The things I hear the most as a struggling singer/songwriter:
“Why are you so afraid?”
“Just get up there and play.”
“What do you have to lose?”
There is nothing that means more to me then music. (Except my family, but that should go without saying.) So why is it so hard to get up on stage and share my songs, my art, my life? After all you’re supposed to share your “gifts” right? It’s just not that simple for me. I’m sure there are other singer/songwriters out there who have struggled with overcoming the fear of rejection and criticism of songs they have poured their heart and soul into. I applaud them. There is no easy formula.
Music has always been the biggest thing in my life. I grew up listening to everything from Hank Sr., Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris to Journey, Heart, Pat Benatar, Jon Bon Jovi, and Prince. There was always 90’s country (new at the time) blaring out our car speakers whenever my mom and I would go on weekend roadtrips to Texas or wherever we decided to go. I am so very thankful my mom encouraged me to listen to every type of music possible. Now days I am infatuated with the Singer-Songwriter genera: Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Patty Griffin, Jonah Burke, The Decemberist, Gavin Degraw, Ray LaMontagne, and so on.
I am and have always been drawn to lyrics. The first thing I do when I buy a new cd is take out the insert and read all the words and see who wrote what to every song before I even listen to the album. I’m weird I know. When I was growing up, I would sit in the floor of my room playing with my barbies and hot wheels cars (yes I had a large collection of cars) and singing whatever popped into my head. Being an only child to a single parent I had to entertain myself somehow. I remember when I had my first crush in fourth grade on the boy that sat across from me at our table. I wrote a “song” for him called “Puppy Dog Love.” I think that is when my fear of sharing my songs started. One of the other boys in class found it and read it out loud and the ENTIRE class was laughing and making fun of me. BUT it didn’t stop me from writing. Fast forward to senior year of high school; I was writing songs instead of paying attention in my AP History class. My teacher took them away and threw them in the trash. After class was over I went and dug them out, he took them and read them and proceeded to tell me how good they were and he was sorry he threw them in the trash.
By this point in my life there is a major cloud of confusion around who I am and what I want to do. My brain says be responsible: Go to college, get a degree, graduate and get a stable job. My soul… It screams “Make Music!!!” So what is a girl to do? If you figure out the answer to that let me know.
When I was 18 I drove 2 hours to meet my biological father for the first time. He is where I get my musical obsession/talent from I suppose. He used to have a band in the 90’s called FastLane South. I’ve heard the recordings and got to open for them for the brief period of time when they played in 2012. they were pretty good and I’m not being biased. Anyway, I move down to Ada 3 weeks after meeting him. Talk about a leap of faith. I shared my songwriting with him and he encouraged me to learn guitar. So I did. A couple years go by and I really start to hone my guitar playing and songwriting. I played in a little acoustic duo for a while. . I loved the rush of adrenaline that comes along with being on stage. I finally felt like I was doing what I was born to do. I played my guitar and she sang and life was good. Then the difference in opinion came along. It is what it is. I moved back to Oklahoma City in March 2013. I have become completely swept away with the music scene here. It is amazing to me how much talent is around and I am so blessed to call a lot of the artist dear friends. They all know I write and are constantly encouraging me to get up and play at open mic nights and to open for them. So why don’t I do it? I don’t know.
I am so proud of the songs I write these days. I’m finding MY voice and not trying to write what I think others want to hear. I write maybe 1-2 songs a day, sometimes more. (According to some that makes me a mutant freak! HAHA!) One of the perks of moonlighting as a bartender is I have a constant flow of inspiration at my disposal. Not everything I write is about others, I have some very personal songs that mean so much to me. I am not an overly open person with my feelings so what I am feeling comes out in my music. That’s one reason I do know that I struggle with my fear. I’m highly protective over my songs. It’s like I am baring my soul for the world to see and asking them to judge it. That takes an incredible amount of strength and knowing exactly who you are. But I will fight to gain that ability. This is me. This is who I am. This is my journey.