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Christiana Gaudet

The first time I met Tarot Grandmaster Christiana Gaudet, I believe it may have had something to do with an impromptu seasonal celebration ritual held in a hot tub.  Over the years, I’ve grown to love and trust Christiana very much, and we share quite a few things like dedication to spirituality, a penchant for discussions on grammar and usage, naturism, and a serious enthusiasm for music (Robin is to Devo as Christiana is to The Grateful Dead.).

A little over a year ago, Christiana began hosting an online show called Christiana’s Psychic Café, and decided to use my songs “Funky Bhagavate” and “Blessed Be, Namaste” as her intro and outro music.  She’s also invited me on the show to chat on quite a few occasions, so turnabout is fair play, as they say.  I am so glad Christiana has taken part in The Dream Between‘s 11 Questions interview series.  Here are some of her thoughts on science and mysticism, the rewards and business of writing and music, entrepreneurial spirit, and more.

1. Do you think of Tarot as an art? A system? A spiritual tool? I am interested in how you describe it to someone who hasn’t encountered Tarot at all.

Yes, to all of the above. One of things that fascinates me about Tarot is how unique it is in all the world, but how it is a part of so many worlds – art, culture, spirituality, and history.

Tarot is a book of spiritual wisdom in picture form that tells the story of human experience. Tarot is a collection of archetypes and symbols that can help us communicate with each other and with the divine. Tarot is a source of creative inspiration and a tool for magick.

2. How do you balance science and rationality with mysticism and spirituality in your life?

My belief system is grounded in the reality that I observe in my daily life, so there really is no disconnect between what I believe and what is obviously scientifically true.  I believe the sun will rise in the morning, and I understand the movements of the planets that make that happen. But I also honor the rising sun as a spiritual force in my life.

Nature is my Higher Power. I am face-to-face with God every day. I don’t need complicated dogma and doctrine to know, feel, and experience spiritual truth. When I observe nature I learn all I need to know about Higher Power.  I find spiritual power in the tides and the stars. I see the face of the Goddess in fire as it dances. I see the Four Elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, as spiritual forces operating in my life. The magnificence and improbability of the world around us lead me to conclude that a divine hand is at work. To me, science proves the existence of Spirit. There is so much order to the Universe, it seems a divine order. The more I learn about science the more I see the sacred nature of life.

I have an argument with many religions. If your doctrine doesn’t hold true to the obvious facts around you, it is time to change your doctrine. That’s an interesting concept given I believe that cards drawn at random can have specific bearing in a person’s life. But, truly, divination is as old as recorded history. Divination is something we do quite naturally.  The same is true with earth magick. What child has not collected rocks and shells from the beach, or sticks from the woods, knowing, deeply and inherently, that these items hold power?

3. You’ve written and published two books on the Tarot – Fortune Stellar and Tarot Tour Guide. Through those experiences, what are the most important things you’ve learned about the process of writing and publishing?

I learned that writing is an arduous task. If we only write when we feel inspired, we’ll rarely finish anything. If you force yourself to write whether or not you feel like it, the inspiration will come most of the time.

I also learned that writing is sometimes more about style than structure, and that typos are a fact of life.

I learned that publishing is rapidly changing. Whatever you knew about publishing in the past may not be true now. What we used to call “vanity press” is now “self-published” and is a viable avenue. The big publishing houses are crumbling, and self-published authors are actually making money.

I learned that unless you write a New York Times bestseller, the way to make money in writing and publishing is to be prolific. Yes, I am working on books three, four, and five right now.

Finally, I learned that books aren’t like fashion – they don’t have a shelf life. If you write a good book, that book will continue to sell year after year.

4. You and I connect a great deal around music and you’ve often incorporated music segments into your show, Christiana’s Psychic Café. What are you listening to lately?

The recent death of Pete Seeger has me revisiting my favorite folk singers. This week I’ve been listening to The Weavers, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, and Arlo Guthrie.

