Someone recently asked me to describe my music.
I hate this question.
You would think that after so much practice over the years, answering this question would be getting easier, more streamlined. In fact, it is now darn near impossible. Which leads me to the subject at hand.
I suppose I have a confession to make.
I am blessed, or cursed, with an extremely high-pressure creative flow. Like the gremlins, creations keep proliferating around me. The songs that are associated with my name consist of around 1% of my musical endeavors, and are a sample of a specific genre that was chosen because it was simple to reproduce live, among other reasons. To me, this music is fun and human. I am nourished by connecting with people through simple guitar, piano, storytelling, seeing our lives as reflections of each other. This is a real thing, a sacred circle.
However, most of my musical life runs the gauntlet, consisting of songs and samples, background music, jingles, and soundscapes you may have heard or you may never hear, some floating around in the ether, some in the ether-net or assimilated into the collective conscience of media-land. They range in genre from techno and blues to heavy-metal and spoken-word, and may pop up from time to time on a website, in a commercial or in someone's private collection. Hardly any are released under my birth name. Sneaky, they are. It's like discovering you were separated from a twin at birth. Sorry for not telling you about them earlier.
Perhaps like most knee-jerk creative folks, the drive to make "music" squishes its way out into the world through any crack it can find, and also isn't afraid to jump genres and mediums into things like rock-carving, sewing and community-building. Or making designer pancakes at 3am. The "music" is simply life, as lived by me.
We are all alive, so by our very definition we are all creative. You are living your own song at this very moment. Bravo! A wonderful performance!
So, how does one engage that pitfall "can you describe your music" question? I think I finally came up with an answer that feels authentic, real, and true.
Perhaps you could relate to some part of this response:
"Ah, music. It may seem odd, but I guess I have come to a place of blissful indifference. Everyone is an artist in their own medium. I think I just like to be, and songs are what come out in my natural course of being, like managing a company or crafting or bicycle repair might be what someone else gravitates to naturally. Parts of it are amorphous and inspired, parts are cerebral and technical. But it is the experience of it, the journey of creation that enriches.
"For me, each song is its own little world. I am synesthetic, so colors, shapes, sounds, feelings and words are often linked and interchangeable. A song can look curly and yellow, or feel cold and blue and smell like crushed grass, and they come with 3D spatial qualities and animation attached. Music forms the landscape inside my head and my being where I can come to terms with life in all its wonder. The creative process of songwriting is like being in the womb of all possibility and weaving a little technicolor dream out of thin air. It is like dancing. This creative womb is a sacred and strong vessel that can hold all the rainbow emotions of any experience, so that facets of human life can be understood, or at least honored. I can go back and visit these little song dreams any time I like. They carry memories and hopes and feelings and sparks of the life that I wish I could live but cannot since I am only one person trapped in skin. They exist in a myriad of forms and levels of manifestation, and hundreds never even make it to the physical world of pen, paper or performance, but some do, and are shared with other dreamers, like yourself.
"'Style/genre' is a label for easy communication that we can to attach to whatever product is spit out at the other end of creativity by comparing it to other spit-out products from other people in the past. The act of translation loses the truth..
"Maybe my music sounds to me like living the most mundane and crazy dream, filtered through my cells, moving vertically through time in a jumble of sacred, imperfectly misguided architecture, alternately confused and ecstatic in a personal revelation of our sublime collective relationship to the All. Sometimes that sounds like a winter wonderland in solitude, sometimes like a car-wreck in Bali.
"I am drawn to the dangerous freedom of allowing the possibilities to remain vast and embracing what happens when it happens. The writer and the written are one. You never know what a dream will do next...."
Here we are, launching the new website, it is midnight and my brain is like pudding from promoting a whole host of workshops and community stuff at the intentional community house I run, I'm supposed to be writing a launch blog, and all I can think about is that totally embarrassing moment at that one show, the one that changed my whole life...
I don't remember where the show was. Maybe someone out there can remind me. All I know is that at one point I made a comment about appreciating the vigor with which the audience was extolling my performance. I said something like: "Thank you all so much for the vigorous claptor," when someone pointed out that "claptor" wasn't anything close to a real word. (I suppose it does kinda sound like something you would have to take major antibiotics to get rid of.) Apparently I had subconsciously invented it. But not just invented it. I had been using it for YEARS and no one had the decency to tell me.
I could not blame it on English being my second language or something, unless you count my native mumbling or twin-speak (the language of "Mook" my sister and I share - we're twins separated by 6.5 years, due to a silly typo in conception timing). Nope, it was due to straight up weirdo-brain.
So, along with the launch of this website, I present unto you the launch of a wonderful new word:
Claptor (klap tore). Origin: Me. the combination of clapping and laughter that a happy audience makes when they are entertained.
Which is the sound you all should be making right now.
Thank you all for visiting, and please come back for new offerings. If you have video, stories or recordings of me from Bon Nuit! (That IS a word - It means "good night" in French!)
Amber Jade - Clicking my heels and irreverently tripping the light fantastic all the way to nirvana, with a 50lb bag of cheese puffs in tow.