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50 songs, 3 Muses and 6 co-writing sessions

We’ve written our next record! 

When R&R sat down to start ruminating on the next record one thing became very clear:

We needed GREAT SONGS.

Songs that would make you wanna pull over in your car and take a deep breath; Songs that would make you feel like we took the words straight from your heart; Songs that named feelings you didn’t even know you have had!

I recently heard there are 3 Muses of Creativity:

  1. The Muse of Consistency
  2. The Muse of Inspiration
  3. The Muse of Talent

When I reflect on our songwriting process for our next album, it’s clear we called upon all three of these deities in order to find “GREAT SONGS”.

The Muse of Consistency

We made a goal to write 50 songs for the next record after we heard this story:

There was a pottery teacher who wanted to try something new to get the best works from his students.

He split his class in half.  For the first half of the class he told them he would grade them on their best work.

For the 2nd half of the class he told them he would grade them on how many pieces they made.

During the year, stepping into their studios the atmosphere was completely different. The first half of the students, were serious and silent; painstakingly focused on one piece – trying to perfect it and make it the best possible.

Meanwhile, the 2nd group of students were laughing, flinging the wildest and weirdest creations possible.

At the end of the year, the best pieces were those made by the 2nd group of students. Their ideas were better and their craft had improved.

With our limited schedule, the Muse of Consistency guided us and when we did the work we found:

The Muse of Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms. For us, those forms were writing exercises that had us writing out lists of sensory words, or vintage words. Making lists of cool song titles or concepts.  We racked our brains and hearts thinking about what our audience needed to hear.

We wrote these on giant sheets of paper and brought them with us on each writing retreat or session we went to.

Of course there were some more interesting moments the Muse of Inspiration descended upon us.

Like in a dream, where I called Allyson from prison and  inspired the song,  “Call Me”.

Or, a comment about “being ladylike” fired us up to write “Ms. Behave”.

When the Muse of Inspiration was exhausted, her pen dry, it  was time to call in:

The Muse of Talent

Each of us has years of songwriting experience, awards and accolades hiding under our fabulous fascinators.

However, in the search of GREAT SONGS we were willing to look under every rock.

This included approaching publishers for song pitches from those Nashville and LA.

Many of the hit songs you’re listening to on the radio are written by the hand of an artist you’ve never heard of.

We listened with open minds; however, our sound and the distinct voice of our lyrics were nowhere to be found. The songs from these publishers lacked sass, character and empowerment. The songs were okay but they weren’t “Riveter songs”

It became VERY clear – only the Riveters could write a Rosie & the Riveter song.

This realization didn’t preclude us from collaboration!

Collaboration is a driving force behind Rosie & the Riveters and so to build on that power we spent two weeks in Toronto co-writing with some of our favourite songwriters: Royal Wood, Matt Barber,  Caroline Brooks (from The Good Lovelies), Tim Abraham, Peter Katz, and Robyn Dell’Unto.

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Many of these songs made it only the record….you’ll have to wait til March to hear it. Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on your favorite social media platform to be the 1st to hear!

xoxox
Farideh

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A GUIDE TO FITNESS ON THE ROAD

Just like fitness at home, I need to make exercise a priority in my day if I’m going to make it happen. Furthermore, it takes planning!

Before I leave on tour, I have a look at my schedule to identify the days we spend fewer than 4 hours in the car (Thereby creating time for a workout!).

I also locate the hotels that are equipped with a work-out room and the town/cities that would have groomed running trails or other fun activities like hiking, kayaking or swing dancing!

  • Most hotels have mini-fridges these days, so I am able to keep my food cold and re-freeze my ice packs. Those that don’t will often agree to store my food in the staff fridge behind the check-in desk.
  • Breakfast food ideas: hard boiled eggs (made before I leave home), fruit, cottage cheese (sometimes I’ll also pack a bit of cinnamon to give it some pizzazz),
  • Snacks: cheese slices, apples, unsalted nuts, rice crackers and humus, turkey bites, carrot sticks,
  • Meals: Buddha or glory bowls, sushi, chili, salads, etc.

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11 Little-Known Facts about Rosie & the Riveters

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11 Little-Known Facts about Rosie & the Riveters

I've spent A LOT of time with these Riveters. I know ALL of their secrets. 

Remember when you were 12 and you had all the time in the world to hang out with your friends? You sat in parks, you walked to the store for slurpees and then you just "hung out" doing nothing til 10 and went home?

