It is a weird thing to be releasing music I wrote what seems like a lifetime ago. The winter of 2014-15 seems so distant as I think back to the long cold nights when I was enduring my second go round with chemotherapy to combat my recurring breast cancer. I had nothing to do but sit in my misery and it felt awful, so I played music – all the time. One day I realized that I had sat, trance-like, in front of the piano for 9 hours just practicing my fingering. Focusing on music allowed me to put my mind somewhere other than in my current place and it was a relief to lose myself in the technical details and intricate rhythms.
The emotions behind that music have long ago been replaced by an effusive joy and an excited desire to be here in this now. Hearing the sadness of my words stretching out to me through time is sobering to say the least. Part of me wants to distance myself with this music. It reminds me of one of the most difficult times in my life. It speaks of anger and sadness, loneliness and pain. There are songs of loss and hate and fear and the one love song on the album wasn’t even of my own experience. But then I listen with a different ear and I realize that these are good songs. They all have a message to share and they all speak with the vulnerability I was feeling at the time. I’m both proud and saddened by this music, and so I’ve delayed and delayed the release of it.
As I said though, I’m in a different place now and I’m writing still. Already, I’ve recorded 5 tracks for my 3rd album and before I know it I’ll be sitting on another complete album. It’s time to begin putting out all that I have been amassing. I’ve kept quiet for awhile while I got my affairs together and now I feel it’s time to share.
Oh No was one of the last songs we recorded for Fly. Glenn Sawyer of The Spot Studios and I had written the music together and I gave the lyrics and melody several tries before it became apparent this was going to be a song of massive heartbreak and there wasn’t much of a way around it. The first time I sang the vocals would have been around February 2015 when I had already been going through a solid 3 months of chemotherapy. My head felt like it was stuffed with cotton and my voice was tight and strained. After trying for 20 minutes to make it sound good, co-producer Rich Veltrop finally suggested I go take a hot steam shower in the guest quarters at the studio to open my airway. It helped and we were able to get much of the song recorded but the last part of Oh No, where the vocals get really big and loud, was too much for me. I sang the last line to the best of my abilities and then the lack of air caught up with me and next thing I knew I was on the ground in the vocal booth with black spots in my eyes and Glenn and Rich, upstairs and unable to see me, oblivious to the fact. I can’t believe I felt the need to record under those circumstances, when my body was too weak to actually perform, but I think they saw how important it was to me and went along with it. It was the only thing I thought I had control over and, damn it, no one was taking that away from me. So they humored me and helped me to feel meaningful despite my suffering. I just re-recorded the vocals last month though so none of that will be evident in the final product of this song which I feel helps the listenability tremendously!
When it came time to create a video for this song, I was a little uncertain about the route we should take. It’s a more industrial sounding song about heartbreak but in my heart, I wanted to create something beautiful with which to juxtapose the music. Joel Rekiel and I filmed over the course of two days at a beautiful park not far from my house. There used to be a mansion on a private lake but it burnt down years ago. Now all that’s left is the hardscaped ruins of the landing down to the water which is where we filmed. The destroyed beauty of the place reminded me of the song. All that are left are ruins of the life we had, and they’re massive. It seemed appropriate.
In the video, I am the broken heart. I’m the person shattered and devastated by the loss. Matison Card danced the expression of the soul. She was to be the physical representation of the pain. I’m not sure if that’s quite what the viewer will get out of it, but I really love the look of the video overall and I hope that you do too.
Thank you for following me along this crazy journey of trying to stay alive just when I’ve found why I’m supposed to be here.
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