*A personal message to fans and friends from Amy.
Realizing I’ve been a bit distant lately on our social media, as well as personally, I thought I would give you an honest reason as to why.
I have known exactly what I wanted to do in life from the age of 3. I wanted to be a singer. There were blips of acting, charity work, and other passion projects along the way. But my path was clear. Now at the age of 27 the path is becoming more of a misty cloud than a stone ground. On a business level, our band is no longer with our record label SQE, a group of people I couldn’t say enough kind things about, and who have helped us endlessly along the way. As a band we’re taking a break to create separately. And my life personally is 100% unrecognizable to how it was a month ago. For those of you who know me, I take these changes in life like a kid to a candy shop. I live for them. I live for challenges, and new branches being grown to climb. But that’s where I encounter my problem. The branches I have yet to climb, have not grown yet. The path that I have seen so clearly my entire life, has turned into a cloud. Metaphors aside, I have no clue what makes me truly happy, where my heart is, and where I will go next. My definition of happiness has evolved and changed into something so much deeper than I ever imagined. (I’m nearly tearing up just at the thought of this.) Although my idea of what I wanted in life was clear, my level of happiness was just the minimum. Somewhere inside I never believed I could have a career, and a relationship, and a home. And that has taken its toll in many ways. If I want to go Oprah Winfrey on the subject, maybe I didn’t think I deserved it. But now I do. Now I whole-heartedly believe I do, and that everyone deserves these things. Or whatever group of wishes they desire. I have friends telling me they’re settling for less in relationships, in jobs, in dreams, and I wonder why. Then I realize I have been doing the exact same thing, but it just didn’t look that way on paper. Opening for Metric, getting to tour with amazing bands like Digitalism (who will forever be the standard of how amazing human beings can be), and having other exciting musical life experiences have been a gift I couldn’t have imagined I’d get and hope to have more of in the future. But when a sudden change was thrown my way, my ideas of happiness burst into the universe like a star exploding to become something else. A planet perhaps. The idea that I had been so focused on one specific path for so long, like a wild horse with blinders on, now seems like settling to me. The idea of traveling and creating with other artists, or going on a soul searching mission with my best friend and sister of 15 years, or finding a way to help people through a new form of music, these are the things I’m taking some time to explore.
I was listening to a Ted talk this morning on how doubt is essential to faith. Religious details aside, doubting yourself, or having other people doubt you and show you that through their actions, these are essential to what will make you grow as a human being. Doubt has made me grow more in one month, than I have in the last three years. I have been so blessed to have a family who has never doubted me for a second. I realize through conversations lately that not everyone has such supportive parents, and that is something I want to pass forward one day. Pay it forward, as my mother has taught me. “You get something, you give half of it away” she says. I always wondered why she only ever said ‘half’ and not all of it, but I think it’s because you need the other half for yourself. For your soul to know that you deserve something as well. I’ve strayed somewhat from my message, but what I’m trying to say is I’m taking some time to find out where, and how I want to give this other half away. I want to help people more. I want to learn, grow, and fuel my soul with art and love. I want to fall in love again. I want to fall in love with music again. This isn’t a goodbye, or an ending. But it is an honest answer as to why I’ve been distant, why I will be a distant, and a promise that it is genuine and loving exploration of myself and the world around me. As Lykke Li stated once in a journal entry, she said she was ‘on the search’ as an artist. I couldn’t phrase it better myself. I’m not stopping writing, I’ve got my coffee and headphones next to me as I’m typing this. I’ve actually never written so much in my life as I have this last week taking time ‘off’. I’m inspired by the pages of an old poetry book I never would have touched, had life not thrown me a change of plans. Living in a new home I’m exposed to music I otherwise never would have listened to. I play piano every single morning, something I haven’t done since I was a child. I remember songs I had written, that have been buried for years. These are all the molecules of what will form something beautiful down the road creatively, and that I’ll share with you when this time comes. A solo album, or collaborative project, these are all details that will be revealed to you, once they are revealed to me. This is just a personal message that I felt I had to tell all of you because you have been so good to us, and formed such personal connections. I also feel as though whenever I write these articles, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of people who can relate to them, and to me. So for any of you out there, settling in relationships, in jobs, in dreams jobs even: Being a star has gotten you this far, but if you’re settling for less than you deserve, become a planet. Be a place that allows yourself to grow, to love more than you ever imagined, to find pleasure and happiness in ways you never thought existed. Give the other half away. I’ll be right there with you trying my best to do the same. See you on the other side of the misty cloud, my sweet exploding stars.
Help, I Need Somebody: The evolution of empathy, and banning the word 'fine'.
The last few days/weeks have been a little insane. Touring for two weeks then coming home and having only a few days to find a new place, find someone to replace mine, move all my things, as well as dealing with about a dozen very effecting life events (that I won’t get into right now) has been physically and emotionally exhausting. But what I have noticed through these times is the people who come out of the woodwork to help you, even when you say you don’t need help.
