David Myhr - Soundshine

“Spellbound” challenger (“utmanare”) on Svensktoppen!

Posted: December 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments
My last couple of posts have been about my latest single “Spellbound” (release post here, gala premiere report here, official video premiere here). But now on Christmas Eve there’s even more to report!
If there’s one chart that’s classic in Sweden it’s ”Svensktoppen” (“The top of Sweden”). As Swedish Radio P4 puts it (in my own improvable translation): “This is where you’ll hear the Swedish songwriter’s music, international as well as national hits in any language. The chart is voted by a statistically chosen jury and is one of the most important benchmarks of Swedish music”.
In any case, the list has existed since 1962. And through the years all big Swedish artists have appeared, all the way from Lasse Lönndahl (who by the way once heard me entertaining at an after-ski in Björkliden up in the Swedish mountains),  Lill-Babs, and Sven-Bertil Taube via ABBA and Per Gessle (of Roxette fame) and recently Laleh, First Aid Kit, and Robyn.
Tomorrow Sunday, yes on Christmas Day(!), the ELO influenced song I wrote together with Jimmy Lagnefors for the movie Flykten till Framtiden after the brief from the director Ulf Malmros will be one of three ”challengers” (”utmanare” in Swedish). Not being quite a house-hold name in Sweden (yet!?) it will obvioulsy be difficult for me to “kick out” national legends like Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame!) and his orchestra ,  Magnus Uggla and new international star Zara Larsson. Things are not made easier by the fact that the two other challengers Nisse Hellberg and Cajsa-Stina Åkerström both are well-known names with great new songs (Cajsa-Stina’s song is produced by my friend and highly respected colleague Peter Kvint who I’ve talked about here and here).
Funny anecdote: My good friend, Andreas Dahlbäck, who plays drums on ”Spellbound” (and who also played drums on my debut album Soundshine), actually plays on both ”Spellbound” and both the other challengers’ songs. For the last few years I’ve always talked about him as one of the key people in the Swedish recording business, and this certainly proves my point.
Who knows what the verdict from the jury, consisting of 500 people supposedly representative for the Swedish people as a whole, will be. But in any case – no matter what happens after Sunday – I will definitely remember this as a ”mile stone” in my career. Or is it rather just a ”stepping stone”…? Time will tell!
My heartfelt thanks to Ulf Malmros for making a great movie that partly takes place in 1973 and therefore had the good taste of requesting an ELO song, to my close friend, Jimmy Lagnefors who invited me in on the opportunity to write the song (something I talk more about in this Hooks & Harmony interview and in this radio inteveiw with Hawaii radio show Time Machine).
I hope you all are enjoying your Christmas celebrations!!! Probably the perfect time (yeah, right…!?) to enjoy the official video for “Spellbound”:

Happy Xmas – War if Over!!! Let us have a Wonderful Christmastime!
From Wikipedia: Svensktoppen (Swedish: [²svɛnskˌtɔpːɛn]) is a weekly record chart airing at Sveriges Radio. Until January 2003, the songs had to be in the Swedish language. Svensktoppen has aired since 1962, except for the years 1982-1985. The last years before the January 2003 change, the programme was strongly dominated by dansband music.

”Spellbound” – new ELO-flavoured single by David Myhr from the soundtrack for “Flykten till Framtiden” (“My Future Love”) directed by Ulf Malmros

Posted: October 14th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments

It’s been an unusally busy week here on the blog with the news of the recent Nasvhille recordings of David Myhr’s future second album (and the US co-writing trip that preceeded it). But now on to something completely different… a brand new single from an upcoming movie and an accompanying lyric video!!!

On the 11th of November Flykten till Framtiden (English title: My Future Love) hits cinemas in Sweden. The feature-length film is directed by Ulf Malmros and Jaana Fomin and stars Henrik Dorsin, Elias Palin, Victoria Dyrstad and Johan Ulveson.

The time-travel themed narrative is partially set in 1973 and for this composer Jimmy Lagnefors was hired to create a soundtrack authentic to the period. When the director specifically requested a song that “sounds like Electric Light Orchestra” Lagnefors brought in songwriter/artist David Myhr to collaborate.

Myhr, with his background in the 90’s power pop combo The Merrymakers and, in particular, his 2012 album Soundshine (Lojinx), has demonstrated a knack for creating fresh, modern, pop music with roots firmly in the classic tradition of McCartney & Lynne. It was no surprise that Myhr jumped at the chance. (Read more about David’s relation to Jeff Lynne here).

Lagnefors and Myhr were also behind the song “Vänta inte på mig” (“Don’t wait for me”) in last year’s Swedish box office smash Micke & Veronica. With the new song ”Spellbound” the songwriting duo has managed to create “”the song that E.L.O. never made”. It features heavily in the film and plays when the credits roll.

The first interviews with David Myhr about “Spellbound” are expected soon. Follow David Myhr’s Facebook page for updates.

Elias Palin (som Svante), Victoria Dyrstad (som Elsa), Henrik Dorsin (som Bengan) Stillbildsfoto: Johan Bergmark

Elias Palin (som Svante), Victoria Dyrstad (som Elsa), Henrik Dorsin (som Bengan)
Stillbildsfoto: Johan Bergmark

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Here is the official video for “Spellbound”:

Lyric video for “Spellbound”.

