Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2 Years Later: Young & Old

So this is the conclusion of not knowing what I'm doing,
If you took the time to tune in and shift through the ruins,
Then all thanks goes to you, my family my friends
The support was all true, from beginning to end
We're all going to grow up some time,
Tonight I'm staying up late to shift through my mind.
Cold world I was told, but it couldn't take my soul, 
So my soul still glows as I grow from young to old. 

These are the lyrics concluding the song Triumph, the outro on my album "Young & Old".
According to my calendar, all the music on this album is now two years old. For me it might as well be two days. It reflects the pulsing heart of a 22 year old that didn't know where life was about to take him. It shows the ups and the downs of trying to be both a mature adult and a imaginative child. It expresses the confusion of doing what your supposed to do when you aren't sure if you have the capabilities to do it. It dares to explain why doing something because you want to do it is reason enough to do it. It tells the tale of the path it took to get to that point, and questions where that path will continue to lead.

To say I was insecure about my ability to make music in the beginning is a vast understatement. I recorded raps for years before I ever let a anybody hear a single song. I had notebooks of written lyrics hidden in my room afraid somebody would pick them up and read them. In class I would pretend to take notes just so others wouldn't know I was sitting at my desk writing rhymes. I didn't want anybody to know that this is what I liked to do, because - for no reason at all- I was afraid of what other people thought about me. With this album release I took an insecure dream I had and flipped it on it's head. I went all out.

Young & Old started with a very simple theme, an acronym I had invented out of the blue to sum up a generation of adolescents growing into adulthood.

Young. Opinionated. Underestimated. Numb. Goners.

I looked around at generation Y, a generation my friends and I found ourselves at the tale end of. A generation so obsessed with standing out it was the only way you could fit in. We share our opinions on everything, but do we care about what really matters? We shy away from what we're good at and do what is unexpected of us. We listen to such filthy music, play such violent games, and watch so many crazy video clips that we have become numb to the rotten ills of our society.
We're purposeless. If it all doesn't change... we're goners.

Young & Old concludes the same way it begins. Originally slated to be a 5-6 song project it blossomed into an 10+ song long album. I realized that this was not just a collection of songs, but a cohesive project, a season of growth through music. I came up with another acronym Old. Lonely. Dreamers. The song O.L.D. is the opposite of Y.O.U.N.G. It talks on growing up and realizing the dreams that you had lived your life for weren't worth it, or even worse, didn't ultimately glorify God. What if no matter how big you dream and how hard you pursue those dreams, they don't measure up to the plan that God has set up for you?

But this album really didn't take form until two things happened:
1. I wrote, recorded,  performed, and released "The Joy". This song was the simplest of all concepts, but had the biggest of meanings that I was trying to portray. It delves into the topic of finding your identity. Not in the music, not in what others think of you, not in the circumstances that life has thrown your way, but in the Joy that comes from knowing and growing in a relationship with christ. This was the first song I ever performed. It was at a camp I was counseling at during the talent show for a few hundred kids. I'll never forget the euphoria that performing this simple song gave me. Just being on that stage was a dream that I never thought I would have the courage to achieve.

2. I purchased a beat from a producer/rapper by the name of NomiS. NomiS is an artist I have always respected and enjoyed listening too. Suddenly I was writing a rap over one of his own productions, to a song that would be exclusively mine. The song "The Champion" was the result, maybe my favorite two verses I've ever written - a vivid depiction of Jesus conquering sin. A dream that I had about making music was suddenly twisted into reality.

On April 9th, 2013 the CD was released. I chose the ninth because 4+9=13... I don't know why but I liked how the date was cohesive and added up to become a whole. 13 is supposedly bad luck but is one of my favorite numbers.
The disc came in a homemade spray painted sleeve with typed out lyrics and production credits. It included 12 songs, 2 of which were exclusive bonus songs for those who would buy the physical copy. The songs were professionally mixed and mastered by Crazy Daisy Productions. I spent two years and more money than I will ever admit writing, recording, searching for beats, learning how to lease and license, and just overall crafting this music.
My friends Ryan and Nathan came through and really completed this album, filling in great vocals that shaped this album into what it was really imagined to be. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this album is what it is only because of the parts that they played. Ryan recorded the chorus to "Going to be Fine in a closet in the basement of a house in Hillsboro on Elm St. Those are the memories I'll never forget.  I really cannot express how valuable it was to work with others on this dream of mine.

