Kavalier Calm's Crowdsource Inspiration

Hi. I'm Kavalier Calm. I write songs and poems inspired by the people I meet on the internet. Ask, and I’ll write something for you. Really.
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  • You told me drawing faces
    requires “smashing” people together:
    James Dean’s nose,
    Elvis’s chin,
    a stranger’s eyes.
    When we invent people,
    we are really just piecing them together
    from scraps of people we already know.

    Your idea made my songs about lost loves
    sound different.
    I listened to them all again
    and realized my heart
    was smashing people together
    with every song it wrote.
    Listen to them together,
    and you’ll hear an album about a girl
    who doesn’t exist,
    an album about a girl
    I’m trying to invent.

    —    "Smashing" by Kavalier Calm, for for-the-rest

    On warm summer nights,
    when you fell asleep naked,
    I would draw you
    with charcoal pencils
    on a cheap sketch pad.
    I didn’t know how to draw,
    but it felt necessary,
    it felt like I had to capture you.

    Now you’re gone,
    and I look at those sketches
    to remember that need,
    that feeling of having
    something worth saving,
    forever.

    (Source: crowdsourceinspiration)

    For a short while I was with this beautiful girl, and on nights we were together I would climb out of bed after she fell asleep so I could draw her. I had to draw her. Something about her made me find paper and pencil and sketch for hours. I didn’t even know how to draw, but I had to try. I spent so many nights in this way that over time I actually became capable of capturing her sleeping form. Because of this, she was my greatest muse. She was not just the focus of my art; she was what motivated me to become an artist, to learn how to create.

    ctchrysler:

    I’m getting quite a few encouraging messages in my askbox and I just want to use this post to say thanks to all of you for the words.  I managed to complete the drawing!

    It’s a black and white portrait of Michiko Toyoda, drawn in response to a song that was written for her by Kavalier Calm.  The song is called Teacher and it is so well written for Michiko that I was inspired to draw this portrait.  Listen to the song here.  KC is an amazing song writer and ya’ll ought to follow him!

    The inspiration for tonight’s song is my friend CT's character Michiko—a philosophy teacher with a wonderful heart. When I saw his drawings of her and the bio he wrote up, it felt like she deserved a song from the perspective of a grateful student. CT said if he could bring one of his characters to life, he’d choose Michiko because she has it in her to make the world a better place for at least one person. Well, hopefully my song brings her to life for anyone listening. Much love. — KC

         Teacher

    Her teachers were pain and mistake,
    and she taught me just one thing:
    Make the world a better place
    for at least one.
    Do not follow the ideas of others,
    but learn of all things.
    How the heart beats and why the heart beats
    are not the same.

    When she looked at me through those pink frames,
    I know I saw a raging flame
    of love for all things human.

    She always acted on raw emotion,
    which she later would regret,
    but it’s better to drown in a sea of passion
    than never get wet.
    She gave and she gave so much of herself
    because she knew life’s plot:
    In a world full of monsters
    giving’s the only weapon we got.
    CHORUS

    This weekend I’m going to start recording my next album Teen Lust, named after my planned title track. I will release it digitally for free when I’m done, like I do with all of my work. My vision of the album art is a girl dancing very wild and carelessly, like the lyrics in my song. Maybe the best angle shows her profile, but her face is obscured by her bouncing hair? Any visual artists out there want to sketch/photograph/design the album art?

    On warm summer nights,
    when you fell asleep naked,
    I would draw you
    with charcoal pencils
    on a cheap sketch pad.
    I didn’t know how to draw,
    but it felt necessary,
    it felt like I had to capture you.

    Now you’re gone,
    and I look at those sketches
    to remember that need,
    that feeling of having
    something worth saving,
    forever.

    Visual artists, please respond to this post with a link to an original drawing or painting or a photograph you took. I’m going to stare at the submissions and hmm and ahh until a song plops out of my head. I’ll give a shout out to any artist who inspires me, okay?

    Tonight’s tune is for Paige (Zamii) and her wonderful art, which you can find on her blog: zamii070. I was inspired to write this piece when I saw her amazing “A Drawing About Being Too Lazy To Draw”. A lot of times I am too lazy to overcome my writer’s block, too. But thankfully, wonderful artists or beautiful girls (by the way, Paige is both) inspire me to get back at it. Thank you dearly for being my muse, Paige. Free downloads of this song are here (just enter $0 as the price). Much love. — Kavalier Calm

         Chop My Writer’s Block

    Paige, I’d like to take a page out of your book,
    and Paige, I’d like to learn how you chop wood.
    I’ve got a bad case of writer’s block,
    and I’m gonna use you to chop, chop, chop.
    The way you draw has opened up a new world for me;
    your lines whisper in a language I want to speak.
    My brain’s been holed up in a room of gray,
    and your art begs it to come outside and play.

