I just submitted my first grant application. I won’t find out if I am rewarded the grant until October, but either way, it was an excellent experience. It helped me to reflect on and synthesize my intentions and my purpose. The process itself was fulfilling. I wrote an artist statement for the first time, and figured I should share 🙂
“The only real concern of the artist [is] to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.” – James Baldwin
In Washington we are constantly inundated with sounds: Obama’s helicopters zipping over the Washington Channel, police cruisers blaring sirens, buses grumbling down streets, air conditioners toiling away in humid summers.
Sound pollution is real, so it’s easy to forget that sound vibrations are also healing. When I sing, I rediscover the artistic order of sound, tapping into its restorative properties. From a young age, this is what impelled me to open my mouth and make sound, feeling it reverberate through my cells and out into a room reminded me how alive I am.
My approach to music is rooted in its cathartic and palliative potential. Through writing and vocalizing I am able to be honest and vulnerable, to examine my mistakes and triumphs, the minutia and grandeur. I am able to be self-congratulatory and self-forgiving. Writing lets me attend to pain and ecstasy, becoming liberated in the process. My songs are a way to excavate sensory memories and dreams, giving them a life outside of my head, so that others can see their stories reflected in mine.
I am in the process of writing an artists statement for a grant application. I turned to James Baldwin, one of my favorite writers and philosophers of all time, for some inspiration. I came across these 3 quotes I felt I should share.
“One writes out of one thing only — one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.” (1952)
“Art has to be a kind of confession. I don’t mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort it seems to me, is: if you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives, and they can discover them, too — the terms with which they are connected to other people.” (1961)
“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.” (1985)
This past Thursday, I invited some friends over to listen to my new album. I cooked, we ate, we listened. It was so fun & it really touched me how much they all loved the music! I can’t wait for the world to hear!
Last night I went to the Organic Soul Open Mic in Baltimore. It happens every 3 months at the Downtown Cultural Center, which is a great space. I’ve been to a lot of open mics, and each one has its own vibe, but I gotta say, this one seemed special. Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with Baltimore and all their open mics are this live. Or maybe after the events of the last 2 weeks, everyone just needed to release. The crowd was engaged and supportive of each artist. The house band was killing (former members of Fertile Ground, a Baltimore band you need to know).
I sang Chaka Khan’s Sweet Thing, one of my favorites. It was all love. Thank you Baltimore! Shoutout to my Recording Academy chapter member Von Vargas for snapping a photo. I’m horrible at documenting things lol.