I write myself into songs. So you can know more about me than you'd really ever want to know just by reading the lyrics. Connect a few dots, it's all in there…
My mom is a piano teacher. When I was three years old, I climbed up on the piano bench and started playing by ear the song that she had just finished teaching to her student. I guess she kinda flipped out.
So, I begged her to teach me. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and practiced for hours every day. I lived to perform, I loved to compete. I was that little pianist kid you see on TV, whose legs don't reach the pedals, playing a twenty-minute concerto accompanied by a symphony orchestra. I always loved everything about being on a stage. It was just in my blood.
And the music was in my head. Big and full, with harmony and counterpoint kinda like a film score written on the fly for my daily life. I'd compose melodies to the accompaniment of the "notes" of the brakes on the school bus, car horns and all the other sounds around me. It never crossed my mind that there wasn't a symphony banging around in everyone else's head too.
By the way, did I tell you we didn't have a TV? Never did. Not allowed. I am the oldest of eight children, and let me tell you: EIGHT KIDS + ZERO TV = INSANITY. You can imagine that as the oldest of eight, I was like the second mom. So I often joke, although it's not at all a joke because it's ridiculously true, that at age ten, I had four hours of piano to practice, five children to take care of, seven loads of laundry to do and dinner to get on the table before dad got home. Not much room for anything else.
So how did I get here from there, typing the story of where I come from as if somebody's going to care…? If I'm honest, I'll tell you I'm jealous of the other stories… like the one about somebody's daddy twirling her around in the air to the music of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles when she was just a little girl, and her momma telling her she was a superstar. My daddy beat the metronome on my head with a wooden spoon as I practiced the Pathetique Sonata by Beethoven, and I wasn't allowed to listen to the Beatles or the Stones. That music was considered a worldly distraction. I had to be focused.
But being forbidden to listen to the radio only made me want it more. So, my naughty crime was sneaking "listens" of the forbidden music. And that's when I realized I was more about rock than Rachmaninoff. I'd lay awake at night in my bed writing my secret songs. I'd silently sing about a girl who was suffocating, who wasn't really alive... who was something she couldn't admit to, was stuffed in boxes, who needed be seen, who felt like a mistake, worse, like a poison.
I don't want to get too intense here, we're just getting to know each other. But I'm intense. And I've been in dark places. And the music saved me, pushed me, made me free.
But, I think artists ache. It's a requirement. It's what inspires the art in the first place. It starts down low, like a throb, a heartbeat. It gets louder and louder, it beats and screams and pounds on our inner walls until we give it air and let it out. My piano was where I found my identity. I disappeared inside myself every time I played. It was my high. It still is. And it means everything to me that you listen...it always will.