Thursday, June 16, 2011

Voices: Which One Will You Listen To?

It's been months since I have written here--or anywhere. I shudder at the thought that I've let this piece of me go for many months, but I must learn to accept that, too, because what's been happening is the work deep inside that I've needed to do in order to take the next steps.

In the coming weeks you will find me at a new place on the interwebs. I will no longer hide behind a name that is not my own, and I will use my struggles, my wonder, and my love to send out a message to you all that the path to a more fulfilling life comes through simple acts of gratitude, self-love, and opening your heart to the creative spirit that lies within us all.

We all have an Authentic Voice. That gut feeling that speaks to us but we often can't or won't hear it because we have been trained to hear other voices instead: the critical voice, the doubting voice, the "shoulding" voice that all serve a purpose in our lives, but do not serve the heart or the spirit. These voices belong to the media, or our families, teachers, bosses, or friends, and while they come from a place of caring, they do not always serve our highest selves. These voices come from the fear inside of us rather than from love. It is my hope that we all--my Self included--understand that listening to that authentic voice, that creative spirit, will bring love, wonder, and success to each and every one of us.

My new baby, The Voice Foundation, kicks off its website July 1st and you can find it here:

Additionally, I will be holding the first TVF artists networking event with two of my favorite and inspiring musicians: Katie Quick and Daphne Willis.

I first met Katie Quick in 2008, at an audition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for "Nashville Star," a show similar to American Idol but with a country music focus. (Yes, I listen to country music--among many genres--and have spent plenty of evenings singing the Dixie Chicks in karaoke bars). Katie Quick and I were among a group of six people who were chosen to skip ahead of the long line because we had entered a video audition previously and had received phone calls inviting us to attend the regional auditions. We met with the producer of the show and then waited for our turn in front of the cameras. That afternoon I learned a lot about the similar path that Katie and I had been on--both former teachers, we wanted to instill in our students a sense of hope and challenge them to believe that they were capable of accomplishing their wildest dreams. It also meant, of course, that we needed to be models for our former students--an example of someone going after their dreams--and so here we were.

Nashville Star ended at the national audition for us both, but it certainly wasn't the end of our music careers. Katie has gone on to release two albums, the latest of which was given 5 out of 5 stars in Maverick Magazine. I invited Katie to come to Iowa City for the artists networking event because she exemplifies what it means to listen to that authentic voice. Her love of music and her ability to capture life experience and emotion in her songwriting is a testament to beautiful way she gives voice to her own creative spirit.

When I came back from the national audition in Nashville, TN, I was elated just for having had the experience. I wasn't lying when I talk about the times spent at karaoke bars trying to relive my days of performing--before kids, before marriage, before full-time job. I hadn't been on a real stage since 1997, and Nashville Star was my reintroduction to singing. (Why I chose to start with a national television show is something I've yet to figure out!) I'm not quite sure what prompted me to even send in an audition tape, but one night, as I was up late folding onesies and zoning out in front of the television, a commercial asking viewers for video auditions shook me out of my stuper. Going through the regional and national auditions was amazing, and it started the chain of events that led me to realize that I didn't need a spot on national TV to get back to music, all I needed was the confidence to listen to the voice inside that told me that I would be lost without music in my life.

About a year after Nashville Star, I became involved with some local musicians who helped me create and perform original music. Newly embedded into the Iowa City music scene, I went to many shows and met some incredible, hard-working musicians. While helping the White Tornado sell his merchandise, I saw Daphne Willis perform with her 3-piece band and fell immediately in love. I bought both her albums that night and eagerly awaited her third album, Because I Can, which just came out this spring from Vanguard Records. After watching her perform, I introduced myself to Daphne, and I think in my giddiness might have told her that she's the kind of songwriter I had hoped to be like. Her music is fun, her lyrics are both witty and enlightening, and she connects very openly to the human experience. I'm so excited that she is coming to do this show together with Katie.

As for my own musical journey, it is still just beginning. In two short years I managed to write enough songs to complete a full length album that we will release at the end of July. I went from the karaoke bar to the main stage at the Iowa City Arts Festival, and I did it with the support of some amazing people.

So this is why I am starting The Voice Foundation. Because to live your wildest dreams means that you have to have the courage to listen to that authentic voice within. It also means that you need a community of people to help hold you up when it gets hard, to collaborate with, and to create a space in which you can fulfill your heart's desires. I'm going to continue to share my story with you, to share the stories of others who are following their hearts, and to insist that you also give voice to your own creative spirit so that you, too, may live your dream.

Katie Quick sings "Fingertips" from her album Be the Change

Daphne Willis sings "Do What You Want" from her album Because I Can

Collectible Boys playing "Sense of Redemption" from their upcoming album of the same name.

Please join us for our first networking event on July 15th at the Blue Moose in Iowa City.
Doors open at 7:00pm
Presentations and Music begin at 8:00pm
Tickets are $7.00 at the door or you can buy tickets online here.