What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz…LA Composer/Performer?.. My Moonshot

A small autobiography beside the picture.

I visited a wonderful modern art museum that’s been around for a few years. I didn’t know about the museum until I went searching some place special to go for Mother’s Day.  Each piece of modern art was exciting to see and sometimes feel and even interact with as we moved on to the next and the next.  The nicest things about this  prize is that the artists are Los Angeles artists or have transported themselves here permanently from elsewhere and the art was created in the last 30 years. So the art is contemporary to my lifetime.  There is quality in the art displayed by the benefactors of this museum.  Plus, they take the huge initiative to share it with the  residents of Los Angeles who could appreciate it the most.  Admission is at no cost.  How often does that happen!

My life is not what I planned. How about a statement like that for realism.  I saw J. Lapine’s Falsettos and that was its story,  possibly true in varying degrees and with a multitude of scenarios for most of us.  I was listening to a favorite of mine, Rachel Maddow, do a complete historical background discussion for a political roadmap she was laying out.  JFK and his goal of walking a man on the moon was part of that discussion and how he motivated the people of the USA to understand why it was a good thing to do and accomplish Not Because It Is Easy But Because It Is HardHe was a flawed man but a motivator who inspired people to do big things to move the world ahead.  What would it be like if he or someone like him were around today? Just hearing that expose’ became the inspiration for a song I decided to write.  I put the lyrics down quickly, refined them, decided on how the music should sound, and recorded the whole song in my home studio before I had to settle into a less active mode after surgery and while healing my left hand. I am still in a healing state that is improving daily except that my fine motor movement is still uncomfortable especially when holding my violin and guitar.  I wrote the song Not Because It Is Easy But Because It Is Hard without a chorus that is usually standard, instead using an echo.  The verses use a repeated vocal line: Not Because It Is Easy But Because It Is Hard to focus on its importance and to reenforce the thought throughout..a motif that I have not ever used in any of the songs I have written so far.  For balance each verse uses a slightly different vocal music pattern with the piano repeating that vocal sound in the accompaniment and then the vocal line is sung a second time becoming an echo.   None of the verses sounds just like the other.  Point of fact, I have not written a song with six verses before either.   The ideas of the song on piano are not complex but effective. This song could be played along with a bass and drum combo playing on the back beat like a slow R&B gospel song. A feeling: When I stretch myself into something new, it is very stimulating. The words: Not Because It Is Easy But Because It Is Hard is a statement about much of what I do.  Those words echo throughout my life.  Also, James Lapine’s Falsettos message: My Life Is Not What I Planned is my second descriptor. The two form the launchpad for my moonshot.  I wrote Not Because It Is Easy But Because It Is Hard in the key of B flat, one of my favored keys because of my vocal range.  The raw emotion found in some of the lyrics and thus in some of the music walk through a borderline gospel door but do not use a fast upbeat feel like gospel sung in an African American church.  I focus the music and chords on the bass component of the sound. The message of this song could be owned by participants in The Special Olympics and The Invictus Games and easily could become the mantra for both of them.  The final thought: We need to be fierce with our talent and brave in spirit to push ahead to make a difference in our life and for others, too, to benefit and move forward.  So and indeed, kindness needs to be part of the equation.  The one thing I have learned as I age is that kindness is a rare gem to discover in others.

From Verse 4: Not because it is easy/But because it is hard/I will make a difference/For others like me…From Verse 5: I will show those/Who don’t believe/There is a way.. From Verse 6: It is my destiny/A frontier/I will crack..

Listen to the song included below.  Using earphones will give you the best audio.

To all mothers, already, including my own, new and becoming, who listen to my music and read my blog, I hope your Mother’s Day was a grand day. I  KNOW my mom enjoyed the day. To each of  you, a big thank you for finding time in your busy day to listen to my music.  There is a half birthday to celebrate today.  A day could not have been more beautiful than the one we are experiencing today!  Next time we meet my hands should be fine, busily working.

Sincerely.. I enjoy sharing my music with you! Bring someone with you while you are listening.

Joshua Eli

May 17, 2019

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz… LA Composer/Performer? A Language But Just For Us

There was a wind like I rarely experienced before, and the place was painted with color.  We drove through the wild flower area north of Los Angeles treated to an extraordinarily sight.  California poppies whose seeds were charged up by the winter rains put on a fantastic show.  There were yellow California gold field wildflowers and desert blue bell in wide patches as well.  While there it seemed like a place far away and so different than where we live.  It lifted us up like the feeling of being on vacation.  The entire experience left us satisfied as we ate an evening meal in a local cafe that we spotted while driving up to the area.  The flowers were a gift and the food served at the cafe seemed better than at home..altogether a very nice experience. So a small autobiography above the picture.

The word whisper suggests something emotionally touching and became the idea for my next song.  After finishing the song,  I saw that A Language That’s JUST FOR US could be used for a wedding march because the lyric ideas are suggestive of a lasting commitment.

The chorus:

Your whisper/A quiet thought/Only for me to hear/A delightful look/Only for us/To know its meaning/Gifts that speak of love/Heard and seen and felt/Just for us.  As I was writing these ideas flooded my thoughts: a private look, poetry, soft singing, a silent song, and a whole new languageSo walk with me in the key of B flat major and listen to a new song written for the baritone voice… a song sort of like Lionel Richie’s My Endless Love.. but my own.

I especially like the imagery I was able to write into the lyrics of the Bridge and Verse 3.

The Bridge: Softly sing in my ear/And let the music spin around/Inside my head/It’s intoxicating/I don’t want it to stop/But why would I want it to?/It is from you/For me/To smile and feel ecstatic/And beyond…

Verse 3: The spoken sound/Between us/Is music inside my ears/When the music pauses/And there is silence/A new song begins and intensifies/A silent song/That sings forever/JUST FOR US/And our love for each other.

