Here’s what’s going on…cuz inquiring minds wanted to know. :)
I recorded 3 songs with the illustrious Eve Nelson who took a break from working with Chaka Kahn on a Joni Mitchell tribute album. Did you know that only 3% of producer/engineers are women? Well, one of them is Eve. That’s got to change. Not the part about Eve. The 3%.
Eve and I would start our sessions with broiled chicken or grilled salmon. No excuse for working hungry. Then we’d get going. And it went like this:
I’d say something like..’I’m not sure how to approach this one.’ Then Eve would lay her hands on the keyboard and say something like ‘You probably won’t like this but here’s what I’m hearing.’
I always liked it. Eve is something else. Masterful, hilarious, humble. She’d often greet me in pajamas and slippers. Which means I could come over in mine. (If girls still wore curlers, we’d wear those too.) No make up. No tattoos. No hat. It’s not as if accessories or body decorations are reflections of talent or success but a lot of us understandably choose to dress the part. It’s all good. I wish I had the balls or the time to be more playful with my wardrobe.
She’d record basic tracks and then I’d lay a scratch vocal for her to build the song around. Over the next couple of weeks we’d both realize I couldn’t beat that scratch. There’s something about the first moment you step up to the mic and hear a song so fresh and real. I’m never going to be more honest than when I’m not thinking about it. I feel it with my bones.
I loved working with Eve. I miss her already. I miss the chicken too. And that mic.
Then I was ready to go to London to work with Phil Thornalley whose recent release of his own, Astral Drive, is getting rave reviews. If you follow me you know what happened next. But you don’t know the whole story. I stopped spilling because it was getting absurd. Even my ENT told me to put a lid on it cuz if word gets out that there are issues they stop hiring you! I said…
“Doc…I don’t get hired to sing at Staples Center. There is no world tour!” In fact, my friends follow me because I share the challenges of life in the AARP lane — the truth about the extended creative journey. So here goes.
Let’s back up a bit. I was having some chronic laryngitis right? But I kept pushing through. Which lead to that vocal node. Right? Which turned into a vocal cord hemorrhage because I pushed too hard. Which gave me no choice but to postpone recording in London with Phil. Wahhhh. Inconsolable. I can’t even.
Spent 2 unbearable depressing (though not for my husband) weeks in total silence. It worked. Vocal cords actually heal. After which I traveled. Caught somebody’s cold and took it with me on a plane. Which made it worse. Glands swelled like NEVER before. Doc gave me a Z-pack. But then…it went from my throat to my ear! See what I mean? Non-stop calamity. Except that it wasn’t funny. At all.
My ear (just the left one thankfully) was stuffy for weeks. Not the kind of stuffy where you can turn your head to the side and tap it out. Stuffy stuffy. More antibiotics. Ugh. Steroids too. I was popping probiotics like candy to counteract the antibiotics. Sudafed. Musinex. Afrin. No relief. Plus, antihistamines are death for vocal cords!
Doc thought it would resolve on its own but it did NOT!
He said he could drain the fluid by putting a little tube in my eardrum (this calls for a 😳) but it could affect my hearing for a few months. Alternatively, there was no way I could record with one side of my head in a cloud! So if my hearing was going to be a little off when I sang, at least I’d still be able to feel it with my bones. That’s what’s important. Let’s go!
He numbed me up. Ouch. And then he stuck a needle in my ear and Whoosh! It took about oh 2 seconds. I sat up and was like a new woman. Except…now there’s a bit of a umm…ringing. Which hopefully will subside when my brain adjusts to the new normal. I’m still working on re-lubricating my vocal cords post antihistamines — walking around with a mug of tea and honey glued to my hand at all times.
All through this I couldn’t have a drink! Which would have at least helped temporarily.
I hate it when people post about endless drama. It’s tiresome and boring.
But here I am.
I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking it too: there’s a reason. But I’m not so sure. If I was nervous or self-conscious about making this record I could understand how fear might manifest in health quirks. I’ve never made a record. I wasn’t ready until now. And now, I’m fearless. So what’s going on? Maybe for once, it’s not the universe trying to tell me something but just an unlucky chain of events.
Many of you will disagree and chime in. I’m all ears. Ugh. Horrid pun.
Like any journey (and like life) we can make all the plans we want, set goals, schedule release dates…but shit happens. Truth is it actually feels ok to slow down. There are some things you can’t cover up with lipstick and power. (I don’t know how that relates to anything but it felt so right to write it.) (And I love “Girls Talk,” this version especially.)
The album will get done. It will come out. You will hear it. I will be proud.
Oh and while all this crazy was happening, there was a random delightful development over the course of my travels. I was chilling with my dear friend and longtime record promotor Skip Bishop one night in Nashville. (We’ve never actually worked together. We’re simply buds.) I played him the stuff I did with Eve. He was like…
“WHAT? We have to put that out on Intercept Music (a new label / distribution company — same function as AWAL, tunecore, cdbaby). They don’t have much of a roster (yet) and…they’re in Nashville — I am anything but a country artist. But he gathered the team and they all got it! They think there’s a story there.
My new credo is…go where the the love is. Better to be one of a few loved little fish than one of many big fish who can’t get any love. We’ll see. I have some time. More than I thought.
That’s what’s up.
In the meantime I’m gonna see my kid graduate from college and spend some time celebrating her accomplishments.
Here’s a teeny weeny snippet of Bitch