How-To: A low budget music photo shoot… in your kitchen

Last winter, I had an idea for a single cover, but didn’t have the budget to plan a whole professional photo shoot. So I started brainstorming ways to take the photo within the confines of our tiny apartment – and that is how this came about: 

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If you haven’t heard the song: –> YOU CAN LISTEN HERE <–! But the motive of today’s blog post is to give away all of my secrets, step-by-step, and perhaps convince you that you too can take a photo in your kitchen and use it for a professional endeavor. I mean, if you want to of course. 

1. Dream up an idea 

2.  Notice that the light looks best streaming through the kitchen window in the winter

3.  Schedule the photo shoot for a Saturday morning in January

4.  Spend a few cold winter nights making a basket-full of paper cranes out of light grey paper that you could only seem to find in bulk at Office Depot (about $11.00)

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5.     Go to the fabric store and find three things: 1. The very last piece of shiny, iridescent fabric (about $12) and 2. a spool of shiny, iridescent basket filling material ($4.99) 3. Clear Fishing Thread (~$3.75) 4. Painters tape (I already had this, but I think it’s about $3 at Home Depot)

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6.     Take the original fabric that you had used as shutter curtains (shown above) off, and (using the painters tape), temporarily replace with the basket filling material. Make sure you remember that this new material is see-through and does not count as curtains!

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7.     Take the clear fishing thread and cut long pieces to hang from the ceiling (also using painters tape). Stand on a step stool to tape the birds to the ceiling (try not to fall)

8.     Take your piano bench – which just happens to be the perfect height – and set it in front of the window

9.     Invite your mom, Kathy, over to help you with the camera (thanks mom you are the best!). Adjust the settings how you want them, and take a bunch of photos

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10.  Choose the one that you’d like to use, and send to your super-talented friend/colleague Camilla to work some magic…because I don’t know about you but stovetops do not belong on a song cover unless, of course, the song is about a stove, or cooking, or something that I probably won’t write about any time soon. 

11.  And there ya go! Those are all the kitchen-based photo shoot secrets I have for today…and probably for a while. A few months at least. 

xoxo, 

roriesig

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new music coming soon!

Dear Friends,

Helloooo! I’m here today to tell you a bit about a new project I’m about to release this Fall. I had the opportunity to work with an incredible producer named Tommee Profitt: and we created a 4 song EP that I couldn’t be more excited to share with you! Here’s a little video where I tell you this same thing in a little more detail, with a few too many attempts at an intro:

The first single – DAWN – drops Friday, September 15 (and the full EP will be out in November), and I am asking for YOUR help. If you love what you hear, these are a couple things you can do:

  1. Share with your music-loving friends and family, both online and in person!
  2. Follow on Spotify / Subscribe on YouTube / Instagram / Facebook – I mean, you get it. There are people asking you to do this all the time, but it really does help, and I would sure love to share lots of great content with you this season!
  3. Add the song(s) to your Spotify/Apple Music Playlists! Playlists are huge right now for artists!
  4. Leave a Review on iTunes – it really does help when people are browsing around to discover new tunes!
  5. I am always writing and planning to make more music – but before I make an album or anything like that, I am needing to grow to be able to afford a big project (or even another small project). If you really want to support these projects financially, you can download the song on iTunes for $1.29, or on Bandcamp (where you can name your price – they’ll be up here when the full EP releases). Huge thank yous to those who have tipped on ConcertWindow this year – you help to make this possible, and I am constantly blown away by your support!

I can honestly say that it is your support and friendship that keeps me writing new songs and I am FOREVER grateful to share this journey and great passion with you.

Thanks again for everything. Can’t wait to share these songs with you.

Yours Truly, ❤

roriesig

a dress with a story

I found this dress for the second of three high school dances that I actually went to. (tbh, I spent most of the dance running around the hallway with my friends and having a Twizzler eating contest at the snack table.)

Then, the dress made its way into the first set of photos for my first ever music project. Let’s just say that my stage name at the time was “Bird in a Belltower” (inspired by a John Keats poem, of course) and there was a Myspace Music page involved…

The dress prevailed through the years and still somehow managed to be a part of the first Rorie photos, by my friend Andy Paulissen.

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I’m still finding excuses to wear this dress whenever I can (which sometimes means just wearing it around the house, because black tulle and sparkly teal polka dots are my jam). As someone who doesn’t shop for clothes that often (or at least, when I do go shopping, it’s really hard for me to find something that I like or fits right! anyone relate? anyone want to learn how to sew with me?), I love finding that one outfit that I can wear over and over (washing it between uses, of course – lol, did I need to explain that?).

