Lisa Robbin Young

First, an announcement: Des is BACK from L.A., and we had a great session this week, recording tracks for The Fine Line. We laid the final tracks for our sexified version of Aerosmith's "Dream On" as well as the understated Eagles tune "I Can't Tell You Why." I am looking forward to sharing that track soon with our patrons and sponsors. If you haven't already pre-ordered your copy of the album, you can do that here.

In all, The Fine Line will feature 15 songs, including 2 originals. While most of the songs have been jazzified to some extent, the notable exceptions are a 1950's "motown" version of VanHalen's "Why Can't This Be Love" and a melancholy version of Avicii's "Addicted To You". The entire album is an intimate piano/vocal affair, and Des and I are hard at play to deliver the pre-orders in September.

Here's a sneak peek at the new album cover. What do you think? 

You probably don't need me to explain that it's a double visual metaphor - songs from the past into the future, and "the fine line between the American Dream and the American Nightmare" as Don Henley once said.

Also, I gotta give props to Heidi at HSB photography for doing an amazing job on the photo shoot!

Okay, now on to the post!

Having trouble prioritizing your to-do list?

As a creative entrepreneur, I used to struggle with day-planners, schedules, and anything that came with too much structure. That's my Chaotic side lashing out at my need for a little bit of Linear sanity. Since none of the traditional tools worked for me, I developed my own back in 2009, thinking it would probably go on the heap of "tried and failed" attempts to get my life and business squared away.

Well, here we are, 6 years later, and it still works like a charm. I've tweaked it a little over the years, but the core steps have stayed the same. This week's episode of Creative Freedom reveals my simple 5-step PEACE System that keeps me on track every day - focusing on what really matters, and giving myself permission to let go of what doesn't move the ball down the field.

Oh, and you'll hear one of my all time favorite tunes from a now defunct 80's band with a drummer that used to write songs with Madonna.

The PEACE System works for Chaotic, Linear, and Fusion types

It's just enough structure that Chaotic creatives can play around and keep things loose, while giving Linear creatives the ability to get as granular as they need to stay sane. Fusion creatives like me can be flexible, depending on the kind of day we're having. I really surprised myself when I developed this concept. It's something I've been able to stick with for years now, and I attribute much of my success to using it - and I attribute much of my failure to the times when I get lazy and don't use it!

Not sure about your Creative Freedom type? Be sure to take the quiz and find out.

What works for you? What have you tried that didn't work? Share your comments

This weekend, I was invited to do a short set for a local non-profit holiday party. So Des and I dusted off the road gear and delighted the ladies with a few Christmas favorites. Here's one I've not shared previously: Irving Berlin's 1940's classic "White Christmas."

It's fitting, since last week I did "Rudolph" and those two songs are the biggest selling Christmas songs of all time (White Christmas is #1).

It's still green here in Michigan, albeit cold - hanging in the mid 30's this weekend.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope your December is full of warmth and good cheer.

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It's not every day one of your heroes gives you a public acknowledgement. Perhaps that will change one day, but for now, I'll keep savoring the occasional tweets, nods, and virtual hi-fives that come from people I admire in the world.

Sometimes we forget that competition isn't always about "winning" in the traditional sense. In truth, there's often a slew of other lessons and gifts that come when we show up and do our best, regardless of whether or not we actually win.

Here's a story and a song that I hope inspires you to keep showing up and doing your best, even if you don't think you're winning.


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Subscribe to Lisa’s YouTube Channel | More from the 300 Songs Project | Buy The Show Replay // Lyric from Styx's Show Me The Way. #300songs


Subscribe to Lisa’s YouTube Channel | More from the 300 Songs Project | Buy The Show Replay // Dream On. Aerosmith cover. #300songs

About 18 months ago, I met this kid, Des. He's got an amazing gift for playing piano. Watching him perform is like watching God sit at the piano... It's almost like Des isn't even there... just music direct from the Divine.

