My dearest, most precious snow angels,
It’s January! How was your holiday?! How was your New Years? Did you make a snowperson in your yard then wished them to life and then it became your very best friend?!?!?! Did you eat all the fudge in the land?! Did you watch Elf and cry?! Did you hug a nice cat or a friend or a friend’s cat?!
WOW ME TOO.
On the real real babes, I had one of the best holidays ever. I went horseback riding in the snow with my family, had snuggles with our cat, sang Christmas songs in a sleigh, started BOXING, ate delicious food, wrote music, bought flannel sheets LIKE AN ADULT, went skiing, WROTE A NEW SONG WITH MY GIRLFRIEND, looked at Christmas lights, listened to Christina Aguilara’s Christmas album, and most importantly, spent quality time with the people I love. And most most importantly, ate pie.
I have a TON OF EXCITING UPDATES!!!
-Just in time for the Winter season: CROP TOPS on my website. I also released T-shirts in the same style in case you want to stay warmer.
– I’m working on the next album! I’ve been brushing up on my classical composition chops, as I am composing string quartets for some songs! It’s thrilling to put my degree to work, after primarily focusing on performing the last year.
– I’m working on my next collection of poetry! I’m 60 pages in! It is scary! It is a lot of work! I have trouble making myself sit down and write. I wonder if you writers out there have any tricks for becoming more prolific?
Now the foremost excitingest:
You may recall that we have been working on this video for a hella long time, and that’s because we ran into a few snags along the way. Partly because I funded this project by myself and I don’t even own a car, so that was an adventure in finances! But mostly because I wanted this video to be a piece of art, and that ended up taking a lot more time than I expected. Working on this project felt pretty symbolic for me; I can’t remember the last time I worked on anything creative simply for art’s sake- so much of my life has become about promo, about social media, about making the right career move, or writing songs with the sole intention of having people like them, to the point where I almost feel paralyzed to create. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to sit at the piano and not think “OK. GOTTA WRITE A HIT” “IS THIS CHORD PROGRESSION A HIT CHORD PROGRESSION?!” “WILL PEOPLE LIKE THIS OR WILL THEY HEAR IT AND WANT TO SEND ME ONE OF THOSE GLITTER ENVELOPES AND SAY MEAN THINGS?!” Rather than thinking “Do I even like what I’m creating?” “Is this fulfilling?”Ribcage is a dark song. I wrote it because something dark happened to me. The full explanation of why I wrote the song is here, in this editorial I wrote for FADER, but the idea for the music video, though related, is a little bit different. You can watch it here.
Ribcage is about the unintentional (or intentional) voyeurism of being a fan. My art is an extension of my innermost thoughts, and because I’m a (sometimes involuntarily) vulnerable soul and choose to tell my story (or cry it in a song), I put myself in a precarious trust fall into the audience every night. Most of the time, it is the most gratifying experience an artist could ever dream of. I am able to freely talk about trauma, body image, sexual abuse, being bi-polar, and the audience (read: YOU, YOU GORGEOUS ANGEL CUPCAKE) looks at me and says “I see you. I feel you. Me too.”
The beauty of being vulnerable is that there is an incredible opportunity to connect on a metaphysical level with other human beings. I believe that vulnerability is what makes humanity so moving. When you are vulnerable, you take a leap of faith that the person you are attempting to connect with will reciprocate your openness. If the energy or openness is not returned or sometimes worse, feigned or made fun of, it can feel like the walls are caving in. I took a big break from touring this year after I realized I was having too many grisly panic attacks post-show. Being a vulnerable artist can be so rewarding when you connect with an audience, but when the vulnerability is non-reciprocated or devoid of compassion, it can crush you, your spirit, and your art.
I mean being asked about my sexual abuse on a live television show without any warning or relevance.You, you scrumptious little cookie, might be thinking- WOAH MARY CHILL OUT. Protect yourself! Why do you have to show everyone your naked self all the time? And you would be right! I’m working on that. The problem is, it doesn’t come naturally. You know how a lot of people have to learn how to be vulnerable? I have to learn how to not be vulnerable when it’s unsafe, without changing my identity to fit into this lifestyle. That’s one of the scarier things I’ve noticed about this industry, and largely in the world- how frequently and easily we adapt to harmful situations. I had some people in my life suggest going on anxiety medication, but I realized that these panic attacks had only started this year, and I didn’t want to adapt to this lifestyle. The same thing happened when I was losing my voice and about to start a tour. I was urged to get on vocal steroids, but steroids are a quick fix and can seriously harm your vocal chords with extended use. If my voice is giving out, then I need to change my schedule. If my brain is having these minute combustions, then I need to figure out where it came from, and address it. That said, I took some media training last year specifically to learn how to deflect when a writer is trying to be exploitive with my story. At the moment, I am trying to figure out how to retract safely when I feel unsafe on stage without shaking, running off and crying into chocolate bars.
ANYWHOOZLE. That is the Ribcage story. No kitten mentions in those paragraphs, so HERE, HERE’S A KITTEN:
I also released a video called “Lay Your Head Down” which is a song poem in which I talk about ALL MY FEELINGS. I have so many feelings.