Vocalist for Fine Fine Titans
Professional Hair and Makeup Artist
Avid animal lover and freedom fighter.
Writer by day. Dreamer by night.
I’ve really been blessed thus far to be able to share my deepest desires with so many of you. The older I get and the more people I lose, the more abruptly the reality strikes me that we are not invincible. We’re plagued with this idea of the “American Dream”…that you grow up in a healthy home, attend college, attain a job that hopefully you like, get married, have a few kids, celebrate the holidays the same way every year with the same banana bread recipe, pass that on to your grandchildren and then die of natural causes. Some people are comfortable with this and some people dream of this. Then there is me.
I absolutely couldn’t stomach taking anything in my life for granted, but dare I say that I am not satisfied with the status quo. The American Dream is not my dream and nor is it for some other people. But here is the thing…I am not concerned with what you dream about, I am only concerned that we all find the courage and strength to step outside of the box, confess that our aspirations may not be the popular vision and charge our way through to seek out whatever it is that we dare to dream.
My dream is to make music. To tour the world, reach out and connect to people who may have lost their way or who know their way and just need a push forward. I’m dying to meet other people with similar ambitions who just want to make positive changes in our world and to create the sort of community that only art and music can.
Everyone needs a little help. I certainly am no stranger to this. This opportunity that we have been given to make a superb product and to expand our horizons can help us to reach audiences that staying in this little Michigan town never could. We don’t know for certain that this will be our ticket in to the major leagues and we are not immune to the fantasy of the situation. Beyond the recording of this album, we will still have to work our hands to the bone to tour how we want and reach the audiences we strive to. We know it won’t be a cakewalk, but we’re diving head first into this because even though I joke of it in the video, it’s true, we could leave this earth at any given moment without ever leaving any sort of impact in the world.
So we’re going to Hollywood to record an album. It’s going to be fucking expensive, so that’s why we need your help.
It’s interesting that until now, I could never wrap my head around the fact that I write and perform vocals with a band who plays heavy music when mostly, it’s not music that I listen to. I love what many bands in hardcore, metal and it’s sub-genre’s stand for. I love that the genres are so misperceived and am enamored by the passion that drives it. What I don’t love is that it often can be difficult to connect with. I don’t enjoy the exclusivity and the fact that it shuns people who may be truly interested in the music and lifestyle but just don’t know where to start. Many fans of hardcore are self-centered snobs, the quintessential “hipster”, who believes that they were a part of some revolution first. These fans and sometime’s even the genre’s players bitch about the very same exclusivity from social groups that they were cast out of as young adults or children. The hypocrisy astounds me.
So that’s what I want to write and perform, heavy music that breaks down barriers between genres. I want to create a voice to a progressive generation that doesn’t place focus on the differences between the million sub genre’s that we’ve generated, but instead focuses on the similarities. Instead of casting people out, I want to draw them in. Because what is art if you can’t share it?
“Selling out is the compromising of integrity, morality, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money. In terms of music or art, selling out is associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream or commercial audience, for example a musician who alters their material to encompass a wider audience may be labeled by fans who pre-date the change as a sellout.”
“…a musician who alters their material to encompass a wider audience may be labeled by fans who pre-date the change as a sellout.”
This is a slippery slope to tread on. As musicians, we are always under scrutiny and we must find a way to balance that line of “cool” and “not cool.” It’s not enough just to play or write what speaks to your heart…and if you’re going to do it publicly, you must be prepared to ultimately be judged. If your heart sways and your mind changes, you can assume that some fans will find difficulty in understanding that growth and will automatically assess it as “selling out.”
I know that many musicians and artists simply pass this off and will continue on with their work, never paying mind to harsh, critical eyes and I applaud them for their strength. I, however, take it personally.
Maybe that will hurt me in the end. Maybe it’s hurting me now. I worry about being misguided away from integrity and also being viewed in such a way. I also am very mindful of disrespecting supporters. But where is the balance in sustaining happiness for both your supporters and yourself?
Sometimes, I can feel the desperation in our artwork.
