David Vaughn Merlin
11th Annual New Age Album Winner
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Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: New Age
Categories Entered: New Age Album
Work Submitted: The Healing Journey
Artists Featured: David Vaughn Merlin and Ashley Baldwin
Who are your influences? On this record, My father, Mihaly Virizlay, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, Enya, Lorena McKinnet, Mozart, Steven Halpern, Bernard Herrmann, Anton Rubenstein, Jules Massenet.
Describe your nominated work. The Healing Journey is a soundtrack for the senses and spirit. Cinematic and relaxing, filmscore-esque, with world textures and ambient electronics. New Age with an infusion of classical instrumentation. Great for relaxation. Cello, violin, bamboo flute, koto, acoustic guitar, piano and lush synthesizers meet ocean waves. Two songs feature vocals by Ashley Baldwin. A trip to peaceful places and exotic lands inspired by personal growth and transition.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Infrared Airsynth played with my hands above it. Mixed in custom mp3s from the record on a scratch turntable. Used recordings from the US Fish and Wildlife service. Real ocean recordings and animals. Customized EMU systems PK-6 and a KORG Oasys.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? Everything went pretty much as planned. Amazingly.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? Worked retail jobs at the mall to make extra money. We should recoup in a few months from CD sales and live shows.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? I’ve always wanted to submit something to the IMAs. I had heard about the marketing opportunities that result from the IMAs as well as hearing about the great reputation the contest has.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Happiness is success. We have that now. We will work hard to maintain it. Making music and being able to truly share it is wonderful.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? Tell everyone who will listen! Use the honors to help with bookings, press, and marketing. It will give a sense of validation when dealing with various people and situations.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? We have a broad audience from teenagers to adults and families as well as massage and bodywork professionals. We saw the result of our unique show when we played at a local Westfield mall in Sherman Oaks, California. They really appreciated the way we presented our songs. Using airsynths, turntables and voice along with the other instruments. Our fans are the best!
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Not on tour yet… but WE WILL let you know.
Who are your musical heroes & influences? Mihaly Virizlay, Danny Elfman, Beethoven, Mozart, anyone that chose to go for their dream, Journey, Boston, Nick Rhodes, Killers, Lady Gaga, REO Speedwagon, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Foreigner, The Beatles, Jules Massenet, Yo Yo Ma, Bernard Herrmann, Fred Steiner, Anton Rubenstein to name a few. I have personally read about the lives of many of these incredible musicians and it is not only their talent that is heroic but the various stories of their individual lives and creative ethics. Musicians are as varied as the stars in the night sky.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? “Faithfully,” “Juke Box Hero,” “More Than a Feeling,” “Crazy,” “Come Together,” “Melody In F,” “Ordinary World,” “Personal Jesus,” “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? I listen to everything, I also hope that people are as open and non judgmental as we are in respect to giving all types of music a chance.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? YouTube, iTunes, radio, TV, word of mouth (people, tell anyone who will listen about ANY music you like), facebook, we may stream when browsing or working but then, YES, WE BUY.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? They won’t. Making music professionally is a job. If you do your job well you should be paid. Like any other job. I do believe that people should be able to browse and decide on their tastes, but then if they find themselves listening to an artist repeatedly, that means the artist (and everyone involved in making that recording) did their job or you wouldn’t be listening to it over again. At that point you should buy something from that artist to pay it forward. Do unto others, it’s simple. There are many business models evolving around streaming, touring, advertising, internet royalties, the performing rights organizations are on top of it (thank you BMI). But all these new revenue paths still should augment doing the right thing and instilling an ethic in people to truly value the music as well as the good feeling they get when they enjoy it. There always exists a “bar” of professional achievement, and hard work is a huge part of that. Don’t confuse this with personal taste. People have the right to like whatever art speaks to them. There is music enough for everyone. I hope the best for our economy and people in all walks of life and jobs. I hope we all can make more money and have a better life. It really starts with wanting that for others. Less greed and more giving comes back around a thousand fold. We have created the system of “money” as a part of that circle of enrichment, “Money” is there to represent hard work and a way to qualify and reward your neighbor for his good deeds. The more you give the more you get.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? How hard it is. The better you do your job, the easier it should look.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? Hope not, an album is a story. Not all singles come from great albums. But all great albums have great songs. Let the business model decide what gets paid for, but the option should always remain.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…a constantly evolving place where musicians, fans and business swirl into commerce. It’s a wonderful “eye of the hurricane” kind of place. The music industry creates that calm center where someone can enjoy music, yet it is always only a small distance away from utter chaos.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? Healing Journey remixes. A new Pop Rock record.
Where fans can find you and your music: