When I was five, I sat down to a piano in a second-hand store, having never touched one before, I knew what to do with it right away. I taught myself how to play, sing and write. To this day have never had a lesson. I was born with music inside of me, asking to be written.
I was a different kid, I daydreamed and imagined, I was tender and sensitive and yet when I sensed injustice I roared. After questioning enough strong arms of authority I was to be regarded as “trouble” which didn’t gain me very many friends or allies. I dove deeper into a relationship with my piano and songwriting. My safest place to be was inside my music and songs, and among the balance of nature.
Alaska’s nature was untamed and free to do what it wished, but small towns in general do not cultivate free thinking and untamed people. I felt wild inside, not in a party-girl kind of way, but in a way that a wild and free animal does not wish to be caged, tamed or controlled. The confines of living within the expectations of an extreme religion wore me thin. I felt explosive and dangerous to myself.
It was at this critical moment that I was visited, and spiritually awakened by an owl. I felt love from the universe just the way that I was, without need to be anything different, and it changed my self-destructive course. Owls have visited me since that day every time I need to know I am not insignificant or when my life is in major transition. I would start my true life journey there that day in the company of the owl as my witness, choosing that day to live, but not yet knowing how to be alive.
There is not one single moment of a changing of a heart, and a re-learning of a mind. There are thousands of small moments that add up if you let them in. In all things, bitter and beautiful, my life and pathways were calling me back to believing in love. Love that is not defined by institutions.
I thought happiness was for people that hadn’t lived my kind of life, people like me, were not happy inside. I wish I knew then that happiness is a choice, and contentment can belong to anyone with any past. But you simply do not know, until you know.
And so, I want you to know.
I want you to know that love is still alive in well in this universe. I want you to know that hardships and trials are what carve you into a deep and loving person if you let them. I want my music to be one of your companions in your journey towards your own heart and truth.
In 2010 I drove 3000 miles from Alaska to Portland to make my first record to and to embark on the journey that I know I am meant to do, which is to make music to live and journey by. To share my honest experiences, and to give love away at every show and inside of every song, and ENJOY LIFE while I do it!
I also believe whole heartedly in the power of hugs! 🙂
Hard work and religion painted the backdrop to my childhood. In our house – hunting, fishing, and working on your house were the most noble pursuits – unless of course, you were praising the Lord. And though my mother did sing in church, music was not a family focal point. In that regard – I was a bit of a black sheep. Every year – I was taken out into the wilderness (which I loved) and handed a gun (loved less) with the intention of killing an animal (mortifying). So – I ran through the woods with my father and my brother. I enjoyed being with them very much and camping in the woods was, and still is, a favorite pastime. I just didn’t want to kill anything. I did enjoy shooting pop cans though. One time I shot a bird off of a fence and felt the weight of it. It haunted me for quite some time. After a year or so – I was able to stop thinking about it, but I never shot any living thing again.
As a young child I loved to sing. I was very attracted to drums too. I used to pull out pots and pans and bang on them with wooden spoons from the kitchen. When I was 8, I placed a Sears catalog in my mother’s lap and explained to her that I wanted the Galaxy 5000 drum set that appeared on it’s pages with a price tag of $77.00. My mother explained that I would need to work very hard to earn that much money. What she didn’t know – was that I had saved my allowance and birthday money. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a fat roll of cash (mostly one’s with a few five’s sprinkled in) and slapped it down on the proverbial barrel head. Mom, without hesitation, drove me to Sears and we came home with my drum set. At 11, I got into band class in the drum section – and that was it for me. It became an obsession.
The adolescent years were stereotypically tumultuous. A tapestry of hormonal confusion, musical passion, religious guilt, self doubt, insecurity, sanctity, and sin. I dabbled in many things – sports, drawing, painting, skateboarding, bmx bikes, and academics, but music always remained my primary obsession. Even when I tried to focus elsewhere – I could not stray too far from it.
Through all of this – I did very little growing as a person. When your upbringing is centered around a very tightly wound world view – there is no room for learning to love yourself or for finding yourself. In fact, the opposite was true for me. I thought of myself as a sinful damn mess – in constant need to punishment and forgiveness. Forever dangling on the edge of a cliff overhanging the flames of hell. For some reason – the message of love seemed to escape me even though it was there all the while. It seemed to escape the those in authority over me as well. I suppose fear seemed like an easier way to control behavior. I have since learned that nothing is further from the truth.
And through a multitude of other life experiences (failed relationships, career detours, faith struggles and loss, bands formed and broken up, the birth and upbringing of an amazing and beautiful daughter, college degrees obtained but not used, businesses started, etc and so forth) – a small handful of truths seem to keep emerging. Not because they are prevalent in our culture. And not because they are taught to you. But because a seeker cannot help but land on them. Breathe. Be in the moment. Embrace your suffering and learn from it. LOVE.
I believe we all enter this world in a pure form. We are taught fear, self doubt, insecurity, and greed. And for some worse – bigotry, hatred, and homophobia to boot. Then – if we are lucky, we begin the long slow process of unlearning what we were taught in the hopes of re-joining with the natural order. My process of unlearning is still happening. Perhaps it will always be that way. I heard the other day that the neural pathways in your brain can be changed right up until you die. I am thankful for that. That means I can keep changing and moving towards a better version of myself. And continue to slough off the myths and lies we are sold. And so can you.
With the backdrop of this personal journey in mind, my musical journey can be no different. It is NOT about finding that happening new sound or writing that hit track. It is about living happy and being awake. It is about forming real connections with other people, with the earth, with other creatures, and with myself. And it is about expressing the art of that journey through the one form that is deep within my bones. Fortunately for me – I found a kindred spirit and partner to write, create, and perform this with. And Naomi and I form Moody Little Sister with the intention of sharing this with anyone open to hear it. And for anyone reading down this far – thank you for listening and being part of that journey.
May peace, love, balance, awareness, and mindfulness be the beacons of your life. Much love.