Climate Music Video // Behind the Scenes

We have so many awesome behind-the-scenes photos from filming the “Climate” music video, so I have to share them on the blog! Last summer, Franck and Caitlin e-mailed me and told me about their film company, Open Valve Studios. They said that they had discovered my EP on iTunes and would love to travel to¬†DC (they live in LA) to film a music video! We spent a couple months planning over e-mail and Skype, and then filmed for three long days in early October.

The video shoot was one adventure full of mini-adventures. I decided to tell the stories through photos (here are some of my favorite photos, all by Marie from Open Valve Studios – unless otherwise noted). Click on the photos to read the captions and hear more of the story!

Happy Thanksgiving week! xoxo, Rorie

Books I’ve Read in 2016

… So you can probably tell that I don’t update this blog too often. But I’ve decided that whenever there is something that I want to say that won’t naturally fit in a social media post, I will write it here. (What else should I write about?!)

Last year, I wrote about some of the books that I had read and it was so fun to hear everyone’s responses and ideas for what to read next. So here is a¬†list + mini-descriptions of some of the books I’ve read this year (there are others, but these are the best ones, in no particular order.)

The Language of Flowers,¬†by Vanessa Diffenbaugh-¬†This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I felt like a kid again, reading something profound but not too complex, unable to put it down (although it is a book for adults). It was a story that felt so very real but painted beautifully. Also, a must read for anyone who loves flowers. Thank you to my friend Jessica for recommending this!

Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot – I am always coming across these awesome quotes from Elisabeth Elliot, so I decided that I should read one of her books, and this was the one at the library at the time. It’s an intense memoir of¬†the difficult loss of her¬†husband while on the mission field. Her perspective is incredibly honest.

Mary Oliver Poems – I won’t list out all of the books that I read because one day I literally checked out about 6 of her poetry collections (surprisingly none of them included the typical quotes that I always see from her everywhere), and they were all wonderful. So, if you’re looking for inspiring, modern, beautiful, nature-esque poems, find a Mary Oliver book. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the poems I did read:

What I want to know, please, is what is possible, and what is not. If it is not, then I am for it.” -The Garden, White Pine (yes, yes, and yes.)

the old gold song / of the almost finished year…” – Fall (because, I mean, what a cool way to talk about fall)

The violets, along the river, are opening their blue faces, like small dark lanterns.” – Yes! No!, White Pine

I’ve knelt there, and so have you, hanging onto what you love, to what is lovely. The lake’s shining sheets don’t make a ripple now, and the stars are going off to their blue sleep, but the words are in place – and the fish leaps, and leaps again from that black plush of poem, that breathless space…” -At the Lake, White Pine

“…What if the brook slid downhill just
past your bedroom window so you could listen
to its slow prayers as you fell asleep? What if
the stars began to shout their names, or to run
this way and that way above the clouds? What if
you painted a picture of a tree, and the leaves
began to rustle, and a bird cheerfully sang
from its painted branches? What if you suddenly saw
that the silver of water was brighter than the silver
of money? What if you finally saw
that the sunflowers, turning toward the sun all day
and every day — who knows how, but they do it — were
more precious, more meaningful than gold?” –
How Would You Live Then? 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, and Other Concerns + Why Not Me? by¬†Mindy Kaling: So I was obviously way behind on this, but I finally read the Mindy Kaling book. Hilarious. And then we were visiting our friend Anne in Texas on the way to Oklahoma,¬†and she had ‘Why Not Me?’¬†sitting on her bookshelf. Part of the magic of reading a book is remembering where you read it, why, and who recommended it to you. I think these stories are part of what makes reading and sharing books with friends special.

When Life Turns Upside Down, by Brannah Bibbs: this book was written by my friend Brannah who lives here in Alexandria. It’s¬†a story all about growing up and figuring out life. She introduces the reader to instantly lovable characters that are very real, and you grow attached to their stories more and more in each chapter. It was so fun to read her debut novel, and I have no doubt we will be hearing more from her as an author in the future!

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf: My memory of reading this book revolves around a rainy, coffeeshop day while waiting for the bus from NYC to DC this past May (while/after filming the “Bells” lyric video – see, it all goes together!). I will be honest and say that I knew I needed to read this book because of the title (lighthouses and I are great friends) – but I also knew that it was going to be a very deep and thoughtful read that makes one think about life, which it was.