 

 

The single “Spellbound” is released in Sweden, and the rest of Europe, on 14th of October on British indie label Lojinx. (See Lojinx own relase page here).

You can find it on Spotify and iTunes and the lyric video here (and the official video here). It is also available in the USA and the rest of the world on the same day on all digital platforms through Myhr’s self-owned label Monogram Recordings.

“Spellbound” is the first David Myhr since last year’s cover single with Elvis Costello’s “Veronica” and Secret Service’s “Oh Susie”.

If you want to get a glimpse of the movie Flykten till Framtiden, check out this trailer:

 

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David Myhr in Nasvhille, September 2016. Photo: Andreas Dahlbäck


Brad Jones to produce David Myhr’s second solo album! Recordings have begun in Nashville!

Posted: October 11th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments

Only two days ago I wrote about my co-writing research trip to Los Angeles, Nashville, New York that took place in February last year. The great news is that from these fruitful sessions a bunch of NEW songs for my FUTURE SECOND ALBUM was written!!! And what’s even better – the recordings have begun!!! In Nashville! With the one and only Brad Jones as producer! In one of the eight video blogs I linked to in my last post I talked about what he has meant to me over the years. Below you can enjoy eleven more video blogs that I put on my artist Facebook page from the Nashville sessions. As well as some photos from the studio, with co-writer Bill DeMain, from social activities with old and new friends including Javier Piñol, Wyatt Funderburk, and The Wellingtons.

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Here’s a video from the flight between Stockholm and Chicago on Aug 28 with me and famous Swedish reputable drummer Andreas Dahlbäck who I was fortunate enough to have with me on the first part of the trip. (He also played drums on my solo debut album Soundshine).

Once we got the Brad Jones’ studio Alex the Great Recording we started to fool around with the various instruments that were lying around:

Once we had slept off our jet-lag we had the first producer’s meeting with Brad at his home kitchen table:

Time for tuning up the instruments. Here I’m singing ”Nobody’s child” (once recorded by the Traveling Wilburys):

While setting up in the studio we put on a kettle of coffe and I was warming up the voice and getting in the the country vibe of Nasvhille by singing ”Country Dreamer” by Wings:

Later the same day we had laid our first track down. A song co-written with Linus of Hollywood called ”Lovebug”. Producer Brad Jones’ evaluation of the take is ”time for lunch”:

A little later into the recordings I finally got to pick up Brad Jones’ wonderful 1970 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top with mini humbuckers. I was in jingle-jangle guitar power pop heaven!!!

Between takes there’s always time for more goofing around. Here with hired gun, and famous Nasvhille session musician, Pat Buchanan. Too much fun!

Here’s from one of many so called ”playbacks” in the studio. Here of a song I’ve co-written with my hero from the area of academic research within songwriting, and my assistant supervisor as well, Professor Joe Bennett. The song is called ”Egyptian Blue”.

During the weekend when Brad had to go on a tour to Colorado. As Brad put it: ”Zookeeper’s away, Monkeys will play…..”. Here’s Andreas trying out an idea on his Theremin on the iPad. With us during the weekend was my good friend Javier Piñol:

After Andreas had gone back to Sweden I was sometimes left all alone in the studio at night-time. So I took the opportuinty to try out some background vocals. Here with my new TG2 pre-amp that I had bought from Vintage King Audio:

I’m really excited with the result from these recordings and I look forward to finishing everything off during the next days, weeks, months, years…?  Time will tell! Stay tuned!

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Co-writing research trip to Los Angeles, Nasvhille, New York

Posted: October 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , | Comments

On the days when I’m not active as an aspiring pop star (which are many!) I attend my day job as a senior lecturer at Musikhögskolan i Piteå (The School of Music in Piteå) under LTU (Luleå University of Technology). (See my staff profile here). It’s a job where I get the opportunity to coach young and talented songwriters, teach music business knowledge, and try to build ”bridges” between the students and professionals within the music industry. As a part of my job, I also conduct artistic research as a doctoral student where I deal with a great passion of mine – the process of making melodies.

My project is called Pop into my head – The making and shaping of melodies in popular music. To be able to take a closer look at the process I’ve documented (on video and audio) the actual moment of the making of a bunch of melodies. For this purpose, last year (February 3-18, 2015), I made a research trip to Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York where I had the great pleasure of working with some of the writers that have inspired me with their work. In L.A. I worked with Linus of Hollywood (known from the Melody & Madness tour) and Lojinx stable mate Blue. (See Facebook video blogs: Hello from L.A on a sunshiny day… and Video blogging from the car…).

 

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After that I came to Nasvhille where I wrote with Daniel Tashian (The Silver Seas), Bill DeMain (Swan Dive), and most of all most of all with an old musical hero of mine, producer/songwriter Brad Jones. With him I co-wrote no less than four songs. We even started to record three of them in his studio Alex the great recording. (Check Facebook video blogs: Video blog update from Brad Jones’ Alex the Great…, Stuck in Brazil…, At Alex the great recording and the YouTube-clip Late night session).

