"Getting It Off The Ground" - Never A Waste (Official Update #1)

Saturday night. I’ve just spent the day with my mom, which was so needed. We got Korean food and went to the mall and got sunglasses. Family time well spent.

I would like to be diligent in processing this next record more in writing. I have found that these little process entries are fascinating to read back later. You realize how much you learned along the way and exactly how much I don’t know in this very moment. The emotions, head space, and thoughts I have right now, though they feel like 100% reality, may be completely different in just a short amount of time. Writing helps to freeze these things in place and allows them to live on. And it helps me remember more about this awesome process. I’ve been disciplining myself to keep a journal and to give myself a daily outlet to the things I’m wrestling with deep inside. I’ve found that something mysterious is released when I do that. It really does help. It gives me a voice, even if it’s to no one. Weirdly, I feel heard. I can’t believe I haven’t always done this.

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This is the first place you’ll hear. I’m officially going to call the album “Never A Waste.” I decided to abandon my attempt at completing “From My Window To Yours” as a two part project and allow Pt. 1 to live on solo. I thought that the second set of songs would come along congruently with Pt. 1, but it just wasn’t the case. Too much has happened in unexpected ways since April of last year, and can I say that I’m surprised? Life has so many twists and turns. How can we possibly know what is to come?

A song came through to me last week that I think pushed this entire project into motion. Never A Waste. What an idea… that no matter what we go through, the risk, the vulnerability, the chances we take, the failures we find ourselves in… none of if, if you want to believe it, is ever a waste. All that we have left is a choice to believe. I was writing a description of this album, just trying to get a grasp on what I wanted it to be, and I wrote,

“I sing about my faith, my longing, my confusions, my confessions, my failure, broken relationships, and the loss of beloved peoples and times - and hope to be able to tie all of these loose ends up in a loose bow, even if for a moment.”

I kind of liked that - tying loose ends into a bow. I don’t know how to do it any other way other than this. By even starting this album, I’m trusting a promise that all of this happening in my life is for a reason - that no piece of furniture will be left out of the frame in the end. Even the weird ugly paintings that you got at goodwill for no good reason. Even those. Or should I say, especially those. They complete the picture.

In this stage, I’m scheduling my recording days and release times. I am aiming for my birthday March 25 of 2019, because hey why not. I am really hoping to press this album to vinyl, finally, something I’ve always wanted to do. I think this one is going to make it to the wax.

As always, thank you for reading my words. I am terrified and ready to make another record.

"Humility" - Writing and Making Of...

It has been an incredible release week… It has been so cool to hear some feedback from some of you about what this song has meant and how it is speaking into your life. This is my dream come true to know that a little thing I tried to make might have an impact in a few lives around me. Thank you for allowing me the privilege.

For those interested in going one level deeper, I thought I might share the process behind writing and producing this track. If you have been to any of the shows this tour, you may have heard some of this thought process, but for any who have not been able to make a show or hear the song live, I thought I’d give a little insight here! First half is for all the listeners. Second half for those who want to know even more about the production itself.

THE Writing of Humility.

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Sometimes you labor over a song for years, and sometimes the song writes itself. Humility was started and finished over the course of a few hours. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I, needing to process and take inventory of my own worries and doubts, went to a local chapel at our Wesley foundation to play the piano. This place, over the years, has been one of the most important places for me to meet with God. I have changed so much over my last 6 years in Athens, yet I still feel the same special way every time I am in there. I have had so many meaningful moments on that piano bench.

