Sometimes the only thing that gives meaning to a failed relationship- romantic or otherwise- is the fact that anything can be an inspiration to song. In the middle of a crossroad and I'm not sure which way to go, either way something's going to be missing. I guess that's where the lyrics come in.
re·lease riˈlēs verb 1.allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free. synonyms: free, set free, let go/out, allow to leave, liberate, set at liberty; More untie, undo, loose, let go, unleash, unfetter antonyms: imprison, tie up 2.allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely. "she released his arm and pushed him aside" remove restrictions or obligations from (someone or something) so that they become available for other activity. synonyms: make available, free, free up, put at someone's disposal, supply, furnish, provide antonyms: detain remove (part of a machine or appliance) from a fixed position, allowing something else to move or function. allow (something) to return to its resting position by ceasing to put pressure on it. "press and release the reset button quickly" 3.allow (information) to be generally available. synonyms: make public, make known, issue, break, announce, declare, report, reveal, divulge, disclose, publish, broadcast, circulate, communicate, disseminate antonyms: suppress, withhold make (a movie or recording) available for general viewing or purchase. synonyms: launch, put on the market, put on sale, bring out, make available More 4.LAW remit or discharge (a debt). synonyms: excuse, exempt, discharge, deliver, absolve; surrender (a right). make over (property or money) to another person or entity. noun noun: release 1.the action or process of releasing or being released. synonyms: freeing, liberation, deliverance, bailout; More a handle or catch that releases part of a mechanism. plural noun: releases 2.the action of making a movie, recording, or other product available for general viewing or purchase.
So the album is done. Music is perfect. I'm happy with all my vocals. Production is on point.
Funny, this feeling is very similar to that first day after you've completely struck the set of a stage play.
What do I do with myself now? Is always the question the next morning. The studio sessions are done. The editing and mixing is finished. I will have a mastered copy in my hand next week and I'm anxious for the next step: booking and performing my material as a solo artist.
Sometimes I wonder if anybody really hear me.
Is anybody listening...reading...responding...feeling even an ounce of the emotion that I have when I am moved to actually write a song lyric.
So many times I hear people say that they don't listen to the lyrics- just the beat.
While this may or may not be the majority speaking, I find it very disturbing.
Songs do so much more than just fill up the space in the background while you ride the elevator...drive to work...take a bath.
To me, songs are a life force that impart wisdom, can induce extreme giddiness or accompany you as you into the deepest depressions.
I can't count how many times Donny has begged me to "hold on to the world as it spins around."
How many times David Ross/Prototype collabs have encouraged me to "keep going" when I literally don't have it in me to move....sing....or shuck and jive for the bosses.
To me, listening to the music and throwing away the lyrics isn't unlike buying a sandwhich and trashing everything in between the two slices of bread.
I believe I have a long way to go in this songwriting business before my lyrics are inciting social change and stopping (or starting) wars...but to everybody that has hit the play button on one of my songs- just know you definitely give me faith to believe that I will reach that point day.
so one more time.... can anybody hear me?
Sometimes I wonder how my life patterns affect my work. I often find that when I'm in a certain place emotionally and mentally my writing stops.
I can look through my journals and see whole years missing. Days, weeks, months where I guess I subconciously decided there should be no records for a future self.
In listening to an aaaaamazing seminar on songwriting I've learned, with that good ole' 20/20 hindsight, that the better thing would have been to write it all out- to expel those feelings from my person as far as a song could take them.
Instead, I've become an expert at hold on to things- hiding my true self from my music and the ppl who listen.....almost like a slow self-poisoning.
I'll always admire singers and songwriters who indulge in the freedom to say exactly what they want- even if it's nothing at all- on a track.
Before i decide on a lyric I think of my mama- what will she say if she hears a song about someone unhooking my bra with one hand?
Could I put music out there that glorifies drinking until the room defaults to a non-stop spin? And if so, what would be the point of encouraging ppl to ruin their livers?
Maybe they shouldn't be, but all of these thoughts float through my head as I'm writing.
Funny how few things can hinder a goal like fear.
Hilarious, how few things make this more clear than putting together an album.
Even with four of the best musicians/producers by my side, I still had fears- this is my first time ever doing something so finite and concrete with my voice.
Will people buy it? Will I be able to use it to do other things? Book gigs....Recording Academy....so many questions and so little time to worry about it.
I recently had an amazing moment with my guitarist.
It's a Monday night and I am freaking out from the sheer number of people and the stilts I feel I'm walking on.
I'm scared to death that I won't live up to the opportunity of being at a paaaacked Baltimore venue about to go on a stage.
I think fear is kinda like that rule that whatever you're focusing on- you'll drive toward.
Because naturally I also left the stage feeling exactly how I envisioned myself.
And then he puts things into perspective for me: you really can't worry about being one way or another way for people. You can only do your art- and whatever comes from it? It is what it is.
There's really no point in being anxious about it- because right before you go onstage is not the time to work yourself up.
