That moment when you feel utterly crazy but have no words to explain what’s going on or why and the best option is just to cry and cry. That’s been my week, so far.
Last Friday we recorded Caged Bird in the studio. Jonny and I performed at the same time (me in the soundbooth, and he in the room on the gorgeous, lush Yamaha piano). We recorded it several times before Ana got there. After listening to one performance, she came into the soundbooth and simply said, “It’s not painful enough. It’s a lament. Right now it’s just too…. Pretty.” UGH. Translation: Go there, Chels. Go there emotionally. Be in it. All the way. She sat cross-legged on the floor of the booth for moral support. I closed my eyes and went for it again.
We did a couple more takes (each more painful than the last…) until we finally hit that “magic moment.” That one take that just… captured the song. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t “pretty” in a clean sort of way. It was raw. It was kamikaze. It was Kabuki theater. I feel like I got my guts ripped out.
Photos courtesy of John Doukas Photography.
Ana and I listening to the arrangement afterward.
In the booth.
The team: (L-Rt) Crystal May, Jonathan May, Greg Adamson, Chelsea Davis, Ana Sanchez, Tim Davis.
Who’s that handsome guy??
Can’t forget Steve, our awesome sound engineer!!!!!!!
And the Peanut Gallery to cheer us on.
We were in the studio in North Hollywood til midnight, and then got home after 2am (thanks to a friendly CalTrans freeway closure). I dragged myself out of bed the next A.M. for a 5 hour rehearsal for the OC FREE THEM concert this Friday. (You’re coming, right???!!!! =D Cottonwood Church in Los Alamitos, 6:30pm, Free!!!!)
My beautiful choreographer\ballet dancer friend Elkin Antoniou is dancing to “Caged Bird” and I was privileged to see her riveting and emotionally charged choreography in raw form Saturday. I am singing in 2 other numbers besides ours, and by the time the long rehearsal was over, I was so tired I could barely drive home.
No, not an actual car crash, thank goodness. An emotional crash.
After an adrenaline crazed few weeks, I hit the wall. I woke up in the middle of the night Saturday and simply couldn’t sleep. I had no idea what was wrong. I was exhausted and wide awake and suuuuupppppeeeeer strung out.
Sunday morning rolled around and I was so wiped I couldn’t get out of bed. Tried to pray, tried to read, tried to function: nope. I dialed Ana and by the time she picked up her cell phone, I was bawling on the other end of the line. “Are you crying? Why don’t you come over here and I’ll make you lunch.” (sniffle sniffle, nod).
I packed my overnight bag and headed for Ana’s, feeling totally ungrounded, upside down, needy, and confused because it was just 36 hours past the “birth” of our song. This is the goal we’ve been stumbling towards and terrified of and leaning into for 2 years…we did it. I should be elated, right? Well, folks, I wasn’t. That’s the truth.
After a couple of very grounding days of rest at Ana’s, I finally got my bearings again. Having never been through this process, I didn’t know what was going on until I melted down on Tuesday morning. Ana gave me a hug and I just couldn’t hold back the flood. I held on for dear life and sobbed into her shoulder. (Side note: It’s the very best kind of friend who will absorb your nasal decongestion when no tissues are in sight.)
What was it that had been throwing me for such a loop, interrupting much needed sleep, and causing me to feel crazy? Here it is:
This is so vulnerable. I went so far into the song emotionally on Friday, I sang my skin off. I sang from an honest place. I finally put my “insides” on the “outside” in a way that is finished, professional, done. It is a culmination of so much deep, inner work, creatively and personally, and now it exists, not as an idea, but an actual sound file that can be shared with others. I feel naked. It’s terrifying to be seen when you aren’t sure how you’ll be received.
It’s our baby, and soon people will be evaluating it. People will take it or leave it, listen to it, love it, hate it, or simply be apathetic towards it. It will speak to some and hopefully they will hear their own stories in it. This process takes courage, and I’m calling on mine, as we press forward to this release on Friday.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid… for I am with you wherever you go.”