Most of the Outro is sung only as a vocal to personalize it and not dilute the words. It ends with an emotional jazz riff then a piano/vocal walk off:

A whisper/A quiet thought/Then our eyes do the talking/And we don’t need to say much at all/This is a language/That’s JUST FOR US

My intention is to record this song as a duet.

Above is the song: A Language That’s JUST FOR US.  While listening read my thoughts about the music below and use earphones.  You will be able to hear everything better. In sum it is an intimate love poem communicated between 2 people using shared looks and whispers.. the subtle hints that only they can see and understand and hear.

The verses of the song use a simple B flat open chord that repeats itself then moves to Gmi7, Cmi7 and F major, all open chords, resolving back to a closed B flat chord.  The chording creates a tension in the first half of each verse that is lifted away in the second half using the same chord combination but with the chords more drawn out.  This chord pattern together with each verse’s lyrics creates a feeling of euphoria at the closing of each verse.

The chords of the chorus progress from E flat to F maj to B flat repeating twice then resolving to the progression E flat maj7, E flat mi7, D mi7, C mi7, back to B flat.  These chords ascending and descending have good passing tones and were chosen to create a feeling of romanticism. The chorus is mellow but lilting and uses legato phrasing giving a feeling of comfort and non-tension that the listener can easily accommodate to and even want to sing.  The chorus is SIMPLICITY  with a quiet sophistication that speaks to the heart of the song.

The bridge veers off from the chord progressions of the verses and chorus.  I  also add subtle rhythm to the bridge in the left hand and so it is a bit more driving in tempo.  I repeat D7, D/F#, Gmi7, back to D7 three times then take this route to resolve it: Cmi7, B flat/D, E flat maj7, Fmaj7, E flat maj7 back to B flat maj.  The D7, D/F#, Gmin7 chord progression is used to reveal the moving passion of the chorus’s lyrics.  They assist in embodying the wants and needs of the quiet passion between two people sung about in the lyrics. The music of the bridge builds and descends like a wave going in (It is from you.) and out from shore back to the open ocean (and beyond).  When arriving at the resolve for the bridge where you might think the music should come down.. instead I wanted the vocals to propel the bridge music into the third verse so tying them together… because there is still more to say and the lyric ideas of the bridge are definitely connected to those of the third verse.  Finally I get to the resolution of the song contained in the outro: a whisper…a language That’s Just For Us

The coming week is Passover and Easter.  I hope they are nice and meaningful and nostalgic holidays for those of you who celebrate them.  It is hard not to feel that summer is closing in since the weather is definitely heating up.  For me each season sprouts new feelings producing ideas that I can use to write music.  Thank you for using the search bar to come over to read my blog and listen to the music I write for it and beyond. Please spread information about my blog to your friends and family.  Next month I need to take care of a health concern and will be taking the month off from music writing and performing at the piano… unless I bounce back very fast.  My mind and ideas will not be in a state of arrest though.  I am always thinking about what to say with music.  So until the next time..

Music is my life’s asset,

Joshua Eli

April 14, 2019

Happy Birthday to my Grandma and Grandpa!!!  If alive, they would be 99 and 105.

 

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz.. L.A. Composer/ Performer? The Comedy Of Vanity… How Lucky Can I Be!

A small auto-biography near the picture:

Every song I write reflects on a moment or an experience felt, sometimes personal, sometimes indirectly felt or understood.  I can write in many styles about many subjects, but I really like writing comedy e.g. I Just Can’t and There Are Sounds All Around  and Because I Can and Stress Will Not Rule My Life  are some of my comedy songs you can find  posted in the entries of my blog and on my website. I can think of nothing more fun than going out in the evening to a comedy club to listen to clean comedy.   When I was performing away from home years ago I would ask my family to send me comedy CDs like that of Seinfeld and Mel Brooks. Listening to them helped me feel not so far away and to feel like at home.

My new comedy song How Lucky Can I Be! took more time than I thought it would take to write and more effort than I thought it would take to get it ready to sing.  It felt like a huge task while committing to it.  Comedy mostly being situational is found in words and timing and so requires making good word choices and properly placed pauses and speed plus not flinching from facts and real feelings. The moment when my work finally hit the fan, I knew I found the purpose I was looking for and art emerged.

Please listen with earphones.  You will catch all that is going on just better.

With How Lucky Can I Be! I have written what I consider a swing jazz “standard” that should be included in a Jazz Fake Book. The explanation is found in the chord chart.  The melody follows the vocalese of the singer. It definitely swings from the bridge on… like the 20′-40’s big band era. It is performed in just under 4 minutes.  More than 100 words are sung each minute of those 4 minutes. A good typist types about 80 words a minute so maybe you are beginning to see, as I saw when immersed in it, the challenge…speed, excellent diction/accuracy, acting the piece convincingly so that I was satisfied and those I work around felt the same, the instrumental jazz was good and the vocals were at point using the different tempos. It is a patter song.  How Lucky Can I Be! is about the topic: vanity.  Most modern day women display varying degrees of vanity.  So choosing the male gender instead that I could relate to and using comedy put up in NEON the statement: How we look is important. Women need to be appreciated for how they look and be noticed regarding appearance frequently. It seems to be the single most important contributor for self-esteem. Lots should contribute to self-esteem like intelligence, personal emotional and physical strength, individual talents like being a good cook or a good dancer, being a good listener or compassionate letter writer, being a loyalist, being an excellent conversationalist or excellent reader, etc. Instead, physical appearance is what most women feel defines their self-esteem.  If they feel it is lacking, all amounts of energy and time and money are spent to improve on it, and too, contributes to driving the economy.

