Elli Fordyce – Inspiration

by R27 CREATIVELAB on Wednesday, 27 May 2009

So you're faced with a blank sheet of paper and you need to create. We've all been there and we all have our ways of approaching a new project. Personally I move the paper out of the way and get into life. The blank sheet of paper isn't going to magically produce anything for you....

A quick note before we begin - you can hear samples of Elli's music at the end of the article and download desktop images.


How do you approach a new song?
Since I don't write music or lyrics, choosing any song to add to my repertoire is inspired by hearing it. If it really grabs me musically, lyrically or story-wise, or won't let go on some level, eventually I'll give it a shot to see if I can do justice to what I felt initially. Some songs have been so hard there were years of revisiting or even working on them before I was willing to perform or record them. On our new CD, "Songs Spun of Gold," are several which were only recently on the back burner but to perform them live, I still have to bring them to a higher level since there's no editing as in the studio. Even during a given performance, I'll choose the set list or improvise it on-the-spot, according to whether I can handle certain songs in the condition of my voice at at that moment or if I know the lyrics well enough to make it! There's a long list of tunes which haven't made it yet, but since I've begun performing much more again in the past month -- more than in 13 years -- I hope to creep up on more of those songs. On the plus side, several songs which seemed so challenging during recording now are more comfortable. Comfort level is usually about the vocal range since I can usually find a way to sing any song I truly love if I can reach the notes. Saying that, there are melodies that seem impossibly tough with which I'm still on-the-fence!

Where does the idea come from and what inspires you?
I do improv and interpret, which -- along with a great love for swing -- are my fortes. They're completely instinctive and emotional when I don't try too hard, stop thinking and get out of the way of the creative flow. Not always easy in a studio OR on a gig. I can't explain where the inspiration comes from in "human" terms other than it's from "the Universe" or my "Inner being" -- fill in your favorite way to phrase it -- everyone has experienced many "light-bulb" or "A-Ha!" moments. Some inspirations have a feeling of soaring, similar to what happens when you play a sport. My memories of roller skating repeatedly down a hill at 5 or shooting layups at 11 are examples). I've never jogged, but have heard of the "runners high," which is the same territory. Whatever gets endorphins going is similar. For me it's most often in mid-performance but the zone is nearly impossible to hit if I fuss over anything or go for perfection. A great conversation where a strong connection happens is one of my favorite "inspired" experiences and the reason I dislike and avoid "networking" in dark, noisy, crowded places, and crowds in general! One-on-one or -two or -three is ideal for making those connections, and is similar to falling in love with a song or connecting with an audience. Some creatives mention their "muse."

Is this inspiration exclusive to Music or do you see overlaps with other creative areas, i.e., art, animation, design...
My inspiration isn't exclusive to Music or other creative areas; in fact, it's not exclusive to ANYthing! It underlies and overlays every aspect of Life, sometimes during the most mundane moments when I'm really "present." I watch reruns of West Wing as consistently as possible. Everything about this series so inspires, informs, entertains, awes and amazes me and usually brings fits of hysterical laughter and weeping. West Wing represents the best possible use and execution of multiple art forms/media to tell stories, educate, amuse and practically anything which could be done using video. My most far-reaching creative purpose is using media to create worthwhile and profound connections and positive spiritual influence, and this show exemplifies that with its sometimes subtle, sometimes bold characterizations, acting, directing and -- especially -- the writing; all the skill sets used in filmmaking are on a sky-high plane most of the time and the show also thoroughly moves me. Another source of inspiration is awards ceremonies. Even if I don't know an artist or their work, the mere fact that they create using their art form and are receiving recognition touches me at my core. My first CD was unexpectedly nominated for a local award for best jazz-vocal recording and that announcement brought me to tears. Although I did not win, I attended my first Awards Ceremony after years of being a spectator.

You're a creative: How do you get over a creative block and what advice would you give other musicians/creatives in general?
A creative block is no more or less difficult to eliminate than any other stress or issue, though creatives are often very sensitive and may be more dramatic about their creative blocks than others about their issues. There is no one-size-fits-all for how to get over a creative block; it depends entirely on who you are, where you are, who influences you and what's going on in your life and creativity. There are a number of basics I'd discuss with you and recommendations I can make, once I know your situation. And there are so many resources online: life coaches, coaching groups, books and home-study courses. There's physical bodywork, nutritional support, trainings of all kinds, and many quick and effective techniques. One method I would particularly recommend for anyone with a creative block is Simpleology, the Simple Science of Getting What You Want, at Simpleology.com. It's free and without obligation, and I guarantee for anyone who truly gives it a shot, it can change your life. At least it did mine years ago, and the goals I set during that process are still unfolding. Mainly, don't give up, take YOUR next tiny baby step, find someone to ask whom you admire, get recommendations from friends who are successful with these kinds of things or from health food stores, yoga centers, etc. De-clutter your environment, life and mind as much as you can. (I've never quite finished before a new level of clutter managed to encroach, so this is ongoing for me at higher levels). If you have negative folks around you, eliminate or lessen the amount of time and activity you share as soon and as much as you can. Look at what draws you in and check out their introductory work. (I've hosted the NYLOAWork (New York [and beyond] Law of Attraction [and beyond] Work) Yahoo Group for years, on which are posted thousands of recommendations of many effective options.) Go with your gut! Don't let others decide for you -- you have your own motives, particularly when it comes to creativity. Realize that blocks and negativity are just a "story," remember the times when you felt great about yourself and what you created. Set up systems to recall those times more often to keep reminding yourself of your peak moments. We live in incredible times for these kinds of learning and opportunities. I'm sure you'll find your best next step and know you'll get to that pinpoint of light at the end of your own tunnel, and if you email ellifordyce@msn.com and I feel I can help, I'll share some of my favorite quick fixes.

You may also want to read the following articles covering Elli's life:

Elli Fordyce – Still very cool
Elli Fordyce – In the light she dances...
Elli Fordyce – What's your type?
Elli Fordyce – No More Blues

Free Wallpaper Images

On behalf of Elli - download your desktop wallpaper images by [clicking here]

Available in the following screen sizes 1280x960 | 1024x768 | 800x600

If there are any other sizes that would suit you more then leave a message and I'll arrange it for you...

Useful Links

Elli Fordyce's Website: www.ellifordyce.com
You can follow Elli on twitter @ElliFordyce
Management: Redwood Entertainment [see artists page]

CD and samples available from | iTunes | CD Baby | Amazon | Napster | AmieST |

Certain images are provided and owned by © 2009 Elli Fordyce |
Desktop images and text created by R27 | © 2009 R27 Creativelab

One comment

Beautiful image, thanks once more for the privilege or answering your great questions!


http://www.cdbaby.com/ellifordyce2 (for clips from Songs Spun of Gold, now available).

by elli fordyce on 28/05/2009, 02:46. #

Leave your comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Best Regards Rajesh