I made 50 CD's, and sold them all within the month. That was the original goal. I made 100 more sampler CD's and sold all of those at camp during the summer, I made 25 more CD's and sold them over the course of the next year. Two years later and I have sold or given away over 200 copies of my music. It's beyond a dream now. It's reality.
Online, I offered my CD available for a free download (Bonus songs removed) on a few seperate websites:
www.hungrie.bandcamp.com and www.noisetrade.com/lz both had varying degrees of success, with my songs being streamed thousands of times. A few of my songs were also featured on the website holyculture.net, a Christian hip hop blog.
Although these posts failed to generate much buzz, to have your music featured on another website validated the fact that my music had reached a higher quality than many rappers who craft songs in their basements.

To accompany the album online I wanted to have artwork that represented the message I was trying to convey. Since I am not especially artistic with graphic design and have limited resources at my disposal I ended up using a picture I had previously taken, a photo of an old house to the east of Hillsboro in Marion county. I took this picture while exploring with friends, and I believe it represents the story behind the album well. An old abandoned house, full of mystery and unknown history, being explored by some kids who just want to go on an adventure. Young & Old.  The picture was taken with a digital camera, nothing special. I didn't know the day I took it that it would be the future artwork for my music. I used picmonkey.com to edit the picture into something that stood out a little. I was happy enough with the result to use it as the album artwork. The release month of April 2013 reached it's peak when I finally worked up the courage to perform one of my songs in the talent show at Tabor College. At this point the Cd had been available for a week or so, so performing would have some promotional value. I had only performed once in my life, and that was in front of middle schoolers. Rapping in front of my peers I was more nervous than I had ever been. Funny story, I forgot to breathe in between lines and thought for a second I was going to pass out on stage! It worked out well though. I performed the song "Going to be Fine" one of my all time favorites.

And that's pretty much the whole story. Reading through this I see the words "I" and "me" a lot. It looks prideful, selfish, full of myself, etc. I don't know how to flip it around and change it to make it seem less self serving, but I hope that it's clear that I just wrote this because I thought maybe someone would be interested to see the heart, the reason, the meaning, and the story that was behind an album that I recorded in my basement on a hundred dollar mic onto a 40 dollar computer program.

Today, as I look back at the original music, it's strange as I compare the place I was at then to the place I am at now. In 2013 the future was uncertain. I was preparing to gradute from college with no idea what I truly desired to do in terms of a career. I have never been passionate or career focused with the future in mind. Two years later it's amazing to see how God has used the simplest of decisions to direct my life. I've changed in many ways from who I was back then. I've grown as a leader, as a christian, as a friend. Some of that came from the confidence that stemmed from just having the courage to do what I felt like I was capable of doing. As of 2015 I've officially changed my rap nickname from Hungrie to my initials, LZ. Hungrie was always a moniker that I used as sort of an alter ego, a name that I could hide behind instead of truly just being myself. I make personal, sincere music, and I want my name to reflect that. Logan Zielke, LZ, there is no double meaning to that name. It's just me being me.
I have more music coming out, I'm always working on something new. It still is and likely will only ever be a hobby, a creative expression of everything I feel or see people going through. I'm not sure how many people actually listen or pay attenion anymore, if I'm transparent I'm not afraid to say that plays are declining since 2013. Not being in college means I know less people and I have
limited resources available to give my music any promotion. I'll always give others the
opportunities to listen, but I'm not doing this for the attention or to be on stage while others sing along. I think we all have our own songs to write. It's not always easy, the path isn't always marked out, but in the end I know...

I'm going to be fine.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Influences behind "Young & Old"

One of the biggest influences behind "Young &  Old" is my faith. Since I was born I've been raised in a Christian household. Over the years my faith has been tested, challenged and shaped by the things I've been through and either witnessed or experienced. Though some songs may not seem like it, each song on the album is influenced directly by my beliefs, and each song was inspired directly from scripture that I read growing up. 

2. Y.O.U.N.G.
1 Cor 13:11- When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Timothy 4:12 - Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
There is two topics talked about in this song.
The first is that just because we are young doesn't mean we should limit ourselves or use it as an excuse to do stupid stuff. The second is that we can't pretend to be young forever. We have to grow up and be a positive influence on the generation below us. We can't pretend like we are young forever

3. Us vs. the World
Proverbs 31:10–11
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. (NLT)
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV)
This song is essentially about the challenge of having a Godly relationship when the world tries to set its own standards for what is right and wrong. Since the first sin we've been ruining our relationships with each other and with God. "but nothing on earth could ever foil the divine plan// of the gift of love sent down to every women and man."

