A night scene with pouring rain was shown to my inner eye. I stood atop a hill on a street I regularly walk along in my neighborhood in Los Angeles. I could see a specific house standing there, slowly filling with rain and water. All the other houses seemed to be spared, but this house kept holding the water like a sponge, soaking it up, capturing what was inside. The first line “Cold is the rain tonight – Water flushing down your boulevard tonight”, instantly came out of my mouth. While I continued filling out the song with an acoustic guitar and slides, the scene became more furious and dangerous, just like the sounds and words that wanted to leave my throat. I stopped at some point with the lyrics, knowing that whatever wanted to be told here needed courage to be written down and sung out loud.
When I embarked on the vocal recording process with Mark Eric Lewis, my fellow producer for the album and my guitarist and trusted friend, I felt ready to face this shadow. In our process of recording my vocals, we started with the opening track and worked our way through the tracklist. To me, this was a clear impulse to immerse ourselves in the inner world of the record’s protagonist, our heroine, and the seasons as they experienced them. We dedicated one recording day to each song, and each day was followed by my very own rituals to prepare for the next day’s vocal channeling.
“Tuesday” is the 8th song on the album, and so I found myself experiencing all the turmoil and drama of the previous songs. Each day, I tuned into one song through vocal cleansing, what I wore, herbs, oracle cards, and meditation to be in the vibration and receive the guidance to sing out loud the words and sounds that wanted to be expressed. It was one of the songs where I trusted that the lyrics would flow as soon as I was ready. And they did. I remember diving into this dense, uneasy energy without resisting it, but trusting instead. As I got comfortable, I allowed the words and sounds to come out of the depth of my register, energy, and psyche for sure, too. It was a quick process, and I remember being exhausted, surprised, and happy after finishing the takes.
Before we closed the session, Mark came up with a suggestion – “Would you like to try screaming on this note at the end of one refrain?” – he asked me while singing “this note” so I could hear. I said, “Sure,” ready to scream out a note that simply wasn’t a natural go-to choice for me. The flow of experimenting, playfulness, and the knowledge that “everything’s already in the song” gave me confidence. He started the instrumental track again as I got ready in front of the microphone to sing this last moment. And I screamed, coughed, and coughed some more. I fell to my knees, trying to catch my breath and coughing again. It wouldn’t stop until I sensed a particle on my vocal cords ready to leave my body. I ran to the bathroom and had to vomit out this particle and its mucus.
Once all of this left my mouth, I felt tingling sensations all over my body, brain, and heart, and I started to giggle, a fit of laughter in lightness and release. I could feel the new space in my throat, and internally I knew what had happened holistically. Through the stimulation of vibration, I was able to let go of something that wasn’t mine – dirt, as I call it, since I didn’t need this particle on my vocal cords anymore. The fit of laughter gradually subsided and I walked back into the studio control room, still giggling, feeling celebratory, and elated. Mark was incredibly confused; however, he joined me in laughter, and we knew: We got it!
It can be healing to delve into the unknown spheres of your voice in trust and get out of your comfort zone.
The song, as well as Mark’s encouragement, gave me the confidence to explore something that perhaps was also holding me back, something that wanted me to stay in gentle, harmless harmony even though anger, frustration, and rage were literally screaming out to be expressed. I let this experience sit and gave it room to unfold before I tuned into the song again to listen to what it was telling me now. And then I understood.
As individuals assigned female at birth, we were taught to be submissive and silent in the face of injustice, leading to the suppression of emotions like frustration, rage, and anger over centuries. The song encourages the expression of female rage through the voice, allowing the release of built-up and stored tension and anger that is ready to be returned to its sender.
May you reclaim your voices, express your emotions, break free from these harmful patterns, and dare to release using the full spectrum of your sound.