February 25, 2014
TOM WAITS AND SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS
Hello from sunny downtown Las Vegas! I'm living here in Sin City until the end of April, rehearsing and performing in the A.R.T.'s new version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, featuring magic by Teller, movement by Pilobolus and music by Tom Waits. I'm singing the songs, and musically directing the production. We're running in Cambridge later this spring. Here's a great recent interview with Teller that gives you a sense of what we're up to over here. Also, my musical partner in crime, the inimitable Mike Brun, is in the show with me! Come visit us on this crazy, magical, twisted deserted island!
WRITING SONGS IN CABINS
Before Vegas, I was in the snowy mountains of Wyoming on the Sundance Institute's annual writing retreat at the Ucross Foundation, sitting in a little cabin, working on new songs for my Ars Nova-commissioned musical, Robin, a female-based re-telling of the Robin Hood legend. I'm lucky enough to be collaborating on that project with playwright Jen Silverman, whose dark, wild imagination and intelligence blow me away over and over again. I ate dinner every night with a small, wonderful group of hilarious, inspiring artists, saw bald eagles, and met actual cowboys.
I'm so happy to finally release these two new songs! We had some amazing sessions with the absolutely incredible artists at Mason Jar Music back in December. They do beautiful work, and we had a blast in their studio.
First off, Shaina Taub Trio & Friends present HARVEST:
And here's GIVEN, featuring the string section from The Great Comet:
You can get the tracks on my homepage. Thanks for listening.
NEW VIDEOS FROM OLD CONCERTS
Before I left town, we played one last big show until the summertime at the swanky and gorgeous midtown room, 54 Below. I've released a bunch of new live videos from that extremely fun show, as well as new vids from ST3's November concert at my new favorite downtown venue, SubCulture (check out this interview I did on their blog). I also put up some highlights of some phenomenal vocalists interpreting my tunes from this year's Songbook show at Ars Nova. Head to my Youtube channel to check out all of those if you like!
It was very sad to play my final performance in The Great Comet before I left the city. Being a part of that stunning show inspired me daily for nine months straight. I am missing the unbelievably talented, soulful and loving company of people so much. Thank you from my heart to all who made the experience and indelible one.
SH-K-BOOM AND RAZOR & TIE
Lastly, I'm so excited to kick off my collaboration with Sh-K-Boom Records and Razor & Tie Music Publishing as the first artist in their new joint venture in music publishing. I'm so glad the lines between theater and pop music are getting blurrier all the time, and happy that these intelligent, creative companies are supporting that fusion! Read about it here.
Thanks for the continual kindness and support. I'm excited to make and share more new music this year!
December 1, 2013
I'm wrapping up the year with a big concert at my favorite venue in town, Ars Nova, on Sunday December 8th at 8 PM!
I've been very fortunate to be in Ars Nova's inaugural Uncharted musical writer's group this year, and this concert is part of their year-end series showcasing each members' work.
It's also my second annual 'songbook' concert, where I have a slew of my very favorite singers perform my tunes. We had so much fun with it last year, we decided to make it a yearly event. Check out videos from the 2012 show here, and some featured live recordings here!
I'll be debuting a handful of brand new songs from my Ars-Nova commissioned musical, Robin, a female-driven re-imagination of the Robin Hood legend. I'm collaborating with an incredible playwright, Jen Silverman, on the project. She and I have been developing it over the past year in the Uncharted group, and I'm so excited to perform this music for the first time on the 8th!
There will also be songs from my Oregon Shakespeare Festival commissioned musical, There's A House, as well as an oldie or two from The Daughters, a few tunes off What Otters Do, the Shaina Taub Trio EP and several brand new ones from this past year of writing.
The main reason to come is the outrageously talented group of singers that are lined up to perform. I have such deep respect for each of these artists: Celia Keenan-Bolger, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Lauren Pritchard, Phillipa Soo, Brittain Ashford, Ali Stroker, Nick Blaemire, Jo Lampert, Kate Ferber, Molly Hager, Grace McLean, Andrew Butler, Caleb Hawley, Liana Stampur, Ben Wexler, Benjamin Scheuer, Catherine Brookman, Clinton Curtis, and Starr Busby.
And our amazing band Mike Brun, Jacob Colin Cohen and Dave Melton.
You can get tickets here.
Ars Nova has been my creative home for two years now and at this concert, I hope to honor and celebrate the incredible spirit of community, inspiration and downright fun I find within their walls. Please come join us on the 8th for what promises to be a wonderful night of soulful singing by the above listed vocal phenomenons.