As a woman who tours, you don’t ask men to carry your gear. You just don’t. You lift, sweat, play a show, carry a piano up stairs in heals, lift, sweat and do it again the next day. I worked as a stage technician a few years back and would get extremely offended when men wouldn’t let me carry their gear. It was my job. It was literally my job. It paid better than any I had had at the time and I was happy to do it. Some peoples egos simply would not have it. They felt insecure about having a young woman carry their gear, set it up, and run the show for the night. My point is, these experiences are ingrained in me, and in most women I think, and make you think it’s not okay to ask for help. That it’s a weakness. And I can hands down say it is not. I think it takes a level of strength and self awareness to ask for help when you need it. I hate watching my friends go through tough times. It pains me. And when they don’t let me help them it physically makes me upset when I know they need it. Some people live this way, and I have to give them their space if that’s what they truly want. But when I’m going through a tough time, and my friends are sitting by asking sincerely “how can we help” up until this year I would have said “Oh no it’s fine. I’m fine.” Lies. All lies. I hate that word ‘fine’, in fact let’s just ban that word from our vocabularies right now shall we? It’s such a gross apathetic inconsistent word. It really doesn’t serve any purpose other than letting someone know you aren’t telling them how you actually feel. Get rid of it. Tell people how you are feeling, move forward, connect, empathize, grow, take in these emotions, and take action to what needs to be done at that moment. Being down and having tough times is not a weakness. My god it’s human. And in these times the last thing you need to do to yourself is punish yourself even more by being alone through it all. Do not mistake empathy for pity. Friends who want to help you are not pitying you, they are doing what they are evolutionally programmed to do, which is help each other get through this life. We’re connected to everything around us, the sun, the moon, the seasons, and we need to get and stay more connected to each other. Empathy has been linked to a sign of intelligence and adaptation. The more you can relate to others, help others, accept help from others, the more you can adapt to nearly any situation. Lose your job, your house, your belongings, you’ll adapt quicker than you can say ‘I’m fine’ if you have a support group around you. And next time someone needs help, it won’t even be a question if you will help them or not. It’ll come back to you the next time you need it as well. Keep the circle of empathy running, and I guarantee you will be more fulfilled in every sense of the word.
So to my friends and family who have helped me these past few weeks without me even needing to ask, who bring soup when I’m sick, who bring laugher and Palm Bay’s on an otherwise draining Friday night, and most recently who offered me a home when I had lost mine. I hope you know I will do the same for you, without question, and promise to always give you the respect of saying how I really feel. I will never lose the chance at having a real conversation, a real connection, by saying the words ‘I’m fine’ again. And I can honestly say I’ve laughed more and had more fun cleaning my kitchen with my friend Kathryn this week, than I ever have going out on a night on the town. The people in my life redefine the word empathy, to the point of calling it love. And that’s an evolution I want to see more of.
Sex in Hollywood
I figured a title like that would get your attention. And it did. The amount of times I’ve turned down sex and had opportunities taken away from me, that would get your attention as well. Or at least it should. If it doesn’t, then you’d fit right in in the entertainment business. The coverings of wine, or late night one on one meetings, or when something is prefaced by the words “It won’t be weird.” It’ll be weird. It’ll be very weird.
I debated writing about this topic, and even more so posting about it, but I know there are others out there who have had to deal with it. I say ‘others’ and not just women because I know there are some men who have had to deal with these issues as well. Though they may be far less. As all the men and women I respect state themselves as feminists. I am one as well. To some, this word has a certain connotation of man-hating. Or you picture the women’s bookshop owners from Portlandia. If you can’t even say the word, feminist, you are working against what you say you believe in. And I’m sorry but you are in fact not one. The actual definition of the word is this:
The Theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
In short, equal rights. And no, these equal rights very much still don’t exist. It’s sort of a broad term, ‘equal rights’, but for me it’s how women are treated that isn’t equal. The extremes of it I believe exist in the entertainment business because, well, sex sells. The fact is women are sexualized far more than men. And I think certain times sexuality is the first emotion that comes across when meeting people in the industry. A large percentage of them have main goals of being ‘successful’, ‘attractive’, ‘rich’, all high up on the chart of what gets someone laid. So how come when you turn down sex to stick up for your own morals, or simply for the fact you don’t want to sleep your way to the top, you feel.. awkward about it? So you just ruined a relationship with a potential band you were going to work with because you turned down sex with someone who’s ego can’t handle it. They cut you out. That happens. That happened to me. And having to explain that to your record label, or band members, is not a conversation you want to have. Nor is it one that could ever be 100% empathized with because they didn’t have to go through that. You did. Or how a studio hangout man to man, is nothing but business. Woman to man, the idea of sex immediately comes into play. It’s unfair, and sadly just something women still have to deal with, because I feel like no matter how far equal rights go, some men’s primal instincts will always outweigh any moral grounds of what isn’t appropriate to say or act on. In the words of Lauryn Hill, ‘Respect is just the minimum’, and honestly, sometimes it’s hard to get even that. Like how a sound man said to me the other day “Oh, women are like that, always jumping the gun”, when I simply went to adjust my own mic stand. In Seth Meyers voice… “Really? Reaalllyyy????” It seems like such a small thing, but these small things add up, and add weight to how you act as a woman in the business. They add weight to whether you even want to be in the business or not.
So use the word feminist. Use your words when someone is cleverly hinting at sex, but won’t come right out and say it. Call them on it. Make that conversation even more uncomfortable. Stick up for yourself, and other women. Because next time, maybe they won’t be so coy. Maybe they won’t tell you to come over to their house for wine, instead of meeting at the studio. Lose the job. Keep your self-respect. No amount of money could ever buy that back.
Toronto we play in you tonight!! 2 shows! Check the .com for info cause we’re driving. Dont be lazy. Do it.
Taken off the bar wall right now. THIS IS TONIGHT. If i bothered to get Vine i’d pan around and show you the band soundchecking right now