A Little Bit Wicked (Kristen Chenoweth autobiography): My friend Lauren and I were browsing the biography section of a used bookstore (ya know, per usual) when she mentioned that she had recently read a Kristen Chenoweth autobiography, and that it was really funny. She let me borrow the book and yes, she was right.¬†I think it’s fun to read about the childhood/young adulthood of successful entertainers – and this one did not disappoint.

I’d love to hear your recommendations on what to read next!

xoxo, Rorie

p.s.- on the topic of books, check out the music video for my song¬†“Storyteller”¬†¬†filmed by Stephen Stonestreet!

Live Performance at Anthropologie

A Friday evening show at Anthropologie in Old Town Alexandria! Friends stopped by to listen to music and browse the fall collection. Shoppers wandered¬†the storefront throughout the evening and enjoyed cupcakes, drinks, and music along the way.¬†Others chose to visit for a date night. It was a great evening! Here are some photos from the event, all taken by Cam Dorinsky. I am wearing the Auralis Lace Top, the Pilcro Serif Mid-Rise Cords in “honey,” and the Monogramic Pendant Necklace, all by Anthropologie. Thank you so much to Anthro Alexandria for hosting me, and to all of you who were there! I love singing for you! Stay tuned for more show announcements soon.

“Storyteller” Video Coming Soon!

So there has been a lot going on lately! Two weeks ago, we filmed a video for my song “Storyteller.” I had been planning this video for a while, pinning pins to Pinterest boards and such, so to actually put those ideas into action was amazing!

I had the opportunity to work with Stephen Stonestreet, a super talented photographer/videographer/creative based in Charlottesville, VA. His sister, Lauren Stonestreet, is also an incredibly talented photographer, dancer, and musician, so she joined us on set!

The entire day was such a blessing. We all had to get up super early because we were traveling to a retreat center in the Shenandoah Valley. This place is a hidden gem, and the drive was incredible. At some point, I got off the highway and found myself driving through miles and miles of woods (which was slightly concerning because my wilderness skills are lacking, although I’m working on them, or probably should be…;p). The weather was springtime to the core, full of lime green leaves and colorful flowers. The sky was cloudy and overcast but there were still streams of sunlight cascading through the trees. All this to say, it was simply gorgeous and I can’t describe how much I needed that drive.

Before I got there, however, I stopped in Warrenton to work with my friend Kat Simpson on make-up. Kat and I knew each other when we were kids (we went to church and dance class together!), but it had been so long since we’d gotten to catch up! I found out that she works as a make-up artist with her company, Ruby Fox Artistry. It was such a blast to work with her and to get to catch up after such a long time! We couldn’t stop talking! Huge shout out to her for dealing with our crazy schedule and allowing me to arrive at her house suuuper early in the morning. If you live in the Northern VA area, be sure to check out her website for make-up for weddings, prom, etc!

After arriving at Shrine Mont, we spent the entire day filming and chasing the sun (there were random downpours throughout the afternoon, but nothing that stopped us from filming!). We filmed in lots of awesome spaces on the retreat center campus, and we ended by filming the last shots in the woods.

Stephen Stonestreet is incredibly skilled and passionate in his craft. Like, whoa. My mind was spinning the entire day, and we were all completely exhausted by the end of it!¬†I don’t want to give away too much about the details of the video (which will be out in mid-June!), but here are just a few photos that I managed to get below! The last one was taken by Stephen Stonestreet in-between scenes. Thankful to have met two new friends, been introduced to a beautiful place in this beautiful state, laughed a lot (and actually cried too), and to have¬†had the blessing to create some art.

UPDATE – the video is now on Youtube here:

EP Update

It’s been an amazing week full of long days and hard work, but we have a really solid start on a new EP that I already cannot wait to share with you!

Working with Chad Copelin and his team in Oklahoma is incredible. It’s so fascinating to team up with them as we mold my acoustic songs into full arrangements. Their style of composition is so in line with what I have dreamed and imagined, sometimes I think it couldn’t possibly be happening!

Some of the songs we chose are ones that I wrote a couple years ago, and others were written just a few months ago. The contrast between the songs and the stories that they tell are pretty emotional for me. I’ve teared up like twenty times.

