Just for fun? For one thing, I’m doing this because I need to - too many times I have given up when a project seems to be going nowhere. I need to do this because this time I believe in what I have created and I think there are listeners, supporters and potential buyers that have yet to be found - can’t find them if I give up. I love what I’m doing and if it turns into something more, all the better - do what you love to do.



APRIL 8, 2018



Giving back...

Many of you may by now know of the tragic loss of life of members of the #HumboldtBroncos hockey team in Saskatchewan. I have been touched by this heart wrenching story in a way I am unfamiliar with. Every news cast, social media posts and other things that I see and read about it literally breaks my heart and chokes me up. I cannot begin to fathom what those families, the remaining team members and staff, and the community must be going through.

At the same time, I feel a real unity happening here. All over Canada (and beyond), condolences and donations are pouring in to support the families and team during this heartbreaking time. I have already personally made a donation to the gofundme page that was set up - at last check, they are less than $100,000 away from reaching their $4million goal - in one day!

Even so, I feel like I could do more. So I decided as a way to support the fundraising further, I have offered to donate %100 of the earnings from the sale of my music from April 8 to April 15, 2018. Maybe it will help me in sales, but that’s not why I’m doing this one time thing. I feel I have this wonderful tool available to me that I can use to help someone else. At least it’s worth a try!

I’m not asking you to buy my music to make me feel good. I’m asking you to buy my music if you like it of course, but for one week, any sales of music only benefits those directly affected by the tragedy, and you can feel good about being a part of that. As I’ve said, I’m a nobody in the music world at the moment, and you may not even like the music I make - all you really have is the word of a stranger. If you’re concerned about the buying process - I don’t sell anything directly on my website. You can only buy my music from trusted and secure sources: iTunes, GooglePlay and CDBaby - if you see it somewhere else, don’t buy it! It is also available to listen to on SoundCloud, with links to buy my album on iTunes, GooglePlay and CDBaby.

One last note about earnings... If you pay $6 (CDN) for my album, I receive $5.45+/- in earnings - that latter is the amount I will donate to the gofundme page - %100 of it. I will take screenshots or something to show the totals. I have everything to risk by doing this - all of the work I have done thus far in making and promoting my music will be for naught if I don’t follow through with this.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!



APRIL 7, 2018



More about social media...

As you may have read in my earlier posts, I gave up on managing the page on Facebook dedicated to the Hawkish 2.0 project. Today I did a little housekeeping by replacing both my profile picture and cover photo, and removing some irrelevant posts. Too bad that I invested so much energy into getting that page up and running - 2 weeks of my life that I will never get back. Good thing I was doing other things!

One thing I did do a couple of years back was follow my rock idol, Pat Benatar, on Facebook. It was fun to see what tours she’s (still) doing and see glimpses into her family life via her and husband/music partner Neil Giraldo’s posts of their daughter’s wedding and both daughters’ birthdays.

Speaking of the Giraldo daughters, I’ve been half-following Pat and Neil’s youngest daughter Hana Giraldo on Instagram and YouTube. She’s an aspiring singer and actress. Though a couple of her songs are a little on the raunchy side for me, her voice has some of the traits of her mom’s, and I’m somewhat attracted to that.

And then there were updates...

I added my Twitter feed to my website - if you are reading this on a computer or tablet, you will see it on the left side of the screen. If you don’t, please let me know via the connect page here. I haven’t yet added it to the mobile version of my site - there’s just not enough real estate to fit it comfortably there.

The last couple of days I’ve been posting screen recordings of a couple of my songs playing in GarageBand on my iPad Pro. Almost instantly I get likes and even a couple of follows, all without using #SoundCloud! At this moment, I now have 30 followers on Instagram (I started with 12 Facebook followers - before I ever even used Instagram!) and 16 followers on Twitter (I started with zero). I’m happy to finally have a couple of Canadian top dogs following me on Twitter. In 2-3 weeks, I’m doing OK so far. I’m getting wise to what’s hot and what’s not - both in the type of media posted and hashtags. A long way to go yet, but I’m on it.



