I just had the three most magical, and challenging days here in beautiful Scotland. I should always start to expect the unexpected, because I could never have guessed how this was going to go. I had in my mind, that we were going to film an epic music video…. And I think we did thanks to Ringtail Films… But the experience was so much more!
I landed in Glasgow and went to stay with family, which was awesome. Then on day two, we started filming early in the morning. We started at some famous forest areas (some of which were used in Outlander- I know some of you on social media have asked if it was from Highlander- did you mean Outlander?) and walked down to a waterfall right down in a deep crevice between some rocks called The Devil’s Pulpit. It was amazing to hear how my violin sounded down there on a large speaker! I had planned to host a Facebook Live session down there, but alas, terrible reception! I can see why it’s called the Devil’s Pulpit- you feel like you’re right down underneath the earth in a hidden place…. Hopefully we shone some musical light down there!
In Skye, I wanted to stay right out near the farms, however… we had trouble getting there! Google maps had trouble identifying the location and right out there, the reception was terrible, and…. There were no streetlights out there and it was quite dark by the time we arrived! Anyway, we found each other and all was well. The things you don’t expect! Well, at least, the things I didn’t expect. Once daylight arrived it was just breathtaking. It could have been a scene from 100 years ago. The rolling hills with the small houses and the farms, with very majestic and magnificent coastline everywhere, were just so dreamy! Check it out this picture of one of the very cute little houses and the scenery! Bonus- a double rainbow! It had been a LONG time since I saw a full rainbow let alone a full or double rainbow. It was very pretty, very mystical.
The little white houses with the grey slate roofs were just so cute and the local farmers provided a lot of the local restaurants with fresh bread and dairy, and the landscape like a scene from an old film.
My favorite location was definitely The Fairy Glen (this is a shot from the drone! Ringtail Films totally rocked it!)
Locals tell me that the Fairy Glen was simply the result of what they call a land slip, but that there is some legend floating around that it is home to fairies and magical happenings! It was a awe inspiring location and we found it just fascinating, and beautiful to film. I would have enjoyed being on top of the peaks much more if it hadn’t been so darn cold and windy though! There was the challenge: staying warm on top of very high peaks in the very cold wind. But we did it, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
The single Unvanquished will be out October 8th, and the video clip will follow soon after.
Traveling for concerts? As a musician that has traveled around the globe in over thirty different cities worldwide, I am very familiar with the thrills of international travel and performance, but also the trials you can go through, and I want to share some of my tips that have helped me have more of the thrills and less of the trials!
Different cities/countries, different vibes:
First of all, firstly, whether it’s another city in your home country or a totally different country and culture altogether, I really noticed that people reacted differently to my show in every city, and I don’t mean just different crowds. For example, some audiences felt comfortable jumping on stage with me and were very loud and appreciative! Some audiences had certain protocols imposed on them and were only allowed to clap. The attitudes in different countries will vary, so check it out in advance! Here’s a great article on different customs which shares a few different guides you could get to find out more about your particular destination(s) – https://www.tripsavvy.com/culture-customs-guides-for-foreign-countries-33904
Be prepared for different challenges with sound check:
Look into any special voltage adapters or power outlet adapters that your gear might need
If you’re flying, it might be cheaper to have some of your items provided when you get there- pack only the essentials! Remember it’s not just the flight, it’s getting around once you arrive as well.
Sleep in different time zones:
At first, I found this difficult. I would often fly into a city in a different time zone the day of a show, so I really had to make sure that I had either rested up in advance, or that I could rest on arrival. If my flight takes place during the night time hours of my arrival destination I will try to sleep, and on arrival, my doctor told me to get as much sun as possible! Sunlight apparently helps your body re-calibrate and realize it’s daytime and help your body clock adjust. Also, I take something like Valerian or Melatonin when it is the night time to tell my body it’s time to rest. Some exercise in the sunlight helps even more!
Different personalities and working with others
When traveling with other musicians – remember you’re a team. So try to be flexible and when things don’t go to plan try to have patience and don’t get upset. Sometimes it’s inevitable that not everything will go to plan. Be open to whatever might happen, and stick together! Remember that people get irritable when they are tired or stressed so try to have compassion for those around you!
Don’t leave things behind!