Good times.

As an adult, friendships happen over coffee, lunch or dinners (or in my case, playdates)

When you're in a band, you spent a LOT of time hanging out. Waiting for soundcheck; waiting to board a plane; sitting in a van for 10 hours - it's a lot like being 12.

Here's a few juicy secrets few people know about us:

1.     Who sings alto? All of us. Each of us tries our hand at different parts in different songs.

2.     We dance 4kms (in heels) every night. The gals allowed me to wear my fitbit one night so I could count our steps.

3.     Collectively we are the proud recipients of 3 degrees and a goat milking trophy. (Alexis & Allyson have the degrees)

4.     Allyson is afraid of snakes. Alexis is afraid of heights. Farideh is afraid of nothing.

5.     Farideh’s burps are so loud, they will blow your hair back.

6.     Alexis likes to read allowed random signs she sees while touring.

7.     Collectively we have 34 years of performance experience and 10 albums.

8.     We are all first borns in our families.

9.     Allyson’s grandmother was a “Riveter” in Shellbrook, SK, during war-time.

10.  In 2016 Rosie & the Riveters traveled on over 85 flights.

11.  We’ve micro-financed women's projects around the world. Currently we’ve invested over $5000 in over 126 projects.

 

xoxo
Farideh

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Free Parenting Tips

We've been bringing Farideh's daughter on the road with us for over a year and a half already and it's hard to believe so much time has gone by! In honour of Mother's Day, here are some of the best/most hilarious parenting tips we've picked up from Farideh along the way: 

o   bibs are totally overrated

o   coffee-filters make really bad snack bowls

o   pink and red do match but clothing is always optional

o   a squidgee pack of baby food adds a nice splash of colour to any outfit

o   we all love Peppa Pig

o   noisy toys somehow “lose their batteries” after about an 30 min

o   nap time can happen anywhere/anytime

o   play time means work out time for the aunties

o   anything is a game, including picking up raisins from the floor

o   anything can be a telephone and you'd better answer when that banana phone is ringing for you

o   so. much. snot.

o   when airport security asks if you're family, just say yes

o   the only thing that stinks more than “next day donair” in a car is baby puke

o   you can absolutely wash your clothes and a carseat in a gas station bathroom

o   most food will be covered in baby spit and sticky hands, germs are good for you

o   any time is a good time for a story

o   always make time for play

 

Allyson xoxo

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3 GOLDEN RULES TO EATING HEALTHY ON THE ROAD  

When I decided to make music my full-time gig, I quickly realized that “The Touring 20” is a thing. Unlike “The Freshman 15”, it isn’t as easy to work off. So, I decided to take action.  

Before I leave for tour, I do two things: 

1) I prepare two extra portions of a yummy meal that travels well, such as Buddha or glory bowls. I really appreciate these super tasty home-made treats loaded with fresh veggies – they are a lean source of energy that get me through the first days of tour. Once I’ve eaten them, I use the containers to store left-overs from lunch or supper (usually restaurant food portions are big enough for two meals!). They are also useful to pack up some snacks that a venue may have provided in our greenroom.  

2) I will also make extra portions of food I can store in the freezer so I have something homemade and healthy when I get home from tour. I’m usually pretty exhausted when I get home and, instead of ordering take out, I just pull out a container of soup, chili or chicken dinner!   

While on tour, I abide by these 3 golden rules:  

  • NEVER eat fast food. Opt for a grocery store instead (it’s fast too!)  

  • Eat as many veggies as possible (they aren’t always easy to come by on the road) 

  • Try to eat in a restaurant only once a day 

  • If I am not traveling by plane, I bring a small cooler equipped with healthy food for the road and ice packs to keep it chilled. I keep it full of fresh veggies, hard boiled eggs, fruit, cottage cheese, salads, or anything that make great breakfast and/or lunch items and help reduce the number of times I eat in a restaurant.  

Last fall, I added a fourth golden rule:  

  • No alcohol! Yes, I recently gave up alcohol… and I don’t miss it at all!  

 

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Guest Blogger: Novelist, Alice Kuipers

We’d like you to meet Alice Kuipers! She is a best-selling author based in Saskatoon and has recently released a new novel called Me (and) Me. Check out the trailer: 

We’re so inspired by her work and are thrilled to have her as a guest blogger!

