SWIMMING IN RAINBOWS is comprised of seven songs
each telling a story, each at purpose for the greater good of connection, creation and compassion. Together, it tells a story that apparently has been simmering and stewing in my soul for sometime now, I just didn’t fully know it yet! The way it unfolded OFTEN feels as important as the final product.
The seven songs were made in the order they appear on the album, with a partial exception, which I’ll clarify below…. Because I’m about to go through each song and tell you a little bit about the artistic creative process from whence it came. Cuz I’m into that stuff!
“I’ll be your afterthought…” this hook popped into my brain in May 2017 at a prompt from a producer to write a song, and I wrote most of the lyrics right away. I then had the song swimming around in me for many months, the occasional Afterthought Instagram video, and mostly-imaginary serenadings of all the many people who inspired my afterthought angst. In October, Mark invited me into a studio in Brooklyn to make the song. I was psyched! I got there and realized he had totally double booked me! I waited for hours, feeling like a total afterthought. Which was totally perfect. (Irony over agony, people!) We eventually got to me, and with the skills of a cute guitarist named and Mark’s direction, we figured out a melody and laid down the lead vocals and the backup Afterthoughts you hear in the final version. This was the first song we dove into and finished day one in LA, and I got to start to feel out the unique texture of this music making process.
I spent my first 5 nights of my 3 week LA adventure at the Jubers’…. Laurence and Hope Juber took me in as I happily acclimated to the new consistently fabulous weather and laid back LA vibes. Hope took me on her daily morning dance class routine, days were spent in various bursts of songwriting attempts and a recurring fear that I would not be able to write and make meaningful music. One night Laurence and I decided to play around in his studio. He went ahead and laid down a guitar track, and then Hope and I joined him. Ahhhhh, recording a song with a WINGS man, a moment of truth and slightly nerve-wracking tbh! Headphones on, mic sound luscious, I closed my eyes as the beat began, and I freestyled. The first take was obviously fabulous, so we did another one! Laurence and I then took the best from the two takes and wove together the basic structure for Groovy Night, sent off with a Groovy doggy bag of music in the making. On Day 2 in the studio with Mark and co, we had at it on the groove machine, embellishing, imagining, drumming, building, lacquering on my signature layer of accent vocals… and it was a Groovy Night indeed as we polished off this tune. Two songs mostly down in two days, on a roll!
It was at some point during the Groovy Day before that Mark and I had a short conversation about The Void. It went loosely something like, ME: “Yeah… careful… you stop creating and you get stuck in the void.” MARK: “I love the void.” ME: “The void is where it happens baby.” MARK: “I’m going straight back to the void after we finish this album.” Aaahhhh yes, THE VOID… a phenomenon I pinpointed and painfully tracked over the previous two years, which were filled with much personal struggle for me. The absence of creation and manifestation goes against the flow of the Universe (the Universe insists that we be creating and provides for you when you do) soooo, erhm, what’s it called when I fuck it all up and nobody even notices? This must be the void. A black f-ing hole. As the boys smoothed out Grooves on the piano and guitar, I locked myself away in the bathroom, pulled my pants down, sat down on the Royal Toilet with a notebook and pen in hand, and entered The Void. About an hour later I emerged, and the entirety of The Void was penned and sealed. On Day 3, after some remaining Groovy touches and effects were added, it was time to present my next song to the group…. “Gentlemen, we’re going into The Void.” MARK: “You wrote The Void? This is why I love you.” From there, we began to get raw, and truly discover our collaboration process. Which, lemme be clear: First I sing and record the vocals a cappella, then y’all have to figure out how to make the music dance with me. And I will be right there to make sure it’s either what I was imagining, or better! Oh, and this is also when I deactivated my Facebook.
You Can Come Again
One summery September Seventeen night in Brooklyn I stayed out till morning, and at some point before dawn in a backyard gathered round with friends and a certain admirer, this hook came flooding into my being. I started to sing it, made an iPad voice note on the spot, and couldn’t shake it since. After exiting The Void (insofar as one is able to exit the Void), I felt this hot hook coming in heavy, and knew in my bones it was time to turn my one-line permission slip mantra for the masses into a song to transmute sexual frustration into sexual freedom. I stayed overnight in this sexy studio shrine of rock n roll to write this bad boy, during which I (naturally) discovered my ability to enter a state of everlasting orgasmic bliss. Pleasure is a birthright, and fantasies are imagination on star-oids. It’s time for all of us to make it a priority to physically ground and delight ourselves within our own bodies first and foremost, and not ever shame others for seeking that human necessity, even if it comes out in an un-woke form. Until we’re ALL coming consciously, we’re not! Day 4, after voiding out, I sang our next track, You Can Come Again. This time we recorded my vocals straight away (rather than singing it to the group first like we did for The Void). You can come again, but I didn’t need to sing again because I nailed most of it on the first take! Huge thanks and love to Robin Diaz who worked on drum tracks for The Void and You Can Come Again….which I feel was an era of this album unto itself.