 

After Nashville I finished the trip in New York where I wrote with Scott Klass (The Davenports), Danny Weinkauf (They Might Be Giants) (which, surprisingly, resulted in this kids song), Steve Schiltz (Long Wave, Hurricane Bells) and Young Hines (although in his case it was an on-line collaboration). (See Facebook video blogs From the streets of New York, From the SKAP apartment in New York).

The great news is that from these session a bunch of new songs for my FUTURE SECOND ALBUM was written!!! More about this (including yet another bunch of link video blogs)  in a blog post coming soon!

Here’s a few pictures from the co-writing trip (including one of me and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame at Nashville airport, who I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to co-write with…)

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Giving a “recital lecture” at Research in Music Today 2016, Växjö, Sweden

Posted: June 16th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

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OK, so yesterday i gave a so called “recital lecture” at a conference called Research in Music Today 2016 (Musikforskning idag 2016) at Linnaeus University (Linnéuniversitet) in Växjö, Sweden. It was called “‘Men det här låter ju precis som…’  – Om låtskrivande efter given förlaga” which in English means “‘But this sounds just like…’ – About songwriting after given model” (or something like that…). The thing is I’m a doctoral student at the Department of Art, Communication and Education at Luleå University of Technology where I teach (see my David Myhr staff profile) and part of my training is to do stuff like this.

I talk about writing after “briefs” and give examples from my own artistic practice from writing for other artists (including Puffy), jingles for commercial radio spots, and writing for movie soundtracks including my future single (fall of 2016?) “Spellbound” which is written in the style of E.L.O.(!). (As you blog followers know I’m a big E.L.O. fan!!!)

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The presentation is in Swedish so I’m afraid those who don’t understand Swedish may have a hard time understanding since it’s in… yes, that’s right… Swedish… but one day I’m sure I’ll do something similar in English! Or maybe Spanish…?

I must say the whole thing was a positive experience and I had lots of fun hanging out with music researchers from all over Sweden and it turned out Växjö was a really groovy town. Not least because of Kafé De Luxe which was a great place to hang out. And “of course” I took over the piano for a while and did my living Beatles jukebox thing… and the people of Växjö were shall we say…. “flabbergasted”…?

OK, anyway, here’s my lecture. Please enjoy!

 

 

 


Attending the world premiere for The Sessions at Royal Albert Hall

Posted: April 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments

When I first saw something on-line about a thing called The Sessions – a live restaging of The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios I thought: “this is geeky beyond normal!”. And If I don’t go there…  who will go?

As you know from earlier posts about my (lifelong and obsessed) Beatles interest – not least The Day I met Paul McCartney and recording at Abbey Road myself – this seemed like an opportunity not to miss. And where better to see something Beatles related than at (“now they know how many holes it takes to fill the”) Albert Hall?

I soon found some incredibly expensive VIP tickets for the (already sold out) world premiere and somehow managed to convince my wife Paula  to celebrate her birthday there. (She does love the Beatles, but still…).

 

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And so, the day before yesterday, on April Fool’s Day (a day I once sang about here), it happened!

My expectations were realistic, not to mention even somewhat pessimistic. I certainly knew it wasn’t going to be like watching the Beatles themselves (or even a solo Beatle) in real life. And having been involved in many Beatles tributes myself, I’m fully aware of many of the challenges in making the illusion (even remotely) believable. But I was pretty soon relieved to see that they had captured the ambience of the inside of the Abbey Road studio really well. The John impersonation on “All You Need is Love” which kicked off the show wasn’t entirely believable though. It had something to do with the pronunciation, and also with the fact that John’s very distinctive voice has always been a tricky one to find sound-alikes for. But when they went back to the beginnings and kicked of a rockin’ “I Saw Her Standing There” it became clear that this was going to be a high-quality performance. Above all the Paul sound-alike offered quite a few “wow” moments. He sometimes sounded more like a twenty-something years old Paul McCartney than Paul McCartney himself does nowadays. So, songs like “Yesterday”, “Blackbird”, “She’s leaving home”, “Magical Mystery Tour”, and “Helter Skelter” became some of the evening’s finest. But in the end, all performers did a really great job. “George”, for instance, did a beautiful acoustic version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. That was one of the many moments when I just leaned back, “enjoying the show”,  thinking about how much The Beatles mean to me and how big part they’ve played in my life. Which of course is nothing new. I’ve even come across on Swedish radio talking about how The Beatles are my religion.

So, to sum it up, the show was highly entertaining and if you’re a Beatles geek, make sure NOT to miss any of the upcoming shows on their tour. It was extremely well-done and accurate in detail. The George Martin character was spot-on (almost as good as this one). It was so good that I have no problem in disregarding the fact that they had gotten the order wrong in the solos of The End, which (as we all know, right?) should be Paul, George, John and not George, Paul, John.