APRIL 6, 2018



ABOUT MY MUSIC

One thing I’ve noticed when I’ve posted something on Instagram or Twitter in particular, is that the likes I get are from other music makers, more often than not, of the rapper genre. While I respect every artist in every genre (to each their own), my music is not rap or hip-hop or similar. My music is just that - music, no singing (I have no interest, nor am I at all in tune
with a singing voice). Further to that, I consider the genre of my music to be more along a pop/instrumental, even orchestral vibe. I admit that I had a hard time choosing the genre(s) since on every site or venue, the lists to choose from were different on every one, and on almost every one I had to settle on something other. This is proving to be more of a challenge moving forward.

Another thing of course, when I post something, I’m usually using the hashtag #SoundCloud which gets likes and sometimes shares within a few minutes of posting. Naturally, music and business promoters tend to like and follow. Some I follow back, while others I’m holding off on for now. I’m still trying to find the best hashtag(s) to use as an alternative to #SoundCloud.

UPDATES

If you don’t see anything new here, check my Twitter or Instagram feed, or Google+ or my YouTube channel. I am adding something new every day, somewhere.



APRIL 2, 2018



It’s a little slow going but I’m finding my way around Google+ and finally getting some likes and followers. Likewise, Instagram is a superstar at getting instant likes and followers - smart hashtag strategies are at last bringing things to fruition. There have been moments where I’ve been wanting to stop this silly business of promoting my music and myself but then I think
of... "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined" - not sure the author but a friend of mine just sent that to me as a gentle reminder to not let things stop you from doing that which is in your heart. That is why I started this, isn’t it? I felt so deep in my soul that no matter the lack of interest or support from those in my immediate circle (aside from an important one or two), I believed (and believe) there is still something more for me on this journey.

If you are reading this, you are either interested in this adventure I am on, or just like reading... or something else. Whichever the case, I hope to keep you engaged here and throughout my network of social media - never in a million years did I think I would participate in such a range of self-promotion and sharing. I’ve had to show just a little more of myself every day and I must say it is daunting yet at the same time somewhat liberating.

And just FYI - I will be taking down the Facebook page that I dedicated to this project on Sunday, April 8, 2018. Not like it will matter - Facebook doesn’t matter anymore.



MARCH 31, 2018



In an effort to stay ahead of the game, I have now also signed up on Google+. At the moment, all I have is my profile and I started a collection. Once again something new to learn, but this is a necessary step before I step away from Facebook completely - that is my ultimate goal. I won’t bore you too much with the sad stats from my
page on Facebook but I will say that had I not promoted one post, I would have had zero interaction, despite my commitment to updating something (SoundCloud release, photos, a video, etc.) at least once a day there... WTH? I’m so over it.

So, yeah, Google+. Are you with me?

And don’t forget to look me up on Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube and Instagram (still not sure about that one either but at least I get a nod here and there) - links at the bottom of the page.



MARCH 28, 2018



Hashtags...

OK so I’m a little late to the game but I’m finally getting it! Sure, we’ve all seen them: #hashtagThis #hashtagThat but what do they do? My first time on Twitter I used #grafxbylisa ‘cause well, that’s me and everything to do with my website and almost every other social network I am involved with: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (ugh) and I try to incorporate it into
everything else: SoundCloud, YouTube, etc.

In the last few days I had been surprised to get likes on Twitter after using #SoundCloud as a calling card. Today I edited a day or two old post on Instagram (still trying to get the hang of that one) by adding #grafxbylisa and #SoundCloud. I kid you not, within 10 minutes I had received a like on it. I get that trending news like Lady Gaga’s birthday is going to far surpass anything I could come up with... oh wait, just got another like from Instagram (insert wide-eyed emoji here)...

Use the strong, trending hashtags and they will come! Exposure. They will like it or ignore it. If they like it, they may go further: my website, SoundCloud, etc., and that’s OK.