Do you have a piece of clothing that tells a story?

xoxo,

roriesig

dwell in possibility

“I dwell in possibility…”

Oh Emily Dickinson, the required reading excitement (or demise) of every middle and high school student in the US. I’ll admit though, I absolutely loved the poetry topic. Even though it only came once a year, I found a friend in each poet that we studied.

The other day I was feeling particularly distraught about something, when suddenly this thought popped into my mind: “I dwell in possibility.” I remembered that the poem was supposedly written about the power of poetry over prose, which I can still relate to – and could still write about, but the thought spiraled into a different analysis. My first thought? “So do I, Emily Dickinson, so do I.” And so do a lot of people, probably.

Most people who know me well would probably not describe me as “optimistic.” I tend to over-analyze and dive straight into the worst emotions – because if I don’t deal with them right away, they will linger. But this quote helped me to remember that there are other forms of “optimism”: one is hope (which deserves its own post), and the other, possibility. Does anyone else feel particularly wired to dwell in possibility? Constantly envisioning “what could be.” Always dreaming up something new. Thriving off of that adrenaline rush that makes you create. Somehow finding a way to keep moving forward and to keep risking your pride for the sake of seeing “what might happen.” Not to be confused with restlessness or discontentedness. There might be a fine line between them, but I think you can be content/grateful and still be a dreamer.

I started thinking about the “letdown” that dwelling in possibility can bring. That heightened heart-rate that drives you to pursue a “new idea” or a “new possibility,” only to realize that it was a dead end. The embarrassment of being vulnerable only to be received with the remarks of an unimpressed critic.

Sometimes it seems like it would be better to just go through the motions – no dreams, no new ideas. Just wander, gracefully floating through whatever might come our way. But reality has shown me how much I don’t want to live a life like that. Learn to work hard and keep a level-head, but always “keep some room for the unimaginable.”

In fact, I don’t think that being wired for possibility is such a bad thing. We were created for a reason and, to quote C.S. Lewis:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

xoxo,

roriesig

ADP_2658edit1photo by Andy Paulissen, dancer Jordan Ippolito for this video

#FridayIntroductions

Hello, this is Rorie. My real person name is Erin Rea Ochocki – but people have called me Rorie as a nickname and a joke for years (it started with Gilmore Girls, referencing Rory, but then took on a life of it’s own, which is a long and slightly hilarious story for another day). But soon enough it became my stage name – because no one wants to try and say “Ochocki,” and there’s about a 75% chance that you are pronouncing it wrong in your head anyway. But that doesn’t matter, because you can remember how to pronounce “Rorie” and you’re good to go. I’m in my mid-twenties and I currently live by the river on the line of Alexandria, VA and Washington D.C.

Anyways, my blog is a good place to go for anyone who has ever wondered more of the story behind “roriemusic.” I’m trying to share my heart a bit more on here, for those who are interested in the real life side of my story. I’d recommend scrolling back to some of the archived posts (there aren’t too many yet, so it won’t take you a million years) for more heart-sharing. If there’s something else you want to read about (that doesn’t involve the revealing of my deepest, darkest secrets), please suggest away! Who knows, maybe you’ll relate to or resonate with something in here too.

It wasn’t until four years ago that I felt that first feeling of coming “full circle.” I had a blog under a different name, and wrote some pretty honest posts that are now nowhere to be found (I tried to search for them, and actually can’t find them)…but I do remember referencing a story from a Beth Moore bible study series. She talked about how, when she was a kid, she used to line her stuffed animals up in a row and pretend she was a teacher. Over time, she became increasingly shy and nervous to share her gift and dream with others. But one day, she found herself writing a book and speaking at conferences, and that was when she felt this feeling of coming full-circle…she wasn’t scared anymore. But it didn’t just happen. It was a whole journey to get there.

A LOT has happened since I wrote that first post about that feeling: I moved to New York, worked at a really interesting non-profit called Nomi Network, where I learned more about the world and the presence and importance of hope, learned to perform on stage again without feeling SUPER nervous (you may or may not know this about me – it depends on whether you know me in person or online: I’m naturally fairly introverted, but I love people a lot and have learned over the years to share more of myself as an artist and person without being too shy), met the man of my dreams (very unexpectedly! this is definitely a story for yet another day), moved to DC, married that guy!, started this thing called “Rorie,” 🙂 started working a second job (again, and again), missed a lot of my friends, met new friends, released an EP, made mistakes, laughed a lot, cried a lot, etc.. You can assume there is a lot being left out of this description, and none of this has exactly concluded…it keeps going on in one way or another, and I guess, if we’re looking at it this way: a circle never ends.

I’ve had this feeling lately that there isn’t going to be just one moment in life that shimmers with a sense of arrival. Sometimes we are led out of a season, but we are always led into something else. Because life is not so much about what you do: your career, your accomplishments, etc. but more about who you are.

