Back in Nash
Here I am, once again, feeling like I’m behind on this blog and doing my best to try and fill in the pieces from where I left off before.
After taking a very extended visit back home for Christmas, I finally returned to Nashville. I had considered staying through May or when vaccines became available to my age group there, but with each passing day, something inside me was telling me it was time to go.
So I came back. And it was weird at first. I’d been away from my apartment for so long it felt foreign. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to a lot of the emotions I was feeling at the time because I didn’t capture them in the moment, but what I can tell you is that they fluctuated. I missed being around my family (and especially my dog) but also felt some relief being back in my own space. I was also really nervous to be back in Tennessee in general, because the state as a whole and even Nashville has a much more careless attitude about covid precautions. While I was in Illinois, we even picked our groceries up from Target, so I hadn’t had to go inside of a store to shop for months.
One frustrating moment I encountered immediately upon my return was missing out on the opportunity to get a vaccine. One of my guitar players told me that a friend of his got one by calling Wal-Marts in Murfreesboro (about 20 minutes out from Nashville) to get on the waitlist for appointments. I called all of the ones I could find, and the next morning realizing I had missed one of their calls. It was pretty devastating and I felt so stupid for letting this opportunity slip through my fingers because of my own negligence.
Luckily, the universe wanted to give me another chance and I received another call the next day. It was pouring rain outside and visibility on the highway wasn’t great, but I didn’t care. This was the moment I had waited a year for.
I’m somebody that absolutely hates needles. I am a very dramatic baby about it whether I need to get a blood test or get my blood drawn, yet here I was, racing to get stabbed in the arm. This just shows how important this was to me.
It was really weird to be having this moment casually in a Wal-Mart. There were only a few people in front of me in line. I imagined a scene like I’d seen elsewhere, at an arena full of people waiting in a winding line like you would at a theme park, but nope. Clearly getting vaccinated wasn’t a priority for the folks in Murfreesboro. As good as that was for me personally, it’s equally as frustrating. Here we have a medical miracle from our nation’s top scientists and innovators taking place with how fast these vaccines have been created, tested, and distributed, we have the means to save lives and move on from this pandemic, and people are still unwilling to get it. The thing is, it’s not just their loss. If we don’t all get this vaccine we risk mutations, deadly variants, and a never-ending cycle. I actually want life to get back to normal. This vaccine is our way forward, and I just wish more people understood that and stopped being so misinformed.
Anyhow, I had a brief moment of panic when they couldn’t find a number they were looking for with my insurance, but luckily that didn’t stop me from getting the vaccine. It was an incredible feeling, the most hopeful I’ve been in a while.
I was also really happy to get the Moderna Vaccine, which was funded by none other than the queen herself, Dolly Parton.
I’m still going to hold off on playing live, for now, something that is a lot harder to do when you see everyone else around you doing it. When you’re trying to make it in music, and I’m sure in other creative endeavors as well, it always feels like you’re in a constant state of falling behind. A much as you try, it’s impossible not to compare where you’re at with the people around you. I’ve got a little over two weeks until my second dose is fully protective, and yet waiting that long feels like an eternity.
In the meantime, I’ve been taking advantage of the time and opportunities I do have. I’m doing all the podcast/virtual interviews I can to talk about my music. I’ve also kept up with growing my following on TikTok and even did some virtual cowrites.
I’m also happy to say that I’ve been back in the studio recording my EP. It had been a while, and I hadn’t noticed a part of me was missing until I felt it return. We’re almost halfway done with recording demos, and it put my mind at ease to finally have some updates for all of my Kickstarter backers who had generously donated to help fund this project last summer. As of now, I’m thinking it will be released next spring, with maybe a few singles coming first. I want to make sure everything is done and ready to go (including music videos and promo) before putting everything out this time around.
I will admit though, returning to the mic also comes with a lot of insecurity. The recording booth leaves no room for error. When I was performing regularly, I definitely became a stronger vocalist. Having taken essentially a year off, I sound noticeably worse. This is frustrating, mainly because I know I could have utilized the time to still practice, and I didn’t. It makes me disappointed in myself. I hate to waste opportunities. That being said, I’ve survived a deadly pandemic when over 500k people did not. I did what I had to do not only to keep my body healthy but my mind as well. So I also do my best to cut myself some slack. I’m hoping that before I record the final versions, I can take a couple of voice lessons. I really want this EP to be the best that it can be. I’d love to be regularly taking voice lessons, but it’s unfortunately expensive. If money were no object, I’d also want to be taking guitar and dance lessons too.
I'm still not writing as many songs on my own as I'd like to be, but my recent cowrites have been successful which has made me feel a lot better about the situation. Something about being back in Nashville is making it easier for me to think of ideas for songs when I hadn't before. I just need to take the time to fully invest them and turn them into full songs. I still feel like I get mentally fatigued easily in a way I hadn't before this all started. A lot of times attending performances or being around other writers fueled my creativity. Being isolated requires me to be a lot more intentional as a writer. I've also said this before, but it was a lot easier to be inspired when my life was moving 100 miles an hour too for some reason.
Nothing new on the day job front. I’m still applying and applying, but I almost think my lack of luck is the universe trying to tell me not to get another 9-5. I genuinely don't have the energy anymore to pretend to care about the wellbeing of a business that isn't my own. My last job made me realize that I really have no interest in being a seller. I think that even rings true in a marketing/advertising sense. This past year has just shown how of little importance in the grand scheme of things most marketable things are. I'm looking into more mission-oriented nonprofit work because that is something I can still be passionate about. I applied for a position with the Nashville Food Project (which helps to fight hunger with a community garden) that I was really hoping I'd get, but no luck.
I’ve been doing some freelance copywriting and some other things here and there, and I’m also getting money from TikTok. If I can figure out how to utilize my social media presence and become enough of an influencer to at least pay my rent, I’d love to stick to that. We’ll see, I’m still trying to figure it out. I always hated the idea of social media influencers, and I hate to be out here promoting random products to people that they don’t need, but if I can find a way to do it in a way that feels ethical and true to myself, I’d certainly prefer it to working for somebody else.
There's a lot I still want to do as far as getting my name out there. I want to do a series on Youtube and a podcast that is similar to this blog, where I not only share my own stories, but interview and support other upcoming artists. It's something I've been putting off and get frustrated with myself for putting off, but I know once I sit down and just record the damn videos I can make it happen.
I’ll be back in the studio all day tomorrow and I get my second covid shot on Thursday. At the moment I’m trying to stay disciplined and look forward to the little things, like getting my hair done for the first time in over a year. Even after my vaccine is fully effective, I’m still hesitant to play live at indoor venues until the CDC says so, but I also feel anxious waiting, so we’ll see.
I think 2021 has the potential to be an amazing year, even a game-changing year for me. I just have to keep chugging along and manifest my big break into reality.