 

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Anyway, just to be anonymous (although fake “VIP” through paying a ridiculous amount of money) and be a “regular” guest doesn’t really suit me. Having met the great Sir George Martin, and performed for Cynthia Lennon, taken selfies with James McCartney, Olivia Harrison (after a McCartney show in London in 2009), and with engineer Ken Scott in Abbey Road Studios (in conjunction with a lecture by the writers behind the incredible Recording the Beatles), it only felt natural and almost strangely “logical” that I would bump into the show’s supervisor Geoff Emerick himself in the corridors of Albert Hall. The sound engineer on Revolver (the best record ever made!) among many many others. A very important person in developing the sound of the Beatles. As concert producer and promoter Stig Edgren says: “Geoff is instrumental to the aspect of authenticity because nothing that you see or hear in the show is fabricated. We’re not fictionalising what it was like in the studio. For every song we have a schematic drawing on where the members of the Beatles were, where the vocal booths were, where the instruments were.”. So, as you can understand, Geoff Emerick is THE GUY. I can certainly recommend his book Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. It’s an amazingly entertaing book who brings you inside the studio with the Beatles in a way that no other book that I can remember does. It doesn’t deal with family histories, groupies, business, tours, drugs, and all that other (also interesting) stuff. It focuses on the recording of the music in a unique way. And I don’t think you have to be a musician to enjoy it.

When I spotted Geoff, of course I asked (kindly, I hope) for the possibility of a selfie together with him. He was very nice, and willingly accepted to pose in a picture. I presented myself as a “musician from Sweden” (which is true, right?) and I handed him my flyer for my debut album Soundshine. He looked at it and jokingly said “–I will frame this!”. So I’m hoping that beside his multi-platinum discs for Revolver, Sgt Pepper, and Abbey Road he will now have on his living room wall, framed, the flyer of the Paul McCartney of Piteå, David Myhr.

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All in all, a Friday evening in my taste!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 


New video for “Oh Susie” (Secret Service cover)

Posted: April 18th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , | Comments

Less than a month after the video premiere of the Elvis Costello cover “Veronica”, it’s now time for yet another video premiere. This time it’s the recent singles B-side “Oh Susie” that has been honored with a video clip.

Read the full background story on the “Veronica” / “Oh Susie” single in this blog post or at this release page over at my label Lojinx.

“Oh Susie” can be found both on iTunes and Spotify.

In the video you will find the three performers on the track which are:

David Myhr – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, harpsichord
Hanna Ekström – strings
Andreas Dahlbäck – drums, percussion

The video editing and post production is made by Todd Productions, Inc.

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“Vänta inte på mig” – new single from David Myhr – in Swedish!

Posted: November 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , | Comments

There’s not been much news here on my blog since The Day I met Paul McCartney. It’s kind of hard to match I guess. Since then I’ve been slowly adjusting back to normality. But there has more great moments. One of the true highlights was to see Jeff Lynne’s E.L.O. live in concert in Hyde Park in his first festival concert in over 28 years. Check out my wife and I helping Jeff out with the background vocals here.

I’ve also made an interview (in Swedish) with Radio 88 where I talk about everything from my religion which is The Beatles, my former hometown Piteå, my favorite hang out Noels, my former band The Merrymakers, my work at Luleå tekniska universitet to the fact that I’ve now released my debut album Soundshine on vinyl as well as how it was meeting a Japanese audience (a couple of years ago) 15 years too late… 

But the BIG NEWS today is – I have a NEW SINGLE out: “VÄNTA INTE PÅ MIG”!!!

The single is released on the world’s best record label Lojinx and is distributed by Border in Sweden. This is my first (and last?) record release in my native language Swedish. “Vänta inte på mig” means “Don’t Wait for Me” in English and “No Me Esperes” in Spanish.

The song is the result of a new songwriting collaborationship that came about when film music composer Jimmy Lagnefors (En gång i Phuket, Sommaren med Göran, Solstorm, Bröllopsfotografen, Mammas Pojkar) invited me to the delicate task of writing a song that “could have been the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest winner forty years ago”. The song plays a crucial part in the coming romantic comedy Micke & Veronica which is the big Swedish cinema release this upcoming Christmas featuring David Hellenius and Isabella Scorupco.

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In the movie itself you will not hear me singing though. In the key scene where the song is featured it will be performed live with one of the actors behind the vocal microphone. This means that the single I’m releasing today will be the only official studio version of the song and it will be featured on the film’s soundtrack in the near future. 

 

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With Jimmy Lagnefors at his Sideshow Studios Sthlm.

 

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Jimmy and I together with Andras Dahlbäck who played the drums at his Durango Recording.

Check out “Vänta inte på mig” on iTunes and Spotify!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The day I met Paul McCartney

Posted: August 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

“A day in the life” I will never forget.

 

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Maybe I’m amazed? No, forget maybe. I’m amazed! Here’s my story. I want to share it with you in case you just like me have had this dream for some time. I’ve been very thankful over the years for being able to listen to or read about any story about meetings with Paul McCartney (whether it has been one of my lucky friends or some famous person like Dave Grohl, Ozzy Osbourne, president Obama or whoever…). So this is my little contribution to the mythology of meeting a true legend. I met Bob Dylan in 1992 (which I will blog about some other time). And that was as high in the world of popular music as you can get. At least in theory, since he was the only person (except for Elvis Presley) that The Beatles themselves were dying to meet when they came to America back in 1964. But still – for me, and millions of other people around the globe, nothing beats meeting a Beatle! (As comedian Dana Carvey so well describes here). It will take a while to read so enjoy your favorite beverage and put on your choice of music on Spotify. You can for instance, just as a suggested starting point, choose between my solo debut album Soundshine or Paul McCartney’s second solo album RAM.