And please check out my amazing fellow Uncharted member's concerts on the three previous evenings - read all about 'em here.
Thanks for reading and for the support.
Happy fifth night of Hanukkah to you!
November 10, 2013
just a few updates on this chilly November evening. hopefully this newsletter finds you in your warmest socks, sipping hot cider and munching on pumpkin seeds... at least that's what I'm doing as I write this...
CONCERT AT SUBCULTURE, NOVEMBER 18TH
My trio will be headlining the evening at a gorgeous new venue in the village called SubCulture on Monday November 18th at 7:30 PM.
We'll be playing a full set of our favorite material, and featuring special guests Dave Melton and Armand Hirsch.
And our very own Mike Brun, an exceptionally gifted songwriter in his own right, is playing a brief set to kick off the night at 7 pm.
I'd recommend getting a ticket in advance here. Only $12 (no drink minimum).
Hope you can join us for this special night of music - our last official trio show of 2013.UPCOMING RECORDING WITH MASON JAR MUSICWe're getting back in the studio in December to record two new songs, Harvest and Given. I'm thrilled to be collaborating on this project with the beautifully innovative production company and creative collective, Mason Jar Music. Look out for the videos and tracks in time for the holidays!NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
I'm still performing as Mary eight times a week in The Great Comet, now playing in the theater district on 45th Street. If you haven't been to Kazino yet, come by for a truly amazing night of theater. Get tickets here, or try for the $49 rush tickets two hours prior to each performance at the box office. I play accordion and throat-sing. Don't miss it!
September 10, 2013
SAVE THE DATE: TRIO CONCERT
I’m excited to play again with my trio at Subculture, a gorgeous new venue in the village, . We’re thrilled to headline a show there on Monday November 18th at 8 PM. You can already get tickets here for only $12 in advance. This will be our last big show of the year, so come celebrate with us! And our very own Mike Brun is playing a solo set to kick off the night at 7:30 pm.
If you haven't yet checked out the Shaina Taub Trio EP I released at the top of the year, get the tunes here for just $4. I have sheet music and What Otters Do physical albums available as well. Your support helps me put out more music, and I truly appreciate that.
p.s. here's the trio's homage to Destiny's Child. enjoy.
June 23, 2013
Just a little reminder that I'm playing with my trio tomorrow night at Rockwood Stage Two! Here are all the deets:
SHAINA TAUB TRIO
ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL, STAGE TWO
MONDAY JUNE 24th
SET STARTS AT 8 PM SHARP
196 ALLEN STREET BETWEEN HOUSTON AND RIVINGTON
NO COVER CHARGE
I'm particuarly excited about this show - we've had some excellent rehearsals digging deeply into our songs, and have created a special set list showcasing our favorite material so far. We're thrilled to debut a brand new tune, some trio-fied covers, and to feature special guests Dave Melton, Armand Hirsch & Kate Ferber. This is likely our only big show of the summer, so we'd love for you to join us.
And don't forget to come early for the amazing Jake Snider's set at 7 PM!
NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
Also, I will not be performing in the show from July 7th thru July 13th, because I'll be at the Vineyard Arts Project writing songs for my new project commissioned by Ars Nova. I'm collaborating with the incredible Jen Silverman, and can't wait to tell you more about that piece soon!
June 10, 2013
I was fortunate to get to speak last month at a TEDx conference here in New York. The video won't be up for a few months, so in the meantime, I wanted to share the transcript of my talk with you! If you like it, share it. Thanks for reading and I'll post the video as soon as I have it. If you haven't discovered the amazing world of TED talks, dive in.
why artistic communities are crucial to creativity
a TEDx Talk by Shaina Taub
Let me take you back a couple years. It was January of my first year out of college. It was freezing. I was unemployed and in one of those post-grad existential static funks.
I went to college in New York, so, after school, I was living in the same city with the same friends. And yet for some reason, after graduation, it felt as though everybody just disbanded. It was like this unspoken rule that New York was a tough, competitive place and that we would all make a go of it alone.
Without the structure of school life, everyone just defaulted into these solitary little cells. But in college, I used to sit around with my artist friends all the time, getting together to play music and sharing our creative work in class. So I thought, I know you're all still out there, I see you posting happy birthday on my Facebook wall, and your current city is still listed as New York, and our thumbnail images are chatting with each other. There must be a better way.