“Humility,” in essence is a song with two cries. Trust and repentance. During the time I wrote it, I was battling the loss of many anchors in my life. Quitting jobs, losing close friends, embarking on a brand new tour… It felt like someone took a puzzle and threw all the pieces up in the air. And I, trying frantically to piece it back together, began to worry about my future. I wondered if I would be provided for. I questioned God’s hand on my life. I was so afraid. These doubts spun in my mind and soul, throwing me off balance and causing me to distrust God and myself. But I began to think that day, about humans and about nature… I thought about how capable humans were - able to create cities, make art, design technology, build civilizations and cultures. I thought about how man ruled the Earth, how we were able to understand and conquer our planet, creating amazing things from it. And then, I thought of nature and how nature trumps mankind in this one thing - its ability to be. No tree has ever doubted its purpose, and no river has ever doubted its path, and no mountain has ever complained of its geography. We, as humans, are so powerful… we are masters of our land, architects and pioneers of the unknown… but one thing we have yet to conquer is the ability to live without striving. This comparison was such a massive revelation for me personally that the words just flowed onto the page. It was a prayer that I needed for myself.

I say that this song is a cry for both trust and repentance. For me, it was coming back to God with the realization that I, too, am a part of a grand design. That, just like the trees and the oceans, rivers and mountains, I am in the right place at the right time. It was me saying to the Lord, “If you take care of all this beauty around me, you will surely take care of me. I have no need to worry.” When things get difficult in my life I like to stray. The natural reaction of my spirit when I get disappointed is to find the next best thing. When God doesn’t feel real, I run to substitutes. The writing of this song was my admittance of my wandering and doubt, and a prayer for God to teach me the simple trust that all of nature seems to embody. God, let me grow in my trust for you.

Here are the lyrics to the song if you would like. Next… the nerdy stuff.

THE MAKING of Humility.

This is the part where we get to nerd out about how the song was made. And I would like to share, for any who are interested, my technical and philosophical process behind the production.

I have the privilege of being a able to work at a studio in Athens that houses thousands of dollars worth of pro audio equipment. Often times, you can get lost in the choices. Which pre amp? Which mic? Which compressor? We have mics that are worth thousands of dollars each. I’ve done sessions where we’ve had complicated mic setups and an insane amount of channels recording. Part of me though, as a producer, has wondered sometimes what can be done with what I have at home. Will anyone really notice? What can I make with the setup I already have? There’s a trap for the creatives that causes us to think that the thing stopping creativity is the lack of better equipment… When creativity, in its definition, is doing something with what you have.

 Culprit 1 - MOOG SUBPHATTY

Culprit 1 - MOOG SUBPHATTY

I recorded the piano through the computer and the vocal while playing the MIDI keyboard. The song was actually originally just going to be piano and voice. But behold, as one my favorite bands Dawes would call it, the tone-quest began. The only digitally native sound is the piano. The rest are analog signals! The bass and the droning heart-pump notes are created by the amazing MOOG SubPhatty. The pads and swirling noises are experiments in the JUNO-106. I LOVE synthesizers. The guitar tracks are two separate takes of a Jazzmaster panned left and right through some pedals straight into the computer! No amp or amp models were used on those. My friend Shelby Frank, was over with some friends one evening after I tracked the main parts of the song, and we ended up spontaneously tracking her beautiful BGV part on the verses and choruses. In the last chorus, there is a octave pitched lead vocal, and a bunch of Shelby’s that have been doubled, duplicated, spread and reverbed out. That’s what that little army of cherubs is.

 Culprit 2 - Jazzmaster

Culprit 2 - Jazzmaster

The production happened quickly. The energy of the song seemed to form itself. What I had to keep myself from doing was overthinking and overproducing the song. I have a tendency to jam 100 sounds into something to try to make it more complex, when sometimes a simple sound will do! I gave myself a deadline to send to mastering and stuck to it. I think there were only three mix edits for this song. I just wanted to let go of it and let it be. In producing world, I’m figuring out that the feeling is often far more important than all the technical perfects, and sometimes the spontaneous, less thought-out parts of the recording process make something special. I am so happy about how Humility came out and it has been such an exciting and encouraging release. Thank you all for reading and listening, I hope something was beneficial for you!

Special thanks to Shelby Frank for singing on the track and Joel Haedstat for mastering my song. Yall did an incredible job!

Until next time everyone!

Update - On Living

Hey guys, thought I'd drop some words down here on the blog to keep everyone in the loop on what has been going on and what's on the horizon. I'm currently waiting for my laundry to finish drying at my friend's house. 

