Photo By CHRISTOPHER MACSURAK (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Hey girl hey. I feel like I know you. I bet you get that a lot. But we don’t know each other so maybe I should cut down on the familiar greeting. Something more like…
So nice to meet you!
Well, not meet you. Because we’re not meeting. I’m just writing this and throwing it off the cliff that is the internet and maybe some how, some way it may drift into your path.
Or maybe I wouldn’t want you to read this because it’s way too full of feelings for a first impression and that makes it a tiny bit awkward.
But since I’m in it this far, I might as well keep going. Cheers.
I wish I could just sit and talk to you over coffee (or tea) about art, creating, motherhood, and your music. I’m not a musician. I can carry a tune, but it’s nothing spectacular. The kind of voice that only goes as far as a lead in a community college show, not the title of American Idol.
I may not be a singer, but I am an artist. Someone born with the inherent need to create…either art, or words, or small tunes, or videos, or decor, or paintings…anything I feel makes my soul itch at the moment. I used to feel I wasn’t worth being taken seriously as a self-proclaimed creative Jack-of-all-trades. I used to think that I needed to have a career to validate my worth as an artist, but coming up on 30, my perspective has changed. I’m just creative and I’m okay with having that creativity bounce from medium to medium. I’m happy using my creative ability to serve my family, make my house a home, teach my kids, bring joy to others. And if it ends up being a career in my lifetime, then I’ll consider myself a very lucky person.
I love getting glimpses into your inspiration for each song you’ve written. But what I love even more is that even though you have your story about each song’s birth, each one has become a part of my own life story. When I hear “When We Were Young” I think about myself being 25 and going through a quarter-life crisis. Coming up on 30 this year, “A Million Years Ago” has taken on a new meaning.
Your music has been with me since 19. Your 19, not mine. Your 19 was my 22. Hometown Glory played through my head as my husband and I contemplated moving from our beloved Houston to California right after we got married. I cried through Take It All as if I were singing it to my parents who were getting divorced after 26 years of marriage (but who are now remarried to each other, crazy story.) And your music has stayed with me all these years; Even to when I was 27 and we brought our twin babies home from our adoption agency and I sang “Make You Feel My Love” to them all day, every day. Now, you’ve given me “Remedy” to sing to them as two year old toddlers. Hearing their sweet voices sing the words right along with me brings tears to my eyes I never thought I’d be able to experience as a mother after such trials to become one.
You’re the kind of artist I admire. I could talk about your music alone because it’s the type of music that transcends age and time and experiences. But what I love is that your incredible talent is backed by an attiude and an outlook that is mature beyond what I’ve discerned is the norm for the world. Of course, I don’t know you personally so this view of you is created by interviews I’ve seen in the media. And we all know that the media has the ability to create whatever story it wants. But I see character in you. I admire a woman who is her own, who does the work she’s proud of, puts it out there, is confident in what she created, but doesn’t care what people think about it. I mean, sure, you want people to listen to your music and like it. Its like, you believe in the work enough that your validation doesn’t come from the public’s reception.
In the Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe you said you didn’t want to get too comfortable with your success because success eventually leaves which makes one feel lost. YES! Oh girl, I wish the world understood this and could get it into their hearts. Success doesn’t define who we are. We are deeper beings than that with more value to offer the world than a resume and list of accomplishments. We are made for relationships, to love others well, and to be the best humans we know how. No matter what level we’re at in life – your arena concert world or my stay at home mom world; when we start basing our identity on our success and what others think of us, we give our souls away to people who only love us for the products we produce rather than the heart we have. And when we have our priorities straight – family first, career second – it makes the allure of success less tempting. I think so much of the world has their priorities backwards because they’re chasing success first.
This is a letter with a lot of feels from a girl you don’t even know so it feels incredibly weird writing this like I know you when I don’t really. These are all assumptions based on interviews I’ve seen and read. But you’ve given us the impression of a woman with a tender heart yet strong personality with strong ethics in making the art you feel passionate about – and those are the kind of people I like to surround myself with. So even though the chances of actually surrounding myself by you in person are about zero percent, I’ll continue to surround myself with your music.
If nothing else is taken from this letter, I hope this is…
Thank you. For making art, for being an artist, so the rest of us can experience the gift of your music that makes our lives so much more richer.
Ps. My son is obsessed with Hello. I don’t know where he gets it.