In a world of glitter and glow
In a world of tinsel and show
The unreal from the real thing is hard to know.
The lyrics above are from the song, “I see your face before me”(written by Arthur Schwartz with lyrics by Howard Dietz, and sung by Frank Sinatra). Sinatra didn’t write the music he sang, but he did carefully select the pieces he recorded and performed. Pieces with keen lyrical depth and beautiful melodic structure. Minus the complicated jargon, I simply love the lyrics in Sinatra songs. The excerpt from “I see your face before me” is no exception, and addresses something I have struggled with in my music and in my life.
I feel that so much in the music industry, and moreover in life becomes about “the tinsel and the show..the unreal”. That is not to say showmanship doesn’t have a place in both, but when it’s more important for artists to look pretty on highly followed Instagram accounts than to have audible talent, something is very wrong.
For my soap box spiel to make more sense, I’ll have to make a confession, well several. I am not very comfortable with being the center of attention (the one exception being when I sing). I disdain ass kissing, and over indulged exclusivity. And I hate having my photograph taken because I was a weird ass kid (both in looks and behavior), who was bullied and hurt; who despite working hard to let go of the past is still occasionally haunted by the ghost of her former self. I’m not begging for pity or wallowing in martyrdom, just being honest. There is a possibility you’re thinking, “What the hell is this girl doing pursuing a music career?”. If so that is quite understandable.
So here’s why, and warning it’s a bit of a round about answer. I spent most of my childhood always falling short of stereotypical beauty, popularity, and success. I devoted myself to academics and sports and eventually music, hoping that achievement would give me the validation I so desperately craved. Hoping I could become something I instinctively knew I wasn’t. Even as I supposedly grew up, I thought that if I was skinnier, or dressed better, or acted less neurotic I’d be loved, accepted, a success. And I did those things, sometimes they even worked a little. But the positive changes I saw were due to a kind of accidental self improvement, the byproduct of a dangerous obsession with becoming someone who fit in. At the end of the day it was all bullshit, lies meant to destroy individuality.
So I came to this conclusion, there is no substitute for loving yourself. And there is no substitute for authenticity. Music at its core is about love and truth. It’s spilling your soul into notes and words to say something you otherwise couldn’t. Something that has no barriers, not even language, race, gender, creed or nationality. Music is the rawest and sincerest form of communication. That is why I sing, and why I write songs. I make music to connect, to love and feel love. And it is why I force myself to face the tougher parts of this industry. Because “the real thing” is music, as hard as that is to see sometimes, and no “glitter and glow” can beat that kind of magic.