As women in the music industry, it sometimes feels like we need to decide between pursuing our careers VS raising a family. Thankfully, Farideh, our fellow Riveter, has shown us that both are possible. We're curious about your story: did you ever feel like you had to choose between pursuing your career as a writer and raising a family? How did you navigate that decision (if at all)? 

Farideh is a great inspiration—I read her newsletter to give me ideas to help me cope with all the juggling that having a family and a career requires. I have four children and they are all under the age of eight. It’s bonkers at my house. But, years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I spoke to the novelist Lisa Moore about how to manage writing novels and being a mother. She told that to keep writing while my children were young, I needed to take it seriously and not try to do it all—she said she needed three hours a day with fixed childcare to keep her writing life going. Basically, I followed her advice, although now we have four children, we have more than three hours a day of childcare. For me, it was the notion of taking my writing seriously that stuck—seriously enough that I knew I needed to keep making time for it.

My children are my top priority. But if I don’t spend any time writing, I turn into a far grumpier and more unpleasant parent. I don’t know why that is, but knowing this about myself helps me balance my work needs and my family needs.

What are your tricks, tips and routines that help you balance your creative practice with family life? 

When I’m not working, at the back of my mind, I try to have the next scene playing. So, if I’m changing a diaper or playing with the kids or making supper, there’s a tiny part of my brain that has an image of a scene in it. When I sit down to work, I know what I’m going to write next. I also have a lot of lists—a weekly to-do list, a monthly one, a daily one. I’m pretty easy going on the day-to-day list. I understand I have to be flexible with four kids. But I’m quite good at getting everything done by giving myself a whole week to do it. Although I don’t have a full work week—until my children are older, I only have childcare on Mondays-Thursdays.

One piece of advice I followed was to set up an automatic email responder for Fridays-Sundays. People seem to need replies to emails more quickly than I can handle. The responder says: I’m not at my desk until Monday. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. It gives me a little breathing room when I’m with my children.

Another tip? I regularly give myself thirty minutes to recharge. Sometimes I just can’t do it all. Sometimes I need to not be working or with my darling-yet-exhausting kids. Sometimes I need to read a book or walk the dog or exercise. This has been something I’ve had to learn more this year. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a bit older or if it’s because I was just working too hard, but my body is making me take a bit more time to chill.

And finally, I try not to give myself a hard time. I don’t get it right all the time. But I try not to be eaten up by mommy guilt when I drop the ball. I try my best—I think most of us parents do.

Lark is the lead character of your latest novel Me (and) Me. We noticed she is the sixth of young girls/teenagers around which the plots of your novels are built: from Callie (The Death of Us), to Amy (40 Things I Wanted to Tell You) to Sophie (The Worst Thing She Ever Did) and finally to Claire and Elizabeth (Life on the Refrigerator Door). What draws you to making teenage/young girls your central characters? What goes into building their personalities, inventing their backstories and what informs their strength? 

Characters appear in my head needing my attention. It’s a weird thing. Often, I have a storyline playing around in my mind—so in Life on the Refrigerator Door, I was thinking about writing a story in notes for a long time. Then Claire’s voice spoke in my head and everything came together. I began the first draft. Right now. I have an idea that dances in my head for a new book and I know what I want the book to be about. Recently, a girl’s voice has started up and I hear the words: “My name’s Poppy. Not my choice. Obviously.”

The ideas for Me (and) Me started a long time ago—nearly twenty years ago. But the character I tried to write that book about was too much like me. The book didn’t work. Then Lark came into my head and she was writing a song and I knew she was the right person for this story. I use a character interview to start to get to know my characters (the interview I use is here on my website—for any of you who are writers, I have tons of other writing workshops on the site, and a free course for anyone who signs up to my newsletter).

After I’ve interviewed my character, I have to do research—with Lark I spoke to singer-songwriters, read books about songwriting, listened to bands, watched bands live and on YouTube, read memoirs of songwriters. That’s how I ended up signing up to Farideh’s newsletter—when I was reading about you all! I also did a lot of research into Parkour. Which was a lot of fun.

I’m drawn to teen characters because I think that age in life is when we make the choices that turn us into the adults we’re going to become—those years are so crucial and so interesting and so hard to live through. I’m not sure why all my main characters are girls. I suspect it’s because I’m always writing for my fourteen-year-old self—the confused teenager that I was, the one who loved to read. My love of reading has fueled all of my writing—when I write a book, I’m the first reader of it and that’s a thrill.