I listen to a lot of different genres. In terms of newer acts I like OneRepublic. Isn’t that cheesy? And I love Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I think Grace has huge potential.

I’m a Deadhead.  I catch as many DSO, 7 Walkers, Phil Lesh and Friends, Ratdog and Furthur shows as I can. We always wondered what would happen when Jerry died. Well, what happened was a lot of smaller bands mushroomed from the one. Fan musicians made it their mission to carry on the music, so there are still plenty of opportunities for us to experience those songs played live.

5. Does music help inspire your writing, preparation for readings, or other aspects of your work?

I can’t have music in the background when I write – I am easily distracted by shiny objects. I love meditative music, and I love chanting. I use music in magick and ritual quite a bit. Dance is an important part of my spiritual practice.

6. As the music business we once knew has changed so much since the Internet Age, many artists are struggling to understand how it will manifest in the future. Any predictions?

The changes in music are similar to the changes in publishing. On one hand, everyone has access. On the other hand, there are so many voices it is hard to be heard.  I think one thing that is changing is there are more ways to be heard, and more ways to develop an audience. Often success will go to the diligent.

Where do I see things going in the future? I think there will be even more access to high-speed internet, recording technology, and marketing opportunities. I think the big labels, like the big publishing houses, will start to crumble. There will still be pop stars, but radio – the star maker of yesteryear – really is dying.

Right now, everyone who listens to adult contemporary knows the same songs. When Lorde won a Grammy, everyone knew the song. I see a time in the distant future where that might no longer be true. There might be so much variety available we will all listen to exactly what we like and we won’t all know the same forty songs.

In the meantime, my advice to artists would be three words: diligence, networking, and innovation.

7. Your show seems to have developed very organically and features many artists and practitioners who you know personally. How has this network of people come about for you?

When I agreed to do Christiana’s Psychic Café I knew I didn’t really have the time to take on such a project. I also knew I had a huge network of interesting people who would help me. Networks always grow. You were my very first guest. You, and many others, have introduced me to other people who have been great guests, and are now my friends. You are right about “organic growth.”

I have always been really good at bringing people together. I have organized festivals, huge parties, psychic fairs, and creative communities. It is something I do naturally. I am not as good at constantly nurturing a community. I am better at short-term projects and getting things started rather than tending them over long periods of time.  Social media has allowed me to stay in touch with people that I have known over the past forty years. That is a lot of people, and a lot of energy, on which to draw.

8. In your work, you not only maintain a private reading practice, but you create a weekly newsletter, host the online show, and hold periodic worldwide Skype teaching sessions. What are your practical methods of generating many varied ideas and holding it all together?

I am grateful each day that my work allows me variety, creativity, positive human contact, and spiritual fulfillment. I work very long days, but I take frequent breaks. When I feel overwhelmed or under-inspired I picture myself working a regular job. That’s usually enough to get me back on track.

I have a lot of interesting ideas. They often come to me in the shower. My biggest problem is remembering them, since I can’t write them down while I’m washing my hair! So, the practical methods I employ boil down to gratitude for what I can do, fear of not doing it, and being open to inspiration!

9. What is the most gratifying aspect of your work?

Unfair question. That’s like asking a mother which of her kids is her favorite.

When I was really young I knew I didn’t have the ability to tolerate routines, power structures, boredom, and creative limitations. I needed to create a life where I had real passion for my tasks, and control over what those tasks would be. So I did. That my work is my work is my greatest gratification.

10. Do you have any advice or wisdom for anyone in any field who is striking out with your kind of entrepreneurial spirit?

Plenty. You have to want it so badly you can taste it. You have to believe in it when no one else does. You have to be willing to suffer for it. You have to be willing to do what it takes to make it happen, even when your friends are mad that you can’t play with them.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.

When I was a theatre major at Baldwin-Wallace College for a semester I had a great teacher who said that success is the product of talent and tenacity. I think that is true for just about any kind of success.

