Finding Our Voices
I am typically not one to lack words. And yet, since 2016, at a time when there was so much to say, I found myself overcome by feelings of shock and eventual numbness. It was impossible to keep up with a frantic news cycle that seemed to push the boundaries of sanity like a speeding highway snowplow. Every righteous thought died at my fingertips, smothered by fear of being too polarizing, too subjective, too unresearched, and ultimately, useless. I was reduced to a silent, seething observer, drinking a communal poison, and putting one numb foot in front of another, searching for new hope.
Those feet took me to the Women’s March in LA, where I saw a million dazzling reflections in the flesh, echoing my thoughts and roaring loudly for the first time in my adult lifetime. I joined them in that first chorus, sensing that we were not roaring to be heard by those we were angered by, as much as to finally hear each other.
I heard the roar. And I found a new place for my fingertips. 🎹
Since then, we have seen some of our worst fears realized, as basic civility has been decimated and predatory behavior has been rewarded. Up is down, and we are rotten with corruption. I turn to those roaring voices often, as they reverberate in my head with the promise that there are many, many more who will eventually and collectively make the right move to pull us out of the depths of misery and disbelief. Some are kids. Some are immigrants. Some are women. Some were women. I hear them every day, with better tuned ears that are finally listening for them, and looking for ways to join in.
As this new album was built, I found myself reimagining and shaping every song in today’s painful, panicked context. Even songs that I had written years ago. The result is far different from Indigo, which was pristine, careful, and giving in its emotional subtext. This album is deliberately frantic and urgent. There were evenings where I couldn’t comprehend the number of tracks we had laid down, from French horn to opera singer, only to hear my producer fearlessly say, “okay, what else should we add?” I’m certain if I had said “the kitchen sink” that he would have happily mic’d the disposal and found a brilliant way to use it.
We are undoubtedly surrounded by hope. Millions are marching for causes they believe in. Dozens have publicly come out to expose sexual assault at the workplace. I feel the energy and momentum, even in my own workplace, as this giant movement unfolds to declare that enough is enough.
I am a liberal feminist. The title track of my new album is “Giant”. It is a love song, written and dedicated to the women who march for their rights, the kids who march for their safety, those that courageously share their story, and to all who feel strongly that everyone has a right to be safe and be heard. Don’t be quiet. Keep your voices raised, and the kitchen sink handy.
Photo: Bruno O’Hara Photography