We've often been told to write about what we know - this informs our songwriting process. We love how you reference local restaurants in Saskatoon, prairie scenery and landmarks (like Pike Lake) in your novel Me (and) Me. How much local inspiration do you draw upon when writing? Is this important to you? In contrast, are there elements in your writing that are inspired by your hometown in London, England? 

The last two books I’ve published are set in Edenville, which I base heavily on Saskatoon. Our beautiful river seems to make it into all my writing at the moment. My second novel was set in London, and my first was set on a fridge door. In my head, Life on the Refrigerator Door was set in London, but the fridge could be anywhere. When that book came out, I had a long talk with local author David Carpenter about how I didn’t use setting and how important it was to his writing—he was very interested and interesting about how to write strong settings.

I think that the magic realism in the last two books needed to be rooted in setting to give them that realistic feeling—so I took Dave Carpenter’s thoughts to heart. I wanted to set the book somewhere vivid and real to me--I reference D’Lish all the time in this book because I wrote a lot of the book sitting there, drinking coffee. I did mean to change the name of the café in a final draft, but I never did and I like that the café where I spend so much time now exists in the heads of readers who have never visited Saskatoon.

Thanks so much for these great questions! And for hosting me on my blog tour—I really appreciate it. I’m a big fan and so it’s a real honour.

Alice is on a Blog Tour! Catch her other guest blog posts here:

April 10: Girl Plus Book - http://girlplusbook.com
April 11: CanLit for Little Canadians - https://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogspot.ca/
April 12: Library of Pacific Tranquility - http://pacifictranquility.wordpress.com/
April 13: A Cupcake and a Latte - http://acupcakeandalatte.com/
April 14: Stuck in YA Books - http://lovesbooksreview.blogspot.com/
April 17: Jaime D's World - http://www.jaimedsworld.tumblr.com/
April 19: Our Collective Muse - http://www.ourcollectivemuse.com/
April 20: Book Store Finds - https://www.instagram.com/bookstorefinds/
April 21: Mostly YA Lit - https://www.mostlyyalit.com/
April 25: Rosie & the Riveters - http://www.rosieandtheriveters.com/blog/
April 28: BookCatPin - http://bookcatpin.blogspot.ca/

To learn more about Alice, you can follow her everywhere online:

Alice on Twitter

Alice on Facebook

Alice on Instagram

Alice on Tumblr

Alice on Pinterest

Free Online Writing Course

ORDER HER NEW BOOK NOW:

Chapters Indigo | Amazon | McNally Robinson

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True Love

Starting next month, we're jumping 2 feet in and pursuing our musical dreams full time - 100% commitment to our band and no other major projects. Basically, the 3 of us are getting married.

I heard a quote once that went something like, "If you really want to get to know someone, see how they handle a slow internet connection." SO TRUE. I'd also like to add, "If you really want to get to know someone, see how they handle airport security at 5am with a screaming baby after sleeping in a sketchy Air BnB in 40 degree NYC heat with no air conditioning." In case you're wondering, Farideh handled it very, very well. 

Luckily, we've been through that and more and we still want to be in this band together. We’ve been there for each other through early/late flights, 9 hour car rides, NYC traffic, suspicious looking cot beds in one star hotels, and somehow we’ve all survived and still want to do this together. Farideh and Alexis have seen me (and taken care of me) when I had bronchitis, laryngitis, and a bad sinus infection all at the same time and it was really gross. If all that isn't true love then I don't know what is. 

Allyson xoxo

 

 

 

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TOP 5 FAVOURITE SNACK FOODS ON THE ROAD

Write here...

I’ve tried hummus, veggies, fruit, turkey bites, sea snacks and beef jerky. While they are all tasty snacks, they didn’t make the cut to be on my top-5 list. When I’m hungry between meals, I opt for one of the following high-protein options:

1) Unsalted nuts: I usually make my own mix of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans from the bulk bins at home.

2) Qi’a superfood snack bars: I’ve been on the lookout for tasty high-protein bars that aren’t too sweet and these ones are the bomb (and every flavor is delicious too!).

3) Cheese slices

4) Hard-boiled egg

5) Canned tuna (Peanut satay is my favorite)

 

Happy trails!

Biz, 

Alexis xox

 

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Life as a Trio + NEW Music Video

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Life as a Trio + NEW Music Video

Rosie & the Riveters became a trio on January 1st, 2017 when our beautiful Riveter Melissa decided to step down as a Riveter in order to step up to her new paths and passions. 

