#17: You gotta look like an asshole to sing with soul.


Because every blog is a confession, I confess here that I hit a wall a month ago. My body imploded. Sickness rolled in and flattened me on the couch (and briefly, the kitchen floor) for over a week. In my feeble state, I got hit hard by the negatives. The Why-are-you-botherings and Just-go-hide-in-a-caves and How-bout-you-shut-up-for-a-whiles.

I listened to tracks for the record, and through no one's fault but the jackholes that live inside my head, had a nearly overpowering urge to quit. Completely. Not just pause the record. But actually say nevermind to all of it. Pull the plug. Sell my P.A. and never play live again except to the window over my piano and the squirrels who hump each other in the tree outside while I'm trying to write intelligent lyrics that aren't about humping squirrels.

High drama!

My mother came over one night to peel me off the kitchen floor and help me with my son. After he went to bed, my mother suggested that my body might be asking for a break. She asked why I keep doing these things. I have a full-time job and a full-time son (who is now playing t-ball, which feels like full-time). It's not like I'm sitting around wondering what to do with myself.

I didn't really have an answer. I don't know.

Songs come out of me without asking first. They just do. I don't know why. What am I supposed to do with them once they've arrived? Smile as we sit on a bench without going anywhere or doing anything or speaking ever at all? That's me in real life with actual people; seems rude to do it to a song.

But then... two days ago I participated in a nice article in the Des Moines Register about "moms in music." [Read it HERE.] I was asked how I balance everything. I said, "I never feel balanced....just tired."

But later, I thought back to the conversation I'd had with my mother from my sick bed, and I realized that wasn't true. You know when I feel balanced? I'll tell you: When I'm making music.

So, why do I keep doing music when I do not logically have time for it? Because that's the only place I feel balanced. I would add also: I feel like myself when I play music. Everything else stops. There is no pressure. I am in my body, in my spirit, whole and aligned. I'm not defined by a job title, my relationships with others, or the role I play in the life of a 4-year-old. As much as I love my son, I don't know that I want my existence to be defined by him. He doesn't have very good judgment. He wants to wear swimming trunks to school every day. Even in February.

At any rate...

I recorded lead vocals on three songs tonight: Time Again, Rattle, and Dig. I noticed at least one change from the last record (2014): What I do with my hands while I sing. In my last go round with recording, I was either in the same room as other people or I was in a room separated by a window, being watched by whomever was in the sound booth. Tonight, I stood in a room by myself and contorted my face and my hands in all kinds of unflattering ways--just to get the authenticity out of the song, and my pitch in the sweet spot. Lesson: You gotta look like an asshole to sing with soul. Write that down.

Progress.

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