11. What is the best course of action for creative artists in this Imbolc season?

Transform your fears, hurts, and disappointments into art. Let creativity be a source of healing for you, and let the depth of your pain energize your process. Let nothing be “good” or “bad” in terms of what you feel or what you produce. Experience everything as power, wisdom and beauty. Be free to heal, and free to create.

Visit:

Tarot by Christiana Gaudet

RobinRenee.com

This is apparently a good week for the number eleven! See yesterday’s post.

SkinnJakkit

Writer friends Glenn Walker and Becca Butcher recently asked me to provide a stop along The Rock Blog Tour for a North Carolina-based band called Skinn Jackitt, and I am glad I took on the opportunity.  I had been planning to put together an interview series for The Dream Between, and there’s no time like the present.  Skinn Jakkit has just released their self-titled album on November 5th.   You can pick it up here

Being the old folkie and punk rock girl that I am, I had to admit I am not as much the expert when it comes to the 70’s to 90’s heavy rock and metal that most influences this band.  I have always been fascinated and impressed by the intensity of metal fandom, however, and curious about how the business works for indie bands on that circuit.  Thanks to lead guitarist Barry Sams for the interview and the glimpse into the music and music business according to Skinn Jakkit.

1. You name check musical influences from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Aside from the general category, metal – and in my limited knowledge, there seem to be many subgenres of metal – what are the terms you use to describe your music?

We pull from a lot of subgenres in metal, such as thrash, groove, grunge, hair metal, southern rock and power metal. Each one of us has a different take, but an ideal mesh that makes us who we are. For instance, I (Barry) could pull a good Fear Factory feeling riff and Shane comes with his heavy Sabbath influence to help hone in our sound.

 2. Some punk rock is fairly similar to metal from a musical standpoint, but with some distinct differences, often in vocals and subject matter. Are you at all influenced by punk or other alt rock bands?

Of course. We love and respect all music types. Listening to our album, you will hear punk, thrash, hair metal, black metal, southern rock, and many others.

 3. For which other subgenre do you have the most affinity?

All the guys grew up when it was simply known as “Heavy Metal”, and it still is a good way to define us.  I’d say progressive metal.  But, sadly, people have to label everything so most can divide and not have it become just “music.”  I believe we all like something from every style out there from classical, country, metal, and hip hop. The subgenre divides most people in the music community and leaves little support as a whole. Our belief is a true musician can listen to and enjoy all music.

 4. What do you think generates the deeply devoted audiences for particular metal bands and for metal in general?

Every generation has their hero of rock. Growing up for us was Metallica, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath.  Then it was Nirvana, on to Avenged Sevenfold, and Five Finger Death Punch. Devotion to a band comes from several factors – the band breaks new sound territory, or just the need to fit into a group. Mainly, the music generally says something to us, we relate to the lyrics, and the music really fits and creates mood for us.

 5. How did you meet and begin working with your label and marketing representative?

In 2011, we submitted to several labels and shopped for a while before we signed with TMG (Tate Music Group). They gave us what we were looking for in a label. TMG contacted us via email, they sent us a contract to review, and the rest is history. Our relationship with TMG is a well-balanced machine. They have opened up doors and Marketing works very hard to help get us out there. We really enjoy being with TMG.  They allow us to be us, and didn’t come in and take over.

6. What is your strategy regarding the types of venues where you’ll seek to perform in support of your new self-titled album?

We are working on bigger venues with higher profile bands. We need to connect with larger audiences and gain support in their territories. Every venue has a place for us to develop and grow. Not all places are ideal, but a lot of clubs, music halls, and other establishments are desiring more original music. Our current game plan is to plant our feet in as many States we can for 2014.

 7. What are the other important ways you are getting the word out?  Do you have advice for others?

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, You Tube, creating your own website. Allowing some of your music to be downloaded for free. You can’t be a social shut in.  Really network yourself. People still like the human touch.  Get out there and talk to people, club owners, bookers, and so forth. We have a manager to help us in other mediums. Whatever you can afford to do to gain any media acknowledgment, take advantage of it.

