Well, tonight I was just at home, in my PJ's, working on new songs and re-singing vocal harmonies over and over, when my phone went crazy, and so did my Facebook and also Twitter.
In fact, my song Meant was being used for the promo of the ABC show 'Scandal' and it aired during Oscars. I missed it! I was working and not watching the Oscars: I'll admit it.
Also, I knew about the possible use, but it was not a sure thing - these things can change any moment - and so it came as a surprise to me, too... a very good one! I have been working very hard on the follow up music recently, and this is like a beautiful gift, and a fitting place for Meant. I have heard from some new fans who say the promo has a James Bond vibe:)
Thank you ABC for picking my song. Seriously: a big, big thank you.
And for those of you who are reading this and meeting me for the first time because of this occasion:
Buy the album version of Meant (the one used for the promo) on iTunes here:
Well what a year it has been. So much done, learned, experienced. A lot of inner storms weathered - some more easily than others.
At the end of this year I am not at all where I thought I would be when I imagined it a year ago.
But I am certainly not the person I was a year ago, either.
I have performed, traveled, made videos, tested personal limits of all kinds, acquired new friends and fans, cried, laughed till my stomach hurt, sang till my throat could take no more, doubted myself, felt invincible, written new songs and then had to rewrite everything, including my life.
I have learned that there are no gurantees except personal inner strength and faith in what you can do. The only constants in life are your habits: good and bad. People will change, life will change, your body may decide it has had it and needs rest, but if you're alive on the inside and trust yourself, you can take any risk - with any outcome - and still come out on top, just because you took the plunge.
Fear may keep you safe for a while, but it won't save you from your own 'what ifs'.
I think I wrote a while back how sometimes it appears that different people are made of different materials. Wood, steel. Plaster. Stone. Put wood in the fire and it will burn. Put steel in the fire and it will get stronger.
But there is more to that. I believe now that we all 'transmute' over time. We change - sometimes back and forth - and you could have started out as steel, but when hurt or tired, you may become glass for a while, feeling like anything could shatter you. You hide and bide your time, but eventually you feel stronger and now you are not thin and brittle like the surface of a wineglass, ready to break at any given moment, but a sturdy glass door. You are ready to leave your safe cupboard and face the world. Maybe not go out into it just yet, but make yourself visible and vulnerable to a degree.
I often felt very brittle and rather fragile over this past year. I would rise up to challenges, but on the inside, my self doubt kept alive by finding ways to deny me the pleasure of achievement. I would tell myself: 'yes, I did it, but... I could have prepared more. I should have done better. I didn't do my best'.
Strangely enough, as many things fell away towards the end of this year, I feel the strongest I have in a very long time. I don't feel diminished by my perceived "failures", like I would have in the past. I feel - well, for the first time in a long, long time, I feel like I could be a sword. Steel. Or a rapier of a kind. Fine steel, bendable, but strong and sharp.
I am also the hand that wields it.
You see, life is dangerous. Living life as it should be lived, in my opinion, is dangerous. When you plan, hope, strive, you open yourself up to a giddy sense of freedom and possibility, but also to a chance that you will fail miserably. You could be broken. Shattered. Discouraged. But if you stay safe and never push your limits, you will never know what you might have been otherwise.
Today Los Angeles is cold and it started out being around 40 degrees farenheit this morning. Not common for Southern California, but I love it. It's crisp and I can smell wood burning somewhere. The sun is warming everything up. It does feel like the end of the year.
We are about to put my new Store page up on my website, and in the next few weeks you can expect a lot of Beatrix Map updates. The story goes on... 2013 feels like it will be an amazing year.
And as we passed through Utah a couple of weeks ago, we shot a very silly, but happy video to my Christmas cover of 'Marshmallow World':
I played my first performance of the 3-date musical residency at the Witzend last night. It was somewhat historical because most of the songs were performed on guitar, with Ben joining me on electric. I really enjoyed the process although my shoulder is killing me today due to all the guitar playing I am not used to, and swimming. I really enjoyed it and this marks the beginning of a lot more frequent performances on guitar for me, shoulder or no shoulder.
