It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to a close. I know that for many people, myself included, it has gone by incredibly fast. That being said, I'm really grateful for a wonderful year. I was a part of bringing Rocktopia to the East Coast... I loved my time touring with The Music of David Bowie (seriously one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever worked on)... My role as an artist has expanded into that of an in-demand music producer and mixer here in NYC. But more than anything, I’m feeling incredibly overjoyed because Aspen and I will soon be adding a new member to our family— a son, due late January 2018.
In light of these things and more, I’m grateful to the many friends and fans who have been a massive source of encouragement this year. To all those I met on the road: Thank you, each and every one of you. THANK YOU! Your words and prayers inspire me to continue pursuing my passion. You all are the best.
As I do at the close of each year, I have put together a holiday "wish list” for you! This year, however, I’ve broken it down into three sections— much like the way the “partners” section of my website is broken down: Lifestyle, Audio, and Photography. And, because we are in the midst of preparing for a new little one, I’ve included a few baby products- I know many of you have young families to buy gifts for (maybe your own!). So without further ado, here we go...
Studio Cue LA (http://www.studiocuela.com)— I like my home and studio to smell fantastic! Nothing heavy...just scents that invigorate, sooth and inspire. Studio Cue LA offers an amazing fragrance called GOLDA that I absolutely love. “…unique citrusy, cider-like fragrance that is purifying, uplifting, and stimulating.“ This has become a must-have for me.
Rock’n’Roll It! (https://www.thegrommet.com/rock-and-roll-it)— If you have young children and want to introduce them to playing an instrument, you need to check out the products by Rock’N’Roll It! We got Sadie the “Rainbow Piano” for Christmas, and I can’t wait to watch her learn via the color-coded keys. PLUS, the piano rolls up for easy storage. (They also have a flexible Roll-Up Drum Kit for that future Chad Smith!)
Chicco (https://www.chiccousa.com)— For parents, the safety of our kids is a top priority. With #2 on the way, we decided to go with Chicco’s Bravo LE and Fit2 travel system. The Fit2 car seat is very highly rated, beautiful, and actually fits a newborn all the way up to a rear-facing 2 year old, with 2 different settings to ensure the comfort of a growing child. We're excited to not have to get rid of an infant car seat after only a few months! Combined with the Bravo LE stroller, this travel system is a great gift for any family with a new baby.
HALO (http://www.halosleep.com)— During the newborn months, a convenient bassinet near mom is helpful, but climbing in and out of bed to get the baby for frequent night feedings can be miserable. HALO has figured out the perfect solution with their “Bassinest Swivel Sleeper”. We've already got ours assembled and ready to go, and are crazy about it. The unique design allows it to butt up right next to the parent’s bed, overlapping the mattress. The walls are a safe, breathable mesh, (so it's easy to see the baby while you're in bed, but there is a safe barrier between you) and it has a spring-loaded lowering front railing that makes it a piece of cake to get the baby out or just settle him/her with your hand without budging from your pillow. It also has a really cool swivel feature, allowing you to easily maneuver the sleeper out of the way for mom to get in and out of bed. We're really pleased with the incredibly stable base (it's surprisingly heavy!) so we can be sure our enthusiastic 5 year-old won't accidentally knock it over. Aspen spent countless nights climbing in and out of bed with baby #1, so she's really looking forward to the ease of this product!
SampleMagic (https://www.samplemagic.com)— If you’re looking for incredibly inspiring sounds and audio plugins for your productions (or for that musician/producer in your life), SampleMagic has amazing libraries that will set you up perfectly for that killer single you’re releasing in 2018.
Thalia Capos (https://www.thaliacapos.com)— This company makes absolutely beautiful capos that any guitarist would appreciate. PLUS, they even make custom capos! These would make an extra special stocking stuffer.
Etymotic (https://www.etymotic.com, https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection.html) — Musician or not, everyone needs to protect their hearing, and Etymotic has a fantastic ear plug line that fits all price ranges. Again, a fantastic stocking stuffer.
Toontrack (https://www.toontrack.com)— If you’re a programmer, beat-maker or songwriter, you need Toontrack’s new Superior Drummer 3. This library is the new standard for acoustic drums! Incredibly authentic sounds recorded by the legendary George Massenburg.
Hardcore Music Studio (http://hardcoremusicstudio.com)— I always try to remain in the mindset of “I never want to stop learning...I can always improve my skills”, and HCMS offers brilliant and somewhat unconventional tutorials. Instructor Jordan Valeriote is a gifted instructor, and teaches you how to break the rules so that your mixes sound radio-ready, with that extra bit of clarity and punch.
SoundGym (https://www.soundgym.co)— This is another audio tutorial option, but an incredibly unique one. SoundGym helps you improve the way you actually HEAR music so that you can mix with confidence. They do this through ear training sessions, set up as games. A very cool way to up your mixing game.
Other World Computing (https://www.macsales.com)— We can always use more digital storage, and OWC offers amazing options. I really love their line of incredibly small, portable SSD drives called “Envoy Pro EX”. They are elegant and incredibly fast! I have 3 that I can’t live without. (When I’m on the road, I use 2 for audio storage and 1 for my photography.)
Photzy (https://photzy.com)— This is a wonderful online photography school, and they've just put out 44 SNAP! Cards that offer “the simplest way to learn and master photography on-the-go.” I don’t care if you’re a brand new photographer or a seasoned pro, these cards are fantastic to have on hand while you’re out on a shoot. Store them on your mobile device as a PDF, or print out the cards and stick them in your camera bag. Another fantastic stocking stuffer!
Have a blessed holiday and I’ll see you all in 2018!