What a few weeks it has been. I moved into a new house, built the studio, led worship in Knoxville with some of my heroes,  and performed and produced a worship album in the new space just last night. It has been go, go go and gift, gift, gift. After a quick rest this afternoon, I am going to begin setting my sights on the upcoming tour, where I will be traveling around the southeast, performing songs from the Andrew Blooms catalog with some of my really good friends. Honestly, it has been such a long time coming that it doesn't even feel like it's about to happen... if that makes sense. The amount of time and effort that has gone into these endeavors always surprise me, because from the outside it is difficult to see. 

On Living - There is something I wrote on a friend of mine's blog the other day and it really stuck with me. Nathan said, "Being alive is worth everything." This idea has echoed deep inside me and has begun to shape so much of how I make decisions and what I value. What I have realized is that it is easy to become dormant in certain areas of our lives - to let our guards down, to compromise, to grow tired, to grow lazy. And while we are technically breathing and walking and living our day to day lives, some part of our hearts - or much of it- falls asleep. But... the process to becoming alive is simple, yet not easy. Just like life itself. To find life require death. It requires the dying off of old ways, old thinking patterns, old routines. It requires a commitment to adventure, exploration, shaking up the satus quo and most importantly... risk.

Someone told it to me this way: Imagine you were thrown naked out into the wilderness to survive. You would be alert. You would be ready to hunt. You'd be listening for streams. You would be paying attention. You would be curious. You would be afraid. And life would be your ultimate goal in everything you did. 

I am in a process in my own life where I am at a crossroads between the easy life paved before me, or the unpaved road that will require risk, courage and a lot of the unknown. We know this as the road less traveled. I am currently figuring out a way to live my life where I am unapologetically committed to truly living. Not just breathing, not just working, not just walking around... But relishing each moment. I feel like it sounds cheesy... but I really do think about it. What is living really like? What is a full life? Is there a depth in our every day that makes each moment magnificent. Am I just not looking for it? Am I took afraid to look for it? 

Our we committed enough to living what we openly invite the death of what isn't to be? Patterns, thoughts, knee jerk reactions, judgments, astronomical expectations of life and others. Might these be the things that must die to make way in the soil? Wouldn't it be worth it to be fully alert and fully alive? To be uncomfortable, to be awkward, to be unconventional, to let go of things that are dead anyway?

I don't know. Perhaps I am rambling. But I have noticed in myself recently: The more that I have been willing to let go, the more alive I have felt. I have felt more space for God to move, I have felt more openness to the spontaneous and unpredictable. I have felt more curious. I have felt more passionate. All through a mindset that is crying out, "whatever needs to die to make work for life... let it be so, and may I release it with humility." It is painful. It is scary. It's not safe. But aren't all these things worth it in exchange for feeling your own heart beat?

"Miles" Live released Today!

Super excited about this new vid! We got together last Friday and arranged a couple videos of some of the songs off the album. I love the people that were involved in making this video, and we had a blast doing it, White Tiget BBQ Lunch and coffee and all. I love the feels that we found when trying to "acousti-fy" the tunes and rearrange them for a more stripped down band. This was recorded live at Studio 1093 in Athens, GA. Hope you enjoy!

Video Produced by Evan Reece 
Engineered by Jeffrey Vernon & Mark Plemmons
Performed by: Bobby Forrester (Acoustic and Vocals), Shelby Lynn Frank(Vocals), Kamron Munch (Bass), and Joseph Park (Drums).

The Next Adventure

It is a happy Friday. I am taking this slow afternoon to sip on some espresso and revisit the blog. I have been pretty silent on here for the last few months. I think the process that I have been in has either had me too busy to write on this platform, or in some ways, too afraid. Either way, much of the deep work that was being done inside me was best kept offline. But, as as I face an exciting new chapter in life, I would really like to begin using the blog as an adventure log of sorts, as the future is as uncertain as ever. For the first time in my life, in this way, I am jumping into an unknown adventure I feel like the Lord has called me to. 

