Music Emerging has collected essays from four musical women, a musical trio and myself. A simple word: struggles. I asked these women to send me essays about their musical journeys and their struggles. Hope you find inspiration in these personal stories.
Honey Whiskey Trio-Los Angeles, CA
"There is a moment in every musician's life when they think about their future and see that music is the path they must choose, for it has chosen them. For some, the memories of this moment are vivid and bright, and others may have taken a bit more time, perhaps several moments. After the decision to make music for the rest of your life is made... along with it comes, of course, the panic.
Courtney, Ann Louise, and I studied music in high school and college, earning degrees in Vocal Performance and Education. Our journeys were different, yet very similar. We had classes, rehearsals, sectionals, performances, exams, recitals, just like every other music major. We were taught when to arrive, what to play, how to sing, how to dress and how to feel for many years. The panic arrives not when you are in the thick of it. It hides itself during hour 3 of rehearsal, and while you're frantically writing an essay, and even when you have fallen asleep on campus. The panic arrives when you have graduated, and you no longer have your schedule planned out for you. The freedom is beautiful and frightening.
We came together at a point in all of our lives where we were experiencing the same feeling. We all dove straight into the workforce, and soon realized that what we missed more than anything, was singing. We missed that feeling you get when you are making music from your body, the original instrument. We missed being able to improvise, blend, and get lost in the sound. Courtney had been writing some vocal arrangements and contacted my to sing through them. After just a few minutes of singing, it was very clear that we needed a third voice. The next week, Ann Louise hosted a gathering at her place where she met Courtney for the first time. We shared an amazing connection in just our first rehearsal, we knew that we found something special.
While studying at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach, we learned invaluable skills on being ensemble singers. Through the top vocal jazz group under the direction of Christine Guter. We learned that there is a unified sound that can be created from the most diverse collection of voices, and that it was our job to serve the music through tapping into that idea of being one voice. We have such different solo voices, and we have all struggled through accepting our own sounds. The human voice is such a versatile instrument, and also a very personal one. You are so deeply connected with your voice, that it's truly difficult to hear something leave your mouth that you aren't in love with. Being a part of Honey Whiskey Trio has shown us that everything that comes from us is contributing to our group sound. All of the little quirks, pops, and crackles in our individual voices brings something real, honest and genuine to our music. We are truly in this together.
The way that we consume, experience and share music has changed so much in just our short lifetimes. Social media platforms bring the artist closer to their listeners, keeping an open dialogue allowing growth. Unfortunately, it also allows artist to become closer with the negative comments as well. We had been welcomed into the performing world by The Harmony Sweepstakes Festival, as well as the Women's A Cappella Association. The performance opportunities gained from just these two organizations have been wonderful, and the a cappella community is incredibly supportive. Yet, there are still the ones that think three females can't possibly be doing everything right. We've heard comments from we need a male voice to really round out the sound all the way to there's nothing interesting about three part harmony. What we must understand, is that everyone has unique tastes in music, and that's one of the wonderful things about being human. You love what you love. The negative comments about what we do has no direct correlation to the effort we've put into each of our musical journeys, the rehearsal and sharing of music we love, and wanting to bring the most honest, genuine versions of ourselves to every performance.
Our goals have come into focus the longer we make music together. It began as a struggle to make music, and now we make music. It became a struggle to accept our voices, and now we couldn't be happier. We now hope to inspire music makers to continue to make music, work through the struggles that a life in music carries, and let their voices be heard."