People say they could sing before they could talk, but me, I hummed. I grew up hearing Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Meatloaf, Billy Joel, and lots of classical composers, while other late 80s and early 90s babies were listening to newer pop. The music was my ecstasy – I could dance around and sing at the top of my lungs and express my joy.
As I got older, and had more complicated feelings to deal with, I realized I could write my own songs. I started to listen to other artists – Tori Amos, Kim Robertson, Ella Fitzgerald. I discovered stories and sounds I hadn’t known before. The music was what I used to explore, to discover myself. From 4 years old to college, I learned to play piano, harp, guitar, ukelele and auxiliary percussion.
My depression grew worse. In college, at a major music conservatory, the piano and the harp and the pen became my escape, and my outlet for the pain. I wrote about the tattered remains of relationships, the anger I felt at the world. I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know how to cope, yet.
After college, I tried to write songs that would make me famous. I started making connections with bigwigs, thinking it would help. I believed then that dumbing down my lyrics would mean I could reach more people. The songs all came out flat and dull. They sounded very catchy, but there was nothing of myself left in them. My voice sounded strained, my heart heavy. My music didn’t have any passion, as someone once told me after a performance. I realized they were right. So I stopped writing for about a year, and waited to find who I was before I could trust myself to write something again.
This album, these words – this time, it comes from a place that I know is right. I write now so I can reach other people. I write for fun, I write to heal, to feel sadness for a moment. I write to make someone smile. Laugh. Cry. These are the reasons I write now. I’m still learning who I am. I’m still choosing my battles in song. It’s a never ending process, and I’m grateful for anyone who chooses to share my journey with me.
Tori Amos, Florence and the Machine, The Dresden Dolls, Tears for Fears, Lana Del Rey, Panic! At The Disco, Meatloaf