If you’re a “regular” here at Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend, or if you follow me on Twitter, then you know I prefer to do things unconventionally. Terra Naomi‘s new album, To Know I’m OK, came about unconventionally as well.
When I met Terra more than a year ago, she had a very clear vision of how she wanted this album to sound, even before all the songs were written. She knew she wanted John Alagia (Rachel Yamagata, Brett Dennen, Ben Folds Five, David Gray, Liz Phair, Jason Mraz) to produce the album. She was free from a major-label deal so she could do things differently, not beholden to anyone but herself. At the same time, she was also keenly aware that she no longer had the major-label resources to record and release her second album, and if she forgot about that for a moment, somebody was there telling her it couldn’t be done.
Photo by Ben Watts
Determined to make her vision a reality, Terra ignored the naysayers and set forth on a path to record and release To Know I’m OK, without compromise. Terra raised the recording budget via a direct to fan engagement campaign with PledgeMusic and then approached John Alagia to produce the album. Upon hearing the music and Terra’s plans for releasing the album, Alagia agreed. The result? “This is the album I’ve always wanted to make,” Terra says.
Terra is also going about releasing the album independently, partnering with technology companies and passionate audience communities. As she did with PledgeMusic, Terra continues to go directly to fans, reaching them in unique ways, and including them in the process. Terra partnered with Hipstamatic, engaging their passionate community and incorporating user-submitted Hipstamatic photos as the centerpiece of her video for “You For Me”. She’s working with Klout, providing unique offerings to their influencers, as well as partnering with music and lifestyle bloggers.
Photo by Ben Watts
To Know I’m OK will be available tomorrow, Tuesday June 21st, and I wanted to do something special in honor of its release. I considered interviewing Terra about the songs and the recording process. I thought it might be fun to drink with Terra. Actually, I knew that was fun, having done it previously. Other ideas that crossed my mind were: going behind the scenes with Terra and producer John Alagia during the recording process, posting random outtakes from the studio, sharing footage nobody knew I was recording, and posting full streams of some of the songs on the album. I even considered showing the recording process through the eyes of Terra’s dog, Elliott Osito. I’m of the belief that we can have it all, so below, you will find everything mentioned above.
I hope you enjoy this track-by-track video exploration of Terra Naomi: To Know I’m OK.
It’s time for a listening party
1. You For Me
Michael Chaves, Sean Hurley, Brad Conrad, John Alagia, Victor Indrizzo lend a hand to Terra Naomi during the recording of “You For Me”
Terra’s dog, Elliott, lends his tail during the making of “You For Me”
Listen to “You For Me” (Full Stream)
2. If I Could Stay
Terra performs “If I Could Stay” at a private house party
3. Not Sorry
Terra discusses the re-recording of “Not Sorry”
Listen to the new version of “Not Sorry” from To Know I’m OK
4. Everybody Knows
Terra, John Alagia, Brad Conrad, Zac Rae, Victor Indrizzo, Sean Hurley, and Michael Chaves working out “Everybody Knows” in the studio
Recording “Everybody Knows”
Listen to “Everybody Knows” Album Version (Full Stream)
5. Someday Soon
Terra, producer John Alagia, Brad Conrad, Zac Rae, Michael Chaves, Victor Indrizzo, and Sean Hurley listening to their initial recordings of “Someday Soon”
6. I’ll Be Waiting
Terra discusses the meaning of “I’ll Be Waiting” during our “interview” at Malibu Wines
Recording “I’ll Be Waiting”
Listen to “I’ll Be Waiting” (Full Stream)
I’ll Be Waiting:
7. Take Time
Terra does a special performance of “Take Time” for Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend:
Inspired by a man who dumped her:
Listen to “Take Time” (Full Stream)
8. To Know I’m OK
Listen to the title track from Terra’s new album, “To Know I’m OK” (full stream)
To Know I’m Ok:
Terra’s dog, Elliott Osito, gives his notes on the album
Finally, after a long day in the studio, John Alagia and Michael Chaves had these parting words for Terra:
I remember the first meeting I had at one of the major labels, when I initially started working in music. We gathered to meet about one of their “priority artists,” but they had just signed another “priority artist,” so they were no longer focused on who we were there to originally discuss. Furthermore, the first 7 minutes of the meeting was spent listening to the record label executives talk about how much none of them wanted to go to one of their artist showcases later that night. I remember walking out of that meeting, more than a decade ago, thinking (and knowing me, probably saying out loud), “musicians are fucked if the people in charge of the music business don’t even like music.”
Welcome to 2011. Musicians aren’t “fucked” as it turns out. Musicians have more opportunity than ever before to get their music heard, reach more people, and do things differently and more creatively. It’s up to us, the fans, to seek out the music we love and to take time with Artists we enjoy.
Terra Naomi at Malibu Wines
I recently spent an afternoon with Terra Naomi, drinking wine at Malibu Wines and talking about her forthcoming album, To Know I’m OK. Terra, who is no longer on a major label, has spent the past year creatively working to release her latest album, To Know I’m OK, independently.
She launched a campaign at PledgeMusic, bringing the fans who contributed to making the album behind the scenes, throughout the process. She ignored everyone who said getting a top producer like John Alagia would not be possible, asked John Alagia to produce To Know I’m Ok, and he agreed. She partnered with the creators of Hipstamatic (Apple’s “App of The Year”), and will be using photos submitted by the Hipstamatic community in the upcoming music video for her song, “You For Me.” She’s working with TuneCore, YouTube, Klout, music and lifestyle bloggers, and other fun partners, on the release of this album.
On Monday, June 20, I will post an exclusive track-by-track video exploration of Terra’s new album, To Know I’m OK, so that you can get to know Terra and her music before the album comes out on June 21st. In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to Terra Naomi and one of my favorite songs from To Know I’m OK, “Take Time”. Enjoy!
Terra Naomi talks to Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend about “Take Time”:
FREE DOWNLOAD of “Take Time” (Live at Yoshi’s):
Live performance of “Take Time” at LA Music Blog (thank you LA Music Blog!):
Studio version of “Take Time” (full stream):
What really happens when you do an interview at a winery:
Track by track video exploration of To Know I’m OK to be posted on Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend Monday, June 20th. For more info about Terra Naomi:
I’ve been following Naomi’s career and watching her perform since 2006, but I’ve missed a few shows recently and I won’t do that again. During last night’s performance at The Viper Room, Naomi performed some of my old favorites including “Say It’s Possible” and “Vicodin Song,” along with several new songs which have already become favorites.
“You For Me” and “Nobody Knows You Anymore” are songs about love, loneliness, and being okay with it all. Naomi’s voice is beautiful as ever, but what I love most about Naomi and her music is that she’s real. Yes, she’ll sing about pills, strippers, and infidelity; and she’ll sing about them with a smile (likely because they’re in the past).
I often see (and choose not to write about) some pretty, off-the-shelf, perfect-package bands – the ones record labels love. They look the part, they have catchy tunes, they sing about things they’ve seen on the news but haven’t experienced, and their lyrics are accessible enough that they don’t require any thought or reflection on the part of the listener.
Terra Naomi: okay with it all
Terra Naomi is the complete opposite of this and therefore represents everything I love. She’s honest and real, never compromising her integrity or music for the sake of a cute pop song. Her songs are fantastic, but you’ll likely not hear them on The Hills, so be sure to see Terra Naomi when you have the opportunity.
If you missed last night’s show at The Viper Room, you can catch Terra at Hotel Cafe tonight at 8:00 pm.