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January 11, 2010 marks an important milestone in my personal and artistic development; it is the day I release my first album. Albeit a humble offering; devoid of the red carpet and fanfare connected to major releases and a far cry from my childhood dreams, it represents a definitive line drawn in the proverbial sand. I did it! I chased a dream and caught it. I brought a plan to fruition. The fact that it is a free download does nothing to dim my elation at its manifestation. It is an album, and by the grace of God and great friends, I am able to be its conduit.
I truly am thankful for what I got.
The album’s title translates to Black Summer, a juxtaposition that encapsulates my fragile strength during its production. My divorce was close to final and I was no longer able to see my children’s fresh faces on a daily basis. I had just left a lucrative but transitory job and began; once again, to re-connect with the artist within.
What resulted is a concise collection of musical musings. However, its true value would be unknown to me until I revisited the material years later. IT IS REBIRTH: our collective ability to rise unsullied from flames and ashes. To reset. Start over. Again.
I discovered that I had not lost that loving feeling of which The Righteous Brothers sang. Quite the contrary, I had resolved my belief in love:
She is the composition of dreams
A contradiction it seems
Both beach chair and porch swing
(And I breathe her)
Like May in its first
She defines my verse
The voice by which I sing
And yet, I had just been forcibly evicted from love mere months earlier. Apparently, the human spirit is strong. (Excuse what may appear to be self-praise; this is more of a joy in recognizing that life truly goes on: and even gets better.) I had found my pen after allowing it to lie dormant for over seven years. My love with the mic had been rekindled:
I had a dream I was dreamin’
In that dream I was fiendin’
Woke up to the moonlight
The starry night beamin’
Through cracks in my blinds
Like cracks in my mind
Felt like Strawberry wine
(Just a human being)
True to my hue
And all I’ve been through
Over the Fourth of July holiday, three artists converged; beats sent by email and completed tracks following the same route. The songs sat on computers and graced iPods. Almost destined to never touch foreign ears.
I don’t have a record deal!
Are people buying albums now?
Whatever the economic outcome, one thing remained clear: if I never share, it will never be heard. I decided to measure my personal success in terms untainted by immediate financial gain. GIVE IT AWAY! In deciding to do so, I realized that I had taken one small step into my rebirth. I am empowered by who and what I am, not limited by what I don’t have:
God don’t make mistakes
We get the message wrong
But his grace is so great
That nothing’s a waste
So in the case of you and me
And no unity
-Cotton Candy (Perhaps)
So, there it is. My story. My pain. My joy. Our life. And as God doesn’t make mistakes, I currently stand on the tail end of another love’s embrace and demise. I am still straight. The cyclical nature of life shows that as much as things change, they remain the same. But in that cycle, one truism stands tall and proud: we are to be born again; time and time over. Embrace your rebirth.
The Black Summer is life growing from decimated soil. Beauty from ugly. Life and love. The circle of it all. I bid you safe travels in navigating your own arch and its dips. The Black Summer is rebirth: Phoenix style. The fire may burn you, but the cool of rebirth shall make you stronger. Pressure busts pipes and steel sharpens steel. This is my story. This is my song. Ashe.