It’s also been really cool to experience some of Oklahoma, since I have never been here before (or if I have, then it was just driving through, because I don’t remember). The sky is wide open for miles, and the sun is so bright. These small things, like the landscape, have really impacted my ability to relax and dive into the creativity of this project. This¬†place¬†has been a true creative haven.

Being in the studio is definitely one of my favorite parts about making music. After working temp jobs for the past year that were super monotonous (no offense to temp jobs, it’s good that they exist), it’s soooo refreshing to be working on something that I really, really love to do. The long days fly by and I hardly know where they went. I’m also filming a vlog to share with you soon, so be on the lookout next month! & here are some iPhone photos:

Ahhhh! That’s all for now. More soon!
xoxo,
Rorie

Virtual Confetti and New Year’s Reflections

Happy New Year From Rorie

The start of a New Year is a pretty easy time to be a blogger. Here’s what happened last year…and here are some thoughts about the year ahead…so earthshattering, I know;) You’d be surprised, however, at how many times I’ve edited and rewritten this post!

In sharing these photos and stories, I have to emphasize that 2015 was full of ups and downs. There were moments of pure joy, laughter, and crazy excitement, and there were moments of sadness or anxiety. I am thankful for all of those moments.

Because those moments¬†have been continuously teaching me that, when it comes down to it, the things we might view¬†as ‘detours’ are really our life. They are beautiful and unexpected twists that write a better, or at least more interesting, story than we could ever create ourselves. Because there’s far more to life than just getting to where we want to be. Life is in the hope for something greater, and life is in the living right now.

As a way to reflect on the past year, I compiled a little collage above with some of my favorite music photos from 2015.

(Starting in the Top Left Corner)

1 – This is one of the beautiful studios that I recorded at with Sam Ashworth, Richie Biggs, Matt Slocum, and of course my dear friend Jenavene Bazacas – a dream come true!

2 – This is a still from Andy Paulissen’s camera of Jordan Ippolito’s gorgeous dancing. Jordan was my roommate for 4 months in New York! The whole time living in NYC, I kept meeting people in incredible ways that were by no means coincidental. To me, this is¬†evidence of God’s provision over even the tiny details in our lives. Meeting friends like these and many others (including those in our new Alexandria home) have been examples of this!

3 РThis is from a few hours spent recording live takes of some of my songs at Earthwork Recording Studio with an awesome engineer, Brandon Bankes.

4 РAfter a day of searching for a place to film our video in NJ with TJ and Sarah Laury (in the freezing cold, might I add) we finally met someone who knew someone who knew someone who had this beautiful barn. LIFE IS SO COOL SOMETIMES.

5 – This is a photo from a show at Tree House Lounge with my friends Ruthie, Doug, and Allan.

6 – Restore cover designed by my designer friend from college, Camilla Dorinsky.

7 – Amazing time opening for Emily Hearn at Jammin Java with my friend Matt Boyles.

8 – Jordan Ippolito leaping into the air in front of the open barn door. It was so dark in the barn that the camera automatically washed out most of the background, which helped us to start creating the imagery for the song. Andy Paulissen of course worked his magic to create this final photo that¬†I’m kind of obsessed with.

9 – Another photo from Jammin Java taken by a new friend, Jessica Westberg. That evening was so much fun!

10 РTJ Laury: http://www.saltystache.com

11 РAndy Paulissen: http://www.andypaulissen.com

12 –¬†In March, I played my first show in D.C. (which is kind of crazy since I grew up here!) at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It rained a lot, but hey, it was still fun. Thank you to Rodney and Doug for joining me – and thank you to my family and friends¬†who literally stood outside in the pouring rain! I will never forget this act of kindness, hahaha!

13 – Had a blast writing Kickstarter Letters and sending little packages. Can I just send you guys snail mail ALL the time?

14 – Made a ‘lil Christmas medley with Doug and Ruthie.

