There’s something mystical, magical about a song – this small little window of time that transports us, lifts us, and reminds us what it means to be human. To love, to hurt, to dream, to wonder and question and explore. For me as an artist, I’ve found the song form to be so unique – in four minutes I can say more than a book’s worth of writing, I can feel more than in an intimate conversation with a friend. It’s like this space is created in another realm where I can make sense of life.
I started writing songs when I was twelve years old. I’ve written hundreds of them, but it hasn’t really been until the last three years or so where I’ve felt like I’ve come into myself as an artist – where I truly love the work I’m creating. In the last 10 years, I haven’t released much music at all. I think it’s funny how most of my friends and family know I’m a musician, a writer, a producer, but have rarely heard my works. People generally have no idea what goes on in here, and so it’s been an unusual journey for me in finally coming to the place of sharing my music. It has nothing to do with fear or self-doubt, or insecurity, anything like that. It just has to do with timing.
I have to say, waiting is hard. I think the natural tendency as an artist is that once you make something, you share it! One of my mentors told me how so often authors and writers release books prematurely, and in doing so they’ve hampered the effect and reach of the book, and I’ve taken that to heart. I’ve learned to become very sensitive to the timing and rhythms of when a work should be released. As I transitioned from grad school to opening up a recording studio in the Pacific Northwest, to having children and relocating to Michigan, I’ve been patiently waiting for when it felt like the right time to release my music. And now is the time.
I began thinking seriously about the Mount Valor project in 2014, and spent all of 2015 organizing, choosing the right songs, and finishing writing that needed to be done on them. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a song on the list that I didn’t absolutely love. After much planning and preparation, I launched a Kickstarter campaign in October, and with the help of 225 backers we raised over $22,000 to help pay for mixing, fees, equipment, and more. It was an incredible experience that encouraged me to move forward and release all of my music.
I’ve known since I was young that my calling isn’t to just entertain people, to put on a good show and fireworks and make people feel like they got their $80 worth. I just know that’s not for me – there’s enough people out there doing that, and it doesn’t make sense for me to try to figure out a better “product” to get my market share and do the same thing. I honestly don’t feel like there are enough artists digging, getting into the dirt and going deep into who we are as humans, and telling our story, exploring what it means to have imagination, freedom, passion, creativity, and emotion. There is something ancient that’s missing in our music. There’s a yearning that I’ve felt for years that I don’t find in a lot of our music. There’s this desire of identity – to know and be known. And I’ve labored and toiled to try to somehow grasp that and understand that and translate it into sound and poetry.
I’ve never felt a close connection really at all to the music industry – I’ve had no desire to start a career, and sell CDs and convince people that they need to become my fans so I can generate “momentum” within the market – it’s all a foreign language to me. The idea that I somehow need to think in terms of competition and comparison is ridiculous to me. I could really care less about finding validation from numbers or charts or ticket sales.