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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Learning to Pay Attention

I think it was a few days after New Years when I broke down over something random, and then realized that part of the reason for my sadness was simple: somewhere along the way there seemed to be nothing “new” anymore.

A family loss right before Christmas. The quiet of winter. No snow (ha, but really though).

Then this weird thing started happening: everything in life started connecting. For example, I had this idea to write a series on my blog about “the details.” I’d pick an everyday scenario (eg, coming home from work at the end of the day) and then write down a series of details, trying to capture even the unassuming ones. Then, I saw an article with a quote from the book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” which I immediately remembered that my friend Laura had told me to read years ago. It was the same day that I came down with the virus that everyone had last month (ugh), so I went to the library to find it (it’s always nice to have a book to read when you’re not feeling well).

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It didn’t take me long to discover that I absolutely love the book, and I laughed at the critics online who said that there was simply “too much detail”. There is a whole section where the main character Francie decides that she wants to focus in on every detail of a moment:

“But she didn’t want to recall things. She wanted to live things – or as a compromise, re-live rather than reminisce. She decided to fix this time in her life exactly the way it was this instant. Perhaps that way she could hold on to it as a living thing and not have it become something called a memory. […] She brought her eyes close to the surface of her desk and examined the patterned grain of the wood […] She dropped it into the metal wastebasket counting the seconds it took to fall. She listened intently so as not to miss its almost noiseless thud as it hit the bottom. […] Francie heard, as it for the first time, the sound the desk drawer made when she opened it to get her purse. She noted the device of the purse’s catch – the sound of its click. She felt the leather, memorized its smell and studied the whirling on the black moiré-silk lining. She read the dates on the coins in her change purse. There was a new 1917 penny which she put in the envelope.”

If Francie (or the author, Betty Smith) was alive today, I would like to read her blog. Sorry Francie, I know blogs did not exist in 1917 – but I’m glad we get to read about you in your book (which is a new favorite).

That’s when it kind of hit me. Maybe it wasn’t that there was nothing new in life. Maybe I needed to PAY CLOSER ATTENTION. These details were not to be overlooked.

The connections haven’t stopped there. At the end of last year, I wrote about how I was inspired to declare “perseverance” as my word for 2017. Since that day, the word and concept have been jumping out at me everywhere. Like, everywhere.

I have been inspired to write new songs, and the literal metaphors (those words are confusing next to each other, but bear with me) that I used later showed up as themes in a conversation participated in, or a sermon listened to. This has happened a lot, and I hesitate to try and explain it all, but it has been too present to ignore. Do you ever experience one of those blessings that you know should just be absorbed and not shouted from the rooftops? Yup. There have definitely been some of those.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there is nothing new. As long as we are breathing, there is purpose here. “[God’s] mercies are new every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23) There is something incredible that happens when we pay attention. Suddenly, we find our lives intersecting with the lives of others in ways that we never planned or anticipated. Maybe it’s a new friendship. Maybe it’s having the opportunity to help a total stranger, only to realize that by helping them, they have helped you even more. In reality, there are so many things in our lives that beg to not be taken for granted.

These past two months have reminded me of two quotes that I love:

“…that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” – Annie Dillard

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver

I don’t know about you – but I am actually really looking forward to paying attention, being astonished, and telling (more like writing/singing) about it soon. What has amazed you recently? I’d love to hear about it.

xoxo,

roriesig