Write a pack list- not just for when you’re getting ready to leave, but when you’re packing up in each hotel room that you stay in! I used to leave things behind all the time, but taking the time to check your list and make sure you repacked it all, is a great way to keep track of items you may have forgotten, under a bed, or in a cupboard. I once left a gown in a hotel room wardrobe! So easy to do when you’re going from city to city!
Take care of yourself!
Keep in mind that you’re there to do a job, it’s not a holiday. You need to make sure that you take care of yourself and remember to pack whatever vitamins and other items you use at home, and make sure that you take the time to take care of yourself while travelling. There’s nothing worse than getting sick halfway through a bunch of dates. Speaking of health, get travel insurance! No one ever thinks anything will happen while traveling, no one believes they’ll get sick, injured, or robbed, but it does happen. Better to be prepared!
A different language?
I like to try to say a few phrases to my audience in their own language. Even if it’s just “Hi, my name is….. and I’m going to play (insert song or piece) for you” or “hey good evening!” Or whatever it is you would usually say. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way as well.
Plan Your stage outfits in advance
Figure out what you’re going to wear at each concert in advance. There might not always be time to go shopping when you get there. Also, making sure that your clothes don’t need a lot of attention (don’t pack silk! It always crushes easily) can save you time, effort and money.
Pack clothing for days off!
If you’re going to have some days off, make sure you bring things appropriate for the location you will be, like a swimsuit or hiking clothes or whatever it is that you might want to do on that day off. Nothing more annoying that having a day off at a beautiful beach location and having to spend some of it off getting items you need…
Stay well on your flight
I always take probiotics before, during and after a flight. It’s so easy to catch something through the circulated air conditioning! Also, drink a lot (of water not alcohol) and wear compression tights. Compression tights can leave you feeling more rested. I’ve been doing it since my 20s… think about it. Nurses and people in professions where they stand a lot wear them all the time. Flights cause even more stress to your circulation, so why not- take care of yourself! You don’t have to be old to wear them! Here’s a great article on why it helps: https://www.travelchannel.com/roam-blog/news-deals/why-you-should-wear-compression-socks-when-you-fly
Taking your instrument on board
If you’re a singer, don’t worry about this one! If not… read on: Check the Baggage Policies of Your Airline and find out their attitude towards instruments so you know what’s up before you get to the airport. If you have more than one airline on the travel route, check them all. Even if they’re connecting flights sometimes they can cause some grief and ask you to check your instrument half way even if the first airline has agreed. Here’s a cool site that shows you airlines’ policies on instruments- https://www.fim-musicians.org/airlines-list
Some more tips:
- Too many details to remember? Put Your Room Number & Hotel Address in Your Phone
- Don’t use free public wifi, especially if you’re doing online banking or anything else you would hope is secure! Because, simply, it’s NOT secure.
- Let your Bank and Credit Card Company know of Your Travel Plans- it helps make sure your cards are always available to you while travelling and saves some headaches.
- First aid- I always take tylenol, benedryl, lozenges, anti nausea and medication for stomach upsets especially if I’m travelling like India or anywhere you shouldn’t drink the water… and I also always take bandages/bandaids and antiseptic cream with me.
- Make sure your passport and license are current! Sometimes passports expire before we realize, so look into it before you leave, or even better, make sure you renew yours well before it expires so you’re always ready for travel.
- Take photocopies of all your important documents so you have the details if the originals get lost, and always share these with someone else, even if you’re travelling with a large group. I always send my itinerary and important document copies to family before I leave so they know where I’ll be.
OK guys so I hope this helps! If I had know this when I started traveling for concerts it totally would have helped me out!
Have any questions? Feel free to email me!
Last night, I performed at the top of the Banff Gondola, and wow, was it an amazing experience! I arrived for a special event, and wow was the ride up the mountain beautiful and a little scary at the same time! I have to admit, my violin didn’t love the air pressure up there, but it was a super fun show, my violin held out and it was a great experience all around… Check it out! In summer or winter, it’s a pretty spectacular highlight of the mountains here in Alberta Canada.
Don’t forget your jacket even if it’s not quite winter, it’s colder up the top than I expected! If you saw my instagram stories, you would have seen my ride up the gondola- are you on Instagram?