If you followed a hashtag to find my website, THANK-YOU! If you enjoy your visit here, let me know via the connect page, and yes do pass it on. If you don’t care for what you see here, that’s OK too but at least I tried :-)



MARCH 27, 2018



It’s been a disappointing couple of weeks on Facebook. After gathering a whopping 13 followers to my page in the first few days, it seemed like everything came to a grinding halt. Only my sister was sharing/liking, even when I was posting new links or updates to my website or photos or even a video - “post photos and videos to get more likes, comments
and shares”, Facebook said. I did everything right but I obviously have the wrong dynamic of followers to do that for me, and the wrong platform. I found it to be just as ineffective sharing to my personal timeline (being as they are the friends following me on my music page). And I did what maybe I shouldn’t have done given Facebook’s current bad press - I paid for advertising - not a lot, but at that moment I was kinda desperate for more likes, shares and followers.

I gotta tell ya, had I realized this 2 weeks ago, I would first of all never paid for advertising on Facebook. And maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much energy trying to post a new update at least once a day there just to show that I’m active and serious about things. And here’s a big part of why... I’m also on Twitter. In almost every article I read about promoting yourself, Twitter is at the top of the list. Now combine that with signing up with #SoundCloud 2 days ago - more activity in 2 days on both than 1 week of paid advertising on Facebook. Not doing the latter anymore.

Here’s how effective Twitter is... just while writing this note... in the last hour since I posted the link on Twitter to my profile page on SoundCloud, I got 2 likes. And since following 2 artists on SoundCloud (who followed me within the first 24 hours of posting my music), I got another follower. What does that tell ya?

I won’t be focusing so much on updating my Facebook page now - funny that I posted the same link an hour ago there, not one bite. The most up to date info will be found here on my website or Twitter... and SoundCloud once I figure out the best way to do that too.



MARCH 26, 2018



Even before the release of my album but moreso in the last week or so, I’d been researching how best to get the word out about my music - with as little or no cost if possible. Almost every day I stumble upon several “best ways to...” lists and promotion recommendations. I stumbled upon a post yesterday that got me wondering about
SoundCloud and Spotify. I had had my doubts about a streaming venue from the start of this project (mostly because I didn’t really understand how it worked) but I soon realized that if I really wanted my music discovered and listened to, this just might be the best way. After some research I decided to sign up with SoundCloud.

Thanks to my experience of registering with CDBaby for my distribution, signing up with SoundCloud was easy enough. I liked that I could actually create “albums” and playlists with the songs in a different order. I had noticed on my CDBaby music player stats that most people were just playing the first song on the album (Look Up) and possibly the second (Flight) - much to my dismay, they weren’t getting to the “good” songs at the end: Mother Earth and Freedom - which may explain a lack of playthrough on the Hawkish 2.0 video also. These songs afterall, were really what inspired me to take this great leap with Hawkish 2.0. This revelation of missing out prompted me to encourage people on my Facebook page and here on my website to: Give Mother Earth and Freedom a chance.



MARCH 9, 2018



A big day in my humble life. On this day, I did something I never really thought I would do - I released my music to the world. Funny in a way, I feel like all the energy I have put into introducing Hawkish 2.0 to the public has not been spent in vain. In fact, even knowing that I am an amateur in almost every aspect of the project - the music, the art, the website and promoting my music - it is something that have committed to 100%. I have no idea what the future holds but I am in this for the long haul.





Most Swainson’s Hawks migrate south all the way to Argentina in the winter. That’s a distance of more than 8000 kilometers from southwestern Canada - one way!

Part of Rihanna’s song Umbrella was created using GarageBand. Other artists have also used GarageBand to one degree or another.


Click here to check it out

When I was a young girl, I took accordion lessons.
Proof!

Aspiring musician
Many thanks to my mom for finding and scanning it for me!

95% of the work I have done for the Hawkish 2.0 project has been done on my 12.9” iPad Pro (2nd gen) - pretty much everything (except for the design of the fonts used in the videos and finalizing the music file formats). Even the website design (including these words), graphics, the music and the videos have been created and edited with it. Best tool purchase I have made in a long time. Highly recommend it for those like-minded creative folks - even moreso with Apple Pencil!

The background image that I use here on my website... and on my Twitter profile... and on my YouTube Channel... and on my SoundCloud profile... even as my wallpaper image on my iPad, was a picture that I took in 2016 during a Geocaching adventure around Calgary - something I enjoy doing when I get the chance. It is one of my favourite pictures.