As everyone who knows me know very well… I breathe The Beatles. They are my religion. I was born in 1970, only some forty days before the Beatles officially broke up. My fascination with the band, however, began after the tragic death of John Lennon when I was only 10 years old. Already a month later I held my first “lecture” about the Beatles in school, and when I was eighteen, I went on national television in a quiz show on the subject. In 1994, my last year in university, I played and sang the role of Paul McCartney in an insanely ambitious project – the world premiere of Sgt Pepper Live. We performed the whole album both in a choir version and in an original version featuring the three of us in The Merrymakers in the roles of John, Paul, and George. We ended up going on tour with an ensemble of more than 150 people from my hometown of Piteå, via Stockholm (with a show at Cirkus) to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre to perform for an audience including John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia and the mayor of Liverpool. In the preparations for the project I got to meet Beatles’ legendary producer Sir George Martin. We also did the whole Beatles tourist trip including visits to the barber shop at Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. I also got the opportunity to chat with Cynthia Lennon at the after-party, and I even signed autographs in the street the next day AS Paul McCartney. My little “hobby” had kind of gotten out of hand. (More about this Sgt Pepper Live project later in the fall since ”it was twenty years ago today”…)

 

Singing “Lovely Rita” at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in Liverpool, 1994.

Anyway, after all this I thought that it was time to prioritize our own music and so we did with The Merrymakers in the 90’s. (see me singing “April’s Fool” with the Merrymakers here). But as much as I tried to tone it down… the Beatles stayed with me and almost increasingly so. Apart from the enormous influence they’ve had on my own songwriting, musicianship, production and general attitude in life, little Beatle-related things always seemed to happen. I sang (again with The Merrymakers) ”No More Lonely Nights” on an American McCartney tribute album (check it out here), I give lectures every year about the Beatles at various institutions, I’m regularly making performances performing Beatles music in Sweden, Finland, and in Spain, from my one-man act ”The Living Beatles Jukebox” to being a part of bigger productions… and a couple of years ago it even led to me recording in the Abbey Road Studio! For full report and video from that exciting day see this old blog post. So… as you can see… I’m in full agreement with one of my other heroes, Tom Petty, on whom, like for so many others, The Beatles have had a ”great profound effect on my life” and the following words from him ring true for me as well:”I still think the Beatles [made] the best music ever, and I’m sure I’ll go to my grave thinking the same thing.”

So I met Sir George Martin, I met Cynthia Lennon, I even bothered James McCartney and Olivia Harrison to pose for “selfies” with me. And of course I have seen Paul McCartney live many times. Beginning in 1989 when I saw him twice in Stockholm (and once in London –I just couldn’t get enough!). And every tour since then that passed by Stockholm. And again in London a couple of times in later years. Every time it has been just as emotional and every time I have been so thankful that I have been able to see him in concert. And hey! Not to forget… I saw Ringo in concert too (at Gröna Lund in Stockholm)!!!

But yet… there was one piece of the puzzle still missing. I never got to meet a Beatle in person… I’ve been kind of “close”. And sometimes not so close. I remember for instance how frustrated I was when he was in my quarters on the island of Kungsholmen in Stockholm in the late 90’s when he wanted to get his mind off the loss of his very very loved “long-haired lady” Linda. Lovely Linda! So he came over to ”hang out” with some very loosely selected current songwriters and I thought, ”that should have been me! Or if not – at least someone really important like Benny Andersson of ABBA!” And then at  The Royal Albert Hall in 2012 (where I bumped into Ron Wood!) I was kind of close to be able to attend a “meet and greet” afterwards through the help of a good musician friend of mine with some very important Paul-related connections. But it ended up with me circling around outside the arena for a couple of hours in the cold and finally not even seeing Paul’s exit from the building. I’m not saying it wasn’t worth the effort. But still… it didn’t happen then. And I kept dreaming (and I mean for real – and regularly – just ask my wife…). Until on the 31st of July, 2014, when it finally happened!

Through my work and my position as a senior lecturer in song writing and music production the School of Music in Piteå (my staff profile here), I had the wonderful opportunity earlier this year to go and see how they work over at the music department at LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) – the school that Paul McCartney is the Lead Patron for. Housed in the building that Paul himself attended as a young boy in the fifties. I was told that Paul traditionally attends graduation every year and I, being the open and straight-forward person I am, didn’t make any great attempts to hide the fact that I am a life-long, highly devoted Beatles fan, with one of my biggest dreams (well that’s a lie… it should be THE biggest dream) being to one day meet Paul McCartney in person. And to my great luck, it turned out they welcomed me as a guest to the event alongside people like Billy Ocean, and other leading figures in the entertainment industry.

