Be Who You Are, this timely and brilliant idea from Paula is more than a pat answer to the era defining and special Free to Be You and Me. The more I talk with Paula and her co-artistic-conspirator Tara and hear their ideas and what they want to “put out there” with this project, the more I want to contribute in a meaningful way, I realize that this, among many other things, is a love letter. A love letter to Paula’s daughter, and to Tara’s son and to my son and baby girl and to the kids of our friends and the kids we have yet to meet. We are saying, of course, “be who you are”….but also, “find out who you are” , and “stay true to who you are” and “don’t take any crap for who you are”. Ever. LOVE who you are. WE LOVE YOU for who you are.
As I am writing songs for this musical love letter to my/our kids it is also a love letter to me. To us. To these amazingly talented parent-artists. To all lovers of kids….AS KIDS. These are the songs that we needed to hear, at times desperately, as young people. Paula, with Tara have asked a group of artist-parents to dig deep within themselves to harvest those defining nuggets from our childhoods and from our children’s so-far-childhood and pour it out into this music. And to do that? WE need to be who WE are. Love who WE are. Be proud of who WE are, not take crap for who WE are. Because to write the deepest most authentic love letter to our precious children we need to first write it to ourselves. So that I am (hopefully) free to pour some meaningful music onto the page for this wonderful project, I, for one, have gone back more than a few times in the last several weeks and given my kid self a big ol’ hug and some love and encouragement.
It all comes full circle doesn’t it?
So…..with all of this in mind….phew again!…..I sat down with Paula (after she whipped out her guitar and played me the truly beautiful “Be Who You Are” title track!) at her piano recently and played her a song called LapSpace. It is a simple ballad about how mothers (and fathers) always have room for every kid on their lap even if there is a new sibling in the house. Mommy’s Lap is a place that is always there literally and figuratively, a place to “crawl up and curl up and cry out and find the strength to carry on.” It is a work in progress and if I can stop bawling long enough I may even get it done. Not to mention if I can ever have a moment without one of my kids in my lap I may even get it done SOON Ha! I DID in fact write the first pass with my baby on my lap. Life imitating art, people!
Other songs to watch for which came out of my inspiring first brainstorm-workshop-play through with Paula? A theme STRAIGHT from the core of my childhood, something I was really REALLY aware of….justice! In the form of IT IS NOT FAIR!!! Sound familiar? Coming soon to a song near you! “It’s not FAIR and I don’t CARE if you think it is…cuz it’s NOT!”
Also….a Fairy Godmother will be stopping by the studio in a cloud of glitter and fairy dust with a stage-storming Broadway rouser to talk to all the boys and girls who don’t fit in all neat as a pin into prescribed gender roles. Oh, she has some things to say about that!
See you all soon! More to come!
Thank you to Paula and Tara for having me on board for this great project!