A song about a man earlier in his life feeling inadequate in appearance is an instant elixir for listening. A once insecure now more secure person singing about what it is like to look amazing and seeing it everyday with his own eyes. He sings in the baritone/bass range never passing into tenor i.e. above a G above middle C saying through music choice his feelings are to be interpreted as now strong and self-assured! The song as it fell into place felt like a tongue twister sung while doing a marathon.  Music has been researched as stimulating brain development.  Coordinating everything: the music and pedaling played with imagination, all the words sung, the importance of it all coming out accurately understood, and acting out the rapid monologue persuasively and effectively seems to validate that research for me. My experience performing the song was an intense brain exercise re: composing the song  and then its performance.  The best I can compare the experience to is preparing for an Olympic gymnastics or ice skating routine that must be spot accurate plus beautiful to watch.  I don’t perform the same piece of music over and over for a year though as an Olympian would, just maybe 50-100 times until I feel satisfied and ready to record it.

My daily non-music related work allows me to have time to be imaginative and make decisions about what I  want to focus my music work on.  That is a definition for being rich.   I am rich because I have people with me and the freedom to make choices.

Our dog Adelaide is soon to be 16.  She is healthy and definitely opinionated and affectionate and has the cutest walk!  She is a pillar of our animal family.

My dad had a birthday, too, this month. It was time to get out the authentic Italian recipe for Tiramisu, his favorite, and indulge.  

Please enjoy my music in E flat posted above near the top of this blog.

The Outro:  So/I’m bold/A person to behold/Just stare at the perfection/Of my reflection.

 

It is nice to sense the spring weather emerging after the cold.  California’s orange poppies are decorating the hills and in our yard like an orange and green carpet.  It is amazing what the right amount of rain can create.  You enjoying my music is the definition of happiness as well as looking at what orange poppies can do to the California hills and desert. For those who listen to my music in Ireland or are Irish no matter where you live, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I always enjoy sharing my music and ideas with you, just like Fred Rogers would have said.  He does live close and inside me.

Until next time,

Joshua Eli

March 17, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz.. LA Composer/ Performer? A Beautiful Valentine: It’s Not Something We Get Over, But Something We Work Through

 

A face.  Its essence are its eyes, its nose and its mouth and ears.  With them my senses heighten pushing me to feel my creative edge.

The big news here is that the weather in Los Angeles this winter is pushing away the drought. Los Angeles is getting the rain totals it needs to keep fires and their destruction and what comes after at bay.  I am attaching to this small autobiography beside the picture the pleasurable sound of the rain falling just outside our home.  Also, while writing I spy the “nose of the Rose”: my dog Rose buried under her blanket with her nose and one eye showing basking in the warmth inside while the outside is being drenched with water from saturated clouds. This is happiness! February in Los Angeles is also a beautiful time outdoors with flowers poking out growing from bulbs wintering in the soil.  First there are tulips and soon after there are iris. Then spring begins to burst with California poppy and nasturtium and lilacs and holly hocks and violas and columbine and alyssum. How lucky we are to have each of them in our yard so we can watch the progression of spring unfold. Next the paperbark maple trees will leaf out spirited along by nature’s rain.

14 seconds of a rainy Valentine’s Day… February 14, 2019 and then a double rainbow

An idea: It’s not something we get over, but something we work through became the pivot point I built my next song around.  The idea led to something unexpected for me because without planning it became a sung Valentine card  to the beings we value and share our lives with.  I find this idea captivating: It is easy to love the parts of a being we agree with, but when we learn to embrace the parts we disagree with, that is when liking turns to loving. (Haemin Sunim, Zen Buddhist teacher).  So… with these thoughts  I began to write.

Use earphones for the best listening experience.

The opening verse: Working through what makes us sad, /Even mad, / Feeling like we’ve struggled /Needing to come out on the other end /Not spent, /That is character and love /And makes us strong/ And humble.  Then the chorus: It’s not something we get over, /But something we work through /It’s up to both of us, me and you, /To make our place /A safe one, /A personal spot to come to /And call it a home. The bridge: We fall/ We get up/ We fall again, / And then we get up/ Now sturdily standing/ Every time we fall/ Learning more/ How not to fall again. Next Verse 3: It’s change/ It’s progress/ It’s happiness/ It’s more peace/ Than we’ve known/ It’s us together, / A beautiful Valentine. Closing with: Joined to each other/ Through struggle/ And the truth, / You finding you/ And me being who I be/ Never far from you.  

Regarding the music, the song is in G major, a “G”entle key, and plays for 4 1/2 minutes, the right amount of time to sing its very real Valentine story. The tempo of the chorus is 4/4 with a slight drive beat.  The tempo of the verses is a looser 4/4.  This song has a pop feel similar to the music of the band Chicago of the late 80’s and early 90’s. The beat in the bridge drives more than that of the chorus, and I modify the song’s chord progression there giving the bridge’s beat and sound a soft rock feel like that of George Michael’s Never Going To Dance With You. If my song were played in the 80’s, it would be on a synthesizer or electric piano.  My style is to favor acoustic piano.  That is the instrument I compose on and play most of my music on although I also play some of my music on the acoustic guitar and violin with a jazz tinge.  I will perform on those instruments as well as on piano in Come To Baltimore, a show I have written focusing on my first album. The 80’s were pure passion and grit. Performers then put their whole being while onstage into expressing the strife they were feeling or the love they were feeling, singing or playing about it, even dressing the part and styling their hair to fit. That way of performing is not done today except in music videos.  However, I do feel it and keep it going my way.  The chord progressions for the verses and choruses of A Beautiful Valentine are: Gmaj, D/F#, G/E, G/D, Cmaj7, G/B, and Ami7.  I add at the end of the chorus the following: G/B, Cmaj7 and C/D for the resolve back to the verse.

I just barely came through in time to publish this blog with its song A Beautiful Valentine though I am not yet back where I’d like to be after a version of the flu. I hope you are staying healthy and keeping warm and will enjoy today’s holiday.  Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you ALWAYS sincerely to the many thousands of you who listen to and have expressed your appreciation for my music. That includes the esteemed John Bucchino who I had the opportunity to perform for.  His comments, ” Your lyrics are poetic.  Your music should be in film. Very well done”.  So while I continue to sculpt more songs, please listen to A Beautiful Valentine posted above near the middle of this blog.

Sincerely,

Joshua Eli

02.14.2019

 

Candlesticks from Poland where my grandma was born lit up with Reeses for Valentine’s Day.