 4. Darkness
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
This songs topic is pretty simple. We are covered in darkness, living in sin, but God has saved us and we are no longer part of the dark, but part of the light.

5. The Champion
This song was strongly influenced by the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and certain lyrics are paraphrased strait from the bible. 
For instance, the line: "To many stories for all earthly scrolls" refers to John 21:25- 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

6. "The Girl..."
Ephesians 4:19
Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
This song is about how our desires can affect your relationship with God. It deals with the topic of the need to be wanted, and how we let our physical relationships with others shape who we are. In the end we want to make excuses and blame others for our failures when we really just had no self control of our own.

7. Going to be Fine
Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love god all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God has a plan, no matter how lost you may feel.

8. The Joy
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. " -James 1:2-6
Joy comes from the lord and knowing him.

9. O.L.D.
Proverbs 3:5-6
New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]
this song deals with the lost hope of never achieving your dreams, but i ultimately realizing that living a life dedicated to the Glory of God is where the real treasure is in life. 
"realized I couldn't be denied as long as hope was on my side// now on my way back to the path, just a dreamer for life."

10. Triumph
This song is just a testament to the work God has done, and will do in life.
2 Corinthians 5:17- 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
Romans 5:20-Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Y & O- Lyrics and more

1. Y & O (Intro)
Written by L.Zielke, produced by Adamack

When I was writing the album I really just wanted a song to open up the whole cd and give an introduction to the rest of the album. This song was actually the second to last song I wrote for the CD, and it kinda just sums up the whole feel that I had while writing and recording the whole album. The beat is actually made from parts of the production used in "Us Vs. the World" which I edited and mixed together myself.

When I was young I had big dreams//
I used to think that I was capable of anything // thought I could make a difference in a world full of ignorance//
just by writing lyrics of what was going on in my brain// dang, what motivates change? what shapes who I am when I feel the same every day//but then when it's finished I come out diminished//
and character traits that once flourished seem to be missing// on  mission with no intention of discovering my goal//
on what year, what day, what moment are we old?// is it when culture no longer seems to be a place where we reside//
 and we relapse to the past cuz it's a great place to hide?// wide smiles often hold white lies// just brace for life when the stake is raised to its height//if my mind stays sharp as a double edged blade//
I still won't understand these mistakes I've made// I hate when people ask me the reasons why I've changed// you either get better or worse, you don't stay the same//
dang, can you imagine being 22//
looking at the life ahead of you not knowing what to do?// come a long way since the days back in maize// but life's still a haze I'm a long ways from safe//
so when I picture my life I'm thinking outside of  the frame,// used to try to stay out of the box, now the box is my fame//
when everything is only done for the hope of the moment// you're no longer young, you're somewhere between restored and broken// and words spoken don't seem to hold as much force
when you've gone off the path and didn't stick to the course// but and the end of it all, this is what I decided to tell//
on the stairway to heaven, hand already gripping the rail //
when I started rapping they said it was destined to fail.....

Y.O.U.N.G.- lyrics and more

2. Y.O.U.N.G.
Written by L. Zielke, produced by Hala-X

This song is based on the idea of generation Y, which is the age group of people born from 1980 till about 1999. These are younger people who grew up in a culture where being young was always put on a pedestal, and now refuse to grow up and be strong men and women. YOUNG is an acronym that sums up this generation: Young, Opinionated, Underestimated, Numb, Goners. People that care about the wrong things, are smart about meaningless information, only care about money, and essentially are going nowhere.

Yo, they never saw it coming,// it’s stunning, I’m young and I’m hungry// bummy with my money, expenses still overcoming// numbing from the drumming, but I keep on running// Don’t judge me, slighted by the polite//the lights like lice the way I itch for the night// the nights like spice the way it entice my whole life// I ignore all strife like its outside of my sight// fly, like what's trendy isn't really// Everybody tryna bend me, stretching me until I’m flimsy// And I’m barely twenty, got my bottle of Jackson// Presidential credentials, lifeless in my actions// So numb that I succumb to anyone who shows passion,// yet run to the drum of a heart beat that is lackin'// Fact is I stand firm, too lazy to last and go farther// My past piles of ash, yet they ask why I’m a goner.

