When Friends Say "Don't Show That"
It's no secret that I've been wigging out since April. Having finished "THE LAST OF THE CARTOON VAGABONDS," I knew I would need to mount a campaign, using Socials, which meant visuals, themes, videos.
This is an album full of stories, with strong influences from songwriters of the 1960s and 70s.
The Beatles wrote story songs. There was poor Eleanor Rigby who "died in the church and was buried along with her name."
And the famous Paperback Writer, who had, many would say, questionable ambitions.
Harry Nilsson created a story about a boy with a pointy head and a dog named Arrow. The Beatles created the world of the Yellow Submarine.
I created Blue, a homeless waif who paints her face blue and wears an aqua hairpiece, who tries to reach her old boyfriend on the phone, but is unsuccessful. It's only when she finds other blue characters who are equally desperate that she realizes she really is not alone. Never was.
A good friend of mine recently told me that she found "that blue face video" not to her liking. Why not just perform? That is what you do really well, she said. What you are doing feels like a gimmick.
I explained that I wanted to make stories, with fantastical dream people, the kind that live in my head. We have not been able to perform live, aside from streaming live, and so it felt like a time to let the beasts and creatures and even monsters play to the camera.
Having made this record alone in my studio, I found these people, inside me, speaking. Mostly delicate voices, shy ghosts, remnants of painful memories, but also of eccentric triumphs, over bullying, over judgment, over doing what you were supposed to do.
Of course, not looking cute, pretty, sexy, something alluring, can be a concern to a female singer-songwriter.
But what do you do if you want to transform yourself into someone who is ugly with nightmares, addiction, fears? What if you create a narrative that is not linear? Something that needs to be watched more than once?
My mother said to me recently, "You know, people have seen enough ugliness. You should stick to beauty and sweetness. No one needs to see guns, addiction, pain, death. We get enough of that on the news."
She might be right.
My friend M, who watched the recent video, "Trace," responded, "No, don't let the general public see this. I don't think they will get it. Save it for fans or for people who know your work."
Another soulmate said to me, " I don't understand it. I don't think other people will, either."
The videographer, in whom I have much trust, said, "Why are you holding back? Release it to the world."
Yet I linger and hesitate. Not because I have trepidations about the quality of the video.
But because it may be seen as controversial. Weird. Not nice.
I am still that girl that wants to be liked. The one who does not like conflict.
Getting deep on Facebook this month, asking questions about the existence of Evil, the responsibilities we have to one another, what we can do when people need help: maybe this is none of the songwriter's business.
And so I sit on the fence, uncomfortable. To release this video, "Trace," or not?
I think to myself, well, David Bowie would not hesitate. But then I cannot think of a woman who would make a video like "Trace."
I will write more about this next week, and decide what to do before July ends. Deciding as an Artist, not necessarily a friend or family member.
You'll know when I do.