Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Farewell to the Hairbrush Interviews

When I was a kid, maybe seven or eight years old, I fell off my bike and busted my chin open.  I was riding down the long country road where my grandparents lived, and as I hit the narrow gravel patch that was their driveway, my bike skidded out from underneath me and I landed on my face.  My cousin and I ran inside, my parents assessed the damage, and I got stitches.  Four of them, to be exact.

What I never told anyone about that day is what I was doing when the accident occurred.  And so here is the truth.  In my head, I was being Amy Grant, and I was giving an interview.  I cannot tell you how many imaginary interviews I gave as a child.  I gave interviews about my latest records and movies (I wasn't always Amy Grant), and I often used foreign accents.  (I have a reasonably convincing British and New Zealand accent from all of that practice.)  My interview microphones ranged from hairbrushes to markers, whatever felt the most convincing.  I carefully answered questions, asking myself only the most interesting things.  After all, my imaginary public deserved a good interview.  They had questions, I had answers.   And I sang.  Oh how I sang.  Because a performer should always be able to pull off an impeccable live performance.  And I did.  Every time.

I am 35.  My dreams of musical stardom and interviews are long, long gone.  I still practice my accents, mostly just to annoy Jake, but I have given up the hairbrush interviews.  I still love music and singing, and I have learned to play guitar and write songs.  But mostly I am content to play the occasional coffee shop show and open mic night, and leave the real music-making to those who really want it.  And after living in Nashville for almost a decade, I am fully aware of the masses of people who really want it.  I am not one of them.  I love playing music and I love it when it reaches someone, but I am mostly content.  I am happy to write songs when I feel inspired and play music when I am asked.  I have dreams of recording an album, just to prove that I was alive and that I created something that will live even after I am gone.  But almost every time I play, I am asked if I have albums for sale and when I'll be playing next.  The answer to the first is no.  The answer to the second is that I shrug my shoulders.  And it always feels a little irresponsible, as if I should at least have a plan for these things.  However I don't.

Last Saturday I had dinner with Jake and my girlfriends, Leslie and Amy.  Leslie is leaving to move to Korea tomorrow, and so we have been seeing her as much as we could before her 13 month adventure.  Amy moved to Colorado last fall, and so we only see each other during her monthly work trips to Dallas.  So it felt like a lucky thing to have three of my favorite people all in one place.  Leslie said that she had a gift for me, since we would not be here for my birthday.  I have already begun the birthday announcing, so it would have been hard to forget.  (March 13, if you haven't heard.)  Leslie pulled out a little box from beside her chair, and I opened it to find a CD with my photo and name on the front.  I pulled out the CD insert, and I began to read.  It took a few minutes to realize what was going on.  I read that Jake, Amy, and Leslie had worked together to start a fundraising campaign for me to record my first album.  Then, I discovered that they had raised almost over 80% of their goal already.  I had over $4000 sitting in an account so that I could begin working on my first ever album (unless you count the hundreds of recordings I made at Gilley's Recording Studio at Sunrise Mall).  The rest, they explained, was up to me.  I could raise my goal to whatever I thought was necessary.  I could advertise to my friends and family via social networking.  I only needed $850 to reach the $5000 mark.  And, of course, I cried.

Thanks to the generosity of friends and family and people I do not even know, we have surpassed my $5000 goal.  Several have suggested that I raise my goal, since we do not have an exact price quote on what it will actually take to make the album, but I think that so many people gave so that I could reach it, it would feel kind of strange to raise it now.  Instead, we will continue to pre-order albums (you can do that here).  The more albums we sell now, before it's made, the more money we get to invest into this album.  And seriously, just the thought of getting to put something like this together is so incredibly exciting.  I would have never thought to do this for myself.  And so I am grateful.  So very grateful.

Not many people get to do this, you know.  Some dreams have a big price tag.  Some are too daring.  Some are too scary.  This is all of those things for me.  It is big and scary and it is putting a piece of yourself out there, open for critique.  But it is also exciting and full of possibility.  And I will probably never give an interview about this album, which is a real shame because I am all practiced up.  I will never make any kind of mark on any charts, and that is fine.  I have a circle of friends and family that are supportive and they believe in who I am and what I create.  And that, my friends, is enough for me.

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