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As some of you may have seen, I am officially stepping down from my position as a worship director at Classic City Church and am transitioning into full time music. I will be pursuing my artistry as Andrew Blooms, as well as a career as a music producer that integrates faith, family and discipleship into my approach to creating records. As I reflect on this change, I realize that this is my dream come true. I remember laying on my bedroom floor at sixteen, wishing and hoping that one day I could write songs and be a musicians - and here I am, nine years later, taking a plunge into that vision. There are a few factors at play that made it the perfect time to do this, and because I believe in the power of vulnerability and truth, I wanted to share a little more in depth about some of the dynamics at play in hopes that it could help all of us process together situations that you might be trying to navigate in your own life. I am going to share my thoughts about the true purpose of the church, church leadership, how money should never be a reason to do or not do anything, and the revelation of family, community and worship and how these things relate to making music. This avenue is serving as my way of thinking out loud, and who knows how much of it is spot it. Take what you will!

I have been the worship director at Classic City Church for the last three years. This job has taught me more about myself and God than any other job I've had. I learned how to dig in, I learned to fight, I learned to show up when I wasn't feeling it, and I learned how to trust God. I learned how to lead a team and I felt like it was such a special opportunity to create a culture amongst a team of worshippers. It became a team of humble worshippers with no superstars and no divas. It was truly a team effort each and every Sunday. I was literally blown away over the years at the quality of people that came to use their gifts on the team. But over the years, as I led one or two services each week, I began to grow tired. My worship became so tied with work that it became difficult to receive during times of corporate worship. Responsibilities and checklists were always in the back of my mind, as it was my job to create the worship environment. Put simply, I missed being a part of the church. I had a moment sometime in March where I realized I had led worship on a weekly capacity for nearly 10 years, with no breaks. And after a while it becomes your identity and all you feel like you can bring to a community. Part of the reason I chose to step down was I felt like some of my spiritual life was suffering and being sacrificed for the sake of preserving an identity as the worship leader or musician. So, as I began to consider my position on the stage, I began to perceive that a "reset" was to take place - to deconstruct how I was approaching church and faith and strip my walk with Jesus back down to its core. After all, worship is simply an expression of a personal love for God. So, I am excited to come under my church, to be a volunteer, to pray for people, to sing with the congregation and to arrive at church at a Godly hour. 

As each year passes, money gains more power. Its voice gets louder. Some friends are making a bunch, others not... but it feels like the world relentlessly imposes its expectations on life, even if un-welcomed. The pressure grows with each year. But, I want my life to be an adventure. I want my life to be marked by trust, fearlessness, and faithfulness to the things of God. And with quitting a job came the obvious question of "how will you live?" But as I have wrestled through this fear I continue to come back to this one saying I am choosing to live by now: "Money should never be why I choose to do or not do something." This is a truly radical thought. I paused after typing that and rested my finger on the backspace button because I had to make sure I believed it. But, I am exploring this philosophy. Maybe it works all backwards. What if, if you pursued what you truly were passionate about, money would follow? What if, by being obedient to the God dream deep inside, it would create a space, through faith, where God would provide everything I need? These are questions I am asking myself! I have no answer! But beneath my worry about how I will make money, is a deep calling to "keep going. faithfully, keep digging, and I will provide all you need."

This next year is the year of putting all my cards on the table. I am interested in songwriting, a community of song-writers, house church, worship as a way of life, and truly living as Godly community with the people around me in Athens.  If you've made it this far, we're true internet friends. I'm currently in the process of pursuing a housing rental that would be a community space to put my studio and host gatherings for worship and songwriting to happen. I'm in the last stages of being approved to do this... It's a much much longer story than I'd like to put here... but I really believe this is God's leadership in my life for this next year. I would like to share more, but a few things need to fall into place first. 

My next steps are my first tour, being announced next week. I can't wait to share this with you! Thanks for reading!

