If you’re a Glover Gardens follower, you know that we have a Musical Millennial in our midst. Actually, no longer in our midst…he’s gone off to Miami to pursue a graduate degree in jazz arranging. You probably heard me whooping and hollering from wherever you are in the world a few months ago when we got the news of the University of Miami scholarship, the paid teaching assistance-ship and the invitation to be a Henry Mancini Fellow. (Happy-cry is such a loud endeavor.) I shared it here.
The Big Miami Move Project started on Saturday, with a trip to Austin where the contents of his apartment were all packed up and waiting for the U-Haul trailer we rented for the cross-country trek. It was his first apartment, a step up from the dorm life of his first two years at the University of Texas.
After the U-Haul was loaded with all of Thomas’ belongings last Saturday, we stood in his now-empty room, the only remnants of his two years there a couple of picture hangers on the wall and some clothing hangers on the floor. The bittersweet complexities of the inevitable endings that come with new beginnings were heavy in the air.
“I’ll miss this room. A lot happened here. I created an album here.”
Adjustments Made is the name of the album, and that’s what this post is really about. Thomas composed the music and lyrics, played keyboards, sang backup, and recorded and mixed it in his room/studio. The majority of the work took place in the spring and summer of COVID-19 quarantining, and Adjustments Made was released in mid-July on all major streaming services. His short, quirky promo from Instagram is below.
I haven’t shared this wonderful new release here in the blog yet because I wanted to revisit my journalism classes from my own college days and write a long feature story about it (and him)—and that takes time. Time listen to the album, time to write the interview questions, time to hold the interview and more time to compile the story. Time seems to be in short supply around Glover Gardens these days, but I finally pulled together a bunch of interview questions, things I really wanted to know, and then we finally found time to do the interview, over the phone on a Saturday, a week before the Miami move.
Thomas Wenglinski Interview Questions: Adjustments Made
- This release is a little different from your previous work, with more of a soul / R&B feel. What was your inspiration for creating music in this genre?Can you talk about your musical influences?
- What’s the meaning behind the album title, Adjustments Made?
- I believe there’s a special meaning behind A Rainbow for Fred. Can you talk a little about that? How did you hear about Fred Hampton?
- Are there any other stories behind the tunes? How do you decide on song titles?
- You mention your musical collaborators in social media posts about Adjustments Made. What was it like recording with them during a pandemic? How was it different than normal?
- Do you have a favorite tune on the album? Why?
- You used software that makes voices sound like instruments on several tunes. How did you decide when to use which type of sound? Did you try any that you didn’t like and had to redo?
- You composed the music and lyrics, played keyboards, sang backup, recorded and mixed this album, right? How are those roles different, and which do you like the best?
- What was the biggest challenge in making this album? Why?
- You’ve just finished your undergrad degree in jazz composition. How have you grown musically in the past couple of years?
- Can you describe the process for writing your music? Do you spend a certain amount of time every day, or is it more sporadic, when the creative mood strikes?
- Working as an artist of any kind is work, but it’s also fun. Do you have any funny stories from the making of Adjustments Made?
- Is there anything else you’d like to share about the album?
- What’s next for you, musically?
I worked hard on those questions, and it was really fun to have the interview conversation. I learned a lot (about my own kid!) but we only got through 4 of my 14 questions in the hour we had scheduled, and there hasn’t been any time since then to complete it. Drat, darn and blast! I really want to use this platform to promote Adjustments Made, but felt that I had to do it “right,” in a long, well-written feature that really helps the reader “know” the artist, provides engaging context for the music and creates a memorable association between the songs and their backstories.
That perfect piece of writing I was dreaming of wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Then I remembered some advice I once got from an old boss, “don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good,” a version of the quote from Voltaire, “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. It’s true. I was holding off because I couldn’t create the masterpiece I envisioned, which accomplished exactly…nothing. You don’t know about Adjustments Made yet, and promotion was my whole goal. Epic fail so far on my part!
So, even though it’s not conventional, the interview will be released piecemeal as a series over the coming days and weeks, as we have time to complete our discussion and I have time to pull our recorded conversations into something that’s easily consumable. I don’t think an interview series is a “thing,” especially this long after a release, but hey, this isn’t Downbeat Magazine, it’s a “multi-faceted blog for multi-faceted people”. And you, Dear Readers, have been very tolerant of Glover Gardens quirkiness overall, and appreciative of my “For Your Listening Pleasure” posts featuring Thomas, our Musical Millennial, and his music.
Adjustments Made Can Be Yours Right Now!
The good news is that you can access the album right now – for your listening pleasure. Click any of the links below to listen or purchase.
If you download or preview the album, please consider leaving a review. I’d LOVE to be able to say that the Glover Gardens blog promotion was successful, if not perfect. 😉
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