Miles Davis once said: “It takes a long time to sound like yourself.”
I’ve gone through several different stages in my life as a musician, and I am never finished. Nothing is settled. A job may end, but the work is always in progress. The stage I’m at now as a mother, a wife, and in the middle of my career reflects in my writing, and it’s thrilling. I’m proud of the work I did in my twenties and thirties, but the difference is vast when I compare “before motherhood and after motherhood.”
When I’m writing, I’m inspired by mundane things such as waking up in the morning, a long drive through flat land, or the back of someone’s head. Waiting for inspiration to come to me is a trap. I can stir up my imagination from the simplest of things, and I believe that if YOU think it’s possible…well, then it is. I’ll be honest, I don’t enjoy the process. I live and breathe the final product, the presentation, and the performance. The discipline and planning that it takes; creating can be exhausting. I procrastinate by nature, so I know that I have to work with my personality to get the work done and make it presentable. For example, I must set a timer to attack and complete a task. I usually have to remove myself from my home and its distractions to finish a song, a lyric, or an entire project. Sometimes, I cannot work in my own environment, and I acknowledge that. There are just too many distractions. That’s why there’s no one way to create your art. I can’t copy Nina Simone’s process or Herbie Hancock’s work ethic because it caters to them specifically. You’ve got to find your own groove. My process is particular to who I am by nature.
This next album reflects the pandemic (Covid-19) from my point of view. When the music stopped, I put the pen down and sat in darkness for the first six months. It took my collaborators and family to pull me out of that funk. Before this time, most of my work was inspired by connecting with people and social situations. My music reflects New York City since I did most of my writing on the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The city has a pulse, and I had to find a heartbeat within my confined space. My new work reflects my connection with my daughter, social justice, coming up from the ashes, and newfound freedom from isolation. The darkness did not swallow me whole, and I’m grateful to be back.