The Ark Open Stage, and notes from my ISLAND Hill House Residency :)

Hello lovely friends and fans and family-

Just wanted to take a moment to reflect on everything that’s been happening lately in my musical life.  I’m kind of blown away by the support I’ve received.  So much gratitude for my two weeks of near-solitude in November, to write and create and live in a whimsical world of inspiration and my own brain.

I wrote about 30 songs on the trip – 20 of which were pre-existing lyrics buried in old journals (all from 2015, but not previously sorted or discovered, it’s been a super busy overwhelming year and I wrote less than usual – or rather, I finished fewer songs than usual, while having the normal amount of spontaneous unfinished bits of inspiration 🙂

So far I’ve listened to almost all of the recordings (over 100 – including rambles, readings of lyrics to remember later – I’ll never find them all again in journals, I write a ton), and have only found a couple I REALLY love so far.  But my goal is to take songs and pieces of songs from this residency and lump them into my upcoming album “Trees for Clouds.”

(which will actually be a later release – my current upcoming release “Everything’s True” is 8 songs from 2014, and being orchestrated currently by Elisabeth Blair, and will be out sometime in 2016 or 17 – so much still to do on this one, but I’ve learned I need to keep writing and planning new projects even if it means I get many albums behind of my production abilities 🙂

So Trees for Clouds is underway – probably to come out in 2019 or 2020 haha 🙂 (not really a joke – unless I fall into some money and can spend many many hours in a studio or paying someone to help speed up the process, I’ll likely continue my mall-walking turtle pace).

Also for those who know me a little better – you may be happy to know I’m getting a little less introverted – and not in a way that’s making me unable to write, so it’s win-win so far.

In a 2-day period this week, I went to 3 open mics …most noteably, The Ark’s Open Stage in Ann Arbor – where I was greeted with love and support from friends and fans and my cello player friend, Hunter Zhao.  With only a couple days notice, I was able to play on this beautiful stage, on a gorgeous baby grand Yamaha piano, with perfect sound system – I hope to be back there someday for a full show!!

But also (as an example of increasing extroversion), on the following night, while hanging out with a friend after another event, stumbled upon the Pigeon Hill Brewing Company open mic, met A Northern Song (Jason Bryant) and spontaneously played for a lovely crowd when I hadn’t been planning on it at all.  And then we all went over to Hennessy’s for another open mic, and I played again 🙂  To those who know my awkward non-performing-for-7-years phase, I thought you’d be proud.

(I also just walk around places and play uke songs – in Ann Arbor and Grand Haven alike, one time I sat on the hood of my car in Grand Rapids and wrote a song… not sure why more songwriters don’t do this!  I’ve kept my little writing world so private in the past, but that is part of what contributes to the awkwardness of shifting into extrovert performing mode… the more I’ve let my introvert side be a little public, the more I seem to know how to do both 🙂

Okay well, that’s some random thoughts for ya!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful December so far.  Hugs and love and gratitude for those who listen and purchase my CDs and tshirts and support my musical life in any way.  I absolutely cannot do any of this without you.  I mean, I can – I love playing in quiet empty rooms with just me and a piano (and God/the universe), but that’s not a career.  So grateful for the kindnesses I’ve received.

Jessica