So as if on auto-pilot I flew over to Liverpool, took in at the fab gear Hard Day’s Night Hotel (with John and George watching over my bed as you can see in picture below). I did my regular visit to Matthew Street, to the Cavern, and I even went to one of the pubs John, Stuart, Cynthia and other art school people used to hang out at, the legendary Ye Cracke. But again… this is just the ”normal” touristy Beatles-nerdy stuff that anyone of the 600,000(!) people coming every year to Liverpool can do while walking in the footsteps of The Fab Four. (As Howard Sounes points out in his book FAB; “it’s a fact that, alongside that of Elvis Presley, the Beatles are now the object of the most obsessive cult in popular music”). All these things are really worthwhile (for true fans) and great fun and very emotional… but still…. nothing beats meeting Beatle Paul himself… so here’s my recollection of what actually happened:

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The two Beatles that sadly no longer are with us are watching over my bed at Hard Day’s Night Hotel.

I attended the graduation ceremony which turned out to be an enormously well executed event by LIPA. The 280 students nicely lined up on stage sporting their traditional academic regalia and a whole auditorium filled with parents, family and friends from all over the world. And suddenly, accompanied by pompous music, in comes a procession with Paul in the lead together with Mark Heather-Featherstone-Witty OBE, Founding Principal and Chief Executive of LIPA. And after them, all of those who were to become LIPA Companions including (most importantly to me) the ”not the son of Phil Spector” (as he puts it himself in his Twitter bio), but rather the son of Sir George Martin, the very talented and highly successful Giles Martin.  Paul was in the building! And he looked fresh, fit, smart, stylish and as much of a superstar as he always has been. Such an exciting moment! He was kind of half-dancing his way through the audience as he passed me by only a few metres away from where I was sitting on row 4. Once he reached the stage, he was put in the center where he remained for another three hours. Yes, three hours. It might sound long for a ceremony but it was highly entertaining to see when Paul shook hands and posed for pictures with each and everyone of the graduating students as they got their diplomas. All of the LIPA Companions also held very inspirational and funny speeches to the graduates giving them advice about how to make it in the tough business of performing arts. Sir Paul himself offered his own guidance in his speech at the very end. He joked students should ignore what they had learned from tutors and said his advice was to “be yourself”. As Liverpool Echo reported in this article he said: “I just love to come here and see this amount of talent, this amount of hopefulness, the spirit, about to be launched into the world. Just go out there, be wonderful and be yourself.”.

 

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After the wonderful graduation ceremony at LIPA.

What was even better was that I, as LIPA’s guest, was invited to a private reception after the official ceremony. This was an unbelievable honor, and something that I will be forever grateful to LIPA for. I didn’t really know what exactly to expect from this occasion. A ”meet and greet” that maybe, maybe… maybe… would include Sir Paul himself… and lo and behold, only minutes after I arrived myself and was served a glass of champagne, there he was! In the same room. Starting to mingle around and greet people and exchange a few words here and there. Basically doing the same thing as everybody else. Very early on I realized that Paul has a LOT of other VERY important people to say ”hi” to so I kept a low profile enjoying my vegetarian (what else?) egg and mayonnaise sandwich while at the same time enjoying the beautiful view of the river Mersey. All the time thinking to myself: Well… here I am. Little David from Piteå, Sweden, with my little career in pop music… and over there… there’s this other guy. Big Paul from Liverpool, England, with the biggest career ever in the history of show business. The most successful songwriter of all times. But we were both there. Just mingling.

Collage by http://jlghrspm6470.deviantart.com

 

And then… suddenly…. before I knew it… a woman took Paul aside and they started to walk right in my direction. Towards me!? It took a split second to realize that they were actually heading towards an older couple that was standing right behind me. And on his way over… (this is where my memory is starting to ”black out”) Paul ”saw me standing there”. Alone. With a dumbfounded look on my face. (My champagne glass strategically put on the table beside me in order to keep my hands free for any eventuality). I was obviously not able to look elsewhere as he approached me. And on his way to the people just behind me he suddenly reaches out his hand to me saying “-Hey! How are you, man…?” (or something similar) as he might be thinking ”well this guy here doesn’t seem to have anyone to talk to – and since he’s here in the first place, he probably wouldn’t mind shaking hands with me so why not….”. Or something like that.Who knows what he thought…. anyway, he did reach out his hand. To me! And the realization that Paul McCartney was coming towards me with his hand reached out kind of freaked me out. (I remember reading a funny story when Meg Ryan’s sister was introduced to Paul in the 90’s and puked from her nervousness. So it could have been worse.) People who know me can attest that I am usually not a shy guy. Not at all. And if someone “important” is supposed to be approached, I always seem to have been the one who’s had to do it. But this… this was different. To me, it was like Superman himself would come out of the movie, or Napoleon from the history books, or something… reaching out his hand. It was JUST surreal.

I took him up on the invitation and shook his hand. That hand! The “I want to hold your hand” hand… the hand that invented the intricate fingering on the guitar for “Blackbird”. That performed the wonderful bass line on “Something”. That played ”Live and Let Die”…  the list is endless. Mindblowing!

OK, so NOW was the time for my very well thought-through once-in-a-lifetime ”elevator pitch.” How many times during the last thirty years haven’t I been asked ”–What would you say if you ever were to meet Paul McCartney?” I remember for instance an after-show talk over beers almost ten years ago with some of my students. I made an impromptu dramatization of such a fictitious moment that lasted over five minutes including how I got nervous, things I said wrong, and so on… my students, laughed and we all concluded maybe it’s better if it doesn’t happen.