So on one of those cold January nights on my long subway ride home, I started writing down a list on my phone of all the people I knew from school who played music or sang, and I sent out an impromptu group email titled "Song Forum,' saying, 'hey songwriting friends, come on over to my apartment next Friday night, bring a new song, and we'll all share our stuff over some beers!'
That was it.
And, I have to admit. I didn't think anyone would show up. Because, nobody shows up to things like this, right? That's how New York operates. Or, maybe, adulthood. Everyone is too busy or too lazy or too cool or too scared.
Or so I thought.
"Song Forum" night comes around and twenty musicians show up at my door. And... we share a night of never-before-heard music. People play unfinished first drafts of new songs. People squeeze into every nook and cranny in my apartment, sitting on the floor, playing from a perch on top of the couch, lending one another guitar picks and cheering each other on when they mess up. People play everything from R&B to jazz to pieces from their new sci-fi / folk concept album. Seriously - this guy wrote a sci-fi folk robot-country concept album - it was awesome. People play and listen and stay all night.
And it was just that simple. People... showed up.
And people have kept showing up to song forum - once a month for almost the past four years. What I hadn't realized was that all of us in our little bubbles were craving the exact same thing I was - a sense of community.
Sometimes we have only fifteen. Sometimes, forty. Hundreds of songwriters and singers have come over the years, from a core group of 'regulars' to friends and band-mates and travelers passing through town, always a different group each month.
A random order is drawn and we do multiple rounds. The night isn't archived in any way - no recording, no filming. It's an exclusively live experience - you have to actually be there. You can't see what you missed later online.
The only condition for playing a song at forum is that you stay to hear the whole round. Over the years, I've noticed that the listening is way more important to the event than the actual playing.
There's no audience besides each other. It's laid back, no set expectations, but nevertheless, it pushes you to create, to finish your tune in time for the next forum, putting the focus on process, not product. When new people show up, they often tell me they just want to listen, but they always end up playing. Not because they want to compete - they want to contribute, to add ingredients to the pot.
Song forum has become our creative harvest party, a testing ground, a sanctuary of sorts.
As forum continues to grow roots as a tradition, I'm starting to realize there's something even deeper at play here. In today's music world, so much focus is put on promoting and hustling your own work in the vast expanse of indie artists on the internet. Not enough time is spent cultivating a live community, not just a digital one. Not enough attention is paid to that crucial other half of making art - listening.
Online platforms like SoundCloud have made virtually sharing your music easier than ever, but forum does something that the internet can never do by simple virtue of it being live. It's a gathering of artists physically showing up to hear one another. An analog social network. Not in earbuds or on a screen. I don't mean to sound old-fashioned - all the advances in online music are incredibly beneficial to us, but they shouldn't REPLACE the real thing - getting together with fellow artists playing their heart out two feet from you in someone's living room.
I think there's this myth that we create art in a void and that listening to one another is stealing, or being derivative. I think listening is inheriting, and our responsibility as creative people and that art is one big game of telephone. I take in what I hear, make my arrangement of it, then pass it over to the next person in line. Opening your ears to the other artists around you right now invariably makes you a better one. Mutual inspiration, not competition - challenge each other to continue evolving. And shamelessly rip each other off. Picasso said great artists steal - I say great artists listen and ARRANGE.
Participating in a creative community not only provides fuel that strengthens your work, it can be a springboard for your career. I've watched countless collaborations be born at forum that have gone on to become extremely successful. And there's no telling what kinds of opportunities can arise from just a drink shared between rounds. I've felt the reverberations of forum professionally just as much as I have creatively, with an authenticity that goes deeper than any amount of Youtube hits or Likes.
Being packed in a room with a bunch of people who share my passion also reminds me why I chose to be an artist in the first place. And I'm always trying to remember WHY I voluntarily signed up for this unpredictable field. For me, and I think for a lot of us, at the heart of it, there's this deep need to express myself in order to find some belonging. And that impulse is at the core of being alive. I think it's no accident that music has shown up in every culture in every era of human history. And that's more to do with a desire for connection than it is for success.
Right out of school, I thought being an artist was all a waiting game. Waiting for that career-changing phone call or record deal or grant.
And… it is.
BUT it's more about what you do while you wait. And the most essential and fulfilling parts of being an artist require no waiting at all and they can all start by getting in rooms with one another to collaborate, to listen. Creating a community is the ultimate collaborative act, and our greatest commodity as young artists.