I’m young// And I’m opinionated
Underestimated//And I’m numb
'Till I’m gone…

Getting all these cold shoulders made me a lone roller// Meanin' I roll alone, wishin' my dreams were more bold//Or I was more old, feeling younger than spring// Meaning I’m freezing, trying to make this green// scream something extremely obscene till I'm seen// I laugh at their lame pass, ashamed of anything// I’ll never be a loser, but refuse to be a winner// Dollar bills for thrills I lose my green like winter// Mental hibernation, I couldn’t be thinner//
I sit in front of monitors and pretend to pull triggers//
Turn off the lights the cold of night won’t give me shivers// In fact it makes my  life feel like it's less dimmer// Chuckle is a whimper, cover up my coldness with zippers// The ripper still whispers I deny his existence// I am not gifted and I have no interests//I'm grown, but insist on being an infant.

Yah know what, we’re still the same// young with no shame since 1980// This is me and my, generation Y// Never understand, but never contemplatin’ why//
We are always high cuz we think it makes us wise//
Took the golden era cherub and we threw him from the sky// the angels in the angle,  mines from the side of the sty// with this belief or grief or whatever we try to describe.//Sly when we try to disguise our whole lives// Hiding behind this mask and these passionate lies// But we’ve rationalized to what's up to the minute// In minute we won’t get it so we change it just to stay hip-hop// like we made it, stake it, claim it but then stain it// We can fake it till we make it, play it, then start to hate it// I can’t tell if were independent or dependent on envy// Relying on plenty cuz it simply covers how we're empty.

Us vs. the World- Lyrics and more

3. Us vs. the World
Written by L. Zielke and R. Loewen, produced by Adamack

This song is about trying to succeed in relationships when the world has certain standards of what a relationship should be. In a culture that love's self gratification and self gain, we have to fight for each other to be successful. It seems like everyone is breaking up, getting divorce, changing their sexual orientation, changing the meaning of what "Love" is. It's Us vs. the World.
This song also articulates the feelings that you get when you're in a young relationship. You have a mentality that everything is great and everything is achievable. You can take on the world.

Don't let the moment pass, don't let the moment go// keep it in your grasp, keep it under your control// I swear as the sand glass drops its grains I feel the pain// but the pain can't maintain it all eventually fades away// like rain turns to puddles, I still struggle with this tunnel vision// living till I crumble, surrounded with these troubles// I hear the rumble when I stumble like a giant when he tumbles// I'll take an axe to this plant even the colossal falls to rubble// feeling my way through life never thought I'd catch a feeling// till I caught you like a thief with my heart that you were stealing// craftily attacking me with the sweetest of all agonies// till apathy is actually replaced by something attracting me to you,// on the edge of every thought that is new// is a feeling that could leave me confused and askew// words hold power that could cower a hero to coward//  but love is more than enough to counter we only say it louder

you've been on my mind// I've been searching to find
someone that gets me like you do
put your hand in mine // and we'll lose track of time
just between me and you

I used to say I was afraid but that was just a faze// when I gaze into your face I see the beauty and the brains// that's the figure and the mind more than the image in my sights// scope is sloped with signs that all hope ends then begins again tonight!// what a beautiful morning to look atomically astonishing// abolishing the hollow dreams and trophy's I've been polishing// wallowing in all of these mesmerizing memories// ghosts are the hosts, croaking, "do you remember me?"// I thought I had forgot, apparently not//  like the clocks caught with no tick tock and time stops hot//
fought to keep my composure without being blown over/
remaining covert but growing closer to obvious exposure//
all of this to say that you blow all of that away// it all turns to grey, sways, then begins to fade// it's us verses the world but we accept the attack// never fall back we combat and remain intact.

I wasn't present when God said let there be light// but your presence ignited the lights in my eyes// and I realized that creations most potent convulsions// were worth the build up to this exact moment// and if the moment passes and is lost in the past// if it's burnt down to ash and isn't given a chance// then there will always be that image engraved in my mind// of us verses the world with victory in sight!//
 and no matter what they can't they can't take that away//
they've been try to stop it since the beginning of days//
ever notice how girl is always rhymed with world?//
like they can never be separate never unfurled,// almost like they part of the trees, sea, and soil// eve being deceived by the serpent curled in its coil// but nothing on earth could ever  foil the divine plan// of the gift of love sent down to every women and man.

Darkness- Lyrics and more

4. Darkness
Written by L. Zielke, produced by beatg33kzs

Most of this song was originally written to a different beat, then molded to this song when I couldn't lease that beat. This song is about how we are all covered in darkness, looking at a life of hopelessness, but praise God we were saved from it.