…and tulips we brought inside to bring the beginning of spring in.

Thank you for visiting….  Until the next time.  je

 

 

 

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz.. LA Composer/Performer? A Fairer Tomorrow Down The Road

We saw Come From Away. It was a perfect gift for the New Year. Its story is about what happened to airplane passengers traveling to the US on September 11, 2001. 7000 passengers were diverted and temporarily stranded in Gander, Newfoundland for 5 days until the US airspace could open safely again.  I remember that time well.  It happened that it was a significant time for me.  Since that time I have travelled twice to Newfoundland and once on to Labrador.  While in the theatre just remembering the place and its people tuned up my ears and opened my heart once again.  The story told as an ensemble piece is often comedic just like many Newfoundlanders are and be.  Everyone worked his/her part perfectly and together. The time sitting watching the performance  flew.  Everyone included the passengers and airplane crew but mostly it was about the generosity and humanity of the people of Newfoundland that shined just as I remember. It was good to see and feel again, though it was staged, but deservedly the qualities of Newfoundlanders shone through.  When the passengers finally got to depart for home, they felt that “something’s missing.”  I could identify with that sentiment, too.  I loved the song Prayer (“where there is sadness only joy”) and another song Stop The World (“seize the moment”). Both songs had nice lyrics.  The quality of the music is similar to some that I write.  Maybe that is another reason I enjoyed the show start to finish so much because my musical tuner was tuned up to it.  The ride home by subway seemed good as well.  It was a memorable way to begin 2019.  I hope that this feeling continues and when 2020 arrives we can look back on a good year of change and opportunity and always good health and “where there is sadness only joy.”

If you listen with earphones, you will get the best sound.

It is raining today. I love it. It refreshes and inspires me. The outside smells so good.  I just finished writing Down The Road ( A Fairer Tomorrow) inspired by Beto O’Rourke. The last midterm election in the US uncovered some good people ripe to assume leadership positions.  The first verse starts with a direct quote from Beto with a metronome-like sound in the background. That sound is actually a bass pulse that uses the root note of the chords of the melody line calculated and played to resemble a metronome.  The pulse plays in the bass/left hand, intentionally chosen because of the symbolic liberal bent attached to the left. The remainder of the song demonstrates how Beto’s thoughts and words inspire and have inspired me.  There are persons like JFK and MLK and FDR who with their words inspired action.  Beto may be another.  Beto’s story and mission is at its heart a broad socio-political platform. After writing the song, I realized how personal the message is.  I started writing about change when I wrote I Broke Out And Broke Through and We Need To Live In The Arch Of A Rainbow and Life Is About What You Do With What Happens To You and later Waste No One’s Life Anymore.  Actually, a feeling for change and prizing the freedom that comes from it and a better understanding how that is accomplished runs through lots of my music as it runs through my mind and so my composing and lyric writing and performance work.

In this song I especially like the interaction of the chorus’s lyrics and the music I’ve attached to them.  The chorus has a basic rock pattern like you would use in a soft rock song with the chords accented. The chorus has a tempo drive forward not like a march but rather like the music ideas  of Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Miserables if you slowed them down and added a modern pop rock sound to them.  With those ideas you get the song I wrote written in C Major.  Below is one variation of the chorus.  You can listen to Down The Road  above, close to the middle of this blog.

We move.

We groove

To the beat 

Of many drums.

That is how the world 

Steps forward

(And makes greatness possible)

As we meet each other 

There Down The Road

And then statements in the Outro: We will make our lives better/Forming something powerful and magical/Down The Road. We meet out there/Down The Road/  impress and encourage action.

Valentine’s Day is just a month away.  This song is a love song for ourselves.  We must love ourselves and each other.. being compassionate and hopeful so that magical day when there will be a FAIRER TOMORROW becomes true.

Sincerely,

Joshua Eli       

January 15, 2019

We celebrate MLK today.  He worked during his life so Down The Road there would be A Fairer Tomorrow.  Thank you as always for being my  friends who enjoy music, coming ’round to read and listen to what I compose and write and perform! Until the next time.  je

 

 

 

 

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz..LA Composer/Performer? On The Verge Of Being Amazing

A small autobiography below the picture.

I really love forests and the odors they have.  Trails that are solid and compacted with switchbacks through a forest are perfect.   That forests are quietly alive is pleasurable. The different sizes of the trees, the browns and greens, the moss and algae and ferns and tiny wildflowers are satisfying to look at as I walk then climb the trails that are sometimes challenging to navigate since rock has been deposited there by rushing water during storms or snow melt. There are small permanent rivers with rapids fed by runoff and fallen trees because the forest floor is their final bed.  Those fallen trees become food for insects and in decay produce a rich soil where seeds for new trees can get their start.   We recently planted two new twin paperbark maples in our yard.  While on vacation a storm severely damaged weeping birch trees in our yard that my parents planted when I was less than 2 years old.  Those weeping birches were suffering from a no-win boring beetle infestation related to the extended drought in the western USA.  With insufficient rain water and severe restrictions on watering outdoors, many trees became weak and susceptible to insect attack.  Mature trees are dying, not living their complete lifespan. The sadness from losing our trees, then deciding about what next better to plant and later tracking down the new trees and all that while removing the dead birches and their deep roots… left a heavy then hopeful feeling in our insides.  Our birch trees were beautiful and full of grace producing shade for our shade garden and turtle pond.  Their roots were deep and heavy earning our respect when digging them up.  They lived 40 years in the earth. Those roots kept 3 trees standing tall and nourished and looking stunning til near their end and all those years with the help of the earth and water and sunlight.

