I recently checked out a local open mic with a good friend of mine and played a couple tunes for the good folks who were there. After playing, my friend mentioned something that I had been concerned about for a while.
'Lisette, why are your songs so sad?'
I laughed off her initial remark and explained that I have never been one to write the typical happy love songs. My music has always gravitated towards darker lyrical content, laced with my trademark sarcasm.
As I have been recording and practising non-stop to get ready for my CD Release I’ve become even more aware of the overall ‘vibe’ of my set. And it is by no stretch of the imagination ‘happy’. I’ve broken down every song, chord and lyric to ensure that every song has its own identity and carries a specific message that is unique; but still I fear that people will be…..disappointed…..when they come and find that my music is not filled with lighthearted hooks and songs about falling in and/or being in love.
I then began to analyze the music that I love. The music that inspires me.
after all shouldn’t a young female singer/songwriter write happy love songs? Maybe there is something wrong with me and what I am doing.
I found that every artist I admire has one thing in common….they are all true to themselves. Their music is ‘organic’. Some of them write only happy songs that make me want to dance with everyone around me. Others write only about unhealthy relationships or being betrayed. And some write about things so personal and/or abstract that I can not even fathom what inspired their creativity….but regardless of the song topic, I know when listening to it that it comes from a real place. A real emotion and inspiration that lead to something beautiful that I now get to enjoy.
So when my friend then suggested that I try and write something happy….I felt a combination of hurt, shame, anger, embarrassment and frustration. I played in a few bands before launching this solo project and my greatest weakness in these bands was my obsession over appearances. I edited myself in every way possible, including my lyrics. I wrote what I thought people wanted to hear, or things that would portray me in a way I wanted to be seen. My songwriting; something that is meant to be therapeutic and natural became an anxiety driven chore that clouded my identity. And it was because I let little comments like this make me feel as though I was doing something wrong. That people would never understand or love ME.
I now know without a doubt that not everyone will love me. Let alone LIKE me. But that does not mean that there is anything wrong with me, or that there is anything about myself that I should edit or change.
When something positively great and amazing happens in my life, I want to share it with the world! I tell everyone that I come into contact with. I share it on my facebook, or text what happened to a friend…..But when something negative happens I do not share it with the world. I do not openly and freely tell people when I have been hurt or betrayed or abused. I fight my battle alone. I use humour and my gift of conversation to change the topic. And when I am finally ready to release the pain, I sit down at my piano and write.
I never write with the intention of sharing my music, so that I do not have the urge to edit myself. I write for me. I say what needs to be said so that I can truly let go of the hurt that I carry inside.
Sometimes I wish that I wrote those cute happy love songs. The ones that make you want to sing along with a huge smile on your face, and maybe one day I will. But with every song that I write my load gets a little bit lighter. My heart beats a little bit stronger. And my soul guides me more vigorously.
So next time you hear me play a sad song, do not be sad or concerned for me. Be happy that I triumphed over an obstacle and created something beautiful out of something ugly…after all, without the dark how could we ever fully appreciate the light?