About the artist
It’s always about a story …
Music is not my life, yet because I pursue a life, I have something to offer my songs. Expression, not art per se, is my aim in all mediums.
At the heart of my work are first-hand accounts. Chiefly, I am a storyteller and one who keenly focuses on line. Distinct line in melody, in drawing, and in writing.
True, my stories are often dark. For those who are apt to look, they will find there is frequently a message of hope or way of coping. A lesson, a light if you will.
Within the dark forest there are often bits of sunbeams breaking through the cracks of tall tree branches. You have to look for them. For listeners, viewers, and readers alike, they have to do their part to see it. A passive audience is a killer.
From “Widow in White”:
And so often that it can become the case – The path you've set upon has suddenly changed. Where once the trail was so clear and so prime, The brush now overgrown track troublesome to find. The limbs entangle - they're hands bound to ensnare;
Yet a beam or two illuminates the wooded walk I talk of here ... In lily white light.
Entertainers want to please you. Make it easy for you. I understand. Artists want to please their soul. We battle with you. Yet, I want to give you something that engages larger sensation, which is the joy of contemplation. I can’t say that my work is of much good to anyone simply seeking surface pleasure – but seems many people still find the sound alone gratifying enough. I take what I can, though to me, the sound is like pleasures of the flesh, but the words are heart and love. In time, you will grow tired of just external joys and my music offers intimacy.
You probably wanted to know who and what I sound like. What do I look like? What city am I from? Directional points that usually give you an “idea” or category to place it neatly in your brain. I don’t mind telling you, but I do hope you will listen further and conclude my work is more unique and that I am not the sum (nor is my work) of generic ideas and stereotypes. Even your best guess, is still a guess. You must be willing with me, or any artist you discover, to listen a little while longer and move past an impression.
So with that: I’m from San Francisco. I now live in Paris, France. I’m an American born and raised in the tradition of many Americans; which is to say my parent’s came from somewhere else and I knew many cultures and cultural collisions. I felt the wars my parents fled and took on their suffering, so they didn’t have to. I can tell you that roots mean far less to me than to you. History is not tied to land, it is culture. Homes are temporary and not worth fighting over. My people never had a home for long… Yes, my name is real.
I describe my work as dark folk rock, murder ballad, with a tinge of vintage 60s and Motown and French Pop. (I suppose you can see that in my drawings too and maybe a sense of classic references in my writing.) I’ve got a low, gender bending voice, that sometime presents a lithe falsetto, which is the only relic of my once minimal opera studies. I’m otherwise self-taught and a primitive (The latter couldn't be helped as I just don't have any innate technical musical skills). I employ my other, perhaps more natural artistic gifts in visual arts and language, to propel my music. Actually, I did go to art school as well as a more formal university where I studied creative writing and got very nerdy about poetry and script writing ... Ugh. Before I tell you who others tell me I sound like, I just want to say that music in and of itself is not my main influence. I mean, I dig a lot of stuff. I adore medieval folk music and I think you can hear that in my melodic sense. I actually am a big Smokey Robinson fan, but that’s also because he seems like a nice guy and the others guys (mainly men in rock-n-roll) all seem like chauvinistic drug-addled jerks. How did that become cool? Right? … What do I actually listen to?: It’s not likely what you think: Right now I’m listening to a lot of Dalida, and Mina. Mostly I listen to spoken word podcast though. I love to hear a quiet voice recite a short story.
So anyhow, my style of delivery and songwriting has been compared to Nick Cave and Lou Reed. My voice compared to Nico, Marianne Faithful, PJ and other women who do not sound “girly” – but this usually the description of untrained ears (sorry to say). I’ve also been told my voice sounds a little bit like “Jim Morrison’s sister” whatever that means. But of course, why not just listen and find out? Like, please. No one ever told me I reminded them of Judy Garland and that’s a crying shame.
I like words and the sounds of words and the way it feels to say words in all sorts of ways. I get inspired by the sound of language itself. My lyrical influences spring from a vast array of poetry and literature. You may recall Christina Rossetti and William Faulkner. My voyages often prompt new discoveries and changes within myself. Psychology, exchanges between close people, cultures, languages, also inspire me. I’m often traveling even when still. I hope the stories and songs should tell you that I do just that. And I hope they inspire such reflections within yourself as well.
Being compared to notable others is cool (to some of you), but I never wanted to be any of them. I never wanted to be a female version of any man no matter how great he was. No man, no other artist, was ever my main inspiration or influence. I never stood outside a club and waited to shake someone’s hand. Like with love, I only ever wanted to be seen, heard, and accepted by someone else as I truly am. Oddities and all. To be chosen because you are similar to another feels empty. It can break your heart unless you do your best to ignore “The Peanut Crunching Crowd” as Sylvia Plath called it.
Music has always felt like the kind of boyfriend that never loved you back equally. He never gave you a chance and it took you far too long to realize it was super annoying. Sure, you had "Moments" that left you hoping, but still, just crumbs that left you hungry. The good news is that I was never married to music and I find the company of writing, illustrating, and dancing (I am dancing fool when no one is looking) often now more rewarding. Gosh, I think when I wrote “An Object of Pleasure” I felt truly in-love for the first time in a long time. A narrative book of poetry that incorporates the musical qualities of language with what I hope is a near tactile visual component.
For me, the album art that I create was always essential in telling the story. Each cover symbolizes a general direction or theme. There is more information on the site regarding that. I will just say, I take nearly as much time and care in creating the art as the songs. The style should tell you that each album is interconnected and together, they tell a larger story from beginning to end. “The Color of Destruction” being the last “book” of the series.
New projects in that combine music, sound, visuals, and writing as well as performance are underway. They take time. I will keep you posted. News to come. Soon, I hope.
Lastly, like many of you, – I have unwillingly ended up doing things DIY (Do-it-Yourself). I suppose it tested just how creative and resourceful I could be. Yet, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing friends and talented professionals who’ve been there cheering me on, helping out, giving me a break, and making me smile. There are so many to mention: Cellista, Glass Coffin, Nero, Pop Shop, Colleen, Dante, Bart, Mark Pistel, Danny, Jacob, Sheila, Holden, Jamie, Milosz and the Warsaw gang, Mario, Margot, Sunny, Marc Capelle, Mike Wells, S Thorpe … I’m going to add this list as I go. It’s going to be very, very long.