I was looking for an arranger. For this song, in particular. For a few years - ever since I'd heard Michael Buble's version of "Feelin' Good" - I'd wanted to take "Dream On" and do it in a similar style. The song is so timeless. It speaks generation after generation, and has always been a powerful song - one of Aerosmith's classics.

But not everyone likes the screaming guitars of rock music, so there are a lot of people that have never heard the depth of these lyrics. To me, that's one of the powerful pieces of popular music - the story of the lyrics. This was actually the first song that got me thinking about a style of music that is no seeing a larger audience and a broader range of artists - like Buble', Postmodern Jukebox, and more.

We worked back and forth for several months before we got an arrangement that worked. It's been about a year since we finished it, and it remained unperformed. Written for a full instrumental ensemble, we simply didn't have an ensemble to perform it.

I couldn't stand not letting the world hear it. So I asked Des back into the studio, and he condensed the entire song to a single sticky note, and played the entire piece in two takes.

Yes. Two. He's that good.

Subscribe to Lisa’s YouTube Channel | More from the 300 Songs Project // I Can't Make You Love Me. Bonnie Raitt, Mike Reid cover. #300songs

Des looks at a piece of sheet music for about 20 minutes and says "Okay, I'm good." Then he hands me the sheet music and creates his own equally compelling arrangement. Listen to the solo section for a glimpse into this kid's creative improvisational genius. Just amazing.

Oh, and this is song #75 in the 300 Songs project... I'm a quarter of the way home!

This is the second song written by Mike Reid I've had the joy of singing for this project. He's such a great songwriter. I wish more people would sing his music. Soulful, meaningful, and deep. Yummy!

Subscribe to Lisa’s YouTube Channel | More from the 300 Songs Project // Made To Love. Toby Mac cover. #300songs

When Des came to visit, I was lucky enough to get two tracks for the new album done.

Yes you heard that - the new album is finally becoming a reality! YAY!

One of the things I've always wanted to tackle was Tobymac's "Made To Love". I've heard it covered and mixed in a couple of different ways, but none of them spoke to me quite like doing a jazzy love song version. After all, there is no greater love, right? Here's our last take:

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Back in May, I was joined on stage by The Damn Whippersnappers for my first virtual concert. It was a fun-filled and amazing day. I've posted clips from that show, but none of them really do justice to the fantastic musicians that played with me that day.

Well, as luck would have it, Des, the keyboardist from that show, has graciously offered to join my in the studio today to record a few tracks for the 300 songs project. He can take a song in any genre and effortlessly move it into a new one. So when I got the idea to do ZZ Top as a jazz piece, he was the first guy I called.

Here we are (and you might hear my 8 year old "playing drums" in the background on this rehearsal clip. In truth, this was both a rehearsal and a performance, as we were recording live both on camera and into the studio board. We're considering making it available as a download. Let us know if you're interested in the comments below.

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This was the finale from our show this month. Needless to say, this was one of those "dream come true" moments for me. When I first started writing this song a couple of years ago, it begged to be played with a band. The Damn Whippersnappers do not disappoint, and Kris' solo is just the soulful kind of melody the song needed.

Get your ticket to the show replay

I heard a whisper on the wind

and an echo in my heart trying to tell me to begin.

I knew the words, held deep inside,

but the spirit wouldn't flow

and no matter how I tried

to fill the void of distant spaces

with the workings machinating in my  mind,

to find true love in vacant faces,

it was you. You were with me all the time.

And you will never know what love can do.

My wounds are deep, I can't deny.

And the salty rivers flow down my face 'til they run dry.

I ran away, in shame and pride,

but the echo in my heart keeps telling me to try.

And once again your love is calling with the words so gentle and so clear

I'd give my heart, I know I'm falling into faith.

I just want to have you near.

And you will never know what love can do.

Once again your love is calling with the words so gentle and so clear

I'd give my life, I know I'm falling into faith.

I just want to have you near.

Consecrated deep inside, emancipated, satisfied.

And you will never know what love can do.

(Lyrics copyright 2012 Lisa Robbin Young. All Rights Reserved.)