It was Thanksgiving weekend 2015, and my then-new friend Anna invited me and my mom to her mom’s house for a jam. Also known as hip hop superstar Happy Accident, Anna had just awakened the freestyler in me, introduced me to the cypher scene of New York City, and blessed me with the discovery of a new kind of calling and ability to create great music. On this Thankful night I spent a lot of time on the mic, pretty much all freestyling jibber jabbering, but there was one hook in particular that I did that I never forgot. Partially because I posted a video on Facebook. I always knew “Human Race” would turn into a full song one day!
I didn’t know which day it would be until the day before.
On Studio Day 5, I left the boys alone to play around with their new toy, You Can Come Again, and I galavanted off to Long Beach for a Rainbow Hair Makeover and a Galactivation.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Christar Galactica, but I was referred by a source of actual Sunshine in human form, so knew I absolutely needed both of these things in my life. Christa had just returned from India the day before, and I could feel it. The breakthroughs I had on this sacred day of fairy-fueled Galactivation were of unprecedented caliber, and the only way I can properly share the impact-ivation at this very moment is in the last 3 songs of my album. Human Race includes the chorus seed I planted over two years ago, raps were written fresh out the Galaxy, and the last 2 minutes or so of the song came out freestyle when I recorded it on Day 6. Let’s go humans… we are absolutely indisputably right on time, and WE GOT THIS!!!
I forget exactly when the thought came to me that we are all somewhere on the unicorn spectrum, or when this turned into an idea for a song… probably at some point in the past year when I was googling to see if I could self-diagnose myself to be on the spectrum, because no professionals would, and whoah, life is WEIRD! And the spectrum seemed like a suitable place for me. As they say in fairy land... ::magical:: is the new CrAzY! We are blessed to have neurodiversity. What I began to notice in myself and others is that mental health troubles that develop happen when we live in a way that is fighting our pure human nature. Mental Health can often be recovered with art, self-expression, humor, play, permission to feel and share, a sense of unconditional love and support, and a sneaking suspicion that their belief in the ::magic:: power of unicorns and the universe is real.
I knew after the complexity of the Human Race, I wanted to create a cute song with classic composition, and bless its lil rainbow heart! I started writing U-S as my hair turned rainbow, and continued up until moments before we recorded it, towards the end of Day 7. I’ve never met a non-::magical:: person (I used to think they existed, but have been shown otherwise!) and well, my wish is for you to feel right at home at wherever you feel you are on the Unicorn Spectrum. Which could literally be somewhere different every day! Every minute. Every bite. Every cloud. Every sparkle. Wheeeeeeee!
PmC, ohhh yeah! So this one started as a chant, back in January 2017, sitting alone on my throne up at the Queendom North…. aka Arc 38, the 188 acre farm, mountain and community living experiment that I have obbbbviously manifested into my life. We were in the middle of fun-raising a huge boatload of casholas to keep the big banks from confiscating this piece of physical progress towards our dreams to create a worldwide network of off-grid communities. Where net-play is more precious than net-worth, where we can have spiritual rebirth for breakfast, where Mother Earth is our leading lady…. You know, the good stuff. Speaking of the good stuff.. this chant was GOOD STUFF!! so I turned on my phone recorder, slipped on my shoes, scurried downstairs, around the porch, and up the closest path to climb the mountain…all with this majorly::magical::mantra on vocal repeat. In a time of frustration, bureaucratic messes and uncertainty, this was a prayer to the universe that ::magic:: would ultimately prevail, and be avail to all. I posted all 8 minutes 23 seconds of it on SoundCloud, as legit prayers tend to go, and I sent it over to my man Marky, as I often do. And as it turns out, Mark felt the ::magic:: so hard that he brought it into the studio with his peeps, looped his favorite vocals, and created the deliciously-haunting melodic masterpiece you hear here! I listened to this on my own often but didn’t post it yet… I knew it was missing something but wasn’t sure what! Fast forward to the morning of Day 9 in the studio. A Saturday. The final day of recording this album. Permanent ::magical:: Culture day! After the Galactivation I confirmed with myself that this next layer of PmC would be an oration. I just spent an album singing, time to speak up and say it straight! I started writing scripts, notes, scribbles and thoughts for this oration… knowing deep down I would go script-less for the real thing. I figured we’d do several takes, and grab the juiciest nuggets, so I wasn’t too worried. Well… recording time came, and the familiar sounds of Permanent ::magical:: Culture infiltrated my magnetic field, ignited my spirit, and awakened every determined cell of my body that’s ever believed that everything is possible. And… I spoke from the same place in my heart that I sing from! #GOALS. We did one take, and this was it. I mean every word! As for the effectiveness of the prayer at large… well we got over a 1/3 of a million in financing to keep it alive last spring… and this album isn’t even out until today. Everything you ever dreamed…. HAPPENING NOW!!!!