Who: Kavalier Calm, The People's Bard. What: I write songs for strangers I "meet" on the internet. Why: 1) I believe musicians can and should use the power of empathy to write for others and 2) I'm on a quest to bring audio to the text/image-heavy internet. How: I stumble around the web looking for inspirational stories, then I transform them into songs. I did this for three years on my Tumblr blog, Crowdsource Inspiration, and I've recently come to reddit because you all are more interesting than the typical Tumblrer (sorry, 14-year-old girls). Promote?: Check out, /r/TheStage. It's a place where anyone can request any type of art and where any artist can respond. Have an inspirational idea? Drop a post request. Are you an artist in need of direction? Respond to posts with your work. Think of the sub as a haven for--and promoter of--original content.

Proof: http://imgur.com/pULu5uz

EDIT: That was fun. Let's do it again sometime.

Comments: 73 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

drawingartist22 karma

hello mr people bard. i draw you. hope you like? http://imgur.com/1ptsY0A

ThePeoplesBard8 karma

I am honored?

DownwardSpirals7 karma

What made you decide to become a life lyricist?

ThePeoplesBard8 karma

"Life lyricist"...I like that term. I'll answer the parts separately. "Life": For a long time I thought I was a fiction junky, like most, but after I took a creative nonfiction class in college, I realized that I am most drawn to stories founded in truth. I also realized that almost everything I wrote was 99% true. I think the reason for this is that truth is comforting; people like being able to believe in something, in reality. Hell, that's why reddit expects memes to be true on /r/AdviceAnimals, right? Also, in a weird way, real life is more interesting than any fiction. We could never make up some of the stuff that happens to people every day. "Lyricist": I'm a poet first. For years I only wrote poems, but it often felt like something was missing. Then someone introduced me to Leonard Cohen, and I realized a guitar might give my poems a backbone. It felt right from the moment I picked one up, so I never looked back. So my poems are lyrics only because I think music gives them a structure, a life. I don't really claim to be much of a musician, though. Poetry comes first.

Flopez5125 karma

What has a bigger inspiration: drunken lyrics or sober lyrics?

I'm drunk...

ThePeoplesBard6 karma

I like writing while drunk, but I can't record while drunk--there are too many small buttons on my 8-track for deteriorated motor skills. I write a lot of songs about drinking whiskey, though. This is my favorite: "Why Whiskey".

DarkTowerFan5 karma

Have you read The Dark Tower series?

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

I have not. Convince me.

mahurd4 karma

Do you travel? What is your favorite place on earth? Thank you for doing this AMA, and for doing what you do in general!

ThePeoplesBard4 karma

I've been fortunate to travel a good bit. Usually when I go places--even if I enjoy them--I think, I wouldn't want to live here. The exceptions to this for me have been Lithuania (because the place is a living fairytale) and Paris. I definitely hope I can live in Paris as an old man, in a little flat with a piano.

speno874 karma

First of all thank you for letting me know about your AMA, febreezesome your threesome is an awesome song. My question is what is your real life profession? how do you find the time to be the peoples bard.

ThePeoplesBard3 karma

Ah, yes, "Febreze Some Your Threesome"; some of my best work...I wear a suit 45-50 hours a week like many Americans while getting paid to think hard and type emails at a desk (I actually love the job, though it's very different from making music). Between that and cultivating a relationship with my dearest wife, I don't have much time to write. So I basically just sleep less so I can do it. Every other night, I'll sleep about 4 hours. I don't actually get that tired doing this; it's funny how a passion can fuel you.

Diodemedes4 karma

Thanks for the AMA and for helping promote my TIFU with your music!

Would you consider writing a "We Didn't Start The Fire"-style song about reddit? By "style" in the instance, I mean lyrically. Edit: including events in the lyrics like identifying the Boston bomber, the fappening, etc., not just "Dogecoin, bitcoin, I Am A, AdviceAnimals." Although, that might be entertaining too.

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

This is exactly the type of request that should go to /r/TheStage. Maybe a number of artists will respond and then you'll have your choice of funny reddit tunes. I'd provide any links you have to particularly funny/depressing reddit moments you'd like to be included in the lyrics.

that_is_so_Raven4 karma

What are your thoughts on Breaking Bad?

ThePeoplesBard12 karma

Blue Sky http://clyp.it/hbcffmwu

Most of us are born as Jacks of All Trades,

but most of us want to be King of One Thing.

Some men do whatever it takes to differentiate,

to stand out from the crowd they hate--

even if it means turning to crime

to get a little thrill in their life.

Some men seek blue sky, no matter the cost,

until their Jack of All Trades life is lost.

Lonely King, I hope it was worth the cost.

NeverWantedABlonde4 karma

Where am I going, and where have I been?

ThePeoplesBard8 karma

The song of /u/NeverWantedABlonde, "I'm Leaving Norway": http://clyp.it/z12a1j2i

I know most men are supposed to want girls like these,

but I've never been into blondies.

It's a shame I was born as far north as humans go,

where the women are as pale as snow.

But I've dreamt up a way to get what I wish,

yes a nice brunette dish.

Well, my bags are packed; I'm leaving Norway.

I've got a one way ticket for A-s-i-a,

the land where all the dark-haired beauties reside,

where I can finally find what I like.

MormoTheMagestic4 karma

Thanks for informing me about the AMA! Would you ever consider a collaboration with a beatboxer (ie me)?

ThePeoplesBard3 karma

I love collaborating with people. If you have a way to record, let's do it. PM me, and we can figure something out.

whynottakeachance3 karma


ThePeoplesBard2 karma

I have suit-wearing, desk-jockey job to make a living. I don't think I'd enjoy music if it came with the stress of money. I live near DC, and I play some open mics, but I mainly street perform. I ask walker-bys what their name is, and then I write a song for them on the spot. It's a lot of fun, even though the songs are a disaster sometimes.

