I was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1979. my father was a writer and a Vietnam veteran, my mother a painter. By the age of 5, we moved to a small town in rural east Texas called Quitman. Its only claim to fame through the years was plastered right alongside the city limits sign…”home of Sissy Spacek”. At the time, its population was barely reaching 1,000. Now it boasts nearer to 2,000. It was here that I began my schooling education in the first grade at the local elementary school. By the third grade I was being pulled out for random stints of ‘home-schooling’, which actually consisted of studying my dad’s record collection and playing an old out of tune upright piano for months on end, then eventually put back into school to ‘finish the year off’.
Music was always a huge part of our household. My parents loved different sorts of music, although they seemed to meet in the middle when it came to rock’n roll. My mom was a Zeppelin head into disco and Motown, while my pops tended to steer towards country blues that told great stories and straight rock’n roll that never swayed from the back beat. One of my fondest childhood memories, is listening to my dad disc jockey his late night show on the local radio station…usually from the little radio in my parents closet…hmmm:)
They had everything in their collection from Bolero to The Supremes, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Al Green, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Marvin Gaye, Patsy Cline, Etta James, Chuck Berry, Pink Floyd, CSNY, Linda Rondstat, Kinky Freidman…and Carole King. My piano teacher gave me a cassette tape of Joni Mitchell when I was about 10. She was an inspiration to me to be a great writer from an early age… the importance of how we use words.
By the age of 13 we moved up the east coast to Virginia Beach, Virginia for my dad to go to grad school there. After the initial shock of a new school with more kids in it than my hometown, I settled into the new city pace of life and loved it. I discovered the ocean, hip hop, top 40 radio, and the hard core music scene…actually most any music after circa 1977.
I soon began the arduous auditioning process for an arts school there. It was a government funded program, open to all kids in public high schools. I was accepted into the theatre department, where I began my pursuit to what I thought was to become a playwright and actress. It was a great schooling experience and gave me a foundation to pay my bills through musical theatre, once I’d become a youngster on her own.
This is how I met Felix Todd and soon ended up on a plane bound for London for the first time. He came to a show with a friend and afterwards, asked if I would like to come to London to try my hand and voice at song writing. Without hesitation, I agreed, and after closing the last performance of that particular show, was on the next plane to London.
I was so eager to get out of the states, and I now admit that was probably my foremost reasoning for going on the trip rather than embarking on a music career.
I arrived wide eyed and immediately fell in love with the place. Our creative venture did not work out, but I knew that I wanted to live in London.
It wasn’t too long after, that I began writing what was to become my first album, ‘The May Street Project’. It was named after a street we lived on in Fort Worth.
I signed to RCA records and solidified my base in the U.K. The album released in 2000, gained critical acclaim, but no radio play, which for most major labels is essential.
After playing with the likes of James, David Gray, John Mayer, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris over the span of a year or two, it was becoming evident that the tide of the music business was shifting and I was caught in the wave. After trying several avenues to make it work, I eventually asked to be dropped from RCA all together, and they obliged.
It was a process through the next few years to figure out what direction I was headed, not just for the music or business, but also in life as a whole for myself and my family. Time has a funny way of taking care of some of those questions whether you ask them out loud or not. This part of my journey went on for quite a while.
I fell in love and gave birth to my daughter, Luna. Suddenly my course had changed on every scale.
We came back to Texas to visit with family, tote the baby around showing her off, and help my father out, who was having a back operation that would require a ‘short’ physical rehab. The operation did not go to plan. He was crippled by the surgery. Suddenly our 6 month visit turned into years. We spent our last year in Texas living in Austin.
I had been writing through the years of hardship, but only songs for my own good and sanity’s sake. I never thought I would actually ever record them, or even play them to my closest of friends. But nearing the end of our year in Austin, the time came to reckon with myself and the songs that had been coming out.
With limited pennies in the pocket, I decided that it was time for me to put some fears aside and deal with some of ‘myself’ in the studio…just me, the guitar and some tape to record on.…That’s how this album began to come to life.
I never dreamed of making something so personal, so available, but it came to the point that I just had to for me...no one else. Not in a selfish sense. It’s just the running had to stop.
Now I can‘t imagine where or who I would be as a person or an artist having not completed this piece of work. I know its taken a long minute.
It has been a journey…and it is recorded in that same way….. on purpose.
It goes from angry and broken, to finding strength and hope.
I hope that I don’t have to make another album quite like this one. I grew up never understanding the point of self titled records, until it came time for me to put a title to this project….needless to say I get it now. This a document of who I am, or more importantly who I’ve been. I could have named it my zip code and blood type, but I thought my name will do for now…..and I won’t ever do it again.
I am so blessed.
I have returned to London to get back into the swing of things. Sorry it’s taken so long.
Now I just wanna play man.