It rained for the first time in weeks here in L.A. yesterday morning, so the more acoustic nature of my concert suited the day just fine. Next week - lots of live looping and electric toys.
The website is so close to being ready I can't stand it!
The City can't decide whether it wants it to rain or not. After the deluge of yesterday, it is still pondering, so I did get rained on a couple of times throughout the day, but it was very minor. All in all, I do prefer this weather to the stifling heat of yesterday.
Obviously it's all about me, so theretofore I brought the rain to NYC, didn't I? Anecdotal evidence: when I was in Austin, performing, we arrived to heat and three-month draught. Within 12 hours of my arrival, a thunderstorm came to pass (short, but effective), and the day was saved.
Maybe not all my doing, but a girl can feel important: why not?
After getting rained on and finding refuge in a French bar:
I found shoes! Fortunately for me, it's sales season. Gloves, shoes, flower dress and NYC is my oyster...err... apple. Right??
Tomorrow is my performance and I am in the mood. Let's do this. Tonight I'll read some poetry and try to imagine what it is going to be like when I come and stay in NYC for a whole month, doing a residency - it's in the plans - being here certainly makes me want to dress up and strut a lot more than Los Angeles ever has. It could be dangerous! But life is short. Why not?
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. (Michelangelo)
...and so just before the tour was over - and I had two shows left - my body said "STOP. NO FURTHER. OR ELSE".
I started running a high fever, my throat was in agony, and standing up for long periods of time was a luxury I was no longer able to afford. I went to a doctor in Tucson, who examined me, prescribed me antibiotics and kindly informed me that I should consider NOT singing in the coming two days, if I wanted to get away with my vocal cords intact, and especially if I had more concerts scheduled in the upcoming weeks (which I do).
And so after a minor emotional breakdown (I HATE canceling things, I dislike being weak, and I detest giving in to circumstances), I had to not-so-graciously concede.
Body always wins.
I am home, in bed, catching up on emails, sleep, movies and mediocre BBC crime series, which are curiously satisfying. Guitar practice awaits, as do all the important chores.... but....but....not quite yet.
I am back and spending some time with my guitar.. as it is raining outside. Southern California really needed rain, apparently. I am not at all sorry it came back with me from Northern California. We drove across the state together, seemingly.
The video for Meant is almost finished, another tour has been scheduled for May, and the iTunes acoustic session release is coming up soon.
A brand new website is in the works - and we will soon start unveiling the story of Beatrix: which is the story behind the record. It will be premiered online in different formats throughout the rest of this year.
I performed at the El Rey theater last night, together with Michael Valerio on acoustic bass, who is my occasional MD and one of my favorite people and musicians all in one. I had not played at the El Rey Theater for almost a year, so it was a welcome return to home turf, so to speak, and an opportunity to observe my own progress. Yes, there has definitely been progress.
It was also very rewarding to see some of the new fans. There was one boy who was 14. There was a mother with her daughter who was 10. There were some older people, and a whole group of feisty and lovely women in their late 30's.
We drove all day from San Francisco. This tour has been all about driving around in a van - not the most comfortable or luxurious endeavor you can imagine, but strangely satisfying, as well - I get to catch up on all my reading, some language stuff (Chinese, hello??!!) and also meditation.
Furthermore, I think there is something in the movement that appeals to my restless nature and keeps the inner critic calm. After all, we are going somewhere, therefore we are not idle; therefore there is hope for a new development, other routes, something exciting around the corner.
Perhaps that is that, then. I would make a lousy housewife or librarian, most likely, because when I am still in one place for too long, I get anxious. When I get anxious, I am starting to inhabit my own head a bit too much, and that, in turn, makes me more anxious. Maybe I was a sailor in a past life. Or a mercenary. Or maybe a traveling potion maker or juggler, who sang.
Or maybe I am just young:)
However, it is not a coincidence that the story of Beatrix Runs - the story of time-traveling adventure behind the album - is very much a mirror of my own story up until now.
It is a story of struggle, searching for one's identity, adventure and, above all, coming to realize that life is an alchemical process.