8. Tell us a bit about the most memorable show you’ve played so far.

Opening up for Eye Empire was our first big moment. We had such a small area to stand, if we took a step forward we would have fallen off the stage. Being there, sharing the stage with a well known nation touring band is surreal and a chance few bands get.

 9. What song or moment on the new recording is your personal favorite?

The recording process is always excitement and frustration rolled into one. You are creating songs that will be locked in for eternity. My favorite is a song called “Farther.” I love to jam it live and it has a power and groove that stays in your head.

 10. What are the things you would most like to achieve professionally and artistically?

Artistically we are always growing, changing, and evolving into our true selves. Every song we write feels better, stronger, and really defines what Skinn Jakkitt can accomplish. Professionally, we want this full time. To play music, being in a band, recording new songs, without having to rely on a 9 to 5 job. Plus selling 10 million CD’s wouldn’t be too bad.

 11. How do you think indie musicians can best help each other succeed?

Support, support and support. Find a band or several bands in your area to latch on to. Don’t be a leech or a drag. But having other artists on the same level and goals will help you grow, network faster, and be well known. There are always others who think they are better, will stab you in the back, and talk junk about you. But always let your music, your fans, and your strong (band connections) talk for you.

Visit Welcome To Hell for a list of the previous stops on The Rock Blog Tour.

 www.skinnjakkitt.com

Keep up with me, my music, other writings and happenings at www.robinrenee.com.

tour bus, back

Yesterday, Glenn Walker posted the last piece on the Robin Renée Blog Tour on his blog, Welcome to Hell.  The original interview @ Biff Bam Pop! the day before ran so long that he rounded up some eclectic bits not included there for Odds & Ends.   What’s covered?  My jazzy version of Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to be Kind,” a makeshift Ouija board, true holiday sentiments and a bit of parody, some great new Mutant Mountain Boys videos, wighead art, a personal question (with some answers), and a 70’s smooth rock dude named Devo Dan. Odds and Ends –  It’s an aptly-named article, I’d say!

Check it out at The Robin Renée Blog Tour, Odds and Ends

Miss anything?  You can take the tour with this great recap.  It includes a synopsis and link for every stop along the way for the interviews, podcast discussion, videos, reviews, and info on the new single, “All I Am.”

Thank you so much to mastermind Glenn Walker and everyone who helped put this together.  It was busy and engaging and was a way I’d never reached out to new and old friends.  The tour bus is home now, but I’m already psyched for next time.

Photo by Jenn Phillips

Not much to say about this one – I’m just really happy with this interview.  Got to name check some of my favorite people, talk about my musical history with the band Spy Gods, and to take a look at some of the bigger questions on life and creative work.  – Nice roundup of rr live performance videos, too.   There’s really a lot in there.  Great job, Biff Bam Pop!

Read it here: Robin Renée – The Biff Bam Pop Interview

The blog tour ends tomorrow where it began –  at Glenn Walker’s blog,  Welcome to Hell.  I think some of the more off-beat outtakes from today’s interview might show up there.

Thanks for following along!

Love,

Robin

Devo Cat Listening Party

Glenn and Ray of the “weekly nerdout” known as the GAR! Podcast have a rule: They don’t discuss the podcast beforehand.  They just show up and hit record.  Glenn told me they bent that rule a little to prepare to be a stop along this week’s Robin Renée Blog Tour.   Luckily, whatever they talked about beforehand this time around took nothing away from the spontaneous, freewheeling conversation full of music geekery and beyond that ensued.  Here is the list of topics they compiled:

Robin Renee introduction / cat listeners / DEVO / Devo Dan / making music in the digital age / live music / cover songs / Elvis Costello / BeeGees / David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust / Fishbone / more DEVO / songwriting process / Kate Bush and revisions / deadlines / productivity / Cerebus by Dave Sim / distractions / the tree question / musical instruments / Prince covers / album covers / All I Am / The You Will Rise Project / the music / – See more at: http://www.garpodcast.com/#sthash.u3om7WrE.n7ibL7BP.dpuf

Listen in to the conversation here: GAR! Podcast Episode 16: Performing Artist Robin Renee.  I’ll be listening along with you to remember how we wound around to all these topics.  The standard interview this was not! – and that is a lot of fun and refreshing.  I’d love to be back on their show again soon.

