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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  • Three years into writing hundreds of poems and songs for other people, and asking for nothing in return, I’ve decided to ask for something back. I’m at a financial crossroads in my personal life. If I’m going to keep making music, it has to start bringing in income. I hate this, but it’s just true. I’m not going to ask anyone to buy any of my music; but if you would stream my songs on Spotify (even if you just have them playing on repeat when you aren’t in the room), I’ll earn some money. Enough to help my next big musical project and keep my dream alive—my dream of writing for other people. People like all of you. I promise to be eternally grateful, but I also promise this: If you send me a message and tell me you’ve been streaming my songs—and you tell me who you’ve shared them with and how (reblog, Facebook, etc.)—I promise to write something for you. Tell me a story from your life, tell me about yourself, and I will burn a small sliver of my heart as fuel to create for you. I promise. I’m asking you fans out there to be my musical champions, but I don’t expect you to do it for nothing. Thanks for considering. I look forward to your messages coming in. Much, much love. — Kavalier Calm, The People’s Bard

    (Source: crowdsourceinspiration, via crowdsourceinspiration)

    I was told to be brave enough to ask for help from my fans, so here goes: please stream this EP “For Ellise” on Spotify, and please share it with your friends. I earn pennies per stream, and it helps keep my project—of writing for you all—afloat. After you/they listen, message me your/their thoughts, and in return I’ll write something just for you. The feedback will help me write the next one. Fair trade? Thanks, lovelies. I’m eternally grateful for your support. Oh, and you can download this EP for free here.

    (Source: crowdsourceinspiration, via crowdsourceinspiration)

    Kyle asked if I’d write a song for his SO, Kelsey, as a gift for her 21st birthday. He said Kelsey is fascinated by the Once-ler from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, so I imagined she was a part of that world for this tune. Happy Birthday, Kelsey! Download for free here, friends: Kelsey, Queen of Koo by Kavalier Calm. Much love. — Kavalier Calm

    What I’ve learned about eating disorders and how to provide support

    Earlier this year I submitted a song I wrote to the mods of EDrecoveryprobs, an awesome blog that provides a community of support for people struggling with eating disorders. One of the moderators, Selena, told me they could not share my song because it was full of triggers and helped propagate dangerous ideals. A debate ensued because I am passionate about my work. I didn’t care if they shared my song, but I wanted to understand how I was contributing to the problem—especially when many people with EDs had told me they appreciated the song. What ideals had I promoted in a song that essentially said fuck ideals? What triggers were in the lyrics? What would it mean to write trigger-free lyrics? Is that even an attainable goal given the myriad of triggers that exist? I asked Selena to educate me, so I could write a new, more sensitive song. If I’m not learning about the world while I’m growing musically, then what’s really the point to my project? I think she thought I was kidding at first, but I was persistent, and it paid off. I recently met Selena at a diner, and over coffee she told me some of her story and how diet culture weighs on her and many others. Here were some key takeaways for me:

    1. We should not discuss food and our bodies in terms of right and wrong. The way morality is tied to the physical act of eating in our culture doesn’t help anybody and serves as a trigger for many.
    2. Steer the conversation and thoughts away from the problem. When I say (or sing) to a girl, “I think you look great whatever you weigh”, I’m keeping the focus on her weight. Dwelling on the problem in this way—even with positive words—will not help most people with an ED. It’d be more helpful to change the subject by pointing out her beautiful smile or the way she makes me laugh.
    3. Silence is an answer. Selena told me her boyfriend has slowly learned that when she says something negative about herself, he doesn’t have to say the opposite—to argue with her about it. Again, that just keeps the focus on the problem. Fellow significant others, we don’t need to “fix” everything. We can just listen.

    Though I understand the benefit of silence, I am a musician, so Selena and I dreamed up a safe way to write about this topic. Because writing about abstractions like diet culture and triggers would make for vague lyrics, I asked Selena to tell me what having an ED is like for her. She said, “It’s like having a drill sergeant in my head.” She said the voice is always there, but triggers make it louder. Someone will say a food is “bad” or point out a change in her weight, and the voice will start talking. Over time, she has realized the drill sergeant is just a bully in disguise, pretending it wants to shape her in healthy ways while it really just brings her down. She told me she doubts the voice will ever die, so all she can do is fight back with a voice of her own—a voice of positive thinking, backed by a community of supporters. I can imagine many people can relate to having this drill sergeant in their head, so this metaphor is the backbone of my song for her. I did my best to write lyrics without triggering language, and I even avoided pronouns to make it relevant for all genders. Thank you for being patient and kind with me, Selena. I’ll be a good steward of what you’ve taught me. And to everyone fighting their own drill sergeant out there, tell it Kavalier wants it to shut up. Stream the song/download it for free here. Much, much love. — Kavalier Calm

         Drill Sergeant

    The voice in my head is a drill sergeant
    working to make a better me.
    But lately I’m starting to think…

    I’ll be in a shop with my mom,
    and she’ll say, “Oh, look at those treats.
    "I’d really like to have one,
    but it’d be bad for me to eat.”
    A small phrase is all it takes
    for the drill sergeant to wake
    and start asking me,
    "Are you going to break?"
    the voice is just a bully.