Inferzo3 karma

Hi, and thanks for doing this AMA! My question is, How do you find your content? Are you just browsing Reddit, search for specific users or something else? Thanks.

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

Mostly by accident. I just read my favorite subs and sometimes feel a song in a post or a comment. And I never question the feeling. I speed write, then post. Hence the rawness of my work. Otherwise, I respond to ideas on /r/TheStage.

High0nLife3 karma

What are your personal favourite songs you've written for someone who requested them and why?

ThePeoplesBard4 karma

I have this problem where the most recent song I've written becomes my favorite. So I'll try to pick two that have stood the test of time with me.

More serious tune: "Give and Take". I wrote this after a girl asked me to write a song about being a giver in relationships and never getting anything back. This resonated with me, so the song came easy. More fun tune: A girl named Jacqueline asked that I write a song about her being in House Slytherin, so I wrote this love song. Why? Because the Harry Potter universe is fun. https://kavaliercalm.bandcamp.com/track/jacqueline-of-slytherin

gregksoccer3 karma

If you had to choose between eating a bowl of honey bunches of oats(blueberry) or taking a nice tranquil dump with a newspaper to read in the morning, which would you rather choose and why?

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

Can I not eat honey bunches of oats on the toilet?

Radiopd2 karma

What is your creative process? When you start to write a song, where do you draw your creative inspiration from? Finally... As a bard, you are usually cheery. What keeps you from having a bad day?

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

I draw my inspiration from all of you. I started writing for others because I didn't have enough personal reasons to write as much as I wanted to. A picture, a word, or a story can be a spark, and I just go with it. When it's right, it comes easy...I've actually been down lately. Music is my happiness. I write to make sure I don't have a bad day.

kevinnetter2 karma

What are the best notes for playing "happy" sounding music. Or is it more pace or instruments?

ThePeoplesBard5 karma

Writing happy--but not corny--is really, really hard. That's why I think most people go with heartbreak or anger in their work. The quick tip is stick to major chords and scales. But rhythm is more important; upbeat tempo conveys joy. Lyrically, stick to concretes. People use too many abstractions in lyrics like "forever" and "love"; instead talk about the things you can taste, touch, see, etc. that make for happiness.

AwfulGoodPaladin2 karma

How about The Ballad of Eight-Beers-McGee?

For reference in case you haven't seen it: http://www.reddit.com/r/Frisson/comments/2j0xp3/image_a_story_of_eightbeers_mcgee/

I think it could provide some great lyrics for a wonderful ode.

ThePeoplesBard1 karma

Damn, dude, that was heavy. I'll write it if we know how to get in touch with the story's OP. Any ideas?

DabuSurvivor2 karma

What does it feel like to finish a song you're especially proud of and happy with?

ThePeoplesBard4 karma

You know that post-sex ennui? You wanted something so much, and then you get it, and you wonder why you wanted it at all? Songwriting is like that for me--very primal. Once inspired, I must do it. So I do. But once I'm done I almost never reflect on what happened or why. I just wait for the next primal impulse...

no-pity-for-a-coward2 karma

I've been following you on tumblr for a pretty long time and I'm so happy that you're here, too! So, when you were still anonymous on tumblr and decided that you were going to start showing your face, where you scared? Or maybe even anxious about how people would start viewing you differently outside of the internet?

ThePeoplesBard3 karma

Luckily the response in my real life has only been positive so far. I wasn't afraid so much as annoyed. I wish faces didn't matter at all, but I finally did it because I realized people were struggling to connect to my disembodied voice. I think people trust my intentions more now because they can see me, but what's that about? I guess people have been burned by anonymous characters on the internet too often to trust anymore.

capitainkirk2 karma

What is your favorite color and why is that your favorite color?

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

Blue. Because of the blues.

pteje2 karma

If you lost the ability to talk and write, what one instrument would you play to show people what was inside your soul?

ThePeoplesBard1 karma

I'd have to get waaaay better at it (and I would if I couldn't speak), but I'd say the trumpet. I'm brassy, yet mournful, you know?

pteje1 karma

Plus the comedy wah wah wah waaaahhhhh

ThePeoplesBard0 karma

Oh, I Am A Trumpet http://clyp.it/kedlz5ve

Please forgive me. I sang this in a bar bathroom. Really.

Montgomrie1 karma

I really want to write, but I find myself bouncing around between forms. Do you think this is just a coming-of-age thing? Or should I just decide to focus on something?

ThePeoplesBard2 karma

My answer may not be the right one, but I say why focus on one? Do it all. Trust your artistic heart's whims.

archedimes1 karma

How did you get started? Was guitar playing something you picked up earlier on - i.e. child or teenager, or was this something that came about later? Same about songwriting.

ThePeoplesBard1 karma

I got my first guitar at 16. Self taught from there. Songwriting started immediately (I'm vehemently anti-cover), but I had no idea what I was doing until I took a semester of music theory in college. I realized in that one class that 99% of songs you've heard are built on the same foundation. I milk these basics for all they're worth.

Iamthesailorman1 karma

I know you have enough personal things to write about. Even if it's not about you, your mind should be the pond from which you tap ideas. Everyone has a song within their heart. You have an album. Your mind is a radio that plays in every frequency. Tell me, why do you feel that others ought to be your imagination?

ThePeoplesBard1 karma

Oh, I've written my album. Then I thought, what now? And my answer was writing for others. Maybe the self is enough for most, but addictive habits course through my veins. I have to do this every day, and so I'm always searching for a spark. I don't have enough in me, so I turn to others.