I don't own the world, but the world doesn't own me//
did it's best to suppress but couldn't control me// unless I vent this flesh I'll never rest, could you hold me?// back from the lost tracks that tried to enclose me// I mean how many times do I have to fall?//crawl just to get back up for it all to stall// hopelessness is in the eye's of the defeated//   
the same look was in mine when you first greeted// me the world is greedy, says that it needs me// but it just beats me constantly till I'm bleeding// thinking of sinking, tie me to this iron plug// I'll plunge to the depths of regret with no iron lung// iron sharpens iron but my irons tired, my irons blunt// used to stunt with your tongue but the words only stung// feels like I'm stuck, glued to  this dark globe// used to spark hope but that's all gone, where'd the heart go?

I guess we're heartless, used to the ice and the hardness//
I guess we lost the thought of where our heart is//
if you put your hand to my chest you won't even feel the warmth of flesh// I'm as cold as death, the fire died now there's nothing left, were just...

this old worlds spinning violently out of control// while my soul sits cold in this vice grips hold//  I swear that even the light in my eyes has gone vacant// I can't take it this complacent lament is stone cold as the pavement// said if I'm patient I can make it, but I don't think so// haven't fallen into the abyss yet, I'm on the brink though// I just miss the feeling that I used to get- ah forget it
fill in the blank but I mean what am I supposed to say?// been trying to fill this blank page like all dang day// and I'm frustrated, bored, lackadaisical// putting some content in this verse would take a miracle// unbearable, terrible as this sterile worlds new generations// I'm staring at this emptiness, giving it my salutations// finding no inspiration within these passive statements//can't even believe I took this time out of my life to say it.

ever feel like the devil is laughing WITH you?//
feeling guilty for the stuff that you DIDN'T do?//
we're stuck in life's patterns with no need for a lantern//
feeling bruised and battered with your soul ripped and tattered//

I feel like Adam ashamed in his revelation of nudity// even though this whole sensation of nudity isn't new to me// he covered his self with foliage to try to cover sin// I feel cloaked by this darkness that I conceal within// hiding from God with a faith that's all but gone// he shouts my name out, but I don't answer his call// in fact I try to hide outside of the range of his eyes// despised as I cry why father, why// but this God is infallible, powerful, and omnipotent//  he will prevail and in no  tale am I his opponent// feeling my way with brail, stale in what I learned to hope in// he remained supreme and redeemed everything that was broken// deeper than the ocean, wider than the planes//
with love that stretches across all time and space// with darkness etched across every inch of my frame// God took my place in death and through him I was saved, when I was

my heart caught in my throat it's so full of praise, though I'm// I feel so unworthy of this amazing grace since I'm// a sight for sore eye's I've crawled out of the night, no longer...
living in darkness. 

The Champion- Lyrics and more

5. The Champion
Written by L. Zielke, produced by NomiS

This song is about Jesus Christ being the champion over sin.

Yeah, blood was spilt from the wrists// Nails split the skin long as nine inch// The body's bent, the skin is ripped
He hangs naked, patches of flesh slit// Blood pools across the ground, the earth is drenched// He cries towards the heavens, in abandonment// What’s the benefit?, the people mock// Deny his existence; claim his reign was false//And then he died, all the people watched// They pierced his side, blood and water was lost// Then undid the ties, lowered him from the cross// Put the obliterated body behind a giant rock//assign some soldiers in front of the boulder// to protect the body from vandals and mourners// But a couple mornings later the stones been rolled away// And behold there’s no body in the grave// Is the man alive? somebody must know// Mary is swearing that she saw a holy ghost// At his sight Peter jumped out of his fishing boat// Thomas doubted until he touched the holes// From where nails were pried from the flesh and bone// To many stories for all of the earthly scrolls//And the witnesses saw what was predicted// God became man and healed all of our afflictions. Listen…

God was born a child// The child became a man
The man became the sacrificial lamb//
 but conquered all sin when he rose again//
he's the champion
my God is the champion

Born in a stable’s sty under a starlit night// God’s living word was birthed into life// Held in wonder by the shepherds and men considered wise// But I wonder if the son of God had his mother’s eyes?// No disguise, he's fully God and fully man// Born with a concept that most men can’t comprehend// Sent to mend what was meant to be a masterpiece// Rip the veil that concealed and set all people free// Changed Saul to Paul, so all have a chance to see// and maybe it doesn’t matter what your perspective be// If your new or old you can still break the hold// Set the mold, steady in faith as a metronome// Or maybe in its epitome, this piano beat// The son rose to defeat dark like it does in the east// Spread light across the world and see the darkness flee// And Satan gets crushed at the feet of the God of peace!