Song forum itself is just my arrangement of a long tradition of artists communing. From Gertrude Stein's Paris salons, to the Greenwich village hootenannies of the 60s, to a similar regular gathering some friends of mine host in LA, these communal environments that foster creativity have sprung up wherever artists live, but in our increasingly digital, isolated lives, their importance is both undervalued and more crucial than ever to our growth, both individually and collectively. And the beauty is that creating one of them yourself is really pretty easy! You just need a room - an actual room, and a few friends. Painters, you could set up makeshift galleries in your apartments, playwrights, you could hold potluck readings, mathematicians, you could swap theorems over a few bottles of wine - I don't low what mathematicians do, I went to art school - but, whatever it is that you make - none of us makes it in a vacuum, and all creative thinking demands to be shared. We must work just as rigorously to create our artistic community as we do our art itself. It's mutually enriching for all of us - creatively, professionally and soulfully.
May 28, 2013
I am thrilled to make my Off-Broadway debut today as Princess Mary in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812!
As I've been rehearsing these past few weeks, I've had the exceptional privilege of seeing the show many times, and am increasingly in awe of the truly astonishing ensemble of actors, musicians and designers, the brilliance and soul of Dave Malloy's score, and the illuminating vision of Rachel Chavkin. I'm hugely grateful and humbled to join the company tonight. Thank you to the amazing cast and team for welcoming me so warmly.
And I'm so excited and proud to be a part of this inspiring project that began right at my artistic home, Ars Nova!
The show is playing eight times a week at the Kazino under the High Line until September 1st.
April 28, 2013
Thanks to all who have come out to support my trio these past few months! I've got a couple other projects coming up this spring, so here's a little update...
I'm thrilled to be speaking and performing at TEDxNYU's annual conference this weekend. I'm a TED Talk junkie and it's been an amazing challenge to make my talk - which is on why creating artistic communities is crucial to creativity. I'll also be debuting a new song with my band! The conference is sold out, but the video should be online soon after and I look forward to sharing it with you.
THERE'S A HOUSE
I've been writing songs for a new musical commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the past year or so, and have been very fortunate to collaborate with an amazing and hilarious playwright, Kim Rosenstock. We're having our first workshop with a director and actors next week! The piece is called There's A House and you can check out some songs from it here.
NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
I'm so excited to be joining the cast of Dave Malloy's acclaimed electro-pop opera, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and making my Off-Broadway debut! It's an incredibly unique and gorgeous production based on a slice of War and Peace, playing all summer at the Kazino, a Russian supper club built for the show, near the High Line in Manhattan's meatpacking district.
I begin performances on May 28th. You can get tickets here - use the code COMET79 for $79 tix for performances through June 30th.
As an artist-in-residence at Ars Nova, where this piece was born, I've been so inspired by watching this remarkable show beautifully evolve over the last few years, and am overjoyed to be a part of its newest incarnation!
ST3will be back this summer with new songs, videos and a big show at Rockwood Stage Two on June 24th, so save the date! And stay tuned with my amazing bandmates, Mike Brun and Jacob Colin Cohen - both also working on amazing projects of their own.
Thanks for reading this and for all the support!
April 1, 2013
We had a blast playing in Boston. Thanks to everyone in Cambridge who rallied for the show!
This amazing artist came up to us after the show and handed us a stack of drawings he did during the set! Here's a few of our favorites:
Next up is our Philadelphia concert at World Cafe Live on Wednesday April 10th at 8 PM!
Get your tickets HERE. And this show is all ages, so no need to get a babysitter!
Also, thanks to Groove on Fire for featuring us on their cool music blog.
Check out the write-up here ----> Groove On Fire Features Shaina Taub Trio
Lastly, here's a song I'm way late in discovering but am obsessed with nonetheless.
March 19, 2013
I'm just returning from two blissful weeks writing at the Yaddo Colony! I wrote a handful of songs for a new project, and was hugely inspired by Paul Simon's most recent album, So Beautiful or So What. The track, Love and Hard Times, is the most moving composition I've heard in a long time - experience it here.
Also finished two powerful books: The Sabbath, an essay on the sanctity of time by Abraham Heschel, and The Heart and the Fist, the memoir of Eric Greitens, about his world travels as both a humanitarian and a Navy SEAL. I highly recommend them both.
I also became obsessed with poached eggs and can't believe I've been missing out on that goodness for 24 years.
Now I'm back on the internet and making the set list for ST3's first Boston concert coming up on Monday, the 25th!
If you have friends in the area, won't you help us spread the word?