Trees are a Perfect Nice.. a line from the lyrics for my latest song.   I saw Dear Evan Hansen, actually not expecting what I saw and how I would feel when I left.  Simplistically it relates to social anxiety, a suicide, honesty, finding a sense of purpose, and trees.  It did what it set out to.  I left having a good experience.  Also, the topic tree came up as I already mentioned when we returned from our vacation.  The paperbark maples we chose have beautiful cinnamon-colored bark that peels and leaves that change color in fall.  Their peeling bark should be a standout when they mature. So I have been thinking a lot about trees and their heavy thick roots and their importance and steadfastness and the qualities humans share with them. There are many qualities.  Listen to the lyrics of  my new song titled: On The Verge Of Being Amazing  at least once with that thought in mind. Our two new twin trees will grow and mark the second half of my life.  They will be alive and amazing when I become old and with luck be potentially eternal, and I will in time carve my initials lightly in them so that we have an eternal bond. These thoughts inspired me to write my new song which I wrote in the key of C Major.  I use contrasting music in several places throughout the song.  Look for instances: Eating my seeds and sleeping inside my scars, in verse 2; As I grow, in the bridge; Just about everything is changing, in verse 3, and My life cycle emerging, in the outro. I found using it to be significant and appropriate to my ear.  Also, the lyrics in the bridge beginning with It feels good/ To shelter/And feed.. turned out to feel especially fine.  

Here is the chorus for the On The Verge Of Being Amazing: 

With the sun on my leaves,

My strength 

And presence grow.

I am branching above and anchoring below.

Spring until Fall

My leaves unfold, 

Change color, then fall,

Feeding the Earth,

A perfect nice.

Making me a tree for life.

A small sapling sends out its roots reaching for water and nutrients branching out as it grows upward on top.  As a tree develops, it shades and cools while providing a nesting place and seeds for animals attracted to it.  Its life processes clean the air by removing pollutants. Small energized humans climb over a developing tree and sometimes build an elementary house on and around it.  Usually in the fall a maturing tree drops its cones with its seeds.  As the cones dry, the seeds are lifted out by the wind or transported by scavenger animals.  A few of those seeds drop and are fertilized and then sprout nearby.  Over the next 2 decades and way more, those new saplings root and grow closer filling in the earth spaces between them and protect each other from harsh happenings like breaking winds.  They  loosen the earth when their roots stretch out to find water mixed with nutrients and also cool each other when the weather is hot.  In time a forest is created or stands rejuvenated.  Trees are buffers each protecting the rest.  The forest is a large extended family.  They can’t move around like a human family but they take care of each other just the same and stand resolutely by each other during all manner of extremes keeping the air and ground cool and using their roots to reach out for diminishing water supplies… all nearby trees benefiting.  For humans, they add true visual value and true practical value keeping soil from eroding and breaking strong winds.  As trees age naturally they become increasingly beautiful, often magnificent.  These are some of the ideas that filled my mind while I wrote the lyrics.  Going further, people love visiting and walking in quiet forests. Quiet is beautiful. They plant trees such as redwoods and oaks around their home  bringing trees home to their world.  Trees are grown for their special kinds of beautiful wood and are used to construct homes and furniture; so some are harvested and find direct use in our lives. Some homes stand with their wood contents for hundreds of years like the maturing and aging trees of our  forests. The harvesting of trees carefully done protects our forests and brings the importance of trees closer to us.  Thinking about these things and experiencing  some of them it was easy to feel my love and appreciation for trees and their ancestral home.. our forests.  I decided for this blog I would choose to focus on the evolution of a personal idea into a final set of lyrics. So that is my personal backstory for On The Verge Of Being Amazing.

Hanukkah came early this year and just ended. It celebrated the end of a war with the Syrians 2200 years ago.  There is another war right now in Syria for important freedoms. People everywhere in the world continue to be engaged in conflicts. Anger and hate is festering everywhere as though it is normal.   It is the right time to rededicate ourselves toward serious change.  Hanukkah in translation means rededication.   It is a good idea to plant the idea of serious change in our hearts and let it grow, branching above and anchoring below.

Christmas is almost here as well as New Year’s 2019. I wish Happy Holidays to each of you… hoping for the happiness for everyone that comes from celebrating the holidays in your own way.  This blog marks the third anniversary of its birth.  I published  my first blog December 27, 2015 and more than 54 songs ago. It remains a good ride made special by your presence and appreciation for my music.  Thank you more than you know!

Happy  17 Seymour!!!

Please listen to On The Verge Of Being Amazing  near the top of this blog.

You’ll appreciate the music best if you use earphones.

Sincerely with music in my mind and heart and through my voice and fingers ready to share with you more in the coming year,

Joshua Eli

December 11, 2018

What is up with Joshua Eli Kranz…LA Composer/Performer? Honesty makes you Spiritually Whole

A Small Autobiography With A Few Pictures

I detached myself from the news cycle and from everyday activities while I visited a beautiful rugged coastal site and a special small city.  We hiked several times in different places in a rain forest populated with Sitka Spruce with unbelievable ocean lookouts where we ate a snack when it was the time and visited a bog and read that people are destroying these important wetlands that naturally restore our atmosphere, enjoyed the wonderful and perfectly

cool weather, drank two fantastics teas, Joie de Provence and Rose Congon Emperor, while eating small finger sandwiches and scones, spoke with a very nice Australian couple celebrating an anniversary and a woman visiting from Oregon and a young woman from Brittany who loves Alaska and the Yukon, wandered through an out-of-this world garden wonderfully kept and visited a living butterfly  garden and insectarium and enjoyed the ocean and its tides and also the aesthetics and activities of the inner harbor and admired many huge totem poles and a  beautiful 150 year old coastal redwood tree (my favorite tree because of its appearance and longevity) on the grounds of the BC Parliament with branches like an octopus and ate some excellent fish tacos better than I have ever eaten and ate a blackened red snapper burger and excellent Chinese food in the oldest Chinese community in Canada where there is a very narrow passageway made to order for a movie with intrigue and ate extra creamy caramel and vanilla gelato several nites until we finished it and cooked in our apartment some food like at home to break the cycle of having to eat out the entire time allowing us to experience the normal and interesting side of Canadian life shopping in a grocery Co-op and enjoyed some time in an antique shop where I found a wool suit coat for a good price made in Canada and perfect for my music performances also picked up a small collectible bronze clown that fit into my closed palm then walked (always walked here) to pick up a BC flag at a flag store and saw and liked First Nations artwork and sent a little of Canada home and woke up to see the ocean and the tide out our window also standing on our deck in early morning and sunsets splash the sky at night as US baseball playoffs took place practically every evening.  My team won.  That was exciting.  It was a good vacation and birthday present. That the weather was cool and the season definitely Fall was the best present.  This on purpose run-on paragraph describes the highlights. It is the best way to impart the impressions and enthusiasm I felt there..all  running together.

