Friday, July 20, 2018

A Chapter of Our Lives

I have never been more excited to put out an album until Into Our Own came together.  This album it the most meaningful one my sisters and I have ever created.  This all original album is a chunk out of my life, and it comes from a true and new grasp on it.  We are so different from who we were when we started this band; our music has evolved, our look has changed and each one of us has grown into a unique and different woman.  I can hear us all shine through in our own way on this CD, and I think it gives a great variety of songs. Each of us has our own flavor of writing and has had our own experience growing into adulthood.  This album is a collaboration of our life lessons and experiences the last 2 years.

The first successful sister-songwriting-session began about 2 years ago when Georgia and I set up on my bed in my bedroom; with snacks, a ukulele and my laptop at hand we started with an idea.  G wanted my help with the next few verses and a chorus. Once we were settled, she let out a sigh, strummed out a chord progression gently on her uke and sang her verse for me. I immediately related to the lyrics and had some ideas of my own.  I typed a few lines on my laptop and then back spaced… and typed a little more… then deleted the whole thing. I was so self conscious I couldn't bare to share what I had. I kept typing and deleting. Eventually Georgia got just a bit frustrated with me, “girl! Stop backspacing and show me what you have!” she insisted.   I was scared, hiding behind my laptop. I guess I believed what I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. I reminded myself: this was my sister in front of me and she has always been accepting and supportive. I tried to gather the courage to say out loud what I had on the page, but instead I flipped my laptop around to face her. Excited eyes skimmed the page and she cracked a smile “YES!”  and she began to strum her uke again and played it out. Hearing the lyrics was almost cringe worthy for me the first time, but the smile on Georgia's face told me to relax. We didn't just crank out an entire song one verse after another though. Me and G ended up having a long conversation about what this song was for each of us, what we wanted to say and how we wanted to say it. “Sunny rain” was our first love song and that made us both squirm a bit.  Writing the song together and pushing through our discomfort however, made us grow as song writers and as sisters. Once we started collaborating our strengths together and really opening up to one another the songs just started to flow for us and we had enough originals for an album before we knew it.

 I set a goal for myself to fall in love with this album and every part I had in making it.  Every song on this album has meaning to me and I wanted that to shine through. In past experiences recording I always felt I just had no emotion and no real feelings coming through when I heard the final product.  I wanted to be able to do more than record a song we play. I wanted to be able to go back, and by the sound of my voice, remember what it felt like to be in that moment, and for the listener, I wanted to be able to pull them in and make them relate so that they could have a moment there too.  I can perform in front of a room full of people but recording an album is what gives me nerves. So before I left my bedroom that April morning to go to the studio, I got up, I stretched out and settled my mind with some yoga. I wanted to be prepped for the mental challenge recording brings me; sometimes it’s hard to focus in on what a song is about when you are singing the same line over and over again, sometimes I psych myself out and end up forgetting lyrics or jumbling words. So I put myself in a good headspace and headed out to the studio.
The first song we recorded was “Moving Up”, it was almost symbolic to me that we started there.  “Moving Up” is one me and Georgia wrote together in a sister songwriting session. I was getting ready to move out of my parents house at the time and had been really reflecting on how far I had come over the past 2 years.  I made a promise to myself 2 years ago to be nicer to me, to nurture self respect and overcome what was keeping me down, and ultimately it was the way I was treating myself. Needless to say 2 years ago I would not have been waking up and doing yoga before starting my day and I would not have had the courage to write all of the songs I did.    Larry set up my mic and closed the door to my little room, I put on my headphones and sang a little bit for him to get set up on his end. When he was all ready to record Georgia came on my headphones and with all of her sunny enthusiasm said “YOU ROCK KJ! And you got this!....You’re awesome!” During this time of growth for me, Georgia had been(still is) one of my number one cheerleaders.  Always there to encourage me, to build me up, and to push me out of my comfort zone when I need it. I zoned in and did a few takes, and I have to say I honestly had a few (happy) tears in there. When I sang the last verse and the take ended Georgia came over my headphones again and said “it’s like I can hear the smile in your voice there at the end”. Mission accomplished.

Years ago after news of a canceled show my mom told me to play every show like it is the last one, because someday, it will be.  When we started to put this CD into the works I had it in my head that this would be the last CD we made, I convinced myself I couldn’t be in a band and support myself enough to move out.  I convinced myself that this was the last time I would record. The thought of it being the last was what drove me to put so much love into it. I learned a lot making this album, the most important thing that I learned is that this won’t be the last, it is simply the beginning.  A CD is a chapter of our lives. When all of these songs were coming together, we were learning, making mistakes, experiencing joy and pain. With this chapter closed, its time for us to share it with you, and in the meantime, we are learning more lessons.


A big thanks to everyone who helped us bring this album together and had a piece in making it!  I will be doing one more blog about this CD, talking about different songs on the album and what Georgia has to say as well! Stay tuned!

Georgia and Larry in the studio

Fun Fact:  I had the hiccups while I recorded my kazoo solos and I really think it made them better

This was the original album cover before mom worked her photoshop magic to get the sock out.  We were just goofing around while she was taking some test shots and this ended up being the best picture of G, and if you didn't know it is pretty difficult to get a serious picture of her.
recording vocals!

Adventures with G Rae
Me and G at the studio celebrating whatever song we had just finished

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