Taking Off The Nice Girl Muzzle
THE ALBUM REVEALED ITSELF TO ME in no subtle terms. I think I was in one of my moods of feeling misunderstood, frustrated and like I needed to take the ‘nice girl’ muzzle off. My mom and older sister will tell you that I am moody. My younger sister and husband will say that I allow myself to have my “feelings”. I think it’s just two different takes on creativity.
I was talking on the phone with my girlfriend Meagan about the complexities of coming from two cultures that haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. And we were discussing the mastery of navigation skills it requires to live a successful life. Laymen’s terms? We were talking about the positives and negatives of being both black and white in America.
I told her that I was living like a chameleon where I could easily blend in to any group of people (most specifically black or white groups) and that I felt like I was ‘playing the part’ well enough. I know how to be “safe enough” for white people and “down enough” for black people.
I’ve been plagued with the questions of what it means to be mixed race for my whole life. I consciously chose the word ‘plague’ for you, the reader. It’s saucy and it is a truthful description of at least part of my experience.
I’ve always been able to see both sides of the coin, not to mention the three other sides that aren’t visible to the human eye. I’ve always had more than one, two or three perspective(s) on any single issue as I have directly lived in the influence of my multiple cultures. My dad’s side (the Southern black side), my mom’s side (the white Irish Catholic side), my DeBose family’s side and then my mixed side (that I am so grateful I have been blessed to share with my sisters and brother). Music for me has been a force in my life to express emotion, to tell story and to share experiences. It has helped me feel good when I’ve wanted to, it’s helped me to stay blue when I needed to and it’s helped me describe what I wasn’t able to say through lyrics, chords and arrangement.
I’ve been haunted by this little voice telling me to create a body of work on my experiences growing up mixed race. It’s been haunting me for a while. Years in fact. I have a tag line at the bottom of my email that says, working on album #3. It’s said that for at least 5 years. And technically, I’ve been working on it for the last five years. I had to catch up with myself to be able to step into the trenches of doing this work.
The subject matter is dense. I don’t think I knew how to make great music with such intense material- hence the five years of my tag line. I’m still not sure I know but what I do know is that taking action is the only way I’ve found I’ve been able to learn how to do things.