Next up on the blog tour:  a comprehensive interview on the excellent pop culture site, Biff Bam Pop!

Robin Renée @ Empire Haven.  Photo by Joel Simpson.

Today’s blog tour stop takes me to the website of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey.

Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey is a collection of short stories and slice-of-life tales from members of the South Jersey Writers’ Group.

But today, Marie Gilbert’s interview with me is featured on the site.  We cover a lot of ground in this one, including serious topics like the career pitfall of feeling less than enough and advice for young performers in a shaky, changing music business world. There are also fun references to my (very) early bands Solar Explosion and The Half Mann Band, J. R. “Bob” Dobbs, and The Barry Gibb Talk Show.  Balance in all things, yes?

Here’s the interview!   Super G Interviews the Very Talented Robin Renée

Check it out today.  Tomorrow I’ll be a guest on the GAR! Podcast with hosts Ray Cornwall and Glenn Walker.

Thanks for reading & listening.

 

Well, if you’ve ever had the urge to quote me on any number of topics, this is your week to gather material.  Today’s stop on the Robin Renée Blog Tour is an interview by award-winning author Fran Metzman, whose book, The Hungry Heart Stories, I mused about here.  She got me to think a lot about the step-by-step process that happens in the act of writing as well as kirtan’s effect on my singer/songwriter pop music and vice versa.

Read all about it and post your comment here: Fran Metzman Interviews Robin Renée

Tomorrow, the next stop is at Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey.

ashford_castle_aerial_view

Today’s blog tour stop brings me to Patti O’Brien’s blog, A Broad Abroad.  I have enjoyed following her travels from time to time, so I’m honored she’d take a moment to write a bit about me, highlighting some of the places I’ve journeyed.

You can catch up with Patti’s discovery of Mantra-Pop, my upcoming trip to Canada (Finally!), and more here:

Robin Renee and Mantra-Pop

Tomorrow’s stop: A guest blog by Fran Metzman.  You can check it out here.

This. -  Robin Renée

I really love today’s stop on the Robin Renée Blog Tour.  My friend Glenn Walker has had This. on his iPod for a few months now, and it is clear he’s really been listening.  Coming from a perspective of someone with no background in kirtan, yoga, or concepts from those traditions, he took in the sounds, did a little research, offered his impressions of each song in turn, and gave me the chance to respond.  It was a great experience to hear what he had to say and to get a unique real-life glimpse into another person’s encounters, questions, and growing fondness for the music.  It was just as cool to take some time to respond to Glenn’s questions and impressions.  Even though it was a challenge to explain what, for the most part, lies beyond direct explanation, I still managed to find plenty to say.

Read Glenn’s great blog entry here: This. Song by Song.

Buy This. @ CD Baby or iTunes.

Remember to check out tomorrow’s travel-themed blog tour stop @ Patti O’Brien’s blog, A Broad Abroad.

tourbus1a

As much as I love to travel, I have to say I like the idea of being on tour while staying in one place once in a while.  Today through July 27th I’ll be “making the rounds” around several blogs where you’ll be able to read an interview, listen to a podcast, or otherwise check out something to do with the rr universe of life, love, and making music.  I am not entirely sure what’s in store, so I’m excited to see what happens.  I hope you follow along, interact, and have fun along the way, too.

Thanks so much to my dear friend Glenn Walker for putting this together and starting it all off.  Go to Glenn’s blog, Welcome to Hell,  to read his Robin Renée Blog Tour introduction, see the schedule, and go on tour with me!

Today’s stop is at the blog of Shelley Szajner – an author, illustrator, and Synchronicity Guru (That must make you curious!).  Check out the interview here:

Spotlight Corner: Singer, Songwriter Robin Renee

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