Though No One May Believe It... Ten years ago no one would believe the USA would be living through unsettling and corrupt turmoil and sometimes hell that is streaming east to west, north to south throughout our country.  Honesty and the truth are out the window politically and unfortunately often amongst our many people.  The situation seems to exist worldwide, too, finding residence in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, the UK, France,  Italy, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Philippines, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, Nigeria, Somalia, the Sudan…. It is pretty frightening to write this list that is no way complete.  Human relations have deteriorated in so many ways so that it is easy to feel like we are being sucked into a terrible mire and maligned by many we associate with.

I wrote Though No One May Believe It  feeling it was a necessity and in reaction to our times.  Please read the complete lyrics I am putting below and listen to the song above.  It is the first spiritual I have written.  A spiritual..  The dictionary definition is  ” relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul.” There is an angst overhead driving this song to become spiritual.  Writing it and performing it pulled a lot out of me, lots of highs and lows, but it was worth it.  The message is good and singing it felt good.  Spirituals have a personal and community style.  I finished writing the lyrics 5 weeks ago, but it took 5 weeks for the music to age and evolve.  The music is written in B flat major.  B flat to E flat back to B flat to D9#5, G min7th, C7, F7, B flat to E flat back to B flat is the chord progression used for the verses.  B flat, C min7, B flat/D, E flat is the chromatic whole step progression in the chorus.  The sound is classic Gospel style with a bit of funk style/rock beat in the bass created in different octaves especially using the lowest octave on the piano and the octave above that..all common to gospel especially when played on a Hammond organ.  The music has a constant pulse throughout.  There are a couple of my instrumentals on piano included, but it’s the lyrics that take this song golden. The melody is driven by the voice.  The runs that go though the piano music in the song are in a jazz or varied blues scale style. The music is not in time. That is a characteristic of some of my songs.  That style is called playing free time or rubato allowing for interpretation.

Think about singing Though No One May Believe It along with me.  I bet you’ll  feel something. Writing music is one of the best things I’ve ever done.  I don’t need anyone’s approval to write it or sing it or think it.  I feel like a millionaire… totally independent: Truth and honesty/ Must dictate life and later Feeling free/Like it is easy to say/What you want to say …my thoughts right out of the lyrics.

The month of November is important.  We are voting in the USA today.  Please vote. Take as many people as you can to vote with you.

Thanksgiving completes the month.  I hope after the election we will have even more to give thanks for.  Happy Thanksgiving from me  to you.  Share your holiday meal so someone won’t be hungry and don’t forget to turn on the music.  Music, too, feeds the soul.  Here are the lyrics for Though No One May Believe It:

Truth and honesty 

Must dictate life.

Faced with the facts

That are sometimes not nice,

Out of fear

We lie!

 

Be honest.

It feeds your soul,

Makes you feel

Spiritually Whole.

It’s hard to look someone in the eye

And reveal the truth

Though no one may believe it.

 

The truth hurts

Even paired with remorse.

It doesn’t sugar coat

Yet brings resolve,

Leaving what is not clear

Crystal clear     

Often time feeling

Pierced by a spear.  

 

Be honest.

It feeds your soul.

It makes you feel

Spiritually Whole.

It’s hard to look

Someone in the eye

And reveal the truth

Though no one may believe it.

 

Feeling free

Like it is easy to say

What you want to say,  

Knowing that people can trust you,

Is the only way to be.

Respect will come

With

Honesty.

 

The truth is therapeutic.

You must get it all out

And not feel afraid

Of what someone might think

Or say.

Don’t shy away

Just let it out!

 

Be honest.

It feeds your soul,

Makes you feel Spiritually Whole.

It’s hard to look

Someone in the eye

And reveal the truth

Though no one may believe it.

 

Be honest.

It will feed your soul,

Make you feel

Spiritually Whole.

 

Sincerely and thank you for coming over to visit and listen,

Joshua Eli

November 5, 2018

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz… L.A. Composer/Performer? You Loved Me When I Was Just A Regular Anyone

Dear Blog…..I wrote a story in music, long ago seeded for me by the play Parfumerie written by Miklos Laszlo and later adapted for film as The Shop Around The Corner then later put to music by Bock and Harnick as She Loves Me and lastly in 1998 updated for film with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as You Got Mail directed by Nora Ephron.  I think the music of She Loves Me is just about perfect.  I first heard it and then performed the song She Loves Me a long time ago in a solo competition in Fullerton while in high school.  This is a recollection of a distant memory: Years ago while in NYC walking on the Upper Westside, I passed by where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks were shooting a scene from You Got Mail.  That was on a visit in the fall, late September…the best time of the year to be in NYC.  The above is an introduction and small autobiography next to and around my picture.