    You are attacking the walls of my Castle Lazy
    with the trebuchet of your beauty.
    If I want a muse to put rhythm in my heart,
    I’ll stare at your photo ‘til the beat starts.

    Oh, vixen, I can build you an oven for pizza pies.
    We’ll fuel it with the wood from the walls on my mind.
    Now, darlin’, I swear I’m not asking for much.
    I just want you to chop, chop, chop.

    Submit a song request!

    Any visual artists want to make some album art?

    You know those sailboats in bottles? And how it seems impossible? I need someone to make visual art of a heart in a bottle. It can be a shopped photograph or a drawing or in a medium I cannot even imagine. In my head it is a life-like heart rather than a cartoon-ish heart like this <3…but I am flexible. The image will be the art for a single I plan to release; the restrictions on the album art on Bandcamp are 350 x 350 pixels. I’ll give you credit in the release and write a song specifically for you about anything you’d like. Send me an Ask or email (crowdsourceinspiration@gmail.com) if interested. It’ll be fun! — Kavalier Calm

    This is a concept drawing for album art. I’ve decided to release a digital album of some of the love songs I’ve written for CI entitled, simply, #love. Now you can see why I make music instead of draw. It makes sense for a compilation of these blog-inspired tracks to play off the pound symbol, the tag symbol, and a phone offers an existing # symbol to center the album art around. I actually imagine the phone (which could be a sketch OR a photograph) on a small table. Perhaps a dead rose or an ashtray with old or still burning cigarettes sits next to the phone? The cord will be visibly disconnected. The # and the word love will stand out somehow (different color?), and my name and the project’s name needs to be present, as well (though I don’t care where). The other caveat is bandcamp requires album art images to be exactly 350 x 350 pixels, so it needs to be designed as a square at that size.

    Any artists want to give it a shot? This is just a fun opportunity to collaborate. I’ll credit you extensively and write a song just for you—about anything you want. And, if for some reason this project ever made a penny (ha!), I’d be sure to give you a fraction of said penny. Thanks in advance for considering. Just answer here or message me. — Kavalier Calm

    Here’s song #2 in response to the requests I received last week in this post. It’s a song about going back to a high school reunion and trying to reconnect with an old flame. Reunions sound dreadful to me, but it made a good song topic. I stretched to fit in these disparate requests, but lyrical stretching in some ways makes for more believable stories. Real life is odd, after all. I devote this song to these bloggers for their great requests (which I likely answered in an unexpected way): im-a-real-hipster answered: “Write about graduating from middle school or high school, and how you’ll keep those people in your heart, but you know you have to move on”; listen91 answered: “A Green Hotel Room” (which made me think of Loudon Wainwright III’s Motel Blues); purplebloodedmajesty answered: “ MOTHMAN”; and smashbrotherhood answered: “Pirates and Lasers”. Some listeners have requested that I put up more videos of my playing, so if you want, you can watch me perform this song on YouTube here. Thanks for listening, friends, and please keep putting in requests. — Kavalier Calm

         Green Hotel Room

    When the invitation came I cringed,
    but I sent the RSVP “Yes”
    in hopes that I’d see you again.
    When they sat us down by last name,
    I knew you’d be right beside me,
    as you’d been from kindergarten to 12th grade.
    You said, “How’ve you been?”
    And I held back a grin;
    I was glad to have you in my sights again.
    We ignored the Class President’s speech,
    held our hands over our mouths
    to hide the laughing. And I knew I’d confess:
    I never fell out of love with you.

    Our old classmates addressed us as a pair;
    they remembered those cartoons we drew
    about The Mothman and Pirates and Lasers.
    They remembered we were class clowns,
    but they didn’t know that
    we got around when no one was looking.
    They didn’t know
    that my favorite thing to draw
    was you without your clothes on.
    You weren’t Best Smile, and I wasn’t Best Eyes;
    you weren’t Most Likely To Succeed,
    and neither was I. But I confess:
    I never fell out of love with you.

    "So listen
    I’ve got this green hotel room,
    and I’d like to remember you.
    Yeah, wait ‘til you see this place.
    I know you’ll think it’s funny.
    The green wall paper is right out of the 70s.
    Oh, you have a date.
    I thought you came alone.
    Oh, you have a husband, and you have two kids.
    Well, I was just kidding.
    Tricked you again just like old times.
    Yeah, the wall paper in my hotel room ain’t even green.”
    And I confess to nothing.

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