Even though it’s Sunday, I still checked my mailbox.
I was hopeful and expectant that something wonderful was behind that mundane little plastic door, aside from the miscellaneous junk mail that I had left a few days before.
As I opened my front door, my excitement began to rise.
Seventy degrees, a number I couldn’t have comprehended a week prior.
I could actually hear birds—it wasn’t some visceral delusion due to lack of coffee or sleep.
The street had come to life with people who had been bundled away in a bitter Midwest winter, seemingly carefree in a lukewarm, spring afternoon.
It was the perfect aesthetic for glass half-full, something-must-have-come-for-me-in-the-mail-today-is-too-good-to-be-true mentality.
As you might’ve already guessed, nothing was there.
So much of our emotion is tied to circumstance.
Almost two years ago (yikes) I gave my senior voice recital in York Hall. It was a project that encompassed a yearlong endeavor of studying 1920s, female-driven jazz. Vaudeville, with a mix of the blues and big band undertones.
Have you ever heard Ethel Waters sing?
Am I blue?
Am I blue?
Ain’t these tears in these eyes telling you?
– Am I Blue?
Performed by Ethel Waters
Harry Akst/Grant Clark
If you have a minute, read Ethel Water’s biography. Aside from Bessie Smith, she was probably the most renowned female voice in the 1920s.
And her voice sticks with you.
A voice packed with emotion, a testament to her circumstances and a document of her history.
I used to think it was passive and disheartening to tie emotion to circumstance.
And yet, putting on act never seems to cut it.
You are shaped, in any which way you choose to be, by the experiences you endure through life—the sweet, bitter, and vile.
And, as you might’ve guessed, I’m in a place of that sweetness; perfect, lovely, and beautiful contentment.
However, I will never put aside the experiences I’ve gathered to arrive here—they’ve changed me in many ways, more often than not, for the better.
I am so grateful for these two years that have passed since my senior recital. As I look over the lyrics that I performed, I imagine that I’d sing them differently nowadays.
You can never hide an experience behind a voice; the human voice brings a story, a lyric, and a melody to life.
I am expectant and hopeful.
P.S. – I’ll be announcing some spring/summer shows later this week! I hope that means I get to see you sometime soon!
This April I’ll be at the Player’s Pub in Bloomington, IN on April 28th and Greyhouse Coffee in West Lafayette, IN on April 29th. Check kristenbennettmusic.com/shows for more!
Also, if you haven’t watched the new YouTube video yet, check out this little acoustic version of Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off >>>>>>>