15 – The Restore project team ūüôā

2015 started off with a Kickstarter Campaign to record my song “Restore” and film a video to go along with it. You all completely blew me away with your support. I had the opportunity to reconnect¬†with many people that I hadn’t had the chance to chat with for a while, and also met brand new friends in the process. It is still so cool to think that a project that I had so much fun working on literally wouldn’t have been possible without all of you.¬†The song will always be sold and I will always be donating the funds.¬†[[itunes: http://smarturl.it/6lbsmg, youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob20GI8tIK8]]

As you may or may not¬†know, I’ve been working a lot to save up funds for my next project.¬†So my goal for¬†2016 is to release a new 5 song EP, and this time I’m doing it right.¬†That being said, there will be many fun surprises along the way, and I am so excited to have¬†you on this journey with me! I am TRULY thankful for each and every one of you and all of your support. Please let me know how I can be praying for you and supporting you in this crazy life we live.

So this concludes my reflections for 2015. To close, I thought I would add on some quotes that have been speaking to me over these past 12 months.

Cheers! oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2 u ūüôā

“Promise me that you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” -Tyler Knott Gregson

“I tell you this to break your heart, by which I ¬†mean only that it would break open and never close again to the rest of the world.” – Mary Oliver

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.'” Isaiah 52:7

“He leads me beside still waters, He Restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2

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Summer Book Club

Reading is a great thing to do all year round, but especially in the summer. I was able to read a few books this season that I really liked!

The first was “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” by Maria Semple. For some reason I didn’t expect this book to be as incredibly clever as it was (it is seriously such a good story!). I guess I judged the book by its cover and thought that it would be a mindless vacation read. It is actually such an endearing story with many details, twists, and turns. It’s a clever mother-daughter-family tale, and very unique to the world it takes place in (you really get a sense of their West Coast life, and I was ironically reading it on my very first visit to the West Coast). You should totally read this!!! If you want to, of course.

Then I picked up “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” by Annie Dillard. I have been meaning to read more of her essay books ever since I read through the entire “An American Childhood” in one long day of temping as a receptionist at an office in NYC. This book, however, took a little more time. I ended up reading it in bits throughout the summer, which isn’t something that I normally do…and I haven’t finished yet. I guess that’s why it’s classified as a collection of “essays,” because it’s not quite one continuous story. ¬†I am, however, intrigued by the way that Dillard observes the world with such care and an attention to detail that very few people are wired to master. You can’t read through a book like this too quickly, or you might miss the profoundness in quotes such as this one:¬†“…that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” Just. so. lovely.

Last year, I was wandering around a NY Barnes and Nobles with a gift card when I saw “Someday, Someday Maybe,” by Lauren Graham, sitting on the “new release” shelf. I was drawn to it because, of course: “Lorelai Gilmore wrote this book!” But I mostly wanted to read it because it was about the journey of an actress trying to “make it” in her field, and all of her experiences. While I am not an aspiring actress, I have a lot of friends who are…and being an aspiring musician/writer isn’t too much different. Needless to say, I didn’t buy the book that day. Instead, I got “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard (since I’ve mentioned this one twice now, you should know that it’s another incredible read, in my opinion, with some of the most lovely descriptions of the most simple things in life – I couldn’t put it down.)

So, this summer I knew that I had to find that Lauren Graham book, which led me to literally 10 different Barnes and Nobles (where it didn’t exist anymore?), and then I finally ordered it on Amazon, which I should have done in the first place because it was waaay cheaper. Anyway, I once again was not expecting this book to be¬†really good (I don’t know why I act like a book snob all the time!), but obviously I wanted to read it, and it’s a good thing I did because…IT IS SUCH A GOOD BOOK. Seriously, any person pursuing a creative field, or really anyone, would laugh out loud reading this book. It’s so relatable, serious, and hilarious all at once. I couldn’t put it down. My favorite passage was this: “‘She’s in a play, remember? But then she quits. She quits acting altogether, almost because she loves it too much. It’s too important to her and she doesn’t want to do it for the wrong reasons, for anything resembling ego. She’s ashamed of herself for even wanting to compete, for ‘not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.’ I always loved that line.'”¬†This is when one of the characters is talking about a J.D. Salinger story, which is an important theme throughout this book. Seriously so relatable. I even feel like I got to know Lauren Graham a little more through reading it. Yup, I would definitely recommend this.

Last but definitely not least: I finally read through “Suprised by Joy,” by C.S. Lewis. I’ve been meaning to read this for a few years now, and my friend Camilla gave it to me as a gift this past spring. Written in Lewis’ classic voice, this was another excellent read. It is full of powerful passages such as this one: “…the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to the prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words¬†compelle¬†intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

And this concludes my first blog post about books.