So, in the middle of the hand-shake my mouth started making moves intended to formulate something articulate, wise, tongue-in-cheek, and with a certain level of sophistication and catchiness at the same time in order to make Sir Paul interested in me, my life, my music ”career”, and what I had to say….

On my way over to England, I had not managed to decide on anything specific to say. The same way as when I teach or give lectures, or even go on stage. I very rarely know exactly what to say. Even though my intention always is to have it planned beforehand. Just like my brother Niklas Myhr on his way to his classes as a marketing professor in California I have a tendency to think: ”-It is going to be interesting to hear what I am going to say today”. Scary. But I’ve come to know myself and trust my instincts.

But this day… well… I can say it already. It didn’t work! In the back of my head, I’ve been thinking ever since the day I ”was Paul” in Liverpool in 1994 I’ve been considering saying something along the lines of: ”-Hey Paul! Incredibly great to meet you!!! You know, you really did change my life. For real! I know thousands of people have said that you over the years. But again, it’s really true! And you made me become a musician! And I’m very happy for that. It’s not that I’m very well-known or anything but back in the 90’s I had a band called The Merrymakers and we had quite a bit of success in Japan. I’ve gone solo now and have an album out on an English label called Lojinx. And another high point as a musician was when we did your masterpiece Sgt Pepper… live! From beginning to end. As close to the original as possible. With a full symphony orchestra. I sang your songs, man! It was fantastic to sing”She’s leaving home” with a string section. Loved singing”Getting Better”, ”Fixing a hole,” and ”When I’m sixty-four”…. the whole lot! And it was wonderful to be there! At the Liverpool Empire!!! It was where you played your last show ever in Liverpool with the Beatles in 1965, wasn’t it? And it was certainly a thrill! A memory for life! And here I am with you now! It’s crazy! By the way I was once called the ’Paul McCartney’ of Piteå (that’s where I grew up) in the local paper. And they even called me to ask for my “view” when you released ”Free as a bird”. Man, Jeff Lynne did a great job there, didn’t he? I really love Jeff! And… also, we once covered ‘No More Lonely Nights’ for a tribute record to the memory of Linda. Did you ever get to listen to that record? It was great. Neil Finn was on it! But whereas all the others chose your predictable 70’s hits, we chose your underestimated 80’s song. You know it really does have  a wonderful melody…. uhmm… you should play it live yourself sometime… but anyway, man… thank you thank you thank you… for everything you have done… I love RAM… I love your first album McCartney… I love the Beatles. I love Wings. love all your stuff… thank you Paul!!!!”

Something like that was what I would have wanted to say (in lack of some wise comment that really could evoke his interest, whatever that would be… vegetarianism…. “Meat Free Monday”…. the pubs in Liverpool…?). But instead this came out (recollections from a black-out): ”–Hi…! Wonderful pleasure… to meet you…. I once did… Sgt Pepper Live…. twenty years…. here in Liverpool….. uhmmm…..”.

By which time. Paul was already heading past me. Towards the people he was actually going to say hello to (I later figured out that the woman who had taken Paul aside most likely had said: ”-You should meet my parents!”). He heard me fumbling with the words… and noticed that I wanted to express something… but being the professional he is… he had to prioritize… and in the end…. I think I heard him saying, as he turned his head against me one last time, something like ”cheers, mate!” And it was kind of a relief for me. Because I could stop looking for words. And instead just take a step back. Trying to realize what just had happened. I started to grab for my iPhone in order to maybe get some kind of discrete photo of him. (We had been kindly informed, since it was a private occasion, to not ask Paul to pose for photographs or ask for autographs, which itself was kind of a relief, instead of having to worry about selfies at the same time of a potential hand shake). As I was grabbing for my iPhone in my little bag I noticed my hand shaking considerably. When I took it up it kind of dawned upon me… that was it! It just happened! David… you just shook his hand! That was all you wanted! Relax!!! And already then. A minute afterwards it was already surreal. Did it happen? Yes. It happened!!!

So I took a deep breath. Went on with my champagne. I made a quick analysis of the situation. The highly entertaining founder Mark Featherstone-Witty was carefully guiding Paul through the meet and greet. He seems extremely passionate for the school and its students and had made a remarkable speech earlier about the importance of performing arts in academia. Mark came up to me and said hello and we exchanged a few words. And so did his lovely wife. I felt very well taken care of. A little bit further away some of the teachers were standing, including Martin Isherwood, the head of the music department, whom I was fortunate enough to have gotten to know a little bit through work. So I knew I had somewhere to go after this unbelievable moment. But still… there he was. Still only a couple of meters away. I could almost hear what he was saying to people but obviously I didn’t want to intrude. So in a last attempt to capture the moment forever, and to be able to show my grandchildren one day, I thought… Ok… I’m not going to ask him for a photo. But since other people were doing just that. I thought to myself. Well if they do… there shouldn’t be a problem if I take a photo of the photo shoot so to speak. And in these times of ”selfies” I thought I’d better make one. And I wouldn’t “mind” to have Paul in the background. So that’s what I did. And between us is the above mentioned Mark Featherstone-Witty. So with all the love and respect for everybody involved in this occasion and for those that made it happen. I want to express a very humble, and deep gratitude. Looking very much forward to finding ways of working together in the future!