When Melissa first mentioned she wanted to pursue her love for her community, farm and the environment we were very happy for her and we wondered what was the next best step for Rosie & the Riveters. 

Should we get a new 4th member? Would the show be as strong? What would the harmonies sound like as a trio? These were all questions we discussed and were worried about.

In the end, we took a January tour to Alberta as a test. Could R&R be a trio? Could we create a show that was just as engaging, tight, entertaining and fun? Could the workload be split between 3 people instead of four?

Our first step was to hit the songs again and adjust our harmonies. Almost every song needed a slight adjustment, either someone needed to take a new harmony or sometimes we all had to adjust slightly. In the practices, we discovered new blends and little tricks. We heard new things and had fun reimagining old repertoire.

Then, we took to the studio! The dance studio that is. Surrounded by mirrors we could see our dance routines and make the adjustments needed to balance out 3 people dancing instead of 4. We moved Alexis with the guitar to the middle for symmetry, we adjusted footwork so we were in sync and ultimately we were happy with the outcome.

Farideh found a tutu backstage in Fernie...then she found 2 more!

Farideh found a tutu backstage in Fernie...then she found 2 more!

For our 7 shows in Alberta and BC our goal was to see if: "we can do it". Can we give an incredible show and handle the workload?

The answer was a resounding YES! Many of the shows were sold out, the applause uproarious (if thats a word) and the workload manageable. We finally felt like we could commit.

SOLD OUT HAPPY CROWDS.

The day after we got home from tour , Matt Braden was kind enough to do a photoshoot and film us performing as a trio live. Here's what 100 hours of work looked like:

We're excited about the future of Rosie & the Riveters. This band has always been a side project for us, but now we feel that we can take it full-time. We've joined forces with the Feldman Agency (the largest booking agency in Canada), we're songwriting for our next record and we're ready to take us where ever Rosie is meant to go.

Thanks for being a part of our journey.

xoxox

Farideh

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4 Female Musicians You Must Listen To!

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4 Female Musicians You Must Listen To!

I don’t normally make new year’s resolutions…I suspect it’s because the fall is my time of renewal (must be all those years of school!).  Yet, a few days ago, I had a look at my new collection of vinyl and digital download purchases and realized that all the music I bought in 2017 is made by women… looks like I made a new year’s resolution after all!

This inspired me to make a more conscious effort to discover music made by women for the rest of the year – there is SO much great stuff out there! I’d like to share my top 4 discoveries so far.

Please note, this is music you listen to while doing nothing else …except maybe nurse a cup of tea. Get yourself some good-quality headphones, a quiet space and let yourself be taken away in song:

AURORA

AURORA

AURORA: I don’t normally listen to pop music laced with synthesized sounds, but this woman blew me away. Her voice and poetry are soft and visceral all at the same time. Her sense of melody is catchy, yet unpredictable. There is an innocence in her approach, yet so much depth. Her arrangements are so very well thought out – lots of sounds to listen for, surprises lurking in the layers, moving uses of dynamics, and some dance-like-nobody’s-watching beats.    

The Staves

The Staves

The Staves: I heard them for the first time last summer while we were gigging at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. These ladies have a soft and delicate approach to 3-part harmonies. They make it look and sound easy, yet their arrangements are layered and are surely the result of intricately honed vocal explorations. It’s breathtaking stuff.

Aoife O'Donovan

Aoife O'Donovan

Aoife O’Donovan: She’s been one of my favorite female voices of folk for a while. Her first album is so good, I’ve been listening to it regularly since its release in 2013…so much so, I didn’t even realize she released a second one last year (I seems that I’ve been living under a rock for most of 2016!).  Her new opus is a stunning collection of songs that feature her feather-soft voice and down-to-earth poetry that makes me want to fall in love and take a road trip. Her arrangements demonstrate a more ballsy approach to the genre with the use of atypical meters and spacy arrangements– certainly experimental in the folk world (and otherwise). I dig it.

Kaia Kater

Kaia Kater

Kaia Kater: banjo woman extraordinaire, Kaia’s voice, musicianship and songwriting breathe so much authenticity, I felt like I was being ushered into her kitchen, getting to know her over a cup of coffee while listening to her record. This is her first album (I think) and it won a Canadian Folk Music award in the Pushing Boundaries category. She’s also been nominated for an International Folk Music Award. Keep an ear out for Kaia – I expect you’ll be hearing a lot about her this year. 

Happy listening! 

biz, 

 

Alexis xox 

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