You will enjoy the music at its best if you use earphones

This leads me Dear Blog (as in dear diary in She Loves Me)  into my song: You Loved Me When I Was Just A Regular Anyone.  It is about the strange way we can fall into love.  After completely writing the song just mentioned, remembrances of the story of She Loves Me and its several renditions surfaced in that important space between my eyes.  Though not entirely similar to the story of my song, the storyline of She Loves Me and the mystery of falling for someone who seems illusive is an exciting one and probably affected my writing vicariously.  My song became like the plant to all those previous works that only flowers every 25 years laying dormant until its botanical alarm goes off.  I also like treasure hunts.  Together those several ideas in addition to personal experience built my song.  Every writer I know draws from their personal experiences and moves out and around to create more of them to write about.  I wrote You Loved Me When I Was Just A Regular Anyone in the key of F major.  It is sung and played out of rhythm because that is how we think and speak, and doing that makes the song seem human and real.  I also liked very much the phrase a regular anyone  because regular people need to find success and be loved just like any pool of fancier people. It is pure fact that most people are regular and struggle a lot to get what they need and where they want to be.   The chorus is infectious and easy to sing and repeat like choruses you may have sung around a campfire in your favorite national park.  And left me a note….It said/ Go to the shop/By the park/Across from the bridge/There I’ll be waiting for you/You are someone/I see everyday/And can’t forget/I know I love you/You will become someone/I’ll be there. The soliloquy that is this song is a happy one.  And it is true everyone needs someone who believes in him and sticks by him over the long haul.  When I Was Just A Regular Anyone  is near the top of this blog.  Please listen to it.

The current Supreme Court stomp and someone messing with some people I know led me to write a song about truth and honesty… my next song.  Just like my song Waste No One’s Life Anymore, that budding song idea needed to be written  to benefit the current situation and beyond.  The season just turned to fall and is without a doubt a really beautiful time of year.  Coming there will be Halloween and Thanksgiving and a birthday to measure time and maybe even time to escape and rejuvenate.

Thank you, everyone.

Writers and performers of music need listeners and you are mine!

Sincerely,

Joshua Eli

October 2, 2018

Happy Halloween from 2 of my always favorite character people.  I am part Charlie Brown and not any part Lucy!

 

 

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz..LA Songwriter/Performer? To be a pioneer, you have to be willing to go where others haven’t, or simply won’t.

A small autobiography below the picture:

The art of the moving image in color together with the human form is beautiful and meaningful.  The result with sculpted eyes tied in spectacularly with the song I wrote. Read below and then listen.  I went to the Henson exhibition for one thing and discovered other things.

Joshua Eli

The sound is tops if you listen with headphones

Composing music and lyrics is always a discovery for me.  Everything I do becomes a discovery.  I went to see the Jim Henson Exhibition that was organized by MoMI. It connected with my early roots and was a true discovery.  From a post: “the [museum] will highlight how Henson’s characters and stories represent individuals and communities of diverse backgrounds and abilities, inspiring the public to look beyond differences and cultivate a more compassionate, inclusive world.” In 1969 the creative world of entertainment and psychology married for all to benefit. Of that marriage Sesame Street was born. At the exhibition I saw Grover, lovable and full-size. Remember when Grover did not succeed it never broke him or his ability to keep going or gut his optimism or his I will help spirit because he was super Grover.  I smiled ear to ear seeing full-sized Bert and Ernie. They were real friends and so different.  Both accepted the other as he was and they laughed and always had room to forgive when it was time for that, too.  I am now starring at Kermit.  I brought him home with me. Jim Henson’s voice was Kermit the frog.  Kermit sitting near where I work is like a personal psychologist reminding me my appearance isn’t all that I am, encouraging me to accept myself and speak out. It is not hard to appreciate the message of free speech and the importance of mental health and equality in all its forms including abilities and the importance of compassion taught to children starting at an age before bias and discrimination have a chance to set in.  We are those grown children needing to return to our roots to refresh our memories and to speak out and to speak up before too much is lost and our successes of the last 50 years erode for the sake of money and power. That is a  big discovery.  A few years ago I was handed a big disappointment.  I needed to become a pioneer in the words of Joan River: “To be a pioneer, you have to be willing to go where others haven’t, or simply won’t.” I believe I have become a pioneer in my own work and that all of us must become pioneers to repair our world today.   I recently finished a song called Where I Want To Be.  I was inspired to write a song that had the feeling of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song 16 Tons. He was not the composer but he was the one who resurrected the song and made it very famous in the mid 50’s. I wrote Where I Want To Be before I even thought to see the Jim Henson Exhibition.  The song does express the grit required of a pioneer. Here is the first verse. Times were tough/I was down on my luck/Couldn’t find a job/Or anyone to take a chance on me/Or loan me a buck/So I got up and said/”I’ve got to do it/I know I can.”/And packed it all up in a moving van.  The chorus: Moving/Moving on/Loading up/Getting out/To a new place/To a city that has/A heart/I’m on my way/And I won’t look back. I wrote this song to explore the male bass voice singing as low as the E an octave below middle C and as high as the F above middle C.  Those parts of the scale serve as scaffolding when constructing a multi-part vocal sound, but this time those notes stood on their own to be appreciated for their distinct beauty and depth.  The song almost sounds religious with its emotional magnetic message.  It is hard and beautiful to sing  bass notes well.  Life Is About What You Do With What Happens To You, another song I have written and will appear on my new album:  Joshua Eli…In His Element, is definitely a relative to  Where I Want To Be. I wrote Where I Want To Be  in the key of  A minor with jazz chords.  16 Tons had no jazz chords just a bass line.  When it was placed in Ross’s Forever Plaid in October 1992, 16  Tons  became a hit again.  I was an understudy in that show in 2000 when Jason Graae directed it.  Someday……..While recording this song I had a summer cold and struggled a bit with the bass sound, but all “tuned”out well.  I wrote this song because of contentment not for acceptance or money or anything else.  I don’t even know where I will find to use it, but it definitely tells a good story and is my version of 16 Tons. I could have titled the song I won’t look back because I believe pioneers need to press forward trying hard not to look back but not forgetting to remember.  It is good to feel good and today I feel good like Kermit and Grover would.  Yesterday I was contacted about a music arrangement I wrote for Kander and Ebb’s song And The World Goes ‘Round and that I played and performed in the show by the same name.  P N  wants to perform and sing my arrangement in a cabaret show in DC.  That request was a surprise and a present. Thanks to pryorv in Indiana for listening to Waste No One’s Life Anymore and The Simple Things For You And I and Hello and I Just Can’t. Each of those songs leaves me with a significant message after performing them.  At the top of this blog you can listen to Where I Want To Be. Thanks to each of you for coming by and listening and hopefully thinking about the messages in this blog.  Please invite your friends to come over. We are in those funny feeling days closing out the summer. Wouldn’t it be nice if we would have a beautiful cool fall to look forward to?

