The summer is over. LA has a long summer. As I am writing this, fall is finally here. It feels good. The light is changing, and although Los Angeles is not really a weather-rich kind of place, you can feel the change. Evenings are chillier. Some trees are definitely recognizing that it's time to change the color of their foliage, even though it's still warm during the day. The ocean is getting colder, too, but I still go for a daily swim.
I just spent a couple of days resting and basically doing not much of anything. I loved it. Sometimes I think maybe I don't have any 'in-between' settings. I am like a car that only has a 1st and 5th speeds. Sometimes I find myself idling - it could be because I need to rest or due to fear, but I can't stay there long. Once I start something, I go hard. Sometimes too hard, in fact, but a part of me enjoys that, as well. What is life for, if not to burn bright?
My last entry here was early July, was it not? I think I was very raw and uncertain about a number of things. I had just come off of a trip of a lifetime - attending and performing at TED Global - but I was wrestling with a few emotional issues. I was also just at the start of making my new EP, which I had decided to produce myself. I was terrified, frankly. I wasn't sure I could do it. I was also freshly broken up with my major label. A good and friendly divorce, that. But a divorce is still a divorce, is it not? It had taken its toll.
I kept at it and kept going.
And fast forward to the last couple of weeks. We are done with my new EP. I did it - I think. This is the last week of tweaking and small changes and adjustments, and then we are mastering. And then I get to present this new music to my peers, the industry and the world.
Could it be better? Have I accomplished what I set out to do? It can ALWAYS be better. That said, this EP is most definitively me and I did my best - this time around. I know I will do better next time, as well, because I learned so, so much in the process. I loved every minute of it, even the fear and the freak-outs; the moments when I lay in bed, shaking and thinking: 'What the hell am I doing? Why do I think I can even do this?' Because you see, it's those moments of pain that frame the instants of 'Aha! It is working! Wow!' and by default, make me realize my progress.
The world will react to my music in some way, and I do hope it's as positive as it gets, but in my heart I know that I am these songs. This is my evolution. The fact is, because I produced this, every note, every chord and every moment of these songs is me, and me alone. Don't get me wrong - I delegated where I had to and I am forever grateful to some amazing people who contributed their time and talents. But this is me 100% in a way that Beatrix Runs was not, because this time I was not only the ship, I was also the Captain and the First Mate.
Some fun things happened this summer, too, like my song 'Meant' being featured on TV for the show 'Scandal', and then being used for 'So You Think You Can Dance'. Watching an amazing rhumba dance routine to 'Meant' on prime time television was a treat in itself.
Some heartbreaking things happened, as well. The actor who was my romantic counterpart in the official video for 'Meant', Anthony De Baeck - passed away from cancer in the recent weeks. He had become a friend. He was a truly amazing, warm, beautiful human being. It hit me hard.
The owner and mastermind of my favorite L.A. listening room, The Witzend - Jeb Milne - also passed away. I grew to love and respect Jeb. I have performed many, many shows there in the past two years and loved it. Fortunately, his legacy, his venue will go on. I am glad because he had worked so, so hard to make it a reality. It was his dream. No, it was his Dream, with a capital 'D'. He made it come true, and then just as it took off, he left us to pursue other adventures on the other side of the universe. I will miss him, as will many others.
Where to now? Well, I feel strong, I am healthier than ever and I have this new music to carry me forward. One of the songs on the EP also has a Russian language version and will be my first official Russian single, as well. I am working on the full length Russian EP, as well. Also, in the making of my new EP, I encountered a wonderful new collaborator and creative soulmate. We are putting together a new project, separate from my solo music. It is a duo and the sound is quite different.
I have been writing the last bits of the Beatrix story and we intend to put it up in its entirety by the time the new release happens - better late than never.
A new stage is about to begin and I finally feel like I am ready to take it on.
I guess regardless of what will happen in the coming months, one thing that I do know deep in my heart is that I am, indeed, better than I was last year - as a singer, writer and performer. I kept evolving. Sometimes I took a step backwards, sometimes I stood still paralyzed by fear, but never for long. I kept moving forward. That is the most important thing to me. In the end, it is more important than recognition or material success. Knowing that I have improved and feeling the enthusiasm of a new beginning - those are the components of my 'aphrodisiac' towards life. Recognition is the third component, of course, but if the first two are truly present, the mixture can still be magic without external validation.
As long as I have the sense of the first two in my heart, I am the Alchemist.