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Sir Paul McCartney, Mark Heather-Featherstone-Witty OBE, and David Myhr.

Afterwards… well… what can I say… I was deeply moved by the occasion. Obviously extremely nervous. I chatted to some people here and there. And I left the arena some half hour later. The first thing I did was to call my wife Paula (for whom, by the way, I wrote “The One” in typical Macca fashion). She was anxiously waiting for my update. After all… even minutes before the ceremony started I wasn’t sure that Paul was going to turn up at all. For any possible reason. Busy schedule to begin with (to say the least). But, as a dedicated follower I was well aware that his U.S. tour wasn’t going to start over again until two days later. In Minneapolis. Two days? Is that really enough. I mean he’s 72… but in theory it should be possible. But still. And only recently he had to cancel a few shows in Japan due to some mysterious virus. But that whole incident had blown over luckily. And I had seen in the papers Paul was back on track even enjoying a nice vacation in Ibiza with his beautiful wife Nancy. But even the smallest flu could have stopped him from attending. Or whatever… I don’t know. I just couldn’t fully count on being in the same room this day. But, as you can see, he was… and very much so!

Paula could clearly hear over the phone back in Spain how shaken I was and how taken I was by the experience. I was truly moved. My voice even cracking up from time to time when I was trying to tell her that… “Yes… it worked!”. Mission accomplished! She shared the excitement with me because as anyone who knows me… and she knows me best… she knows what it meant to me. And so did more than five hundred(!) friends and followers on Facebook on my artist page. (Feel free to check out the more than one hundred comments (and my response to each and everyone of them) in my post from this day. I am truly, deeply thankful for all the supporting comments I’ve received there!

So after that I was on a “high” that still is lasting. It just felt logical the day after to take a guided tour to the childhood homes of John and Paul. Enormously interesting and so well executed and presented with so much personality, love and respect by Colin and Sylvia Hall of the National Trust. They really made those young days of the ”lads that shook the world” (to use one of the old clichés) come alive. As I was walking through his house, playing (as always when I see a piano) “Lady Madonna”, walking through the rooms where John and Paul rehearsed and wrote their first hits. I was thinking. I met him. Yesterday!!! And all my troubles seemed very far away…

 

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At Paul’s childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool.

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Soundshine on LP!!!

Posted: July 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Good news vinyl fans! 

Just like that. Out of the blue! While you’re all out there lazing on all the sunny afternoons I am delighted to bring you a little surprise from the David Myhr record label head quarters at Lojinx, England. Soundshine is available as of TODAY on vinyl. Yes indeed! A real 33 13 rpm microgroove vinyl record. An LP (Long Play)! Get your copy now by clicking this link: http://ljx.cc/soundshine

Up until now I’ve been watching the whole vinyl revival thing from a distance. I’ve remained a digital guy, fascinated as I am with streaming services like Spotify. Having said that, there’s a particular magic about the old LP format that not even I can resist. It obviously has a lot to do with nostalgia. As a small kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s the LP was the medium on which I discovered music (alongside the cassette). I’ll never forget when my sister-in-law Agneta borrowed me her copies of The Beatles red and blue albums. Or how I went to the local record store and bought my own copy of Paul McCartney’s then brand new Tug of war. Not to mention browsing through my brother Niklas record collection discovering David Bowie, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, and other “hip and happening” artists (as you can see I was retro even as a twelve-year-old).
In a (very) old blog post I wrote about how I miss record stores and now the time has come to admit that I also miss the smell, the sound, and above all the look of the LP format. And finally, the longing after something “real” became so strong that I decided to put some hard-earned money into making a vinyl version of Soundshine in hope there’s at least a few people out there that just like me are looking forward to opening it up in the new format, to enjoy the artwork (now bigger than ever!), read the lyrics, the never-ending thank you list, the credits, and everything on the inner sleeve. (Stuff that seems to be completely forgotten these days but which for us music nerds is half the fun). And then to put down the needle and enjoy listening to something so old-fashioned as a “Side A”, flip it over, and then “Side B”.
The two last songs will differ from the digital version. The backwards mumbo jumbo at the end of “Icy Tracks” is gone and the never-ending outro of “Ride Along” is somewhat shortened. This is due to the physical limitations of the LP format. But funnily enough I think it (if possible?) actually may increase the listening experience.
Included with the album is a digital download in case you (just like me) don’t yet have your vinyl player set up. In other words you can still enjoy the packaging and hang it on the wall alongside your Nickelback, and Michael Bolton album covers (they’re the ones you’re supposed to mention when you’re being ironic, right?).
If you didn’t yet familiarize yourself with the album Soundshine from 2012 (see release blog post here) – please check out some quotes here.
I know you’re in the middle of your summer cocktail right now, but hey – a copy of this very exclusive edition is  just a click away at the Lojinx store for 15£ (including V.A.T.).
Peace and love!

Soundshine LP