Sincerely,

Joshua Eli          August 21, 2018

Kermit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                             Grover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burt and Ernie with Richard Hunt and Jim Henson and Frank Oz  (L to R)

 

What’s up with Joshua Eli Kranz…LA Composer/Performer? Finding happiness is a forever job.

A little autobiography beside the picture.  I have been trying my hand at arranging some of my music for several voices.  The results are good. Next I have decided to try orchestration.  It will be meaningful work.  Last week I was at a convention where I attended workshops in music composing and other fun stuff just to taste it and let myself grow.

The sound is great if you listen with headphones

They Belong Together is a jazz experiment.  I wrote three songs Because I CanI Just Can’t, and Stress Will Not Rule My Life at different times over the past two years.  Because I Can and I Just Can’t are found on my website joshuaelimusic.com, one on the Home page and the other on the Original music page and Stress Will Not Rule My Life is found in the March 21, 2018, blog post linked to my website. The blog’s address is joshuaelimusic.com/blog and where you are right now just look through the index for the name of the blog entry. After writing the three songs their existential relationship popped.  They seemed to live or fit together. That idea was the seed for writing a new arrangement for them: putting the three songs together in a new way.  It also was a chance to experiment using my own material.  At first the original melodies stuck in my head, but it didn’t take long to open the compression door, use my feeling for jazz, and then go for it.  Since I wrote the original songs myself and hold the copyrights, I was free to go wherever I wanted to go.  Each of the songs is a different slant about someone trying to find himself.. a very hard place to be.  Knowing we are born expressing ourself vocally and loudly, I have come to understand we long for that place again after being internally shutdown by life experiences like passing through a formal education and interacting with people and doing all kinds of jobs in many settings with all types of responsibilities.  Those markers tug and really pull people out of round.  In search of a comfortable happiness, my life trek moves and meanders looking for my true self.  I see that happiness takes work and is my forever job. I was born from joy and need to grab that state again so I  can live my dream of happiness.  They Belong Together has no chorus.  I have written only one song before with no chorus: Near To You Is What I Want that I wrote tapping quickly into my heart. When my mentor Chris J at that time heard the song he liked it a lot and was impressed but reminded me that music listeners like choruses.  I have taken that suggestion ever since but now.  I think a chorus would have bogged down this song and took away from its compound construction.  Those who are familiar with all 3 songs or have recently listened to them will see that echoes of the music and lyrics of the original songs are like a familiar chorus connecting the “verses”  together. I adjusted the key because the keys for all three songs did not match. From G Major and C minor and C Major and listening a lot to the original songs, I did some mental transposing placing the song in C Major with a distinct sexy-pulled-out jazz sound that seems to answer the piece’s objective: finding a path toward happiness and feeling easy about it.. falling into a Diana Krall feel.  I liked the groove and professional sound that came came from my musical ideas. The same feeling is also suggested in the instrumental intro where I took my time to get the song started and then the opposing force of the closing lines where “in your face” internal conflict still resides: But I just can’t. But I just can’t. I just can’t/Oh shit! But I can…Because I Can … doubt is the sister of change. So listen to the original 3 songs and then listen to the compound permutation. It felt good working it out. In parts of the song towards its closing I really enjoy hearing my fingers “clicking” on the keys because it sounds so real in more ways than the obvious. Find They Belong Together near the top of this blog.  If you are in the mood tell me what you think.  Thank you to Paul Faltusz in Australia for your demonstrated loyalty then now listening to Any Part Would Be Enough and It Will Be A Great Day WHEN  and I Broke Out And Broke Through… good songs for their positivity.  Barbara Hellerman, a frequent listener, listened to She’s Got A Way.  Omsteadsonerie from Canada also a devoted listener listened to Not An Ending After All.  It is a song about beginnings! My brother whose birthday is in a few days wrote the lyrics with me when he was undergoing a beginning.  Danielle Walters from Wisconsin listened to Waste No One’s Life Anymore  and And Then You Were Gone, both heartfelt songs.  Ryan Gleason liked I Just Can’t and Any Part Would Be Enough. Those two songs seem to find a sweet spot with lots of people.  Jim Armein from Texas chose to listen to She’s Got A Way and Any Part Would Be Enough.  Both are special for me.  Jennifer Godfin and Todd401 played Waste No One’s Life Anymore!  Here, Here! That Makes You Beautiful And I Want You To Be and Life Is About What You Do With What Happens To You are real good songs to listen to  and Zoeupchurch14’s did just that.  Cemcculloch, in South Carolina and one of the the first to listen to Waste No One’s Life Anymore, decided to tap into the inspiration of On The Sunny Side Of  The Street..a song I have loved since I was 5 years old and always lifts my spirits up. Well, hello, rhowardjunk in my home state of California.  Thank you for checking out We Need To Live In The Arch Of A Rainbow and There Are Sounds All Around. There Are Sounds.. is my shortest song yet one of only a special few I consider my most meaningful songs. Then reading Mcelvain’s comment, “…truly made my day, “after he listened to my song Invisible on my blog post, Have you ever felt invisible? That comment made that day for me, too.  And horikoshi’s comment, “good stuff,”  about Wad-ing And Wait-ing, a song I wrote and put up on my April 25, 2018, blog post, is why I write: to be appreciated.  Thank you, everyone!

July ends with a few significant birthdays.  To those of you, enjoy and be happy.  It is your time and your chance to be happy so go for it!

Stay close to music.  It will improve your day.

We must find a way to keep cool.  The current hot spell the weather is dishing out is a challenge!

Sincerely,

Joshua Eli

July 28, 2018