Aaaaand this is why I love my musicians.
Because to be completely honest, there never really is a "right" time to entertain fear....
And so there it is. The realization that all I can is my best on each track and hope it resonates with someone. Someone who's felt lost, someone who's about ready to be found.....
*that moment you realize your music is actually making it's way up a very important grapevine
It's definitely a good feeling- but one that makes you rethink some things about where you seriously want to take your art.
I see myself in stadiums. I see myself in sold-out intimate settings. I see myself many places- but with every vision comes at least 100 actions to actually get there- and I'm understanding it. In part, the clarity comes as a result of the people that this Universe has placed around me.
And great Hay-Seuss are they ever pushy.
I've been tasked with creating material for either a healthy EP or an whole album by the time "Words" is ready for release and what's coming together is a very interesting combination of calmer, softer, more ethereal pieces with a touch of hip hop here and there.
My work is changing as I am changing and it's interesting to see what songs are written in the absence of my favorite muse(s).
Some come straight that place of bitterness, hurt, and pain that I decided to visit once and never left.
I know we're only 12 days into the New Year, but I believe that my new views, my new want and passion about moving forward have opened me up to a whole new portion of this process.
One day there’s going to be a producer telling you an interesting little story of a day where I lost it in the process of making this album.
Fed up with regular everyday personal shit, and still looking at a 4 1/2 drive to Norfolk for my mama graduation, I completely forgot that I had scheduled a meeting with my producers to gather loose ends and talk about the last song to be completed on the album.
When he called, I became even more enraged that the album was not ready and things were simply not going my way.
I started recording songs for this album in 2010. Fears that people no longer wanted to hear what I had to say set in around 2012. Fears that I no longer wanted to hear what I had to say set in around 2013.
And while I kept pushing- even through the voices- there was- and still is- one blasted song I loathe myself for even putting together.
Between changes in music and vocals rehashed over and over, there are at LEAST 10 versions of this fuckn song.
Apologies, I just got mad all over again- as I did that night when all I could think was that I had had enough of this project.
Though I don't remember exactly what I said...he'll tell you that at some point he removed the phone from his ear and looked into his rearview mirror to tell audience members "She's not- she’s not talking to me" as I screamed on the other end "I want it to be DONE! DONE! DONE! I'M TIRED OF TALKING ABOUT THIS ALBUM!!"
The funny thing is- he was right, I was talking more to myself than to anyone else. (Apologies texts were sent immediately afterward, by the way.)
I have a serious problem with being vulnerable- in song and in real life.
True story- there have been times I scratched lyrics because they made me squirm with vulnerableness.
And yes, my producers get mad at me for doing it- but all I can say is that I’m not there yet.
Hence my problem with this song.
Producer #1 told me about two years ago that as soon as he heard it, he instantly knew who I was talking about and what situation was being confirmed and expressed.
Though I never told him, his statement shook me up because I hadn’t realized 1) that he knew me that well or 2) that I had been so transparent in my lyrics.
I didn’t like it. Still don’t.
I’m getting better- but my struggle with this song and all the vulnerability that comes with it-continues- one, because it’s that intersection where someone you love gives you reasons to be someone you hate.
As an artist you write a song about it- put those ill feelings to music and try to move on. As a human, sometimes there is no final verdict.
In one situation, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind- that person is still the one you became infatuated with. At other times, and in another clear frame of mind they are guilty as charged for all the wrongdoings you wish YOU could take back for them.
All of this to say, that the process can’t be abandoned- even if it brings out the best of the worst in you.
soooo i WOKE UP Wednesday a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
And though it was only a matter of lightly reading over some lively Articles of Association, and like passages, it felt like a giant step forward.
A sign of a transformation being carried through.
In 2014, I have to get my business side right. So there it was. A way to receive the royalties I've not yet earned as a writer or a publisher.
.....but somebody told me to make room for things as though they were.
It's been over a year since my last post and forgiveness is a must.
Since November of 2012 music for this album has been revamped and scratched and tweaked and re-done again.
The thing I'm finding out about perfection is that few things in this world are ever truly perfect- whether it's a sweater that loses its' shape or love, that fades.
It's so easy to be seduced by the thought of having the perfect album. There's always going to be something that could be better- and if not better- just slightly different.
At some point I realized that my need for somebody's deluded version of my perfection would keep me in a state of never feeling good enough.
Lyrics could always be better. Music could always be better- do we need live drums? Can you turn up the bass? Why am I singing like that?
And while many things did genuinely get better over time and improve with multiple takes (How Many Days), there were other experiences (Just Wanna Love You) where simplicity and first-tries were chosen over Mix #3.5 for their truly organic feel.
All of this to say-I'm still finding my voice, and no- it's not perfect. Even though this album is finished MY VOICE is still being defined. My definition of perfection- with detail to quality- is still taking shape.
But my Art? It's perfect in all its' imperfections.