    Someone will say to me, “You look great
    since you lost a pound or two,”
    and this back-handed compliment
    gives the drill sergeant fuel:
    "Remember when you were heavy?
    Oh, I remember when!”
    And suddenly I believe
    I’m headed right there again.
    But lately I’m starting to think
    the voice is just a bully…
    …in disguise:
    The voice is just a bully in disguise;
    it don’t really care
    whether I live or die.

    How can I quiet this voice in my mind? This voice of shame?
    Maybe I should try beating it at its very own game.
    I’ll be louder than the drill sergeant with a voice of my own.
    I’ll yell: “I’m strong! I’m brave! Now, leave me alone!”
    There’s a bright side, a place to be, and I will not be kept out
    by words of hate and fear and doubt.

    The voice in my head is a drill sergeant,
    and I can’t control it.
    But I can fight back,
    and I will.

    Louis asked me to write a song about an average Joe-type who fights for justice and falls for a woman he didn’t expect. So I created a small-time vigilante named Justice, who meets a cat burglar, Kat, who steals to help support orphans in her care. As an idealist, like Justice, I know the seeds of love are first planted by meeting someone with a good heart and wisdom. I’m thinking this might be the first song of many about these characters and their adventures and budding romance. If any visual artists would like to partner with me to bring these two to life, just let me know. To read the lyrics, click “Read More” below. To download for free, click here. Enjoy, fellow crime-fighters and justice-seekers. — Kavalier Calm

    Read More

    My EP For Ellise and my singles The Way You Weigh On My Heart and A Shot and a Beer are available for streaming or downloading (at prices set by the online stores, not me) at:

    You can also just search my name “Kavalier Calm” on those sites to find my music. If there’s a song you want that you can’t find in any of these places, just email me at crowdsourceinspiration@gmail.com, and I’ll send the .mp3 to you. Thanks for listening. — KC

    Dearest friends, please use Spotify to stream these love songs I wrote. Listen when you’re happy, when you’re falling asleep, and when you’re lonely. I dreamed of you and Ellise listening as I wrote them, and I like when my dreams comes true. Much love. — KC

    (Source: crowdsourceinspiration, via crowdsourceinspiration)

    Lessons Learned from Night 1 of Busking

    I did some street performing for the first time in a long time tonight. Following the CI model, I was there to write songs for people. I wasn’t just an act you walked by; I was one you interacted with. It went pretty well considering the weather wasn’t the best. Here are some lessons learned:

    1. Don’t expect people to read the sign that says, “Tell me your name, and I’ll write a song for you!” People are shy and self-conscious. Ask them outright. And don’t say, “Can I sing a song to you?” Say, “Can I write a song for you?”
    2. And when you ask, don’t take no for an answer. Just start singing a song about them: what they’re wearing, what they’re carrying in their hands, who they’re with. This sucks them into what you’re doing.
    3. Go after couples. People on dates are looking for spontaneity. Further, guys want to look fun and generous, so they tip well. Also, it’s easy to get the names of two people and sing a silly love song.
    4. So many people are listening to headphones or talking on the phone. These people are a lost cause. Get over it.
    5. Shorten your sign’s language. Maybe try just “#KavalierCalm” next time. Also, bring less stuff. There’s value in being mobile. So you can find a busier street corner if necessary. Or escape the rain (like tonight!).
    6. Be brash and brave. Loud and proud. Demand to be noticed.

    Until next time! — Kavalier

    The blogger over at madameofthecats told me she’s spent her life asking why?, but lately she’s been wondering why not? and living more carefree. I think this attitude will help her fall in love. Why? Well, why not? As soon as I can afford a MIDI, I’m going to add piano solos between verses, then I’ll put it up for free download. Much love. — Kavalier

         Why Not?

    I’ve lived a curious life.
    Always asking the question why.
    But lately, my favorite inquiry
    is why not?
    Why not you? Why not me?
    Why, oh why, can’t this be?
    I know we ain’t a perfect match,
    but who is?
    Let’s shrug off our doubt,
    and jump right in!

    Don’t say it will not work.
    I’ve read your list of concerns.
    And there ain’t one that’ll keep me from
    why not?

    Life is too short
    to always need a reason for,
    and our hearts’ whims want to win,
    so why not?

         Cry, Baby, Cry

    I won’t pretend to know how it feels.
    But, darlin’, I swear I’ve been hurt, too.
    If life’s got you down,
    then there’s only one thing left to do.

    Cry, baby, cry, baby, cry.
    Let it all out and let me in.
    And I will soak up your tears.

    Bottle it up if you wish,
    but don’t act surprised when you explode.
    You think it’s a sign of weakness,
    but only the brave lighten their load.

    Just let them fall, let your tears fall.

    Free downloads (just enter $0 as the price)

    (Source: crowdsourceinspiration, via crowdsourceinspiration)

    I earned reddit gold for a song I wrote, and it got me thinking about the responsibility that those with wealth (in every sense) have to those who are poor. Free downloads of this song are here.

         Those With Gold

    The divine don’t have enough time
    to shine on everyone.
    The gods of luck shine on some
    and hope they pay it forward.

    If you’re on top,
    you’re standing on the shoulders of those below,
    and they need an angel among the living
    to give them hope.

    Those with gold owe the cold
    a place to find warmth.

    Beauty, skill, fame, fortune,
    right place, right time.
    Don’t kid the cosmos or yourself:
    "This was meant to be mine."

    I just wrote a song using Neil Gaiman’s “Dark Sonnet” for the lyrics. Put on your headphones, hit play, close your eyes. Free downloads here. — Kavalier

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