For me, music is something I do (and love, a whole lot): but not who I am. I am a follower of Christ, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. Everything I do should be an out-pouring of that first title on the list. Loving because I have been loved. Listening because there is something to be learned. Writing because there is something to be said. Singing because, how can I not? 

Knowing who you are first will bring life into everything you do in this life. And realizing that this summer feels like coming full circle all over again.

if you’d like to read more: click here to find my first ever Rorie blog post, and scroll back through some old ones to catch up – lots of new and fun content coming this fall!

xoxo,

roriesig

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the details, pt. II

the details, pt 2.  // the taste of sound when you’re playing the piano.

sometimes, it’s that iconic image of writer + pen + paper, 8am at the kitchen table: free-writing that turns into serious writing that turns into some kind of finished product, and it was a day well spent.

but most of the time, it’s not like that at all. it’s the lyric that pops into your brain on the way to the dry-cleaners. humming a line into your phone while stopped at the stoplight. waking up in the middle of the night to scribble something in your journal so you don’t forget.

it’s the worst things in life turning into the best songs. it’s the best things in life that make you dance. it’s the taste of sound when you’re playing the piano. it’s the feeling when you’re at a concert and all of the sudden there’s something new humming through your head, buzzing.

it’s watching (over and over again) everything that you didn’t understand suddenly making sense. making sense of the misunderstood, over and over again. pen + paper + whenever it happens, over and over again.

the details, pt. 1 here

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a journal in a dusty box in our basement

So this is going to sound strange, but I’ve been trying to figure out how to write a blog post about sometimes being too shy to post on my blog. I am literally always writing, and every once and a while I have this burst of inspiration where I get super excited to hit publish.

And then sometimes (a lot of times), I write tons of posts and leave them sitting there in the draft box. Or I find myself hitting the backspace key until there’s basically nothing on the page.

The other thing that got me thinking about this came as a result of traveling a couple of weeks ago. Steven and I went to Michigan to work with a producer who I actually met way back in high school on a youth group trip to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His band was the worship band at the meeting place for a few of the groups that were there during that week! This recent experience got me thinking about that high school trip, and I rummaged through a box of old journals to find the one that I had written in that summer.

First off: let’s talk about the little squares that I decorated this journal with (particularly the one that says “ew, i hate gossip” LOL – see photo below). Does anyone remember those websites that would have hundreds of little square photos and designs, and you could “right click save as”? I specifically remember spending a humid summer evening sitting at my desk in my childhood bedroom, powering on the bulky, ugly cream colored monitor that my dad had built out of used parts at a computer show (kind of cool, actually), connecting to the erols DIAL-UP internet and spending hours happily saving square photo after square photo to a floppy disk (so that I could transfer them to the family computer, print them out, and tape them around my room…and on notebooks). I can only conclude that this was a precursor to INSTAGRAM and how much I enjoy it now.

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Anyway, back to the inner-contents of this journal that detailed the trip to New Orleans…

I laughed so hard at the ponderings of my 15-year-old self. I think I filled 40 pages of this notebook all during that week-long trip. And it’s because something in me desperately craved to write. To tell the story. To take everything in, and to remember it. There were a bit too many details (like the fact that one of our leaders was wearing a pac man t-shirt, and did you know that there is a burger place there called “Burger Orleans?”) I don’t think that those details necessarily need to make it into a blog post (except that they just did), but there are other details that could.

There was one day on this trip when a bunch of us were goofing around outside, and a police officer drove by shouting at us to get inside the building immediately, as there was a “man shooting a gun” in the area. So there was a group of 30 kids from the DC suburbs scrambling through the doors and running up the stairs in a panic. I read that I was sitting there against the wall in the locked building, thinking about how these kinds of things were very real, and unfortunately very common in the world. My relatively smooth life had kept me distanced from them, as it had to most of the people there. There are more nuances and details to this story – but essentially, one of our adult leaders spoke with us about life and death. She said something like “None of us can avoid death in this life, but what matters is what we choose to believe in and stand for while we are here.” She encouraged us to think eternally, to think outside of our “own little world,” and to pray for the person who was out in the streets with the gun. Yes, this just got really heavy, but that’s something I wrote down that summer. Later that evening, we were escorted out of the building and into our vans by some awesome undercover cops. To a bunch of relatively sheltered teenagers from Virginia, this was an experience. 

Apparently, my life changed big time that week. In rereading this documented story, I realized that I’m now at this point in life where, yes, it’s cool to write things in a journal… but maybe I shouldn’t just keep everything sitting in a dusty box in the basement.

Maybe it’s speaking your fears out loud that helps you overcome them. Or, in this case, writing about them. Do you have any experiences that you’d rather keep buried, but might actually resonate with someone if you told the story?

xoxo,

roriesig