Where do I start...
For me, this year (and every year) was about personal growth in many aspects of my life. Confidence, self-love, acceptance, and PATIENCE. There were so many highlights (and colors of hair) that I want to discuss with you. Let us begin!
Ombré, blonde, rose gold, pink, blonde, blue, purple, copper and FADE. BOOM that's all the hair colors I went through this year. I also learned to cut and color my hair all by myself, which allowed me hair color freedom. I'm not sure why, maybe I was restless and bored, but changing my hair color was my thing this year. I had grown out my hair all throughout college and didn't color it for years and I suppose I got the 7 year itch of hair coloring. It was a lot of fun, but now I think I'm going to reel it in with the coloring in 2017. It allowed me to visualize different colors of my personality that were in hiding for a while. If you ever get the opportunity to change your hair in a dramatic way, DO IT. NOW. Also, youtube tutorials and coconut oil will be your best friends.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time changing my apperance because I was unsatisfied with myself. I think changing my hair color was a fantastic way to learn to love how I looked. I had the power in my own hands to be as bright as the rainbow. My journey to self love has been a rollercoaster of a ride this year. The media has in fact, brainwashed me into thinking I needed to be and look a certain way. It's all bullshit. The Kylie Jenner/Kardashian/Hollywood fake world of beauty is unachieveable, and it took me this year to say "fuck that, I'm the only me on this earth, why the hell would I want to be like someone else." It's a fantastic feeling to realize that, at least for me.
Confidence and happiness go hand in hand. Once I became proud of who I was, and what I do and stand for, my happiness began to soar. I will always cherish this past year for this reason. I began going to a therapist to sort out my thoughts and past, and it helped immensely. Although I perform for a living, confidence does not come easily to me. I get nervous before every show, and almost always worry too much. But once the band (American Babies) starts playing, and we forget about the crowds and the rest of our lives, we only think about the music at hand. I got better at my instruments and my musical ear has developed so much, thanks to my wonderful life/music partner, Tommy. There are things within songs I'm picking up on that I didn't before. I began to truly appreciate the music that all music is based on today. The classics, Zepplin, the Dead, Simon and Garfunkle, the Beatles... the list goes on.
Our fall tour was based around four shows, our Masquerade Ball of Light and Dark, and the last hurrah of this album cycle. For these shows we played a set of all American Babies songs, and then the second set was all cover songs from one artist. We had to learn over 50 songs from the Beatles, Radiohead, all of David Bowie's "Blackstar", and the Grateful Dead. This was a fantastic challlege for us as a band because we had to analyze these songs and know them front to back. If you haven't listened to Blackstar, do it before your seasonal depression kicks in, because it may not help with the sadness. (R.I.P.) BUT, it will blow your mind. If you want to search any of these shows, or any American Babies shows, you can go on www.archive.org, and search our name. Most of the shows we played this year are uploaded on there.
These shows were exciting, fun, challenging, and they helped me understand how those musicians wrote music. Personally, I've had a love/hate relationship with the guitar. When I was 13 I picked up the guitar and tried to teach myself simple chords to the songs I liked on the radio. I thought I was terrible, and also didn't enjoy going to guitar lessons. I just kept playing on my own for years until I wrote enough songs to play my first festival gig. I played solo, but I knew that it was what I wanted to do. Play my music for people. Up until this last year I truly didn't enjoy playing guitar. I didn't have the patience to practice and get better. I was utterly frustrated. Tommy has taught me so much about music and the guitar, and finally, I have fun when I play. I can think about it a little less and the strength in my hands makes it easy to play for hours on end. PRAISE the music gods. Haha.
This year, and this group of people gave me the opportunity to play with some incredible musicians. We support each other on the road and on stage, and we wouldn't be able to do it if we weren't dedicated to the music. Once you see the country and spend hours on end with each other in a 15 passenger van, you get to know everyone's quirks and habits. It helps to build a truly special relationship with our band members. I started to really appreciate everyone's habits and personalities this year, which helped me to appreciate myself. At the end of the day, we're all individuals and we do things differently, and that's totally okay.
We got to play with some very talented musicians, all of which were humbling expierences that I'll remember forever. Bob Weir, Dave Schools, Oteil Burbridge, Marco Benevento, Aron Magner, Holly Bowling, Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Jim Lauderdale, Snarky Puppy Horns, Robert Ellis... I don't even know how to process that American Babies was able to play with these kind and talented musicians. These are things I will never take for granted.
My musical growth aided my personal growth immensely this year. I didn't think I would even get this far, but fate has other plans for me. For a while I felt as though I had lost my voice and had very little to say. Now, I think my voice is coming out of hibernation and is ready to create something cool. I've started to find other creative outlets such as photography and making videos for Youtube again. I didn't think it was possible to enjoy other creative mediums so much. Photography is SO fun. I get to document our lives on the road, which is always an adventure and those pictures will last forever. I cherish these experiences and I am incredibly grateful to have them.
2016, you were a good year to me. Thank you for teaching me things about myself that I didn't think I would figure out just yet. I'm proud of my accomplishments and my progress as a young adult, and I'm happy to share my thoughts with whoever may be reading this. 2017, I'm ready for you. Let's do this.