This year has been a culmination of personal and artistic growth. As I write my album and aspire to impress myself foremost (because I am my greatest critic) I learn more about the kind of music I want to create, and the ultimate message I want to send.
For me, the last year has been a long journey to discover what it is that drives me to become a better person, and a better musician. Above all else, above all of the drama in my world, that is something I hold most precious.
I used to be very involved in pop music, and at the time felt desperate to emulate the persona of a pop phenom. I wanted to behave as someone worthy of that life and of that calibre, without having the maturity or emotional equipment to understand how terribly false that universe was. I was acting in a manner (in an attampt to imitate the personality) of people that don’t really exist. I made allowances to make decisions and allowances for myself and for others that in truth were morally questionable. I found myself hiding behind the falseness of the person I was trying so hard to become.
That’s why I want to thank everyone in my life who pulled me away from those destructive influences. Growing up is hard enought without being fooled by false idols and actors who make you feel inadequate. I’ve found a healthy middle ground between my public self and who I really am (not that they really differ much from one another).
Meggz, you really opened my eyes to my own wounds. You’ve exposed yours, and loved them despite how they hurt, and survived them, and I truly admire that. Jess, you’ve battled quite publicly through your wheightloss, and showed me that even the people I thought were infalliable have vulnerabilities. I support you, I love you, and I thank you so deeply for knocking me down when I deserved it. Phil, It’s been a long, long time, and I thank you for being civilized when we saw each other. It showed a level of maturity I didn’t expect, and I hope that your move went well. It cemented my belief that people can come together for a short time in the name of mutual benefit and then leave one another’s lives without incident. Steve: You are my strength. We’ve forged on through disagreements I thought would never end, through financial ruin, through emotional hell and insurmountable difficulty. We’ve stayed together when it felt like everything was falling apart… and your belief in me has always been unwaivering. I deeply, entirely love you.
To Tyra, I’m so proud of you. I’ve watched you blossom and emerge, and you are beautiful and successful. You inspire me to never accept circumstances as they are, and to always fight for the future that I want. To my Sister, you’ve forced me to accept change (because you have changed) and to allow you the room and the support to grow up and fuck up without resenting you for it. I never understood that my role as the older sister could be so procarious, and yet we’ve made it this far. And to my beautiful, amazing Neice, Shaianne… you’ve brought out a side of me that belongs only to you. I’ve learned so much about everything just by the way I love you. You inspire me, and touch my heart every day and I hope one day that I can return the favor by enriching your life the way you’ve enriched mine. You are precious to me.
Now, back onto the prior subject. I had the poor fortune of reading the new Rolling Stone, featuring Justin Timberlake as this month’s cover boy. I’m truly disappointed. I can’t believe that as a naive teenager I allowed myself to be enchanted by this person. He is a good musician, and while a part of me believes that’s all that should matter, the state of the world (and even Justin himself, in his article) disagrees. I have had one personal experience with drugs all my life. I’ve known many, many people who use drugs all the time (albeit mostly pot, a drug I feel on its own is relatively safe). I took one drag off a joint offered to me by my sister at 17 years old. It was the single most stupid experience in my entire life (and I’ve had a few). Smoking pot did not offer me any benefit. It was the most expensive way I can think of to be a complete idiot. Apparently, Justin was a heavy potsmoker and recorded “Justified” completely high as a kite. No offense to my pot smoking friends, it’s not for me but to each his own. Justin Timberlake is a role model. As a celebrity (as undeserving as the job comes) he accepts responsibility for his behavior as a public figure. He is not a responsible person. If his only inspiration came from a pipe he took to lying about, I cannot back him as a person. If he hadn’t spent years lying about who he is and his lifestyle decisions, if he had not renounced smokers (turns out smoking is his Mom’s fave pasttime) and drug users while he himself was using, I would not be so let down by this knowlege. As a bonus in his favor, he has quit using and recorded “Futuresex/Lovesounds” completely sober.
Maybe I’m still naive enough to believe that people can be responsible enough to live clean. But as I’ve said, doing some pot does not make you a bad person. It’s a bad habit that I believe people can avoid if they try, and that people are far too accepting of a world with drugs. Most of the people I know who use wish they didn’t. Most of the people I know who smoke wish they didn’t. I’m more tolerant when it comes to alcohol. I enjoy a drink or two. I don’t hold my alcohol well, but even when I could I thought it was silly to drink with the intention of getting hammered. That’s a destructive, escapist habit. Responsible, social drinkers are okay in my books.
Off that subject, anyway. I’m looking to do a cover of a classic Peter Gabriel song. I’ve loved it forever, and then I recently heard it on Smallville’s 100th episode and remembered how much I loved it (because it’s beautiful and haunting and heartbreaking) so I hope to revive it. The song is called “I Grieve” and you should try and find it. Have a listen and tell me what you think. I think that two of my greatest vintage rock influences are Peter Gabriel and David Bowie. I love Gabriel’s “I Have The Touch” but it’s been covered by Heather Nova, who did a great job.
That’s why I’m officially awarding the winner of my favorite album for the year 2005/2006 to Kelly Osbourne. Her first album, “Shut Up” was a commercial gimmick and a musical failure. She really allowed herself to be seen as a frivolous rich kid riding her Daddy’s fame. Truth is, she wasn’t, she just hadn’t found her voice. So when I heard her first single ‘One Word’, from her second attempt “Sleeping In The Nothing” I was blown away. She absolutely came alive in the electronica 80’s pop hooks and brought a revived, vintage flavor to the ever fading pop music scene. She defied every other new artist by finding the music that individualized her and capitalized on it. The album is absolutely amazing, and a good choice for everyone who still listens to classic pop musicians, like THE BANGLES, CYNDI LAUPER, PAULA ABDUL, WILSON PHILIPS and others.