To be a creative artist was born in me — a most slender thread connected to the core of the earth, through my very being and up beyond into the skies — a seriousness of such resiliency it could never be broken and would take all of life to realize.
Whether music, paint or word, whatever the form, if it takes you by surprise, propels itself through you — it is your art, a conscious spiritual calling, and your task to bring into the world.
In the arc of my own creative life, my earliest poems and lyrics came from this unconscious place, without thought — vaguely familial, words hacked out of walls or erupting through an external image — phrases which I instinctively pieced together. I had grown up surrounded by music, yet my first experience of the truly deep, creative source within myself arrived in dreams and the silence of words and images.
So it was, through prose poems and lyrics of my first three recordings: “when I left loss“, a singular phrase that arose as I lay still, became the title of my first album (1999); the dream of a two-story house, pressing unnaturally down upon me, its cover photo. Another dream, a man kneeling at my feet says “love flows like the blood of a river” — words of such import, I knew they would be the title for a song one day. So, too, the title of my second album (2003).
Free-writing upon a randomly chosen word or image, without editing, provided more material. Full stories articulated on the plumb line of an external image — a woman wearing a turban on a bus became “Eileen”, another leaning forward, clutching at her purse, the central character in “There is a Silence / Rolling of Time”.
During this period I also began to study voice for the first time — what had been, over years, petrified and buried.
“Talon of the Blackwater and Graces”, title track to my third album (2009), was presaged in a dream I had of black water gushing from a neighboring backyard (a woman’s shelter for those transitioning out of abusive situations) into ours — dark, lyrical material surging out over just a few days. The title itself came from a prose poem I had written years before. Was this the image of a disaster erupting from my own unconscious recollections as a child?
It was only during the process of recording Talon of the Blackwater that my poetry, subsumed in lyric, and my voice, fully became part of my music. I was, in fact, a songwriter and arranger, yet when I first heard the songs on the working demo, I believed someone else must have written them.
Starting in 2008, to my surprise, I began writing pieces for solo piano. One of these was the development of “Aberfan”, a song that my mother had written and I had arranged for my second recording. Over the years it has become a full length composition.
Let me tell you that story, which takes me to today.