Our pictures paint silent screams and our words on paper can reflect such despondency. Even our building structures seem to reach for clarity past the skylines of our cities. Our hearts know that the true drum beat is sounded not by the crash of a cymbal, but instead the crash of the waves and continues not with a bass drum kicking, but instead, the pounding of our wildlife marching. Our ears know well that the most beautiful of harmonies can be heard by a nightingale singing in tune to the swooshing song of a dancing oak tree. We’ve come up with a million color combinations to splash upon a blank white canvas in order to decorate our lives in polychromatic kindness, but still nothing is quite as vibrant and aesthetically pleasing as a western sunset against rolling lush greenery. In fact, we’ll spend thousands of dollars to develop cameras to photograph a view as striking as a mother nursing her babies, but nothing is as astonishing as feeling the warmth of your own mother’s blessing.
We’ve tried with all the might we can muster up in our bodies to capture, in writing, the darkness we’ve felt in our lowest of times, but nothing can quite mirror the depth and the vastness of our northern night skies.
So thank you, Mother Nature. Without you, our walls would be blank and our voices would be silent. Our hands would be still with our eyes dried wide open. Without you, our feet would be without callous and our lungs completely breathless. Our world would be empty and our hearts, cold and lifeless. I’ll kiss the ground that I walk on and dedicate my song to your name. Oh, Mother Nature, I hope we can right all the wrong that we’ve done to you, one day.
“You may have an uncontrollable urge to shout your message from the top of a mountain, but you would be better off just getting on with the work that needs to be done. Your efforts aren’t necessarily in creating something new; instead, do whatever you can to heal your current situation. Build a solid foundation right where you are standing, even if opportunity opens a door to someplace else.”
I haven’t kept up with astrology in a long time. So when I felt inspired to search for some today, I expected only to find some vague dialogue that couldn’t even half satisfy me. The first and only horoscope I found, however, sank like a rock deep in my gut. Lately, I’ve been feeling so terribly discouraged with my ability in music, in writing, in performing and all the work around the band, it would be a lie if I said that I didn’t have thoughts of searching for a new route. Recording in the past had been fun and helped to strengthen my connection with the band and hear my vocals in a positive light…made me excited to release and share with the world something that I value the most: my dreams. However, this time the road is darker. The road is rockier and somewhere in my travels, I lost my fire. And suddenly, I hate everything that I’m doing.
So this weak mindset only makes me weaker and scares the hell out of me…all I want to do is start over in a new place; create a new face. But that’s not what should be done. I need to lace up my bootstraps and get back to work.
That’s the worst thing about always believing that you’re right…when you don’t like something about yourself or what you do, you’re certain that no one else will either.
There is, and always will be, music that takes you back to another time.
Really though, what is music’s purpose if not to be the one tangible thing that we can always rely on to invoke emotion, create energy and move the spirit? We all cling to a different religion or none at all. We each have a different approach to art or none at all, but who on earth can say that there is not one type of music that they embrace? One genre or sound - even the music that the ocean waves create when they crash to the shore - that doesn’t build feeling or whisper peacefulness to them? Even the hearing impaired have learned to feel music and that could possibly reach light years beyond what we feel.
As Dashboard Confessional came up on Shuffle today, my first thought was not that my tastes no longer care for the music, but instead, I was immediately brought back to that seventeen, eighteen, nineteen year old me. The one that desperately reached for any kind of belonging, stability and identity. I find it so odd how you can forget such feelings so rapidly and maybe even completely until that one song, that one album, that one voice or band can bring you back in two seconds flat. In that moment, you transcend time and those last six or seven years have meant nothing at all.
Hearing that song is like seeing your best friend after ten years of not speaking and starting up exactly where you left off, without a flinch or a second thought.
Sweet nostalgia; bittersweet nostalgia. Music is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because nothing in the world is better than it and a curse because nothing in the world will ever be better than it.
Few things are important to me in life, and creativity ranks high on that short list. Originality, though difficult to find, does still exist, even if it is very subtle. I believe there are ways to accomplish it, and I say accomplish because I don’t believe that originality is innate. It takes perseverance, intelligence, creativity and an open mind to obtain it. Once you do get there, it’s an evolution of thought and it must constantly be fed to sustain relevancy. Maybe people don’t see borrowed ideas as originality, but they can be. Because borrow ideas are only used as a seed to be planted and nourished with other resources to then blossom into something new and fresh. Thus, the original idea is left to the creator. Stolen ideas, however, are just that - a deadly weapon to an artist. It seems that we are just so saturated with art and culture that we lose sight of what is truly beautiful and we have difficulty appreciating glimmers of individuality.
Originality doesn’t have to smack you in the face, but it should at least brush against your fingertips.