I just spent an hour playing the piano in the middle of an otherwise busy day. As I played, I had a feeling of release, and quite frankly––of pure joy! Isn’t that the sign of being in one’s element? I sure think it is. I am so happy that I’ve reconnected with my instrument-playing-self through the making of this new album of mine. I am an instrumentalist after all, I simply forgot it for a long time. Much like I forgot many other things about myself… But I’m glad to have remembered. Some of you will be meeting this part of me for the first time.
I started playing the piano the moment I ever met one at my grandparents’ house, which was probably when I was about 2 years old. I was immediately enthralled! You couldn’t get me off of that shit! It was all about the piano for me. I must have been around 4 years old when my family “finally!” bought one; up until then I played a tiny Casio-keyboard with all its many corny drum loops. Cheese-tastic!! Songwriting itself began for me when I was 5, and I wrote many “deep” songs about forlorn princesses…Hehe! Songwriting was cathartic and therapeutic for me from the very beginning.
Piano was my main instrument for a long time, and even though I always loved to sing, that won the game quite a bit later––when I was at the ripe old age of 10. But somehow, when I started working professionally as a singer at 13, my piano-playing swiftly dwindled. I suppose I deemed all the musicians that I worked with superior to me (which, in all actuality was not the case). I never learned to appreciate my abilities as a musician outside of being a vocalist. I find that rather sad, and I am in the process of rectifying that.
A couple of years ago, I picked up the guitar with a focused intention to learn to play it, and to use it as a tool for songwriting. I had dabbled in it a bit before, but this was different. I was going out on my own as a full-fledged songwriter for the first time, and I had to learn to play in order to write the whole frickin’ tune, the whole frickin’ album. Progress happened fast as I taught myself to play, and discovered my voice on the guitar through some random exploration. I have always been an independent learner when it comes to music (and quite a frustrating student to a number of teachers). I have never been one for curriculum when it comes to playing or singing. I tend to do my own thing…
So, during the making of my new album, “Didn’t You, My Dear?”, I discovered guitar, and I rediscovered piano. I play both on the record itself. It’s been quite a transition going from a vocalist who never played any instruments on stage, to one that does most of the time. I have naturally become quite a different performer through this transition. That said, I look forward to mixing it up as I go. I love the freedom of being able to move around on stage with just a microphone in my hand too. But now, it’s from a place of choosing. My choosing.
Playing instruments is one of the many areas in which I’ve had to go back to my childhood to reclaim a part of myself, in order to make myself whole. There are many gems abandoned in our youths, but they’re still there where we left them, if we decide to go a-looking. Personally I’m determined to collect each one!