Back

Been quite some time since I've written. Sometimes I feel like I have really nothing today say, at least in the public sense. Things are changing in a big way in my life, the details are to be shared soon. But I feel like, in some sense, I'm on the cusp of something extremely important in my life... beginning the process of becoming everything I was created to be. It's going to take risk, sacrifice, and hard work... but these things are all worth it to discover the purpose of my life. I want to risk big for a dream that I believe in, and it feels like the older I get the harder it is to take risks. I am fighting a river of expectation, comparison and fear of the unknown. The world gets bigger and I get smaller. But again, I am going to share with you all more specifically what this all means to put it into context. But in the mean time, I got some film photos back from the lab from the recent months. Here are a few!

 Producing Zac's record. Summer 2018.

Producing Zac's record. Summer 2018.

 Typical. Making beats, spring 2018

Typical. Making beats, spring 2018

 Mixing "From My Window To Yours." Spring 2018

Mixing "From My Window To Yours." Spring 2018

 Catching storms on the marsh. Charleston, SC 2018

Catching storms on the marsh. Charleston, SC 2018

 Sunset in Panama City. Spring 2018

Sunset in Panama City. Spring 2018

 Joe with Joe. Greenville 2018.

Joe with Joe. Greenville 2018.

April 12 Update - The Deep Invitation of Loneliness

I am gearing up to release this music to you guys. I have been working so long on it it seems. Every day, trying to finish, trying to make it the best it can be. I have found myself quite stretched recently between many things, trying to do them all well. It is a daily battle to always return to the main heart of life, of my passions, and why I even exist. So often, I can get lost in the results of a venture - the outcomes of a cause - that I forget to be thankful for its simple existence and blessing in my life. I am returning to that this evening, and I should more. 

The album is finished, being mastered at the moment. The band is rehearsing for the show this upcoming Tuesday. I am so thankful for each of them, for stopping their lives to help me out. I feel truly cheered on and supported. I could not have a better band for this show. 

Something that one of my friends said to me yesterday at dinner was so beautiful. He was telling me about the depression he experienced after one of his dreams came true. He told me that he was learning that no dream could ever satisfy. No status, no arrival was ever going to fill his soul. It was so beautiful to me because I realize in those moments how true that statement really is. We spend all of our time, energy, and thoughts on achieving these trophies that turn to dust in our hands. I think this way about music all the time. I think this way about the golden idols we perceive as our futures and dreams. For me its playing cool shows, meeting successful people, getting more opportunities, having a platform. But... It all turns to dust just as quick as it was formed.

When we are confronted with this reality it leaves a hole in our lives that manifest as a heaviness, a purposelessness, and loneliness. But what is different about me now is that I am thankful for these experiences. Loneliness is not equivalent of a failed life or shortcoming socially. Loneliness is not that absence of purpose. Loneliness is an invitation. I was at a conference last month and the speaker said something along the lines of, "Loneliness is the time that God is inviting us into communion with Him that we misinterpret." Wow... how true. Instead of taking on shame for the emptiness we feel, we are to begin to interpret those moments as God pulling us in the whisper and to speak to us. Let the pain of the silence and the awkwardness of the quiet place propel you closer to the Lord, and not away. If it is true that we are never alone, then we can, in the quiet recesses of our souls, be satisfied. And that is amazing. Embrace the quiet.

Love Has Come - Live on Milledge Ave

Here it is guys! Please enjoy this live video of my new song, "Love Has Come." This video was recorded at the Classic City Ministry Center on Milledge Avenue in Athens, GA. Thank you to Gray Hauser for making this amazing video for me. 

Here are the lyrics:

I won't fear the night. I won't fear the cold. Cause I know you've gone before.

I see the birds and how you feed them all. But how you love me even more.

My Love Has Come

I will let things die, so you can make things grow. Let me trust you even more.

Through the seasons tides, and all this push and pull, let me trust you even more.

My Love Has Come

You can have my life, if I can have your heart. You've become my only one.

You've become my only one.